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.

Journal #221 – Some decluttering, reading, and gaming

After I woke up today, I decided not to use the computer and instead focus on reading books. I spent most of my morning after breakfast reading the Jony Ive biography and managed to finish the whole book by earlier afternoon.

After I was done with reading, I went ahead to do some decluttering stuff by going through the big boxes that I have for storing other electronic boxes. I used this opportunity to go through old electronic accessories or gadgets like modems that I no longer use, old cables, old computer power supply units, etc. I also used the chance to go through old manuals, receipts that I have for these electronics. I separate them out and discard them in the recycling bin near my house. Through this process, I was able to free up some space within these big boxes and I stuffed the other smaller boxes that I had that were sitting on the outside. These smaller boxes belong to the Network Attached Storage and a drone that I got from my drone piloting course. I kept them for warranty purpose. Servicing centers tend to want the full package when you send your devices in.

Hmm… on second thought, the drone box could probably be discarded…another time.

After going through this process, it made me feel better because these are actions that fulfill the desires of my inner soul, which need the peace and cleanliness associated with having less (junk).

After that, I decided to buy The Frozen Wilds DLC for the PS4 game, Horizon Zero Dawn. But for me to do that, I need to reset my Playstation Network password. So I did that, added my PayPal account to my PSN account and buy the DLC.

That game was one of my favorite ones on the console due to its insanely good storyline. I have deep respect for the storywriter of this game.

So when I started out writing this journal, the DLC of about 7.7GB was downloading. Of course in the middle of writing, I went to get some snacks, etc. Reaching this point of writing, now that I turned around to look at my television, the download has finished. I finally can start playing.

Hurray.

You know, it felt kind of good to actually finish the main story of Everspace and then moving on to another game. This kind of closure is important because it allows you to move on. It’s part of the decluttering process too. Think about it. Finishing a game is like finishing a task from your todo list. When you finish the task, you remove it from the list, just like how you remove a physical item from your space. If you didn’t finish that game and proceed to get another and then repeat that a few times, you will find yourself overwhelm by “stuff”. I have a friend who did that. So now he actually have nearly twenty days that he didn’t get around to play because he is now paralyzed by choice. On another hand, it’s a waste of money. You buy something but never actually consume it. Overall, it’s kind of stressful for him too. So you see, it is not so different from having a big pile of clothes, or boxes, or whatever.

I’m pretty sure most minimalists can agree. Digital clutter is not different from physical clutter. It creates mental stress, especially if you are someone like me who spent a vast majority of his time in front of a screen.

So yeah, minimalism can also be applied to video games.

The last couple of hours, I played The Frozen Wilds DLC on my Playstation 4. So far, I am loving the new story and the new weapons. The new enemies are pretty challenging too. The aesthetic of the game has always been great. With this DLC, they expand further on the snow environment. I suppose it’s $26.90 well-spent. Now I really hope Guerrilla Games spent as much effort, or maybe even more, to create the next sequel or DLC. I like to see expansion of the story. To me, I don’t mind paying if the end product adds tremendous value in terms of storyline, aesthetic and gameplay. Quality is something I care a lot about.

One last thing before I move on to catching up on other TV shows that I have missed. My family joined me on a vegetarian diet too. We had mock meat with beans, stir fried vegetables, and seaweed soup. My younger sister however is not particularly happy with our recent diets. But I can’t blame her really. All of us have different taste when it comes to food and that she always preferred a diverse choice so that she can pick and choose. I personally have to agree that a pure vegetarian diet is at times boring. Mock meat can never replace the taste of actual meat. The nuances in terms of texture, taste, smell, etc. However, for me, ecological conservation is more important. So I guess we will have to wait for the day when lab-grown meat is a reality and only then I can switch to a mixed diet.

Journal #217 – Feeling down in general

You know what, I’m feeling very frustrated writing this journal. Over the last five minutes, I have added and deleted lines and paragraphs.

And you know why?

Well, part of me is feeling sick and tired of my job. It’s making me unhappy and I wanted at least my writing to go right. Yes, my job allow me to pay the bills and I never stop trying to keep that in focus. But it’s so draining that as soon as the clock strike six, I’m out of office. And I have mentioned it so many times about how it is preventing me from doing anything that I desire. But pragmatism requires me to stay on. If not, there’s just almost no way to survive in Singapore.

I know people alway say make time for the things most important. I want to write stories. That is important to me. I want to do proper reviews. But there are just days when it’s not lack of time but rather the lack of energy.

