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Minnie the moocher

I love this song! This has been on my nighttime playlist for the past one week. I love the tune, the trumpet and the chorus — basically how the music is arranged. The 1930s were a great era for jazz music. While electronic genre is my all-time favourite, jazz is high up among my top three list. I used to buy jazz CDs back then when CDs were all the rage. How I wish I could travel back in time and visit The Cotton Club in all its pomp and glory. Ho de Ho de Ho! Hi de hi de Hi! He de he de he!

Wonderfully catchy. I still have no idea what the great Cab Calloway is singing about though. I’m too busy twirling around the room to this song to figure the lyrics out. It’s such a perfect ditty for Sunday (or any other day), isn’t it?

This reminds me of the Golden Age that Woody Allen featured in his movie Midnight in Paris. That’s one of my favourite films of all time too. It has great cinematography, lighting, music, a whimsical storyline and, most importantly, nearly all my favourite artists and writers of the era. It also has a killer soundtrack to boot.

I’ve always wanted to travel back in time to experience all the glories (or tragedies) and great moments that make history what it is today. Since young, I’ve always thought I belong to another era and would feel more at home in the olden days. I guess that’s why I love history and films about historic periods. And that’s why I love Midnight In Paris; it was as though Woody read my mind and brought my character as Gil to life.

All this nostalgia is making me wanna watch the film again. Be right back!

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Believe in yourself

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It’s the final countdown: Eight more days before I’m officially free from the agonising hours of cramping copious amounts of academic information into my memory and regurgitating them out in a three-hour session. I’m so excited and so lazy at the same time. Instead of focusing on the present and the things I have to do NOW, I keep fantasising about the future, which is detrimental to my productivity.

I recently tweeted that I’d be more productive if I read less, watch fewer TV shows and stop taking so many naps in a day. It’s true, you know, maybe if I didn’t have a TV or Internet, I’d have found a cure for cancer or win a Nobel prize by now. Haha!

In the past one month of not blogging (because I was busy with two major projects), I sense a fear growing within me and I shall verbalise it now, so you can help me chase the demons away.

Sometimes I lay awake in bed at night wondering: Many people have said I will accomplish great things in my life, but what if I never fulfil my destiny?

What happens then? Am I doomed to wander the earth like six other billion faceless souls living ordinary lives? Scary thought, huh?

I guess this is where desire steps in and forces me to stay focused and brave and disciplined. I also realise I tend to be more philosophical on Sundays. It’s like I let my thoughts culminate the whole week and I pour them out to you.

So I will end this blog post on a positive note, because we all need encouragement at times to spur us forward (especially more so if you have doubts as often as I do). If you were looking for a sign that you’re on the right path, here it is.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There’s no one better at fulfilling your dreams than you. So go for it.

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Do something for your future self today

Always put yourself first.

Always put yourself first.

I thought this would be inspirational for everyone, since it’s Monday again — the start of another work week. Oh, the horrors. I haven’t been able to log into WordPress via the iPhone app, so some intelligent tech person has to sort that out pronto. It feels weird to be blogging on my laptop, since the last time I did that was months ago. That’s how useful the WordPress iPhone app has been, but I think the new iOS 7 is screwing some of its functionality. SORT IT OUT, WordPress.

So I spent the past two days trying to juggle several things at once, and have successfully not accomplished a single thing. This goes to show how bad I am at multitasking, but also how good I am at procrastinating. It really depends on which perspective you prefer to see. Ahem.

On the bright side, I have sort of formulated a long-term plan for my future. What’s next is to overcome my fears and hesitation in detailing the steps to achieve it and then, of course, carrying it out faithfully. But right now, I have six 1,200-word essays to finish by end-September and one 3,000-word coursework to complete by 7 October. Argh! I felt like I have wasted my whole weekend doing nothing of importance. All my 48 hours were not being utilised well, because I had to sleep, eat, shower, entertain friends and watch TV. Somehow, writing this blog post feels like more precious time is being taken up too. Sorry, my loyal readers, I was only being brutally honest. That’s why you love me! Ahem.

So, I am going to do something today that my future self will thank me for. Spend the next 40 35 minutes doing a quick draft of one essay before I watch the derby match between my beloved Manchester United and those City wannabes. And sleep by 1:30am, so my liver can be super productive and start detoxifying my body.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Photo credit: The sweet Internet

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Life is good, sometimes I forget

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It’s true, you know. Sometimes I tend to forget how wonderful my life is, especially in times when I allow frustration or doubts to creep into my mind and fill me up with dissatisfaction. Then I think about at least three good things I have going on in my life at the present moment and I become thankful for my life all over again.

