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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Only Reality

See bottom for notes on inspiration. 
Departures.
One day, hard as can be,
The next, the only way alive.
Can never predict when.

Pain.
There when you need it least,
Feeding on your every fall.
Your failure is the prize.

Tears.
The only comfort you have left,
When estranged and alone.
Your fall is their fall .

Vicissitudes of life.
Chipping away at our strength.
Beyond where we stopped trying,
There is no improvement...

Departures.
One day paralyzing,
The next, liberating.
Can never predict which.

Pain.
Pushing forward the strength in you,
To regain trust beyond failure,
To play again with life.

Tears.
Shedding a witness of faith,
In a past without a future.
The start of every start.

Life.
The only reason to any logic,
Ruthless, unpredictable, marvellous.
The only reality we can try.

I was watching J.K. Rowling's interview with Oprah and she said that if her mother had not died, there would probably not be Harry Potter. Writing the series was a way of coping and figuring out the meaning of love, death and life. She also said that failure was liberating. Hitting rock bottom meant having nothing left to lose. Failure is necessary, but we don't talk about failure nearly enough. We talk about success all the time but failure is very important... I THINK this interview is mostly what inspired this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Do you get bored?

The other day I got to work really early and had an interesting conversation with a colleague. He said that the one thing he does not want to hear EVER EVER is "I'm bored". Never. He said:

"I don't recall ever being bored. NEVER EVER! There is just so much to do, how can you ever be bored? You're either struggling to live, or have the luxury to learn and explore. How can someone be bored?"

Have you ever been bored? How often? I can barely ever remember having enough time on my hands to get bored. At least not in the recent years. I've been tired, disgusted, discouraged, frustrated, but bored? It's really hard to recall any occasion where I was just sitting there not knowing what to do. I always have too much to do, so much I want to learn, so much I NEED to try before my time is up (and it could have been up already..!).

My colleague and I both agree that having no TV at home is the way to go. You get so much more time to do other stuff. How else will I find the time to work a full-time job and a startup and still find time to make music, read, write, have meaningful conversations with people around me, sleep, clean the house and keep a healthy diet?

DID YOU KNOW? In the 19th century, people bought music sheets so they could play them at home and the publishers only included the gramophone recording as a bonus so you know how it's supposed to sound! Nowadays, we pay for the recording and get the lyrics for free... How did we become such a passive society? Why do we accept complacency as a norm when there is so much we can do to make a difference not just in the world but in our own lives? What is the rationale behind paying Rogers/Bell/Canal Satellite to spoon-feed your brain for 20 hours a week while your brain and heart beg for more stimulating activities? It doesn't make sense and I don't think I can ever justify paying for cable/satellite TV.

As I wrote this blog, I realized that I HAVE been bored once before, and I never want to experience it again: after my surgery, when I was in hospital, or a little before I went back to work. I suppose it was not pure boredom, but also frustration at one's own physical inabilities and the need to feel alive again. But trust me, I'm never getting bored again.

So are you ever bored? If so, why? how? when?

Friday, November 30, 2012

With Or Without You

When I first heard U2's song, I didn't get it. I couldn't find a use case. I couldn't create a scenario where the lyrics would make sense completely. It would make sense in some ways but then the logic would crumble somewhere in the chorus. "I can't live with or without you" just didn't click with me.

Eventually, I learned the true meaning of the song while reading one of Bono's interviews. If I remember correctly, it was about the band. I have since formulated my own interpretation (both logical and musical) of the song and played it probably a couple hundred times.

In the creation of my favourite cover, I lost sight of what the song meant to me at some point. It's always hard to remember that kind of thing when you play a song over and over.

To me, the song is about expectations. About trying hard to meet them, and failing. About giving more than you receive to a point where it's unclear whether going on or giving up will be more productive. And finally, it's about accepting the fact that these expectations will remain unsatisfied and working past it. I'd be curious to know how you relate to the song.

