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Rest In Peace, George Michael

I don't exactly listen to a lot of George Michael, but I really, really, really, really like his version of Elton John's Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.


Literally just a few days ago I was playing this on repeat. My housemates and I back in the university used to play "Careless Whisper" when we were just mucking about, crowning it as our house anthem. Interesting how powerful music can be. 

Excuse me while I go and play this a few more times to distract myself.

* * *

It's depressing to know that there are some musical performances that I will never be able to experience. Off the top of my head ...

  • Phantom of the Opera, 50th anniversary with Ramin Karimloo as the Phantom
  • Snow.Wolf.Lake (雪狼湖), a musical by Jacky Cheung that isn't even caught on tape ...
  • OneRepublic's concert back in the Dreaming Out Loud era
  • Elton John in the 90's
  • The performance above ...
Sigh

Lessons from my first bake sale

So my office had a charity food sale recently. Every department had to contribute something because this was an initiative from the regional office.

I know, not exactly in the spirit of charity.

Unsurprisingly, I represented my department, knowing that the two other guys in my department (yes, our department consisted of only 3 guys) wouldn't participate in such a thing.

I decided to bake.

Over the weekend, I baked 24 red velvet cupcakes and 18 blueberry muffins. The equally tough part was transporting 40 of them from home to the office via public transport. The cost in itself amounted to about RM80.

So I handed my babies over to the other members of my office to be sold since I had work to do, a little worried that my RM20 box of 4 will not sell well since it was placed alongside donuts and biscuits priced from RM2-5. Heck, even I wouldn't buy them.

The initial plan was to sell them at RM6 each, but since the box I had could fit four and it didn't seem like a good idea to unpack all of them and display it on a platter, I decided to just wing it and sell them for RM20.

To my surprised and delight, they sold out! Just this morning, someone told me that my baked goods sold out before they started selling the other stuff at half-price. Another person told me people were asking if they were made with butter and other random questions. I really wish I was there to tell them that I did not skimp in ingredients. Heck, the blueberry muffins were chock-full of blueberries, and not one of those pathetic ones with a swirl of blueberry jam on its surface.


Note to self:

  1. Add a note on the box with words like 'homemade', 'quality ingredients', 'full of blueberries' etc. Could do with more description.
  2. Add contact method so people can come back and tell me if they were good! 

I'm still a little sceptical that people paid RM20 for a box. Better not think too much about it. 

selfish

Been kinda annoyed with a certain someone lately.

When a group of us goes out, he'd always be the one to suggest a later time to meet up after everyone else has decided upon a certain time because he has to shower or something.

When we all end up going out, the spends the whole night talking about his own problems.

When we decide on a place to eat, he'd always complain that it's too expensive because he has a girlfriend to pay for, when it isn't even that expensive nor is the girlfriend issue our problem. Also, it was someone else's birthday.

Why do I play with my phone when we're out? Well, because the conversation is no fun to be in.

Procrastination pt 2

I watched The Man Who Knew Infinity earlier today. I'm a sucker for biopics/dramas with a quaint British backdrop (e.g. The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Mr. Holmes, Remains of the Day, Pride and Prejudice ... you get my point).

It was a movie about a mathematician by the name of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

As much as I secretly wish I was some prodigious whiz kid, I am very much aware that I am not. I admire these people for who they are, yet I do not aspire to be them. However, I do wish I could have the amount of passion they have, which I'm beginning to realise that it's probably not something that everyone has, despite popular belief.

I just can't shake the fact that what I'm doing right now just isn't particularly exciting. It's okay, but it isn't enough. Maybe I've been reading too many books and watching too many movies that romanticise this notion of having this one thing that makes it all purposeful; maybe it's just my attitude towards things that make me not feel strongly about things. Shouldn't these things be inherent and immune towards shitty attitudes that might otherwise diminish it?

I find a life where one works for the sake of survival utterly meaningless, but that's just me. I admire those that find a purpose in other things, like raising a kid or supporting a hobby, but I have yet to find that thing. While I'm not suicidal, I'm kinda miserable. Occupying my time by working and socialising only temporarily makes me forget such feelings.

I've been working for 5 months now, and I'm grateful that it is probably one of the better jobs that I could've gotten as a fresh grad, also I have no financial worries, but it's just so ... meh. Don't get me wrong, the job is still very much challenging, but something seems to be missing.

This is going no where. I should just go to bed.

Just checking in

Gotta keep my streak of posting monthly.

Also, procrastination is always fun.

Speaking of procrastination, there's a pretty neat video on that topic on a YouTube channel called The School of Life.

I feel like this procrastination is eating into my free time and subsequently my general well-being. Working on normal business-as-usual stuff is fine because that's done when it's done; working on certain projects akin to school assignments can be quite draining for me. But it's the latter stuff that's "value-adding" and would lead to better things.

It irks me that some people give so much credit to "value-adding" stuff. I guess I've always been the guy that plays the supportive rolethough to be fair, I guess I've never been in much team activities—and have never really aspired to become the lead singer of the band. Is that so bad?

I don't want to be the most successful guy in the room, I just want to be happy with my own achievements.

Gah, I don't really know what I'm talking about here. My mind is not in the right place.

"So no one told you life was gonna be this way"

Riding the wave

Just waiting for the fog to clear.

