Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Kurash is really taking me places! literally, i mean. i'm due to fly to uzbekistan tonight for a competition, with 2 athletes under my charge. first time being team leader for an overseas contingent, so i'm a little nervous. what's worse is that it's to an unfamiliar country, in an unfamiliar part of the world, and the trip is almost a week long! if it were to japan or even australia/new zealand, i'd be much less stressed, and maybe even i'd enjoy planning my own R&R. but's to uzbekistan. good news is that the air tickets were partially sponsored, so that was a load off our collective wallets. i think it'll be a challenging experience, and i hope that things go smoothly throughout our entire trip. the plan is to get a local SIM card for data (thank goodness for dual-SIM phones!), but i'm not sure how readily available 4G internet (or internet itself, really) will be. considering that, and the likely busy schedule, i doubt i'll update while i'm there.

my water bottle kind of became not-really usable. don't know how or why, but green fungus/mould began to grow inside, on the bottom. this is despite it being made of polycarbonate. there are currently 2 colonies, which have proven resistant to my attempts to remove them using hot water and physical agitation. i think scrubbing the inside out might work, but the neck is kind of narrow for the brush that i've got to fit in. i suppose it's about time to change anyway...i've had that water bottle since J1, so it's been about...13 years now? i don't even want to start counting the number of times i've refilled it, or the total volume of water it's held. suffice to say that it's a lot. although i bought a different brand this time (added features and at a similar price point), i would still recommend nalgene products to anyone.

still haven't heard back from the judo federation. it's been about a week since i sent in an email. i wonder if they're really trying to sweep this under the carpet. well...i won't let it slide. let's see how things play out.

there's about 9-ish hours before i fly off, 7-ish before i have to be at the airport. still have to pack(!), clean my room up, and maybe pop down to rivervale mall to get huge heavy-duty ziploc bags. don't know what happened to the ones that i bought previously. all in all, i think i should make it in time, even more so if my friend agrees to pick me up and send me to the airport. oh, need to backup my phone data too. maybe i should consider putting a few movies in my tablet. the flight is 7 hours long, and while i do plan to sleep through most of it, i'm not sure how that will work out.

for some reason, i still get nervous before flying. it's usually mitigated by (1) my choice of airline, (2) the duration of the flight, and (3) the destination itself. normally, flying scoot or jetstar to like, japan is quite well within my comfort zone. this time round, i'm taking uzbekistan airways. no doubt that it's the national carrier of uzbekistan, but i know very little about it. uzbekistan itself is about 7 hours away, which is still somewhat tolerable. my limit is about 8 hours, which is the time needed to fly from from kuala lumpur to melbourne. and as for uzbekistan, it's located in a relatively volatile part of the world, plus my knowledge about the culture and customs there is quite lacking. i just hope that i'm worrying for nothing. after all, 3 people within the federation have been there before, and they seemed none the worse for it. guess i should distract myself with the remaining tasks on my to-do list, like packing. i'd better get to it, then. see you all in about a week!

-random thought of the day: FFXIV free play campaign is running!-

Monday, April 09, 2018

From my post about taiwan, you may remember that i was very impressed by the taiwanese and their general civic-mindedness. same for the japanese. i just keep wondering why and how singapore has managed to lose sight of that. or maybe it's just crowd mentality. let me illustrate this point with an example. i was on my way back from lab late last friday night, and the KPE tunnel had only one open lane for a stretch of the way as the other lanes were closed for maintenance and road works. the workers were nice enough to give gradual warning, by the indicators above each lane that gradually turned yellow, then red. i got into the queue early, as a law-abiding citizen, although the queue was really long and moving really slowly. and i found out why - so many cars sped ahead even though the lane indicator was red, and were trying to merge at the last minute. of course, i laid on the horn and took some video footage. i'm sure that if everyone queued, the line would be longer, but move much faster, and lead to shorter clearing times. i don't understand why people are so selfish. of course it's natural to look out for yourself. but it's not ok when looking out for yourself comes at the expense of other people. i strongly believe that most situations in life can be made win-win. i guess i'm in the minority, though.

then again, i shouldn't be that surprised. singapore is becoming increasingly soulless. hopefully it's not as bad as dubai, which i hear is the textbook example that most people cite. i suppose the fact that it's becoming harder to make a living in singapore contributes to this as well; most people can't really be bothered to be nice when worrying about their expenses and savings. on top of that, the prime minister encouraged singaporeans to "steal other people's lunches" (actual quote) in order to stay ahead. don't know about you, but that's deeply disturbing to me. a leader is asking the people under him to STEAL. whatever happened to ethics? maybe that's part of the reason why civic-mindedness is becoming so rare in singapore. and it's not just road etiquette that's deteriorating...there have been reports of people trashing ride-share bicycles, abusing domestic helpers, and other acts which really make me wish for the 90s again. maybe it was because i was a kid and/or am looking back through rose-tinted glasses, but i found singapore so much warmer and more community-focused then.

i've meant to mention this for a while now, but kept forgetting. is making a living in singapore really that hard these days? the reason i ask that (despite knowing that the answer is probably "yes") is because on the two occasions that i've had to dispose of large quantities of unwanted stuff (ie. when i helped my old coach move and when i moved house myself), i noticed that people were engaged in what the americans would call dumpster-diving. like, i'd haul a few bags of stuff to the rubbish point, and when i made a second trip, i'd see the bags that i'd deposited there torn open, contents strewn about. only managed to catch one person in the act...a middle-aged guy. i suppose it isn't wrong, exactly. just wonder why people do it. to find saleable items? or to find stuff to reuse to protect the environment? well...i don't know.

there's another overseas trip coming up for kurash, this time to the motherland (uzbekistan). good thing is that direct airfare is covered. not-so-good thing is that we don't have a direct flight back. or rather, we do, but it's at a bad timing. so long story short, the current plan is that we'll have to pay for the last leg of our journey home. i'm actually impressed that my savings have lasted this long. if i play my cards right, they'll sustain me until june-ish. that's provided there are no more big expenses from now till then. might have a trip to jakarta next month, but that can probably be settled by my tuition income. travelling after that might be challenging, though.

refereeing in judo is something that i have to settle soon. might as well use the downtime after national schools to get a reply. i'll ask the referee director tomorrow. i hope he's got a good argument in place, or it's going up to the JUA. i hope i'm not mistaken about his character. i actually do consider him a friend. but if he has to bow down to greater pressure, or if he's really desperate to stay in power, then i'll have to rethink my opinion of him.

although the lab work progress is not ideal, the one saving grace is that my paper has been accepted for publication! FINALLY. with this, there's a better chance of passing my thesis exam with fewer complications. i need to get the thesis out by the end of this month. don't want to pay another month of season parking. come to think of it though, it's cheaper to pay one month of NUS season parking than HDB season parking. hmm...i wonder if basing myself in NUS might be more logical?

that's it for this post i guess. i do want to get thesis over and done with as soon as i can. being in limbo like this isn't optimal. it's like, i want to kick back and relax, but i can't because lab weighs on my mind. and i can't focus 100% at work, because my brain drifts off to post-submission plans. so annoying.

