Month: January 2013

Pros and Cons

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So yea, my mac has decided that the last 2 weeks of my semester is the most timely period to go on a schizophrenic rampage by giving me the rainbow wheel of death every 5 seconds on Friday. And suddenly today it behaves much better. This leaves me utterly confused. I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with such situations until I’m dating for the third month.

But anyway, Its been a crazy few weeks. Been helping out for the DPA camp, and I’m glad to see that a new bunch of DPA students are already in. It hasn’t felt like a year since polytechnic. I honestly think if i sneak into the orientation camp, the year 1s might actually ask me what class I’m in. But its fine. I’ll just take it that i look youthful. heh.

I’ve just started considering getting a DSLR. There’s quite a few reasons why I would like one actually. But lets list the Pros and Cons to evaluate whether its worth getting one.

Pros
1.The first would to be able to take good quality photographs/ videos. This, of course would be the primary objective of having a camera. Other tertiary objectives such as it being a rather effective neck strengthening tool, are of course, not of equal importance. But yea. Its really hard to need to do a project, and finding out that you don’t have the tools at hand, and have to borrow it. Not that its too out of the way either. But you know, its nice to have that security. ( and with that logic, Russ buys a tank of pirahna, just in case a villian enters his house, and he can conveniently lure him in enough to make him fall unknowingly into the depths below, like in every other spy movie…) 

Moving on!

2. Its an investment- I guess this one is really a tough one to prove. I guess there’s a million people who justify buying things as an investment. But the sad reality, is that I may never be a professional photographer/ videographer. But then again, it opens up a spectrum of new skills I can acquire, and thats a pretty big deal, considering if you want a new branch of skills in online RPGs you usually need to get a job advancements/ Online Cash. More so in real life!

But really, I guess if I could use that camera and join a few competitions, or help a friend out at events, I would slowly make my money’s worth right?

3. third primary pro of getting a camera, and this , i didnt realised till i discussed with my friends about it would be – the Ultimate Social Gathering Hacking Tool! Take for example, you’re at a party with strangers. As long as you are holding a camera, no one will try to strike up small talk, unless they need you to take a photograph, or unless they really like to talk about cameras. I guess the insincerity stings, but it helps filter out the awkwardness at parties.  Also people are really nice to the photographers cause they control their existence at that aforementioned hypothetical event. I mean if someone offends you, you could choose to take less photgraphs of them, thus rendering them less significant, or you could just Photoshop them out of the party. Or even better, Photoshop them in with a party holding a Baguette! I mean cmon! Holding a baguette at a party? Lame!

And of course, with it being the ultimate ninja tool, it can also be the ultimate social tool. Lets be honest that most people like getting their picture taken. But what they love more is to look at their pictures immediately after its taken. And in that span of 5- 10 seconds, a person is willing to sacrifice his or her (hopefully her) personal space to walk up beside you and look at the photograph. There’s that chance! Ask about the weather! Tell her she looks like a certain celebrity in the photograph! Tell her that the photograph must have been photoshopped, and then say oops while giving her a boyish grin.

Ladies, is that smooth? I really have to check cause I have no idea what I’m doing.

But yea, of course, hyperbole aside, it does make a good conversation starter. Somehow people think that as long as you are holding a DSLR, you’re like the pioneer of modern photography or something. Just play along until they find out you really just use auto mode for most photographs unless you want to manually disable the flash or something complicated like that.

Cons
1. The money. DSLRs are pretty expensive. And once you start, i guess its hard to stop. Once I get a basic kit, there are lenses, and then if i want to get better sound, i could buy a mike, and then there’s those accessories like a fierce leather pouch, and those brushes and dusters that make you look like an archeologist then a photographer (or when you first start out, a man holding a camera, with a penchant for standing at weird angles to take creative shots that really aren’t)

2. The expectations- Once you get a camera, its like opening Pandora’s box or something. A gust of wind comes flying out of the box, and though the world doesn’t look to much different, it somehow is, and you can’t figure it out until you enter a social setting and 5 different people ask you to take a photograph for them.  Also not forgetting that thanks to social media, its become an obligation for you to upload, edit and tag them all in a span of 1 week. And then when its established that you have a camera, people would usually assume that you’ll bring it all the time, regardless of circumstance and might lament if you didn’t. Much like what I’m doing right now. Haha, but its true. Owning a camera is like joining a boyband, or being a Disney kid celebrity. Like 80 percent of photographers can’t break into the scene as like mainstream humans anymore.