So my boss is leaving and she's handing over the client that she has been handling for the past three years to me.

Let me repeat.

My boss, of 3 ranks higher than me, with 8 years or so of working experience, is handling her client, of which she has been solely dealing with for 3 years, to me, a fresh graduate who hasn't even passed his probation ... 

It's not that I'm particularly capable or anything. It's just that there's no one else ... 

We'll see, I guess. 

Side tracked

On Saturday morning, I wanted to write a post on how it has been 3 months since I've started working and that I should be trying harder to pick up more stuff.

Before I knew it, I blew through the weekend and now it's Sunday night. The karaoke session was long overdue, but now I need another.

I've been baking every weekend for the past few weeks. 

I've also picked up a new exercise and have been doing it for about a month I believe.

Figuring out the best way to get points using my credit card (for expenditure that I would've otherwise used cash for anyway) is sorta my new hobby too.

Apparently there's gonna be pizza at work tomorrow.

Piss off

NB title says 'piss off' as in the command, not the state of being mad, i.e. 'pissed off'.

So a few days ago my dad invited his friend over for dinner. He then asked me to help him out with some PowerPoint stuff. Sure, I said. What better way to spend my time after work doing something that I do on a day-to-day basis during work? Of course, I didn't felt that way then, but rather in hindsight. I'll get to that in a minute.

I then spent an hour or so fixing his deck (work-jargon for PowerPoint slides), making sure everything was aligned and all the font sizes were the same. He had a few requests here and there, but it wasn't too much of a hassle. Regardless, it still took some time.

Before he left, he exchanged numbers with me because he didn't want to trouble my dad too much if he had to contact me. Uh, sure, okay.

So he went back, and unsurprisingly his desktop couldn't play the videos he embeded on his deck. Well he was the one that wanted the videos to be able to display thumbnails, so it had to be the latest PowerPoint version. He then asked me to go over to his place to check out his computer over the weekend because he insisted that his desktop was running Windows 10 or whatever.

Sigh. Okay.

Saturday came along. I wanted to get a haircut, but since he told me he'd be coming over to pick me up at about 11am, I decided to get it later in the day. It was 11.30am, still no news from him. Dad whatsapped him, no response. Then my dad called, and turns out he was in Klang.

You think I very free is it? Wtf man. Just because you're 37 years older than me, doesn't give you the right to just ignore whatever plans you've made.

About half an hour ago (6 hours after that phone call), he called and asked if I was free tomorrow.

Nope.

Not tomorrow.

Never.

Self-esteem issues

So a friend of mine told me that her friend met me once at some assessment centre and apparently I left a strong impression. He was telling her something along the lines of how he thought I'd definitely get the job, from how I carried myself and what not.

I had zero recollection of meeting him. At all.

I asked for a name and pictures. I was pretty certain that he wasn't in my group (the 8 of us were split into 2 groups) and hence concluded that I would have only met him for a brief period of 5 minutes. I only remember being 20 minutes late for the assessment centre (thanks to public transport) and met with members of the other group for a brief moment. I just sat my ass down and started asking where everyone else was from.

I immediately thought he just made everything up, but it didn't make sense because no one does that and my friend was pretty close with him. I couldn't make any sense out of it.

Today, another friend of mine (which is also a friend of my aforementioned friend, which happened to be there as well) said she had this mutual friend who would always tell her how he and I were classmates. I was a little surprised that he would bring that up because we were only close back when I was 7, 8 and 9. We pretty much lost contact after.

The aforementioned friend then commented on how people always wanted to be associated with me but I seem as if I couldn't be bothered.

It's funny, because it's really flattering, but it's a result of low self-esteem. It would be a nightmare to me if I hyped up my association with someone only to find out that the other person doesn't feel the same, like calling someone a best friend when the other person doesn't reciprocate. This then manifested itself into a defense mechanism to prevent myself from putting so much value in a particular relationship, unless the other person very overtly does the same.

Started thinking about it and suddenly other occurrences start to pop up in my head. I remember chatting with the guy that sat next to me during my graduation ceremony as if we were friends for some time, when in reality we really just talked a little back in Year 1. There was also this dude from Hong Kong that I was talking to when we were collecting our graduation robes. He remembered that I could understand Cantonese because I watched a lot of Hong Kong drama series, which I told him during the only conversation we had about 2-3 years ago.

I'm not sure what exactly to make out of this. I guess I'll just remind myself that I'm capable of leaving an impression.

The Bucket/Wish List *updated*

Thought I'd started listing down stuff here that I may or may not update in the future.

Bucket List

  • Stay at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and dine at Raymond Blanc's restaurant
  • Visit some of David Chang's many restaurants in NYC
  • Visit one of Gordon Ramsay's Michelin-starred restaurants
  • Have super high-end sushi (Jiro, anyone?) in Japan
  • Watch Hamilton on Broadway
  • Watch Ramin Karimloo perform Phantom or Val Jean
  • Watch Jacky Cheung live
Hmm, there's some common theme to this ... 

Wish List
  • Get a copy of The Food Lab. Just waiting for the right opportunity, really.
  • Get a desktop. Now that I've settled back home, why not?
  • Ergonomic swivel chair, solid work desk, all that.
  • Kitchen Aid mixer, but I haven't been baking much
  • Le Creuset stuff, but I haven't been cooking much
  • A deep fryer since I can't afford a Le Creuset pot ...
  • A pair of open back headphones, hmm
Welp, gotta start making more money.

