2 princes

June 6, 2018

sorry. i was MIA but I had a few personal issues to contend with. I’m sort of back.  That said, my posts will be “irregular” over the next few months.  I need to reserve most of my time and effort for my other blog for my studies.  You may wonder why I maintain two.  It’s because most of the ideas there are not yet ready-for-prime-time and aren’t up-to-snuff  yet to be shared.

It’s partly a quality kick but mainly because you can’t serve two masters well.

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born to run

November 24, 2017

PBS Newshour showed again Part 1 of Jeffrey Brown‘s interview with Bruce Springsteen (originally aired December 19, 2016; the video url: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/bruce-springsteen-tackles-truth-song-memoir ). It was meant to be a promo of his memoir but it was much more to me.

He might not be my favourite artist or a technical singer but like he says: he’s learned to ‘inhabit his songs’ which makes his songs more believable.  Moreover, his working-class roots makes him seem authentic and relatable. I don’t pretend to be an expert on him (or his numerous works) but it wasn’t until I heard the original acoustic (and much more slower) version of ‘Born in the USA’ that I thought I understood the lyrics and what that song was truly about.

As he says in his interview and his in his new memoir “I wasn’t modest in the assessment of my abilities. Of course, I thought I was a phony (sic). That is the way of the artist. But I also thought I was the realest thing you had ever seen.” It’s about dichotomy, I guess – existing on two different planes at the same time.  For me, a real artist lives (and exists) with contradictions – they are only human after all.

You can watch Part 2 at https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/music-medicine-bruce-springsteen

trivial pursuit

September 18, 2017

for some reason, I’ve always been interested in trivia.  I’ve always enjoyed reading and browsing the Internet. Among other things, I like watching shows like  Jeopardy!, Adam Ruins Everything, and Food:  Fact or Fiction.  One of my most-liked chefs is Heston Blumenthal as I’m intrigued in how chemistry (although I found it boring in high school – it was my least favourite science subject) can be applied to cooking – another of my hobbies.

But I digress.  I’ve recently been made aware of a Google hack: if you type the words “fun facts” in the search bar, a piece of trivia will be returned.

despacito

August 24, 2017

Maybe it’s just because I’m not a Belieber or due to nostalgia (I grew up watching Sesame Street after all and I am a fan of Ernie and the Rubber Duckie Song) but I really liked El Patito (a parody of Despacito).  I don’t typically share things online but couldn’t resist forwarding it to few people – sorry for the unsolicited e-mails.

Anyway, here it is – enjoy:

they might be “giants”

February 23, 2017

Newton coined the expression standing on the shoulder of giants. With the advent of the Internet I think this could be extended by adding goblins and gnomes to giants.

Aside from what to do, I think you can also learn from what NOT to do. Hence the term goblins.  I’ve always felt you can gain from people what to emulate and what to avoid.  Granted some of this may be repetitious but sometimes lessons need to be repeated to ensure they are drilled in thoroughly.

I subscribe to the wisdom of the crowd and individual empowerment.  You can also build upon ideas of people who might not be considered as giants in their field – that’s why I use the term gnome to highlight the contrast.  An idea may be good despite its origin.  Admittedly, we are more likely to learn from “experts” (being a teacher in a former life, it would be hypocritical to think otherwise).  That said, we also need to be open and allow cross-pollination from other disciplines or differing opinions.  All ideas must be given a fair chance.

The original quote will always be valid but IMHO it can do with an adaption to our times.

food glorious food

February 20, 2017

my family and I spent a month in America. We all gained weight and had our waistlines expand (more so me). It’s quite understandable that some people I know who now live in the US are “healthier”.  Even if most of the food is too salty or too sweet for my palate, the food which I consumed was quite “rich” and caused me to put on a few kilos (although I find pounds a much more meaningful measure).

I do enjoy (and seek out) food.  I find the word foodie overused and abused.  I prefer the previously coined term of gastronaut because I find the implication of exploration appropriate.  Perhaps it’s me just being pedantic or wanting to differentiate myself.