-random thought of the day: Maybe it's time to think about emigration.-

Monday, April 02, 2018


talked to the officer in charge of investigating my case earlier today, and his investigation outcome was that there was insufficient evidence to charge either of us. he said that since the other car had not come into my lane, and that what i identified as the turn signal in the video could be the reflection of the street lights against the side mirror, the other party wasn't in the wrong. while i do respect our police force for all they do to keep us safe, i cannot help but think 'WHAT LJ REASONING IS THIS!??'. what's even more infuriating is that apparently, to have a rock-solid case against the other party, if this happens again, i'm supposed to let the other party hit me, then claim his insurance for damages. don't you think there's a problem with the system where the only way to get fair treatment is to put yourself in harm's way? i'd much rather avoid an accident than be on the receiving end. i absolutely cannot believe that such little importance is placed upon human life and safety. what's more, the whole incident (and accident) wouldn't have occurred if the other party had not come so dangerously close to my car, so the blame should lie with him, right?

thankfully, they gave me the contact of the officer's superior, and speaking to him was slightly more productive. it seems now that my best course of action would be to appeal the decision, and the superior officer told me that he would assign someone else to do the review. separately, i've updated the workshop on this development, and they're going to consult the lawyers to see how best to proceed from here. i can think of a few possible outcomes, but i don't want to speculate here.

maybe it's because i didn't drink enough water today, coupled with the effects of the usual hot singapore weather, and the extremely rage-inducing experience of talking to the investigating officer, but i'm feeling a headache coming on. should probably sleep earlier tonight. need to get in some lab work tomorrow. the current plan is to aim for end-april at the latest, though i would ideally want to submit by 15 april. there's a kurash thing happening in uzbekistan later this month, and if things go according to plan, i'll have a chance to referee there. but let's aim to complete the thesis and submit first.

on a side note, there's more money-sucking stuff on the paying my insurance premiums. good thing that income from tuition is finally coming in, after the initial 2 sessions' commission from the agency was deducted. once again, prioritize.

-random thought of the day: So many distractions...most of which are self-inflicted.-

Friday, March 30, 2018

How would you identify a toxic relationship? to me, it's one where one party is clearly suffering as a result of the other party's unreasonable actions. by that definition, my relationship with the ex was bordering on toxic, though i wouldn't go that far. i'd settle for "unhealthy". but that's not the main point. the main point is that there is a toxic relationship that i'm part of right now, and it's with the judo federation. i had a chat with the referee director last night, and it seems that they are doing their utmost to prevent me from coming back to referee. there was a memo released by the IJF some time ago, asking all its member organizations to disaffiliate from kurash. the federation took that to mean that all people remotely associated with kurash aren't allowed to do anything for judo. i could go into a whole rant about why that's a stupid interpretation, and why it's not only stupid, but wrong. but i'll save that for when i talk to the management. as i told the referee director, i am prepared to escalate this to the asia level. if other countries can have high-level judo referees also refereeing in kurash, why is singapore the exception to the norm, where such heavy restrictions exist for being just a national referee??

another thing he told me was that in terms of overall referee rankings, i am somewhat behind. i get it, especially after not having refereed for 2 years or so. but he also said that my ability was somewhat lacking. it would be presumptuous of me to refute this, since he's a continental judo referee. to be fair, i do know that i have areas to improve on (getting annoyed when the competitors fail to obey instructions being a major one), but i really do wish to hear what he think i can improve on. personally, i feel that my scoring is fair and reasonably accurate, i know how to handle about 90% of situations that could possibly crop up, and i conduct myself with a decent level of professionalism. then again, i could be biased. besides, in my defense, i don't think i can be all that bad, since i'm an international kurash referee. lots of skills are actually transferable between the two...pity that they're too narrow-minded to see that. well, the plan now is to talk to the management and see what they decide. i am not threatening them when i say i'd take it to the asia level if necessary. as with my relationships, i don't like bluffing to scare people.

enough about that for now. it still riles me up to think about it. i'll just see how things go, and take it from there. what's of slightly more concern is that i'm not going to make the 30 march (or 02 april) deadline for my thesis submission. i'm more or less mentally prepared to not get back the $1200 or so, which sucks. but well...if sacrificing that amount of money means that i can submit a better thesis, i suppose it's worth it. i've shifted some things around in the completed chapters to make them read more smoothly, and got most of the supporting information up. the new target is between mid- to end-april, which means an extension of between 2 to 4 weeks. my absolute deadline is...may? august? but i don't intend on dragging it for that long. have to start the process of submission already, including completing a few forms that have to be submitted some time in advance of the actual thesis. perhaps i should have done this earlier, to give me more motivation to finish more quickly. oh well. what's done is done.

the pen bug has kind of bitten me again. my last (expensive) pen purchase was in 2016. so i guess that perhaps it's been a while coming. i'm not into too-flashy stuff, and the most outstanding pen that i've bought is a clear blue model, from pilot. the pen that's caught my eye is completely black, and features a plastic body with certain titanium parts, and a titanium nib. the filling system is patented and unique though, and that's one of the main attractions. based on that description, what do you think the price is? i'll give you some time to think.
on the website, a model with my desired customizations is listed at about 570 euros, which converts into about SGD900. to put that in perspective, this is for a pen, and doesn't even include the ink! all it does is write. my phone, which costs only about $200 more (and even then it's considered to be on the expensive end), can make calls, send messages, connect to the internet, take photos, navigate by GPS, and interact with nearby devices through NFC capabilities. on top of that, my phone has a stylus which writes almost infinitely without the need for ink refills! so why am i even thinking of spending so much on something like that? because it's nice, i guess. am i prepared to pay that right now? not really. while i DO have enough money, it would be better put towards other purposes, like basic living expenses and ensuring that my savings aren't depleted as quickly. maybe as a graduation gift to myself, after i'm positive that everything went well. and to be completely honest, that's not the most expensive pen i have my eye on. a slightly larger model (with some differences) goes for 731 euros, which is over SGD1000. insane! i can't really justify that unless i'm making above $6000 a month. and even then, i'd probably spread out the damage by saving $250 over 4 months, or more likely $500 over 2 months, given my less-than-patient nature. i'll focus on working towards the cheaper one first.

my body is slowly deteriorating. not sure whether it's because of the accident or because i've been sleeping in weird positions, or because i haven't been exercising, but i'm getting lots of aches and pains. it's probably a combination of all 3 factors. my toes still haven't healed even after close to a month, and my left shoulder is starting to hurt. there's a bit of upper spine trouble too, which i'd previously been able to alleviate by cracking it out, though that's becoming less effective. i should schedule that TCM appointment sooner than originally planned. will probably have to wait until after submission, or at the very least until after all experimental work is done.

guess that's all i have for now. was looking into a few other money-sucking projects, like computer upgrading, overseas trip planning, and getting back to the gym. it's all a matter of prioritization. i'm sure that with some tuition income, things will be a little easier. have to start thinking of finding a temporary job that starts in may. my friend did mention a postdoc/RA position in his former lab, but i'm really not sure that i want to continue this research life. maybe i can arrange with the professor to be a lab manager or to focus less on research. or maybe my aunt will employ me as a delivery driver. regardless, i'm sure things will work themselves out. just have to be more cautious in spending. i've actually worked it out. apart from the big purchase of the phone, i've been averaging spending about $500 a month. the killer comes from the $1200 or so that goes into my investment plan, but that's just enhanced untouchable savings. i'm actually surprised at how little i spend. the average figure of $500 a month is actually lower, since i forgot to count the taiwan plane tickets and associated expenses as another big purchase. the actual figure is probably around $300 a month, or $10 a day. not bad!

