last night we relocated to another place for dessert.  As we were about to leave, i went to the toilet.  Unfortunately once i unlocked the door after using the facilities, the door wouldn’t open!  Not exactly ideal for one with claustrophobia.  i had enough composure to ring the mobiles of the people i was with. i called several times, several individuals but no one picked up.  It was not until my son looked for me after several minutes (but it felt like an eternity to me) that i told him i was stuck inside. i was so panicked that i considered climbing out the window without my walking frame but the blinds didn’t want to open (it was hard to know because i was already in a panicked state.  Between me pulling and my wife pushing we were able to open the door.  i’m not going to lie: it was a very harrowing experience for me – generally, i face my fears but that is one i have yet to overcome. i’ve been told that writing about is part of “processing” it.  While i’m generally “cerebral”, fears are by their very nature irrational – it is cold comfort to me despite statistical probabilities not to “catastrophise”.

btw, we informed the remaining staff member of the incident and need to look into the issue.

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sign of the times

December 4, 2017

 

there’s a recent Vox video and reconsideration of shared spaces by urban planners:

https://www.vox.com/2017/11/24/16693628/shared-space-design

As a person who identifies as having a disability and someone who’s migrated from a developing country like the Philippines, I think it needs further work.  Don’t get me wrong:  thinking about it differently is a good start.  The traffic was so bad that my experience was (I can’t really speak for other people) it used tp take me an hour and a half to travel (and that was driving a car, what more if it was public transport) 12 kilometres during rush hour – and it’s supposedly worse now. Granted, it may have been a function of where I previously lived but my quality of life was rather compromised.

I mostly used the Bicutan exit of the South Super Highway – it’s like two intersections are overlain (but not quite) and depending on where you’re coming from you’ve got four to six options.  I used to joke that traffic enforcers were there to enforce traffic.  When we’re there, my son asks (if presented with the choice) where we’re going before he consents to leave – implicitly weighing the pros and cons of the endeavour.  He mentioned once that as a school project he might consider the quandary – I wish him the best of luck.

I think this needs to be thought about (and thought about again numerous times until a workable alternative is found).  This may not be easy and the state of play may not currently be suitable but I laud the efforts nonetheless. Sure there might be a lot of failed attempts but an iterative approach may be required in developing a suitable design.  This is where computer simulation can be useful in testing rather than immediately risking human health and well-being.

revengers

November 19, 2017

sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

Saw Thor: Ragnarok yesterday with my family and my son’s friend.  I liked it.   This wasn’t surprising given I’m such a fanboy of comic books (growing up I read a lot of Marvel and DC) and I enjoy the films of the New Zealand director, Taika Waititi.  Had to ask my wife given my bias if it was really good. Thankfully she agreed.

Like any superhero flick there was action and single-line quips but I found the humour quite refreshing.  Seeing as I found the movie franchise disappointing before this latest instalment, I didn’t have high hopes for this one.  It was inspired, if unexpected, to have the Kiwi direct it.

While the first feature was an amalgam with a love story and the second one tried desperately to be serious, I think the fusion with comedy really worked.  I knew that Chris Hemsworth was funny (maybe it’s the Aussie larikinism) but didn’t realise he had great comedic timing.  But for me, what I really enjoyed was the character of Korg voiced by the director – it was cue to not take the movie so seriously.  Sure it wasn’t the best film I ever saw (but it wasn’t trying to be) and it may not ‘pass’ certain tests or criteria.  It was simply and purely a popcorn film – a damn good one in my opinion.  When you watch  a film, it goes down to intent – sometimes you just want to entertained or distracted. It is what it is – one shouldn’t have to serious all the time.

matilda

July 3, 2017

the other night we watched the musical in the Adelaide Festival Centre with my “youngish” family.  We thought it was quite good and my 13 year old son really liked it.  It was my second favourite of everything I’ve seen (and I’ve watched a few Broadway productions). The kids were amazing.

