Thursday, November 16, 2017

Realized that my phone plan is due for recontract soon. actually, the option to recontract has been available for a while, according to the ex. feeling the need to save money, i went looking around all 3 telcos to see what each one offered. but before i do that, let's talk briefly about another decision i have to make - namely, standard plan, or SIM-only? as you may be aware, most (all) standard plans allow you to purchase a phone at a discounted rate. that's because the cost of the phone which you didn't pay upfront is factored into the monthly payments of the phone bill already. SIM-only plans cost about half the amount of a standard phone plan, because the consumer is not eligible to get a new phone at a discount. that's fine with me, since my current phone is working well enough. there's one disadvantage of a SIM-only plan though, which is that i cannot trade my current phone in to offset some of the cost for a new phone. and the longer i hold on to it, the more its trade-in value depreciates. i think let's compare the three telcos based on their normal plans, as well as their SIM-only plans. for reference, i am looking for about 3-5gb of data, some talktime (i don't think i even hit 60 minutes in a typical month), and some free SMSes (grabhitch reasons). for the normal plans, i will be looking at getting a samsung note 8, 64gb. let's start with normal plans, then.

starhub (the carrier i'm currently on) offers the note 8 at $789 on their xs plan (including $110 off for their 11/11 promotion). that's the closest analog to the plan i have now, which is 150mins talktime and 3gb data (bumped up to 5gb and 1000 free SMS due to youth benefits when i signed up). the xs plan offers 200mins talktime, no free SMS, and 3gb data. i expect that the unlimited weekend data which this new plan offers will offset some of the 2gb that i'm going to lose out on. the price is $48 per month, and an additional $10 charge for activation or something. factoring in GST, the total i can expect to pay over 2 years is...$2087.

m1's mysime40 plan offers more attractive terms, like 100mins of talktime, 100 free SMS, and 5gb of data, all for $40 a month. the SIM card fee of $37.50 (which i have to pay because i'll be switching telcos) is waived, too. the downside comes in the form of their note 8, which is going for $958 bundled with this plan. total cost here is...$2052.

singtel's closest equivalent is their combo 2 plan, with 200 mins of talktime, 1000 free SMS, but only 2gb of data, for $42.90 a month. the next step up would be combo 3, unlimited talktime and SMS, and 3gb data, costing $68.91 a month. incidentally, when the telcos say "unlimited", they don't really mean it. they cap it at 10000 minutes and 10000 SMSes. though to be fair, you'd have to bo constantly on the phone 24/7 for almost a week to use up 10000 minutes. and assuming whatsapp messages were SMSes, i needed almost 2 years to burn through 4 months' quota based on messages to the ex. then again, it may take longer, because only SMSes you send are charged. receiving them is free. anyway. the note 8 costs $998 with combo 2 and $598 with combo 3, bringing the total costs to...$2169 and $2409 respectively. based on the plans offered and the cost, singtel is out immediately.

moving on to SIM-only, i won't factor in the cost of a new phone, because i won't be getting one. most plans are contract-free, though there is an option to go for a 12-month contract, usually with additional benefits, like more data. starting again with starhub, their xs SIM-only plan is basically the same as the normal plan, except that signing a one-year contract doubles the data to 6gb. the calculation here is more straightforward. at $24 a month, the total i'd pay after a year is $308 (after GST). even adding the trade-in value of my phone (assuming it becomes worthless), that's a total of $508.

similarly, m1 has the mysim(3) 20 plan. 100mins talktime, 100 free SMS, and 2 or 5gb of data depending on whether you sign the one-year contract or not. either way, the plan costs $20 per month, bringing the total to $256 per year. price after phone depreciation is $456.

singtel has rather confusing offers, and this is just from a cursory glance at their site. their no-contract plan comes with 3gb of data, that's it. i definitely won't be going for that. for 12 months, you get 150mins talktime, 500 SMS, and 3gb data + 2gb singtel wifi (whatever that is). price is the same as m1, so $256 and $456 again.

if i were to buy a phone, i would probably go for m1 or starhub. the difference in cost is $35, which over 2 years, is about $1.50 a month. based on logic and economics alone, i guess m1 would be the obvious choice. but my heart still tells me to go with starhub over m1, for reasons upon which i will elaborate later. however, if i was going SIM-only, the toss-up would be between m1 and singtel. among those two, singtel might actually win, provided i find out what on earth singtel wifi is. although i just remembered that m1 has this data passport function, which allows you to use your local mobile data overseas (for a fee, of course).

