Playing Baker Street on a loop. One of my favourite songs of all time, heard it since before I started school. Great lyrics. Even went to Baker Street when we were in London. RIP.
Playing Baker Street on a loop. One of my favourite songs of all time, heard it since before I started school. Great lyrics. Even went to Baker Street when we were in London. RIP.
Rather than working on all the stuff I'm supposed to do this week, I spent half an hour drawing a diagram, then removing the titles. This was more fun. Diagrams are fun ^^. That is all.
With my dad, sis and I moving internationally again and with this latest project, I haven't had much time for blogging or tweeting these last few days. I'm really excited though, because I just finished a really unconventional project for a client and it worked beautifully!
I'm not allowed to discuss the Five W's, but suffice to say it used a lot of a certain flavour of Java and a really ancient database. I'm talking stone tablet ancient. And it worked! Yays! Alas for the sake of my anemic public resume/portfolio, this will be yet another thing I can't add to it for NDA-like reasons. Oh well, I learned a heck of a lot and got lots of experience.
Now I'll be taking a small sabbatical and helping my dad and sis move in and organise whatnot. Will be nice ToLiveWithoutLongCamelCase and dusty old manuals with yellowing pages that made me sneeze for a while ;).
Goodbye Singapore, you were a pretty, nice, safe, clean bubble to grow up in with great food, friends and experiences; but after 13 years we have to move on. I arrived at you as a nervous little primary school kid who loved pizza and left as a nervous computer professional who loves late night prata and sushi washed down with a teh tarik and green tea, though perhaps not at the same time.
You spoiled me with your public transport, safe streets, ultra fast internet and your friendly, talkative taxi drivers who always guessed I was from the UK. I'll miss The Morning Express; hearing meteorologists predicting 24-33 degree weather with afternoon showers every single day; nights with Brian Richmond; debating with shop keepers at Sim Lim Square over the merits of AMD versus Intel; the best airport and national airline in the world; the three different currency design changes that kept us all on our toes; exclaiming aiyo and wah lah; the street directories that proudly proclaim they come with a free map; the smiles from cute baristas who I never worked up the guts to ask out; the customs officials that repeatedly treated me with more respect than the ones from my native country; the year long warm weather that made it so much easier to wake up in the morning; the proximity to amazingly diverse places like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam that made my school excursions and camps that much more amazing; Dr Tan and the tireless nurses and staff at the medical oncology ward at Gleneagles Hospital; and finally the experience of growing up somewhere different.
My family moved to Singapore in the mid 1990s, now finally we're being transferred back to Sydney where I was allegedly born, though I have poor memory of such an event ;). My sister and I studied part time in Adelaide but went back to SG for holidays, now we're studying at UTS in Sydney, across the street from a family friend of all people!
I've wondered for ages what sort of person I would have turned out to be had we stayed in Australia. I probably would have been satisfied with Aus and had no qualms with settling down somewhere, probably Sydney where it all started. Now the thought of sitting still and living in the same place for more than a few years terrifies me for more reasons that I could be bothered to talk about, or that you could care to read!
A "base" back in Singapore would be nice for our general stuff we don't want to be lugging around in moves all the time (like photo albums, my late mum's posessions and so on). I've always wanted to live in Hong Kong for a while, seems like the next logical progression from Singapore ;).
We're in the process of moving (we're in the double digits for number of times now) so I won't be posting anything new for the next few days. Or I may find time to ramble on my iTelephone and post from it instead, like I used to do in 2008.
I'll still be messaging the hell out of Twitter with @Rubenerd and lurking on the GRC newsgroups if you want to say hi.
AdamNelson: @Rubenerd Why not stay in one spot
What a horribly mediocre idea!
Please don't ask me to elaborate on specifics just yet, I will once I'm safely enrolled somewhere else.