Being tired at the start of the race

Today was quite pleasant. Met up with my A-level Maths and Further Maths lecturer along with my friends for lunch, had a nice cup of coffee with my dad, walked around a little and had a simple dinner with my dad.

So I've been talking to people around me about grown-up stuff these days. My senior/colleague would always talk about how hard work beyond work hours is crucial to advancement; my lecturer was talking about buying properties and tax; the conversation then went on about saving for marriage ...

It all sounds so tiresome and annoying. What's the point in working so hard? What's the point in investing and investing and being a slave to capitalism? What's the point in spending loads on money just to fulfil some arbitrarily made-up societal norm just because you want to officiate being with someone?

What's with all these pointless exercises?

Once again, existential crisis has struck.

Is there something more meaningful out there? I can't seem to find any meaning in doing anything. It just seems to me like an unnecessarily huge amount of effort and time spent thinking and doing things related to getting more money.

Sigh.

Of grit and deliberate practice

**warning** rambling ahead. Not like any of my other posts are particularly refined, but I think this one is particularly bad. Beware.

Bored out of my mind. Want to do some work but I can't connect to my work laptop for some reason. Want to go out and grab some coffee but no one to do it with. Want to visit a shopping mall but not a fan of the weekend crowd.

Ughhhhhh.

Anyway, was listening to some podcast during my commute to work about what it takes to become good at something. It talked about how people that are now experts in their field did not achieve such levels of success by just being born talented but rather have spent many, many, many hours trying to be better, which is very relevant to where I am right now.

I'm at the point where if I want to excel in the industry that I'm in right now, I should be putting in as much hours as I possibly could. My concern is that I don't have a history of being super gritty and resilient. Or have I?

So here's an attempt to think of all the things--whether small or big--of times where I've unknowingly exhibited resilience, as sort of a motivation to myself.

But before that, hold that thought.

** 10 mins later **

Right, much better. Now I'm sitting in a cafe by myself, typing away on my iPad like some insufferable hipster. Never mind, I have my coffee with me now.

Back to where I left off.

So I've had pretty decent results in the past, not without hard work at all, but not with super gritty hard work either. I've always found maths practice therapeutic, so working on homework wasn't much of an issue for me. As a result, my scores for maths subjects in primary school, secondary school and pre-university have been pretty good.

Then there's also the resilience that led to me shedding the amount of weight equivalent to another petite female person. Now if only I could channel that resilience to exercising ...

I guess having good results for my degree was a result of some form of resilience too, as well as for my CFA exams, so there's that.

I guess I've been pretty resilient at blogging too? Which I believe helped me become much more articulate than I otherwise wouldn't have been. Not that I'm no where near being a writer or anything, but I wouldn't say it was all for naught either.

A swimmer interviewed by researchers studying resilience among successful people was asked whether he enjoyed training. He said something along the lines of not enjoying the daily grind as it involved getting up at ungodly hours every day, pushing the limits of his physical capabilities every day, but what he enjoyed was the whole picture.

I don't think people find something to be passionate in before committing the grittiness and resilience required, which sort of is what I appear to be doing right now. But I hope this is something that the thing that would define me, I guess?

To be fair, the past three weeks have gone by pretty quick, which I guess is a good sign.

The irony in my insufferability

I should be doing something more productive, but writing's quite therapeutic and fun.

So I've been commuting to work for a week now—5 days really—and so far it has been bearable. I've been exploring audiobooks and podcasts to listen to, in hopes of not letting my hour-long commute be an entire waste of time. I've stumbled upon a treasure trove of audiobooks on my already-paid-for Spotify, so for the past few days I've been listening to Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, a book that I've read quite some time ago. Although this is my first ever audiobook,  I have to say I quite enjoy prof. Adrian Praetzellis' narration.

It sounds a little self-righteous to say I resonate with feelings that Siddhartha has felt in the book, but I'm merely writing this here and not declaring it to the world so it's fine. I'm not about to go on a journey to seek Enlightenment, at least not just yet.

I've also listened to an episode of Marc Maron's podcast where Louis CK talked about Horace and Pete which I quite "enjoyed" watching. "Enjoyed" because it was depressing yet thought-provoking, which I find value in, but wouldn't exactly call it entertaining.

Now back to the title of this post. I wouldn't go about telling other people that I've been listening to Siddhartha and watching stuff like Horace and Pete, because it sounds like some holier-than-thou hipster trying to appear individualistic and consider themselves to be a unique snowflake. There's always this internal conflict of wanting to be different but yet constantly reminding myself that no matter how different I am, there are at least thousands of people that are similarly "different", statistically speaking. One-in-a-million isn't all that unique if we're talking about a population of a billion. That thing you enjoy reading or watching or listening exists because a lot of like-minded people enjoy it, not because only you enjoy it.

The irony of the whole thing is that while I'm trying to be different, I'm doing it as part of thousands of people commuting to work, and in that sense I'm really not much different from the others. The guy playing Clash of Clans isn't any less unique than you are; the uncle reading and forwarding messages on WhatsApp isn't any less unique than you are.

I find it dangerous that personality tests label you such and such, and give you delusions of grandeur by making it sound all special. Being labelled INTJ doesn't mean anything, really. It all doesn't really mean anything.

