Why Can’t We Be Satisfied?

We have become blind to progress:

Louis CK being interview by Conan – ‘Everything is so amazing and nobody is happy.’

Why are you so terribly disappointing?

What happened to my bonus? What happened to my job? What happened to my country? Why can’t it all go the way it’s supposed to go? You mean having a kid won’t solve my marriage problems? Why don’t these drugs make me feel better? Where’s that goddamn waiter with my salad? Have you seen the stupid weather today? Is this really all there is?

Maybe this, then, is the ultimate upshot of our endless, self-wrought swirl of sour disappointment, of never having our impossible needs fully met, of constantly being thwarted in our desire to have the world revolve around our exact set of specifications and desires.

Our disappointment begins to curdle, to turn back on itself, poison the heart, turn us nasty and low. It shifts from merely being a national mood or general temperament, into a way of being. A wiring, deep and harmful and permanent. It’s all very disappointing, really.

Musing about Life

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What Happens When Your Husband Stops Loving You

This is a story of how a wife dealt with a husband who said he stopped loving her:

It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him.

Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.

Instead of issuing ultimatums, yelling, crying or begging, I presented him with options. I created a summer of fun for our family and welcomed him to share in it, or not — it was up to him. If he chose not to come along, we would miss him, but we would be just fine, thank you very much. And we were.

And, yeah, you can bet I wanted to sit him down and persuade him to stay. To love me. To fight for what we’ve created. You can bet I wanted to.

But I didn’t.

I barbecued. Made lemonade. Set the table for four. Loved him from afar.

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Awesome Video Of A Sperm Swimming

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Why Did I Start This Blog & Some Other Thoughts.

Why did I start this blog?

I’ve been pondering this question for some time ever since I read these posts by Juzzywuzzy and Ridz.

I first bought this domain to be part of a gift to my gf. I wanted to encourage her to showcase her work here. You can see the flower arrangements that she has been doing over there.

I started the blog initially as a way to share my thoughts with my gf as well as fulfill the need to write. As the months passed, the blog evolved and I started paying more interest in the happenings of the local blogosphere.

Things over the last few months have created a deep sense of dissatisfaction within me with regards to the direction of my professional life. On one hand I’m totally enjoying my job, I’ve met a whole bunch of interesting people and became closer to some very smart people who I’m learning a lot from. On the other hand, I’m just staying the course with no real vision of a destination. I have many pet projects that I do on the side which will never see the light of day because I’m too much of a tinkerer and not much of an artist (because real artists ship).

This is an advice I have to take with regards to my projects:

“You guys have been working on this stuff for months now, another couple weeks isn’t going to make that much of a difference. You may as well get it over with. Just make it as good as you can. You better get back to work!”

My blogging is a reflection of my life (or lack of one) – its existence and content is damning evidence
of how much I’ve become part of a problem that I loathe.

Politics, celebrity gossip, business headlines, tech punditry, odd news, and user-generated content.

These are the chew toys that have made me sad and tired and cynical.

Each, in its own way, contributes to the imperative that we constantly expand our portfolio of shallow but strongly-held opinions about nearly everything. Then we’re supposed to post something about it. Somewhere.

I want to be better.

So, yes. I am cutting way back on trips to the steam table of half-finished, half-useful, half-ideas that I both make and consume. And, with respect, I encourage you to consider doing the same; especially if that all-you-can-eat buffet of snark and streaming produces (or encourages) anything short of your “A” game.

What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. And the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks — empty, programmatic encouragements to groom and refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen.

What worries me are the consequences of a diet comprised mostly of fake-connectedness, makebelieve insight, and unedited first drafts of everything. I think it’s making us small. I know that whenever I become aware of it, I realize how small it can make me. So, I’ve come to despise it.

With this diet metaphor in mind, I want to, if you like, start eating better. But, I also want to start growing a tastier tomato — regardless of how easy it is to pick, package, ship, or vend. The tomato is the story, my friend.

