Exercise

People are treating exercise like supplements. Do this exercise 30 mins a day, do that 10 reps per round. That is total bullshit. We evolved to be active. Exercise are not supplements. They are a part of our life.

What do great athletes have? Strong mental fortitude. Part of building a strong mind, is building a strong body. Part of building a strong body, is building a strong mind. I find it ridiculous that people need motivation to move their body around. Because moving the body around is so... beautiful. So... free. So... natural.

Back to the basics, people.

People need to think

So I was at this water theme park in Sentosa last week. Before leaving, we went to the shower rooms. Of course, the girls shower had a long queue. The guys shower also had a queue, but shorter. I decided to just rinse myself at the poolside showers, which were unoccupied. After all, there's no real difference and I was gonna shower again at home. Why wait?

And that is why people need to think. Why do they like waiting so much, when there's an alternative? Do they have to follow the path that everyone follows?

That is why I think sometimes, people are too spoiled.

I am saying this because I told one of my companions went to wait for the shower despite me telling him about this alternative. I wasn't able to tell my female companions because they were waiting in the shower room already. So I ended up waiting for everyone.

Movies

I think movies are a waste of time. I agree that they do entertain, but I think the value is lacking. Why sit in some lame theater watching moving pictures? Why do people want their emotions moved by some moving pictures?

There are so many better alternatives. Running, cycling, for example. I think being in the moment, having your body in sync with the earth, is a much better experience. To engage your whole body and mind in some activity, that is what I call living. Would you consider watching movies -- living?

Books. Books have much developed plots and leave much to your imagination. Movies have condensed plots and leave little to the imagination (especially in terms of what is shown, like what the characters or setting look like. Of course the scenes can still have some mystery.)

The best entertainment is free.

Graduation ceremony

I've decided not to attend the graduation(commencement) ceremony. My grandma and my parents say that I should go, since it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And also, since I'm the first person in my close family to graduate from university. But you know what? I'm not going to go to some stiff ceremony to listen to "motivational words" and wait in line to receive my fake degree. I'm also surely not going to pay money to rent some graduation robe and take some nice pictures (the only purpose is to show my grandkids in the future).

What I hold dear is the four years of ups and downs in the university, and of course the degree I'm going to get, as well as the feeling of graduation. That is good enough. I do not need some ceremony to tell me that I did well to graduate and to signify the commencement of my career. I hate formalities. I'm a straightforward and practical person.

The four years I had cannot be summed up in one graduation ceremony.

Cycling history; Buying a new bicycle; got cheated

It has been a long while since I cycled. I still remember those good old days. I would cycle to school, to town, to everywhere. I even cycled to places like Tampines, Jurong and Bukit Batok (I live in Serangoon North). I remember the days when I crashed, the times I almost crashed and burned, and the moments where I rode happily in the gentle breeze. Good times. And of course, I will never forget the number of times my bicycles got stolen. 4 times, over 4 years. There was even once when my bicycle got stolen the DAY AFTER I bought it. That was too awesome. Well, I was kind of careless myself, locking only using a chain lock (Locking in public places/bike racks doesn't help. In fact, it may be more harmful). This time I will use a U-Lock/Chain combo.

Anyway, so to togoparts.com, where there is an awesome marketplace for bike and bike components. Saw this cheapo Aleoca bike for $65, and also a Raleigh bike for $200. The Raleigh bike was a good deal, but the Aleoca was super cheap and the ad also stated 9/10 condition. That was a lie, but I wouldn't know until it was too late. The deal location was nearby, so I checked out the bike and rode it a little. I sensed something wrong with the pedal, and I didn't check the bike thoroughly, since the guy said he was in a rush so we just dealt quickly. Then I discovered the problems as I rode it home, and thereafter.

1. The left pedal was broken
2. The rear brake had a broken spring. Both the brakes were not adjusted properly.
3. Rusty cassette and cable housing
4. Both the front and rear derailleurs were faulty
5. Both the shifters were basically unusuable (stuck)
6. Turning made a lot of noise -- the headset was broken. When I opened it up, I found that bearings were missing and the adjustable race was screwed in the opposite way (which made it a pain to unscrew at first, as I had to use penetration solvents)
7. Front wheel hub was a little loose

I don't know if the guy that sold me the bike was in a rush, but that was surely a good tactic, man. It was my fault too, of not checking the bike properly. But that guy definitely lied. 9/10 condition, MY ASS. More like 4/10 condition, if I wanna be lenient. That guy should be lucky a sucker like me bought his bike for $65.

