Daily Log #38

I read a few pages of The Shining before making my way to the mall where I met up with a friend for breakfast at Ya Kun Cafe before heading up for a movie. Now earlier on, right after I woke up, I actually had cereal and milk in order to stave off any possible hunger. For the movie, we watched Rampage.

I did enjoy the movie for it being a mindless action show. There were some funny scenes involving the Gorilla and the main character, Davis Okoye, starred by Dwayne Johnson that I found funny. In terms of story, I didn’t think too much of it because it’s an action movie. And I do appreciate the character development as well as the relationship between the characters for being not too rushed or non-existent like some show. Dark Tower specifically comes to mind.

After that we had lunch and shopped around the mall to get some toiletries and household products like detergents.

Once home, I spent sometime to draft out the this article titled Social Media – Don’t need it for news, you are only making yourself stupid before going out for a quick run. After running 3.2 kilometers and ending it with climbing up eight stories, I had a shower and went to finish up that article.

I did spend most of my late afternoon and early evening reading up articles from Halo wiki. Some of my fictional inspiration comes from it. Personally, I like that franchise quite a fair bit because of its expansive universe and science fiction genre but because it was primarily a Xbox-oriented franchise, I didn’t really play all the games. The only Halo title that I have is Halo 4, which I played and completed.

I hope the game developer actually remaster all the games for PC release so that I don’t need to get a Xbox One. Part of me felt that it won’t be minimalistic on my part if I get a brand new game console just to play a few game titles and then put it aside.

After all, look at my current collection of game consoles. I have a PS4 and PS3 there are all sitting there collecting dust as I don’t really play them. One of the reason was there aren’t any titles that I want to play and the second was lack of time. Even when I manage to find time to play, I had to be really intentional about which titles I buy.

Most of the night was spent on continuing from where I left off for my novel which was the second or third last scene (I haven’t decided yet) for Chapter 3. I put in about a thousand new words and a fifth of that came from me rewriting portions of the same scene to expand further on the descriptions and actions. I admit I’m feeling a little dry on motivation. I just don’t have that initial drive that I had when I was rushing to finish the first two chapters. The ideas aren’t flowing in.

I guess it’s a mistake on my part for not planning out what I want to write especially for the end. I only had a vague conclusion and that was it. I didn’t really have an idea about what to do in the middle-end portion—the part of the story at 75% to 95% mark.

So I will need to spend some more time thinking about it and plan it out.

Daily Log #37

Today is gaming day. Games played are Surviving Mars and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. The latter being the primary game I played whole day. At the end, I still like shooting things up and it’s more simple to play. Surviving Mars require too much brain power due to its need to micromanage stuff. It’s much worse than cities skylines really.

Heavy rain through the afternoon and I decided to take a nap because of back and shoulder pain again. Did some exercise to ease the pain. The nap helps too.

The only thing notable happened at home was a burst pipe but I actually didn’t know until my mom came home and wanted to use the toilet. I was still napping.

Lunch was just a pork meat bun and a bowl of grapes.

At night, my family and I had dinner at Xin Wang Hong Kong cafe at Joo Koo bus interchange.

Daily Log #36

I re-inspired myself at work again.

The project I’m working on has a structure that I completely disagree with and just couldn’t bring myself to write my codes in that way.

So instead of trying to argue the virtues of the code style and structure I have, I will show the rest instead how modular it subsequently will be and how much it allows for the expression of the core domain.

My stance is clear here. Programming is writing. Creating a program is art. Whether you can see it or not, I will leave it up to you to decide. All I can do is show you.

With that, I don’t feel that “disengaged” from work as I had before.

After all, why make yourself miserable from Monday to Friday? It’s just stupid.

Anyway, some of my colleagues started following the style I have set while some remain set in their way. So in a way, I create my own clique and supporters through my actions and building rapport.

This clique thing starts to show up even during lunch when sometimes we sit separately or go separately from the rest.

Daily Log #35

The last few days I found myself feeling very bored with my work and was doing everything else but work itself. The reason was very simple. I felt like I have reached the pinnacle of my programming career.

Now, that’s not to say that there are nothing new to learn. There are so many programming languages out there and different frameworks to play with. What I feel bored with is the building of CRUD applications that doesn’t even have rich domain. I have done that in all my programming jobs and have enough of it. I want something new as there’s nothing new to learn when it comes to implementation of CRUD applications.

To develop a CRUD application, first the requirements must be gathered from user just like any other software development projects. Then when it comes to implementation, it generally goes like this: Create a form, gather input, validate input and send data to database. Create a search form, gather filter, perform database query, return result. Add a few buttons here and there with maybe more forms for user to delete or update the existing data.

At the center of the application is just a bunch of codes that simply route data from one end to another, like a production line. There’s just no story to tell with CRUD applications. As someone who loves story telling, care deeply about meanings and context, this kind of thing makes me cringe.