This is blogging advice I want to keep daily:

Find your obsession. Every day, explain it to one person you respect. Edit everything, skip shortcuts, and try not to be a dick. Get better.

I do have a few interests albeit general ones. I like to read and I like to learn. I’m embarrass to say ‘I love to read and I love to learn’ because ‘love’ involves a whole new level of effort, discipline and diligence that I currently do not practice.

I want to change that. I want to start loving reading again. Start loving to learn again. Stop skimming through a lot of materials but focus on fewer – to remember and more importantly to understand.

To not just indulge in an activity but to master a craft.

I also want to remove the clutter in my life – both physical and online. As part of that effort, I’ve been throwing away stuff that I keep ‘just in case’. I’ve also been throwing away random gifts from random people – stuff that I kept because I thought it would be impolite to throw.

I want to grow. Hell, I need to grow.

I hope this blog changes to be a reflection of that.

Musing about Life

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I Want This

I think once I complete the move to my new home (and I sincerely hope it becomes a home instead of just a house/place to put stuff), I’m going to restock my supply of notebooks.

I want something like this.

I’m not writing it down to remember it later. I’m writing it down to remember it now.

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Human Beings Never Change

Which is why if you really bother to learn from history, observe what’s happening now and actually think, you might have a good chance gleaming some inspired insight regarding where human society is heading and more importantly what new shit is worth doing to make you lots of money.

Or you could save the world by inventing psychohistory.

Borrowing two pictures from Patlaw:

What we used to do

What we now do

The question is then, what will we soon be doing?

Updated:

Some old links:

Public and Permanent

One of my favorite business model suggestions for entrepreneurs is, find an old UNIX command that hasn’t yet been implemented on the web, and fix that. talk and finger became ICQ, LISTSERV became Yahoo! Groups, ls became (the original) Yahoo!, find and grep became Google, rn became Bloglines, pine became Gmail, mount is becoming S3, and bash is becoming Yahoo! Pipes. I didn’t get until tonight that Twitter is wall for the web. I love that.

A slightly related way of thinking about how to choose web projects is to take something that everyone does with their friends and make it public and permanent. (Permanent as in permalinked.) Examples:

* Blogger, 1999. Blog posts = public email messages. Instead of “Dear Bob, Check out this movie.” it’s “Dear People I May or May Not Know Who Are Interested in Film Noir, Check out this movie and if you like it, maybe we can be friends.”
* Twitter, 2006. Twitter = public IM. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that one of the people responsible for Blogger is also responsible for Twitter.
* Flickr, 2004. Flickr = public photo sharing. Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake said in a recent interview: “When we started the company, there were dozens of other photosharing companies such as Shutterfly, but on those sites there was no such thing as a public photograph — it didn’t even exist as a concept — so the idea of something ‘public’ changed the whole idea of Flickr.”
* YouTube, 2005. YouTube = public home videos. Bob Saget was onto something.

Tangled Web We Weave

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Some Of The Best Moments In Olympics History

The awesome online curator Jason Kottke has put together a post covering some of the best moments in Olympics history here. I was never one to follow the Olympics. I don’t even remember ever watching an opening ceremony in its entirety. However, this year, for some reason, things were different as I waited eagerly to see Liu Xiang’s race and followed Michael Phelps historic campaign, Federer’s quest for redemption and Dara Torres‘ participation in the Olympics.

The gymnastic performances and diving events also got my attention. From Kottke’s post, four awesome routines from the past.

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How To Build A University

I’ll say this. I hate the new University Hall in NUS. I think it was a waste of money. Ok. Now that is out of the way, let’s talk about one aspect of building a university campus – the sidewalks. How do you plan the sidewalks? Apparently, you don’t.

Apparently, this is how the Campus of Michigan State University got their sidewalks:

The original campus did not contain many sidewalks at all; the designers instead opted to pave desire lines after they appeared in the grass.

