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the semicolon;

Things I did last week:

1. Read a few pages of A brief history of time. Never learnt relativity, so had to do quite a number of mental gymnastics to wrap my head around the concepts; here's how I understand the following (might not be correct):

— The concept of a geodesic: the revolutions of bodies around more massive bodies are actually straight lines across the surface of space-time, just like how a plane flying from point A to B on earth is flying in a straight line, but the path is curved.

—  Time slows down on a moving object; to grasp the concept, imagine a clock being made up of light particles bouncing back and forth two parallel mirrors that are half a light second apart, meaning it takes one light second to go back and forth. Each tick is made up of a bounce across the mirrors. If these two mirrors are moving at the same speed, in absolute space the light particle would have traveled a further distance, since each subsequent bounce would be traveling across another hypotenuse (the next mirror the particle bounces to would be further along the horizontal path). 

Since light has this special property that it is the same speed no matter how fast the moving object that is "carrying" it is traveling, this means that by v=d/t, since d is bigger, t is bigger as well. Hence, to a stationary observer, this means that it would have taken a longer time for the tick to happen, so that's why time is said to be travelling slower on a moving object. 

But then who is actually moving, the person on earth or the person on a spaceship, in order to determine in which frame is time travelling slower? I found this part rather hand-wavey, because in order to compare the two frames of reference, one of the objects would have to accelerate and decelerate to be in the same frame again, which obviously would make it the spaceship since the earth can't do that, lol. Then something about because we don't have some theorems to calculate how the acceleration and deceleration would affect the passage of time, whereas on earth we have trusty old Newton's gravitational theorems, we somehow can take Earth as the valid reference, and conclude that time is moving slower on the spaceship. Well, if this isn't the case, then I need to spend more time understanding this.

—  The universe is expanding. It's definitely having motion of some sort, because otherwise, the attraction of gravity would mean we would all be sucked in. We know it's expanding because of some measurements of waves from other planets. What remains to be seen (or read in later chapters?) is how fast we are expanding: are we slowing down in expansion, so that later we would contract? Or logarithmically, or exponentially?

— The inversion of the theory of contraction of collapsed stars into black holes brings us the big bang theory. Still hand-wavey for me at this point.

I meant to have more things on this "things done last week" part of the report, but I took so long on A brief history that subsequent parts will just have to be continued at a later point. Anyhow, I'm doing this for a better grip on time, rather than just letting dates be some meaningless flow through the sieve of my brain. Work is making us do this, and I thought it'd be more meaningful to do one for my own purposes.

Samuel Lee

I am congratulated on all sides by heads of lettuce
because to get to the biscuits and noodles
you have to squeeze past the vegetables

and being new to the country they
are generous with their admiration
and have spread their leaves forward as if to embrace.

I may have fainted en route but if upon waking
it's still the same song that's playing, and it's
Minnie Riperton whistling maternallly

to her daughter, then I can believe again
that the world is contagious, and that
the entire mall is celebrating something

small and lonely, like a baby, or a feral
hamster. I want to ask if these memories
are mine or merely the reflection

of electric lights against the storefront,
the glow of a hall of mirrors, crafted
accidentally from a shiny pleather boot

and a hand mirror. Once I gave a Thank You
card to a salesman with a limp. Once I held open
a door to a stranger while having a nosebleed.

Once I ate a whole cheeseburger, each last remaining
sesame seed. Once I hailed a cab and gave it to a child
in need. Once I picked up a bottle of shampoo

that fell on the floor and restored it to its best position.
Brilliantly the light shines upon the freshly mopped floor
and rewards even the children with tiny coins.
11th Oct 2017 12:16 am - After you have gone to bed
The frogs are croaking in this midnight rain,
a patter now after the fury of thunder.
A cab slides by. Darling, tell me:
is your heart still mine? Tonight,
the city's whirr is muted by this wild heartbeat,
vocalations from the soil and sky.
29th Sep 2017 12:45 am...
Hey, you
thank you for wanting to go | more than going along
I appreciate it.
12th Aug 2017 04:23 pm - I would like you
I would like you to fall in love
properly, esteem character,
estimate depth,
past the urge to hypothesize &
& love the core of another being.
12th Aug 2017 03:50 pm - Catalogue
Spending so much time on the computer, today I thought: I miss the physicality of objects, the dream of before to catalogue my self in a scrapbook of art and words.
6th Aug 2017 02:11 am - Appreciating good-temperedness

One of the things I really appreciate about wq is his immense patience, that no matter the blunder he just good-naturedly explains what it is you should have done. It's difficult, when you are more experienced with the ebb and flow of a game, to not be affected by others hindering your vision of perfect execution, and yet he has never given off a negative vibe. It's nice.

16th Jul 2017 01:56 am - Ode to friends
I'm still experiencing the glow of a full day spent with the best of friends, utterly comfortable with each other's company despite not having known each other before. A sporting group of friends that one can summon spontaneously and have appear, that is unreserved with conversation, that will generate energy out of most material... nuclear fission onto themselves.

