There are so many words I want to write. So many ideas stuck inside that my head figuratively exploded in my bathroom this evening, while I was showering. Instead of putting shampoo onto my hair, I used shower gel. It smelt good, it smelt different. And then I realized that my ‘shampoo’ shouldn’t smell different. Smelling different was not good. Times like this makes me wonder what I was thinking.
Lately, a multitude of events and activities have happened. Some directly, and some indirectly hinder my usual pace of update in my website. Before I pour out my words in a random relevance, there is one good news to share.
1. News of An Amiable Scale
Amelia is a beautiful name. That is the name of my guitarist and my band manager’s 3.3 kg baby girl who arrived yesterday morning at 9.30am. Three and a half years ago I was the emcee for their wedding. That memorable day seems so far away. Reminiscing the key events that happened from then till now can easily make my brain goes kaboom. For those who have missed our band’s public performance one and a half years ago, that could well be the very last gig of No Eye Candy. Our drummer falls in love. Our guitarist and band manager now have a baby. The only ones who stay relatively stationary are Cynthia – the bassist – and I.
Amelia, our Spanish teacher, is back from Spain. People are gifted in different ways. She must be one of the most cheerful person in the world. With her in our classroom, our spirit lights up 10,000 watt. Amelia speaks so much faster than our replacement teacher Gloria. All of a sudden, I find myself standing on the quicksand of audio retardation.
2. What If All These Words Were to … Vanish?
It is not the first time my website is hacked. The last few times that happened, I changed my blogging engine. Now that I am using WordPress, I am unsure where else to turn to. In the last couple of weeks, my website was hacked at least twice. During the time when the fate of my website was unknown, Cynthia seemed to be more affected than I was. She asked, “What if …” It did come across my mind that all my close to 1,500 posts written since 1996 could vanish into a digital black hole. If that did happen, what else could I do? So I replied, “Well, I will have to start from the first post again.” Cynthia was shocked by my calmness. To be honest, it sucks thinking about it. Thank God, while this tiny digital space of mine was somewhat violated, it is still alive with its legacy growing one post at a time.
3. Online Gaming and Work, Online Gaming and Life
The barrier of our imagination is often defined by our experience. It is hard to describe what online gaming is if one has not immersed into one. Recently, I have new observations in life and work that are revealed due to my experience in online gaming. I will not write too much about the gaming bits that may be hard to relate. Instead, I will focus on the life and work bits.
My work is getting busy lately. I belong to a reasonably sized team. In theory, workload should be evenly distributed among us. But in reality, some may be busier than others. Different people take this situation differently. Some may make it a point to announce to the world that they are the busiest one. Some may start to criticize and openly examine what others are doing. I am the easygoing one. If I am the only one working while everyone around me is taking a break, I am OK with that. If I am one of the few who is taking a break while some are burning long hours, I am OK with that too.
When we play an online game, essentially we are playing a team based game. Almost everyone has a meter to show how each of us is contributing on a real time basis. Because different people come with different skills and levels of commitment, come from different age groups and genders, I have seen all sorts of patterns displaying in my meter. At times when everyone is contributing at their maximum, it can be an exhilaration experience. At times when one or two under-perform, I often do not mind carry them through. However, it is not uncommon to see these under-performers being openly picked onto and humiliated by the high-performers. Even being removed from the team. If you think that this sounds like work, there is little difference between work and non-work. There are no two hats we are wearing. It is the same person at work or not.
One morning on our way to work, Cynthia and I chatted about our new online characters. There will be new old challenges to overcome (the challenges are old to us but are new to our new characters). Cynthia cringed thinking about it. I pondered for a moment and said something like this: “It is the constant need to overcome challenges that keep us going. That sense of thrill – the thrill of potential failure and defeat – is what makes life [or this game] interesting. Treasure it because once we can comfortably overcome them, life [or this game] becomes another routine, a chore perhaps.”
4. Social Network and I, Social Network and You
Thanks to Google+, in the last three months, I am off the hook from the social networking scene. It was a reset that got me off Facebook. And I hardly spend the same amount of time and effort in Google+ like I did in Facebook. This does bring some imbalance to my life. It is as though a chunk of my life has been torn away. I feel less inspired these days because I was used to a high level of online social stimulation and interaction. I reckon it may take some time before my digital hormone returns to normal. But it is a good thing, in the long run.
Today, I read a CNN article and it wrote:
Of course, if [the Facebook users] stopped and think about it, they would realized that Facebook is work … The hours Facebook users put into their profiles and lists and updates is the labor that Facebook then sells to the market researchers and advertisers it serves … We’re not the customers. We are the product.
Now that I am outside the social network, I do not deny the wisdom of the writer’s observation.
5. News of An Amiable Scale – A Prologue
Amelia is a beautiful name. Yesterday inside our car, on the way home, I said to Cynthia, “If our baby does not come out fast, all the beautiful names will be taken.” She giggled. I believe that God has plans for us. We may not understand why certain things do not happen at the time we think they should. Perhaps the answers we sought after are less important than the contents life has presented to us on a daily basis. Perhaps answers are to be earned in the form of rewards.
In short, this is how I have been lately. Now, tell me, how have you been?