Sunday, October 31, 2004

Drained Out

The intensive 6-day preparatory course for the exams I'm writing in the upcoming week ended yesterday, and I cannot be more drained out. I thought school was bad, but that was much worse. Not in terms of difficulty (I really cannot think of anything more difficult than designing a linear-quadratic regulator for a floating magnetic ball, but that's just me), but the intensity of it. I never had to sit through an eight hour lecture about the same topic for six days straight.

Now I have a few days left before the exams themselves.. I spent the entire day studying in the office. Somehow I have turned into this anti-social being that only knows to study over the weekend. I *really* need to get a life.

At least I'm working on my procrastination problem..

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Happy Birthday to me! (Part 2)

This marks the third anniversary of this weblog. I know I say this every year, and each year it just gets more and more convoluted. Sometimes I am not sure why I continue to pour my heart out to the world to hear, considering that it resembles a 16-year-old drama queen who cannot stop talking about her life problems involving the decision on the colour of her prom dress. Just doing a quick survey of all my entries in the past year, and I realised how insignificant some of my concerns were.

I wrote in my birthday entry last year about retribution and how it always comes back to bite you when you least expect it. The theme of this year is relatively similar. Although circumstances are different, as there were many significant changes to my life throughout the year, but I feel the underlying person is finally emerging. I had long forgotten who I really was, or where I was going in life. Somehow I had steered off-course, and became what I really did not want to become as a person.

So I paid for it - dearly. It prompted me to change, to recognize and identify what the problems were and to correct them. There were just way too many overdue problems that I had ignored for far too long. Progress was made, and I started to see how wrong I was and how truly I deserved what I received.

By no means that I think it is complete. I see it more as a transformation of character, which is only the beginning of reforming myself. There's still so much to learn, and so much to improve in. I get discouraged easily - but thankfully there happens to be people always around me to point me in the right direction.

Thanks for those who remembered.. at least some people cared. To quote myself, "There are people whom I once thought would be there for me regardless what happened, and now I don't even get a simple 'happy birthday' from them.. "

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeee,
Happy birthday to me!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Weekend = Studying

I spent the entire day yesterday in the office, revising for my upcoming exams. Yes I know they're not until the week after, but what's wrong with being prepared? Oh right, this is out of character. Perhaps I'm finally working out my procrastination problem and starting early. I'm quite surprised myself that I am working this hard, but perhaps the horrible incident last week had really changed my views on that.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Vacuum Cleaner

Woke up quite early this morning even though it's Saturday. (a side-effect of having to wake up at 5:45am every morning) So I thought, "Hey, maybe I can finally start unpacking my last piece of luggage and put my clothes into the closet!" Then I discovered myself surrounded by bunnies.. DUST BUNNIES.

Then I realised that I haven't cleaned/vacuumed the flat since I moved in.. o_O

So I either need one of those "wonder mops" my friends were selling in Vancouver, or I would need to buy a vacuum cleaner. The fact that I don't have a permanent residence here brings upon another problem: I may or may not move around throughout these years. So buying anything bulky would be quite a burden. I started looking up handheld vacuum cleaners that will do the job just fine.. anybody have any experience with them? Please leave me a comment and let me know what you know.. because, quite honestly, cleaning was never a strong suit of mine..

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Taking Life Seriously

Sometimes I feel that I'm not really taking my life seriously enough. In some weird and strange ways, I'm living just like a student. Not only that, but my mentality is still very much like a student. When am I ever going to grow up and stop worrying about little things that are insignificant? When am I going to see the big picture for good?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Revision Day

I wonder why they put a revision day *after* the two exams had been written? Not that I'm complaining, because at least I get to revise for my OTHER exams coming up. I spent a good portion of the morning reading the manuals and listening to lectures on CD. Now I just got back from a bit of grocery shopping. Today was really sunny outside! Come to think of it, today is probably the first day in a week that I've seen sunshine. *sigh*

Back to more studying!

Why do I put myself through this?

It's been a well-known fact that I procrastinate too much for my own good. Throughout the years, "it" never fails to take a blow at me when I least expect it. Much like.. today. My loyal readers will know I'm about to complain and bitch about the two exams I wrote today, and how unfair it was, or how horrible I performed. Yes, I don't think I did very well. I think I would be lucky to pass (mind you, the pass rate for these exams I wrote were 70%!). It was long, tedious, testing on material that a) I have vaguely seen in the notes but not covered in lectures or b) I never thought they would ask because they are so insignificant.

So why was I so ill-prepared? I seem to forget that I spend a disproportion amount of time doing nothing. I need some "reminders" once in a while that I need to watch what I do with my time. Unfortunately, the exams today matter - I could potentially be fired for performing poorly! That would certainly bring a sad ending to my adventure abroad.

I'm hoping for the best (at least a pass) and let this be a reminder that I should really watch my procrastination habit from now on. Two down, four more to go!!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Am I prepared for this?