Well, it was a good learning experience. Older guys are always smarter at selling things. I'm too naive. Well, it's also a good time for me to learn how to fix a bike. I just learned how threaded headsets work, and I also re-learned how to remove pedals and adjust brakes. I'm gonna buy the parts from Amazon and Ebay and make the bike work again. Shall not go to local bike shop since I don't really like the (money-grabbing) auntie there.

In the end, I would have been better off buying the Raleigh bike. Less trouble, less total cost. Morale of the story: 1. cheap bikes are usually not worth it (unless it's cheap bikes that are actually good). 2. I have to be more vigilant when buying/selling things.

If we are to reduce smoking in Singapore

1. Censor/ban all media endorsing smoking. (e.g. movies, etc)
2. Start disallowing the younger generation to have access to cigarettes
3. Don't allow stores to display cigarettes on sale/don't allow cigarette advertisements (out of sight, out of mind)

Hmm, then again, these might not work after all...

Thoughts and behaviour

Recently, I've been reading a book that discusses the connection between thoughts and behaviour. "Rip It Up", by Richard Wiseman.

Common sense dictates that thoughts lead to behaviour. That is, your thoughts will your action. But there is evidence that action will also will your thoughts. Behave in a certain way, and soon your thoughts would change. Wiseman calls it the "As If" principle.

It may be faster to change your behaviour than to change your thoughts. For example, acting like you're in control, and soon you'll think you're in control. That can be useful for smokers who want to quit smoking. Smoking is a deep-set habit. And people lives go on in a routine way. It is hard for smokers who live life in a routine way, to change their habits. So perhaps one way is to change their way of living. For example, start to do things they don't usually do. Start small. In time, they'll think, "my life isn't that routine after all", "I can change my habits". This might make it easier for them to stop smoking.

Being Single

As my friends start getting married, I sometimes think about how nice it would be to have a girlfriend. I like being single. Freedom is so important to me. But it's just that, I'm still attracted to girls. But, I haven't really felt any chemistry with anybody. Is there someone like that out there? Is it okay to wait for that someone, even knowing that that someone might never appear?

You know, I'm just tired of taking the initiative and everything. There was a time when I was really happy to do that, but you know what, I just hate to chase girls. In the first place, why do guys have to chase girls? I don't know. It's just so boring for me.

I really hate girly girls. Most girls I've met are like that, I guess. I like strong, courageous, practical, interesting, knowledgable women.

Someone who would spend more time on being a better person rather than polishing their looks.

Someone who would talk about meaningful things rather than material stuff, events that don't matter, and boring people(idols).

Someone who can be my best friend and soulmate.

Someone who sweeps me off my feets.

The looks don't really matter. Someone tall and beautiful would be a bonus though.

I can dream, can't I? Just let me dream for once. I'm usually such a realist.

Yes, it would be so nice to find someone I have chemistry with. Yes, it would be so nice if I didn't have to look so hard.

But it's okay. As I get older, the pool only gets larger. After all, innately, girls prefer older men.

Then again, it doesn't really matter. What's so great about girls anyway?

Emotions

Do you run from a bear because you're scared, or are you scared because you run away?

Do you smile because you're happy, or are you happy because you smile?

Sometimes, cause and effect isn't that straightforward.

For example, it is possible we experience some bodily reaction, then we attribute some meaning to it. In one famous experience, a female researcher approached men in two situations: 1. a very shaky bridge over a deep gorge. 2. a safe, sturdy bridge. Men in the dangerous situation rated the female researcher to be more attractive.

So perhaps the thought process is: I feel excited. Why? Maybe because I'm in love with this person. So a tip for dates: bring your dates to arousing situations (like theme parks).

Also, why people who get rejected may end up "loving" their target more. Being rejected brings a torrent of feelings. How to explain that? "Because I'm still in love with this person".

Girls

My first "girlfriend" was my friend's sister. We started chatting a lot on MSN. Nobody knew that we got together and the secretiveness was quite a thrill, for a while. I would travel 45 mins from school to a public library at a shopping mall near her school. Lol, a date at a library. I guess I was pretty lame then. We exchanged school badges. But for some reason, she wanted to break up after a while. Years later, she would ask me to return her school badge. And for some reason, I agreed and actually traveled all the way, for 1 hour, to return some lame badge, and then 1 hour, back home. I probably wouldn't have done that now.