-random thought of the day: Remember to spend SAFRA vouchers!-

Monday, March 19, 2018

Man flu is real, people! funny how i handle physical and emotional pain better than something as trivial as the flu. i suppose it's the level of discomfort. like last night, i was tossing and turning for half an hour before i fell asleep, only to be awakened by one of the juniors calling me at 1:30am regarding a document. who calls so late!?? after being awoken, it was more tossing and turning until i fell asleep at about 5:00am. woke up at 10:30-ish am feeling totally rotten. that didn't improve throughout today, even after i downed a couple of flu panadol almost 2 hours ago. this comic sums up my attitude towards illness pretty well:

of all the times to fall sick, this is probably one of the worst. there's the thesis submission, as you already know, and as if that wasn't bad enough on its own, i'm involved in a small segment of the NATAS trade fair. we're partnering with the uzbekistan embassy to promote kurash as part of their tourism campaign. i was supposed to be the emcee/narrator for our segment, but i don't know if my throat will allow me to talk. we'll see how it goes. thankfully, i have enough people on standby, such that i don't have to do anything during the exhibition. but i'll do my best not to slack off. still have to pick the mats up on thursday, which i should be able to handle solo as planned.

this sickness makes me even less certain about meeting my thesis submission deadline. progress has already been delayed due to a minor HPLC fault, and now with this bout of sickness, finishing experiments by 30 march does not seem possible. i'd estimate my chance of submitting on time at around...20%. that's kind of sad. i'm projecting a end-april submission at the latest. so i guess that $1200 will buy me about a month's time, or however long it is i take to submit after 30 march. logically, i should stretch it out as long as i can to minimize the cost per day. but screw that. i want to get out ASAP. i guess the minimum i would wait is a week to a fortnight, just to make myself feel better that i didn't blow $1200 to buy just one day or something.

i'm doing all i can to shake the sickness off. that includes taking flu panadol, drinking plenty of water, and eating a few oranges. western medicine says that oranges contain vitamin C, and are therefore recommended for when you have a cold/flu. but chinese medicine says that eating oranges causes phlegm, which is not something you want when already sick. who to believe? i went with western this time round, as there are lots of leftover CNY oranges in the fridge. hope the benefits of vitamin C will negate any potential phlegm buildup. should probably sleep early...that is, if i can get my nose clear. so weird that i can't sleep with one side of my nose blocked. wonder if it's because of reduced air intake? hoping that i can go into lab tomorrow. need to get my compound and look at the NMR for the publication.

-random thought of the day: Frustrated.-

Saturday, March 17, 2018

12 days to go between now and submission. it might be extended to 16 days, due to the actual submission date being at the start of a long weekend, but i'm not counting on it. better to prepare for the worst-case scenario, right? now that we are this close to the deadline, i have a sinking feeling that i won't have all the data ready in time for submission. for one, the compound is still being synthesized. there is progress, and once i get this intermediate, there are just 1 or 2 steps until the final compound. thank goodness i was thorough enough and checked the supernatant liquid, not just the precipitate! that's being purified by HPLC. even then, having the final compound ready, along with the requisite biological and chemical tests, will be a tall order. it seems like my $1200+ will be lost. or more accurately, it seems like that amount of money will not be gained back, since it was lost the day i paid the fees. good thing that my budget plans aren't dependent on this sum of money.

progress is more than 80%, though i should probably knock a few points off because i have to restructure my introduction. my postdoc's feedback was that it wasn't structured well enough, and skipped here and there. I do see what she means, after she explained it to me. that will probably take half a day, tops, so not too worried there. also modified chapters 2 and 3 a little, and i think i still have to draw some figures properly. luckily, chapter 5 was mostly ok, but that's because it had been (and still is being) submitted as a paper. speaking of which, we're sending it to a low-ish impact factor its numerical value is 2.6 times less than that of the first journal we submitted to. regardless, a publication is a publication. just have to give them some additional characterization data, which i should be able to get by the deadline.

car update: i've returned the vios, and am back to a(nother) honda fit which my mechanic friend lent me. he retained the license plate of the old fit, which i suppose made it easier to remember for paperwork purposes. this fit is a kind of light blue, and is not all that different from the old white one. the biggest difference is the audio system, which is now a touchscreen interface compared to the old analog knobs and buttons. there's an option for USB input, but i cannot for the life of me find the USB cable to connect my phone to the audio system. maybe the required peripheral wasn't installed. and there's no auxiliary option either. just means that i'll listen to the radio more; nothing i can't handle. the investigation doesn't seem to be progressing. i just got a letter yesterday, which was a formal notice that investigations are being carried out. this is 5 weeks after the accident, mind you. i should explore avenues to expedite the investigation. two such avenues which i'm considering are calling the investigating officer for an update, and asking my MP for help. i don't think that i'm being unreasonable...i have not had my car for a month already. to be fair, there was an error in reporting the accident, and the new investigating officer got handed this case only 2 weeks ago. it isn't his fault for the delay. yet, he'll probably have to put in extra work to make up for someone else's mistake, which sucks for him. that's assuming he's considerate towards my plight. i expect that he's just going to do things at his normal pace, but i hope to be pleasantly surprised and proven wrong.

the injuries are healing, but slowly. my toes still hurt when i flex them a certain way, as does my ankle. i'm experiencing occasional weakness in my right hand, which is weird. my left shoulder has also developed a little stiffness, though i don't know if that's as a result of the accident, or me sleeping in a bad position. the plan is to have that checked out by a TCM clinic which my cousin recommends, but with my deadline approaching, that probably won't be done until april earliest. thinking of going to see a chiropractor too. been watching videos on youtube, and i think that i could use a whole-body cracking. wonder if these non-standard therapies are claimable from insurance?

my teacher friend has been really great in referring tuition assignments to me. the assignments themselves, however, have been questionable. like this HCI international kid, who decided not to continue after 2 sessions and didn't inform me beforehand. his mother ended up calling the agency, who told me that since they exceeded their one free trial class, i'd get paid for the one extra session. the second job, an NYGH girl, is going better, but she's had to cancel two weeks in a row. that means no money for 2 weeks! depressing. and my spending account is running low. lucky my savings can still sustain me, but i should look into something a bit more regular. perhaps not a full-time job, given my plans to take some time off for my mental recuperation, but something that will give me a steady (albeit reduced) income for the next few months. maybe my aunt will hire me as a delivery driver?

do i have anything else to add? oh yes. judo. so the referee seminar was cancelled. i will give my referee director friend the benefit of doubt, and believe that it was due to low interest or some other legitimate reason. i remember reading somewhere about a method of dealing with this kind of things: first time is an accident, second time is a coincidence, third time is a pattern. doing some research on google has turned up that this line was adapted from goldfinger (yes, the james bond novel). mildly surprising. but i shall adopt that mindset towards the judo world. i'm still hoping that things don't turn ugly...but let's see how it goes.

for now, i'll just focus on getting my compounds. if the one i'm purifying right now works, that will save me a whole lot of work. though the good scientist in me wants to get the other molecule out, because it looks better and is more or less guaranteed to work, my desperate grad student side just wants to get something/anything and be done with it. fingers crossed that everything goes well.

