This has been a pretty busy week at work. But it's fun and lotta new things happening. So keeps my excited. Still can't wait for a relaxing weekend.
Nature and meSun, 23rd Apr '06, 8:15 pm::
Nature elicits the deepest, most innate thoughts in my mind. Beautiful ideas, primal awareness. Sitting five minutes on the edge of Lake Okeechobee, peering into the restless flora sprouting from 'neath ethereal freshwater, I realized my place in the world. I was at one with my environment. I was breathing, living, being. An earth-shaking wave of overconfidence swept me off my feet when I thought I figured out the answer to a question that has plagued and challenged mankind for eons: "Why are we here?" My answer: "To embrace nature." Took me a few minutes to consider that there must have been tons of people before me that thought the same. Turns out Einstein said, among other things, "... to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Hmmm, he said embrace too. I wonder if he ever went to Lake O.
We drove down to the Okeechobee KOA early Saturday morning. While it didn't faze my friends, to me, it seemed the drive was beautiful. I guess my senses heighten whenever I am outside my daily routine. Things just seem more alive. We setup the tents and that's when we met our camp-neighbors and their big cuddly Wolf! Yup, a real-life pet wolf, not in the least bit wild - perfectly tame. He stood up on his hind legs, put his paws on my shoulders, and licked my face when his owner told him to 'kissy.' I know my dad isn't into dogs, so I figure someday I can get a wolf instead. Right? Hehe. Apparently it's a tough job to take care of wolves. Nevertheless, I think I'm up to the challenge; probably 10-15 years from now when I have half-an-acre of chain-fenced enclosure to keep my canines in safely.
While there were a lot of fun activities to do within Koa grounds, I was more interested in driving around the big lake. I took a some pics during my 2.5 hour drive around the lake. It was definitely the most scenic drive I've ever taken. This whole area has some pretty interesting names for roads and places. Hooker Highway, a town called FrostProof, Lake Buffom, and many more. I drove counter-clockwise around the lake and saw a lot of farms full of cows and horses. Since I was driving full-speed, I could only take pics when I stopped. Passing through miles and miles of orange groves, I heartily breathed in the fresh air of the lovely countryside.
As I was crossing over the neverending concrete expressway through downtown Tampa towards St. Petersburg on my drive back home, I couldn't help but be amazed at how I was so close to the rural life just a few hours ago and how stiff and obstinate these tall buildings look compared to throngs swinging palm trees that line the big lake. I know my thoughts weren't too enlightening and neither were they revolutionary or brilliant. What made me smile was the fact that I was thinking about things other than materialistic goals. During the whole weekend, I didn't think about anything that I think of on a daily basis - no computers, no systems, no processes, no TV, no bars, no Home Depot. Just nature and me. And it felt good.
I think next time I want to take a diary and jot my thoughts down. Like I remember, I wanted to make a list of things that we think are really necessary, and then try to narrow down the list as much as we can. Say, if you were asked what all do you need this whole month, what would the list look like? What are the things you absolutely need during a typical month, without which you cannot survive? In addition to food, water, clothing, and shelter, I bet cellphones, cars, computers, and cable TV channels are on most people's list. Let's not forget toothbrush & paste, soap/shampoo, wallet full of cash, and above all, other people. What if it was just a week? Could you live without your money? How about a few days without soap or seeing any other human? What if you have 24-hours and absolutely nobody around and nothing other than water and the clothes you wear? No food, no car, no phone, no people. Just you and 86,400 seconds in which you try to keep your sanity. And what's the longest you can go like this? A few days? A week? Forever?!
Sometimes it's refreshing to think about these things instead of how many miles my car will go before I need to fill the tank again. Or how many people will show up at the next party I throw. Who cares if 100 people show up at your party if you can't even live without a toothbrush for a day?! Nature makes everyone feel so insignificant that they realize their true worth is not determined by petty measures of money, status, or beauty, but rather by their ability to survive and embrace nature.
