What I learnt from playing Halo for five days

I love Halo franchise because of its nature as a science fiction. Furthermore, the Halo universe is vast and very suitable for all kinds of stories to be told from different perspective.

Because of that, I decided to spend SG$700 on Xbox One X and buy all the Halo games for it for another SG$100 or so. Then I spent the last five days playing the first two games and didn’t really find the desire to watch any shows or do any writing. But I did take time to reflect and that’s how I figured out, discovered and re-discovered things about myself, and about writing science fiction in general.

Number 1

It made me realize that I was a minimalist all along. The kind of minimalist where I focus on only a few things: gaming, writing, reading, and gadgets that improves my quality of life. Throughout my life, I have in fact spent the most time, effort and money on those three things and nothing else. As long as I have access to those, I’m extremely grateful and happy. I never for once felt unhappy about having too many video games, too many books or gadgets. I can even stop buying new clothes for years or skip eating nice food just so that I can get stuff related to any of the four. But I also recognize that I will need to purge old unusable gadgets, video games or books that I no longer read so that I have space for the new stuff.

Number 2

Writing science fiction is something that you can’t jump straight in without a plan, especially if you want to write something on the scale like Halo or even anywhere close. It is just not possible. I learnt my lesson the hard way. There are countless writing projects that I have abandoned because I didn’t plan and only got down to write because I have this sudden urge to do so. Now, I will draft stuff related to the science fiction universe that I want to create in bits and pieces to keep me going. And yes, I do have a science fiction universe that I wanted to create since I was twenty and I’m doing the planning, writing and any other activities I deem necessary to the successful completion of the project.

Number 3

There are times when I actually doubt my ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time because of my tendency to seek the new, the shiny or the novel. But the truth is, I can go all the way into something for days without being bored if that something inspires me greatly and keep me engaged. I can actually apply the same kind of laser focus on the things I work on without being bored or frustrated if I set my mind correctly.

Number 4

My highly-sensitive nature also shows when I’m playing this game. Since I play the game after a long work day, my attention, reaction time, and hand-eye coordination ability are down to the lowest of low. Yet, it prevents me from sleeping well at night because of excessive simulation of my brain.

Number 5

This is related to number 4. I do get frustrated from time to time when I have to deal with a lot. Like the alien Flood. They are countless and love to swarm you from many directions. I lost track of how often I became irritated by the constant need to aim my guns at new enemy. And because of my nature to focus and go deep in, switching my attention constantly make me tired even faster. But I see it as a good training tool. Train myself to be even more resilient and have the ability to enter focus mode faster. I would say it hasn’t been successful. It still take me half an hour to go deep into something when it comes to work.

Daily Log #90

Halo.

Halo.

Halo.

That’s what I have been doing everyday after work since Monday.

I have finished Halo: CE Anniversary and currently playing Halo 2: Anniversary.

I have also finished four episodes of Halo: Nightfall. I’m just left with the last.

So far, I’m loving it.

And Xbox One X is making me rethink: do I need a gaming PC?

Daily Log #89

I didn’t sleep very well last night because I wasn’t that tired for some reason. So I woke up at around 7 am and just lay there in bed, tossed and turned until 7.50am when I decided to get up and have basic breakfast.

After that, I went about to clean dust from the TV console, setup the Xbox One X and put everything back in place. Once the game console is powered on, I went through the process of updating the system, setup the timezone and whatnots, signed in my Microsoft account and began downloading the games I bought yesterday.

I got to say I’m a little overwhelmed by the sheer file size the game console needed to download for each of the game. Halo: Master Chief Collection (Digital) needed to download nearly 63GB of data while Halo 5: Guardian needed to download 50 GB of data in addition to the 41 GB of data to install from disc. While I waited for the downloads to complete, I went ahead and bought the Halo 3: ODST campaign for the Master Chief Collection and that alone is another 7 GB of download.

Even with my 1 gigabit fibre broadband, it took the whole morning before the Master Chief Collection completed its download and the Halo 5 to finish one quarter of its download. During that time, I went ahead and played Halo: CE until I think it was the last campaign mission.

I went ahead and watched first episode of Halo: Nightfall before heading out for a run. I made the choice of pausing Halo 5 download and let the Halo 3: ODST to download. To my surprise, the download speed was about 280 MB/s and within minutes, it was done. That made me wonder why Halo 5 took so long.

