Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Semester 2: Done

I have taken a different view to school this semester. I am less obsessed with trying to get excellent grades (sure that's always a bonus), but the stress and the extra amount of work is not conducive to work, school, life balance. Whenever I tell people I have post graduate exams, there almost always seems to be two responses, "Why are you doing that?" and "Do marks even matter in a Master's?". 

Both valid questions, but it's the second question that has allowed me to approach this semester with a different mindset. I'm here to learn, not to be a straight A student. This simple phrase has allowed me to be less fastidious with study and better with time management (although my final grades will be interesting). There's a sense of relief after the final exam, and suddenly, my calendar opens up. Going from having no spare time, to all the time in the world is an adjustment I still haven't gotten used to. Summer break.

Currently Reading: "The Subtle Knife"

Friday, 11 May 2018

Please wait until 11 pm until you're back online

There's always a moment of panic when you wake up on a work day and the bedroom is slightly brighter than usual. It suggests that the sun is in a different position to when you normally wake up. The internal thought process usually goes along these lines.
  1. That's unusual, why is it so bright?
  2. What time is it?
  3. Wait, it's Friday, why am I not at work
  4. Wait, where's my phone? 
It's at dialog point #4 when you realise the reason that you missed your alarm is because your phone (ie: your alarm clock) is missing.

I log into the "Find My Device" feature - The phone is still online, the location shows somewhere deep in LKF. At least it wasn't stolen. It's probably lying somewhere under a sofa or table. I go into the office and call the bar "Sorry, you'll have to wait until the club opens and ask the lost and found department". 

Now I just need to wait until 11 pm for the bar to re-open to collect my phone. I embrace the feeling of not being bound to a smart phone. Technology and social freedom.

Thursday, 5 April 2018


My approach to annual leave has changed since embarking on the post graduate degree. I feel like I have too much excess leave. Any break from school or work is an excuse to return to Sydney. Easter was another excuse to head home for a recharge. First stop Bankstown.

10 years of blogging. Or rather, 10 years since I moved out from home and left Sydney. Time has moved neither fast, nor slow. It feels like a long time ago. It sounds like a long time ago. I wonder if it's even worth continuing with the blog updates. I mean, who reads this?

There is something romantic about the idea of re-reading this blog on my deathbed - The final audit of my life. That got dark, quick.

Currently reading "The Three Body Problem"

Saturday, 10 March 2018

John Legend

The year is 2004. It's the year that I hear about John Legend. The Get Lifted LP was on repeat. I had the Ordinary People sheet music and was trying to learn how to play it on keyboard. The first time I saw him perform live was at Metro Theatre on George Street. He performed to a small, intimate, 300 plus crowd. The crowd sang along to the majority of his songs. He was of course an up-and-comer at the time with a smaller discography.

Fourteen years later, he's performing in Hong Kong. I'm always apprehensive about Hong Kong concerts. Majority of the crowds (in my experience) are at these events to say that they were at the event versus being there for the music. Dilettantes of culture, as opposed to fans of the artist. Or perhaps things are just different in Hong Kong. The irony is, I had stopped listening to his music and wasn't familiar with his latest work. I am part of the problem.

My plus one had been hospitalised and an SOS was sent out by a friend to find me a last minute plus one. Mr Stephens still puts on a show, he belted out his big hits, dipped heavily into Get Lifted and the songs he collaborated on as well as the off cover. The last minute plus-one knew the lyrics and it was one of the better concerts I've been to in recent times. The man still knows how to put on a show!

"How can I blame you; For taking over my daydreams?" - John Legend

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Lessons in Mindfulness

The tenant of mindfulness is that it can be applied to the most benign activities: Walking, brushing your teeth, even eating. Today, as I ate at my desk, I accidentally bit a fork and chipped my front tooth. The sound was jarring and my desk was littered with small fragments of tooth.

The dentist charged me 400 USD to have it patched up. Note, biting a fork while eating a salad is not a practise in mindfulness.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Semester 2: Greener Grass

Fourier series, integration, imaginary numbers, convolution, directed graphs, mathematical expectations. There was a time in my life where that all made sense to me. The frustrating thing is that I used to know how to do this; it's the opposite of riding a bike, you do forget, and forgetting and re-learning almost feels like a waste of time.

Oddly enough, in between semesters I was looking forward to hitting the books. Now that I have started, I'm looking forward to the semester break. The grass is always greener. No coincidence that my sleep is starting to play up again...

Currently reading: "Nexus"

Friday, 16 February 2018

2018: The Earth Dog

"That is the idol you need to pay your respects to" the lady explains to my friend. My friend holds the joss sticks with two hands and bows deeply three times, she then inserts the incense into a large ceramic pit so that it's standing upright amongst the other burning offerings. Periodically, the temple staff come and clean up the burnt our joss sticks. The small temple is tucked behind Soho. Despite the size, it's busy and there's at least ten or more people paying their respects. The monks are chanting and singing, their demeanours show no emotion; they're just doing a job. My friend is directed to the main altar and she lights a larger more impressive incense, again she bows.

"Is it over?" I ask. My friend looks at me, she looks at the lady, who has already gone off to help the next person, and then my friend looks back at me "Uh, I think so. Are you sure you don't want to pray? It's supposed to be a bad year for me, it's supposed to be an equally bad year for you, too". I shrugged. 

I'm a dog, in the year of a dog. I don't remember the last time it was the year of a dog. I know my age. I was 24 years old. I don't remember it being a particularly bad year; Then again, at 24 you view things through a much different lens. Sometimes I wonder if I need more spirituality in my life.