My second "girlfriend" was someone I met on IRC. Lol, I guess online chat was pretty convenient for a shy guy like me. We texted a lot (see a pattern there?) and that resulted in bill bombs. Thousands of SMSes. Those were the days when SMS was very popular among schoolkids. Anyway, she played really hard to get, even though I really wanted to meet her, and it was a long while before we actually met in real life. I guess, she was nervous too. Hell, she even met me with a friend. Lol. If I remember correctly, that was the day we texted about going steady, or something. It's fuzzy. Nothing really happened after that. I guess it just fizzled out. Plus the fact that I was quite the wimp back then.

To me, it felt so one-sided. It felt like I was the only one putting in the effort. After that, I stopped caring anymore. Being a nice guy wouldn't bring you anywhere, anyway. I didn't want to be used by girls anymore. Then I also got tired of taking care of my sister. Why can't I be the one taken care of? I thought. Something broke in me.

After that, I had some more encounters. As the Chinese says, "tao hua yun". Moteki, in Japanese. A time when someone suddenly becomes very attractive and popular. I guess I had that kind of time, too, huh.

During my first 3 months, I noticed quite some interest from certain girls, to the extent that someone even remarked, "wow you really have some tao hua yun going, huh?". But nothing much happened. And then, someone proposed that we be pretend girlfriends/boyfriends. I think she was interested in me. And then there was another girl from China who wanted to be my girlfriend or something. Bah. I guess I didn't really show any interest back.

After that first 3 months, I went to another school. And there...... well. I had interests from some girls. There was one who I don't how we got to know each other but we started texting on Valentine's Day, which was her birthday. I must have passed by her birthday celebration in the canteen or something. Can't really remember. Too bad. She was so pretty, somemore. Then there was another, whom owed me hugs. That was a shame as well. I guess I screwed up. I did have some trouble of my own during that time, too. Hell, at one time, a junior even asked me to go to the stairs in the morning just to confess to me. I rejected her though. But well, it was quite the fresh experience for me. Oh, there was the Taiwan exchange programme. Taiwanese girls are so cute. Oh, I also met someone I knew previously, from another school, and somehow, she got interested in me. That was, until the smoke cleared and she realised I was a wimp who couldn't make any moves.

And... I guess that was the end of my moteki. I went to army. Oh wait. Something did happen then. I did ask a girl a few times out, and we got quite close, having similar interests and all. But I guess I was a bit immature then. I was pissed off at her for a few things, like always being late. But I didn't really talk to her honestly. Geez... I'm so bad. So sorry.

Finally, army was done. I didn't expect anything to happen in university, and I guess... Nothing really happened. Well, I may have said some sweet things to some girls and then bailed, or I might have met an old flame who became interested in me for the second time but I rejected her, sort of. But well, it was pretty much uneventful. That's good.

In the end, I... couldn't do anything. Maybe I was scared or what. But, I was really such a loser. Sorry, to all those that I hurt. I guess it would be easy to say, "I just have bad luck with girls, huh?". But I know that is probably not true. I'm just lousy.

Looking back, I can't say I really regretted what I did or did not do. Those were great learning experiences. Well, it could have been better, but it could have been worse too. I just wonder what would have happened if things unfolded differently. But I guess the past is the past. Everything that happened made me who I am today.

I am much more confident and stronger now, but I still can't really trust girls. (Friends are okay, of course). Sad, huh? It's okay. I'll take my time to move on. I still have years ahead of me. For guys, the older he gets, the larger the pool of fishes. So it's okay. And even if I don't see any fishes I like, it's okay. For me, my highest priority is to find peace with myself. That's all there is to it.

P.S. To those who are wondering, the "furthest" I got was a kiss. If you're reading this now, my first kiss, you were my first and only kiss. You'll probably be very shocked if you knew that. Hahaha. I'm quite amazed too, myself.

Mayu Watanabe, cyborg idol

Isn't she cute?! I started getting interested in AKB48 after watching AKB0048, an anime about singing idols in a sci-fi setting. In the anime, Mayuyu is a real cyborg, lol (inside joke?).

But of course, she's just a normal human in real life (or is she?!). She got the nickname of "cyborg idol" because of her constantly cute expression (I think) and she never seems to run out of energy.

In this PV, she's portrayed as a cyborg as well (lol!).

Damn, she's really cute! Marry me please!

My final semester \ crossroads

Thanks to me overloading like mad previously, my final sem is quite relaxing. I even took an extra module for fun. After a not-so-frothy experience with Biophysics I last semester, I wasn't really looking forward to Biophysics II this time. But I was pleasantly delighted. The professor is so good. Yes, the person teaching the module really makes a big difference. You can tell that this guy is really interested in teaching. And not just that, he teaches more than the topic. He makes us think. What a wonderful prof. Too bad his lessons are at 8am, so I miss them a few times. Hahaha.