Either way, I switched off the console and went for a run. After that, I had a late lunch and spent some time re-watching Starship Trooper: Traitor of Mars before getting on to put in some writing. I shall admit that I got a little distracted and was watching YouTube until evening.

Took a quick nap, woke up for dinner and continued more writing with YouTube playing on the side. Throughout the whole time, I find myself irritated by how cluttered my desk is with all the cables, drinking cup, two mice, a keyboard, plants, geomancy crystals, a huge ass gaming PC, and the inconsistent color scheme. Then there is the use of an ugly ass cloths to cover up the television and monitor to prevent dust and for geomancy reason.

Sigh… this is what happens when you let someone else to decide to use whatever is at home to “spruce” up your room without care for consistency, colors, and design.

So over the next two weeks, I’m gonna redo my whole desk setup and get proper, nicer looking cloths to cover up my television and monitor.

And I’m not sure yet if I want to give up PC gaming for the sake of having a cleaner desk, now that I got a Xbox One X. So bear with me while I run through my thoughts here.

I did think about replacing my current desktop with a smaller gaming desktop by Asus. Like the ROG HURACAN.

The use of GTX1080 however is making me think twice because I’m already using that graphic card. And it has been a long time since Nvidia released anything new for gaming. They are so focus on the enterprise side of things like Self-Driving, Artificial Intelligence and Supercomputing that it does make them look as though they don’t give a shit about gaming anymore.

The only other logical path would be to buy the necessary hardware for me to build a gaming PC in ITX form factor. Then there is the other thing I could do is to get rid of the television and hook up my gaming console and Apple TV to my monitor. Since it is a 1440p monitor, the output from my PS4 and Apple TV will have letterboxes, maybe even look blurry. But that will definitely free up the top of the TV console for me to put my desktop there. After all, the TV Console is right next to my desk.

So I think the best option would be…

Get rid of that television.

As for speakers for my game consoles, well, I got the Creative Soundblaster Roar that can be connected to my monitor. So all is fine.

Daily Log #88

It definitely wasn’t a productive day. After all, it’s a Saturday and it should be a day of relaxation–no work kind of day.

I spent my morning at home, watching A Good Day To Die Hard on Netflix because there was really nothing else I feel like doing. No desire to play any video games, write or read.

After I was done watching that and had my breakfast, I went ahead to read up reviews on the various games in the Halo: Master Chief Collection and watched comparison videos.

It turns out the remastering of those older games like Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 2 received major graphical overhaul while Halo 3 and Halo 4 received lighting upgrades.

I for one has never play the first few Halo games and only played Halo 4 to completion on Xbox 360. It was only recently that I played Halo Wars Definitive Edition and Halo Wars 2 on PC, having bought the games on Steam and Windows Store respectively. Then, I fell in love with the franchise and decided to buy at least two books set in the expanded universe.

I went to have a nap after watching those videos because I took an anti-allergy/runny nose pill which caused drowsiness. I woke up at around three-fifteen and made the decision to go and buy Xbox One X. My mom told me about my sister wanting to treat us to dinner at six-thirty while I was on the way to the washroom to take a shower.

While waiting for the bus, I went ahead to buy the digital copy of Halo: Master Chief Collection. Upon reaching the mall, I had a late lunch before making my way around to buy Halo 5: Guardian and Xbox One X.

I went to get Halo 5: Guardian first from the only store that had stock. The game cost SG$39.90 With it being an old game (released in 2015), I’m not surprised. What is surprising was most of the stores I went didn’t have Xbox One X in stock. The final place I went was Challenger and they had the one last set. I got that and paid SG699.

Combined with the Halo: Master Chief Collection, I have at least 5 Halo games for my Xbox One X. Halo Wars 2 supports cross platform play. So I will count that in, making it 6 Halo Games. I will get Halo 3: ODST as part of the collection from Microsoft store after I setup the console tomorrow.

So by the time I left for home, my mom was already calling me asking me where I was. My family was leaving already. I told her I’m boarding the bus.

The driver kept the bus going at around twenty or thirty kilometer per hour and by the time I reached home, it was already five-forty-five. During the last hundred meter of the journey, my mom called me again asking me where I was. I told her one more bus stop to go. Oh well. It was a journey that was supposed to take ten minutes, not fifteen. Once home, my dad looked obviously not happy and was talking about rushing for the bus to the train station.