I'm so happy to have found them.

For commemoration purposes: we started the day with a cooking session. First we went to the NTUC near Buangkok to get groceries, where we tried to decide what we could concievably cook with limited skills and equipment. Finally settled on a traditional english breakfast of pancakes, sausages, bacon, eggs, and an asian twist of shimeji mushrooms. After some experimentation and two hours we finally had the meal ready -- my favourite was the mushrooms. Made Bali coffee for everyone as well. After that, headed to the TV room for some good ol' Steam games. The night before, zh and I were trying Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, which did not work out because the ship was too much to handle for two people, so zh suggested we try it again since we had 4 players now. Much more successful, a lot of determination and fun. The boss presented some difficulties -- had to try the level 4 times, but eventually succeeded due to finally having the right combination of upgrades to the right weapons, as well as the strategy of trying to move away from the boss as much as possible. We determined that zh was the best at controlling the shield, probably the most important role of all.

After that, played Bidiots, where I got scammed by both wq and crab into buying a worthless piece by wq. Took 2 predatory loans :'(

This was followed by 3 rounds of Drawful. Much hilarity ensued.

And then we headed out to play Boss Monsters, where I was killed by both wq and crab. SEE THE TREND?

Headed to nex for dinner to meet weed and try the nasi lemak burger at macs, but were deterred by the queues, so ended up having mediocre ramen. Wq and weed played mario kart on weed's newly bought switch. Checked Spiderman availability; they had 5 seats, but they were in three separate places, so we decided it was fate and headed for dessert instead. Just as well -- I had GV's movie cards, but the theatre at nex was shaw, so we would have needed to fork out at least $13 for a weekend ticket. Plus not exactly keen on giving money to the big production houses for them to make lousy blockbuster movies.

Stayed and chatted until sheng kee closed, then we went our own ways home. Went back with wq as he needed to collect his bike from my place, and let him know what he missed by not taking cs1101s. It's so cool that he was in the same jc and uni course (but we never met before league!).

This was the first time zh and my league friends met, so I'm overjoyed that we all clicked :') Love them all.
14th Aug 2016 01:28 am...
Joseph Schooling winning the gold medal - another perspective: something to brighten the hearts of ordinary Singaporeans who have not wanted something with as much intensity as he has.
9th Aug 2016 09:10 pm...
Well, I've decided that I should return to keeping a record of my days, as I did in my childhood and adolescence - especially so in my childhood, when a diary entry was the merticulous recount of after-school life; after I hit teenagehood, it became a vent for my peaks of emotion, which happened more often than not. Because of that, I adopted the attitude that a diary was for the moments when clarity was needed, from the murk of overwhelming feelings, and as a result, when my days stabilized, I had less and less use of one.

Yesterday however, it properly struck me that my lassez faire attitude was partly born from my deproving memory - it's so easy to let days slip by when you don't remember what happened even a moment ago; everything becomes unimportant except the present. I suppose this is a way of achieving clarity again.

The way Donald Trump managed to actually get so close to becoming the president of the USA seems to me to mark a jarring opposition between the systems of democracy and meritocracy. A democracy requires no credentials, it only requires that you capture the hearts of people during campaign time. When you think about it it seems strange that a country's governance rests on such a contrary system from meritocracy, because intuitively you would think that these positions require the best that meritocracy can provide.

It also highlights the absence of adequate checks and balances for candidates for that position. First, it is appalling that presidential candidates are not held to any standard of honesty, consistency, or rudimentary understanding of what actually goes on with the country's policies. Should there not be a vetting system to filter out ignorant candidates? We ask foreigners basic questions of our country before we grant them citizenship; should we not subject applicants to the highest office of a country to a more demanding test?

Second, I feel that candidates should be held accountable to whatever promises that were given in the course of a campaign. This is difficult to implement for several reasons. One, things change, and what was right for the country at the time of the campaign might not be right a few months down the road. In such cases, when there is a reasonable chain of cause and effect to lead to the failure of carrying out the promise, it is forgiveable. Two, the implementation of promises has to deal with many shareholders, the first layer being congress' votes. Then, I think that at the very least plans should be made considering all these different factors and proceeding from the consideration of these factors. If all you have are just spoken declarations of what you will supposedly effect in a country, if you actually get elected to office but do not carry out your promises, there should be consequences for you, just as there are consequences for any employee who fails to perform their job.

Anyway, as to today, it was my first visit, with rita and lcy, to a trampoline park. I must confess that it is not to my taste - I have found that my body dislikes vertical acceleration, and it applies to this as well. The rock wall was cool I guess, but I still prefer the traditional way of being strapped to a harness rather than falling into the foam pit, especially when said pit stinks of the sweat of eons of users.

It speaks of age too, that we are a lot more reserved about trying out stunts than we would have been as kids. I'm too wary of the ways the body can twist and result in pain.