” What are doing in your beach attire? And where’s your camera?”

“erm… I didnt bring it.”

“What? Why not?”

“Erm, well, i wanted to actually, yknow, soak in the sun at the beach for a change.”

“Hahaha! Oh, Russ! Always the prankster! You almost had me there for a moment” *looks around for hidden camera*

“No- No dude. I really didnt bring it.”

*smile fades*

“… Guards seize him!”

I apologise for the extensive spontaneous monologue.

But anyway, I guess the list could go one for both pros and cons. I guess I just figured it be a very important decision for me, cause I guess if don’t use it as much or well as i expect to, I would be slightly disappointed with myself. So i guess I’ll give it a few weeks of thought before planning how to actually get the money to buy one

*looks at arms to see which one has more meat*

But anyway, thanks for reading! Really appreciate it 🙂

Oh! And I was thinking of starting a weekly comic strip or something. Just as a hobby, cause I used to draw them ( see previous post) and read alot of them ( check previous record of sexual encounter. Oh there’s none! He’s telling the truth!)

But yea, i guess  I have to start compiling a list of Pros and Cons again…

I can’t sleep.

Its 1.14 am on the January 11 2013 and I can’t sleep. The reason why I’m specifying the date and time of this post so explicitly is because this post runs the risk of never seeing publication, or even completion. I’ve read somewhere that bright lights (like the one emitted by my mac as I am typing) affects melatonin production, and that affects sleep. And I guess this doesn’t help with the insomnia, but I’ve lost my ability to write with a pen and paper. 21st century problems. I digress.

Before I resume, I must warn readers that this is a rather heavy post, coming from a rather heavy, and sleep deprived heart. But it means alot to me if you read it (in the event it does get published). So here goes.

Knowing that this is the year I’m going to be 18 is tough. Apart from the fact that I, as well as western media, has convinced myself that this is usually the age I look taller, and that I’ll rock a leather jacket. So far, neither has come to fruition. This worries me a bit. When I hit 16 I had already given up hope that I’ll never be a child prodigy, be it in a realistic sense (mathematical genius), or a semi-realistic one, ala Harry potter or Percy Jackson. And now that I’m of the drinking age, and I still don’t resemble any of the cast from any College drama, this sorta debunks hopes of future developments of light-sabers. Its just sad that reality pales in comparison to reel-ality. Apart from reality always being HD, unless your spectacle prescription’s a tad off. But then again, I’ve always favoured plot over cinematography, so sigh for being a cynic.

But this post is actually meant to tackle a larger topic. I think wanting to tackle larger topics is part of being 18. I find myself complicating things more than I usually do. I guess that’s consoling, since it means at least one part of my body is growing. But yea, this post is meant to tackle my faith, and my contemplations on it.

I’m pretty sure its what’s keeping me up, but I’ll leave that for later. The thing is, I’m a Christian, since about 12 and I’m proud of it. I serve ardently in church, I’m also a regular. However, my spiritual growth is lacking, and I feel it. I admit I haven’t been reading my bible regularly, and I’ve been praying lesser than I used to. And I guess that’s part of it, but I think there’s another reason.

I’ve been struggling with the question of existentialism alot lately. I’m horrible with philosophical terms, but to my personal definition, Existentialism is asking why we exist, and whether morality exists, and whether God exists. I’ve cross referenced it to Google, not sure if I’m right, but I shan’t bother with the jargon. But yea, I think I need a lighter hobby.

But anyhoo, I’ve thought a lot about it, and last year, for a week I decided that I might have turned into an Atheist. I looked at the condition of the world, the hopelessness that death portrayed, the theory of evolution, and I decided that contrary to what I believed in, there might actually be no God. That resulted in a few panic attacks, as well as Muse’s “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” playing in my head alot. That wasn’t fun.

