radio silence

April 3, 2017

i may not post much on this blog for the foreseeable future because one of my Ph.D. supervisors asked me to set-up another private one that’s sort of a diary holding various design considerations  for my app and such. Lately, I’ve been more “active” on the other one as it’s beginning to wind down and it takes a lot of effort for me to type at least two posts.

strange bedfellows

March 20, 2017

they recently showed the Theory of Everything on free-to-air tv.  While Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, he’s not necessarily aspirational for me.  I’m nowhere near as smart.  We need people we can relate to.  I accomplish things because I’m not dumb and work really hard.

I know Dr. Stephen Strange is fictional but I could weirdly relate more to the film Doctor Strange.  I’m not a surgeon but I guess it had to do with embracing the unexplainable despite bring logical.

Strangely enough in the movie Logan, I could relate to both Professor X and Wolverine –   this was the first time I saw myself in two characters.  Maybe it was their “fall from grace” so atypical of a superhero flick or maybe it’s because I’m such a comic book nerd.

Regardless, we’re all different, relate to certain things, and process things at our own pace.  Despite people’s insistence, a single, magic, silver bullet  “solution” doesn’t always exist.  Some issues are divergent or require multiple things acting in harmony.  Narrowing it to one thing would be great but that isn’t always possible.

relativity

January 11, 2017

everyone is entitled to whinge about their problems (or physically express them) but you have to know your audience.  Forgive my callousness but originally hailing from the Philippines where 90% of the population live below the poverty line (despite the majority working extremely hard to improve their lot), having a wife who required a kidney transplant after falling pregnant with our son (she was previously on haemodialysis six days a week and was hospitalised several times and had to be brought in to Emergency via ambulance) and living with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI that’s unnamed and resulting in compromised in balance and co-ordination) for nearly a decade some issues seem like “high-class” problems to me.  It’s not that they shouldn’t complain but choose carefully the person(s) to share it with.

I know I should be more empathetic but it frustrates me when people feel entitled – ever seen the film, Blue Jasmine.  It’s just people should learn to adjust and adapt to their circumstances – all of us have our own crosses to bear but, with me, for the most part they’re barking up the wrong tree.

waiting to exhale

January 5, 2017

Saw Birdman a few nights ago on free-to-air tv and it made me think.  Is this blog a feeble attempt at relevance?  I don’t really use FB (because like internet browsing it can lead you down a time-consuming rabbit hole) or tweet (because I have verbal diarrheoa).  Although it’s very hard for me to type, writing does help with my sanity.

I am used to working two jobs (usually one full-time and another as a casual) and now I have none.  Many say I’m “Iucky” because I can’t help around the house anymore and have a valid “excuse”, am I really that “fortunate” to lose my balance and co-ordination? Do they even stop to think maybe I don’t want to be on the lounge and watch all day.  Forget walking, what I would have given for my speech to be left intelligible (now it’s only my wife that mostly understands me) so I could have tried to hang on to my last job for longer.

I wouldn’t mind wearing glasses but instead I need a handheld magnifier to read “small” fonts because I’m legally blind (although I can still see).  It’s getting around with a walker that most concerns me about losing my eyesight.  I wish I could adjust the size and contrast of subtitles to suit my preferences.

There’s still a lot I want to see but most sites are pretty much inaccessible.  That’s perhaps why my interest in food is more pronounced.  I can’t even drink a hot beverage on my own (and I really love coffee).    Sure, I no longer cook nor bake (I was rather fond and quite “good” at both) but I can still enjoy eating – although I now refrain from bones and soup (as they are “tricky” for me).  I’ve given up alcohol since I use a straw to drink (since I don’t want to be easily intoxicated with all the air I ingest and drinking wine is just stupid).  Although, I suspect, I would’ve been naturally weaned off the stuff as my wife’s allergic and I’ve got a son who’s still too young to drink. Moreover, I’m not really a fan of waiting for my food to cool down; or expecting for a straw or a bowl (because I need them to feed myself independently) to come as those around me begin eating.

It’s the ordinary things I find troublesome like stairs, buttons, inclines and writing implements.  It takes me longer to dress, brush my teeth manually (automated brushes often have small bristle “footprints” and I can’t floss), cut my finger nails (I can no longer groom my own toe nails) and use an electric shaver. The only reason I can go to the toilet and bathe myself is because of the equipment (a raiser and a shower chair & bars respectively).  Aside from not being comfortable, I find the concept of adult diapers disgusting.  Also, I’ve got to pee more often as I can no longer hold my bladder.  Don’t get me started on how toilet doors open and the cramped spaces – poor design often results from a lack of empathy or thought.

