Tag Archives: happy

Smoking makes for a happier life

For the past two weeks I’ve made the effort to smoke one of my lovely Sampoerna cigarettes a day – though I have forgotten on a few days – but I feel like part of me is back, and my digestive system runs smoothly, and I just feel overall more satisfied!

I did stop smoking for six months or so, for health reasons, but now I’ve started again I feel better than ever. Goes against conventional wisdom, huh? I think it shows how powerful the mind is (and possibly how powerful nicotine is… haha), and how it can lead you to believe that doing an enjoyable activity makes you feel more creative, more alive and better at singing. Ehem. Besides I’ve had a carton of Sampoerna for like, a year – someone’s gotta go through it!

Anyway, I’m speaking as if I’m a chain-smoker – I’m definitely not; in fact I feel a bit sick in smoking rooms (who doesn’t…) and find any cigarette other than Sampoerna pretty rank, and one cigarette a day is enough for me, maybe two if I feel like it. Like wine, maybe one dose a day does have its benefits…

I’m also taking daily doses of Michael Jackson – the more I watch him the more amazing I find his moves. His acceptance speeches always contain a motivational, inspirational and above all, wholesome, humanitarian message, with a genuine attitude that is not simply paying lip service to charitable causes. Oh yes, the Invincible album actually has some really good songs on it. And I’m desperate to get a dance floor in my flat so I can practice some dance moves!

P.S: I’ve recorded a cover of Rock With You. I’ll upload it on Soundcloud some point soon…

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Happy new year!

Hello! I got The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Bottton for Xmas, and it was such an absorbing read that I finished it in 2  days. It is quite a slim book. I learnt more about Epicurus – he says that the most important thing in life is to indulge, to indulge in friendships/relationships and food. That’s why I’ve been very happy the past eight days. I have spent it with great company and eating lots of nice food!

Jamie's Italian restaurant

Jamie's Italian restaurant

I would also add ‘spectacle’ – nice spectacle that is, not horrid or macabre ones. For NYE 2008 I saw on a big screen at an East End pub how wonderful the London fireworks were. Since then I harboured a wish to be close to the action, in relative comfort. I’d have to be on a boat. So I got entry tickets to a boat/floating pub on the Thames right in front of the London Eye. Wow! The fireworks were so amazing, it was the best! It felt like heaven! Like I could walk amongst the sparkling stars! 10 whole minutes of fantastic pyrotechnic action! Then we danced to some great music. Although the journey home was quite apocalyptic, I will treasure my NYE experience forever!

Fireworks on the Thames

Fireworks on the Thames

Epicurus got a house and filled it with his friends, dining together most of the time. I think he also said never to eat alone; you should always enjoy food with company. He and his mates also tried to be as self sufficient as they can – growing veg and rearing farm animals. That would be fantastic I think, to be able to buy a great big house with enough privacy and space for everyone and share one big kitchen and hire a part-time maid to keep communal areas tidy (rota system is a bit… student-like). Even if we are not in the same house, living close by to friends/family is so helpful. I recall being able to cross the road and visit my collegemates when I fancied a chat.  That alleviated many a lonely time!

So anyway, happy new year… I am starting to read Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis – another Xmas gift and recommended by Tim Ferriss,  The 4-Hour Workweek guy, I think!

A snapshot of my day

Today I:

  • read History of Western Philosophy (yes, still reading it… very thick!)
  • helped put together a sofa-bed – just arrived today, thanks made.com
  • worked, of course
  • wrote one page-r recommending Zmags, a really cool digital publishing platform
  • texted lots of friends. My mobile’s normally forgotten
  • chatted with sis
  • bought Pet Shop Boys tickets
  • a bit of grocery shopping online
  • recorded myself singing Winter Wonderland. Don’t ask
  • cooked for Hari Raya Haji, without oni0ns (Salam Aidiladha everybody!)
  • prayed
  • booked appointment to do a presenter headshot for Spotlight finally!
  • scheduled to put a little bit of money in Aberdeen Asia Pacific fund – I love Asia so much I want to invest in it. Almost a quarter of it goes to S’pore companies so that’s good for me
  • renewed library books.