Dear University of South Australia,Your communications maketh Ruben sad
You now hold the distinction of being the biggest mistake I've made in my life to date. You turned what were supposed to be some of the better years of my life into an unmitigated disaster, which after recent family events I thought would be nigh impossible to do, relatively speaking. I knew I should have gone to Uni Adelaide, or Perth, or the NUS.
Anyway I'm in the process of transferring away from you, and one day I'll work up the guts to send you a letter like this instead of just posting it on my website.
Don't lose any sleep over it.
Having just spent the last few days talking about my own social anxiety, awkwardness and questions about my point in life, the universe, everything and 42, I thought I'd stop being so inwardly focused and address someone else's post discussing similar issues. We're a confederacy of introverts here aren't we? :).
WARNING: This is one of the longest posts I've ever done out of over 2,700 2,570 of them (whoops!). You've been warned.
I'll start with a maddening rhetorical question, maddening if only because I hate rhetorical questions personally, and I can never spell rhetorical. Who do you think is the greatest, nicest, most intelligent person on the internet? If your answer is Ruben Schade, nobody likes a suck up, so stop it. The answer is a person who, if you're not a wheathead or even know what a wheathead is, you've probably never heard of.
I first met Jim Kloss when I perfected my bicycle powered trans conductive reverse warp drive which allowed me to travel backwards in time for brief moments. I landed in a small park in Ohio in the 1980s and saw a business man through a window frantically typing code into a blinking computer. His eyes were bloodshot which suggested he'd either been staring at that screen for an extended period of time, or management at the company he was working for had needlessly frustrated him with empty rhetoric (there's that word again) and bureaucratic nonsense, or most likely a combination of the two. I approached the window, but before I could get close enough to say hello and to see what he was doing, a gigantic guard dog lept out from nowhere and clamped his jaw onto my left leg. That little stunt trapped me in 1980s Ohio for weeks because my leg was too sore to start up the bicycle powered trans conductive reverse warp drive to get home. True story.
The second time I met Jim was another accident, it was towards the end of 2004 and I had found out about this term called New Time Radio by Frank Nora, a friendly, nerdy prolific internet radio show producer who talked about all sorts of cool, weird, unconventional stuff. Through that I learned about podcasting which led me to download iPodder and subscribe to this Whole Wheat Radio comedy audio magazine which from the sound of it was clips from a guy's rants on an internet radio station.
I'd been used to sending fan mail to people and never getting replies, which was why I was so thrilled that I got a response from Jim within a day of messaging him the first time. I was so taken aback I decided to investigate further, and within a year I'd bought a dozen CDs through his website and had even got my dad listening.
This post isn't about Jim's Whole Wheat Radio independent music venture, it's about Jim himself. Over the years I'd come to trust Jim and consider him a friend because in a world of internet stars so engrossed by their own fame they consider themselves demi gods of the online realm worthy of worship, Jim has always been modest and underplayed his own significance and awesomeness, to use the technical terms.
Perhaps as a result of this instant rapport for some reason I started emailing him with problems I was facing and asking for advice. Both our mums (sorry Jim, moms!) passed on at around the same time, and in a very selfish way it was great to talk to someone with similar interests and focus during that time. If he ever resented these messages, he never let it show and always took them with gentle good humour and refreshingly candid advice. Much as Laura Douglass was better than the school psychiatrist, Jim has been better than any councillor I've seen. No doubt his modest nature will cause him to dismiss such claims as ridiculous, but unless he hacks my blog (and given it's WordPress it'd probably be simple for a PHP wizard like him to do!) the claim is there and there's nothing he can do about it!
Anyway I belabour all this pointless crap because after hearing our problems for so long he finally reached out to us a couple of days ago in a wiki entry. I could describe its contents, but best to let the man speak for himself:
...by comparison, Zettai Ryouiki is a recent anime fandom term used to describe female characters who wear super long socks with...
Well that was clearly the wrong quote. Let me try again.
I'm in the midst of a mid-life identity crisis. I hope it doesn't include hot flashes.