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).

the good book

January 22, 2015

there are several books that I think my son should read (that I’ve read in one form or another.)  Not just because I think it’s good for him academically, help him read more advanced texts. or help him understand his roots better but, ultimately, assist in making himself better.  This is by no means an exhaustive list or in any particular order:

a.) Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterisimo (the English versions, of course – I’m not that cruel)

b.) Nation for Our Children

c.) The Spirituality of Imperfection

d.) Social Things (this doesn’t read as a text book)

e.) The Forgetting Room (One of his names is partly inspired by the protagonist)

f.) The Death Gate Cycle series (it’s a total of 7 books – the first 4 are independent followed by a trilogy that relates the “worlds”)

While books in themselves, don’t have all the answers – they’re a tool that helps us think more about things.

 

enough

July 6, 2014

I’m not that smart or physically gifted but in the end this was a blessing.  It made me and makes me try harder.  While other people are much more talented, I feel I am able to achieve more due to their complacency.  They say “grit” is a better indicator for “success.”

I may not have had stellar marks at university but I felt I knew more than most of my batch mates.  I had other interests also occupy my time.  To have academics and IQ as the only measures of human potential is, to my mind, quite short-sighted.  Sure it is easier to manage what is tangible but it is not always the case that it is what is essential to the individual or to the organisation.

I used to enjoy playing basketball even if I was slow, short, and could not jump very high.  I used my brain to counteract my physical limitations.  We are so obsessed with winning that we often neglect that what is really important is we strive to better ourselves and we work toward realising our potential: it is about mastery and not success.  You say that is what a loser would say but we are so enamoured with being number one and top ten lists that we ignore the fact that certain things are beyond our control.  It is not an excuse not to try hard but whatever we attempt needs to be grounded in reality: the prayer for serenity is quite apropos.

My personal best is 33 straight shots made at the free throw line and 7 3-pointers.  But what I enjoyed most was passing the rock to help facilitate the scoring of others. My most creative pass was one that I dubbed ‘Not Necessarily Behind the Back’ which was called as travelling by the referee.  To this day I am still convinced that it was valid:  it was so new and different that it created confusion and understandably led to that call. In high school I was designated as a player-coach of a team that won the championship.   The clash of egos was our expected downfall but to everyone’s surprise we never dropped a game despite facing fierce competition. The players were so good that I had the luxury of doing a mass substitution:  replacing all 5 players on the court with the bench.  Juggling playing time was difficult but the secret of our “success” was that there was no pressure on a handful of players to always perform at peak efficiency. In contrast, my last 2 years were on a team that hardly won.  We were not supposed to perform as “well” being a bunch of “nerds.” We may have not been premiers but had heart and played to the best of our ability.  The point is to make the best of the cards you were dealt:  you may not always get what you want divert your focus instead to what is truly essential.

Do not get me wrong:  I endeavour to win every time I compete – it is just not my end all and be all. I still have fond memories of eventually winning a basketball game by 5 in spite of being down by 18 points with 5 minutes remaining on the game clock. That said, I remember distinctly losing 2 games: in both cases we were expected to lose.  In the first, there were only 5 of us (which we had trouble even achieving) but 12 3-pointers among us:  I think I made 3 of them.  We gave our opponents a good run but were defeated when 1 of our players fouled out towards the end of the game.   The other one was against a much stronger side. We slowed down the pace to an excruciating tempo.  They clearly wanted to run the ball and as a result were obviously frustrated with the speed of the game and made quite a few mistakes.  They eventually won but not with the huge margin they expected.

Society loves winners.  I am not saying you forego the rules and expectations:  you have to play the game if you want to get anywhere.  Just try to be conscious of the choices you make and be aware of the compromises and repercussions of your decisions.   I am not saying you should abandon idealism just learn to temper it with pragmatism.  Our desire to emulate certain people is an evolutionary imperative but it can be tricky given the culture of “celebrity” we find ourselves immersed in.  It is now difficult to be your own man more than ever.  I am not saying you should not be influenced by others; just be discerning.