Now, he always have this habit of making a big fuss about being late and whatnots. It like he enjoys destroying a perfectly good family outing with his unhappiness about things beyond his control. Well, I’m like that to at times but only when I’m feeling hangry, upset about something or wanting to get something knowing that it would no longer be there if I’m late. When I was younger, I applied that impatience to almost everything.

But you know what? I have since learned to let things go. Being impatient and then feeling angry about the whole situation serves you no purpose. It doesn’t change anything except make you sick.

So the whole journey to Chinatown on the train was marred with unhappiness and my dad was behaving like a child—intentionally slowing down, not wanting to get close, performed disappearing acts. Unnecessary and stupid because it still doesn’t change anything. And also make himself sick when he already have rather bad health due to age. Oh well…

Maybe I will turn out like that as I get older. Maybe not. In some ways, I have friends who are way mature than me to drop a few tips here and there, tips that I adopted to make myself a better person. So I’m grateful for that.

Dinner was the other thing that was kind of bad. Almost every dish was salty with the heavy dose of Oyster Sauce, probably soy sauce and salt. I could taste MSG in the fish slice soup too. It reminded me of the lunch I had earlier today where soy sauce was a tad too much. Good thing was the mood lightened up.

I didn’t measure my blood pressure but I guess it must be rather high right now though I’m not feeling any effects. I better start detoxing tomorrow.

My family and I went around Chinatown point because we had eaten too much. While there, I went to buy two pairs of jogger pants and a pair of underwear to replace the three Chino pants that I no longer wear due to weight gain, and obvious wear and tear around the crotch area. Well, most of my pants including underwear will suffer from tears around the crotch area within months, especially if they aren’t elastic enough due to my walking gait and speed. This is why all my pants now are either sweat or jogger pants. They have baggier crotch and more stretch material. I also hate to wear dress pants because they are too tight and not elastic enough to be comfortable for me.

On the journey home, I spent some time writing the last scene for my novel. And I can’t help but feel like it’s the hardest thing to do. Every word that comes out feels like they don’t belong. I can see my mind grinding its gears over word choices and how an idea is presented. So I spent some time editing my previous scenes and found that I made some rather glaring mistakes in terms of presenting an idea. Some just outright didn’t make any sense.

After I got home, I had a quick shower and went about unboxing the console but stop short of taking off the plastic wrappings as I wanted to reserve it for Sunday.

Daily Log #87

At work today, my team lead and I had a chat about the situation on Monday night. He told me it’s expected for us to stay at work until so late when it comes to production environment. Issues can to raise their head during that time. Hmm, I do know that. I’m not that naive or ignorant. However, I for one don’t see the need for it if the preparation work has been done properly with extreme diligence and that there aren’t any last minute addition.

And why I said that?

Well, I went through the need to migrate a production system from one platform to another during my first job. My team lead and I went through days after days of rehearsals. I stress tested the application and migration SQL scripts with cloned production data on various machines for days. I practised executing batch commands several times a day. On the actual day, everything was smooth sailing and fast. We only took ten minutes to migrate the system and went live. Preparation and diligence give us stable production environment. At my current job however, I would say it is one of the messiest I have seen when it comes to production system.

I also raised the point that unlike others, I don’t tolerate working longer than eight hours because of how it affects my physical and mental health. I told him I can probably give them maximum of nine hours before I need to shut down. My body is very sensitive to any imbalance ranging from food to personal life and will react accordingly. After all, it’s not very good if I have to keep calling in sick after every long working day just to recover. That was something he agreed and say will take into account when delegating work.

I will say that it will take sometime before the working dynamic is settled.

And you know what? I actually fell ill, was exhausted and barely able to move in the morning. I had to go on two rounds of painkillers before I feel better. Even so, my mind then wasn’t working very well. It’s so foggy and I am pretty much absent-minded. I still am now.

So you see, I really don’t want to be in that situation. And I’m so angry because the whole situation actually violated my personal values on health and disrupted my routine—a routine that was established to keep me going optimally and sanely. At the end of the day, I will be the one suffering and have to face the consequence if I overwork and don’t rest enough. When I suffer, I have to call in sick and then the company suffers later because tasks are not done.

That’s why, in order for me to help you, you have to help me too.

And I know I promised (as per my employment contract) to give 8.8 hours of my time from Monday to Friday. Thus, I will give you the best work I possibility can during that period. After that, it is really my personal time. If I do choose to give you more of my time, it is usually because I think I can and able. Otherwise, don’t force me to work.