Our niece recently (and temporarily) moved to Melbourne which made me think of the places I used to eat in a few years back as a student.  Hopefully, the food they serve is still delicious.  Mekong at Swanston in the city used to have “decent” Vietnamese Pho – so much so that a former US president tried it.  Enri’s at Richmond is one of only a handful of Argentinian restaurants in OZ – although it was the chicken in brie sauce I liked.  Later on there’s dancing on tables (admittedly I was inebriated to even attempt this).  Brunetti at Lygon Street (although I think their other branches now but from my experience the original is still the best) is a “good” place for desserts and coffee.  Casa Del Gelato at the edge of Lygon where I used to go for a treat.  It’s been open for nearly 40 years and was full even during winter.   I proposed to my wife just outside the shop with a makeshift ring – a solo diamond earring set in a cable “twistee”.

I’m looking forward to our nephew and his girlfriend taking us to sample various food trucks – I’ve always believed good food is good food regardless of “pedigree”.

universal (soldier)

December 7, 2016

As an alternative, I wanted to study architecture at university but instead I took computer science at another institution: both interested me and I’m not sure why I chose one over the other. Afterwards, I was invited to teach at my alma matter.  I have since experienced a revolving door between academe and industry and at times having both feet on “contentious” worlds (perhaps, this is why I strongly feel “faith without works” is not enough).

I’ve always admired “good” design. Usability has always fascinated me and acquiring a brain injury has made me more so.  I am not a big disciple of fate but it’s only natural that I find Universal Design appealing. It seems to be a confluence of interests and experiences that is beginning to define my path.  Admittedly, I still have a lot to learn but at least it’s an option for me.

I can understand why heritage or old buildings have their accessible entrances at the back but there is no excuse for “newer” stuff – we shouldn’t be considered as second-class citizens (even when it’s not intentional).  It disturbs me when toilet doors are too heavy or they swing towards (or the space is too cramped for) our mobility devices – even if they don’t have personal experience with this, they should be made aware and conscious of these constraints.  Don’t get me started on physical environs that do not a disability toilet (or lavatories that are accessible) – rails allow us to use the facilities independently.  Some even use it because it’s more “spacious” when they don’t really need to – never mind some people with disabilities find it hard to hold it.  Toilets generally “smell” because people prefer to use it when they have to do a No. 2 instead of the standard allocated cubicle.  Moreover, some non-disabled users have the audacity to be upset when you enter (because they don’t know how to lock it) or are surprised when they encounter you patiently waiting for them to finish. Having a child of my own, I understand when parents accompany their kids when family rooms are not present.  It’s people that feel they are more important than the rest and who shouldn’t be made to wait their turn that gets my goat.

Where I’m originally from (I’m not aware of the law now but I doubt, it’s changed), an elevator was only required if there were at least five floors (I’m told that’s why our school building was only built with four).  I can manage stairs if my hands can “reasonably” hold onto the rails (it just takes me awhile and some effort) – what about most?  Are they excluded from these?

Some ramps have a “steep” incline (assuming one is in a wheelchair being pushed) – what about those who choose to propel themselves or ambulate independently?  It can not be simply for compliance sake but the spirit of is just as important as the letter of the law.  It should be because of compassion not coercion by government or regulatory bodies.

I’m not a fan of people who take disabled parking spots (when they clearly don’t need it) for the sake of convenience or because it’s nearer to the entrance (I’ve even seen one parked perpendicular occupying two slots).  They don’t want to walk “that far” – screw (pardon my language) the patrons that can’t walk.  It’s this type of insensitivity that can lead to resentment.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but one informed by my own negative experiences. Some people are just ignorant or not sufficiently exposed to the “everyday” plight of persons living with disabilities.  Our purpose should not to shame or guilt (tempting as it is given the number of a**holes) but to educate the public.

I am not an activist, by nature, (I like to think of myself as more of an advocate) but I can understand why so many rail against the traditional view of the medical or deficit model of disability.  Where I’m from, many with impairments are not educated and are kept home-bound (to spare stigma to the rest of the family in the guise of providing comfort).  Not surprisingly, I am a supporter of the social model: after all, disability is a construct or consequence of a society.  This is more pronounced as we shift from being a highly industrialised to an information-based economy. While physically we may not be the ideal, there are other ways we can contribute  – accommodations are typical but how things are designed in the first place can maximise our value-adding potential.  Trite as it may sound but the focus should be on ability and not disability.  I wonder how Darwin would have documented this evolution of species.