so, why would i choose starhub over m1 in the former case? well, i'm currently with starhub already, and my billing is settled by GIRO. so there's the factor of existing convenience, plus the thought of added hassle to redo billing arrangements if i change telco is a minor annoyance. on top of that, m1 is the only telco out of the three that i recall experiencing a major service outage in the last 5 years. singtel has had an outage too i think, but for like, one morning. so far, starhub has been the most consistent in my impression, though their 3g network sucks for games (pokemon go was painful on 3g).

all things considered, it looks like i may move away from starhub. think i'll go down to waterway point this weekend and find out more. oh! another possible disadvantage is that i may not be able to switch telcos so quickly. though early recontract is not an issue with starhub, it might be with the other 2, since my contract only expires on 17 december. on the bright side, it gives me about a month to get more info and evaluate my choices more carefully too. prompt for the next post: wealth, and maybe an encounter with a driver who's a moron of epic proportions.

-random thought of the day: One chapter 70% complete! Just need to stick the figures in and dig up more references.-

Monday, November 13, 2017

Horrible start to the work week. the paper was rejected by the journal, with the reviewers giving generally negative comments. a brief discussion with my professor has enlightened me to the fact that he will not be submitting an amended manuscript to the same journal for re-review, and i'm fine with that. it seems that the plan now is to do what we can to address the reviewers' comments, and submit it to a journal with a lower impact factor. to be completely honest, i don't care too much which journal the paper ends up in, as long as it's of some decent repute. having a - any published work matters more to me.

am also starting on thesis writing. after reading some of my seniors' theses, i really wonder how i can do this. assuming there are 200 pages total, of which maybe 20% are set aside for lists and supplementary data. that means i still have to fill 160 pages with meaningful content. if i write 3 pages a day on average, that will take...54-ish days, which if i count starting from today, will be until early to mid-january next year. i really don't know. but if so many of my friends and seniors have done it before me, there's no reason why i can't do the same right? oh wait. there is a reason. outstanding lab experiments, and "outstanding" not in a good way. i guess what i can do is write up what i have so far, then continue filling in the blanks as experimental results come in. actually it probably isn't that difficult, right? i mean, i'm sure that everything i've written here since 2003 until now will fill 200 pages (times new roman size 12, double-spaced) easily. it may perhaps extend to even 500 to 1000 pages. well, better not lose any days. time to get my 3-page minimum in.

-random thought of the day: Herbs and spices are amazing.-

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Financial stress is probably the cause of my latest weird dream, which is the scariest one by far this year. in it, i was at the beach or something, celebrating some event. a cousin's birthday, perhaps? the ex showed up, and wanted to get back together with me. i guess that should have been my first clue that it was a dream. but anyway. that's where things got weird. and by "weird", i mean "creepy as hell". the dream turned into a stalker-type thing, where the ex was hunting me down and refusing to leave me alone...even getting in bed with me and attempting some M18 stuff. in retrospect, that was clue #2. i wonder about the root cause of this dream. assuming that other people's thoughts and dreams have no power to affect my own, does it mean that i subconsciously want the ex to come back to me? or am i projecting my subconscious desire for the ex onto them, and switching the roles around? or perhaps i've just been deprived of physical intimacy for too long. i don't know.

so, financial stress. here's the current situation. my funding expires soon, and by that i mean my last pay day should be next month. if i do get one in january, it's just a bonus (and will probably be prorated). my candidature expires next may, though my personal goal is to submit the thesis by march. aside from the 3 to 5 months of working for free, as my professor has said that he doesn't have money to fund me, there's the other issue of school fees. a full semester's fees runs around $3700, though if i submit before 30 march, i'll only have to pay half of that. so far, i've worked out 2 options, which i will discuss in detail below.

option 1 is to seek employment with a different professor. this professor taught me in undergrad, so there's some existing rapport there already. there are a couple of snags, one of which is that he's hiring for a research fellow (postdoc) position, which means that until my degree is confirmed, i will be drawing reduced salary. that's still a minor issue. a more major issue is in the timing. he has to finalize the hire by january latest, which means starting paperwork in december. that leads to another timing issue, because i don't know when i can wrap my current experiments up and officially transition to his lab. it would be unfair to him if i was taking his money but not working in his lab. he says he's ok with about a month's overlap, but i would want to avoid that as far as possible. i don't have a good estimate of the timeline, which sucks. and the hire will be based on a one-year contract, which means that i have to stay in NUS until early 2019. i've had his chemistry explained to me, and i think i can adapt to it. it actually seems reasonably similar to whatever i'm doing now, perhaps maybe even a little easier. on the flipside, a major major plus point is that if i'm employed within NUS, my school fees are waived, which reduces my expenses even further.

