31 January 2014

Giddy up to the new year!

Well kung hei fat choi to everyone! Today is officially the first day of the Chinese New Year!
It's the one time of the year I can officially shut down completely along with the rest of Hong Kong. It does feel good to just have a day when I'm not on super alert.

The one thing I like about Chinese New Year is it gives you a 2nd chance at this whole new year thing. 1 Jan always has you kicking off to a new year and a new set of resolutions. Then CNY lets you review those and pick up where it's not been working out.

I recently came across an awesome quote/saying:
Awesome! At least when I read it, it empowered me and reminded me of the mindset you need to be in for victory. And this year being the year of the horse, I'm guessing everyone's got that spirit to charge forward.
Heck, I've already been lucky enough to work with the Hong Kong Jockey Club during their Happy Wednesday race nights in a booth called Be a Rapper
It was basically based on the funny rap song I wrote for Jockey Club in Cantonese

 and English:
(yes I realize I was wearing 2 caps and being silly in the video. That was the point ;))
I have to say, it was actually a heck of a lot of fun playing the game with people. Now I admit, I'm no super star rapper, but it definitely was fun watching people's expressions when I'd demonstrate the rap song and they'd try it for the first time ahaha. I even got to rap with an old man every week! He was so lively!
Reminded me that at the end of the day, it's your mentality that determines your vitality.

Overall January 2014 has been a crazy month for me, I've literally seen myself go from being on top of my game, to completely drowning in work to coming right back up again. It's been a serious cycle of intense waves.

And to that, I wish everyone great health and vitality in this year of the Horse!

12 January 2014

Want new, do new

Well, almost 2 weeks into the new year and things are rolling! I started this year thinking of changing my to-do app and well, turns out after some self-investigating, I realized I didn't dislike Remember the Milk, it's more about getting bored of how it looks. So after a bunch of research, I combined A Bit Better Remember the Milk - Tweaked user style (which I've been using for ages) with some custom CSS and it's finally fun to look at my to do list again. OK fun is exaggerating but it's not boring is what I mean.

So far, the year has seen me pretty much do all the things I've expected it, from days where I feel empowered because things are flowing smoothly, to days I come home at night like a zombie and can't believe it's already been 24 hours.
From being the guest speaker at executive luncheons to comedy gigs, to attending a friend's family funeral. It's only been 12 days and looking back at my schedule is exhausting but empowering.

I recently came across the quote "If you want something you've never had, then you've got to do something you've never done". I believe it was said by Thomas Jefferson but I'm not 100% sure about that. Nonetheless, it makes sense to me a lot. I've always been an advocate of doing things different. It's paid off very well for me. Recently, someone asked me how I go about doing different things. Do I learn the ways things are done now, then have my own spin on it? Or basically go about things my own way, regardless of how things are done in general.

Interesting, made me think about how I process items. After a good pondering, I realized very often I start something with certain assumptions. For example, I might think "surely, I'm not the only one who is thinking of doing something like this", then I go on the Internet and search my heart out. Eventually after a lot of research, I get to learn how the common way is, and then see if I can customize things to suit how I want them to be.

So let's take my to do list. Remember the Milk, the general interface is very basic and personally I don't like it. My first thought was surely I'm not the only one who doesn't like this interface, so I started looking for people/posts online that discusses this issue. I ran into a whole bunch of user-customizations of the interface and had to experiment with each one until I found the A Bit Better Remember the Milk - Tweaked user style. At first, this served my purpose but over time, I realized I wanted a very minimalist and clean interface, so I went to do more research about this and found most minimalist styles weren't sufficient for my needs. Then I went about trying to see how exactly people were customizing the page and eventually came upon Stylish which is a Firefox plugin that allows you to customize the CSS of different web pages. Perfect, it allowed me to adjust the way the page looked. Perfect!
Then came the next problem, if I customize things on my desktop, I want those same styles on my laptop. The typical way would be to copy and paste the code to my laptop's Firefox browser and I'm good. But knowing myself and my need to work hard to be lazy, I needed something more automated. Once again, in my head I was thinking surely I'm not the only one who's thinking this and back to research it is. I came across Stylish Sync which was exactly what I needed. Now my customized style is auto-sync'ed to my laptop and vice-versa and done! That way when I update the style on either device, it is sync'ed to each other so I don't need the tedious follow up process of copy and pasting the items.
Now is this all that different? I don't think so, but this basically outlines that typical process I have for things I use and do.