Well, tomorrow's Monday again, week 2 of a job that I would one day write about in detail. I already have new podcasts downloaded and ready to go!

Theory for my source of apprehensiveness and subsequently, misery

I can never be satisfied with a piece of work with the knowledge that there is more I could've done. My cakes are never perfect; I could've baked it a little longer at a lower temperature; the biscuit base could've used a little bit more butter; the icing could've been silkier. It just occurred to me that I'm a perfectionist at heart, not in the sense that I demand things to be perfect, but rather I will never be satisfied when things aren't. 

Oh god, I just realised I'm a perfectionist. And a neurotic one too.
Neurotic perfectionists are prone to strive for unrealistic goals and feel dissatisfied when they cannot reach them. [Source]
I've never wanted to associate myself with being a perfectionist because it sounds extremely narcissistic, but if you consider the negative aspects of perfectionism (via Wikipedia) and think of it as an actual problem and not something healthy nor desirable, then it sounds extremely applicable to me.

Suddenly everything makes sense.

Gah, I'm too tired to delve deep into this. Suddenly the definition of cognitive dissonance resonates with me too.

Week 1

Things have been pretty interesting. So far I've sat in a huge meeting with the clients, had a very expensive Japanese welcome meal, helped with one minor job-related thing. Still a little worried that my lack of statistical knowledge would be a problem, not so much that I wouldn't be a good fit for my job, but enough for me to know that I'm far from where I know where things could be. Did that sentence make any sense?

I've also been experimenting with audiobooks on my commute to work. I'd do podcasts but I can't find one that's consistently interesting.

Week 1, way too early so say anything for sure.

Journey to my first full-time job: the definitive edition

Well, where do I start?

* * *

Back in early May 2015, when I was still studying in the UK, I decided to apply for a big audit firm (let's call it Audit Firm K) for an advisory role. I never really bothered applying for anything in the first two years of my studies for many reasons, one of them being that I was aware of my capabilities—or the lack of—and hence not wanting to waste both my time and the recruiters' time. Things have not changed significantly, but I decided to try my luck anyway in the third year because my time in the UK was coming to an end and there was a desire to want to prolong it.

To my surprise, I passed the online test and the phone interview and proceeded to the assessment centre. People generally do not pass their first phone interview, or at least that's what I tell myself. I went on to fail it, but I wasn't all too bothered because it was honestly way too unfamiliar to me. One of the things I had to do in the assessment centre was talk to a client—an actor they hired—to try to close a deal. On top of that, the client has had bad experience with the firm I was representing in the past, so I had to resolve that too. On top of that, the meeting was five-minutes long and I was suppose to keep track of the time. On top of that ...

Oh well, I was never meant to stay in the UK.

* * *

Then came the time of the year where big firms from Malaysia would go over to the UK to pick from the huge basket of talents. One of the big audit firms called me up (let's call it Audit Firm P) and asked if I wanted to go into auditing. Back then, I wasn't really all too fussed about securing a job that early. After a little talk with the HR personnel, my application was put in for an advisory role.

It did not go well.

I dread to recall what went down during the assessment where I had to do some analysis of a company's financial statements—of which I have no experience in—and the trainwreck of a Skype interview. Then again, I didn't really care so much because I didn't really want to go into that firm.

I go with my gut a lot.

* * *

Then came graduation. I shot off a few more cover letters to firms in the UK, one in particular for a role of a content creator for app-based educational material, but was replied with sorry-we-do-not sponsor-visas emails. The day I before I left the UK, I met a banker while having dinner by myself in a tapas bar in London. We talked quite a bit and he somehow convinced me get CFA qualifications (Chartered Financial Analyst, usually taken by people who manage assets and equities. Investment stuff, basically).

So for the next three months, I studied pretty much every single day to finish off all three thousand pages of text while friends who have graduated with me have started working. Part of the reason why I did my CFA was to delay having to start working so soon, but I ended up spending all my time studying anyway so I'm not sure if it even is a better substitute. While I was slightly envious that my friends have secured employment, I wasn't all too envious about the job they were involved in. Good for them if they like it, but it's not for me.

* * *

After my exams in December 2015, my future went back to being a big question mark. I immediately started shooting off job applications here and there. Optimistic me started with more competitive ones, with the rationale that I could always settle for others if they reject me. Little did I know that each bloody application took more than two months from start to finish.

Despite having no interest to work in the financial industry, I really had no idea what I could do. All the graduate roles offered by banks are the only options I could think of since I had a pretty non-specific skillset.

Around this time, I also met my cousin sister who is doing pretty well for herself. Well, that was an understatement. To give you a clue, she just came back from some other country and often appears on newspapers. Yeah, doing pretty well I would say. She did offer to help me out but for some reason I decided to do it myself for the time being.

* * *

About close to two months later, my top two choices (i.e. most well-paid) got back to me. Bank D (think bulge bracket) was the one I wanted the most. Prestige, exclusivity, non-management role, bragging rights, all that. Went through two of the toughest interviews I've had to date—both conducted by people from the department I was applying for, not HR—and passed them both. Interview questions include squaring 119 in your head, naming the vice president of the US, explaining bonds, naming my favourite movie etc. HR then called me to say they couldn't offer me the job I applied for, but would try to find another opening for me in some other business area. Few days later, they called me to tell me they couldn't find me anything. Heartbreaking.