the second option is for me to seek employment elsewhere. the first (and only) thought that comes to mind is tuition, either at a centre, or private. thankfully, one of the chemistry guys has a foot in the industry, and i've told him that i may need his help to source for assignments. depending on how much time i'm willing to devote to tuition, the takings will probably be around $40 to $80 per day. like the previous plan, it'll also be a one-year deal to avoid disruption to the students. the advantage is that i have slightly more flexibility, but that's a downside as well, because the amount i earn is proportional to the amount i work. maybe i'll just think of tuition as a way to cover my school fees. if i take this route, there will be less time pressure, and i can basically start work immediately. apart from the lower earnings, the other downside of this is that i probably will have to delay my plan to resume training at genesis. tuition classes have to be after school for the kids, and that means they're typically held in the afternoons and up to the nights. that completely overlaps with the gym's opening hours, not to mention the distance from the gym to the tuition centre.

logically, the decision would be to go with option 1. there are significantly more and better pros. but the single con is the biggest among all of those i've weighed. if i'm unable to finish my lab work in time, i may have to work nights or weekends. the former would mean that the gym plan goes out of the window anyway, while the latter means that i only work 2 days a week, potentially dragging it out even further. one of the chemistry guys (also the guy who told me about this job opening) thinks that i should go for it. he says it may be possible to work concurrently in 2 labs, setting up reactions in both places and running back and forth. my potential employer says that perhaps a compromise can be reached, but i personally don't want that to last too long. it's unfair to him. a couple of my lab friends are taking the opposite stand, and telling me that i shouldn't go for it. their reasoning is that my current reactions may not go smoothly, and then i'd be stuck with promises that i can't fulfill. i can see their perspective as well, which is why i haven't committed to the professor yet. i told him that i'd update him in december, and we'd see how things go from there based on my research progress then. perhaps there is a middle ground, in that i seek employment with the professor after i'm certain that my current research is approaching its end-point. while that potentially means that i still have to pay school fees, at least the higher salary will be more effective in offsetting the fees.

stressful stuff aside, i've begun food prep again. it was derailed by the surgery and general laziness. i spent some time during my sick leave to do calorie counting - something i was never too inclined towards. i've got a plan, and it seems that my purchases today were slightly off the mark. i figure it'll get better with practice and as i do this more frequently. based on the calculated quantities, i bought a lot less stuff than i did previously. good thing i suppose - saves me some money too. also, i've bought, received, and used the anova cooker. made eggs, salmon, and steak so far. i must say that i'm impressed. the results are consistent, and compared to conventional pots-and-pans cooking, there's like 80% less washing up to do. only thing is that this method wastes ziploc bags like you wouldn't believe. of course, i could wash the bage, but i've yet to properly assess if it's worth the trouble.

yesterday, i attended the wedding of my third paternal uncle's youngest son, ie. my cousin. with him being married, 10 out of 15 of the kids in the same generation on my dad's side are married. if we consider both sides, that number becomes 15 out of 22. not that surprising actually, since i have cousins whose ages are closer to my parents' than mine. but that's a story for another time, maybe when i do decide to go through with operation family tree. anyway, this cousin is a doctor, and he married one of his colleagues. i think i saw the bride for the first time yesterday. as you may guess, i'm not too close to the cousins who are more than 5 years older than me. i kind of worry that this issue will manifest itself again in the next generation, as i have nephews and nieces in their 20s, some in their teens, and some whose ages are still in the (low) single digits. i don't know. one thing that heartens me is that the nephews and nieces who are closer in age are keeping in close contact with each other. one of them told me that they meet up almost every week. and one of my nephews is now studying medicine in NUS! yet another reminder that i'm getting old. and this nephew knows one of the judo people too. the world is really incredibly small. maybe when i have more time, i'll list down all the coincidences within my friends and family alone. it's really quite ridiculous.

another cousin (the one i'm closest to) just gave me some big news yesterday at the dinner. i don't think it's my place to steal his thunder and inform the whole world, but you'll probably be able to guess it if you put the pieces together. it's quite exciting! i've told my cousin-in-law that i'll make myself useful if she needs an additional pair of hands...and i suspect/expect that she will in the next year or so. maybe the breakup was someone's way to free up my time for research and all that. in the grand scheme of things, it was for the better, which is basically what i told some of the chemistry guys with whom i had dinner last week. i still wonder about that dream, though.