Then I was introduced to Domain Driven Design which is a software development methodology. When you do Domain Driven Design, you have to collect user stories and determine from there how to build the software, starting with the core. Design is important here and it’s generally a creative process. It also requires the development of something call ubiquitous language. Then when it comes to the actual implementation, how you name your functions, variables, etc, ideally should follow a pre-defined style based on the ubiquitous language.

At the end of it, that methodology speaks to me intimately and I love it. Through it, I can finally write my codes so that I can form an essay. But it is not suitable for CRUD application development as far as I can see. It’s like using a sledgehammer to hammer a tiny nail to hang your picture on the wall. The Singapore companies I worked for do not have domain driven design practitioners too. I’m not sure if I will see it anywhere else locally as I don’t have enough exposure or experience.

With this perceived gap, the only thing I think would re-inspire me again and make me feel alive programming is to work on something huge that push my programming skills to the limit. I’m thinking video game development or smart software development. It’s one of the few softwares in the world that is more than just CRUD.

But to even be a game developer, I will need to show that I can do it and that means I will need to spend even more time writing codes and a big part of me wants to write fictions instead…

I have definitely put myself in a pickle. Not.

I just have to cultivate other kind of interests in my current job and that would be software design. Then I can stay there to draw a monthly salary while still feel somewhat alive. But first I need to ask around to see if I can change my job scope.

Daily Log #34

My friend and I are now seeing who is a true minimalist by comparing how much stuff we have, even online.

Below is a screenshot of the home screen of my iPhone. The only apps there are ones that I use often. Everything else is on the second page.

And this is my current MacBook’s desktop.

Minimalistic enough? Hehe.

Over the weekend, I will start clearing out even more stuff that I don’t need or use anymore. Whatever that I have or will keep are things that I value now and bring me joy.

Now on to the next topic.

Reading…

I mentioned previously that I wanted to write a horror short story. However, it is not a genre that I typically write in, thus I know I won’t be able to deliver a compelling one. (Hell, I don’t even know if my science fiction is compelling enough but it’s something I comfortable writing.)

But I know I should find ways to become better. I thought why not start reading horror stories written by one of the best in the industry, Stephen King. So I went ahead and got two of his books that I thought I might like. The first is The Shining and the second is IT.

Now, I always have the habit of wrapping the front and back covers with a plastic sheet to protect them. So I went and do it for The Shining because it’s the first book that I’d like to read.

On the topic of reading, I finished reading NYXIA by Scott Reintgen yesterday night. You can check out his blog here. Previously, I was somewhat complaining about lack of time to read. Well, it was just an excuse as I was looking to do something else. And Netflix was the easiest to get my hands on.

Now that those distractions are gone, I forced myself to read so that I don’t waste time doing random stuff. And I not even surprise that I managed to finish reading the last two hundred pages in couple of hours. It’s like I didn’t even notice it. I suppose reading Peter F. Hamilton’s book has helped me read and turn the pages faster. After all, most of his books are longer than 500 pages. The thickest ones that I have now are from The Night Dawn’s Trilogy and Commonwealth Saga. I still love those stories.

After finishing the book, NYXIA, I dare say now I just can’t wait for the second book to be out. I want to know what’s going on with the various characters. The book’s ending left me thinking what is going to happen to some of the characters who didn’t get to go to the planet Eden. Somehow I pity one of them for not being to go.

Daily Log #33

It’s been a while since I last wrote my Daily Log.

Previously, I mentioned that I was suffering from a pretty bad case of back and neck pain. Over the last few days, I have been actively doing exercises combined with massages and reducing time spent in front of computer. Thus far, the results have been great.

The neck muscles, at least most of them are no longer painful to press and I could turn my head without major pains. Tilting my head on the other hand still need some work as the area near the collarbones feels tight and sore. I don’t get tension headaches any more and feel much alive. Thus I could also concentrate better.

My back and shoulders, they don’t hurt as much but still there are a lot of popping and grinding sounds coming from them when I rotate or twist them. Whenever I can, I will do stretching and rotation exercises for those spots.

Now to continue to ensure the pain and the associated stress injuries don’t come back, it’s important to have a great chair, neck support and good posture. So last week, I went to get myself a new chair for SG$320. The chair arrived this morning while I was at work. My mom was at home to receive the delivery.

After some customization of the headrest and back support, the chair is felt comfortable to sit in. I also took the chance to force myself to sit upright and pin my back and head against the chair.

Earlier at work, I also went to get a neck pillow so that I can have something for my neck to lean on against a chair that didn’t have a proper headrest.

I brought it home to use and will be bringing back to office. Well, I don’t see myself leaving it behind or getting a second one.

A video inspired me today and added more fuel to the minimalism fire that I have.

With that fuel, I used it to cancel my Spotify subscription because I don’t use it anymore as I’m using Apple Music. I also requested Fitbit to delete my account because I also don’t use it anymore. The other thing I went to do was to clean up my cloud storage like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. I removed a lot of pictures that I took while I was studying for my Degree and school documents.

Going forward, I will be reducing the amount of online accounts that I have to reduce my online footprint and consolidate all my data to a single cloud storage provider.