-random thought of the day: Hoping everything goes well.-

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Weird dream record #2: my friend, who's currently studying in the US, came back to Singapore and visited me at my bishan place. He told me that he was stressed out about his degree, and flew back just for a few hours to see his friends and family. It seemed that his university gave him 2 options: start studying seriously to make up the credits and graduate this semester, or drop out. I offered him encouragement and told him that he used to give me fierce competition back in secondary school. He also told me that he's picked up judo, and he can't believe the standard of the people running the federation (I think this was my own subconscious projection). I seem to remember our clothes matching as well - pink and grey. A conflict happened with someone whom I don't talk to, and my friend took my side. Then, he had to rush to the airport to catch his flight back, and I woke up. Considering that this is the first time in my memory that I've dreamt about this particular friend, I actually sent him a message on Facebook just to check in and see how he's doing.

He replied me a few hours later, and told me that things were going great for him, so my worries were unfounded. Maybe it was a result of my own fears and doubts. I'm happy that he's doing well, and am hoping that he comes back to visit this year. Come to think of it, he should have graduated already, right? Maybe he's found work there. Regardless, I'm happy for him.

-random thought of the day: This was another phone post, and the first post on my Note 8!-

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Good day today! got the few final pieces of data to wrap chapter 3 up. all that's left is the synthesis for chapter 4, and some basic cell assays if i get the product. i'll be cutting it really close, especially since my postdoc did advise me to reorganize some of the completed chapters. guess i'll have to do experiments and editing concurrently. should be manageable.

to update on the car situation, my mechanic took the honda fit back as it was due for scrapping. goodbye, mr fit. thank you for your service and for helping me in my time of need. i've been lent a toyota vios as a stop-gap measure until they can assign me a more permanent car while investigations are ongoing. driving the vios is taking a little getting used to. the speedometer is right in the middle of the dashboard, so i have to adapt to that. i'm suspecting that the car is modified, because it accelerates really quickly! i find myself unknowingly speeding, and having to ease up on the accelerator, or even brake to be in line with the speed limit. a typical vios has a 1.5L engine, but i'm finding it to be more powerful than my 1.6L civic. is toyota's technology that good, or have i just forgotten the power of my civic? hmm...i wonder. or maybe my muscle memory of having to step harder on the accelerator for the honda fit hasn't worn off yet.

investigations on the traffic police end will take a while. it'll be a week tomorrow, and i'm apparently going to have to wait for 3 to 11 more weeks after that. hopefully it'll get resolved soon, and i can claim the other party's insurance. the annoying thing is that the traffic police deems this case as non-arrestable, ie. they can't issue a warrant for the other party. this is because i didn't get 3 days' MC, and i didn't take the ambulance from the scene of the accident to the hospital. all they can do is issue a notice in the police gazette, so that if the driver gets stopped at a roadblock, only then will the police take him in. how sucky is that!?? lesson learned. should this happen again next time *touch wood*, i'm just going for an ambulance ride.

on the topic of interesting conversations, i met up with scary JC friend on the same night i landed. she asked for something from taiwan, and i managed to find it. we talked about several topics, among which included someone from taiwan whom i found super attractive (nothing's going to come out of that), and malaysian person. she is of the opinion that i shouldn't be in such a hurry to confess to malaysian person, since there won't really be anything solid coming from that anyway. i mean, we're in different countries, so if we do decide to give things a go, something has to change. like, i drive up, they drive down, or one of us moves. all of those options seem really unlikely at this point in time. i guess it's the same as what i've been telling myself - see how things go and take action when appropriate.

another interesting conversation was with the kids after kurash training. i am honestly surprised at their level of openness and comfort with me, considering we don't see each other all that often. then again, i did go to macau with some of them. thankfully, most of them are mature enough to handle a serious conversation topic. and i think i taught a few of them today not to ask questions which had answers that they did not wish to know. i have a good feeling for kurash. the people are generally less complicated than people in the judo federation. and there's an implicit level of trust between us, which i find to be reassuring. it heartens me that some of them are really passionate about getting kurash up and running. i guess this is what the coaches mean by grooming the next generation of leaders. to put it in more generic terms, it's succession planning...which i don't see happening for judo. but well.

despite some advice against it, i've agreed to rejoin as a referee for judo. i figure that since the federation said they want to start on a clean slate, and since the new referee director is my friend, i should be open enough to giving them a chance to see if they mean what they said. if not, then i'm going to do something drastic. but that's still some time away. my goal for judo is continental referee by age 35, hopefully going up to international eventually. although considering the number of singaporean international referees over the past 20 years (1 total), my hopes aren't too high. well, let's see. as i've said before, i don't think that i'm a worse referee than 90% of the referees at my equivalent rank. and i know for sure that none of the other B-referees have any international refereeing experience. so i should have confidence in myself, but not let it become complacence.

bedtime. going to finish writing chapter 3 tomorrow, and check the identity of one intermediate for chapter 4. if it works, then it's one step until the final compound. if it doesn't, then there's going to be more painful syntheses awaiting me. also having dinner with public enemies 1-5 of the judo world tomorrow, then guild house with the closer chemistry guys on wednesday, and judo referee seminar on friday. again, i'm hoping that the federation lives up to their word. i would hate to have to do a dirty laundry kind of post in the future if i feel that i'm being treated unfairly.

