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Waking up nice and fresh

It hasn’t been easy over the last month or so. The hours have been a killer. I have been sleeping only 4 hours a night.

But then on the other hand, I have been having the time of my life.

Each afternoon and night I spend trawling the Internet, checking out forums, websites, user guides, all in the quest towards creating a new career in the area of Internet Marketing.

There’s always a learning curve involved in every new venture and this definitely is no different.

I can remember sitting in front of a Unix box for the first time, knowing only the commands “ls” (to list the files in a directory and “chmod” (to change the read/write permissions for files).

Beyond that, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.

I can empathise with those guys who might be stuck for inspiration.

Well, there’s always the ‘idiots’ and ‘dummies’ guides in the bookstores and I refer to them all the time too.

The first time I saw a “C++ for Dummies” book, I was like “what???”

I couldn’t imagine being able to make such a complex language accessible to newbies.

I was wrong.

I bought the two volume set and it was done in a very accessible manner.

I checked out Amazon and saw

  • HTML 4 For Dummies (Html 4 for Dummies) by Ed Tittel and Mary Burmeister
  • Creating Web Pages for Dummies, Sixth Edition by Bud E. Smith, Arthur Bebak, Bud Bud Smith, and Arthur Bebakblogging for dummies screenshot
  • Html for Dummies Quick Reference by Deborah S. Ray and Eric J. Ray
  • Blogging For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) by Brad Hill
  • Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds For Dummies ® by Ellen Finkelstein
  • Starting an Online Business For Dummies, 4th Edition by Greg Holden
  • Starting a Yahoo! Business For Dummies (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance)) by Rob Snellwebsite for dummies book cover

So there’s no shortage of stuff to borrow from the library or buy from the bookstore (these are priced about $15-20, a great buy!).

Go forth and read!

free e-books

read an article in the papers yesterday.
it seems that authors giving away their books on the internet have seen an increase in print book sales.

for one author, Cory Doctorow, giving away complete novels (in fact most of his works are available in almost all conceivable formats, represents not a loss in revenue, but instead generates awareness. The enemy of new authors is not loss of intellectual property, but rather obscurity and anonymity.

Do check the site out, i’ve downloaded his latest novel, “Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town” and an earlier novel “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom” in Adobe PDF format (now to find the time to read it…).

Leading paranormal, pseudoscientific and supernatural investigator, James Randi, has also put the contents of his work “An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural” on the net as well. Although the contents can’t be downloaded onto the desktop, this e-version includes additional illustrations and more instances of his wit (which might not have made it past the copy editors of the print edition).

Have a great weekend everyone!

once a month, regardless of whether i need it…

People who lived in the middle ages smelled pretty bad.

Observe the fact at hairboutique, “Baths were actually considered unhealthy during the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance. Queen Elizabeth I supposedly bragged, “I take a bath once a month, whether I need it or not.”"

Lucky times have changed and we take showers or baths once or more often a day (unless i’m out in the jungle…)

the weirdest thing is that each of these cleaning products have their own domain name and website. i guess it means they’ve made their mark.

after years of experimentation with various cleaning products, i’ve coming up with my cleaning trinity.

they are:

Dove: Ok, I admit it. the 1/4 moisturising cream gets me. too lazy to apply moisturiser when i was overseas, this is a godsend.

smells good, my skin ends up soft, it’s liquid soap, so it’s easy to apply and wash off.


—-

Head and Shoulders: I’ve never really figured out how well this “anti-dandruff shampoo” actually works because i’ve never really used any other shampoo.

ah well, the shampoo is a cool blue though.


Cetaphil: Cetaphil to me is the king of all cleansers.

Have you ever used one of those Japanese facial cleaners that’s supposed to be really effective?

I have and they work as advertised, too well in fact. at the end of my face wash, it feels like every iota of moisture has been ripped off my screen. Especially since I have sensitive skin, i’ve found that Cetaphil is really good because it’s dermatologist-tested to be hypoallergic and has some moisturising properties as well.

Besides, the fact that it’s actress Teri Hatcher’s preferred cleansing product can’t hurt as well.


