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October 17th, 2016

09:28 pm - i'm back.. i think
after years being away, I decided to log back in to see how LJ is doing.

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February 20th, 2011

11:19 am
I need to update my LJ more. Even though I like FB, I hate posting anything there except for bits of announcements. Speaking of FB -

Lately, I have been thinking about friends. Or more importantly, the meaning of the word "friends". Social media has diluted the meaning tremendously. To me, friends are people cares about you, keeps in contact with you, calls and checks in on you. By that definition, one person can only really have a few friends but can have many acquaintances. Having 200 "friends" on FB is just not practically possible. I would rather have FB button say, "Add as acquaintance". but i understand that i doesn't have a ring to it.

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January 3rd, 2011

11:09 pm - Books that I read in 2010 (I think)
It is so hard for me to figure out what I read in 2010. But here's a list which I thought is relatively accurate (I think). Boy did I read a lot of crap - mostly young adult books.

In no particular order:
William Gibson - Zero History
Tim Dorsey - Atomic Lobster
Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Played with Fire
Stieg Larsson - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Tad Williams - City of Golden Shadow
Scott Westerfeld - Uglies
Scott Westerfeld - Pretties
Scott Westerfeld - Specials
Scott Westerfeld - Extras
Richelle Mead - Blood Promise
Richelle Mead - Spirit Bound
Rachel Caine - Fade Out
Rachel Caine - Kiss of Death
PC Cast - Burned
Michael Crichton - Pirate Latitudes
Michael Lewis - The Big Short
Kim Harrison - White Witch Black Curse
Kim Harrison - Black Magic Sanction
John Twelve Hawks - The Dark River
John Twelve Hawks - The Golden River
John Twelve Hawks - The Traveler
Jim Butcher - Small Favors
Jim Butcher - White Night
Jim Butcher - Proven Guilty
Holly Black - White Cat
Albert Camus - The Stranger
Cherie Priest - Boneshaker
Charles Stross - Atrocity Archives
Barry Lyga - The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Gothgirl
Froyo Dostoevsky - Notes from the Underground (1/2 of it anyway)
Audrey Niffenegger - Time Traveler's Wife
Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins - Mockingjays

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November 1st, 2010

08:48 am - Am I being ignored?
Last Friday, Jas called to cancel on me for dinner. She was apologetic and said something like, "I'm sorry to cancel, I know that people have been canceling on you a lot and you get upset about it, but I can't help it" (or some words to that effect). After the call, I thought - is that really true? Did people cancel on me as frequently as she is saying or did I blow it out of proportion?

As a proponent of behavioural theory, I suddenly realize that I can prove this. I have all my calendar appointments and therefore I can actually check if this is true. Behavioural psychology, in case you are wondering, focuses on people's actions as oppose to people's intent (cognitive). It's a huge area of study that covers Skinnerism and Pavlovian conditioning. The premise is that it is less important the reasons why people do things, but the fact that they did it. It's the whole "why bother to apologize when you don't do anything about it?" argument. I am less concerned about WHY my appointments were canceled, but that it WAS canceled. And also, I love statistics and behavioural theory is all about numbers, statistics, graphs and charts. I'm a geek like that. :)

So here's what I found out for the entire month of October.

1. For the month of October, I have made 29 attempts to go for drinks or dinner with someone. I decided to exclude "impromptu" appointments ("Hey, what are you doing later today? Wanna join me for a drink?"). That dropped the number of 25 planned appointments. Note that when I say planned appointments, I mean "Yes, I'll meet up with you next Tuesday for dinner". I'm not talking about plans which were rejected ("Nope, can't make it next week") and was never scheduled.

2. The 25 appointments represents hanging out with 11 sets of people - 4 couples, 1 men, 6 women. As a side note, all cancellations are made by women.

3. Of the 25 appointments, a whopping 36% was canceled/rescheduled, representing 9 canceled appointments.

4. If I take the top offender off the list, my cancellation rate drops to 20%. If I take the top two offenders off the list, my cancellation rate drops to 12%.

So my conclusions -
1. I make way too many dinner / drink plans every month. I'm starting to question why I'm doing this. Initially, I thought it was for the company and it was fun. Now, I'm not too sure. Also, as another interesting statistic, I only cook 6 times of the 25, a lot less than I initially assumed.
2. Apparently what Jas said is true - I do get blown off a lot. As Jas said to me, "I'm not trying to be critical, but why do you even bother to go out with (the top 2 offenders) again?"

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October 10th, 2010

03:14 pm - The power of suggestion
On Monday, my counselor mentioned that I might be clinically depressed. I have never thought about being depressed until now because I don't FEEL depressed. However, now that she mentioned it, I kept thinking about it, and now I'm considering that it might be true.

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So what am I trying to say here? I didn't think I was depressed until my counselor mentioned it. So am I depressed because she brought it to my attention, or am I depressed because it is really true? Food for thought.

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September 30th, 2010

08:47 am - Mockingjay - the final book in the Hunger Games
For whatever reason, I couldn't sleep again last night. In the last 14 days, I must have slept less than 20 hours in total. I know why I couldn't sleep (mainly anxiousness and over-rationalizing), but I can't do anything about it right now so I have to wait til this passes.