-random thought of the day: Getting busier all of a sudden.-

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Advance warning: as much as i attempt to stay away from politically and religiously-sensitive stuff here, there will be one opinion that may trigger some unhappiness. do remember that it is only my opinion, and you are entitled to disagree with it as much as i have the right to express it. if there is disagreement, please be civil about it.

i'm back from taiwan! for a first visit there, i was suitably impressed. pity that due to the rushed nature of the trip, i didn't really get to do much sightseeing. what i did see, however, was impressive enough. let's run through everything, then.

my plans went pretty smoothly...did some lab work, made it to the airport in time, and linked up with my friend who was also going for the course. the flight was about 4 hours long. i found it tolerable, though my friend found the seats a little too uncomfortable. guess he's been spoiled by full-service air travel. upon touching down in taiwan, we were met by the organizers and taken to our accommodations. the first thing that struck me was the weather. it was so cool! i think the average temperature hovered around 20 degrees for the duration of our stay. the next thing was the traffic on the roads. i'd previously known that the direction of traffic flow in taiwan is opposite to singapore, but i didn't realize how disorienting it would actually be to experience. i think i must have looked the wrong way when crossing the road at least 90% of the time while i was there. didn't get hit by any vehicles, so that's a plus. our accommodations were decent enough. twin room with attached bathroom, TV, mini fridge, closets. the mattress was a little hard, but the comforter was amazing. it did an amazing job of keeping in the heat, which was nice for the cold nights. the accommodations cost USD50 per night, which i think is a little overpriced. let's compare across a few different places at similar price points. in japan, i stayed at a hostel for JPY2800 (about USD26) a night. that was an 8-person room with minimal amenities, though. a closer comparison would be a twin room at hotel chuo, which goes for USD64 to USD85 (USD32 to USD42.5 per person) depending on the season. in singapore, something more budget-friendly like hotel 81 costs USD64 per night (USD32 per person). so, it seems that the taiwan accommodation was a little overpriced. but let's not forget that they also provided 3 meals a day, plus transport to and from the airport. seems more reasonable in light of that. the rest of day 1 was just spent getting settled and exploring the vicinity. we walked like mad! it turns out that the premises contained 3 universities, the sport university which we were going to for the course, a science and engineering university, and one more medical-related one i think. it was amazing. i fulfilled my active step quota easily. we also stopped by several convenience stores for snacks. my friend got hooked on tea eggs from hi-life, which i have to admit, were very flavourful. i think i ate more eggs in my 4 days there than i would in a week in singapore.

the referee course began on day 2, with a lecture session in one of the LTs. they even moved tatami mats there, set up a small competition area, and had student volunteers on hand so that we could better demonstrate certain points in techniques and stuff like that. it was extremely informative, and i was suitably impressed. the afternoon session was more of the same, but we reviewed certain case studies as well. was a little overloaded by the information, but thankfully i had some experience in judo refereeing to help absorb the new knowledge more quickly. my friend seemed to cope well enough, which is impressive considering that this was his first international experience. the organizers brought us to shilin night market for sightseeing. it was crowded. like, REALLY crowded. strangely enough, i didn't feel as much irritation as i would have if it had been in singapore. still, it's probably not something i'd want to experience twice. we tried a few famous taiwanese food items, including bubble tea, fermented tofu, and oyster omelette. fermented tofu was a new experience for me. i'd previously only seen it on TV shows like bizarre foods, where the host would use rather unappetizing terms to describe it. for instance, "smells like feet and sewage". worse, some of them gag, retch, or throw up. i'd always brushed that off as them being western and not knowing how to appreciate asian food. after all, they typically don't like durians and century eggs as well, the latter of which i personally find quite tasty. not to mention is that i like most fermented food too. turns out that in this case, i had to agree with everything they said. the smell was bad. not unbearable, but certainly not appetizing. it's essentially the smell of rotting food. lucky there were some pickled vegetables to help with the process. i had to hold my breath and chew/swallow for my life. well, it was a new experience. just one time is enough in this case.

day 3 began with refereeing practice, and i think that things went reasonably well for us. i'm reminded that everything is relative. there were some others who didn't know the basic commands, which helped put those who did in a better light. my key takeaways from the morning session are to calm down and go slower, points that have been mentioned before to me at local judo events. guess it was the nerves from the occasion. practice sessions 1 and 2 were fine, but the exam didn't go as smoothly. they threw me a couple of curveballs, the first being that the players went to the wrong starting positions. second was that one of the players tied his belt wrongly, like he doubled the length of the belt on itself and tied a simple knot. that escaped my attention unfortunately, but the corner referees caught it. i think that caused me to freeze. the examiner caught it, and asked me to referee another bout, which went more smoothly. i'm grateful that he thought highly enough of me to want to push me to be better. with the exam over, we went to the federation president's house for the farewell party. it was an insane experience. the president himself is a medical doctor, and his wife is a professor in bonsai. did you even know such a title existed!? the house was really grand and beautiful. it doubles up as a bonsai museum too, and per square metre, i think it puts the botanic gardens to shame. the party was great, really lively atmosphere, everyone was laughing and generally having a good time. i overdid it a little by getting totally wasted...worse than the epic drunk experience at my friend's place, which was the previous benchmark. in my defense, this iranian guy (who has been living in taiwan for 20 years and speaks amazing chinese) kept forcing wine on me. i think i downed about a bottle's worth of red wine in 3 hours. that led to REALLY loosened inhibitions, significantly improved linguistic skills, increased singing ability, a bout of throwing up, messages to random people (thankfully not the ex), and (amazingly) no hangover the next day. the one saving grace is that i don't think that i made (too much of) a fool of myself. and lucky that my friend was there to take care of me. don't think that i'll be drinking that heavily for a while. in fact, it was only the third time in my memory that i have thrown up due to excessive alcohol intake.

since our flight out was at 3:50pm the next day, we (i) had enough time to recover from the previous night, pack, and sightsee a little. we just walked around the campus, and i bought some animal food to feed the fish, ducks, and pigeons that were hanging around the lake. yes, they have a lake, complete with its own mini-island in the middle. since i was still feeling not at 100%, we didn't do too much. made it to the airport in time, caught the flight back, and ended our trip on a good note.

now, for some maybe controversial opinions. it was my first trip to taiwan. and i think that a good tagline for taiwan's tourism campaign is "what china could have been". yes, i know that it would never be adopted. but seriously. i doubt that taiwan can compare to mainland china in terms of economic indicators. taiwan does beat china in intangible aspects, like in the behaviour and attitude of the people, plus the culture. taiwanese people are so nice! like, there was an instance on our second day there, then i was walking a little bit quickly on the footpath to the venue for the seminar. a mother and her child were walking ahead of me, and as i caught up to them, the mother told the child, "come on, move over and don't block the way". that is probably the first time i've experienced that. brought a little surge of happiness to my heart, and gave me hope that the next generation is being brought up right somewhere in the world. i definitely have plans to go back to taiwan, if not for kurash then for a holiday. currency is pretty good in our favour (TWD1000 = SGD45), and prices are generally cheaper too. not only that, the environment is better too. like, the air is cleaner. as you may know, i'm allergic to dust. i didn't itch at all while i was there. but after one night in singapore, i can feel the itching flare up in the usual places. my friend too, said he felt stronger while we were there. somehow i felt more motivated to train. might be the combination of being in a sports university, the lower temperature, and the fresher air. well, we are thinking of organizing a joint training camp with them, so hope things work out.

right, i think that about covers the taiwan experience. there's more to blog about, including a few interesting conversations. but for now, it's back to the daily grind of getting results. excluding today, there are 22 days left. i can do it!