Unsurprisingly, I do not have much respect for people who are incapable of enjoying nature in its most serene form. It's quite easy to be in awe of and be entertained by nature at its wildest, but if you cannot appreciate life just sitting idly by the beach or walking through a little trail between thick bushes, you're not my kinda person. I don't want to be a hermit in the Himalayas but I do know I want to spend a lot more time outside than inside as I grow older.
Sometimes that means fixing my lawn and other times it means going to the beach, skiing down a slope, or kayaking up a creek. If I'm lucky, it'll mean going to more places like Lake O in the near future. For now, the hum-drum of daily life beckons - the dryer is ready for the next load of laundry. I'll do that, you check out my Lake Okeechobee photos.
Hellooo Okeechobee! I'm going to Lake O with some friends (Liz, Dave...) We'll camp out for a day and a half somewhere near it. It's about a 4-hr drive and will officially be the longest drive for me (i.e. me driving with passengers, instead of me being the passenger). So I'm pretty excited. Someday I'll sail down the O Waterway. Coincidentally today is Earth Day. Ironically, I'll do more damage to the Earth today (driving 4-hrs + camping etc.) than I do on a daily basis. Time to head out for the Big O. See ya!
Things been busy lately and I'm pretty tired. I can't wait till this weekend. Hoping to go camping or something. Not sure exactly what.
Sometimes you have a good day at work. Sometimes you have a bad day at work. And then sometimes, you realize it's not work, but family. That's when the notion of good and bad disappears.
Just relaxing on this lazy weekend. Not doing much other than some small chores around the house. Next week's gonna be interesting as I get back into doing a lot more backyard work. Now that my house has a new roof (!!!!), I can get on with doing smaller projects. The roof was definitely a major expense however I know and have been told by many that I got a great deal and some quality job on it. Now it's time to get an electrician and rewire some of my internal stuff. Then I gotta get a 4-point home inspection (roof, electric, plumbing, A/C & Heating) for my home insurance. It's beautiful outside and I love just sitting around in the sun (well mostly in shade), doing absolutely nothing. Leisure is a luxury and I'm enjoying it as much as I can.
Inspiration SchmispirationWed, 12th Apr '06, 11:20 pm::
While chatting online today, Tay mentioned something about inspiration. A lot of people love to be inspired. After all, nothing pumps more energy into your youthful ambitious bloodstream than the words of a "successful" achiever in your field. You can see what the pro has accomplished and as a rising star you want to get there faster and shine brighter. Or maybe you're not the alpha-male type. You just want to encapsulate yourself in the glowing warmth of inspiration and ascend towards the apex with a Buddhist sense of omniscient calm. After all, if they did it, so can you! And they said that repeatedly in their hour long self-realization speeches.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I don't like to be inspired. I'm not saying inspiration is good or bad, just saying if given the choice, I prefer not to be inspired. Just like wealth, hardwork, and genius, inspiration appears to be a very good measure of the potentiality of success. Clearly a person inspired to change the world has more chance of achieving that than someone who cares not one bit and has no inspiration to leave a mark on the planet. Just like how everyone who is rich is successful, how every person who works hard always wins, and how every genius is recognized for his or her intellect by the masses. Right? No, you say? I guess then inspiration isn't that good of a barometer either, is it?
Other than a momentary appreciation of self-worth and an inflated sense of personal capabilities, inspiration doesn't really do much, especially in the long term. Great, so you just watched an amazing play or read a touching autobiography. Or you went to see a famous CEO talk about how he grew his company from his garage to over 100 countries in under five years. Wow! Nobody can deny that such growth is anything short of impressive. But is it inspirational? Will you go home and realize "if he can do it, so can I?!"
Like this sarcastic Despair poster says, "If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon." Inspiration is just motivation to dream big. Shame on you if you did not automatically think you could turn your 5-person company to a 500-people multi-national and instead needed some guy to come in for an hour and teach you how to dream.