In the afternoon, we travelled to Chinese Garden for a Pokemon Go excursion. I must admit to some gladness for an excuse to explore a part of Singapore with the weather we have, and I was surprised at how pleasing the gardens inside were. I suppose it's a way of celebrating National Day too!

After that, a much needed, utterly enjoyed drink from Gong Cha - Alisan Milk Tea. It's been hard fitting bubble tea in my life as it makes me feel bloated as a post-meal drink, so I am glad for this opportunity after sweating buckets in the afternoon sun. Also, that I can enjoy it so conveniently unlike when I was in the States :)

I think it's working out, writing whatever down. The more I write the more I think of to note down as well, no pressure to maintain a structure or coherence. Which is also why I'm doing this in LJ now, instead of Wordpress, since my wp is linked to Facebook and I am growing increasingly uncomfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings publicly. I realize I am less interested in developing a closer relationship with other people than ever before. I remember a time when I wanted to find people who would understand me, and I wanted my blogs to paint a sort of complete portrait of me, whether in terms of my thoughts or my likes - tumblr, for example, was a way to express my taste. It's strange that that feels so distant now.
29th Jan 2016 12:51 am - Grander scheme of things
It's hard to accept the notion of balancing as a fact of life. It used to be that I would actually look forward to working life, because it felt as though life was leading in a direction where you focus on fewer and fewer things - specialisation, per se. From 8 subjects in secondary school to 5 in JC, and then just 1 or 2 for university - wasn't the logical conclusion that work life would just be one thing to devote yourself to? And so I would gradually give up on what I viewed were not relevant: CCAs, supposed interests.

When university rolled around and I found that my course of study was absorbing, I felt satisfied with the possibility of giving up everything else, as I supposed myself to do when work started. Of course I could never have been one of the most passionate geeks around - my attention span was too scattered, my expectations of myself not high enough. There were so many other things to enjoy doing!

I guess what I want to examine further is, is there a long term goal I want to go after? A grander scheme of things to achieve, outside of day-to-day fulfillment?

If there isn't, is that ok with me?

I will admit that up till now, I have viewed articles of successful people who devote their lives and guts to their business with the attitude that that's not the lifestyle I want. On the other hand, I admire people who are contented with their lot in life, even when there is no sense of progress.

Kenny's interview moved me, however, when he answered that he wanted to be remembered for making an impact on Singapore literature. Perhaps the difference is that the success he is going for is not an end in itself, but a means for something bigger than the self.

I'll mull further on this - is there something bigger that I can see myself investing my time and energy in?

If there is, is it possible to balance that with the other aspects of my life, most notably time with lcy?
20th Sep 2015 11:31 pm...
do you remember - the unapathetic days,
the days not filled with joy

Reading poetry, while reminding me of a sensitivity I still - astonishingly - possess, brings me back to those days when I felt the urge to sound out what I thought and felt. Valuable thought processes that were recorded, now re-read, surprise me with bits of my character that I

I didn't have a satisfactory conclusion to that sentence. Those bits of my character were inextricably mixed up with circumstances of those days when I wasn't challenged to a satisfactory extent, was satiated by conversations temporarily, but returned to hunger soon after.

Is it age that fulfils one?

Perhaps it is the added freedom. Right now, I am the most satisfied by my academic life as never before... I have forgotten how much I love the act of creation.
20th Sep 2015 11:09 pm - The limitations of memory

Reading a poem, I am reminded of my infinite losses: to witness beautiful things, and be unable to hold them in my mind, at the same time.

Yet I remember too, that this is what enables the joy of rediscovery - coming across the face of someone you loved before, and forgot.

30th Jun 2015 03:12 am - Resolve is very much needed
It has been decided - I will embark on projects that wholeheartedly absorb me. Some of these projects might have been thrust upon me, but I will muster up my enthusiasm and carry them out with the greatest sense of adventure. I have been guilty of squandering my time and having my world shrink till my perspective is quite awry - no more.

I have been undertaking projects that I have felt are necessary, but hardly those that fill me with enthusiasm. What is the balance? I own an enormous need to increase my knowledge of OS and complete more research for what is sure to be a challenging next semester, but I have done little that will put me in the way of inspiration for the aforementioned semester. Above all, planning and discipline are sorely lacking. I have been content to meander...

Surely it is time to start on the app that I've announced to everyone I would work on. A concrete plan needs to be drafted for the coming weeks - barely 5 weeks left - I must not allow all the things I want to do to cripple me with indecision.
6th May 2015 02:56 am - Finishing up the semester
Another happy post!

I think my team did a smashing project and presentation this semester. True, I wasn't the happiest all the time, especially when having to pick up after team members who don't seem like they care as much, but I'm really proud of what we managed to achieve. It looks good!

Some time soon I need to start submitting things for competitions. That's one thing I really need to pick up slack in. Also, preparing to push our game out into the app store, because it's something worth being proud of and played.

One more week till I go back to my darling's arms <3
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