There you have it, the holy three for me.
go forth and cleanse!

sundays after sundays after sundays

sunday has to be one of my favourite days. (not that there are that many to choose from)

it’s one of the few days where i can sleep the whole day away without feeling (too) guilty about it.

and for those who might be inclined to skive the housecleaning duties, it’s the perfect time to make a batch of cookies or ice-cream.

although i know i probably should catch up on work that’s been piling up throughout the week, my three most popular things to do on sunday include:

1) Ironing: yep, there’s nothing like ironing 30 work shirts at once (especially when i realise there isn’t anything left in my wardrobe on monday, except my ‘old uncle’ work shirt). i would put a picture here, except that i’ve worn it already and its current condition is not ‘photograph-able’.

2) Sleep: as in regenerative unconsciousness, not as in the other sleep. there’s nothing like making up for a couple of frantic 4 hour nocturnal ‘naps’ in the midst of meeting project deadlines during the week.

Some of signs that tell i’m really tired:
a) an ‘out of the body’ experience while i’m awake, and feeling detached from my body.
b) experience ‘lag’ (or ‘internet latency’) between the time i am thinking of doing something and my body actually doing it.
c) feeling really really exhausted, but being unable to fall asleep when i’m in bed.

yep, i definitely feel more ‘alive’ after these naps.

3) eat: the quintessential singaporean pastime, to scour the papers and magazine and find the next foodies paradise before the other foodies find it.

the secret i’ve found is to go for dinner at 630pm (6pm if possible), because the half hour headstart could save about 1-2 hours of waiting time.

if going for lunch, head out to the place at 11am.

i hate crowds when i go shopping. the same applies to eating too.


collateral damage

What’s a sign of how productive my week had been?

My ‘to do’ list:

Observe ‘exhibit A”

Looks busy doesn’t it?
lots and lots of things to finish up.
the thing though is that the producitivity is measured by the number of things completed, rather than the number of items listed.

as for this week….no comment!


TS Eliot

Friends can be quite strange sometimes.
I can’t always figure them out.

A friend once came to my house and as I was giving him a house tour, he came to my home office, looked at me and said “TS Eliot, The Wasteland”.

I can’t for the life of me figure out what he’s talking about.

talk about your weirdo freaks…


says a thousand words…

As we go into the weekend, I’d like to offer something light to consider.

as saturday and sunday approach, inevitably the thoughts of what it’d be like to go on a holiday would naturally come to me.

to me photographs have always spoken more than a thousand words.
maybe even a million.

and photography has been more than just a hobby for.
it’s a way of capturing memories and maybe even a time machine, allowing me to go back months, years and even decades back to a time when i was experiencing a certain emotion, whether it was happiness, contemplation, or even sadness.

here are 4 photographs from my collection.


Bali
This was when we went to Bali about 2 years ago (about 2003). This was right after the Bali bombings, and it was a surreal experience to be on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and have the beach to yourself.

Literally it was just the five of us, David Lim, Pam, her friend, my wife and myself. Our friends Ber Luen and Gwen had come separately and we met up for a beautiful seafood dinner at Jimbaran, next to the beach.

This photo was shot at sunset at Jimbaran.

I’m not sure which was the most enjoyable: the food, the beautiful skyscape or the pleasure of well-loved friends and family.

perhaps the mixture of all three fills me with a rush of joy, contentment and serenity when I look at this photograph.



Greece, ocean waterfront
The photograph was shot during our honeymoon to Greece and Turkey about 2 years ago.

Greece, being a collection of several hundred islands, is an idyllic country with landscapes having a picturebook quality.

i’ve always wondered how it’d be like to live in a village like this.

sure it looks tranquil and calm, i’m sure i’ll get bored out of my brains within a few weeks though!


Stone texture
This was a picture taken of a stone wall in Turkey.

The textures and shadows are as beautiful to me as a landscape or a person.

imagine all the hundreds of years of sand blasting at the brick wall creating those crevasses and cracks. each grain of sand smashing against the surface, a small speck colliding with the inevitable.

in time however, each grain leaves it’s mark on the pitted surface, filled with character and marking the presence of the sand.

i imagine myself as a speck of sand, and think about the mark i will leave on the brick of history.