Very often I've found most people fear difference because it feels like a lot of work and change always means teething problems and new challenges, but I think I've always had the view that doing something different would always end up in an improvement, otherwise why change right? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. So if you shift that mentality, chances are you'll always be willing to try something new/different in hopes that it makes things better. And heck, even if it doesn't, now you know. You just became wiser.

Of course, the downside is you can never try things enough.... let's see what changes in the next 10 days :)

01 January 2014

2014. It's on. It's so on.

Well first of all, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great start to 2014 either at a party or peacefully at home. I had a gig last night which was a fun way to end 2013 for me :)
I must say, I was expecting the weather to be much, much colder than it was, but heck, I'd hate to wake up on 1 Jan 2014 sick though.

So here we are, 2014. 2013 was a year of ups and downs as expected and I'm looking forward to a very bumpy 2014 as well. Just the way I like it and expect it.

I recently went to Taiwan for a few days (for a vacation, not work) and basically went with the mindset of going with the flow. The special lady friend did a bunch of research about places to visit and things to see/eat (keyword is eat). It was definitely a breath of fresh air (not literally) in Taiwan as I discovered how American the place is. They even value individualism there. I must say, I was very impressed with how many small businesses there were or mini-entrepreneurs there were. From the guy on the street selling chicken fillets with his own custom sauce, to the alley of nothing but street-fashion. I was blown away with the fact that there is a strong culture of aesthetics there. Compared to Hong Kong, Taiwan completely wins when it comes to being yourself. I barely even found any luxury brand stores (eg. Gucci, etc.). Also, I have to admit, it was refreshing to take a train that wasn't super bright and super noisy. I mean, granted, while I'm on the train in HK, I'm usually listening to my audiobooks or watching a movie on my phone (or replying emails :P), but as I've said before, I absolutely love a space with good lighting because it definitely affects my mood in general.

So my goals in 2014 are improving on what I have been doing so far. Getting my fitness back to the level it should be and then surpassing anywhere I've been at. Now with my Fitbit Flex, I can keep better track of my life. Turns out I walk an average of 13,000 steps a day! Ahaha and so far since 5 Dec 2013, I've walked just over 250km! That's almost 10km/day in the last month! Ahaha nice!
So far, my workouts have been quite a mix-up of everything. I do try to follow my mood because I've gotten bored/tired of a rigid workout plan where I'm lifting the same weight routine for weeks. Sure this means it's harder for me to keep track of my improvements, but what I've found is I enjoy the mix-up of exercises because it's constantly challenging me in new ways (and keeping things fresh which is key).

Oh and if you need some good music to get pumped up for a workout, I've got the perfect song for you:

I don't know about you, but 00:00 - 00:40 is all I need to get ready to kill it at the gym (which I'll be doing later on today).

So every year I aim at getting my email inbox to zero and my to do list at zero and well looks like every year I fail at that. But the good thing is, I'm usually pumped on 1 Jan of the new year to tackle everything so I have a head start of all things. On the other hand, I'm considering changing my to do list from Remember The Milk to ToDoist. So let's see what happens by the end of 2014.

Lastly, looking back at both my web design and comedy career in the past year, it looks like everything has grown a lot. My web design business slightly surpassed my comedy last year in terms of income and new ventures. But 2014 is the year of touring for me and comedy. It's just a matter of where and when.

So to that, I say let's make 2014 the best year yet! All those ideas/dreams you had, it's time to take them out, give them a good look and either do it this year or get them ready to happen in 2015. You have 365 days (it's not a leap year, I checked :P)!