“All thinking men are atheists.” — Ernest Hemingway

Then I came across the term Agnostic. And I thought about whether I was Agnostic. Agnostics believe in a God, but they don’t believe that any book or religion on the Earth can explain God.

“Agnostic. Lazy Man’s Atheism.”- Pierce Hawkthorne, Community

And after strong contemplation, I’m pretty sure I believe in a God. Whether or not its the one I read in the bible, or in other people’s bible, at this point doesn’t matter. To me, God exists. Why? I guess its the usual creationist explanation. Because nature is too Awe inspiring to not be a work of a greater force. I know I’m going against great minds such as Richard Dawkins, and Steven Hawkings, and tons of other irate youtubers skulking christian videos, but I’m pretty backed up by other thinkers such as Albert Einstein, and C.S Lewis, and Jesus. The thing is, if the Big Bang Theory is still a theory, and evolution still isnt solidified, why can’t a God exist? Heck, even if the Big Bang Theory is proven to be true, God might have still created it. The point is that being optimistic about anything has never hurt anyone. And I believe in a God, because though my faith is lacking now, the point is that there were points in my life that I did feel like things were an act of divine intervention. That’s not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of humility. A point that humans aren’t the greatest things that walked the earth. We still commit unthinkable things and do evils that are clearly wrong. I guess thats also my take on morality as well. Morality exists.

So its down to a question of religion. I know that God exists, but how do I know its the same God I worship? How do I know God has a son named Jesus, and that He died on the cross for our sins? I find it hard to throw it all to faith even though that’s mostly a point of religion, it being a faith. And I guess that’s where I’m finding it hard to take.

I’ve been struggling with this since last year, and I’m starting to find it harder to keep it in. At first I was afraid of telling others because I felt that by doing so I might be stumbling other Christian friends in their faith, but after thinking about it, I’ve realised that it was not about that. Rather it was more about being ashamed of my personal views, and growth as a person. I was afraid others would judge me by my faith, and my ideas. But I’ve come to realise that if i dont tell others about my beliefs or faith, that would mean that I effectively believe in nothing. That i hold no opinions on anything. When I really do. I might be tired thinking of which stand I should take, when in actual fact I’ve incarcerated myself in my own insecurities and fears.

So today, I’m clearing the air. I believe in a God. I’m not sure whether the God I believe in is the one to go to church to meet, but thats alright for now. I believe in morality. That people are capable of doing both good or evil. I believe that you do not require a religion to discern good from bad, and vice versa. And even though, in this definition, I am agnostic, I am doing my best to be a spiritual agnostic. I attend church regularly, and I pray to a higher being. I live by a set of moral laws not just because I’m part of any religion, but because I live and love others like me and want them to be able to live alongside me harmoniously. I’m doing my best to understand Christianity again and accept Christ as my risen Lord and Saviour, but that much is up to me, and I guess my church members who support me. 🙂 And God of course *chuckles*.

I somehow feel much more liberated announcing this. I think the bottom line is that everyone in this world, be it religious or not, just wants to be in a community of people who are like them. Who can Love, who can be honest, who can do good as much as they sometimes do bad. And to me, that matters the most. Whether or not we get to heaven, thats a different issue, but all I know is I want to be a good person and I think that’s hard enough, don’t you?

There’s one more question though. If I’m agnostic, and God does exist, how does that even matter? He might not even have a hand in my fate, or whether I go to heaven, or anything. Well, I was having my atheist panic attack just an hour ago, and I decided to pray, and somehow, I felt slightly better knowing that there might be something listening to me. And the fact that I felt prompted to get up and type something sorta hints something doesn’t it? You call it coincidence. I call it divine intervention.

So I guess i will publish this post after all!

Till next time then.

SODA NEW YEAR IS HERE.

Yup, so its 2013, and I’ve been spending the first 3 nights of the year studying for my phonetics test thats coming up tomorrow. /saɪ/

But anyhoo, 2012 has certainly been a great run. It was a year of new friends and self discovery, largely attributed to the fact that I entered a new campus, and many people had no choice but to be stuck with me. Hee. No but really, I’m really thankful for all the new people that have entered my life. (NPP, Ambassadors, MCM etc) and for those whom I’ve already known, I thank you for still keeping up with me, and you are obligated to smile at this part of the post if you are part of the aforementioned groups of people.