Work stuff aside. Some light-hearted stuff.

After work today, I went a toy and video game store at JEM to search for Halo 5 (disc version) and Halo: Master Chief Collection. I was thinking if the store had those in stock, I would have bought them alongside with a new Xbox One X. Sadly, they don’t have those games in stock. I left, boarded the train and went to Jurong Point. Once there, I tried the few video games store and it turns out they don’t have the games in stock too. That means, I have to put off buying Xbox One X for now.

Of course, I know I can buy it from Microsoft Store but I don’t really want to. I want to use this “lack of stocks” as a barrier and prevent myself from buying a console that I will probably regret later. Two, I was really attempting to force myself to stop spending nearly half of my take home salary every month on stuff that I don’t need. I wanted to see if I can go for months saving the maximum amount of my take home salary, after deducting for bills and giving my parents money.

Daily Log #86

I don’t know what’s it like at other companies, especially those software houses and tech companies. Thus far, in my current job, I keep finding myself in situations where I need to support the demonstrations or presentation of the software and its various features to different stakeholders while still doing various other things like writing codes, testing, going for meetings, and fixing bugs. Making things worse is that we only know about these demonstrations or presentations about one or two days before the actual day and that we had to always work overtime just to implement some odd requests.

That’s what happened yesterday. There was a presentation scheduled for today and yesterday night, my colleague and I were told to go to the datacenter to fix some issues and bugs while also making sure the application runs properly. At first, we thought everything was fine when we finally left the data center at around 5.45pm.

A call came later from our team lead and he asked us to go back there to fix an issue caused by a sub-module not done by us. I had to ride the train back again and that journey took me twenty minutes.

When I finally got there, I had to go through security checks again and got stuck there for a few minutes because the guards wanted to rescan my bag. By then, my anger kind of boil over the edge. In my mind, I went, “Can you fucking get this done faster.” Well, I wasn’t happy being called back to work again after clocking out. So everything else that happened after quite easily became irritants.

The next irritant was the team behind the sub-module wasn’t being responsive enough. It was followed by I am basically wasting time just sitting around and waiting, doing nothing.

The absurdity of the situation made me so mad that I actually said out loud in Mandarin, “Don’t bother to buy dinner for me, I don’t care,” when my team lead asked my colleague over the phone if I wanted anything. In Mandarin, it actually is more insulting.

Oh yeah, I’m pissed. I still am even now.

And I don’t want that dinner for other reasons anyway.

It was around 10.30pm that I get to leave the place. Oh boy, by then I was so pissed that I felt like punching somebody in the face.

Why?

Well, I was hangry from not having dinner and gastric issue. I can’t eat anything else because there is dinner waiting at home that is cold. I hate to waste food and is watching my calorie intake. By the time I get home to eat it, it will be 11.40pm because of the travel time home since I need to spend 45 minutes on train ad another 15 minutes to walk home. And after eating, I need to wait 4 hours before I can safely go to bed without suffering from acid reflux (as I said my gut hasn’t been doing very well these days). My back was and still hurting now. I was tired. Finally, overtime work always send my brain into overdrive and that means I will actually have insomnia.

So… I went through my night with stomach problems, tired but can’t sleep, pain all over with my allergies acting up again. I only managed to fall asleep at about 6am. End up I decided to call in sick. Went to see a doctor, get a bunch of painkillers and medical certificate to state I’m not well, and took naps throughout the day.

I am now asking myself why am I making myself suffer so much? Is this job even worth it? Until now, I still can’t seem to be able to reconcile my highly-sensitive nature, my need for long period of downtime (me time: games, watching videos, and reading), writing my book, precise meal times, and the demands of my work. The balance is so elusive that if I’m not careful, I slip back into depression again and again.

I really wonder is there something less demanding out there with more understanding bosses. Finally, is it so difficult to have a slower pace of life? I really don’t want to have the situation where a job kills me rather than me dying of natural causes.

Anyway, I also used the chance to go out with my mom after my naps. She said that it’s nice to have someone to go out with on a normal day and time flies really fast. Yeah, I agree. Everyday, she’s just alone at home while my dad and me goes to work and my sister goes to school. What she does is just play games on her phone and do really nothing else other than housework. Time flies so slow that it’s boring and numbing. Come to think of it, it’s actually pretty saddening. This is probably why I’m not moving out on my own anytime soon.