So it's already halfway into the semester. So fast. 2 more months to my final finals (unless I fail #touchwood). It just seems that the four years passed by so quickly. Every semester just passes by faster and faster. I guess I'll miss school. I actually enjoy the freedom of studying what I like. And I really like the well-equipped library. It's a shame some people don't use the library more. It's seriously good, man. I wonder if I can still access it after I graduate (for moolah, of course).

I'm reaching a crossroads soon (as cliche as that might sound). In fact, I'm probably there already. I wonder if I should take a grad trip. But I'd rather just take a half year or even a full year hiatus to do what I want to do and to think about things a bit more.

1. I would like to go back to my old place of work. Cosy and dynamic, well-equipped environment, reasonable distance from home, satisfying work. However, that might not be possible.

2. Overseas postings:

  • Cambridge, UK: research work totally related to my major in a cosy town. Pay is reasonable, environment seems good, work should be good fit for me. But it seems that they don't really need to fill this position, and pay is not that high considering all the things I have to do/sacrifice to work there and their living standards. Call me arrogant, but if they really needed me I'll go. Otherwise I'll contribute to my home economy #patriotic
  • Japan: I would definitely love to go there. I love Jap stuff and ramen and women. But the pay varies and isn't that good. And the working environment... is probably more stressful over there. Plus the Japanese workers are usually more conservative and hierarchy is very apparent. So, I don't know. I could be brave and try it out I guess, while I'm still young.
  • Overall, there isn't much incentive for me to go overseas yet. I'm not a big fan of travelling, though I do enjoy it and can probably adjust quite quickly. I already have lodgings here, which might cost a bomb if I go elsewhere. Plus, I do love my homeland. If I do go overseas, I'll probably choose a more relaxing location to work in. Actually, I'm probably also scared of change.

3. Game studios. I'm a huge fan of games. Seriously. My friend recommended me a game studio. I like the location (which should be in Hougang, and that means I can probably walk, saving me $$$). Their work also seems interesting, too. But I'm still considering it.

4. Freelance. I would love being my own boss, but it's a pain too... Maybe I can try to freelance after I graduate and after I have more experience...

Well, for me, as long as the work is meaningful and the environment is conducive, I'm fine. I find a lot of things meaningful. For example, bus drivers, taxi drivers, janitors. They all help people in some way or another.

Distance is also important but secondary if the working hours are flexible (main thing is to avoid rush hour). It'll be cool to work from home, even once in a while.

Pay doesn't have to be eye-popping as long as it allows me to live comfortably. Of course, surplus is always welcome :)

Fried rice again!

Rice, left in the fridge for one day. Too bad it was the sticky kind. I didn't want to buy a packet of basmati rice... (it's damn heavy) Well it's a bit strange that fried rice is fluffy but it's not that bad :D

Chicken ham (no sodium nitrite): stir fried in olive/canola/butter blend, first thing to go into wok, then the ric
Egg: fluffy style, in wok but separate space, then mixed when half cooked
Romaine lettuce: sauteed in butter/garlic on a separate pan

Improvements

  • Too bad no scallions! I'm sure it would have made the dish better...
  • Also, I should have put in more lettuce. I used 3 pieces and thought it was quite a lot and then they shrunk when sauteed ROFL.

Mini-review of animes this season and last season

This season and last season has a lot of great anime. Tens, even! Well, to me, ten doesn't mean perfect but more like close to perfect, or a masterpiece. Let me rave about some of the ongoing anime.

The Tens

Chihayafuru Season 2


I was tearful when they introduced a season 2 for this anime. Usually this kind of anime is not as popular as those flashy shounen powerhouses and studios may decide to stop animating it. This is a jousei anime (targeted towards young ladies) which has some shounen aspect in the karuta card game tournaments. What's so interesting about karuta, you ask? As the doctor says in episode 2, you'd have to try it to understand it. But the show is just great. And it transitions perfectly to season 2, even for new viewers. By introducing new characters, they also re-introduce the game at the same time. But I ask you not to miss season 1, because it is one of the masterpieces of its time.

Genres

School-life, card-game tournaments, romance (more of romantic ideals than romantic love)

Strengths

  • Very strong interactions between characters, intertwined with the card game.
  • Very beautiful art. (I mean in certain impactful scenes there's these flowers and ornaments that pop up like this ) You can tell that the studio really put in their effort on making things beautiful. You can really feel the characters' conviction through their actions.
  • Shounen aspect makes the anime more exciting compared to standard jousei anime (the characters keep on going and "level up" even if they lose some games)

Weaknesses

  • Characters are not so interesting by themselves (but this is a minor point, since the show is about interactions!)

