24 June 2008

Climbed out of the hole

My flu has finally passed. My nose isn't leaking and my cough, well OK, I've got like the last 10% of my cough still stuck in me so I'm just pushing it out whenever I can.

Boy did last week feel like I was crammed in a hole. It was kind of like a forced vacation that I couldn't enjoy :(. Being sick totally sucks and all I can say is, it's a good wake up call for me to take a bit more care about my health :) I guess no more singing in the rain for me :(.

On an even brighter note, I finally got a good hair cut! You have no idea how difficult it is for me to get a proper haircut thanks to my uber curly hair but it happened and I'm loving every bit of it! The cut was a bit pricey I have to admit, but the satisfying feeling I've got now is well worth it! Heck, like I've said before, money's just money and you can make it back, but this happy feeling, this is something you can't just make back just like that.

Moving onto a duller point, thanks to my being sick last week, my work schedule is totally backed up. I haven't had a chance to go to the gym and my drumming practice has been totally cut short. All I can think of now is trying to get 2 weeks' worth of work done in 1 week and to make matters worse, I've got 4 comedy gigs at the end of this week! :( AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!! *stress stress stress*!

Yet this has also taught me a wonderful lesson that I can't take it for granted that I'll be able to work the next day so I need to have some sort of work plan that allows me for days when I fall ill or some emergency happens. Man, the more I dig into this freelance business of mine, the more I'm realizing I really don't know much! Heh, it's like I know a lot in theory but when reality comes into play, it's all street smarts from there really.

It's a Tuesday and I'm charged up and ready to get a lot of work done, I kind of know where to start but part of me just feels lazy to do anything because the first thing on my list is something I really don't enjoy doing. Aha, that's the worst when you have to start your day with stuff you least like, it kind of gives you a bad mood for the rest of the day. The good thing is, if I get that unlikable stuff done, woohoo it'll boost me like no other! :D I'll be like "yayayayayay" doing some rain dance heh.

Alright, so today is actually a Day 10 entry and honestly, I have absolutely no words of wisdom thought out ahaha. So, consider this your day off? :P
I bet this is one of the most pointless Day 10 posts I've had so far.


17 June 2008

First fever in forever

Wow, I've got fever tonight. First time in ages!
Just thought I'd share a super duper short post for a change ;)

Have a good day. I'm off to bed.


15 June 2008

I am metal, hear me roar

I had a Chinese stand-up comedy gig tonight which I must say was quite fun.  I've come to realize that Hong Kong people really don't enjoy repetition. Most of the times whenever I hint at repeating one of my bits from my YouTube Video, I can see a lot of people's faces go dim as they prepare themselves to hear something they've heard before (probably a million times!). Well, in some ways I understand them because I used to feel that way before whenever I'd see the same comedian do a bit he did in another YouTube clip. But it's actually wrong to think that way, it's just that we've grown accustomed to people never saying the same thing in different occasions that now it seems that when singers repeat the same song over and over and over again, people love it, yet when a comedian repeats a classic bit, people don't seem to appreciate it. Well HK people so far. I have to admit, I'm not complaining here, I'm simply stating something I've come to notice after doing stand-up comedy for around 8 months now.

An old, old friend of mine came to watch the gig and it was really fun hanging out with her afterwards. We hadn't properly spoken to each other in...wow... like 3 - 4 years! Yet when we started talking, we had so much to just blab on about. Not so much catching up but more like just talking like we did before! :) Anyways, it was pouring cats and dogs tonight and I decided to walk home (without an umbrella... I hate umbrellas!) and just enjoy the rain. I dug into my bag and realized I'd left my MP3 player and headphones at home. At that moment I really realized how much I appreciate and love metal music. I won't go into specifically which kind of metal because I like a blend of all types, but boy oh boy do I love metal. I just started singing (in the rain) while walking for a good 40 minutes. People looked at me funny because here I was, getting drenched in the rain, singing to myself, yep, pretty crazy-looking I suppose. But hey, I love walking in the rain, seriously refreshing and the main thing I like is that the roads are usually very clear of people or at least they're trying to find the areas where there's some covering? Anyways, the point is, I love walking, I love metal and I love empty roads :).

So today is the lovely Day 10 entry for me. Ah, how far we have all come. Right before going on to do my set, I felt a weird mixture of comfort and nervousness. I've been doing stand-up enough so that I'm feeling comfortable going on stage that I only need to write down in note-form what material I want to tap into. Yet I feel a nervousness because there's an invisible layer of pressure on me to make sure I deliver. I mean, I know a lot of people who come to our shows do so because they've seen my YouTube clip or heard good things about us and it's important I/we don't let them down. Sometimes it's quite tough being the headliner because you don't really get to sit and enjoy the show. To be honest, I've never really got to enjoy our Chinese shows because I've always had to close the show being the last performer. I mean, again, I'm not complaining, I really appreciate the privilege of being put last because it's a kind of respect really. Speaking of respect, I've earned a lot of respect from people thanks to my comedy and well just me being me really. I mean, I don't try to put on an image for the world because I'm confident in who I know I am. I don't act like a metalhead so I feel cool, I am a metalhead!