My happy, chilled out life, low stress no strife! 🙂

Philo tasty

OK, this is just so I remember what I read this past week:

Seneca – essay ‘On the Shortness of Life‘ – Man what an eye-opener! It basically says philosophy is the only worthy thing to do in life. Yeah well he’s a philosopher. But other things in that essay rings so true and there so many quotable quotes.

Alain de Botton – Status Anxiety – Amazing book. Explains status in it’s broadest sense and why we all crave for it – to get love, to meet expectations in the modern meritocratic society and being dependent on stuff like talent, luck and employers. What I was struck by was the theory that, now that mere mortals are all held up to be equal, there’s almost no excuse not to be rich, famous or successful. In the past luck had a bigger factor, like if you were born to a rich family or an aristocrat. The mere plebs were just that, mere plebs. Life was harder but they enjoyed what they had. Now we have lots of self-help books and ‘normal’ guys like Duncan Bannatyne and Richard Branson lining the shelves showing you the way to big success. So we have much higher expectations of ourselves and hence more prone to being disappointed in our lives. Especially if our peers are visibly doing better. It also shows how things, when before were not essential, become considered essential by a larger part of society 30 years later – stuff like 2nd cars and TVs.
To counter status anxiety, de Botton looks at philosophy, art, politics, religion and the bohemian lifestyle.

Rules of Parenting – Richard Templar and Confident Baby Care – Jo Frost – I just signed up to the local library. Thought I’d indulge myself in some super forward planning. Good tips in the rules of parenting book, but some points I just don’t agree with. I come from the school of tough love and obligation… and ‘Asian values’. The Jo Frost book is really cute and I’ll read it again come the time.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work – Alain de Botton – I had been meaning to check this book out for well over a year since he gave a talk at my workplace. My curiosity was reignited when I finished with the Status Anxiety book. This book was a bit of a surprise. A pleasant surprise – I was expecting a more ‘theoretical’ and general approach to describing work – but he went into detail focusing on specific jobs, tailing specific people who work in accounting (audit firm, Ernst & Young I think), fishing, rocket scientists, a careers adviser, a guy who is a member of the Pylon Appreciation Society, biscuit-making and aviation. It’s like a story book with lots of pictures. And also what is extremely evident is his constant use of metaphors and juxtapositions – some were so beautiful, but approaching the end of the book it gets a tiny bit dejavu-ish. I still like this guy, and this book is very insightful so I’ll seek out his other stuff. It is just so amazing the mundanity of some jobs and puts a magnifying glass on the monstrosity of wasting time, particularly other people’s time, never mind even if you’re paying them for it. It’s like first degree murder cos you’re robbing them of their life. Life = time. It brings work to perspective too – what significance would a specific project or task have in 3 years? And to think we sweat over them so much.

I’m currently reading a doorstopper – Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. It’s prolly the only doorstopper I’ve read in my life, I think. I’m up to Protagoras. I’m also reading some ‘making full use of your iPod’ book which isn’t very arresting.

Care to recommend any books?

Metro Malaysian food offer!

YUMMY!

If you live in London like I do, enjoy this 2 for 1 offer at Malaysian restaurants from Metro!

Enjoy: 2 for 1 Malaysian dining

Now I can’t wait to open my own Singaporean Malay restaurant…

Dell sucks… until mine is here.

Dell - Yours is hereLet’s start with how Dell sucks.

After much research, I bought a Dell Studio 1557 laptop online, to make music with. 9-13 days – I can live with that. However, it eventually took Dell over a month to make and send me a laptop. I was not amused. I even tried to cancel my order, which I was told, by a human being, that it was successful – but NO! They took my money – turns out I couldn’t cancel.

After a long, fraught and annoying wait, I was underwhelmed when an automated computer voice rang my mobile to confirm the date and time of my delivery. And when the package finally arrived, it sat unloved and unopened for half a day while I got on with my life.

I didn’t even bother opening it in the end – got my partner to do it. Spied a big ‘Made in China’ label. Seemed to crawl through orienting itself into life as a laptop. Vista as well! Was not impressed.

How Dell redeemed itself

In under 24 hours I’m totally sold on this product. Specs below. My main considerations were for it to be good enough for making music, a PC (was considering a Mac… but I love PC really) and cost under £700. I’ve gotten so used to this thing now, going back to my desktop seems strange!