I know I can be like very aloof, get pissed off easily, not that professional when it comes to work, but there are times when I’m just a softie inside. I do get upset when I see sad scenes in books or movie or when I see animals being hurt or when the planet is damaged so badly by our activities. It’s just who I am really, have two extreme sides.

While I was out with my mom, there are two things that keep popping up. Two things that I really want: Figurine (to be precise: Play Arts) and Xbox One X Halo 5: Guardians. However, I still couldn’t bring myself to spend up to $800 on a brand new console just to play that one game I love. I don’t see any other games that isn’t already on PC or PS4 that I want to play.

For the Play Art toy, I went to buy Spartan Locke from Halo 5, spending $195 on it and I love it. The following are some unboxing pictures and after I was done setting it up.

Well, I always do have a love for soldiers in science-fiction armors like this. They just look so dashing and cool. This will serve as inspiration for my novels…

Argh… I need more painkillers… It hurts.

Daily Log #85

I spent the first half of my Saturday doing two things. The first was reading and completing Halo: The Cole Protocol. The next was playing Halo Wars 2, specifically completing the Awakening the Nightmare expansion. The night before, I completed the Operation: Spearbreaker addition. After that, I went and took a nap from 12.30pm to nearly 5pm. Yes, I was that tired.

After I woke up, I spent some time to read the next Halo book that I bought. It was Halo: Glasslands. I managed to cover about fifty pages. Later, I went out for dinner with my family. After I got home, I went to re-watch some movies on Netflix in a bid to get some new inspirations.

Because of my long afternoon nap, I didn’t manage to fall asleep until it was almost 3am. During that time I was awake, I had to deal with outbreaks of hives caused by my diet and had to take some anti-histamine.

I woke up at around 9am on Sunday morning and first thing I did was to try and write my novel. But I can see myself procrastinating. Most of the time I found myself just browsing Netflix instead hopping to find something to watch. When I don’t feel any, I went on iTunes.

You know, the problem with Singapore version of Netflix and iTunes was that they don’t have everything the American version had, mostly due to rights issue. That to me, is stupid. From a business point of view, isn’t it better to have everyone access your content? You have 7 billion people in the world and media companies decide to limit to just a few nations? That’s just stupid.

But I digress.

I finally managed to get into a partial flow state to write my novel at around 4pm after coming back from a jog and lunch. After finishing up the last scene of Chapter 5, I did some editing on the overall flow, and added more paragraphs to expand on the ending. I just thought that the ending felt a little rush.

Then I went to fill in some more for a scene in Chapter 3 that remained stuck for the last few weeks. I believe I will be able to finish this last scene by tomorrow. I probably will be doing some writing on the journey to work or home. I will also have tomorrow night to do it. After that, I suppose I will put the novel aside and then go back to it like in a few days time to start the editing process. Once that’s done, I will publish it here, on this blog.

Anyway, the bad posture that I adopted for reading books and using the computer over the last few days caught up to me. With this tension headache, I feel irritable. I tried to use the neck massager that I have to ease up the pain but it didn’t help much. So I guess I won’t stay up too late tonight. Hopefully a good night sleep can cure some of the pain.

And I don’t feel like going to work tomorrow because of the need for me to go down to the customer’s office. I for one still don’t like going there after so long. I just like to stay in my cubicle to do my work as it is more comfortable.

Daily Log #84

Work was mostly light today because I made it so. I spend more time chatting than working. One of the reason was because I decided to update the copy of visual studio 2017 that I was using as well as Windows. When I do work, I focus on developing several APIs for the purpose of tracking user activities, ranging from login to every click they do in the system. I also developed a few more APIs for the purpose of fetching who are the users currently online, and the list of users and their last online time.

I also decided to create one JIRA ticket to describe a new idea that I think of to help with a potential problem that I saw. For one, I don’t know if it is part of the user requirement specification but I’m approaching the problem as though I’m the one building the product. After all, that’s just how my brain works. I like creating stuff.

In the afternoon, at around three forty, I received an email from someone asking for my photo because my boss’s boss nominated me to be a member of the Environment, Health and Safety Committee. I was like, what the fuck? I have zero intention of being part of anything other than the project I’m on and I have always preferred to be very very low profile. Because at the end of the day, there are only a few things I care about and don’t want any more stuff. Minimalism at work is what I live by.

