31 August 2010

The quick one, it's too sunny to write :P

So it's a minor blog entry and well it's going to be a quick one.

I just did a guest performance at TEDx Hong Kong and woah, it was awesome! TED! Well TEDx (an independently organized TED event). I had to go tend to my own things later on during the day so I couldn't stay longer but the few speakers I heard were interesting. One talked about using Bamboo to replace timber, another talked about how climate change is affecting people near the arctic and finally another spoke of camera technology on phones... lots of interesting ideas.

And the best of it all is that today is a really lovely day and seeing as it is, I'm not going to lock myself up at my computer blogging :P See ya! It's time to enjoy the sun! :)

25 August 2010

Major Blog Entry: 3.5 years into this blog!

Hello everyone! Woah, 3.5 years already! So much has changed I don't even know where to start!
I just read my previous Major Blog entry (FYI, I do a major blog entry every 6 months to kind of evaluate my life and just talk about what I think of things...), and it's interesting to note that back then I was struggling with the idea of not letting time slip out of my hands. Like I'd often find myself engrossed in my work to the point it'd be 3 hours and it's only when my stomach starts growling do I realize all this time has passed by!
But with my recent discovery of the pomodoro technique I have learned to be more focused without the worry that I'd end up being so focused I burn out. The idea of working on one thing for 25 minutes straight is great! It lets me stay focused without the worry that I'd neglect other important tasks. Also, now that I plan the next day the night before, it makes a big difference because I don't find myself wasting time thinking what next (well not as much). The only issue is sometimes when I'm in the zone, 25 minutes isn't enough and it's hard to pull myself away from what I'm doing because of a mandatory 5 minutes break. In fact, 5 minutes is often not enough for me after 25 minutes, I need a good 10 minutes before I feel rested.
Another major change is the setting up of my Phillips LivingColors system. I used to have it at a constant color transition but I never really enjoyed it then. Now I set it at a certain color (anything except green) during the day while I'm working (usually purple or pink) and green is reserved for the nights. The lovely sounds provided by naturesoundsfor.me is great when I'm lying in bed winding down after a long hard day, reading my RSS feeds, e-books or even books. I'm currently nearing the end of 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot. I hope to finish it in the next few days then move on to the lovely Sun Tzu For Success!!
Speaking of reading, check this out, I ordered another Kindle for my mother so she no longer needs to use mine which means I can finally start enjoying my kindle without having to worry about sharing it and stuff... and of course, *drum roll*
I got a Samsung Galaxy S Android Phone. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I finally did it, I finally got myself a new phone and with that, I have the enjoyment of Kindle and Paperdroid on the device! Woohoo!! Reading galore! Not to mention it's got swype and of course lovely Gmail access that will actually allow me to deal with emails even better. I'm still working out the best way to work with ActiveInbox labeling with my phone.
But nonetheless, I've only been using the phone for a day and I'm already in love with it, I see why so many productivity geeks are into it! :D Not to mention it'll save me time in the long run really.

I can't say tooo much about the phone because I have yet to use it much more, perhaps in the next entry? :P
I've also gone nuts with my workouts and drumming. Nuts in the sense I used to have a pre-planned routine but now I've realized the power of mixing things up to keep it fresh and always forcing myself to learn, adapt and thus improv. I am working on the famous George Kollias 16 week speed+control workouts and so far so good. There are days when I feel my ankles are just tired but currently I'm clocking a stable 160bpm and hitting 170bpm on good days (feet). I've been combining that with exercises from The Evolution of the Blast Beat By Derek Roddy and so far so good. Of course there are other books as well but these 2 are the major contributors to my drum workouts.
My gym workout on the other hand has just been a whole load of balanced randomness. Basically I know what the workout needs to include but I don't know what exercises I will do till I get to the gym. In other words, for example, I know I will need to do some full-leg workouts today, will it be the front squat, back squat, lunges, step box, leg press, etc.? Who knows, the decision is made partly based on what is available and partly based on what I can do. It's no point trying to hit a lunch when I can barely walk from fatigue leftover by the previous set.