Another one was Bank H. Didn't do well for the assessment centre. Turns out having a half-an-hour group discussion with 3 other candidates in a room of eight other observers isn't my strong suit. The other assessments didn't go that well either.

I thought getting through to the final stage of two firms would at least give me a decent chance to secure one. ESPECIALLY since I felt good about one of them (Bank D). It was terribly depressing then, but in hindsight probably a blessing in disguise.

* * *

In between, I attended a job fair and handed off CVs like it was a brochure. I rejected several call centre jobs because I did not drop close to half-a-million ringgit on my education to do a call centre job. Fuck that. Many older people started to give advice telling me to just start doing something because the economy isn't doing that well. Once again, terribly depressing. I really saw no purpose in doing something while I continued looking for a better job because I wasn't financially challenged and why trade my free time doing something depressing for money when I don't really need it? Having studied economics, I could really only see doing such menial jobs as a larger decrease in utility compared to the minimal gain in utility stemming from the tiny salary from such jobs. In short, definitely worse off.

A close friend of mine offered to help because his dad is well connected in the world of audit firms, but I really didn't want to be part of that and wasn't desperate enough yet.

Another friend of mine introduced me to something in the big data industry, which I was pretty excited about but eventually fell through.

* * *

Then there was the interview for Bank A. I hated so many aspects of that particular job but it was no doubt a pretty decent option with a decent pay. Passed the interview—that consisted of 168 candidates, filtered from about 2,700 applications—but ultimately failed the assessment centre. I will not lie and say that it didn't hurt my confidence a little, but I guess if they didn't appreciate the strengths I had I guess I don't really care for them either. While there were many things I could've done better during the assessment centre, I believe I demonstrated plenty of qualities that makes me a worthy hire.

Once again, in hindsight, a blessing in disguise.

* * *

Desperation has started to seep in. I even took up my mom's friend's referral to some management trainee position. Bank O suddenly called to schedule an interview, but that's just one of many more stages and it would probably drag on for a few more months. Another friend of mine referred me to Bank M because they were looking to employ more, which I really appreciated. Bank U finally responded to my application and sent me online tests to complete.

All these didn't matter anymore when the opportunity for a well-paying, non-financial industry opportunity with reasonable work hours appeared. It was the dream job I never knew I dreamt about.

I'll save the details for some other day. I'm starting next Monday!

Reviews for free Oculus Gear VR games

So I finally picked up a Gear VR headset for my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Decided to download every single free game on the Oculus store since there were only so many of them. Gonna review them one by one as a fun side-project!

A little preface to this. I wasn't super impressed with the initial experience of the Gear VR. The screen door effect is real and not something I can ignore. But having said that, some experiences make it easy to overlook that, and make the Gear VR experience still as immersive and exciting as I hoped it would be.

Here are the 17 free games I could find on the Oculus store.

  1. Cosmos Warfare - RECOMMENDED. Not much to do here, just tilt your head towards enemy ships and watch them explode into smithereens. Quite cool, though.
  2. Totems In Dreamland - OKAY. My neck. Requires a swivel chair. Kinda cool, quite  a few levels to play through. Not that big of a fan.
  3. Damnfields - MEH. Kinda boring. Essentially a game to learn how to stabilise your head.
  4. Samsung School of Ruby - ERR. This one's a bit ... interesting. Not sure what's happening here.
  5. Audio Arena Demo - MEH. Too much head tilting. I feel like I might hurt my neck eventually.
  6. FindingVR - OKAY. Similar to God of War type games, where you have to go from room to room, dispatch a few enemies, solve puzzles, have a boss fight at the end, but with a VR touch. Best played standing and with a controller. Very short. Quite dizzying.
  7. Dreadhalls Demo - RECOMMENDED. Not a big fan of horror games, but tried it out a little. Definitely immersive due to the nature of the game, despite the hardware limitations. Made me feel like I was in a dungeon. My palms were pretty sweaty.
  8. Temple Run VR - MEH. Not much different from your normal Temple Run. I find using the touchpad at the side of the headset a little weird. Experience might be improved by using a controller.
  9. Gumi no Yume - MEH. Push-box-into-slot game. Kinda boring.
  10. PolyRunner VR - RECOMMENDED. Similar to Smash Hit in certain ways. It's one of those runner games where you aim to achieve a high score, but made a lot more fun by VR. Ads, though.
  11. Smash Hit - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This is the best VR experience I had thus far (31/03). It requires a just enough head movement, not a lot of neck movement, no need to turn around or anything. It makes me feel like I'm Cyclops from X-men. 
  12. Shooting Showdown 2 VR - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A shootout game where you pair up with some random person online. I'm not sure if I'm enjoying because it's fun or because I'm trashing the hell out of everyone else ...
  13. InCell - RECOMMENDED. Holy mother of motion sickness. Maybe I shouldn't have played after a big meal. Feels like roller coaster ride, albeit a stationary one. 
  14. Herobound: First Steps - RECOMMENDED. Kinda blows the other hack-and-slashes out of the water. Quite cool at first, but it gets repetitive and boring after awhile (I played for about 45 minutes). Might revise this later on. Less dizzying than FindingVR.
  15. Rocket Toss - OKAY. Looks good, but I don't see how the gameplay is fun at all. Essentially a ring toss game in VR.
  16. Bait! - OKAY. Looks pretty, but kinda boring. It is, afterall, a fishing game.
  17. Solitaire Jester - RECOMMENDED. My first thought was "ugh, solitaire?". If you've ever played solitaire, definitely check it out. It won't be mind blowing or anything, but it's quite neat.
  18. Jake and Tess' Finding Monsters Adventure - MEH. Taking pictures of monsters doing stuff? Need to play a little more because I don't get it.
  19. Shironeko VR Project - OKAY. Kinda fun. Didn't expect a JRPG-ish hack-and-slash to be on the Oculus VR store.