My band had a gig on the 7th of this month and it was quite a good gig! We all had fun and the crowd was mosh-worthy. When watching some of the videos, I noticed some people in the audience had a weird sense of discomfort where they wanted to fit in with the other metalheads yet were putting on more of a show than really enjoying the music. I mean, I have no right to point fingers, but for me, being natural and being yourself is a very important thing/value. Of course, there are times when you have to put on a different hat, heck, when I'm doing comedy shows, I have to put on a different hat already! I'm not faking it, I'm just focusing on a different part of who I am. It'd be silly for me to put on a comedic hat when I'm meeting clients and having a serious discussion about a project. But going back to my point, I just feel that it's a shame that even in the metal community, there are what I feel can be deemed as posers. Metal music's actually one of the few types of music where it's not so much about fitting in, but more like being welcomed. You'll never see a true metal lover force someone else to listen to metal. No one forces people to enjoy metal because it's not like a religion we're trying to make people believe in, it's kind of like a lifestyle that we just follow and if it suits you, you're welcome as well. Sure you may say "yea, but what about the typical black t-shirt, silver chains, piercings, tattoos, etc.?" Well let me tell you, my favorite color is hot pink, I have no piercings and no tattoos. Yes, 99% of my t-shirts are indeed black and I always have a silver chain round my left thigh carrying all my keys, but in no way does this make me a metalhead and in no way does making sure you follow the above fashion pattern make you a metalhead. What I'm trying to say is that, in many ways, metal music has created its own kind of filter that forces people to really mean it if they say they enjoy it. The blasting riffs, the loud double bass drumming, the heavy bass lines all kind of drive a poser crazy after a while because there's only so much faking you can do with this type of music. A black t-shirt with the words "metallica" won't save your sanity after you pretend to enjoy the deadly tunes of say Cradle of Filth

But as my friend told me tonight, I really shouldn't judge. She's right. Who am I to judge whether another person is being true to themselves? It's like who I am to blame an audience member if they didn't laugh at one of my comedy bits that I think is funny? We've all got our own styles and I suppose I can give them the benefit of the doubt that they're giving metal a trial run.

I still remember the first time it clicked in my head that I really, really loved metal. It was thanks to a Slayer album called Diabolus in Musica. After hearing the tracks on that, I knew this was my music. I saved up all my money and bought that album and till today never regret it one bit. I proudly have a shelf housing all my metal CD's and that shelf keeps growing. My taste has evolved the more I learn of what's out there but in the end, I still love all the albums I own and even if I get tired of them, a few months of different tunes and I'm back to loving the good old albums again. Just tonight I reloaded my MP3 player with all my classic favorites for example Chimaira's the Impossibility of Reason. That album has gone with me through a lot of tough times. It's given me that energy to run that extra mile when my legs were burning up, it gave me the power to focus and get things done. Ah focus. Sweet, sweet focus.

Recently, I've been having a tough time focusing because I think I've actually developed more skill at multi-tasking. It's really weird but in some ways, I feel like I've developed this ability to think simultaneously, like I've noticed that very often I'm working at 2 things at the same time. My computer set-up involved 2 screens and I always find myself with 2 applications running on each screen so that when one of them is working, I'm busy in the other application getting stuff done. Earlier on, someone on FaceBook asked me about how I manage my time so that I can do so much stuff and I confessed that in many ways, I find myself near burnt out because of trying to juggle so much at the same time! However, when I was telling her the way I work, I actually realized that it's no longer a chore for me to try to find the best solution to everything I do, but instead, it's like a normality for me. I automatically try to think of the best ways to use my time now. For example, I was walking home and during that time, while my feet were moving, I was planning what I'd do once I came back. I thought about stuff like if I was hungry (which I kind of was) and immediately my brain started thinking what is the most efficient way I could eat and still get stuff done. Ridiculous! In a good way though.

So here I am, with a habit to GTD, with a habit to constantly find the best method for whatever I'm doing and with a habit to maximize my life. I have to say, it isn't easy and I do still find myself at times feeling burnt out from constantly trying to think of my next move while working on my current one. In fact, my friend tonight did tell me that and I agree. Sometimes I really just need to let it flow. In a previous post I talked about how letting it flow can work! And even tonight, during my stand-up comedy performance, I tried my best to just let it flow. It's hard because while you're on stage, you need to be in 110% mode and you're really over-revving your brain in many ways. But that's the price you have to pay. :)

Well, all I can say is good habits make you a better person on auto-drive. It makes what was something you had to constantly work at, a normal part of your life and you feel less and less strain at doing it. So the next time you're finding something quite a challenge, keep at it, chances are the more you work it out, the more it'll feel normal and before you know it, it'll even feel good when you can do it. When you reach that point, you know you made a habit. But never forget to make sure that it's a good habit.