 Anyway, here are the lyrics to refresh your memory. Apparently not everyone remembers lyrics. I have a strange ability to remember lyrics despite myself (even the songs I hate...) and sometimes forget that it's only me.

Comments about the video are welcome too. One of these days I might actually do a proper produced version of this.



See the stone set in your eyes
See the thorn twist in your side
And I wait here for you

Slight of hand and twist of fate
On a bed of nails you make me wait
And I wait without you
 With or without you
With or without you

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give And you give
And you give yourself away

My hands are tied
My body's bruised you got me with
Nothing to win and nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give And you give
And you give yourself away

Oh Oh Oh Oh

With or without you
With or without you
I can't live
With or without you

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Live at the Gladstone

First, congrats to Super Tash who rocked like a boss! Her set, her music and her band was badass. Just badass. When SuperTash asked me if I wanted to do a show, the artist inside me was a bit tuned out. She said "We'll bring you back to life!" and she did! I had so much fun playing the Gladstone Hotel on Sunday. I was the only one playing an acoustic set but I got really good responses from the audience. If you were there, thanks for showing up! I really appreciate it. Here are a few recordings, followed by some thoughts. Note: Lyrics for "The Brighter Side" and "Perfect World" are available in the track description on SoundCloud and EVERYTHING IS FREE DOWNLOAD!!! The Brighter Side - Sherry-Lynn Lee With Or Without You - U2 Someone Like You - Adele Perfect World - Sherry-Lynn Lee Recently, I've tried to work on my chest voice. As many female singers, I struggle with it. I've struggled with breath as well but something I did recently was to keep going when I felt out of breath. Many times, I had just enough to finish the phrase and I felt it added a subtle little something to the song. (The Brighter Side has a bunch, including 1:04 - 1:13) I realized that, before, I was just cutting my phrases short thinking I couldn't do it... And yet, all I had to do was keep going.
Photo credit: (c) 2012 Stan Velijev

Saturday, November 3, 2012

One Day (New song, work in progress)

Judging by its position in my notebook, I would say I probably wrote this text over a year ago. It was just words. Yesterday the melody just hit me as I was leafing through my notebook. Tadaaaaaa. MP3 demo coming soon.

E C#m A B
One day, you'll remember waking up next to me
And how it felt to swim chasing the sun

C#m B E A
And you'll stand alone on the lakeshore watching stars
And you'll think of us, and how we were happy

E C#m A B
One day, you'll wish you could bring back these days, so carefree
One day, you will look back and wonder how it could have been
It could've been with me
If you had stayed

C#m B E A
And you'll stand alone on the lakeshore watching stars
And you'll think of us, and how we were happy


E C#m A B

One day, I found the answer was that there were no reasons at all
That one day, I decided I would take another road that won't cross yours

C#m B E A
In parallel, I'll see you and you'll see me
And we'll be within reach but we won't ever meet

So you'll stand alone on the lakeshore watching stars
And you'll think of us, and how we were happy

I willl be happy
I'll be gone and happy
I'll be happy without you

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What's your Gobi?

Yesterday I had an amazing day at TEDxToronto and I just wanted to share my thoughts on this experience. Most of TED talks seem to have a very common theme despite the context ranging wildly. I suppose, then, that it is the secret ingredient that makes ideas worth sharing. To me, that common theme resonates with me as resilience.

Speakers almost always challenge the definition of impossible and the supremacy of the status quo. It's always about realizing one's own capability of overcoming burdening conventions and making a better world more accessible. A TED speech is typically about an ambitious vision that leverages a solution so simple we overlook it, a method that requires an unexpected yet accessible ingredient.

Often, the alchemy between different fields is what brings forward the most impactful innovation. A few examples from TEDxToronto are the coming together of designers, usability experts, patients and doctors at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation to design health technology that includes and engages patients with their health management. Or the Citizen Lab, where hacking and activism meet to defend the privacy and freedom of speech of the digital world. But it doesn't have to be a big thing. Sometimes, just picking fruits with strangers can reduce waste and build a stronger community. And sometimes, it takes one's lowest point in life to realize one's full potential and run the 6 first marathons in the Gobi desert.