My band's been doing good also. We had to let our old bassist go because the band's direction was starting to not match his and it was no point keeping someone who didn't have the same view on the band as the rest of us. However, things have picked up really well ever since that. We've grown as a more focused band with everyone working well on their own things rather than "er, I don't know, I just was following you" attitudes. We've already got 2 new songs that I'm really proud of and hopefully after a while, when we have enough new tracks, and find a proper bassist, we'll be hitting out on gigs like before. I do miss playing live, it's a whole different game! :p

My comedy career has grown yet even more, with the recent Karma Komedians show, I confidently hit 37 minutes straight in English! :D I was quite happy with that, especially since most of the audience members were Indians, I could whip out some only-Indians-will-get-this-joke material :P I can't say my writing has been super stable, but I can say that at least I've got a proper system to work with rather than just writing ideas here and there. Evernote, you are awesome. There are still a few things to iron out but hopefully once I get my groove of daily writing back, I'll be able to keep up the new material like before...

My web stuff has also grown with new technologies and new clients. I've been trying to upgrade my skills and currently am re-learning Dreamweaver CS5 and oh my goodness, there is so much stuff I missed out!! In fact, I'm really happy to see myself move away from working with Flash so much and preferring HTML and javascript over Flash. Yes, javascript but in the form of jQuery really.

Well, so 3.5 years into this and things are stable. I feel like when I first started this blog, I was a teenager struggling and now I've grown into a man who knows what's going on. Sure there are still goals to achieve and stuff, but I feel like now I can see the even bigger picture of realizing that a goal not achieved isn't the end of the world, it's just a goal that has yet to be achieved! I guess in 6 months I'll hopefully have yet another perspective on this matter.

Now I'm off to go smile a bit, because you know what, just doing that can improve your mood. Go figure? :P

21 August 2010

Karma in the jungle

And here we are, 10 days after my last entry. Today's a big day for me, because we have a big All Indian Comedy Show tonight called Karma Komedians. I'm excited and nervous about it. Not stressfully nervous but just excited nervous. I don't know what to expect and I have to do a whopping 40 minutes tonight. I'm really not sure how that's going to happen but it just will.

So I've been reading the book 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot and I am loving this book! Sure last entry I said I wasn't blown away but now I am! Some of the things it talks about are really fascinating, comparing things like does Mozart's music have long term effects on your intelligence? And many other interesting thoughts that popular culture has us believe in a certain way..... I'm almost done with it. I read about decision making yesterday and it talks about concepts of letting your sub-conscious make the decisions and how to work with that. If you haven't read that book, I recommend you check it out, it's quite an easy read, especially since it touches on so many topics and basically tells you what you need to hear, not a long lecture that you'll probably forget.

The next book that's on my list is the newly bought (also with gift vouchers heheheeh) Sun Tzu For Success: How to Use the Art of War to Master Challenges and Accomplish the Important Goals in Your Life. I couldn't help it, it looked too tempting and the amazon reviews seemed quite good about it. And heck, it's Art of War people!!!!
This month's been a real shopaholic month for me, with a new Kindle on its way for my mother (she uses my Kindle DX which means I don't get to use it while it's with her). I was also (once again) this close to buying a new phone for myself because I am just so freaking fed up with my current one but the sad thing is, it still works, I'm just fed up with it. Kind of like saying I could use a makeover but it's not something I need :P

I also indulged in a new Hallmark bamboo scented diffuser and it really is awesome! My room smells like..well the jungle! Ahaha but the cool thing is, every night I combine it with the lovely sounds generated by naturesoundsfor.me and voila! I enjoy the sound of the beach, owls, etc. in the middle of this concrete jungle I live in... and my Phillips living color set to green combined with the bamboo fragrance sure does wonders after a loooonnnggg hard day!

The thing is, work has been quite wild for me lately, I've been helping out the guys over at 8five2.com set up some blogs. Things are still work-in-progress but the cool thing is, they've been very helpful with suggestions and enhancements (like ideas for better display on the iPhone). Man it's getting to the point I feel like I need to get an iPhone just to test out apps and websites on it... this is insane!! I got to find an emulator to use.....