A desire line:

A desire line is a path developed by erosion caused by animal or human footfall. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width and amount of erosion of the line represents the amount of demand. Desire lines were used in early transportation planning, prior to the advent of computerized models.

Check out the photos of desire lines on Flickr.

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The Ultimate Weapon Against Camwhores.

This is the ultimate weapon against camwhores. Sure, the motivation for this device is more cheem than being used as weapon against camwhoring but still….

People’s great trust in their photographic reproductions of reality was what motivated me to develop the *Image Fulgurator*. A camera can be used as a personal memory tool, since people do not doubt the veracity of their own photographs. Hence, photos can reproduce the reality of an individual environment or public space. At sacred or popular locations, or those having a political connotation, an intervention with the Fulgurator can be particularly effective. Especially objects with a special aura or great symbolic power are good targets for this kind of manipulation. In other words, with the Fulgurator it is possible to have a lasting effect on those kinds of individual moments and events that become accessible to the masses only because they are preserved photographically.

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Water Found On Mars !!!!!!!!

Awesome twitter message announcing the discovery of water in the form of ice on Mars. The Phoenix Mars Mission site is here and the the press release about the discovery is here.

It seems strange that our generation doesn’t seem as excited (I’m guilty too of the lack of interest, but no MORE) about what our fellow human beings are trying to discover and learn from Mars as compared to the generation that witnessed the space race and man going to the moon (yes, i do believe it happened).

Mars … here we come!!!!

The cynic in me says – Mars … here we come!!!! to rape you just like we did with Earth…. Hope the last inhabitants left us some goodies….

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Do Not Watch “The Happening”

Spoilers ahead for the movie “The Happening” but if you have considered watching the movie, reading this review might save you from wasting money and time. Be warned – lots of spoilers.

via:kottke

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People Working In Bakery In US Earns More Than Most Of US Per Hour.

Read an interesting article about a bakery in the States that uses the honor system in collecting payment.

“I liked the idea of simplifying things and … the honour system made a whole lot of sense,” Bergen says. “What irritated me about going into Tim Hortons, for example, was waiting in line for something as simple as getting a donut and a coffee. So the thought was, someone can pour his own coffee, grab his own bagel, cut it himself, throw the money in, and walk out. We don’t touch 60 per cent of the transaction.”

Because it is up to the customers to total their purchases, Bergen has simplified the cost structure.

“Everything is rounded off to the nearest quarter with taxes included where applicable,” he says. “So every desert is $1.50 (tarts, brownies, and date squares), every pizza lunch is $5, every beverage is $1.25, every loaf of bread is $2.75 (Italian sourdough, multi-grain, and raisin bread on weekends), croissants are $1 each, and bagels are three for $2 (plain, sesame, and multi-grain).”

The bakery conducts audits every six months and Bergen says only once did things come up short.

“Our theory is that two per cent of our sales are being ripped off. ‘Ripped off’ in the sense that there are people who forget to pay or they make a mistake in paying, and then there are people who deliberately don’t pay. And every so often we have to kick somebody out that we know hasn’t been paying,” he says. “But at the same time we figure we’re being overpaid by three per cent. Some people come in and want a $2.75 loaf of bread, but they see we’re busy so they throw $3 in and walk out. Or, although we discourage tips, some people still give them to us. But because the staff is paid well (the average wage is $15.50 an hour), the tips go into the general pot.”

What is interesting is this. Their finances didn’t come up short. I don’t think this says a lot about the inherent goodness of people but it says a lot about the power of community.

“What’s really satisfying is we’ve created a community here,” says Bergen. “Ninety-five per cent of our customers on any given day are regulars. I have people who literally come here seven mornings a week. For them this is like going down the stairs and into their kitchen for breakfast. And then there’s another crowd – a lot of artists and writers who work at home – who come in around 10 a.m.
at least five days a week for their coffee break. We probably do more to establish community than almost any recreation centre in the area because we get to know people. I like that I can walk in anytime and it’s a place where I can belong.”