Resilience. To run when you don't want to. To keep trying beyond 1500 "no"s. To say no to language poisoning that is so pervasive it seems invincible. To keep pushing for change when all the world wants is the comfort of the status quo. To be creators instead of passive consumers. To believe in success beyond your fears of failure. To train your brain to build neural connections it didn't have. People say "think outside the box" but sometimes, there's just no box! Adaptation. Plasticity. Embracing change. They all require this resilience that permeates virtually all TED speeches.

Below are some of the quotes I blindly scribbled in the dark yesterday as I absorbed the incredible experiences being recounted on stage. I hope you will find them useful.

"In this age of technology, you can either program or be programmed." - Ryan Henson Creighton

"You cannot create in another man's dreams" - @brother_mustafa

"Great things come from small beginnings" - Marcelo Da Luz

"25 years gonna go by anyway" - Marcelo Da Luz when told it would take him 25 years of full time work to create his own solar car.

"To replace oil, we need something that eats, sleeps and breathes like oil. We need to look at the economics of oil. One input, many outputs. It shouldn't change the way consumers consume. It should be competitive with respect to oil and not rely on subsidies." - Jon Dwyer

"I'm sorry about your loss... But remember... You're next" - Joe Cafazzo

"Patients can do incredible things given the right tools " - Joe Cafazzo

"It's your fault. You're letting that person live in your head rent-free." - Drew Dudley

The following quotes are all from Stephane Danis' speech, which was probably my favourite in terms of delivery and style.

"Resilience determines the meaning we give to events and how we react to them. It's how we can shorten the cycle between a negative event and the perception of new opportunities."

"They said the race was 50% physical and 50% mental. So I decided to run only when I didn't feel like it. When it was raining, when I wanted to go to bed. When I was very full after a large meal. When I had a little too much to drink. I made a friend out of each obstacle."

"Sometimes, we need someone else to show us what we can do. Now I think of all the areas where I've been walking instead of running. I knew all the concepts, but I needed this experience to fuse them all together. It completely change my relationship with adversity."

"IQ and EQ aren't enough. We need emotional grit. The good thing about it is that it's proven that you can grow it. It's like a muscle. "

"We're blind to what we can do. Be your words, not your feelings. Most of the people who signed up for the race never even made it to the START. They didn't FEEL like it. There are 309 known emotions and 2/3 of them are negative. When our words conflict with our feelings, we often choose to go with our feelings. Be your words, not your feelings."

"Expectations can be the hardest of burdens."

"Create your own adversity project. Something outside of your comfort zone. Because when adversity strikes, you can either get marked by it, or use it to make a mark."


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Introducing iamsick.ca

If you've noticed a decreased frequency of blog posts here, it's mostly because I've been busy working on iamsick.ca with my two wonderful co-founders since June. Here's an overview of iamsick.ca.

 
www.iamsick.ca is a healthcare mapping website/app that deals with two problems: a systematic problem that is burdening the Canadian healthcare system, and a problem related to inconveniences experienced by Canadians who seek same-day primary options.


The Canadian healthcare system is overburdened with unnecessary ER visits.  Almost half of all ER visits are non-critical, costing the government 2x-6x per patient compared to receiving similar treatment at an urgent care centre, walk-in clinic or family doctor.  Reducing the number of non-critical ER patients may reduce healthcare costs and ER wait-times.