-random thought of the day: Travel really broadens horizons.-

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Panicking just the slightest little bit because IT'S MARCH! i am behind my projected schedule for thesis progress, which is why i'm grateful that i had the foresight to start early last december. and i'd also like to thank my 2 minions, as well as past me, for saving most of the essential spectra that i ended up needing. have to repeat one NMR, but that's already good, considering the number of compounds (intermediates included) that i have to report.

list time again! here's what i have to do for each chapter. i figure that this will give me more focus.

chapter 3:
2 reduction studies in buffer solution
1 NMR for characterization
write up reduction study
look through supporting info again

chapter 4:
make the damned compound - 2 promising routes left
reduction study on the compound
cytotoxicity assay on the compound

there are 25 days left for me to work with between now and 29 march, which is my submission deadline. i wonder about that...since the actual deadline is 30 march, and it's a public holiday, the nice thing for the department to do would be to extend it to 2 april, ie. the next working day immediately after the holiday. should ask the department staff. although today is 1 march, the initial statement of this paragraph is not an error. yes, i know my maths sucks, but i'm at least capable of basic counting. i'm flying to taiwan tomorrow morning for the kurash referee course, and coming back on monday night. looks like there will be nights spent in the lab this month. i suppose i could always wake up early to go in, but nah. not going to risk oversleeping or fighting with traffic. well...a possible scenario is that i miss the submission deadline, meaning that i will have until this may (or august?) to submit. that also means that i lose the refund for half my school fees, to which i'd otherwise be entitled. it's not really a small sum...we're talking 4-digit figure here. is that amount of money worth it for another 3 or 5 months' grace? not sure, but i'm leaning towards no right now. that may change, depending on how experiments go. an almost-inconsequential other thing to consider is that by submitting it after march, i'll more or less definitely miss out the chance to go for commencement with the other chemistry guys, who are attending this year. not that it really matters, nor does it affect my decision-making process at this point in time.

just attempted to talk to malaysian person again a couple of days back. it seems that they're not picking up on my heightened interest in them. this means 1 of 2 possible things - (1) they're really dense, and are not getting the signs/hints. (2) they're not interested, but are too polite/thoughtful/shy/something else to say so. call me infatuated/smitten, but i'm still choosing to believe that it's option 1 right now. that's also based on the tone of their replies in our conversation, which hasn't turned hostile or irritable (yet). i guess i won't think that's it's a rejection until i'm explicitly told so. to be fair (or to give myself another excuse), i haven't confessed either. so it's equally my fault that there's essentially no progress.

one incredibly annoying thing about owning a note 8 is the lack of good screen protectors, and the incompatibility between certain screen protectors and cases. the case that i bought together with the phone happens to be one of those that fit rather snugly, and consequently will push up the edges of certain (most) screen protectors, leading to air bubbles. worse still, due to the curved edge of the phone, some screen protectors only have glue around the perimeter. the combination of tight case and perimeter-glued screen protectors means that the edges can get pushed up, allowing dust or other particles to get trapped in between the protector and the phone. there's one such spot visible on my screen now, and it's rather gao-ek (uncomfortable/irritating) to see. i've bought a tempered glass screen protector that adheres to the screen by means of a liquid compound that spreads between the screen and protector, and only becomes sticky upon exposure to UV light, thus bonding the protector to the phone. it's a bit too late to apply it now just before i fly, especially since the instructions said that excess liquid (solvent?) will leak out from the seam of the joined areas for up to 24 hours. so i'm going to have to live with the spot in my current protector for the duration of taiwan. no biggie. just wondering if i should take a small sample of the liquid for NMR analysis, just for science and curiosity.

right...time to wrap up this post and conduct a final check. goodness, i need to find a new pair of travelling earphones. my last pair, the klipsch s5i, were super durable. they went with me to australia, new zealand, and japan (twice!), and remained perfectly functional. how unfortunate that they got destroyed by a rat in the student room. after that, i think i took a pair of the standard samsung earphones to bali last year (which shows typically how long a time passes between my overseas trips). they were ok, but i didn't really use them much anyway. not to mention i had mistakenly left them in the jacket which i asked my uncle and aunt to bring back for me, so i had no discreet entertainment on my own flight back. might bring that pair again, or i did see another more atas-looking pair in the box with the stuff from the car. not too keen to bring my bluetooth ones, because that'll be another device that needs charging. plus, i won't be on earphones for the majority of the trip there. mental note: bring souvenirs for the people there. for my final check, i've packed my clothes, passport, devices and technological paraphernalia, water bottle, keys...i figure that since it's such a short trip, forgetting stuff won't kill me (too badly). what's left to do between now and my flight? last last check, clean up my room a little, turn off all my electrical outlets, shower, hug all my stuffed animals. reach school by 2:00am-ish, and run at least one HPLC reduction study, do a work-up, maybe write a bit more for my thesis. then get a grab for 5:45am to take me to the airport by 6:30am, in good time for my 8:30am flight. sounds nice. i guess that'll do for now. if everything goes according to plan, i'll be back on monday night as one of (only) three singaporean international kurash referees. see you all!

-random thought of the day: The thought of flying still makes me mildly nervous.-

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Reminding myself that things are only as valuable as i deem them to be. you see, i've been grappling with the thought of going back to refereeing in judo. i guess we should start with a pros and cons list before i elaborate.

can go for continental referee before 35 years old
the referee director is someone i trust
can give back to the community
can be involved in judo on a larger scale, including grading

no promotion for the next 2 years
being restricted by the federation
questionable interactions with people in the referee commission
having to rejoin a club

i think the pros speak for themselves. it will raise my profile nationally (and hopefully regionally), and i'll be able to do something in the judo world again. i think most of the elders who have dis-associated from the federation aren't wrong in doing so, but there's a key difference between them and me. for them, they've been doing judo for so long that they've accomplished almost everything that they want to, be it belt rank, referee and/or kata qualifications. most of them are content to be teaching in a small club and grooming talent in their own way. for me, i'm still beginning my journey into high-level territory, which will be made significantly smoother with federation support. to be totally objective, one of the reasons i left the federation was so that i could attend and referee in overseas judo competitions without repercussion. but since my resignation, there hasn't been such opportunities coming in. maybe it was bad timing.

on the cons side, the biggest risk is that there is actually no guarantee that the federation will be supportive even after i rejoin. consider this: i started refereeing in 2011, right after i got my black belt. discounting the unjust suspension, i'd been refereeing for about 5.5 years before i left the federation. and i'm still at the lowest national rank. there are people who started later than me and/or who have been refereeing for a shorter time than me, and who are outranking me by leaps and bounds now. in fact, the current referee director is one such person. but i bear him no malice. rather, i take issue with the person who has been impeding my promotion. according to the ex-referee director, the way that this person determines promotion eligibility is that he'll play back a referee's performance during a competition, and scrutinize for all errors. like i said before, i'm ok if someone who's of an equal or higher level criticizes me and helps me improve. but to my knowledge, this person doesn't have a valid referee license, so who is he to judge any referee's ability? ugh. even writing about it makes my blood boil.

looking at it from a best-case/worst-case way, the best case is that things go as promised, and i get promoted at 31= years old. hopefully i'd have earned my second dan by then, which makes going for continental referee before 35 possible. the worst case would be that i get played out, whether intentionally or not, and basically waste 2 years of effort. while i trust the referee director, i can't say the same for the rest of the management. sometimes when i have to deal with all this monkey business, i wish that i'd pursued a degree in law instead of chemistry.