Thought in progress

Okay, so hear me out.

Given the question "what would you do for a living if money wasn't an issue?", some might say "oh, open a tea shop" or "maybe cut hair for a living". And yet, despite being perfectly well enough to make a living because these ARE indeed noble professions that HAVE to be done by someone, they think about lunch when they arrive at work and think about leaving work when they come back from lunch.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Well because of money. Because it's always better to have more money. Because of kiasuness ((of a person) very anxious not to miss out on an opportunity; grasping.). Because literally everyone says it's stupid to waste your talents on something that you enjoy doing, but doesn't pay that well, instead of spending a good majority of your life doing something dreadful with hopes of leading a more comfortable (albeit in a purely materialistic sense) life. Because we're being told that it's all part of being an adult -- doing things you don't like.

Maybe there's a reason for this. Maybe if not for such societal pressures, there might be a lack of young and fresh auditors to facilitate a functional economy.

Ah, I'm too lazy to ponder on further.

Job hunting woes part n

I think I'm starting to understand why people say it's better to just get a job first. It seems like getting the ideal first-job is infinitely harder than jumping from one job to another.

So it turns out I subscribe to some form of catholicism. I was listening to a podcast just last night about a very successful comedian and he was saying how he viewed his suffering during his early days as some sort of a trial. I've long accepted that this job-hunting phase is just something I have to go through, but I'm wondering how much more of it could I handle till I break.

It doesn't help that I've recently picked up The Bell Jar and it deals with coming-of-age, quarter-life-crisis, suicidal themes.

All I could do right now is hang on to this quote from Kierkegaard:

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."

Acceptance

Sigh.

There goes the one thing that could bring my current misery away.

HR rang me up yesterday to tell me that she has contacted several locations but couldn't find me an opening, but will keep my file open in case anything pops up.

Despite the approval, it's still depressing to know that I have to continue my search, to know that I aced my grueling interview for no reason, to have to go through everything all over again.

I realised deep down, the reason I want so badly to get a good graduate job is because I want something to compensate for all the crap I went through during university. All the days spent force-feeding my brain knowledge I have no interest in, all the days of staying awake in extremely dull lectures, all the depressing times I've spent in my room studying for exams.

Maybe if I had enjoyed my studies a little more, then I wouldn't have such high expectations for a job. At least then I could work at a miserable job and look back on the great times I had.

This perpetual misery is taking a toll on me ...

Update (?)

Well, guess I got an update after all.

I started gaming to take my mind off things. I really abhor reliving my interviews, cringing at the things that I shouldn't have said. At the same time, I'd be impressed with some of the answers I managed to conjure up on the spot, thinking surely that'll put me in some good stead. So I've been waiting for that email or that phone call, either congratulating me or consoling me.

Who knew it'll be neither?

At about 7pm today, I received a phone call updating me on my status of my job application. From the get-go, I sort of braced myself for the worst because she didn't start the phone call by congratulating me. What she ended up saying -- or at least what I remember -- was that they couldn't offer me the post I applied for (she mentioned something about markets not being well? or was she referring to the division I was applying for?), but they were impressed with my interview (okay, to be fair, she specifically said "positive feedback"), and would like to see if they could fit me in another business area.

So I spent the next few hours trying to analyse what she just said with the little bits a pieces of words that my brain could cling on to. Pretty sure that wasn't a straight-out rejection, because why would she bother trying to keep in contact. Then again she isn't really obligated to find me a job, so I don't know what sort of an expectation should I be having. Then again, her response threw away both responses that I had in mind, so why bother with expectations anyway.

I feel like some divine being has put me on Earth to experience suffering. So now we wait.

Palpable change in mood

Dammit. I thought I could resist posting again before receiving an update on the thing that is underpinning the rise and fall of my mood, but I can't.

To avoid annoying the living hell out of everyone around me, I've decided that I should turn to this once again to let go some of the pent-up frustrations.

It's so suffocating. I just need it to be over. Will it ever be over?

I always believe that maturity comes with time, unless an event comes along that acts as a catalyst to speed up the process. I feel as if I'm always put into situations where a certain level of maturity is required to make a wise decision, but I'd be at a point where I just about fall short of that prerequisite. I feel like I'm often rushed into making decisions just because it's the norm to be making such decisions at that particular age.

Yesterday I felt fine; today, just about after lunch, I feel like crap. Why is my life full of moments where I feel like crap? The ratio seems pretty far from ideal.

It would be nice to see a therapist. For now, all I can do is to tell myself to suck it up, which is probably the last thing you should be telling someone who needs help.

The quest to uncover potential

I don't know why I put myself through this.