Canadian patients are inconvenienced by the ineffective use of consumer technology when it comes to healthcare in Canada.  Searches for nearby same-day healthcare options in Canada often deliver results that are incomplete, noisy or out-of-date, and information is dispersed across various websites.  For ERs, urgent care centres and walk-in clinics, patients register in person and spend unproductive hours in a waiting room.  There is also a lack of awareness of healthcare options for travelers; International students aren't fully aware of all healthcare providers that accept UHIP health insurance plans, Canadians traveling out-of-province may be unaware of their healthcare options, and international visitors to Canada may have travel insurance but are unaware of their healthcare options. We provide users with all the information they need in a single place and strive to ensure the integrity of our data.

iamsick.ca  consolidates information about ERs, urgent care centres, walk-in clinics and pharmacies onto a map that makes it easier for patients to learn about their surroundings and see relevant information.  We show Canadians what's nearby, what's open at the time of search, wait-time information if its available, and more.  We are also working towards implementing a centralized e-scheduling system that will show live wait-times and facilitate remote registration for same-day appointments and virtual queuing at walk-in clinics.  This may provide a behavioural incentive for patients with less urgent conditions to choose an option that is less costly to our healthcare system.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sun Still Shines

I don't think it's possible to love "Like you'll never see me again" as Alicia Keys puts it in her song title,but I think that's ok. Here's my answer to that.


[verse]
Though our hearts are carved with us
And we know every minute is precious
We fail to always love like the last day
Our imperfections all get in the way

[chorus]
But even when it rains, the sun still shines
Brightly through the clouds of angry lines
One day you pour down and I am thunder
Next you're the rainbow and I'm the sun
Like the weather we change and we stay
For even when we rain our sun still shines

[verse]
I want to leave now but you won't to stop
It's a heavy ball that we still won't drop
Even as our arms get weak and tired
Winning is how the ego is wired

Maybe you're mean now, maybe I'm mad
We pace around with our judging hat
We're not listening, we're just yelling
Why can't we see that we're not moving?

[chorus]
But even when it rains, the sun still shines
Brightly through the clouds of angry lines
One day you pour down and I am thunder
Next you're the rainbow and I'm the sun
Like the weather we change and we stay
For even when we rain our sun still shines

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Answer Is A Song

Music has always been my therapy. I'd dance to it, sing it, listen to it, played it, and eventually started writing it. I write with the hope of triggering something in the listener's mind that will give them an answer.

I remember being a teenager and watching her stare out the window in sorrow. I turned on the music, pretending I had forgotten, hoping she would listen. I don't remember what the song was. She asked me to turn it off. She said she didn't want this song to remind her of bad memories later on. I was surprised by this statement. I was also disappointed and somewhat angry. Why do adults always think teens and kids don't understand? 

I was disappointed because the answer was the song. If only she would listen, maybe she would feel the comfort. Maybe she would see things from a different angle. Maybe she would figure it out. I knew I did. To me it was so obvious. The answer is a song. There is so much wisdom, so much hope, and so much strength in some songs. Why wouldn't people just listen?

What is your therapy?


This is a cover of Evanescence's song "Lost In Paradise" off their latest album. What? I still find her voice amazing and her songs fun to sing.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Suspense

I'm feeling better. The increased dose has brought remarkable results. Don't feel super hot anymore, not losing weight anymore (at least I think so), lower heart rate, and am able to walk for a few hours in the mall without any trouble. Today I even ran up to the GO train platform and was alright :D

It looks like the doctor will be happy when he sees me next. I have a very small window of time between my doctor visit and my deadline to postpone my flight. Fingers crossed, I'll be going to Mauritius on Friday. I haven't been home in two years and it's starting to feel like a very long time. Toronto is my new "home", where I belong and feel most comfortable; but Mauritius is where most of my family stays and where I have the most incredibly happy memories.

I look forward to seeing some of my friends. I've known many of them for more than a decade now. Not a lot of people remain friends for such a long time. I feel so lucky to have maintained such great friendships. When I was young, my mom used to say "forgive because everyone makes mistakes" and I did. It was hard at first but I just hoped that one day it would prove worthwhile. I'm so glad I was able to do so. It's not common for ex-bf/gf to be friends, even less crushes. It's funny to look back on how things wouldn't work out then. It's even weirder that we're still friends now.

Anyway, there is still a slight chance that the doctor might not let me go just yet, but I really hope I can leave on Friday. After two years of struggling with health, work and studies, I think I've earned myself a vacation :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Graves' Disease & Hyperthyroidism

I was going to write a detailed post about Graves' disease and hyperthyroidism, but due to my lowered energy I will just say this.