Things have been awesome with the band lately and we've worked on 2 brand spanking new songs with one of them really challenging my endurance (at least my ankle speed) but not so much that I'm out of control. I'm glad things are working smoothly again and we've all matured as a team. Things are so much more fun now, I really do look forward to jamming ever week. And speaking of the band, we're heading over the Macau tomorrow. Ahaha talk about  a packed weekend!

Anyways, the next 10 days are going to drive me mad but at least I know no matter how crazy it gets, I can always hide out in my humble little jungle, close my eyes and enjoy it :)

Time to get ready for tonight's show!! Rock on!

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11 August 2010

59 seconds

Yep, I'm currently reading the book 59 Seconds: Think a little, change a lot. I wanted to get it when I went to the UK last year but didn't and now, with my lovely gift vouchers I figured this would justify my purchase.
So far, I won't say it's a mind-blowing good read, but there are a lot of ideas and beliefs that are being re-enforced with scientific studies, so that's quite interesting. I liked the chapter that talked about a likable personality is more powerful than a resume packed with great grades and work experience. I totally agree with that, no matter how perfect you are for a job, if you're not fun to work with, no one will want you by their side..

These past 10 days have been a very.. productive but not innovative time for me because I've been able to get what I need to done but at the same time, life's been the same ol' same ol' really. Nothing innovative and oddly that makes me feel like there is some sort of emptiness or lacking. When I really think back, I managed to write lots of comedy (still not fully perfected nor tested), practiced my drums, got my projects done and have maintained my workspace as 80% clean. Yet these past 10 days have seemed like the least... impactful to me. Perhaps it's because things haven't been going wild as usual? But speaking of wild, I finished watching all 6 episodes of the movie SAW. Yes, I love that movie! It's gory, but it's not the gore that attracts me, it's the deep meaning (as I said in my last entry).

I went for a hike yesterday before Sunset up the usual morning trail that leads up to the Peak, but this time I took a way different route, direction I am almost certain I've never ever taken and it was awesome! I think it's not a route many people take because along the way I only encountered 1 other person and I kept getting spider webs on me so that means there hasn't been much human activity around that area... the only bummer was that halfway through I had to turn back because I had a meeting later on.. otherwise I'd love to have seen where that path leads. There aren't any lights so I have to make sure I get there in time to go and come back before the sun goes down. Man this reminds me of that new years where I took a torch and went up that trail with no lights other than my own in the blazing cold! Woah, that was an awesome experience!

Speaking of experience, as I knew and has been reminded now by the 59 seconds book, using your money to buy experiences completely trumps buying material objects. I think for me, I've been seeing things as more than experiences but more like stories I can one day recall or tell. I mean when I re-read some of my old entries it really inspires me to know I went through those times. I mean good or bad, just to know I went through that is great! Thinking about the 14+ hours I had to sit on a plane just to experience New York for a couple of weeks completely smashes the idea of owning a new mobile phone or anything of that sort. Heck, the idea of being in New York smashes a lot of other things according to me :P

I've been watching a lot of stand up comedy lately partly because I'm in the comedy-study mode and also partly because I'm trying to improve my own skills at writing, delivering and just stage presence. I'm also excited because I have all these new bits I want to try out, refine and perfect. There are English open mics at the comedy club every tuesday night, but the bummer is that due to popular demand, each comic only gets 5 minutes to try material :\... that really bummed me out the last time I was there because I was only halfway through all my new ideas when i got the light signaling my time was up... darn. The odd thing I was actually quite upset that night, not really because of the time limit, but because I was so freaking excited to try my new bits out, it was like a kid who had rehearsed all week to sing a song and suddenly got told his performance got canceled... it's one of those disappointing feelings. Ah well, on a brighter note, this Friday's English show is going to be the comedy club's 500th show and you can bet your every dollar my new bits are going to be done that night! I they bomb though, woah that'd suck :P

Anyway, so here we go another 25 minutes up and another 10 days ahead to make the most of. I think since it's summer I'm going to go easy on myself and just enjoy it rather than expect to have a mind-blowing 10 days. Or maybe it's just the heat talking :P


01 August 2010

Slashed into pieces

Howdy! For everyone who was at the Slash concert, may I just say I felt like a young kid when he played the good ol' Guns N Roses songs? Oh man, I think I was probably 10 years old and things like "Tower Records" still existed in Hong Kong when I came across GNR...!