going back to the fundamental question, am i that hard-up for the continental referee title? after all, i'll be going for a kurash refereeing course, which instantly gives me international referee status. the difference is that judo is more popular than kurash at the moment, so something judo-related is more likely to be recognized. although if kurash plays its cards (and money) right, it could see a meteoric 2024 olympics kind of meteoric. i won't deny that going for all this serves a twofold purpose. (1) the more altruistic purpose of promoting the sport and giving back to the community, contrasted with (2) the more selfish purpose of gaining recognition/accreditation and being able to travel/enjoy life a little. i think here's what i'll do. i'll look into going back to referee, and give it a few competitions. if i see things that i disagree with, or if i feel that nothing has changed from the previous times, i'll give it up.

moving away from this topic, i'll be attending a kurash referee course in taiwan this coming weekend. it's kind of a rushed deal, 4 days total, 2 days of actual refereeing stuff. it amazes me that airfare to taiwan is so expensive! maybe because it's a popular tourist destination...though it's not really tour season now, is it? oh well. hopefully the money and time invested will be worthwhile. mental note: start packing on and off throughout the week. don't want to have the nightmare packing experience from my last overseas trip again.

things with malaysian person are kind of average. it doesn't help that they're not chatty, so they basically only reply to my messages. i've been initiating conversations 100% of the time, which is kind of sad. i doubt they know that i like them, so i suppose i can't expect too much. i've toyed with the idea of driving up to meet them, later in the year when i'm more free. google maps says it's about a 5-hour drive, assuming no jam at the causeway. i'm just thinking, maybe i'll stop by scary JC friend's place in johor for a couple of days, then take a road trip with her if she's free. wonder if malaysian person will let me crash at their place. doubt it. it also seems kind of obnoxious to ask, so i'll probably arrange for alternate accommodations and meet them for dinner or something. oh! just remembered that i didn't mention it in the previous posts...malaysian person is really huggable. perfect balance of firm and soft. with luck, i might get to experience that way more often. but let's remain realistic for now. get to know each other better first, find out if mutual attraction exists.

-random thought of the day: Got a suitcase!-

Monday, February 19, 2018

Something that chemical engineer cousin blogged about recently came to mind earlier today, when i was talking to one of the chemistry guys - "we judge ourselves by our intentions, but judge others by their actions". he was telling me about his professor having a job opening, as he (my friend) was leaving the lab to start a job outside. the topic of conversation soon drifted to my thesis, and the remaining work i have to do before submission. i was telling him about some of my failed attempts at synthesizing my molecule, and for some reason he started telling me what i should do. as in literally, "you should try...". i know he's a good person, and that he means well. still, i couldn't help feeling irked when he tried to troubleshoot my synthesis. well, perhaps not because he did it, but at the way that he went about doing it. for the record, i didn't ask him for any help in that regard. he also gave me some advice about job-hunting, and in his usual manner, it was like, "you should apply for so-and-so company...". i do appreciate his intention, honestly. but at this point in time, looking for a job is barely on my priority list. i did tell him that i wanted to take a break before seriously looking, but somehow i think we had a miscommunication. i guess he thinks i'm hard-up for cash. while i could use extra money (who couldn't?), i do have plans in place (tuition, other stuff) to make my savings last longer.

every time i feel negative about something, i'll ask myself whether i'm justified to feel this way, or if there's any underlying reason for me feeling thusly. in this case, i think there might be one - that i didn't work as hard and/or as smart as i could/should have. well...since i'm already this close to submission, there's not much room for me to do any radical new stuff. at the end of the day, i have to remind myself that he has my best interests at heart, and having people genuinely looking out for you is a rare thing in the world.

got more work done today. thank goodness i found more spectra, though it seems that i will have to repeat my HPLC study for 4 of my compounds. and thank goodness i still have some of them left over. hope they're still pure. finishing chapter 3 by the end of this week seems possible. and my postdoc has gone through my 3 finished chapters already, so i'm due to get feedback from her tomorrow. from our conversation, i don't think she thinks that it's too bad. right now, she says she has something to ask me regarding the content. only one thing to ask in about 150 pages is a win to me. but let's see what it is.

was doing a bit of thinking about relationships. i realize that i want someone affirming, who builds me up and who(m?) i can build up too. cliche as it sounds, i do believe in the "us against the world" thing for couples. not that we HAVE to fight everyone else, but in the event that the whole world turns on us, at least we'd have each other kind of thing. to put it differently, i want someone for whom i'd willingly give up everything if push came to shove. the more i look at it, the more apparent it is to me that i didn't have that with the ex, and that breaking up would have only been a matter of time unless they were willing to change for me too (which they didn't appear to be). i am hoping so hard that i'll find something closer to my ideals with malaysian person. reminder to self: take it slow. i'm in no position to confess right now. can't afford a distraction if things go south. i did something which i didn't even do for the ex - i pinned our whatsapp conversation to the top of my list. it helps that their profile picture is a really nice shot of them taken in japan. i've been looking at the photo perhaps a bit more than necessary, and i realize that they have very kind eyes, and an attractive smile. but as you may have guessed, i'm definitely biased and not a reliable source in this instance.

time to sleep! have to go comb through my saved NMRs to dig out more spectra that i need. pity the software is kind of restricted, so i have to use a workstation in the NMR lab. other upcoming events: alumni dinner, judo referee seminar (this one will need a substantial amount of text), and kurash referee course.

-random thought of the day: Need to borrow a suitcase.-

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Very good day today! malaysian person came to singapore to visit relatives for CNY, and by some amazing coincidence, these relatives live in sengkang as well. so we met at compass one, had coffee, and walked around a bit. wouldn't call it a date exactly, considering i doubt they know i like them. must admit, i fell in like even harder after meeting them in the flesh. since it was our first meeting, i didn't do anything impulsive, like confessing my undying love. all in all, it's a good start, i think. only potential wrench in the cogs (apart from whether they like me back or not) is the distance. i casually sounded them out, and it seems that there's no intention for them to move to singapore. it makes more sense to stay in malaysia i guess, since they've got their own house and everything there. so anything we do would probably be long-distance. and with my plan to apply for the JET program later this year, it could be REALLY long-distance. can hope. maybe there will be an attractive job opening in malaysia? personally, i'm not too keen on the idea of working and living there (weak currency and questionable safety being the two key reasons). let's just see how things pan out. the future is full of surprises, after all.