If going to a 30-minute seminar on financial planning inspires me to change my lifestyle entirely, I'd say I'm ashamed of how I was spending and planning money before. I should've realized it on my own that I was bad with finances instead of having someone tell me I've been wrong all my life in just half-an-hour. What I AM in favor of, is of course, education. If going to this financial planning seminar taught me how to better plan my retirement, more power to me. But if I need to go to a "Retirement-Planning Info-Meet" to realize that hey, someday I'm going to be 65 and I just might need money for food, then well, I'm a pretty stupid person to begin with.
Most people get inspired from momentary experiences. A speech, a book, a movie, a play. While I love change and always welcome something small changing my entire outlook on everything, I think if an intro-book about bio-genetics is all I need to inspire me to give up computers forever and take up bio-genetics as my new career path, then wow, where was I last ten years while the Human Genome Project sequenced the DNA?
Maybe, people will not feel the need to be inspired if they just keep their eyes open and see what's happening every single day. In today's world, you only get inspired if [a] some amazingly major breakthrough occurs (very very rarely) or [b] you have been living in a cave for years (most probably) and just realized that you can draw pictures on back of business cards and actually make money selling them!
I guess I feel the need to not be inspired for two reasons. Firstly, as I hinted above, the state of being inspired isn't very productive. There is a state of feeling excited and ambitious that IS indeed productive. If I realize I can connect my old and new database systems using a simple tool, I am not inspired, I'm simply excited and well, feeling quite ambitious about accurate data migration, because now I know I can. When I was inspired, I wanted to make the world a better place by writing an email client that worked in different Indian languages; currently nobody I know uses this software that took me months to code. When I was not-inspired, but rather just indifferent and in need of a small simple music player, I wrote one within days that well, just played music; over 2 million downloads in last six years and counting. Inspiration, big dreams, and castles in the sky haven't made me famous yet. Creating tools that make others' lives easy, help me though.
Secondly, and primarily, I like to dream my own dreams and I like to dream big. You cannot quite possibly insert your dreams into my head and somehow show me that I didn't dream big enough. That is just not possible. I've already thought of every single thing that I can quite possibly do as a human, rather as a super human. I've calculated what I need physically, mentally, and financially to climb Mt. Everest and definitely looked into forming my own Antarctic sub-station. I've thought about giving up everything I have so I can save the baby seals and I've considered spending my life travelling throug the villages of India teaching young and old about computers, math, and science. However, I'm not rushing to start work on my online digital-life-management suite or take up International Relationships to get a seat on a UN sub-committee for Economic Development of South-East Asia.
I guess you can call me uninspired and unmotivated. After all, I could potentially be doing any of the above yet I'm spending my spare time filling a big hole in my backyard every day so it stops looking like the surface of Mars. Lack of inspiration alright. I believe short of a few physical/mental limitations, pretty much anyone can do anything. Inspiration is basically you realizing that "HEY! I can do it too!" Well guess what? I've already realized that I can do anything I have my mind set on. And so can you! The sooner you realize that, the better it is. Inspiration is just a stage you have to go through to come to the best part of your life - actually doing things that you really want to do! Creating, molding, finishing. Above all, choosing. I choose to fix my backyard myself instead of helping cute little kitties at the pet shelter get their vaccines and medicines.
Right now, you too could be doing any particular thing from a selection of thousands of things that you have been inspired to do - writing songs, sketching meadows and hills, planning marketing campaigns to overthrow your competition, or joining a sports club. But instead, you chose to be here and read my blog. Why? Not because you've never had the inspiration to do something bigger, better, and nobler. But rather because given your particular situation in life, reading this 'blog entry is something you want to do. Inspiration can only tell you what you can potentially do. Freewill and choice is what actually determines what you do in life.
None of these inspiration-arousing speakers were talking about being inspired when they were struggling like you and I. They did not do whatever they did solely because someone inspired them or because they wanted to change the world. They did it and then realized, "Hey, maybe I can help inspire others to change the world like I did." I'm not the one to doubt anyone's intentions but it's like saying, "Hey! Now that I have completed this one particular crossword, let me give you all the words that I used so you can try to jam them into your own unique crossword puzzle and see if you can solve it." Then you go home all inspired because now you have words like seamlessness, fluidity, and ideation that you try to jam into every open row and column. Not gonna work. Get a dictionary and you'll have every word. The only way to win is to figure out which words you need, not which word you can force in.