I lost 9 lbs in 3 weeks despite an increased appetite. Doesn't seem such a bad disease if I can fit in my clothes again! :D

If you want more information check out this link
http://www.thyroidmanager.org/chapter/diagnosis-and-treatment-of-graves-disease/

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why You Need To Regret

COMING SOON

I've been playing with this post idea for almost half a year now, just haven't gotten to finalize my thoughts.
Stay tuned or regret it! :P

The AHA Moment

I just had an AHA moment reading a post I wrote yesterday. I remembered the order in which I wrote parts of it, and I it occurred to me that I did it for many other posts too. AND I JUST FIGURED OUT WHY!!!

Last week, I mentioned to someone that I'm sometimes impatient when it comes to meetings. I just want to know the conclusion. It's almost as if nothing makes any sense unless and until there is a conclusion.

I realized that this way of thinking emerges not just during meetings, but also while writing. Strange but true. I tend to write the first paragraph about my main point. Most of it usually ends up somewhere in the conclusion. I always rearrange sentences and paragraphs, and it ALWAYS sounds better after the rearrangement.

PS: that last sentence was initially in the introduction ;)




Sunday, June 10, 2012

Remembering Sonia

According to her parents, I was one of the very few people she was allowed to have sleepovers with. Unknown to us, this was our last sleepover ever. We talked about music, boys, and other things girls talked about to catch up. She told me how things were unfolding with her health, and then she asked me:

"And you? How are things?"

"Things are good," I said.

" And healthwise?" she insisted.

The question struck me. Since I got sick last year, I've been thinking about this conversation over and over. I can't imagine how she felt about the pain, the risks, the dependency, the fact that life was not going to be as long as it should... No wonder she was so mature.

When we were 15, she didn't need any aid to walk. We even went clubbing a few times. She seemed to be in control. Then one day, things changed. She got really sick, even fell into a coma, and it was never fully the same again. Yet she fought. She aced her fashion design courses, painted a mural for her school, released her comic book, had many many friends and a great relationship. NOTHING would prevent Sonia Chan Tin from living life to its fullest. She was even going to make my album artwork. I'll attach the drafts tomorrow (I don't have my hard drive).

When we were around 21, I wasn't afraid to walk from College to Lawrence. I even went clubbing a few times. My cardiologist said I could now do anything like a normal person. Then one day, things changed. My heart was failing, I couldn't breathe and I fainted. I had an open-heart surgery. It was never fully the same again. I'm not sure I fought nearly as much as she did, but I put on a decent fight. I still can't run for more than 2 min, I need more rest than I ever used to. But that's nothing in comparison... When we were 21, she left.
 
I used to barely have to think about my health, except when I have infections. Her story was different. Sometimes the veins would burst, sometimes her legs would hurt. It could be anytime, anywhere. No plan was final until the day of, I think. Everything depended on how she felt that day. During that conversation, it really hit me: I was very lucky. I admired her for not letting her condition dictate her abilities. She was an artist, she had published a book (and sold all of them), she'd bring handmade gifts whenever she'd come over, she was pretty much adored by everyone.

I've been thinking about this conversation. Health really is everything. How long will I have it for? How fast will it go away?

I keep thinking about this conversation. Over and over.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dr. House & Result Oriented Communication

You must have watched at least one episode of Dr. House. My favourite character of all times, even more than Sherlock Holmes. He intrigues me and has caused me to reflect upon communication skills and its relation to ability, and to the truth. Personally, I value honesty, even if it's painful to hear. Yet, so few people are willing to give you that feedback. Probably for fear of things escalating. And probably with reason.

I've enjoyed a few communications courses during my time at the University of Toronto and I did very well in all of them. However, I still find that sometimes, things go wrong and, as much as you try, some people are just gonna lose it. Sometimes it's them being jerks, but probably very often, it's me not communicating properly, not getting my message across, or not delivering the message I should be or the one they want. Should I be telling them exactly what they want to hear? As much as I enjoyed all these courses, I still find myself cornered sometimes.