something that i forgot to mention in the previous post is that my nice mechanic friend lent me a honda fit while my car is unusable. it's the same one from when my car was in his shop to get some work done almost a year ago. driving the honda fit is...different. as i said last year, the seat's too high. that, along with the different shape of the car, makes my reference points all different. i discovered that i drive by muscle, my body remembers the amount of force needed to push down on the pedal to get the car to move at a certain speed, or to exert a certain amount of braking force. unfortunately, that force doesn't translate across cars, especially cars with different masses and engine capacities (1.6 civic vs 1.3 fit). i've been finding it necessary to step on the accelerator harder in order to get up to speed. no big deal. one might even argue that driving slower might actually be a good thing for me. well, i'll adapt. the key thing is to be accident-free. another interesting thing is that i'm more or less eye-level with the rear-view mirror, compared to being slightly below it in the civic. if you know the condition of my eyes, somehow this works out such that my right eye is focused on the road, while my left eye takes in information from the mirror. mildly disorienting, but i'll adapt too.

continuing on things i didn't mention in my last post, i got a note 8! it's a big improvement over the note 5, and i'm enjoying it. bixby (the samsung equivalent of apple's siri) is wonderful, too. you get get it to do lots of stuff, from something as simple as "swipe left" to more complicated options like "mark all my messages as read". it's only good for controlling functions and systems within the phone, though. for other stuff, there's google assistant. makes me feel like we're really coming close to being able to treat our devices as personal assistants, kind of like jarvis in iron man. though i do concede that it'll take another 25 years at the least before we see a comparable level of technology, maybe 50 years before it becomes affordable to the average person.

i am starting to feel a little worried for thesis submission. there are about 6 weeks to go. let's discount 2 weeks for my professor to read and give feedback, as well as for me to do edits. that leaves 4 weeks from now. good thing that i already have 3 chapters complete, so that's somewhat of a blessing. chapter 3 is about 70% complete, still have to finish up the supporting information (including finding the spectra) and write in the HPLC study of my model complexes. for chapter 4, i have the whole results and discussion section and supporting information to go. oh, not forgetting the preface and conclusion, which can be done in less than a day once everything else is in place. is everything doable in a month? probably. i could even squeeze it into 2 weeks (or 1 super intense week) if i had all the data ready on hand. but as it is, i'm still going to need some experiments. don't want to give myself false hope or anything, but as long as i can get chapter 3 out by this coming week, things should be ok. hope i still have some of the compounds in case i have to repeat any HPLC stuff.

-random thought of the day: Happy.-

Friday, February 16, 2018

Change of plan! the car is repairable, after all. my mechanic friend said that the engine wasn't damaged, so there's a good chance of getting it up and running. will have to replace the front and back, definitely, but i'll leave it to him since he's the expert. also made a police report since the accident is classified as a hit and run. surprisingly, neither the insurance guy nor the traffic police who responded that night registered it as such. good news is the vehicle's make and model that we identified tallies with the licence plate that i managed to get off the video from my dashboard camera. just have to wait for the traffic police to take action. hope that won't need too long. as it is, my mechanic has said that third-party insurance claims take about a year to process, ie. it'll be about a year before we see any money. i've been to the doctor twice, just for proper documentation and all that. given the nature of my injuries, there's also not much i can do except to let them heal over time. still limping a little, which is annoying.

that accident has completely derailed my work schedule. the plan was to send my professor chapter 3 by this coming monday, but that doesn't look possible. hopefully i can get it done by mid-week. as it is, most of the stuff is in place. just need to find some spectra and discuss another series of experiments. hopefully i have the data somewhere. turns out a few of my files got corrupted in our previous network drive. and i am almost certain i didn't make backups, which kind of sucks. i'll figure something out. at least i've managed to pull spectra out for a few of my more important reactions.

-random thought of the day: Happy CNY!-

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Destiny/fate/a deity of your choice might be trying to send me a message, or teach me a lesson. yesterday was a huge exercise in perspective. earlier in the day, a driver cut me off, causing my phone's screen to crack and the LCD display to bleed as a result of it hitting something else (probably my keys) when i jammed the brake. that was a major thing at that time, but on the way back from lab, i was involved in an accident that saw my car spin out across 3 out of the 4 lanes of the expressway. thankfully i didn't hit any other cars during the spin. investigations are still ongoing, so i can't say too much. most important things are: (1) i'm not seriously hurt (but injured nonetheless), (2) my dashcam footage indicates that another driver was at fault, as he cut into my lane. that point is still pending investigation by the traffic police, of course. i should count my blessings that i only sustained minor abrasions, bumps, strains, and sprains. i seriously marvel at not having broken any bones in almost 30 years of life (and 2 car accidents, as well as several sports-related injuries). the major negative is that my car's totalled. just by looking at it, repairs wouldn't be economical at all. i guess this is one of those cases where logic (and economics) have to win out, and i have to make the more sound decision of scrapping the car instead of going with my emotions and having it repaired. to be honest though, as much as i love my car, i would hesitate to drive it again after having seen how banged up it was after the dust had settled.

maybe it's me trying to find a positive in this entire mess, but i think that in a way, losing the car gives me some measure of freedom. you see, i'm no longer tied down by 5 years of COE. meaning that if i do decide to go for the JET program, i won't have to go through the hassle of selling the car. and right now, i can use the money from the COE refund to get a 9 year-old car which i can deregister at the end of this year. but that's some way into the future. i still need to ensure that i'm not at fault, and that all the insurance is claimed from the other party.

without the car, i'll also be far less mobile. that might give me more reason to work longer hours in school to finish up my thesis. i am actually considering staying in school over the weekdays, since i do have a portable bed, plus i know where the shower facilities are. sounds like a plan; i'll just have to pack enough clothes and all that.

i am naturally upset about the loss of my car, but i'll save the mourning and grief for later, after everything's settled. i have the perfect picture for the commemorative facebook post which i plan on writing. in it, the car was parked in a parking lot with the number "1". still on my to-do list: medical checkup, accident report, and perhaps i should check in for counselling. somehow i feel that mentally, i'm still somewhat shaken up. thankfully there hasn't been any symptoms of concussion, or memory loss, or other cognitive impairment. right now, the plan is to relax as much as i can.

also have to look into getting my phone repaired, or getting a new phone. perhaps it's a good thing too, since it'll be one less reminder of the ex. and thank goodness i was smart enough to sign a SIM-only plan, which leaves me room to upgrade my contract with M1. doubt i'll be getting a phone from M1 though, as not only does my per-month amount double, i'll still have to pay a relatively high price for the phone, as compared to second-hand sellers. incidentally, i was planning on getting a note 8. simply replacing my note 5 with another one did occur to me, but at this point in the phone's retail cycle, only old second-hand sets are available. my dad did say to get something relatively new too, so as to have less worry about it breaking down on me. i've done a bit of research on the note 8, and it seems that second-hand models are going for up to $500 off the recommended retail price. i wonder whether it's advisable to buy phones like this. after all, we won't know how the previous owners handled the phones. i did learn something from the ex, because i noticed that they always bought their phones new and then sold them on carousell second-hand. at the end of the day, perhaps peace of mind is worth paying the extra $$ for.

just had a quick conversation with my friend/agent, and he thinks that we have a case. i'm certainly hoping so. have to preserve my no-claim discount. meanwhile, i'm going to (try and) sleep some of the injuries off.

-random thought of the day: sucks being phoneless, but thank goodness for whatsapp web.-