-random thought of the day: Stop burning the onions!-

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Been nursing a bit of a headache since last night. it was brought on by my allergic reaction to dust, interestingly enough. a typical reaction usually involves my nose running, but it would stop after a shower. the fact that a headache developed showed how bad it actually was. the reason for the dust was that since i had some time on my hands with the sick leave, i decided to spend yesterday finishing up the sorting and tabulation of the force of will cards (for easier sales), and cleaning my room. it seems that i was overdue for such an intensive clean, because i ended up with 6 bags of trash and a ton of dust, as you may have guessed from my allergy being triggered so horribly. still, i must admit that there was quite the sense of accomplishment after the job was done. kind of forgot how therapeutic cleaning can be, provided that i have the time, mood, and leisure to do it to my satisfaction.

the healing process is coming along nicely too. i'd been back to the hospital for a checkup earlier in the week, and the doctor says that there's no infection, and everything looks good. i had briefly wondered whether the headache might have been due to the wound becoming infected, but i rationalized that if infection would occur, it would occur locally at the area first. that area is quite far from my head, so no...it probably isn't due to that. the stitches are still on, though, which is a minor inconvenience. the doctor says they'll fall off in the next week or two (i'm hoping sooner than later), but i should be ok to resume normal life (including exercise) by the end of this week. i'm not too sure that i want to exercise while the stitches are still in, partly because i'm afraid of tearing them, and partly because i'm not too inclined to have all that sweat and grime accumulate in that area. well, it won't be long, i guess.

during this period of downtime, i've also been thinking about how to optimize my life. somehow, this period of rest has made me feel like i have more hours in my day, ridiculous as it sounds. and i figure it's just a process of fitting all the blocks of activities in, and deciding on a good start/end time to my day. the additional conditions are that i'd like to avoid heavy traffic and ERP, go to the gym in the evening, maybe have a day a week to do meal prep. i spent some time doing calorie and macronutrient counting, and realize that i need less food than i thought. i also realized that it might be more convenient (and cost-efficient) to get meat wholesale. plus, they deliver if i buy more than $150 worth. i figure i can buy enough for a week or two at a time; my freezer should be cold enough. i can get fish whole from NTUC, as well as vegetables, which i think i might cook a little differently. will probably still pressure cook carrots and cabbage, but broccoli doesn't need such intense cooking. will also expand the scope of vegetables; i hear spinach is good. i should also mention that i'm getting an anova immersion circulator. i figure it'll be fun to play with. i've got some props for sous vide cooking already, namely ziploc bags, a blowtorch, and a metal rack.

oh, back to talking about slotting stuff in my day. if you've known me for any period of time, you'll know that i'm really really not a morning person. and yet, the arrangement that seems to make the most sense is to reach the lab around 6:30 to 7:00am, work until about 4:30pm, go to the gym, do some shopping or errands after working out, then head home and sleep. let's work backwards. if i want to reach the lab at 6:30am, i'd have to leave the house at 5:45-ish am, which means waking up at 5:00am. and if i want 8 hours of sleep, that means sleeping at 9:00pm the previous night. i don't think i've slept around 9:00pm for the past...8 years, unless i was sick or pulled an all-nighter the previous night. it would also probably mean giving up most of my social life during the weekdays (not that there was much to begin with), but things like going for dinner with the chemistry guys or other groups of friends will require planning around.

an interesting job offer opened up. it seems that another professor is looking for a research assistant, and a main criterion is synthesis expertise. that's something which i have. at first glance, it seems to be the perfect solution...it's all within NUS, and the pay should at least be comparable (hopefully more). the one snag i foresee is that this prospective employer is doing research that overlaps very little with my current area. so i imagine that if this does go through, i'd find myself juggling projects. if so, maybe i might need even longer hours in school...or i could be more efficient. after all, it's not how many hours you spend, but how you spend those hours. we'll see. i don't even know if this will materialize, because i still need my professor's permission.

well, i guess that'll be it for now. have to meet my cousin (who's also the agent for my hospital insurance) to go through the claim for the pre- and post-surgery consultation, and then i'm going to the chinatown area to sell the trading cards which i bought previously in an attempt to find more common ground with the ex. hopefully they're worth something. even if it's 10 cents per card, i'll still rake in about $250. maybe that will cover the immersion circulator. and i figure that i should break out a new notebook/planner. bought it a couple of years back, but never got round to using it. perhaps it's time to start.