These courses tend to give people a positive attitude and a sense of empowerment, which feels great at first. But it's not enough for me. Sure I feel I've learned a lot about dealing with conflict resolution et al. in theory, but context is often lacking. I need the course to throw outraging situations at me, to catch me off-guard, to hit me on the soft spots, and to force me to improve to the point of communicating effectively even when my blood is boiling with rage. I should leave class every time drained of all energy, just like coming home from a good workout. Some courses tried a few exercises like this, but I just wish there was a full course of just that.

Life is not fair, people aren't either, and we should learn to accept it and deal with it gracefully. I think I do try but I have room for improvement still. I'm still trying to figure out why people haven't yet accepted that ego and feeling good about themselves is not always the best thing. I wish I lived in a world where Dr. Houses existed. I'm going to miss you House.



A few things you learn from House.
- Everybody lies.
- People do everything to feel good about themselves, to be validated. Often involves some sacrifice.
- Being right and a jerk is better than being nice and wrong. Love Simon Cowell.
- Your eyes turn yellow if your liver fails

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Don't Know What It's Like To Be "Done"


A lot of people have been asking me "So! How does it feel to finally be done undergrad!" like it's supposed to be such a relief. I'm not sure why that is though. Undergrad was not such a dread for me. However, the truth is, I don't know what it feels to be "really done". I guess I do have more time for fun now that I did before, but I don't feel like I can forget the outside world and indulge in some time away just yet.

Right after my last exam, I went out with a friend to relax. It was a Thursday. On Monday, I was back to work catching up on hours I had missed to focus on studying. Two weeks of 8.5 hour workdays went by and it still didn't feel like it was over. Finally relieved from a full-time schedule, I started working on my website, as well as my resumes and cover letters. I had a few friends review them and I had all sorts of conflicting feedback, leading me back to the drawing board. I don't feel like I'm "done" yet. I think I'll feel "done" once I've sent the applications. Or maybe after I've done interviews. Or secured a job. Or NEVER?

Looking back, it seems like things are never done. Maybe I just don't take the time to be done. After high school I took IT courses to keep myself busy, I got my driver's license, and before I knew it, I was on a flight to Toronto. After my first year, I went home for summer and worked for an IT company, where I met really cool musicians. The next month, I was busy meeting with a label and producers, recording a single, and it was already time to go back to school. After my second year, I went home and recorded my first album, then came to Toronto to launch and promote it during fall and spring. The summer after that I did a CD release back home and raised money for charity, and also traveled to Asia before coming back to start my 12 month internship at Environment Canada.

At first it felt like everything would be a little calmer for a bit, with a 9-5 job and no homework. Then came the "new" place, dirty and full of creepy bugs. The breakup. The clubbing spree. Then the infamous heart failure. Surgery. Recovery. Almost time to go back to school again!

My last year at the University of Toronto has been a race against time trying to do as many things as I possibly could do well at the same time. I felt like any revenue would be a relief for my parents, so I accepted the offer to extend my internship as a part-time developer until my graduation. I also had to think of my next step. I considered grad school for a bit. Towards the end of spring, I realized that the MSc. A.C. was not financially reasonable at this point, so I'm pushing it down the stack of things to do in the future.


I also spent a great deal of time brainstorming over entrepreneurship opportunities with my "partner in crime". We went through a myriad of ideas, registered quite a few domains, even designed some interfaces, saw potential team members come and go, kept searching for THE vision. We have also registered with Stanford for a free online entrepreneurship course which is currently in progress (venture-lab.org). I believe we are getting closer to a defined vision and we might just get lucky this time.

In between meetings for the venture lab project, meetings for the new project, work, house chores, learning web programming, and job applications, it seems like my summer time is slipping through my fingers. My goal is to have all applications sent before this week and hopefully have a few interviews before I go on vacation. Luckily, I have great people to have a swim, fancy ice cream or watch movies with. I proud myself in the fact that I've caught up with a good number of movies since my last exam. The Dark Knight and Hulk are no longer strangers. Yey :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

The boiler engineer who repaired his own heart, avoiding open heart surgery.