So three things I’m currently grateful for:

1) My dog Milo who is absolutely the cutest old man with the saddest eyes in the world. This look is not a combo that any dog or human bean can beat. The minute he cuddles up to me on the couch (after trying to bite me no less), my heart just melts. He’a a naturally independent dog, you see. Attention-seeking Milo may be, but he is content to sleep alone without anyone beside him most of the times. So yes, it feels like a bonus when he snuggles with me.

2) My cable TV which has all the channels available along with HD resolution, so I can watch any programme I want at anytime and any day of the week! If only “The Duggers Family” and “Kate + Eight” are still playing on Discovery Home and Living. But hey, having HBO and FX are pretty awesome already. If I ever had to have a TV channel to epitomise me, FX would be the one. It’s smart, witty, funny, quirky cool, stylish and has the best collection of songs. So me. Haha!

3) My literacy, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to appreciate excellent TV shows with topnotch writing such as “Scandal”, “Games of Thrones”, “Mad Men”, “Archer”, “Two Broke Girls”and “Californication”, just to name a few. Without my literacy, I wouldn’t be able to laugh at enjoyable reads such as Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me?” and Rick Riordan’s “The Heroes of Olympus” and “The Kane Chronicles”. Eh, I said enjoyable, not Pulitzer-winning reading material.

Enjoy your week, every birdie! And if you’re so inclined, do share your list of three things you’re thankful for today. The universe will love you for it. Remember, life is good.

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Goodbye, Google Reader

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And just like that, Google Reader was gone. I kept refreshing the page throughout 1-2 July, hoping that Google will change its mind and let its Reader carry on its unobtrusive existence in the vast world of Internet apps and software. No such luck, as google conveniently marked all my feeds as gone on the afternoon of 2 July. Thankfully, I had gone to the Takeout page earlier to download an archive of my feeds.

After five years of using Google Reader, I’m not sure how fast I can wean myself off or even forget the easy accessibility and simple functionality of this amazing app. In short, I’m still depressed.

I’ve downloaded Flipboard as a replacement… It’s pretty for sure—very visually appealing, especially if most of your feeds are predominantly images. And it has a wide range of selected (pre-curated as many people are so fond of saying now) websites, which are pretty awesome. Except, well, there will always be an “except”, this means everyone who uses Flipboard will tend to read the same stuff as you, know about the same things as you do and be influenced by the same opinions as you have. Also, it’s not great when I’m taking the train and it goes underground, the reception goes to shit and I can’t update any pages properly—it takes too long for images to load. Sense my frustration already?

I’m also trying out Feedly now, but I am still miffed that something’s lacking. For one, I can’t search for an article I read or saved on Feedly itself. The functionality of its search engine is only applicable for websites I want to subscribe to. I have to manually retrieve any article I want by browsing through all the websites or pages I had marked all as read in order to find that article again. Previously on Google Reader, I could search for any topic I fancy in the search bar and it was no hassle. And whenever I have to click on a link, it loads inside Feedly instead of taking me to the Chrome browser. SIGH.

I’ve downloaded Reeder yesterday. I have yet to try it, but I sure hope there’s some positives out of it. I mean, how can it disappoint me further than I already am. I just want to browse my favourite, regular feeds or add new websites to read without hassle and search for any topics I remember reading about previously with ease. Is that too much too ask for? Evidently, yes.

This article from TechCrunch depicts my sentiment accurately, right down to my very angst and sense of loss.

The rest of the world may “merely surf the web” for any info they want, or look at their tweets or Facebook for the latest news, but I actually prefer to get my news or info from reliable, trusted sources I had carefully curated personally. Looking at my Google Reader in the morning when I wake up, at night before I sleep and whenever I have some free time had become my thing—my solace from the hustle and bustle of the Internet where everyone wants to dictate what you know and how you know it. Google Reader helps me cut out all the distracting white noise and allow me to look at the essentials. Even the writer of this TechCrunch article agrees.