You see, I have been accumulating sleep debt. It’s affecting my ability to do any productive work. It’s affecting my mood and coffee can only take me so far. Lately, I have gone for grande-sized americano instead of venti because too much of it is bad for health. Due to my body’s tolerance, grande-sized coffee no longer has any effect.

There are things that I have not gotten around to do or fix. They are constantly nagging at me.

First, I have not complete my decluttering process. There are still a ton of stuff in my space that I didn’t manage to clear. I could use the weekend but I chose to spend them on hanging out with friends, and focus on just unwinding. So I can’t complain about that. In fact the past few weekends, I only managed to spend just a couple of hours at home, mostly for sleeping, watching an hour or two worth of tv shows, going out with friends and family. And I always found some joy with those activities.

Secondly, my health is currently in a bad shape. I have been suffering multiple days of colds, stuffy nose and general discomfort. I found the reason why I keep having stuffy nose. Part of it was contributed by the inhalation of second-hand smoke that is everywhere near my company. Due to my high-sensitivities, I can smell them from as far as five hundred meters away.

The discomfort was caused by poor ergonomics of my company furnitures. They are much worse than my home. Now my neck is suffering from a constant pain on the right side because of the height of my chair. My body is not at an ideal height to use the mouse. It also caused pain on my forearms, shoulders. I could ask for better furniture but seeing how everyone is using the same set of furniture, I don’t know if I will get anywhere. But I know for sure I can’t be sacrificing my physical health for work.

I also haven’t been going for runs. I wanted to do it at least twice a week but I just didn’t. I’m too exhausted mentally and physically to even want to leave the house after I got home.

Thirdly, I’m so drained that I am violating my own values of delivering quality. I haven’t been doing a good job with my freelance client. The codes that I wrote kept having bugs. Overall, I just feel extremely miserable about that fact.

Hmmm… I think maybe I am trying to do too many things at once? Maybe I should make my life even more radically un-busy?

Time to re-evaluate. For now, I better try and sleep earlier… I hope.

Journal #194 – Mental Peace, Contentment

In today’s world, everyone must be able to multi-task. Your boss demands it. Your customer demands it. Your family demands it.

Some people can do it. Some people just simply can’t. Everyone is just different. For me, I am in the latter category and mental peace can be a foreign concept to me.

Why?

I am someone who is high on the neuroticism personality trait. My mind is always worrying and when it does that, it tend to be stuck on a loop about a certain event or situation. That usually happens because I perceived a threat.

The past me won’t be able to deal with a lot of things effectively.

Now?

I know constantly worrying about something specific and have it on a loop in my mind doesn’t help. It’s a waste of mental energy and raises my stress level. It has caused me to suffer sleepless nights. I have since learned to instead attempt to divert my mind’s attention elsewhere more lighthearted. Daydream about something I like even.

Not only that, I have also practiced to write down my worries on paper and put down what are the possible solution when the diversion doesn’t help. I have also tried and talk it out with maybe friends or colleagues. These processes helps to prevent build up inside of me, which brings about the mental peace that I need.

But that doesn’t mean my mind is peaceful. It is only more peaceful than what it usually is. Because being a highly-sensitive person means I also get overwhelmed by my physical environment easily or when I have lots of things to do or handle in life.

So this is why I found minimalism so helpful. It taught me to prioritize. It helped me to decide what are the things that’s useless to me and what are valuable to me. With that, I focus on doing the essentials. I focus on decluttering my schedules. I focus not so much on material possession but more on experiences. It is all about being un-busy.

This bring me to my work. The past me would be extremely worried about the current schedule of my current project. It’s too tight and there’s 101 thing to do. My manager in all her wisdom decided to accept instead of taking a strong stand against pilling on more features just because the customer refuse to budge. Yet these days, I’m not worried at all. I just focus on doing what I need to be doing. I take my break from time to time. My neurotic mind knows very well that I can’t finish on time and yet I made a conscious choice of focusing on crafting my code. Why? Because software development is an art to me now.

You see, I’m now perfectly ok if my boss decides to kick me away, scold me, or fire me for failing to meet the requirements. Because at the end of the day, my company isn’t going to be there when I suffer major health problem. They aren’t going to pay for any future illness that I may suffer in the future caused by overwork during my younger days. They aren’t going to be there to provide psychological services when I need it. It’s up to me to take care of me. I know my body, my mind, and what I want in life.

So now, I’m at peace. I’m content.