Another thing that caught my attention – the average wage. I have never been to the States so obviously I haven’t worked there so I’m not sure if this sort of salary is the norm and why it is that amount(power of unions?). But I do know this – the owner doesn’t seem to be losing money and it seems the model is profitable.

Ok. Where am I going with this. If you own a business, I guess one of the many goals you might possibly have is to make shit loads of money. You can do this in a number of ways but the basic equation is the same Revenue – Cost = Profit. So, you can either increase revenue or decrease cost.

Obviously, different businesses face different conditions which affect how easy it is to reduce cost and increase revenue. In Singapore, with our current policy of foreign workers, reducing cost seems to be the easier alternative to increasing revenue. Now, I know that there is the argument that if cost wasn’t reduced, then to make any sort of (?decent) profits, cost of products and services will go up to increase revenue and everyone else suffers. The dynamics of this is a little bit too complex to cover in one blog post so I won’t do it any injustice by trying to cover it.

What I do want to say is this in the context of Singapore. A lot of times, a decision is made on the amount of profits you as the business owner want to make. We can grumble all we like about how the government isn’t taking care of the people which isn’t true. The government just isn’t taking care of all the people. Now, the question is then this – if you are a Singaporean business owner, are you going to make the decision to make your staff more, maintain the same revenue, and take home less profits.

The idea is this. Every Singaporean has to stop thinking that the government is the only one that can help other Singaporeans. And helping other Singaporeans isn’t just about doing volunteer work or donating to charity. It is about making ‘small’ decisions like how much profit you are willing to take and whether paying your own fellow Singaporeans more despite the availability of cheaper (and probably younger) foreign workers can still make you some money though not as much.

via: kottke

On Singapore

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Transformers – They Exist!

This video proving the existence of Transformers brought a small to this little nerd’s face.

via:kottke

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What Hollywood Does To Your Soul

An article about the Lindsay Lohan as Marilyn Monroe photoshoot. I searched for more stuff to read about Marilyn Monroe whose real name was Norma Jean Baker. I found this quote by her especially relevant to the noise that has been made about the female actresses caught up in the Edison Chen scandal.

Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.

via:kottke

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The Hunt For Perfection In Sports

Kottke shares an article written by Chuck Klosterman about how people want to see their sports heroes as human and that these heroes are remembered as much, if not more, for their lost of perfection as their attainment of it.

When measuring — and particularly when remembering — the greatest performances in the history of any sport, the moments that matter most are almost always tied to situations when that entity failed. Very often, those specific failures are the essential details people recall about dynastic achievement. The memory of perfection is inevitably tied to the memory of lost perfection.

But if they lose — especially if they lose late — the New England Patriots will be the most memorable collection of individuals in the history of pro football. They will prove that nothing in this world is guaranteed, that past returns do not guarantee future results, that failure is what ultimately defines us and that Gisele will probably date a bunch of other dudes in her life, because man is eternally fallible.

via:kottke

New York Times also had an article about perfection in sports before the game which the Patriots eventually lost where sportsmen shared about how perfection was an afterthought.

“I thought it was pretty good, but athletes don’t think about history when making history. They think about what they’re doing, and that’s how it gets done.”

The key for perfection is not to focus on it but to focus on excellence and prepare intensively to gain confidence and not be affected when things go wrong.

The sportsmen mentioned in both these articles seem to echo the same sentiment about perfection, one that Singaporeans who tend to be ranking-fixated should take note.

“The other teams you played scored points and your team made mistakes. Maybe a lucky bounce actually won you a game or two. No, winning doesn’t make you perfect.”

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Memento Mori: Remember That You Are Mortal

I played this game and nearly cried.  As kottke advised, play it first then read the creator’s statement.

via: www.kottke.org

My thoughts (please read it only after playing the game): Continue Reading »

Gaming
Musing about Life

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