However, there are advantages to be part of the committee. For one, I get to meet more people. Number two, I may or may not get inspiration for my writings. To write good, I must experience something in real life. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing fiction or non-fiction. Three, like I mentioned yesterday, I’m a sucker for rules if there is any. If I get to be part of something to enforce rules, I don’t see why not. Just that I have to be very very careful and not let it destroy my mental health or overstimulate me.

I also came to the realization that there are many authors out there who only became successful (by successful, I mean at least have a piece of published work by a major publisher) in their mid-twenties or early thirties. There are some who only became full-time author in their forties because they had other careers or jobs before that. J.K Rowling for one only published the first Harry Potter book when she turned thirty-one and even then, it was a limited release. Subsequently, I came across another article on medium that talked about the importance of persistence. For as long as you don’t give up and just keep doing whatever it is you like, you will ultimately win the game. So that is what I will do.

I know I will probably whine and complain along the way but I mustn’t forget the bigger picture: everything I do should ultimately contribute back to making me a better writer. It could be as simple as writing a report for management, writing codes, be in a meeting for some audit, etc. And if I forget, I hope someone can remind me of that.

And one more thing. After I came back from work, I decided to get a haircut. So I changed into a pair of shorts, put on a pair of flip-flops, off I went to the salon. I had my hair cut to almost crew-cut like except for the top. It still retain a decent mop of hair. Well, I admit that it was getting difficult to manage my hair because of its length. I mean, it’s been five months since I last cut them. Secondly, the weather is rather hot and humid despite the rain.

Hmm… for some reason, my wrist decides to have some kind of intense rash from where both ends of the Apple watch’s straps are bounded together. It’s both painful and itchy. It’s also affecting my typing. Applied some aloe vera and will see if it helps.

Daily Log #83

After work, I met up with a friend for dinner before we went to catch the movie: Ant-man and The Wasp in the cinema. While we were eating, we caught up on some work stuff and how “fuck up” companies we worked at when it came to processes. The management people tell everyone else, probably including themselves, that they are doing agile development and throw in words like SCRUM, etc. to so call “inspire” the troop when it’s obvious they are doing what my friend termed “fake agile”. They hold stand up meetings to sync up what’s everyone is doing yet never put in practice Test-driven development, pair programming, Continuous Integration, etc. They use JIRA to assign task and ask us to update it properly but never really create user stories properly, never define the story points, and have poorly defined EPICS. Hell, the customer and the product owner aren’t even participating.

Put it this way. I’m a sucker for rules or processes when there’s one. I will follow it to the letter as much as I can and I hate it when people start to make it gray instead of black and white. It’s like polluting the purity of the rule. So when people have gone through the trouble of defining what’s Agile Methodology, I kind of expect people to follow it to the letter. And that’s how you can ensure consistency, predictability and quality. If people are changing stuff left and right without care, we will end up with a mess that will take more time to clean up.

And at the same time, I recognize that in business, flexibility is required. If not there’s no way the business can survive. But that doesn’t mean you can or should play fast and loose with the “processes”. Those things are there for a reason to solve problems discovered by other experts.

Of course, complaining doesn’t change the situation. Only action can. I’ve reached a stage of my career that I am letting it go and don’t harp on “why aren’t you doing it the right way?” for the sake of my sanity and mental health.

Talking about that, I also started to apply this “flexibility” in my work. I stop preaching about design patterns, how one should do certain things, etc. I leave it up to my colleagues how they want to implement something. I also don’t really care that much if the codes they write aren’t in the proper folder or package. On the other hand, I follow my own rules and way of doing things, ensuring that it is as consistent throughout as possible. And when I write codes, I can get rather verbose with all the layerings, double dispatch, etc. But I know that if I want to change something, I don’t need to hop from class file to class file and change in multiple places. That’s because I always strive to be as fine-grain as possible in my codes. DRY and SOLID are my best friends in this case.

Other than work, during my free time, I tried to either read the books I bought or continue to write my novel. And yes, I know I promise I will finish the draft by end of May and now it’s July. I’m not as productive as I would like and I’m constantly feeling drained or tired no matter how much I sleep. Then sometimes I will be distracted by my video games, or be annoyed at my parents for talking so loudly when I wanted a quiet house. I really admire the fact that I was able to write 40% of the novel during the long Chinese New Year weekend back in February. And now the process of putting the remaining 60% took me almost four months and still ongoing. I do feel disappointed with myself. I just have to try harder.