Somehow I am finding a parallel between my five years in my engineering degree, and the atmosphere surrounding my graduate class. I feel the sense of high competitiveness and I can even define different types of personality that matches in both classes. Perhaps it is because both classes consist of people selected from a large group of highly qualified people. In the case of my degree, any high school students that aspire to become an engineer applies for my school. In the case of my company, it is one of the more well-known firms in the UK. They also have a very vigorous selection process (which I was not part of, thankfully), so the people selected were also of a very high caliber. This is not an attempt to up-play the prestige of my company, but I'm just trying to illustrate how smart these people are in my graduate class. (minus me, because I got the job through some weird coincidence)

This is when I start worrying - Do I put myself in these highly competitive situations for fun? Or am I slightly sadistic? I have been told that I tend to put myself through painful situations, complain about it, and then repeat it next time. (I'm looking your way Evelyn, Adrian, Prish, Lisa, etc.) For example, I absolutely despised a certain type of course in school. Yet, I keep enrolling myself in them term after term.

The main point is, I feel that this competitive environment is getting the better of me. It's really beginning to drive me crazy. I am starting to feel the pressure from my class, because it's full of achievers. I need to work twice as hard just to keep up! On the other hand, I have learnt a lot from my five years in engineering school, dealing with the ever-increasing competitive pressure. The bottom line is, am I ready for more of this?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Public Speaking

Thanks for all your kind words about my sickness. I have gotten much better over the past few days. Still really stressed out and tired, but at least I am not throwing up anymore. *sigh*

These two days I have been attending a public speaking and presentation skills class as part of my training at the company. I pulled out some of the skills I learnt from my last semester in school, and all the experiences I had doing presentations. It was.. ahem, for a lack of better words, "presentable". I was quite disappointed with myself actually, because it was not up to my usual standard. Perhaps I got a bit too nervous and I just blanked on the spot. Still have a lot to learn I guess..

Today's presentation was much better. The instructor was impressed with my style, and gave me yet another few pointers to improve my business presentation skills. I realized that there are slight differences in presenting for different reasons, and I am glad he was willing to walk me through my presentation and correct the small mistakes for me.

What really annoyed me today were these two classmates.. I made a presentation about the qualities of a good salesman. I thought, hey, why don't I make it interesting by doing it from a viewpoint of "the best salesman", and talk about how *his* qualities make him a good salesman. So I took on this persona, and delivered the speech. I got comments back from these guys ranging from "You sound like a used car salesman" to "You're suck a loser". Uh, constructive criticisms? I had thought this kind of behaviour would have been long gone, especially in this professional capacity.. guess not.

Oh well, I guess I have more important things to worry about than these jokers..

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Woke up at 3am, rushed into the bathroom for a little "chunking". Rinse, repeat every 15 minutes. The end result is that I didn't go to work/training today. Must have been something I ate last night. I spent the rest of the day sleeping and tidying up my flat.

It was nice to receive some SMS throughout the day from my colleagues asking if I were doing okay. At least now my flat is becoming more tidy (it's all relative), and I had a nice and relaxing afternoon. I made a small dinner for myself tonight, and drank a lot of water.. hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2004


If it hasn't been obvious that one of my hobbies is singing, then you haven't been reading my blog enough. I don't think I sing very well (unless you think William Hung sounds great), but I truly enjoy the act of singing. Perhaps my inability to play any musical instruments had some influence on my feeling towards singing, but I see that as my only way of producing decent entertainment for myself. This also explains why I enjoy going to karaoke so much - I get to sing with music accompanying my voice (hence covering my terrible singing voice).

Since relocating myeslf to a city where karaoke is not as mainstream as back home, I haven't had a chance to visit any karaoke places. (partly because there's only ONE place, and it's 1.5 hours away by train) My only "outlet" is singing at home to the limited collection of music I have with me. Especially with me stressing out throughout the week, singing in the shower is the only time when I can really relieve that stress.

So today I made a bold move - I joined a small local choir to sing Christmas carols. At the same time I can maybe improve my singing a little, so I will be at least presentable when out with my friends singing again. Hehehe.. oh who am I kidding, all I really want is an opportunity to sing with other people. It's so much fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A little time off..

Finally the weekend arrived, and I spent most of the day shopping. Not exactly shopping for clothes, but taking some time off and walking around. Bought some rice (finally), and a bit of general groceries to last me a week. I was going to walk around a bit more, but carrying 5kg of rice wasn't exactly a good time to walk around even more.

I know that I have been quite long winded with my blogs, describing everything I do in detail. Then again, I do it for the sake of my own self. I am usually quite forgetful, and having this blog reminds me of things I shouldn't forget. Much like what happened tonight.

In fact, I just got back from a party at the interns'. They have this really sweet pad, and they decided to throw a party (it was also because it's one of their birthdays). A few of my colleagues also showed up, and we had a great time talking. It's really good to meet my work mates outside of the work capacity, because these are all very interesting people. I mean it when I say that a part of the reason why I'm here is because of the people I'm working with.

