Monthly Archives: September 2011

Proverb of the Day

The advantage of not being able to think straight
Is having the ability to not think straight

Yup, that’s me. Full of foolish wisdom and nonsensical logic.

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Now for a bit of Armchair Psychology

The harder I try, the more I feel like a failure.
The more I fight, the more I feel defeated.
The longer I persist, the more I feel without hope.
Should I just give up then?
Because in the end it is not worth it.

I guess that’s one way to look at things, but if there is one thing I’ve learnt in the past two years it is that how we deal with our negative feelings is a choice each and every one of us has. So instead of focusing on the negative results, we can choose to turn things around and focus on the things we do, so that the conclusion we reach in the end is different:

The more I feel like a failure, the harder I try.
The more I feel defeated, the more I fight.
The more I feel without hope, the longer I persist.
Should I just give up then? *
Because in the end it is worth it.

Well, it doesn’t sound as eloquent and elegant as I hoped it would, but contained in this piece somewhere is the seed for a new poem. So something to work on in the coming weeks 🙂

* Just in case you don’t realize it and are even confused by it, the way you are supposed to read “Should I just give up then?” is completely different in the two versions. Both of them are intended as rhetorical questions, but whereas the first one has a negative connotation and should be read in a rather defeated tone as if the answer is a foregone conclusion, the second version is more positive and should be read in a skeptical tone.

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Musings on the Fountainhead – A Subjective Criticism on Objectivism

How far should a man go to stand up for his ideas in the face of conventional standards? To hold onto his vision despite the many societal norms? To preserve his integrity and his ‘selfness’ at all cost? Well, if you ascribe to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, then there should be no doubt. According to Rand, it is the self which is the highest goal every single person should strive for, and everything else simply does not matter.

This basic idea form the foundation for the Fountainhead. It tells the story of Howard Roark, a young brilliant architect who is far ahead of his time. Roark is the epitome of what Rand depicts as ‘the ideal man,’* a man who stays true to himself despite all the obstacles society throws upon him. I actually hated Roark’s guts when I first started reading the book. Here is a man whose will is so unbending, who is so unwilling or, more accurately, unable to consider other people’s viewpoints and opinions, that it is hard to muster up a single gram of sympathy for him. But that is the whole point, right? Rand teaches us that Roark is not a man who seeks sympathy. And as I read further I started to gain, if not exactly sympathy, a great deal of respect and even admiration for him. You see, despite my own anxieties, despite my own tendency to care deeply about what others think, I am a staunch believer of Rand’s basic premise. Roark, in some crucial ways, represents the man who I would like to become.

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Reading and Writing on the iPad

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to find the time to do all the things I want to do lately, and I go out and buy an iPad? Talk about a time-consuming piece of gadget! All those games and comics I’ve downloaded are going to gobble up the free time I have at my disposal.

But it’s not all bad. There are a lot of ways that the iPad will improve the way I handle my reading and writing activities. In fact, I am currently writing this very post on my iPad using the WordPress app as an experiment. As you might expect, cranking out a long post using the touchscreen keyboard doesn’t work as well as on an actual keyboard, not to mention that it does not contain all the functionalities. But it still works surprisingly well, much better anyway than I’d have expected at first as I’m able to type this at a decent speed with reasonable accuracy, especially once I got the hang of switching between letters, numbers and punctuation (moving the cursor remains quite a hassle however… I need arrow keys in addition to the magnifying glass!). Obviously, the iPad won’t fully replace either pen and paper or my laptop as my tools, but it is still a very welcome addition to my writing arsenal nevertheless.

There are also some apps which dramatically improves the way I read and organize the news and articles on the Internet. I’m currently using a combination of FeeddlerPro, Read It Later and Evernote for these tasks. I use FeeddlerPro To read the RSS feeds I’m subscribed to. In my opinion this works better than going to Google Reader via a web browser. Instead of reading the articles immediately, I would now just browse through the feeds to find the articles I’m interested in and use the built-in sharing capabilities to transfer them to Read It Later. The articles are then stored as offline documents which I am able to read wherever and whenever I want. Finally, I would send the articles that I like and that I want to save for future reference to Evernote. Not only is Evernote great for organizing these articles, I can also easily add annotations, highlights or attachments to these articles. Both Read It Later and Evernote support tagging and syncing capabilities with my laptop so I can easily do these tasks on my laptop as well. In fact, both were already available on the PC, but I just recently learned of their existence. Besides, there’s something about the touchscreen functionalities of the iPad that makes the whole process feel more streamlined.

I believe Evernote will be great for my writing activties as well. It is not just a tool to organize the stuff I find on the Web, but as the name already implies, it basically functions as a collection of notebooks. I can just as easily add my own personal notes to Evernote, so it’s ideal for combining snd organizing online and offline research material, as well as plot and character outlines and the like, all with just a few simple button pushes with my fingertips. To be fair though, I haven’t actually used Evernote extensively yet, so how useful it ultimately remains to be seen, but I will experiment with it the coming months. In the meantime I am also still searching for and experimenting with mindmapping and wiki apps which can also sync with Evernote. Hmm… I wonder if there is some way I can use these apps to help me at work as well, especially in documenting the reports and data sources we have created…

As you might have guessed already, I am really happy with my new iPad. I believe it can really help me increase my productivity. That is, if I can tear myself away long enough from playing yet another round of Jetpack Joyride or Zombie Highway…

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Back from holiday!

Just a quickie before I start writing more seriously again the coming days (I hope)! I’m back home again after 4 whole weeks of holiday, which is waaaay too long and something I probably wouldn’t do again. Two weeks is fine. I can live with 3 weeks. Max. But 4 weeks? Ugh! I tell you, the past few days have been brutal. There were moments when I was walking around like I had been newly inducted into the Club of the Living Dead.

I’m actually anxious to get back to writing again. I just need to hold that thought before it disappears again. Still, as much as I loathe my writing sometimes, I do really miss it when I stop doing it for a longer period. Yet another confirmation that I will always keep coming back to writing no matter what. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, entirely depending on if I’m in a positive or negative mood.

Anyway, just had to get that out of my system. Stay tuned for more upcoming posts 😉

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