I will turn in early tonight and then wake up early tomorrow to see if I can cramp half an hour or an hour of writing. I’m feeling pretty exhausted now.

Daily Log #82

The morning of Thursday was spent in office doing some work, fixing some of the bugs raised by my colleagues. There were a few more that I said I would look at the next day because two of my colleagues and I had to make our way to the ConnecTech Asia at the Marina Bay Sand.

While we were at the exhibition, I couldn’t believe just how underwhelm I was by the things showcased by the various companies there. Everyone was doing similar things when it comes to solutions related to Smart City, Traffic management, and Public Safety. Even I can’t tell the difference between the user interfaces used.

I suppose this is what happens when people relied excessively on frameworks to build User Interfaces and neglected completely on make it showcase the creator’s brand. For example, if it’s Huawei product, I expected it to feature themes of Red and White. And a lot of times, I see shades of black and grey.

For me, as much as I love black and grey, I don’t want to see it everywhere. Even I don’t use Dark Mode that often. I prefer authenticity more. The heavy use of black and grey tell me a lot about the company. It tells me the company lacks care for their product, lazy, and is only around to make money. Nothing else matter.

On Thursday night, I made the jump and bought Halo Wars 2 from the Windows 10 app store for SG$73.50. While it was downloading, I went and play a round of skirmish with AI in Halo Wars. I did find myself struggling with it despite the enemy being on normal. I can only assume it’s because I hadn’t been playing realtime strategy games non-stop since the demise of the Command and Conquer franchise. I have always played first-person shooters (FPS) with a mix of role-playing games. After I won the match, I quit the game and instead focus on reading up stuff in the Halo universe.

When the game download was completed, I went ahead and played two campaign missions and was half way through the third when I decided to call it a night since it was already 11pm

Friday itself was a slightly more productive day for me. I had a quick discussion in the morning with my team lead regarding the existing UI and how to go about fixing some of the glitches. After that, I went back to my seat and work. For lunch, I went to eat at Hot Tomato with another intern who joined the team two months back. Well, I do like a little variety for my lunch and that eating the same type of food everyday bores me out.

Later in the afternoon, I went about fixing more stuff, had some chitchat session with my colleague and took a break. I left for home and spent the rest of the night playing Halo Wars 2.

Throughout Friday, I found myself thinking about getting the Xbox One X so that I can play games like Gears of Wars and Halo. However, the price of the console doesn’t justify. Spending nearly $700 just to play two game franchises don’t seem a good investment. I will adopt a wait and see stance for any new franchises or exclusives announced for the Xbox.

On Saturday, I finished the last few missions of Halo Wars 2 and just feel that I am still missing out on experiencing the story of Halo 5 myself. Reading about it on wiki isn’t good enough because you don’t get to see the visual too.

Later in the afternoon, I decided to go out and buy some more books to read. Specifically, I was looking for Neal Asher’s War Factory and Infinite Engine, sequels to the Dark Intelligence. I also got myself two books from the Halo franchise. It turns out the Kinokuniya store at Orchard Road didn’t really have a lot of stocks. Most of the copies were showing signs of age and fraying of the cover. So I pick up the ones that still looks pretty good on the outside. I also came across The Expanse but the bookstore didn’t have book 5. If they had, I would have bought all seven books and read.

With that in mind, it turns out my brand of minimalism, other than my basic needs, really is about focusing on three or four main things: Video games or toys that I love playing/having, books that I love reading, hardwares that I love using or improve my quality of life, and nice food. Everything else to me is superfluous. I couldn’t care much for big fancy cars, or houses or watches. Of course, over the years, my interest or things that are of value to me may change but so far, I have noticed I keep going back to those four things. Now what I can do is to ensure I don’t keep too many of those things. Just like how I purge my collection of old PC and consoles games that are simply not going to work with new generation of hardware a nearly a year ago. And one last thing, I will proceed to purge more physical stuff later this year because my room will be renovated.

For Sunday, I spent my morning reading two books: Stephen King’s IT and Steve Jobs biography. I managed to cover about twenty to thirty pages for each of the books before I stopped. I hadn’t been able to find a good position to read my books in since my back and neck pain hasn’t really gone away because I slipped up again. I spent too much time in front of the computer over the last few weeks to play games.

I probably will continue to read later. Now I am gonna try and get my hair cut as well as go for a run…pending the weather. It’s been raining the whole day.