At the same time, it was awesome just being there and watching such a legend play! Just knowing that I'm a musician just like Slash is really motivating. Heck, it's inspired me to push myself even harder with my drummer (and so far things are working out, woohoo!).

On the other hand, having watched Tim Young doing stand up the week before also got my creative juices flowing and heck, I've got some new bits that have worked out nicely! I just came off a fantastic Chinese stand up comedy show last night at Champs Bar and even though the crowd was smaller than usual, they were a great crowd! Really responsive and smart! They were up for a good bout of wits and well, everyone killed and the audience loved it! :)

We're in the beginning of August which also means I'm all warmed up for the 2nd half of 2010! Lots of stuff to look forward to like the upcoming Karma Komedians show, then the crazy comedy festival and well the list goes on. The cool thing is, my comedy-writing flow has finally kicked off well with me getting that itch of "oh I don't feel right not having been writing today" :) That's a good sign of a healthy habit or deadly addiction. I'll take the first choice please!

So I recently watched the movie SAW and boy did I love it! It wasn't so much the gore that interested me, but more like the story behind all that stuff, when that drug addict woman admitted that after all the torture she went through, she actually got helped, it really rang bells and one of my top quotes that I live by "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" was flying everywhere! I've got the whole saw series and I plan on goring it out and burning my eyes with it. But today's far too good a day to be wasting it sitting at home staring at the same screen I look at most of the week.

On another note, I've also started a re-marathon (yes, re as in I've done this marathon before....) of the good ol' Indiana Jones movies. Ever since Lucasarts decided to remake the Monkey Island games (yes! This is the #1 game I've ever played in my life!) I've had to jog myself down memory lane everything lucasarts related! I am this close to re-installing games like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (which was my first adventure game I ever played and ever since then, I was hooked, I needed every single Lucasarts game in my blood!!!), but I know once that's on my computer, it's bye bye productivity! :P But the interesting thing is, I think having played all these puzzling adventure games really helped shape my thinking. Heck, if you expect to play Sam n Max hit the road, you better twist every sense of logic in your brain because the solutions to that game's problems was oh so bizarre!! Ahhh I loved it though, the 100+ hours I probably spent on each game was so worth it. Oh my goodness, not to mention the Alone in the Dark series!! Ok I better stop.

August also marks the month in which I screwed up my right knee on a junk trip last year and on a positive note, 1 year later it's all good. Well ok not all good, I still feel it's got some sense of weakness in it, but at least muscle-wise I'm back baby! No more super thin right leg because I can't put pressure on it! Squats, I love you so much more now! :) On a different note, I tried wake-boarding and boy did I suck. But now that I've had time to think about what I was doing, I realized that I was trying to control the board too much, to the point I was fighting it like I was saying "look I know what I'm doing! Just let me deal with you alright" when clearly I had no clue :P I guess that's a habit you develop after having to run a business that runs into problems you probably never encountered but at least know that you will somehow figure it out. Heck, that's like everyday to me, somehow things just work out one way or another. I was reading on Zenhabits that sometimes, the best goal is no goal. In some ways I agree, and some ways I don't. There's a fine line between being adventurous and being lazy. I guess the key point is to know that as long as you're doing, it doesn't matter too much if it's something you had planned to do or not. Much like when people ask me where I see myself and my life in 5 years, I often admit that I don't know, not because I haven't planned ahead but because there are far too many variables that planning 5 years ahead is like trying to predict the lottery numbers, it's possible but really unlikely. As long as I have general goals like "I want to be a great comedian", whether it means in 5 years I have my own TV show, or DVD or whatever doesn't matter, as long as each day I'm becoming a better comedian than I was yesterday, I am in some ways moving towards being a "great" comedian. Heck, my goal for today may not apply tomorrow! Who knows!

And in some ways that idea of no real goals is liberating. And speaking of liberating, it's time to get out and enjoy the blue sky! Wahoo!! :) Have a great 10 days!