Psycho-Pass

This is a show from the last season that I've been planning to watch for a while but never really got around to watching it. Somemore it's a sci-fi show set in a steampunk environment, so it automatically gets a ten from me. Just kidding. supercell songs give automatic win though (Guilty Crown is an exception). The writing is so tight and the dialogue is so good. Like the reference, "Fools learn from experience while the wise learn from history." Also, that episode 13 twist.

The atmosphere is a bit dark and there are some gruesome scenes though (dismembered bodies, gore) but it's not as horrifying as Fate Zero or Monster.

Genres

Thriller, sci-fi, detective

Strengths

  • Well realised futuristic world with little details like cool gadgets, interesting environment designs. (All human lives controlled by the Sibyl System)
  • Interesting characters with mysterious backgrounds
  • It really makes you think (is absolute control by the government always good? albeit cliche but done in quite a fresh way)

Weaknesses

  • Probably not for kids. The director Motohiro joked that he wanted kids audience to have a trauma for life by watching this anime. (This isn't really a weakness, I guess)

The Nines/Eights

Zetsuen no Tempest

This show has an epic story that doesn't really pick up until close to halfway in the season. Then right at the big revelation there's suddenly a long hiatus. #RAGE

Genres

Fantasy, mystery, magic, apocalypse

Strengths

  • Beautiful soundtrack. Orchestral music fits the mood perfectly (epic).
  • Nice writing and references from Shakespeare
  • Strong main characters and best "villain" ever (Samon, the ambiguous villain with perfectly appropriate motivations)

Weaknesses

  • Evangeline Yamamoto is a really weak character considering the epic story. Even if she's there for comic relief... It's just *facepalm*

Bakuman Season 3


This is an anime about manga artists making manga. In other words, it was originally a manga about manga artists making manga. Now they just need to have manga artist in the show write a manga about manga artists making manga. Oh wait...

This show is very educational. I really learned a lot about the manga industry. It is really a show about rivals and friendship.

Genres

School life, drama, slice-of-life, manga industry

Strengths

  • Unique concept 
  • Eye-opening
  • Great rivalry

Weaknesses

  • I don't really like the character designs (especially the main heroine...)

Worth watching

  Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Genres: haremish, slice-of-life, school life

At first glance (and probably many reviews will say that), this seems like your typical harem anime. But the characters are a bit atypical. And the drama is actually not overdone. The struggles are quite realistic too. Plus the main heroine is just too moe. And, cats. Lots of cats. Catgirl. Nekoapollon. Warning: lots of innuendo.

  Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited - Hyoubu Kyousuke

Genres: fantasy, sci-fi 

The pilot episode is about a prison break. Kind of hard to screw that up, right? So far I've only seen 2 episodes, but this is a potential ten. It ticks all the checkboxes of a cool shounen anime. Powerful espers, flashy fights, cool character designs! I love these kind of shows.

  Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?

Genres: fantasy

English title: "Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren't They?"
About 3 humans with special powers being transported to another world where they are to play some life-or-death games. Sounds cliche but the premise is quite promising and the character designs seem good. Don't really like bunny girls but this bunny girl is quite cute. Main characters seem badass too. Might be worth watching. It's only ten episodes anyway.

Honorable mentions

  Fairy Tail, now at episode 165

Genres: fantasy
 
Well it used to be Bleach, Naruto and One Piece for me. But now it's really just Fairy Tail for me. There are so many interesting characters, and they manage to make them all interesting. Plus the fights are short and everyone has cool powers. Also, cats.

I really disliked the Zentopia arc but I love the current Grand Magic Games arc.

The reason I'm so slim

I have finally found out the reason why.

I don't eat enough >>>
I'm picky about food >>>
My mum cooks food I don't like 50% of the time >>>
I eat at home quite often

My mum says it's so hard to decide what to cook. Because she likes variety. But for me, I'm fine with the few favourite foods of mine. For me it's very simple to decide what to cook. She even tries to cook food that I'll eat. But still, I don't like 50% of her food. I'm grateful for her cooking and everything, but it's just me.

I guarantee you if I can eat in school everyday for my 3 meals, I'll be quite fat.

Sure I'm picky about food. But you know what? Forcing me to eat food I don't like isn't going to work.

Well, calorie restriction leads to longer life in rats. So maybe I'll get a longer life.