Examples colliding and breeding in my skull cavity for days/weeks/months include: brief/detailed; funny/serious; personal/business; brain/soul; technical/simple; political/neutered; controversial/Boy Scout; semi-infinite self-created possibilities; Jim; feelings; family; etc;
He then goes on to detail his dissolution with Big Mouths who obsessively detail their lives without ever coming to any profound realisations while sparking anger and frustration with other Big Mouths who disagree. Of course my summary does no justice to his words, so stop being lazy and read it. Don't worry, my page will still be here when you're done :).
I'm just going to come right out and say it, no matter how sappy it sounds. You are an awesome person Jim and I believe I speak for many people when I say we've been privelidged to have you in our lives. If you do decide to make changes, I hope you do them because you want to, and not because you're feeling pressured by anybody else or anything else. We will be staying tuned, and will support you in any decisions you make.
And if you're ever in Singapore or Adelaide there's a manhug, coffee, a grilled cheese sandwich and a philosopical discussion about telling Sh*t from Shinola waiting for you, choose whatever from that list you deem appropriate :)
Peace, health and happiness my friend,
We're all zippy little bags of energy - electrons excited enough to energize as light for a few milliseconds on life's CRT. I know. I get it. We're equally unimportant and hilariously grandiose in our overblown sense of self-importance within the Universes. I know, I know. I really get that.
I would have hoped my life would be on an LCD by now. Perhaps LCDs would help shield us from burnout. Get it? Burn in? CRTs? Sounded witty in my head. I'm hungry, wish I had a DVD spinning stomach.
I got a blog comment from Monnie on my recent South Aussie elections post which led me to her cupcakes blog, which led me to her other blog where she talks about an idea she got from @edible_hat about goals for 2010. Whew, that was a long and needlessly convoluted sentence.
Anyway we're already almost 3 months into the new year, but I figured I'd try this myself, only instead of coming up with my own goals I would shamelessly rip off some of their goals instead. Recycling reduces resource use, you see. And because I'm a nerd I have to start counting from 0.
A really good idea, and one I've already started implementing. I spent much of my holiday back in Singapore getting rid of computer stuff I don't need and scanning documents to shred. Last check I'd got rid of over 70,000 pages which is a fair number of boxes worth, as well as several large packing boxes of old computer keyboards, cables and CRT monitors.
In an admission that would make any Buddhist happy, I really need to get over my attachment to objects, before they really start controlling my life. I won't throw away my first computer though :).
My aim is to finish the year with less stuff than I started with for the first time, and to base my purchasing decisions as much on necessity and the space such things take up instead of just price.
As you're all already bored of reading here, I'm a terribly shy and socially awkward person in real life and that needs to change, firstly by worrying less about what people think about me. People like Monnie and Edible_Hat are awesome enough that they could coast on it, but for me I'd need to work on it some more.
Being self conscious is such a crushing emotion to overcome when I leave the house each morning. Not sure how one goes about fixing that though, maybe getting a haircut?
I'd already started doing this to a certain degree with my scanning, but the way he phrased this idea is simply brilliant. To take it literally, I've been using a tiny SQLite3 database for my personal stuff for a long time, what'd be great is to scan even more stuff and collate it all with timestamps and subjects in a database too. Because I essentially live in two places this means I could carry more stuff with me virtually!
Been looking at Bento for the Mac which looks perfect, but I'm doing just fine with SQLite3 and my crappy but usable Python interface for it. Should create a nice little ncurses app for it :).
This really resonated with me. I've been studying on and off for family and personal reasons since 2005 and I really need to finish. If that involves transferring because the current university I'm attending has been inflexible and cruel then I need to get my arse into gear and do that.
I managed to build several machines from parts while I was in Singapore, but instead of a file server I have them all doing Folding@Home to find cures for diseases. It's too late for my mum, but I figure I don't have a medical degree so someone handy around a computer this is my way of helping others. What's cool is I can use DynDNS and remotely connect to these machines through SSH from here in Adelaide and check on their progress!