Right, so I guess a new year means resolutions that have the shelf life of sliced bread. So lets get to it shall we?

Well, I’ve thought long and hard about practical resolutions I could keep to, but I finally decided to commit to one. And yes, maybe if i place all my eggs in one basket (weak analogy considering the proverb, yes I know) I might actually make this resolution work!

And i can’t deny that i’ve tried this more than once and certainly failed, but I’m willing to try again, and hopefully this time, my consumerist conditioning will surrender to the sheer force of human willpower *echoes echoes echoes*

So my 2013 Resolution is to stop drinking soda for the rest of my life.

Yes. Its time for those aluminum cylinders packed with caffeinated sugary liquids to go!

Goodbye Coca- Cola, Goodbye Pepsi, Goodbye other beverages that aren’t as well advertised and thus aren’t as impactful and shall not be named. You have done nothing but provide me with calories that I don’t need, extra toilet breaks that aren’t necessary ( and more green than clear), and the constant fear that I was going to be diabetic as a kid ( My parents’ threatening indoctrination might have partly attributed to that fear as well, but hey, they’re Asian, case rested)

But really, I did some research on why I shouldn’t drink soda, and the reasons given were pretty clear. Soda harms your teeth, Soda harms your pancreas, soda could gives you diabetes, soda could give you osteoporosis, soda could give you heartburn, and the list goes on. I mean like really, if Coca Cola ever ran for president, I would firstly, be rather shocked because I never thought products could be people ( apart from Community season Season 3 Ep 13. ) and secondly, I wouldn’t vote for him, cause dayum, I don’t think he’ll have a decent health plan.

But the matter of the fact is that its really hard to ditch Sodas for two main reasons

1. They taste so great

2. They are everywhere.

Let me elaborate

1. Sodas taste so great.The matter of the fact is that Sodas have existed since forever. They’ve been tried and tested, and they are the cockroaches of the beverage kingdom. Sodas are meant to taste great, and over the span of years that those things have existed, they have been perfected to our tastebuds, and whats even scarier its that they alter our tastebuds to like sweet stuff, and we keep coming back for more. Not cool.

2. Sodas are everywhere
I’m pretty sure coca cola is the cure for Alzheimer’s. I mean even a person with dementia has seen so many ads, he might never be able to get the product out of his head. The beverage industry has got crazy with ads since day one, its pretty much impossible not to notice a soda can/ ad in a day.  And of course, fast food chains only serve up sweet beverages.

On the bright side, not drinking sodas are great because 1. I won’t spend as much money at fastfood chains/ cinemas because their meals always come with them drinks. 2. Saves me some cash, cause I’ll start bringing around a bottle instead. 3. Keeps me healthy, cause my tongue might actually return to its regular human form, and i’ll start eating less savouries, and less fast food as well hopefully, and of course more water. 4. I’ll technically be an eco warrior cause I’m no longer throwing away countless amounts of cans and paper cups. which leads to 5. Chicks digg captain planet. I mean, I’m green, I save the earth, I’m friends with different ethnic groups, i have pet dolphins, whats there not to love?

So yea, here we go with the impossible resolution of 2013.

I’m posting this up so that you guys can get accountable with me, and this usually means people tempting me with drinks and trying to play Pharisee everytime i come back with a drink that isn’t water. Ground rules are simple. #1. As long as it isn’t fizzy, its fine, though I’m trying to avoid canned drinks altogether. #2. I can quit this resolution as soon as I want, and if in the event i fail, this post will automatically be placed under the comedy section, beside the movie 2012. and yes, i know that joke has made its rounds so many times, but hey, I don’t Mayan a late joke every once in a while.

So yea, thats about it for me. I really hope this resolution sticks, and please do help me along and not bait me. Like just remind me if you ever see me buying a coke. Thanks.

So yeap, cheers to a great 2013 *raised glass of water*

Yes we Can! (ned drinks)