But Google Reader was special because it was one of the last remaining places on the Internet you could really call your own. In every other way, the nature of news reading on the web these days and the social services that now dominate your attention are crafted by others who dictate what you will read and when. Whether browsing through an editorially run news site, parsing your Twitter stream or reading your Facebook news feed, the links before you are those that others have deemed important.
There’s value in this signal, of course — a sense of what’s trending in the larger world allows for serendipitous discovery. But it’s also a relinquishing of control. Oh sure, you can choose who to follow, but it’s not the same as choosing which news sources’ feeds you will subscribe to, why, and how often you will read them.
In Google Reader, I’ve gleefully stuffed websites into collections like “B-List” and “C-List” and “Can’t Miss” and “Panic Button,” instead of more proper names like “top tech sites” or “Apple bloggers.” It’s my decision which headline collections get scanned with a glance, and which writers will see me devouring their every word.
Meanwhile on Twitter, every missive is as important as the one that preceded it. A photo of your cat. News from the war. A beautiful sunset on Instagram. A government overthrown. It’s a real-time firehose of information that you dip into as you can. There’s no unread count. You just refresh and refresh and refresh for more.

Ever since Google’s announcement this spring, many new services have stepped up to help fill the void Google Reader leaves behind, but none will ever fill its shoes. None of those that now vie to become the new incumbent even have search built-in, for example. A few promise “yeah, it’s coming” but too many startups begging for a second look think that merely supporting RSS feeds makes them a Google Reader clone.
Google Reader wasn’t a list of things to read. It wasn’t a collection of RSS feeds.
It was your own, personal Google. A search engine built on top of the sites you cared about. A Google News with the stories you wanted to see. A taxonomy where you chose the labels, and drove the SEO. Google Reader was your web, your slice of the Internet.
Social media, now, is theirs.
Reader’s death isn’t the end of a product, it’s the end of an era. We have protested, bargained, begged, and cried. Now we have to accept and adapt.

Google Reader, thank you for giving me five great years. Goodbye.

P/S: Fifteen days later, I’m still gutted.

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I still remember the feeling

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It’s sad to even blog these days, because I’m heartbroken; I’m like a broken record being put on repeat and it seems like there’s no way to fix me. I can feel a stab in my heart and I know the pain is real. Yet I’m fighting so hard to be well again; to recover from what seemed like the loss of my life.

It’s been more than a year since we last saw one another, and while you appear to have moved on with your life and gotten together with someone new, I’ve remained at a standstill. I tried staying away from you, but it did not stop me from thinking about you and missing you terribly.

It hurts, it really hurts. I keep forcing myself to consciously choose me, but every time I come across your tweets or anything you post, I take two steps back again. I’m emotionally drained and I feel helplessly stuck in this time vacuum. I keep thinking back if I could have done anything different or better to salvage our relationship, but my mind remains blank. Maybe I am just a foolish person clinging on to a romantic dream that has long since disappeared into thin air.

I had truly believe we were meant for each other and that you were the right one for me. I guess it still hurts so much, because I still believe (foolishly) we are meant to be.

I suffered the same acute heartache in 2011 when I thought you had found someone new. It drove me crazy that I wanted to do drastic things to myself. That was a terrible night to be me. I went through 2012 wanting to be free from the mental shackles you’ve put me through and to build up my courage to speak to you again, hoping that we would find each other again. It’s 2013 and I find myself immersed in fresh pain at the thought of you with someone new. This time, I managed to find a sense of control that wasn’t there before, but it doesn’t mean it hurts less. It still does, and I hope one day you will feel the pain I feel for you and know that there was once someone who loved you even more than life itself. Goodnight.

P/S: Dear Universe, here I am once again. I’m finally ready now and I know you will make things happen for me. I want to be extremely happy and lucky, meet and be with the person of my dreams (preferably within the next one week) and be JK Rowling-rich! Thank you!

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I’m not sure which is worse

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You know, I realise it has become one of my weekly rituals to blog about how I feel about you every other Sunday and how I would tag the post as ‘secret’, because I don’t think anyone else knows or understands what my heart is seeking.

Sometimes there’s just this trepidation in my heart that I don’t know how to quell. And the panic level would keep rising and I would lose my inner peace. Just like what Po the Dragon Warrior had to go through, it’s been a long arduous journey to find my inner peace.

With that, I’d like to leave you with this quote I heard from watching season 4, episode 14 of White Collar (Shoot the Moon) which it made me tear:

Real love is fighting like hell to hold onto every moment you have with her. It’s making a life together and making it work, no matter what happens. You want a love for the ages? I think that’s great. Prove it. Make it last. — Peter Burke