That’s all for today. I will see you guys in my next Daily Log.

Writing Break – Playing With LEGO Day #2

I will be continuing my process of building up the LEGO set. You can read about Day 1 here.

Spiderman Building – Fourth Bag/Second Floor

The fourth bag contains parts for Spiderman and the second floor of his building.

First up is Spiderman himself with Iron Spider Armor.

Laying the foundation bricks for the second floor…

Construction in progress…

After twenty-minutes, the level is completed. Don’t judge me for the slowness. After all why should anyone rush through building LEGO? It’s not your day job with a looming deadline.

Time for a break

I took a quick break to make myself a small jug of green tea.

As I took sips of green tea, I continued with my LEGO construction. Thus far, I am really enjoying myself. Deep down, I really want another LEGO set.

Spiderman Building – Fifth Bag/Third Floor

Then I continued with building up the third floor, which is Spiderman/Peter Parker’s bedroom. I just can’t believe that he’s so unhygienic with pizza on the floor beside the bed. How could anyone sleep in a room like this? =P

After the third floor is done…

After the third floor is done, it’s time to do up the roof of the building.

Spiderman Building – Sixth Bag/Roof

The roof of Spiderman’s building is relatively easy to build.

Laying the foundational bricks. It was during this time I realized that I do have some issue identifying pieces in the pile of bricks.

Once the Spiderman Building is done, it’s time to move on to the third floor of Sanctum Sanctorum. So far, I’m loving how the set is turning out.

Sanctum Sanctorum – Seventh Bag/Third floor

Before I went with building this level, I stood up to do some stretching. After all, I took a break from writing because I didn’t want to use the computer after work to let my body recover. I didn’t want to let LEGO be another contributing factor to my pain.

After laying down the foundational bricks and build up the so call library of books and ritualistic items

Adding the rest of the structure.

And it is time to introduce Iron Man…it does look like he’s giving us the middle finger. Hahaha.

Spiderman Building/Sanctum Sanctorum – Eight Bag/ Everything else

It’s time for the last numbered bag. I got up and did some stretching again. Then, I sat back down and poured out the content inside onto the ground in front of me.

Final Touches/ The End

With the last bag done, it’s time to arrange the heroes and villains in the way I want to present them.

My apologies for the overexposure because I activated flash on my camera.

I put the completed set into a display cabinet and cleared out existing toys that I no longer want. Once in the cabinet, I rearranged parts and the characters.

Writing Break – Playing With LEGO Day #1

I took a break over the last few days from writing and in general from spending too much time in front of a computer. I needed to get my back and neck pain sorted out. It wasn’t as bad as a week ago but the pain and the aches are still there. It will take time to sort them out with exercises. Patience is key here.

After lunch on Wednesday (04-Apr-2018), I got myself a box of LEGO to entertain myself. The product I got, called Sanctum Sanctorum Showdown, is part of the Marvel’s Infinity War.

After unboxing, there are eight numbered packages and a few scattered pieces. In each of those numbered packages, there were smaller ones to house those smaller pieces.

Instead of going my way, I chose to build the set according to the instruction. Personally, I always saw LEGO as a form of collectibles instead of a toy.

Now, even though I’m on break, it didn’t stop me from wanting to document the LEGO building process.

Start of Day 1

The first thing to build is the corner of the two buildings. It is one of the simplest one of the whole set.

Sanctum Sanctorum/Dr. Strange – First Bag/First Level

The first bag contains parts for Dr. Strange and the first level of Sanctum Sanctorum. I went with fitting Dr. Strange. Well…he looks kind of cute in this form.

Then it was time to construct the first level of the sanctum sanctorum.

This is the back view.

After I was done with them, I put them together just for a photo shoot. I also put on the LEGO parts that represents magical effects.

While doing all the above, I can’t help but recall the childhood I had. Before I had computers or smartphones, LEGO dominates my playtime. And it is also therapeutic because unlike works that you publish, no one is judging you. It is a solo task just like reading a book or playing a single player game.

Sanctum Sanctorum/Cull Obsidian – Second Bag/Second Level

The second bag contains the parts for Cull Obsidian and the second level of Sanctum Sanctorum.

I put Cull Obsidian together first. He looked ugly and menacing yet cute at the same time. Most likely because of the LEGO nature.

Then I went with putting together the second floor of the building.

Front View

Back View

Spiderman Building – Third Bag/First Level

I moved on to bag number 3 which contains the parts for the first level of Spiderman’s home.

Front View

Now, I don’t quite remember if there was a pizza place below Spiderman’s home.

Back View

Yes, I know that Cull Obsidian is on the floor doing pushups with his hammers in hand. =) I had to put him aside so that I can do my stuff and he kept falling over anyway.

End of Day 1

Thus far, it has already taken me more than three hour to do up everything above. A big issue that I was having was how my back and neck pain reached a level where I couldn’t concentrate. And I had some trouble searching for the correct parts to install.

I decided to call it a night and shall continue it the next day.