In any case, after much drinking and chattering, the party died off when a few people got excessively drunk (and that would not be me). A senior colleague of mine got a minicab with his girlfriend, so I had to find a way home myself. I ended up walking across the Tower Bridge, and stumbling around to find a bus home.

On my walk across the bridge, I remembered the time when Evelyn and I walked across and took lots of pictures during the day. It seems to have taken on a different persona at night, a majestic and mysterious aura came from looking at the lit up tower. I started to sing to myself, seeing that nobody was around. Tears ended up flowing from my eyes, and I don't even know why. I stood there staring into the Thames, wondering if I would ever understand myself. I had a moment there - I reminisced about the times I spent walking along that bridge during my last internship, and how my life had changed significantly.

Took me about half an hour to find a bus that took me closer to home, and another fifteen minutes to wait for the bus. Eventually I missed my stop and had to backtrack a little bit. Bumped into a few post-clubbing chicks, which stopped me and insisted to tell me how good black girls are in bed. (They were black, yes) It was quite an interesting encounter, as they were very surprised that I had such a different accent and insisted on chatting with me. After about ten minutes, one of the girls got impatient and nagged the other two to leave. I proceed to walk home.

I think by being a bit more adventurous (walking home by myself at 3am in suburban London is something not many people would dare doing), I end up learning a lot more and seeing a lot more. This is what I want, to see and understand the world in different lights. I don't want to be narrow-minded and think on only one dimension.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Purchasing a Stereo?

Now that I have decided against buying a telly, I am thinking of a stereo of some sort. I figured that buying a telly might be too expensive, with the licensing and the crappy channels here. On the other hand, I would like some background noise at home when I'm studying or working. I suppose my laptop might suffice, but I would also like to listen to the radio and my laptop doesn't have a FM receiver.

Apparently digital radio is quite popular here, unlike back in Canada where it is barely visible to consumers. Should I plunge and go for the digital radio that comes with decent speakers so I can listen to my MP3s as well as the radio? Any good suggestions for brand or functionality? (I realized that I have *never* bought a stereo before!)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Zodiac Sign

Does it actually predict what personality you possess, or do you shape it because you believe you are to behave like the zodiac sign suggests?

Discover your Zodiac Personality
Discover your Zodiac Personality @ Quiz Me

The funny thing was, I actually answered the quiz truthfully. Mmm.. maybe there is truth to this whole astrology thing.

Physical Exhaustion

I have not logged on to my e-mail or continue writing in my blog for the past two days, because I have been waking up, going to work, coming home, sleeping, etc. I barely found the time to eat in between, let alone go online and entertain myself with my own ramblings. It was especially worse on Tuesday, when I felt physically exhausted throughout the day. You know the feeling when you just cannot keep your eyes open for longer than a few seconds? Now magnify that a thousand times, and imagine that your clients are waiting for your instant reply within a few seconds. That might *begin* to describe my day.

Surprisingly enough, I don't feel as defeated as I usually do. My mentors and other colleagues have been passing on some responsibilities to me (read: work that nobody wants to do so now they can shove it to the junior person on the team), and I have been really keen on integrating myself onto the team as soon as possible. Although training + work is draining me out, it seems to push me in the direction that I need to look - forward.

Monday, October 04, 2004

All-Nighter Unlimited

Being out of school does not automatically give me the right to not endure all-nighters. I think I'll be pulling one tonight because of the morning presentation tomorrow. It's okay though, because I brought it upon myself. Procrastination + Desire to Help Others = Not Enough Hours in a Day.

I went to help a friend with her computer problems today, and she lived all the way out in Croydon. I didn't mind it too much though, because it was nice to get out of the city once in a while. Ended up having a really good talk with her. It was great to talk to somebody a bit older, because they have so much wisdom. No, she's not that much older, but certainly with a few more years of experience on her back.

I remember seeing a shirt that says, "Talk to old people. They know a lot of cool stuff you don't know." I start to see the meaning behind it.

Back to learning about the G7..

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The Meaning of Happiness

It's true that little things make people happiest, as I have always been a keen believer of doing "little things" in a relationship. I remember insisting that big presents were not necessary, but small and little gestures would make me much happier. In some strange ways, it shows that there is a certain level of caring and love. It all came very clear to me as I was taking the train home tonight, after having a full day of BBQ fun with some friends I met here. Everybody seemed to be at peace with themselves, even though they all have their lives on their backs that trouble them. It was a really fun day, which definitely gave my mind a rest apart from the hectic lifestyle I live.

Last night I took some time out and had a wonderful dinner with a classmate in my training class. It wasn't cheap, but it is to celebrate my week's work is finally over. I discovered that in order to stay reasonably sane, I need to "reward" myself once in a while. Perhaps this is the meaning of happiness - to strive a balance of neutrality towards life in general, when life shoves a lemon tree up your bottom.