Intel i7-720QM(1.6GHz) Mobile CPU – 6MB L3 cache, quick mobile processor. This had only been out about two weeks when I ordered the laptop
4GB RAM
320GB 7,200rpm hard drive – 5,400rpm would be more likely to cause latency/write issues
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HP 4570 – I like playing games; this is good enough for not-so demanding games
64-bit Vista OS

After it got into the swing of things, this laptop really shone. My desktop computers rely on wifi dongles to connect to the internet and they cut out all the time – but this laptop’s connection is very stable. The sound is great for a laptop; it’s like surround sound. The screen is wide and bigger than I expected (15″ inch widescreen). As a result it’s not as light as I would like, but considering how powerful it is (and it has a DVDRW drive), it’s acceptable. The keyboard is lovely to type on as I write this; the keys big, light and comfortable.

And the speed. It’s quite ridiculous how the speed of a computer can affect internet experience. We only have bog standard wifi and the router’s quite far away. My year-old desktop is very good, but this one is on fire – working though a Java-based website CMS in real-time, as if I’m just working through Explorer locally. I also installed Sims 3 and imported my Sims 3 files from my desktop so I can continue my game. Seems to work fine. I think Sims 3 automatically uses settings that give the swiftest gameplay, which is why the graphics aren’t as good as on my desktop – but it’s not jerky, and is definitely good enough.

I did encounter some stupid errors which presumably is due to Vista – like default shortcuts in My Documents pointing to a location that doesn’t exist and refusing to install Cute FTP despite having the right version of it.

I’ll give making music a go on this thing, after I figure out what software to use! Here’s hoping the laptop won’t slow down…

P.S: Are you looking for a Dell Studio battery for this laptop?

Making time

I would love to blog more often. But I can hardly find time to tweet! Have signed up my mobile so I can update on the go but at the end of the day who cares anyway.

I had a filling meal at Ranoush Juice; prior to that, got some shoes from H&M as my toes were peeping out of my Bata flats; prior to that tried to go vintage dress shopping at Portobello but as I was edging towards Notting Hill – smart me started from Ladbroke Grove – it got too crowded and my friend and I gave up and retreated. Bank Holiday + Labour Day crowds I bet.

I’m so comfortable and so happy. I may not be on TV, or in the latest magazine, but I’m so happy to be able to just chill and hang out, eat, have wholesome fun with friends. Definitely happier to be in London as a lot of my friends are here.

When I was in the Midlands most of my time was spent on the computer, playing computer games, rehearsing for gigs, playing gigs. I never went on holiday, had fairly mundane jobs, holding on to the dream. I got very agitated when I saw some frontwomen on TV recently because I could be doing that, and I do that very well. Yes, I’m going book gigs, yes I’m gonna write songs again…but maybe my priorities have changed? Somehow I feel – as morbid as it may be – that the last ever thought I’d ever have won’t be ‘I wish I was famous’ or ‘I wish I was a rockstar’…it’ll be more like ‘I wish I prayed more’ and ‘I love my family’. Wasted potential yes.

Since moving here I prefer spending time with people who mean something to me rather than people I should hang out with because they might get me that gig or some other favour. Maybe now I’ll make more ‘chill’ music because I’m not reliant on it as a ‘business’, and knowing the power of the niche it might actually be better than making music like chipmunks on speed.

Also I don’t really miss the lifestyle of waiting around for your gig to start, kinda fake people you ‘know’ and you always say hello to and don’t go much beyond that, trying to sell T-shirts and CDs, spending lots of money on rehearsals for gigs that suck, spending time + effort + money on merchandise, and the temptation to get off with someone. Pretty much sex, alcohol and rock n’ roll. I do miss performing, and creating structured sounds and noises, and I like recording a lot because that’s when we sound best, esp with a wizard producer.

I used to think, maybe I like to perform cos I like approval. It may have been the case, but the more experience I have the more I couldn’t give a shit – I know I’m good/just what I am. There’s no ‘kick’ to applause – they’re just being polite anyway. Those who howl are my friends, really. But it is LOVELY to have a few fans. People I never knew before liking us just through our music/performance. Unbelievable sometimes – but I guess if I find the pidgin amount of people actually liking us unbelievable then I’m not cut out for superstardom really, am I? Heheh.

Anyhoo. I’m happy and comfortable and looking forward to snuggling up in bed. Good night.