In short, don't do something because you're blindly inspired to do it. Do it because that is the thing you want to do the most out of a list of million other things you can potentially do. And if that leads to success, more power to you. If it doesn't lead to success, at least you did something you wanted to do of your own volition.
I just got back from St Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Went to see Delirium - Cirque Du Soleil with Lanie. I have just one word to describe the show... Insane! She had reserved some of the best seats right across the stage with a dizzying near-180-degree view. This was quite possible one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen and now I want to see all the other Cirque presentations. Delirium was more musical and had less acrobatics than other Cirque shows but still, it was fantastic. There were so many things going on that I felt like a kid in a candy store in Disneyland on Christmas Day. The best part was the translucent screen in front of the stage with video projections. We screamed, we shrieked, we laughed, and we exclaimed. Definitely something worth seeing if you ever get a chance to.
We had dinner before the show near my work at Thai Basil, a hole-in-the-wall kinda hidden restaurant with surprisingly good food. I had an awesome day at work and can't wait to get back on it tomorrow. G'nite for now.
On maintaining 'blogsMon, 10th Apr '06, 12:05 am::
I often ask my friends if they have a 'blog that they update regularly. I love reading people's journals/online-diaries on my own spare time. A lot of people just say "well, just ask me what you want to know about me." The point isn't that I have unanswered questions about someone. But rather I want to know your thoughts, without me having to pick a topic for you to talk about.
When I ask you a question, I only find out about the question. Great, so now I know about your favorite movies & music, and that you don't like something the government is doing. But how will I ever know you think college is a waste of time or that Jelly-monster Aliens from Sepoocha Nebula invaded Earth and mated with the Tibetians to give rise to strong war-hungry Mongolians?
By having a 'blog that other people can read, you tell a lot about yourself to the world, without them having to ask for it specifically. Sure, a lot of people don't like to talk about themselves or attract unnecessary attention. However, it's still a great way to get your thoughts out - no matter how weird, confusing, or dull they are - trust me, some of my posts on this 'blog are merely polluting the Internet. Yet, I love to write whenever I can. Not because someone asked me to write but because I feel like sharing part of me. I guess it's a very personal thing and not many people are comfortable doing it. I still encourage everyone to do it though! It's awesome to go back in time and see how you looked at things just a few months or years ago.
Long day at work. Too many computers breaking down. Tired and lazy now as usual.
Woke up around 1pm, washed my car, and went to the beach. The water's pretty cold still so didn't swim for long. Just chilled on the beach for a few hours. Had lunch/dinner at Sweet Tomatoes - they're running a pineapple special, so everything has pineapples in it! It was so awesome, from spicy pineapple pasta to pineapple coleslaw and pineapple muffins. I'm so full right now it hurts. Kinda tired and sleepy. Gonna get some rest.
Yet another long day. Worked in my yard for over 5 hours. Got a lot of stuff done. Went to Stix Billiards bar in St. Pete Beach with Mike & Lanie around 10pm. Just got home. Tired. Going to bed.
Oh yeah, to everyone who thought I'd gone nuts with all the pink stuff yesterday, APRIL FOOLS! Well it's good to be back to my normal color scheme. G'nite.
Welcome to the redecorated chir.ag 'blog! Last month I installed some pretty intelligent UI-Phase Analysis software on this 'blog that was meant to show me statistics about the type of people that read my blog - which country they are from, which brand of toothpaste they prefer, and how many times they wear a pair of socks before they wash them. One thing that surprised me was finding that the chir.ag 'blog readers are predominately male in gender with a male-to-female ratio of 98%! To correct this unbalance and to attract readers of the feminine persuasion, I've decided that I need to take major action to attract more female visitors like some famous sites are already doing it. As a first step, I'm changing the colors of this site to shades of pink. The whole site is pretty much totally pink and includes a cute-as-a-button main image! Enjoy.