Inspiring story of Tal Golesworthy's method of treating aortic dilation.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bulletproof - Laroux (acoustic cover) + UofT Idol

I was initially going to play this for the contest but changed my mind because I was scared I'd mess up the lyrics lol. I just wanted to make a video to thank everyone who supported me at UofT idol. I got my prize yesterday and I couldn't have done it without my loyal fans and friends. Thank you so much!

I'm dedicating this video to a friend of mine who has been very supportive over the past 4 years (woah time flies) and who loves Laroux. Thank you :)

I will post more videos next week after my exams! Last undergrad exams! Yay.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Derniere Ligne Droite

I'm not sure what the English translation is for the title expression :) Next week is the VERY LAST week of my undergraduate degree and I'm excited. I'm also slightly scared of the 4 computer science assignments that are due that week. It will be (and has been for the past 2 months) an intense 10 or so days of programming. I'm gonna try to enjoy it before it comes to an end. We CS kids complain a lot about the work load but I think secretly we do enjoy it, including the stress and the mind-boggling problems we attempt to solve. Soon enough, I will write my final exams. Then I'll walk across the stage in a robe and will receive my piece of paper. If I were to rewind to first year, there are many things I would've done differently, had I known what my interests would be now. But what's done is done, and maybe every mistake contributed to my current state of mind as much as my successes did. The next step is looking for a job. I hope to find a job that is inspiring. I'd like to try something different. Maybe a different city? Paris. London. Vancouver. Would be cool. But at the same time, I love Toronto. We'll see... I have a few projects lined up to keep me busy over the summer and I'm also going home! I've missed my island :) The uncertainties remain and every now and then, the gripping fear of being dissatisfied with my life a few years down the road still resurfaces. We made friends. I made friends with fear. We fight a lot but I can be a competitive friend. So I try to win. I rationalize, telling myself that I'm in a transition phase and that it's normal to freak out every now and then. And that's true. Luckily, I have a few special people in my life who always find a way to cheer me up. Most of the time, it's unconscious. All this anxiety comes from the feeling that I could have accomplished so much more during my 5 years here. And it is true. But everyone could say that. Plus, instead of complaining, I should rather do something about it. So I am :) And that's the best way I know to battle fear. Take it by the horns and stare it down. Stare it down while ninja fighting the various obstacles thrown your way. At least that's the way I've always dealt with it. Seems to work... How do you battle fear? Leave a comment :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

1 year already!

A year ago, I had 2 IVs in my arms, needed an oxygen mask to breathe properly, and was about to get on an operation table. There were only 2 things on my mind. 1: I'm gonna have a huge scar. 2: My family must be freaking out. My family includes the extended family. I wasn't worried about me, I knew I'd be fine. But them, I was worried they'd worry themselves sick.

The surgery went well, I recovered. Tons of stuff happened. Many good things, a few bad things too, but that led me to where I am now. I'm thankful for all those who contributed to my recovery in any way. During and after my "forced vacation" I've had time to reflect on what I truly want to do with my life and, slowly but surely, the answer is revealing itself.

 A year later, here I am. I am 100% back to normal health, taking 6 courses and a part time job. When I turned 24 earlier this year, I didn't think "damn getting old". I thought "I could've been dead but I'm still alive. That's awesome". I have found my nerdy passion again and am pursuing it to the best of my abilities. Life is great. I even appreciate stress because there was a time when I couldn't go out and I'd be bored out of my mind begging to go to work.

It's flippin fantastic to be able to lift my arms or sneezing without excruciating pain, or breathing without difficulty, or even walking without fearing someone would accidentally bump into me. I'm glad for this experience. It has rejuvenated me, invigorated me. I'm still young, and I don't take life for granted.

Does it get any better?