So last night, I've given up trying to sleep and ended up finishing the final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, "Mockingjay". I have to say up front that I totally dislike this book. Don't get me wrong, I love the series. The thing that made the Hunger Games series so powerful and enduring for me is the protagonist, Katniss. Admittedly, I find myself comparing Katniss with a couple of real-life people in my life which made her even more real to me. Katniss was placed in dire situations outside her control throughout the first 2 books ("Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire"), but yet, she intuitively does the best she can and fills herself with regret from her actions after the fact. She's the vulnerable girl (IIRC she is 15 in book 1) that is thrown into the role of the strong reluctant heroine and leader. I find myself wanting to reach out to protect her, hug her, kiss her on her forehead and tell her everything is going to be alright.

Then came along the final book in the trilogy where for whatever reason, she turned inward and spent most of her time in the book beside sedated, hiding in closets and being manipulated by the political machine and everyone around her. There seems to be this regression in character as she grows older, unable to make any sense of her actions and withdrawing from her own life. In fact, she ends up being totally dead inside all the way to the epilogue of the book, 15 years later after being married to her sweetheart from book 1 and having a couple of kids. This sense of isolation was compounded by the fact that most of the interesting supporting characters in the first two books (which drove most of her decision making) were killed off in this book.

Similar to life, I don't really expect a fairytale ending. But on the other hand, this regression of character just made me feel that there's no point to this series. It could have been a spectacular ending with great character development. But it ended up weak and frizzled out despairingly.

All in all, I would recommend this series to anyone, esp if you like the Japanese cult classic, "Battle Royale". It is similar in vein, but with a much deeper storyline and character development. It is also a very fast read. But I would definitely recommend "making up your own ending" for the final book.

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September 26th, 2010

10:07 am - Fate
For the longest time, I really do believe in fate. Fate as in like "things happen for a purpose", and "if something is meant to be, it will". I'm not saying that we don't have to work for it to make it happen. Sometimes we keep trying for years before it happens. But I am saying that if it is meant to be, it will be. If it is not meant to be, nothing we do can make it happen. Most of the time, fate doesn't care either way.

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This got me thinking about fate. Lately, I have been struggling with some relationship issues and I have been wondering whether I was wrong about fate. I never believed that there is just one person that would make you happy. But I do believe that people are thrown together for a reason. I think that the people you can connect to in that manner are very hard to come by. Even my counselor agreed and said that most people don't even meet one. And when you do meet someone like that, you really want to hang on to it. I find myself in search for reasons to why things are happening. What lesson did I learn? Why are things happening now and not before? Was one event's closure clear the way for a second event? And why did the second event failed as well? All questions that really has no answer. Maybe there really is nothing and they are not connected. They may just be meaningless coincidences just loosely strung together. Personally, there's still a part of me that don't believe that.

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September 24th, 2010

12:48 am - The one lesson I learnt about myself in the last few months
In the last few months, I have learned a lot of things about myself. One of the key things I learned is that I can handle rejection, but I cannot tolerate betrayal. The problem is that most people want to be "nice" so instead of saying something directly to me that they know sounds painful and heart-rendering, they try to explain around it by using other situations or explanations; or they won't bring the issue up but they will do things and hope that I won't notice or I just ignore.

I'm very sure that these alternate explanations are true, and may make you feel better about your actions, but they are never more convincing than the actual truth. Which is why it hurts me when someone tries to justify their action instead of just admitting the truth. It just sounds "fake" and I know you know that what you said just sounds hollow and empty. Esp true when I easily poke holes around your explanation. I'm a very intuitive guy, and I just know when something is not right. So don't treat me like an idiot.

I totally respect people who tells me the hard truth no matter how bad it sounds. Because I know they can level wiht me. If you try to fudge around it because you don't want to be the messenger of bad news, or that you just don't want to confront me with the bad news, it makes me suspect you and then I end up having trust issues with you. THAT is the main reason why you shouldn't do that to me. Because from that point on, I am going to question everything you say to me. And as a result, I find it hard to form any relationship with you - friendship or otherwise.

I forgive people very easily, and I will forget about the incident in days, but the trust issue will last for months or years. Maybe even forever. If it is important for you to reconcile with me, you will have to work hard on it because I'm going to question every little thing you say to me. There will always be distance, there will always be doubt. And to overcome those things, you will have to work at it with me. However, the reality is that no one who does something like that would want to put that much effort to set things right, so therefore, the friendship will never ever totally heal.

The point is - always tell the hard uncomfortable truth. I may break down and cry. I may curse and swear at you. But all those emotions will pass in days. The alternative to that is long lasting distrust that may or may not heal. Then again, like I said, I forgive and forget very very easily. Maybe I can even forget what had been done. I must have because I can't remember anything on top of my head that made me distrust anyone. I'm quite sure that someone somewhere had done something to me previously. Maybe those people who did that aren't in my life anymore. Who knows?

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August 26th, 2010

08:55 am
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to L that I find it surprising how people respond to me when I mentioned my personal issues to them. I find that some people, whom I consider really good friends, just don't know how to respond appropriately. In retrospect, I find it funny, but at that time, I was totally disappointed by their response (or lack of).

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August 23rd, 2010

08:05 am
Two weeks ago, I have went to see a counselor/therapist/psychologist for the first time in my life. After that one 2 hour session and pondering for a couple of weeks, I can truly say that it is a life-changing experience for me. I would highly recommend everyone to see a counselor at one point in their lives. I don't think you need to have a counselor ALL your life, but at some point your adult life (let's say mid-30s), I definitely believe everyone should see one. Moreso if you are in a relationship of any kind.

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