Would you rather excel at something mediocre, or be mediocre at something great?

So again and again I refuse to be discouraged from achieving something greater, despite nagging thoughts of inferiority lingering at the back of my mind. I chose my degree because it seemed challenging, and I put myself through depressing times, constantly questioning my decisions. Despite having gone through it relatively unscathed, I don't feel that made much of a difference.

Then I put myself through another test, a professional paper with less than 3 months to prepare. Although arguably not all that amazing of an achievement since 43% of 52,300 candidates passed, but going through more than 3,000 pages of text in a short amount of time did take some sort of a toll on me.

Then rather than settle for a run-of-the-mill job, my masochistic self decides to apply for something more prestigious, partially fueled by some sort of a disgusting ego to want to be different from the rest, while at the same time doubting myself as to whether or not that difference is even substantiated. And of course, opportunities of such prestige would include out-of-the-ordinary filtration processes.

Forgive me for my self-indulgent drivel.

So I passed by exams, completed one final-stage interview and about to attend a final-stage assessment centre.

Let's hope the next post would be the ultimate sigh of relief, at least for now.

My tech stuff

Depressing stuff aside, I just felt like writing a post detailing all the tech stuff that I've amassed. I have a philosophy when it comes to my tech stuff, so everything I buy is well-justified, both cost wise and practicality wise. I guess I'll try to sort it via reverse chronological order of purchase.

  1. SanDisk Extreme 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive [link] - arguably the best USB flash drive (thumbdrive, pendrive, whatever you call it) money can buy. I wanted one because my mom recently got a new TV, upgrading from the previous SD TV to a HD TV that goes up to 1080p. Of course, the output is only as good as the input, so my movie files have to be large enough to display all the details it was meant to display, and that means files upwards of 20GB. While a cheap, basic USB 2.0 flash drive transfers at 2-3MB/s, this beast goes up to 60-70MB/s on my laptop. I'm not sure what it's potential is, but that's good enough for me. UserBenchmark rates it as one of the top USB flash drives too. I believe it retails at RM255 [Harvey Norman], but it's only $32 on Amazon.com. In the end, I got mine for RM150 from Lazada, but it took 2 weeks to arrive (28 days earlier than estimate, though).
  2. Samsung SL-M2020 Laser Printer [link] - cheapest laser printer money can buy? I think so. At RM150 (inclusive of delivery) with the use of vouchers I had [Lazada], I was incredibly happy with my purchase. I needed a printer for infrequent use, and inkjets have never failed to increase my blood pressure in the past. Also, inkjet cartridges are known to dry up from infrequent use, and I believe toners of laser printers do not. I was deciding between this and another low-end mono laser printer, the Brother HL-1110, but ultimately went for the Samsung one as the Brother model only had 1MB memory, whereas the Samsung one had 8MB. Furthermore, I believe the Samsung one retailed for a higher price, so it seemed like a good deal to me. At this price range, I expected very slow printing and a lot of noise, but I guess I've been using inkjets for way too long. For the first time in my life, a printer that didn't get on my nerves. What a time to be alive! There's also a SL-M2020W version with wireless capabilities but I didn't really need that.
  3. Logitech M280 Wireless Mouse [link] - I'm not sure why it took me so long to actually get myself a wireless mouse. I guess I thought it wasn't necessary. Now that I've switched over, I don't think I'll go back. It retails for RM76 (I've seen some shops price it above RM80), got mine for RM56 inclusive of delivery, so many great deals to be found online! I found it significantly better than the more basic Logitech M185 model in terms of the clickiness and the scrolliness of the wheel (very technical terms, yes). There's also the Logitech M545 but I figured that the additional buttons are really useless to me since my previous corded mouse, the Logitech MX518 had them and was more of a hindrance for me when I accidentally clicked on the other buttons. The Logitech Marathon M705 was really appealing to me but that model can only be imported, I believe.
  4. Xiaomi Mi Band [link] - It retails for RM69 but I managed to snag one for RM35, so I decided to just get one to play with. Least justified purchase, I guess. It's a very basic fitness band, but the built quality is great. All it does is track your steps and your sleeping patterns, which you can then set alarms and it will vibrate within half an hour of the time you've set whenever you're in "light sleep". I've ran a bit with it, not sure exactly how accurate it is since I don't have any other fitness bands to compare it with, but I guess it's really nifty for something that cheap. The alarm function could potentially be very useful, but I haven't had the opportunity to use it that much.
  5. D-Link Wireless N300 Range Extender DAP-1320 [link] - The Wi-Fi coverage in my room is quite weak, so I was determined to find a solution for it. My laptop works fine, but watching YouTube videos on my iPad was a pain. Some say that range extenders such as these are pretty useless but it worked perfectly well for me. The key is to put it where there's still some signal, not where the signal is already out of reach. I was choosing between this and the TP-LINK N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, but ultimately chose the former mainly due to PCMag's reviews (D-Link vs TP-Link). Got mine for RM65. Also, I've done some speed tests and results vary from device to device, but all in all I would say that it's an improvement and not much is sacrificed.
  6. PlayStation Vita 2000 [link] - This retails for about RM840, can be found on Amazon.co.uk as of writing this at £150 (and above!!). Probably the best deal I found; I got myself one at about £90, brand new with some bundle that came with an 8GB memory card. Long story short, it was a tax refund gift to myself. I wasn't comparing this to other handhelds because all I really wanted to do was to play Final Fantasy X on it. It's kinda sad how Sony has pretty much given up on it, but having spent more than 200 hours on it I have no regrets. The PSP was a much successful handheld in comparison.
  7. RHA MA750 in-ear headphones [link] - I can't comment on the sound quality of it as I'm no where near qualified to do that, but I guess the general consensus was that it wasn't too bad, and I found some Amazon warehouse deal on it for £68 so I decided to just go for it. My old pair of IEMs gave up on my anyway. Sound quality aside, I really like the built quality of it. From the thick cables and the stainless steel construction, it's really as premium in real life as it is in the pictures. Heck, I wouldn't even mind sacrificing a little bit of sound quality for them (as I probably couldn't tell either way).
  8. Nokia Lumia 1520 [link] - I wouldn't say I regret buying it, but I definitely wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. It takes a certain kind of person to actually want to give Windows phones a chance, and the majority of people aren't that. I would say the camera's great (though I don't really have other phones to compare it with) and I really like the navigation app (HERE app, but it's available on every other OS now so ...). I'll just wait for it to die on me and switch to another phone. For now, it works fine because I don't use my phone much anyway.
  9. NOOK Simple Touch [link] - Discontinued, but I got one for £29, which is extremely cheap for an e-ink reader. I used to read a lot when I travel, so it beats lugging around 3-4 books all the time. It's decent, but in the end I still prefer my physical books.
  10. Shure SRH440 headphones [link] - Probably not high on recommended lists, but I remember getting them for RM300, which was cheap. For the most part, they are pretty okay when I need a pair of headphones. Looking out for a pair of open-back headphones ...
  11. Lenovo Y510p laptop [link] - I believe it's 3 years old now, and I'm not sure what the lifespan of a laptop is but it's as good as new for now. Decent for gaming, big enough to watch movies on, way more responsive than most other laptops I've used, a great purchase.
  12. iPad (3rd generation) [link] - It's holding up surprisingly well for something released 4 years ago. I would say keeping it at iOS 7 (current one would be iOS 9) helped make it still perfectly functional. A little bit heavy, but with no problems at all so I can't justify an upgrade.
  13. iPhone 4 [link] - I wonder how many iPhone 4's with functional home and on/off buttons are still out there. If anyone's looking for one for collection purposes and is willing to pay a premium for it, do contact me. It's now the device I use to listen to music while running (which is very infrequent). I believe it's on iOS 6? Well, at least Spotify still works on it.
I think that's pretty much it. It was actually quite fun to write! Time to look out for the next gadget ... 