I added this here because it's proof I actually managed to do something on this list!
I tried Vietnamese last week for the first time (in Kuala Lumpur of all places). I'd love to learn how to cook that, it's so fresh, healthy and tasty! I can cook all kinds of German stuff but that's my practical limit. Must be the genes :).
I don't want to equate my own personal and family struggles with Monnie's, but that stated goal is simply awesome! Again putting it into practise might be tough, but I'm going to try. I'm a computer nerd who doesn't like getting drunk, going to nightclubs and spends too much time in coffee shops working on puzzles late at night while chilling to some jazzy Michael Franks. I watch anime. I'm an atheist. I like grilled cheese sandwiches. Take THAT world!
Okay, throwing one in that I came up with :). I'd been feeling so disconnected with all the places I've been in most of my life because I've never been anywhere long enough to have roots. Singapore has been the only exception because I spent my teenage years there and my dad's still there. It's where I had my first crush. It's where I had my first job. It's where I went to high school. It's where I fell down the stairs and broke my first laptop.
Still, I'd like to be able to have the guts just to pick up and go to Munich and learn German, or Toronto, or Dublin, or Seoul and learn Korean, or Hong Kong and learn Cantonese, or Kyoto and learn Japanese for a few years. Or acknowledge that I'm in love with Singapore and that I should go back there in my own right instead of on a green card attached to my dad.
Australia is a nice place with friendly people, but I'm really only an Aussie on my passport and with a few of my mannerisms. Studying here is good, but I don't see my future here. Actually just acknowledging that has made me feel good, maybe I can move on after all.
What about you, how many of your 2010 goals have you messed up already?
Having spent the last hour sitting here programming while my landlord has an open house and has prospective buyers walking through and having a tour, I now know what it feels like to be a goldfish in a bowl, or a zoo animal in a zoo. Yes, you read that right, a zoo animal in a zoo, as opposed to zoo animals in a goldfish bowl.
It's now been a couple of hours and I think I can break down the kind of people that walk through inspecting houses. Many people may be a part of multiple groups.
Possibly more as the story develops!
Merlin Mann from 42 + 1 folders once suggested in a podcast that if you want to apply yourself too some creative writing you should start typing and refuse to use the backspace key; just pretend it's not there. I'm far to obsessive compulsive to follow this advice verbatim because typos freak me out like breakfast cereal without soy milk, but that compulsion aside I'm going to give it a try.
As this evening comes to a close I'm left with a weird feeling of reflection and uncertainty, despite potentially having some direction and purpose. I'm close to finishing my exams, I only have two outstanding assignment issues and the real estate agent in charge of managing my landlord's property finally got around to inspecting the house prior to the open day on Sunday. The landlord wants to sell.
I've got FreeBSD 8.0 gleefully installing on my ThinkPad X40 next to me, my MacBook Pro is frantically compressing a bunch of disc images so I can scrape up some spare gigabytes of hard drive space, the rain outside has stopped but you can still smell it, the ceiling lights are off so the monitors are casting an almost spooky glow and long shadows across the table and down the hall, my bottle of water is empty but I'm still a little thirsty, I'm shaking a little but that's normal, and because my sister went back to Singapore before me, some pretty, quiet piano playing through the speakers and a quiet hum of computer cooling fans are the only sounds other than the cicadas I can hear.
I still find it infinitely fascinating that on some days I blog a lot, talk to people on Skype and Twitter messages like there's no tomorrow; on other days despite not having more or less work to do than the day when I was posting five hundred blog entries I can barely bring myself to write one, and when I do get around to posting that lone entry it's a rambling post with little substance, value or purpose. Hey, like this one.
Well it's been really nice talking to you, but I'd best be off to bed. I'll go ahead and sprinkle some hyperlinks through this post, then I'll hop into bed and distract worrying thoughts by weighing in the pros and cons of using the Xfce verses Gnome-Light ports.