 If you had similar experiences or are anxious about surgery-related issues, I'd be glad to hear from you. Comment :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How Do You Sound When You're Sick?

This is what I sound like when I'm sick.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Change Me coz We're Still Going.

Evaluation of 2011 done, it's time for a new resolution list for 2012! Only this time I'll be more organized about it. (OK, just sometimes I'm a little OCD like that...)

Computer Science
- Graduating from BSc!
- Learn PHP, MySQL, AJAX, RoR etc.
- Finish the 3 websites currently started.
- Create a mobile app
- Look for jobs & apply
- Use cool stuff I learned in practice

Music
- Write, write, write! 12 complete songs minimum.
- Work on 5-10 covers
- Band practice every week/ learn to co-write
- Sell out CMAWG CDs already!
- Finish my website so people can buy stuff
- Improve vocal technique/ control (vibrato, breathing, mix)
- Learn new piano techniques
- Learn new guitar techniques
- Diversify (and update) my music collection with 50 new artists of various genres (I swear Evanescence is a new band :P)
- Book shows in summer and play at least 10 shows.

Business
- Find developer to partner with
- Continue the work in progress :)

Personal
- Eat more healthy
- Get sick less often!!!!!! (And not end up in hospital)
- Stay away from psychos who have issues or want to kill themselves. No jokes.
- Be less "anti-social", building more confidence in certain areas
- Improve conflict resolution/ negotiation skills (believe me, there is ALWAYS room for improvement in this area because it's like the jungle!)
- Keep in touch better and more often with the ones I love and am so grateful for.
- Cardio workout 1-2 times a week
- Dance class
- Be more productive
- Try something new (skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, new language)
- Be less sarcastic and/or irritable when stressed
- Be more organized
- Figure out my pre-mid-life crisis triggered by imminent graduation :)
- Get the driver's license. Seriously.

List Fun == crossing off items off list

Another year is finally starting. If I could summarize 2011 in one word it would be... chaos. But let's see what's been accomplished from the list I made at the start of the year After all, there's no fun in making lists if you don't cross items out, that's where you get all the reward!

1. Finally make my website
2. Write and record new demos

3. Write a mobile app (postponed to 2012!)
4. Sell more Change Me As We Go CDs through live gigging (postponed to 2012!)
5. Play more shows than 2010 (postponed to 2012!)
6. Go to more open mics (postponed to 2012!)
7. Do more vocal exercises and improve technique
8. Learn a classical piano piece (postponed to 2012!)
9. Learn new guitar techniques (postponed to 2012!)
10. Contribute more to the community than 2010, which was not bad to start with :) (epic fail)
11. Make a difference in someone's life
12. Figure out what I want to do after graduation in 2012 (figured what I WANT to do, not what I WILL do)
13. Be more efficient than in 2010
14. Be more active. Take up dance again! Or sports
15. Write more and better and daily
16. Read all these books on my shelf! (lowered priority, but I did read my textbooks more! :-D)
17. Work on 2 major side projects in programming
18. Remember more people's birthdays
19. Figure out something with my current gear
20. Come up with as many ideas as possible for songs, scripts, businesses
21. Finally get my freakin business cards? (lowered priority)
22. Discover 25 new artists from different genres 23. Cook more and eat healthier
24. Find collaborators in music and CS

25. Catch up on those movies that apparently I should've watched :) (lowered priority)
26. Get my Canadian driver's license (postponed to 2012!)
27. Update my youtube and myspace accounts and video infos
28. Post more videos on youtube

29. Work on my mailing list (lowered priority)
30. Brush up my French and maybe learn a bit of Mandarin

A bit more than half accomplished. I have to admit, better than expected lol. But the question is... Had I NOT had to undergo open heart surgery, would I have accomplished more? I think I definitely could have played more music over the summer if it wasn't hell to carry a guitar or something. And the driver's license... That was just laziness :( But definitely, one thing on my list for 2012 will be GET SICK LESS OFTEN DAMNIT!

How did your year turn out?