Archive for January, 2011

January 7, 2011

It’s the Hols! Day 13 (New Year Edition)

4 resolutions for the year 2011:

  1. Save $400 a month till early Oct 2011 – up from previous goal of $300 a month.
  2. Donate 10% of active income to a charity.
  3. Train Active Listening skill – achieve Patience and Recall goals.
  4. Reduce BMI to 22 – 65.8kg

Goal 1 – Save $400 monthly

With the year’s budget collated in this week, I see that my $300 dollar savings goal is mostly achievable (except for that period in Nov 2010). This year I am going to up the ante – $400 out of my $1000 stipend is to go into savings. I aim to achieve the $100 difference by introducing the following changes in my life:

  • Eliminate all consumption of flavored drinks except when paid for with Daily$ (my credit card’s reward programme).
  • Bring lunch to school at least once a week.
  • Reduce utility consumption by switching off the computer by 10.30pm, i.e. I should sleep earlier now.
  • Reduce cable consumption by claiming channels with points.

Yes, life is going to be awfully boring for the next few months. The increase of $100 though is meant for…

Goal 2 – Donate 10% ($100) to A charity

I “earn” $1000 a month through my student bond with WDA. 10% of that = $100. If Rockefeller can donate 10% of his salary to charity, so can I. The only question left is which charity to donate to, and how to donate it. I favor children charities, although charities dealing with the environment or rehabilitation of convicts are favorable in my books as well; If anyone has a charity to suggest, you know who to call….

Goal 3 – Train Active Listening – Patience & Recall

I spent part of the past week soliciting feedback from a few people. The result is largely anecdotal rather than statistically conclusive, but the result is that I tend to come off as largely overbearing and confrontational in my dealings.

For those wondering, yes, it hurts to be critiqued. But I can do a lot worse than honest feedback.

To prove that this leopard can indeed change his shorts, I worked out some personal guidelines to follow in the year.

  • When listening, tilt head at approx 3-5 degrees. (Trigger point)
  • When a query comes into my head, note down on pad rather than blurting. (Recall)
  • Mentally count 2 seconds after a speaker finishes. (Patience)
  • Rephrase conversation in mind as list of bullet-ed points, refresh and confirm with speaker at appropriate times. (Recall)
  • At end of conversation, confirm actionable items with speaker. (Recall)

For those wondering, yes I dislike vague/generalized resolutions. The steps above are a series of “ritualized” actions, a reminder to myself if you will, to perform certain actions, much like how I trained my eyes to open/close individually.

(That reflex, by the way, is still imperfect, so no live demonstrations.)

Goal 4 – Reduce BMI to 22

My present body weight is 68.5kg, height 1.73m, rounded off to nearest “nice” value. That gives me a BMI of 22.9 kg/m2. After verifying via the Heath Promotion Board’s circular (vaguely recalled the changes in BMI ranges from a newspaper article a few years back), I am barely within the safe limit.

The new goal is another “nice” value: 22 kg/m2. That gives me a target weight of 65.8kg. Well either that or I better start growing taller.

Things to change:

  • No using of escalators/lifts for heights less than 4 floors.
  • Walk home from Kovan rather than take the shuttle from Serangoon.
  • Review efforts in April 2011.

References

StudyGS article on active listening: Click here.

Buzzle.com Effective Listening: Click here.

Health Promotion Board on BMI ranges: Click here.

January 2, 2011

It’s the Hols! Day 8-12

The Singapore National Library is a pretty amazing place.

It offers free books.
It offers free magazines from lifestyle to scientific online through its eResources service.
It has Bloomberg terminals for those who want to be stockbrokers.
It has movie/animation/drama DVDs for loan. (2 per user for 2 weeks, unless you are a Premium member, than it’s 4 per user)
Most importantly, it also offers PC games.

By PC games I do not mean just casual titles like Diner Dash or edutainment software for kids. I mean the good stuff. Far Cry 2, Universalis Europa III, Worms Domination for the old-school. Disclaimer: the library’s collection of games is pretty random. I see copies of Nancy Drew beside Killing Floor and a Barney adventure game.

I nailed a copy of Settlers VII and Puzzle Quest together with a few novels.

Puzzle Quest is an addictive game that innovates on Bejeweled’s gameplay. Instead of just matching 3 orbs of the same color together in a line for points, these orbs now serve as mana for you to fling spells at your opponent, with the goal being to reduce your opponent’s life bar to 0. There are 2 ways to reduce their life bar: Match 3 or more skull orbs or use your spells, which require a certain number of color orbs of various colors. Spells also do more than just damage your opponent; some spells allow you to change certain orbs to a different color on the game board, some remove certain orbs from the board, some destroys those orbs for a certain effect (with more orbs destroyed granting extended duration or a more powerful effect).

Narrative-wise, the story is pretty bland, with some funny bits to liven up what is essentially a grind (leveling system). Audio is forgettable, but serviceable. What drives the game is the gameplay itself, with me always just wanting to go “one more challenge”.

The only other notable activity I have been engaging is swimming, for about 2-4 hours each session. Work on the GDD is definitely not up to schedule; still editing the Human Race GDD, which is not a good place to be, considering how much more stuff I have to do still. On the flip side, I have done up some of my other stuff, as well as spent a goodly bit of cash for the Xmas period.

Tags: ,