I know it shouldn’t bother me but I used to be a “fast” walker for my height. Now because I walk very slowly and carefully, I lag very much behind my family.  Maybe it’s a thing I got so used to. I can no longer play basketball which was my main form of recreation and exercise (and stress relief).

I hate it when I’m told to think of others who struggle more than me.  It makes me even “sadder” for them and not grateful that my condition could be worse (and don’t feel “better” at all).

I don’t usually whinge but I’ve been told in order to truly move on I need to vent on occasion – so pardon the collection of complaints, I’ll try to avoid such posts.

an unexpected journey

December 29, 2016

been under the weather lately and it’s caused me to reflect.  Haven’t done my daily exercises now for three days as I’ve been feeling really bad (it helps keep my body weight at a level I can physically manage and releases my endorphins to help me cope).  Living with an unnamed neurological condition for nearly nine years (with relatively stable symptoms) and my recent health issues has reinforced that control is an illusion and that I better make hay while I still can (not to be overly dramatic but more realistic).  Admittedly, it’s hard for me as it’s not my personality and I was brought up to place other’s needs before mine (so much so that I don’t REALLY know what I want).  It’s not easy but I should endevour to put my and my family’s enjoyment first (even if it runs contrary to the delayed gratification I was earnestly taught).  Everything considered, I will continue to set aside funds like I  previously learned to manage money.  Enjoyment shouldn’t be an excuse to shirk responsibility.

rogue’s gallery

December 23, 2016

I finally saw Rogue One earlier today.   This is a spoiler for some so I suggest those that haven’t seen it yet stop reading now.

I understand why they had to call it “A Star Wars Story” and they did not have the usual scrolling introduction as it happened between Episodes III and IV.  It was a much needed explanation and closed the loop as how the Rebel Alliance acquired the schematics (and more importantly the in-built and purposely engineered flaw) of the Death Star.

Chirrut is more than a token character with a disability (which is an indicator of how far society has come – there’s still a way to go but the “representation” may have not been that welcome a few years ago).  It isn’t surprising that he was blind (echoing the parallel when Luke was training to use a light saber onboard the Millennium Falcon).  It reminds me of Erannon of the Blade, a character I concocted back in college for an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign after reading the Rogue’s Handbook. I even wrote a monologue for him – sheesh!

Rogue One as a title seemed arbitrary to me – it’s just anything penciled in by the writer in the script could have been used.  I was just hoping it was more meaningful (and not as serendipitous as it seemed).

Star Wars is ostensibly a space opera (as previously described).  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (oh, the sacrilege!).  It personally means something to me (as I suspect it’s held deeply by others) but I know enough that it holds no significance for others (no matter how hard you try to convince them).  IMHO, it’s a binary fight between good and evil – just like The Lord of the Rings series – so I understand why it doesn’t appeal to some.  Ever notice Sci-Fi does have penchant for dystopian futures (a lesson that we have the power to choose to avoid this bleakness)? Star Trek seems more hopeful to me – I don’t mind it but I prefer Star Wars (does it surprise anyone that Episode V:  The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite one?). And I always felt there was an “artificial” dichotomy but I digress…

The “main” characters had to perish because they aren’t part of the storyline.  It was finally good to see some diversity on screen but I’m not a real PC stickler – with the changing demographic in America it’s no real surprise although women seem to be visibly underrepresented.  In any case, does it advance or is necessary in the grand scheme of things?  In my mind, it may have not been the greatest Star Wars film (it was certainly better than all of the prequels) but it’s a story which definitely needed to be told.  This isn’t really a review but just a few of my thoughts.

we recently came back from an interstate trip.   we watched a concert, ate somewhere I wanted to go and caught up with good friends while we were there.  I don’t say it enough but I had a wonderful time with my family. I reflected on what I have (hopefully I’ll be more conscious of the things I need to be grateful for).

In some ways it’a blessing that my condition is unknown – that way I don’t have a set expiry date and are encouraged to make the most of each day.  I don’t know when “my last good day is” so I should try to make the most while I still am able to.

It’s true what they say:  something just clicks.  It’s not about when other people prescribe  you should be “ready” but when you realise it for yourself (for some it’s about “hitting rock bottom”).  It’s about others facilitating but not dictating.

I’ve made a deliberate choice to try to make hay of the resources given to me while I still can (but still remaining pragmatic – I’ve a son and wife after all).