Ahah 7:20am. Man I need to fix my bad habit of sleeping so late.. well early... but late nonetheless. Have a good day! Can't wait for tomorrow! :)


04 June 2008

Back on Track... almost

Well things have been hectic on my end and I slowly finding my balance again with everything. I've been getting a lot of good, genuine advise from people regarding the way I deal with my business and it's made me re-realize (re-realize? I'll explain later) a lot of things.

Basically, as I've been going through building my business, I've encountered a lot of things I never expected. I suppose this is what we all call experience. The more I learn, the more I realize I still need to learn. The funny thing is, I recently met some other businessmen, that at least to me, seem successful in their business, but work quite silly. I'm not criticizing them, I'm simply saying, that for me, I'm the type of guy that doesn't like wasting his precious time doing something that I shouldn't be wasting my time on. I try my best to automate whatever I can and have computers do any monkey work that I may need to process. For example, all my DVD's and archives are all saved into a database that lets me search through it immediately, without having to take out each disc, and check what's inside. Of course, I could still get the job done either way, but with the automated process, I'm simply speeding things up by letting my computer do what it does best -- brainless repetition! After all, it's supposed to compute! right?

Speaking of computers, I'd like to introduce you all to my brand new MacBook! :) A lot of my friends are probably going to mock me now and say how I've caved because I used to always say that it's not the operating system or configuration that makes the difference! It's the person driving the machine! Well, to be honest, I still stand by that. So why the MacBook? Well that's because Mac computers can now happily run Windows as well as Mac OS :) That's one selling point, and also I was getting sick of my super slow eMac computer, not to mention I realized I needed a notebook for times when I found myself outdoors, commuting or just unable to get my workstation. There's a lot I still have to do with my MacBook (for one, I need to properly learn Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard!) and then have a workflow/system set up so I can work out all my projects without worrying about inconsistency :)

Another milestone in my life is that I've finally worked out a good drum practice routine that hits my needs :) I'm seeing improvements and let me just say, I'm finally understanding the concept of "technique" vs "brute force". Let's take my double pedaling as an example. I used to think that it was my muscles that weren't developed enough to keep up with the speeds, but the more I practice now, the more I realize it has a lot to do with technique rather than just muscle power! I've changed my technique a bit to follow a suggestion by (and my idol) Jo Jo Mayer and may I just remind you all that this guy is a God to me :P I admire his drumming like businessmen admire Warren Buffet's style. This technique vs brute force concept has really made me come to think about a lot in life. Someone had told me before "have you ever stopped to wonder why you're always finding yourself drowning in your work?". In many ways, I have, in many ways, I haven't completely. I pride myself in knowing that I'm actually already quite organized. Just to keep you updated, I'm a big GTD user. However, I was reading an article on lifehack.org recently and it talked about how very often we find ourselves always trying to improve that we shift our mentality of "happiness" to the future and never stop to appreciate what we have now. This was like a good refresher's course to me! I've been so tied up about how I can keep striving for more that I never stopped to realize what I already have achieved now! My technique of life is actually quite good (at least to me!). I'm able to keep up with a lot of things! I just remembered when I used to have a full time job, it was like all I could do was have one extra hobby in life because that's all that the time I had permitted me to do. Today, I'm able to juggle a lot of my personal passions all at the same time!

I guess with everything, improvement is always possible and so going back to technique vs. brute force. The thing I try to do is to maximize whatever I can get out of every minute of my life. Like last night, I wanted to eat a slice of pizza, but also I needed a shower. So the question was, do I heat the pizza, then go for a shower, then come out and eat the pizza? Or do I go for a shower, come out, heat the pizza, wait, then eat the pizza slice? For all of you who know me well, I detest pointless waiting. However, here's the catch in the situation, the slice of pizza only needs like 3 - 4 minutes to get warmed up, could I shower, dry off and be ready to eat in 3 - 4 minutes? No. So what I'd end up with is a warmed up, but cooled down slice of pizza! No No! I deserve better! So here I was, thinking about how the hell I was going to best use my time, and then I realized, so I needed something that takes me 3 - 4 minutes to do, and I got it, it probably takes me that much time to pick out my clothes, change into them, and get a plate, napkin and everything else in preparation of eating the pizza. Ah, perfect. So shower it was, come out in my boxers, get the slice of pizza, start warming it up, go get clothes, get changed, get plate, get everthing, pizza's ready and I was eating it :)
Now you may be saying "dude, that was really overkill of thinking just to save like 1 - 2 minutes". But it's like telling a person they're crazy for trying to save every cent. These are like the building blocks of everything to me. Once I get into the right state of mind, I'll get used to the habit of trying to maximize my output with minimum waste. Which really is what good technique is all about! To do something that achieves the result you want, with the least amount of cost/damage/waste or in other words, the highest efficiency.

So here I am, I know what I need, basically, I need to work on my techniques of tackling everything in life. With good technique, I don't rely on brute force which, much like fitness, requires you to take a lot of rests. With good technique, you can still achieve the same output, but reduce the amount of input involved. Yes I'm talking to myself. I'm not crazy. :)