Deep fried soft shell crab
No photo collection would be complete without a picture of food.

There’s something magical about eating the shell of a crab.

I’m not sure what it is. perhaps the idea of eating something crispy, perhaps catching the crab when it’s most vulnerable in the state of transformation.

Are we prey for something bigger out there?

Will we one day become fodder for some ancient, alien lifeform?

Honestly, we can’t worry about what happens next, when every day possesses so much beauty and potential.


While we may not be able to capture every single moment with a camera, the most important moments of our lives will be captured in our mind’s eye.


Live long and propser.

how to start a (cyber) war

pay attention, i will say this only once?

shhh, did you hear what i said? I would say this only once.

hey, put your mouse down for a second. i need your full attention. this could prevent all out holy electronic war.

this is how you can start an all-out war on the frontiers of cyberspace.

first, take two good friends who joke and tease each other over an electronic mailing list.

next, throw in a little confusion and misunderstanding, along with mistaken intentions.

throw in a liberal dash of “Btw, if you would have noticed, You have already been Ignored. no need to re-confirm that.” and you have the beginnings of a cold war, one in which there are no winners, only losers.

i remember years ago when i was active in the IRC (Internet Relay Chat) scene, there’d be scores of us techno-savvy teenagers who logged on to the internet and just passed time by doing the Seinfeld (talking about nothing).

And this time we had an outing to a games arcade.

This girl was standing at the fishing reality simulator (essentially a plastic rod, a nylon ‘fishing line’ connected to a reel in the machine and a big television screen showing pictures of the fish in the water.

as she stood at the monitor, her slim frame quivering as the line jerked her back and forth, she started calling for help as she yanked at the ‘fishing rod’.

I jumped beside her, grabbed her hands and started pulling the rod and reeling the fish in.

having scored her catch, she thanked me and I walked off beaming to myself.

I got home later that evening, logged on the #singapore channel and people start private messaging me.

“hey dude, what happened?”

“huh?” i replied

“ey, y u do tt?” another person messaged.

“do what?” i was puzzled

“you know, the other guy in the channel said he’s going to call you out and protect her honour the next time he sees you” another helpful soul offered.

“WHAT????” i ‘yelled’ in my moment of virtual exasperation!

It appeared that the girl had told the others that I had ‘violated’ her personal space and she felt uncomfortable about the experience and practically ran out of the arcade.

Although this happened more than 10 years ago, i’m still mystified today about her intentions.

Had she felt:
1) genuinely ‘violated’ even as she thanked and smiled at me?
2) weird because she knew that the guy who liked her had been watching her and would feel threatened that she felt good about being around other guys, even as she knew that he would feel insecure that she would not always be besotted by him, even though she knew that he would still like to hang out with other girls with whom he’d never have a chance with, because she would likely be the only ever girl he would find a sympathetic ear with and would spend time with him knowing that he’s be someone who would never find someone as good as her and could only fantasise about being with whoever it was in his mind? (yes, i agree, it’s confusing)
3) angry and upset that she hadn’t landed the famed “catch of the day” high score and missed it by only a few points. (although the arcade owner would turn off all machines at the end of the day, wiping off all high scores).

Regardless, it feel like a silly experience and even as i did my best to apologise to her and explain the situation to him, they would have nothing to say or do with me.

it later emerged that other guys and girls in the group had had similar experiences of ‘misunderstandings’ as well, and had gradually dropped out of the group.

honestly, the experience just reflected the infantile maturity of some of the group members and i guess it was just their fifteen nanoseconds of electronic fame. I guess in today’s context, the girl might’ve spent the next 3 weeks villifying me (until she found her next victim). good luck on landing your book deal!

the bottomline for me is that the internet remains one of the best places for cyberse…er, research and work and factual matters.

if it’s something important, especially in interpersonal terms, it’s just like the courier advertisement goes, ‘you can’t fax or email a handshake or a look in the eye”

to my friends who are in the midst of their electronic tiff, i am thinking you’ll get over this bump in the road to your friendship soon.

in the meantime, live well and be well.