Much at stake

It's probably the best-case scenario up till now, but I just can't seem to chill. I wish I had more people I could talk to about this. Heck, even my mom couldn't fathom how big of a deal this is, to me at least. 

Here's hoping that the next time I check in, I will have good news to tell.

One step forward, two steps back

Every time I decide upon something, something else would pop up and make me question everything that I've painstakingly convinced myself to believe in.

I really shouldn't waste time torturing myself and just dive headfirst into the unknown, but it's just my nature to do so.

If my uninteresting life were to be written as a fictional novel, the main theme would be "unnecessary internal conflict".

If only I could find a way to cash in on this.

12th of January

My room is suffocating.

For some reason, my room is significantly warmer than anywhere else. Despite the heavy downpour and the open window, the heat just stays there, stagnant.

I don't like it when people say "have a blast" or "have a good one" or even worse, "I'm sure you'll have a good one". What's with this unnecessary pressure to make sure my birthday celebration exceeds some sort of an expectation? Is it wrong to just treat my birthday like any other day, but with a larger number of messages from a bunch of people that I don't talk to often?

I'm grateful to actually have people in my life who actually bother to celebrate my birthday with me, but it's certainly no blast when there's this lingering misery looming over me like a dark cloud.

Anyway, my laser printer arrived today. Having only used bloody inkjets at home, I was pleasantly surprised when the super low-end laser printer slid out a flawless black-and-white document like clockwork.

This all seems pointless, really.

2k16

It's 10 days into the new year and 2 days before my birthday.

I contemplated phrasing "2 days before my birthday" as "2 days before the date I was born" but realised that wouldn't be accurate, because "date" includes the year, which would imply that we've successfully travelled back in time to 1993. I wasn't exactly satisfied with "2 days before the day I was born" because one, it doesn't convey what I'm trying to say without any sort of ambiguity (though really, any reasonable person would understand what I mean but there's always that one very anal pedantic person) and two, I would like to avoid using the same word too close to each other in the same sentence. So I looked up the definition of "birthday" and realised the word "anniversary" was used, which then led me to look up "anniversary". Why would you use the word "anniversary" to explain the word "birthday" to someone who needs the word "birthday" explained to them?

In short, I decided to use "birthday".

Happy new year, and welcome to a peep into the workings of my brain.

I will almost certainly use Google's extremely helpful "define" feature for any posts that I've written. Just one of the many quirks of mine that I desperately cling on to in hopes of being different from other people. Lol jk.

* * *

Still in the process of job hunting, which can get pretty depressing in many ways. I've decided not to dive into that, but let's hope something interesting happens soon. Meanwhile, I shall try to find something to do that would make life slightly less miserable.