-random thought of the day: Take small steps.-

Friday, October 27, 2017

Couple of significant events have happened since the last update, most notably (and recently) is that i'm on extended medical leave. it's nothing to worry about, just had a minor surgical procedure done. i have to admit, i'm not a big fan of hospitals and operations. was rather nervous, though meeting a pretty attractive doctor was kind of nice. this doctor is younger than me and fresh out of med school, which made me jealous for a brief instant. i often wonder what if i'd did better for A-levels and got a more glamourous job, like doctor, lawyer, or pilot. i suppose i could change track now if i REALLY wanted to, but i'm not sure that i'll be able to convince myself to put in the required work. anyway, the doctor is probably attached, so it's more than likely that nothing will come out of it. the wound appears to be healing nicely, and i'm due back for a follow-up next friday. incidentally, i'm also on MC until then. including weekends, that's 10 days! i have never ever received double-digit sick leave. i should be thankful, because it means that i was never sick enough to need double-digit sick leave. this is a one-off thing, anyway. right now, i'm focusing on the aftercare, keeping the wound clean, making sure it doesn't get infected, taking my antibiotics, and all that stuff. don't foresee any complications, so here's hoping for a smooth (and fast) recovery.

other major events include going for the final fantasy concert, and meeting up with some of my in-game friends there this past saturday. i'll just talk about the concert first. it was not as good as last year's, in my opinion, and the one thing that saved it was the presence of nobuo uematsu, who is the legendary composer behind some of the game's iconic musical pieces. if memory serves, he has no formal musical education, which makes it even more amazing. i attended the concert with the ex and one of the chemistry guys. the tickets were bought before we broke up, so...yes. that's why. before the concert, i had one friend bring up the possibility of the ex wanting to get back together after the month or so of separation, because they might realize how much they missed me in this time. i told my friend that it would be unlikely, and as expected, it didn't happen. i will say though, i feel that things are different between the ex and i. obviously, they should be, considering the change in our relationship status. but somehow, i didn't expect myself to feel quite this awkward around them. perhaps i'm not as mature as i give myself credit for. it seems that maybe our paths won't cross as often as i'd thought they might. well...i'm ok with it.

meeting the online friends was a bit unnerving. i mean, we've interacted a fair bit in game, but never seen each other in person. it turned out ok, though. they're nice in general, though i don't really see myself hanging out with them on a regular basis, or becoming super best buddies. and that's fine too. we went for supper at 2am dessert bar, located in holland village. i had a trio of ice creams, consisting of coconut marshmallow, pandan, and blood orange sorbet. all in all, i think i made good selections. the pandan was rich and creamy with amazing flavour, blood orange sorbet was refreshing and balanced the other two flavours. but by far, my favourite was the coconut marshmallow. not just for the flavour, but the texture too. true to its name, it was light and fluffy. best part was that it was still heavy with coconut flavour, and it almost didn't melt! other dishes we ordered included churros with hot chocolate, some fancy thing which i didn't try because it contained alcohol, and as a contrast, one of the guys ordered chicken tacos. that turned out to be the worst thing we had, though i understand that ordering savoury food so late at night in a place called "2am dessert bar" may not have been the wisest choice.

also on saturday, my cousin got married again! ok, that's probably misleading. it's the same cousin who got married in bali, just that he also had to hold a wedding here for our relatives who didn't fly over. in fact, he's had 4 weddings - one ROM ceremony, one in jakarta for the bride's family, one in bali, and one in singapore for our family. it's insane! i have no idea how they handled the logistics. and interestingly enough, i was roped in to help out, and only knew about my role on the day itself. it started out by my cousin messaging me, asking for a lift down to the hotel from punggol, where he had to pick up some stuff from his place. we then went down to w hotel sentosa for the wedding itself. the venue was nice, though i thought that the room lost out to the one in hotel equarius. my role in the wedding was handling some light logistics and generally making myself useful. was quite enjoyable, but somehow, i doubt i'd want to organize something like that for myself. too much work.

while on the topic of online games and romance, there is someone who has kind of caught my eye. this person is (to me,) really cute and attractive! not to mention their posts and messages in the group whatsapp are extremely cheerful and just brighten up my day. i do see two complications though, one major and one minor. the minor one is that this person is 3 years older than me. although the ex is older than me too, we were at least born in the same calendar year. with this new one, not so. but i think i'll be ok with it if they are (ok with it too, not born in the same year). the more major issue is that this person lives in malaysia. i haven't done the long-distance dating/relationship thing before, so i'm not sure how i'll handle it. i suppose it'll be ok if we have the goal of living together someday in mind, either they move to singapore, i move to malaysia, or we both move to some other country. but perhaps i'm getting too far ahead of myself. i don't even know if they like me back yet! and of course, this attraction i have for them right now is about 65% physical and 35% other aspects, so it might not work out eventually. one potential turn-off is their voice, which i've heard through our discord server. but i'll remain open-minded, because who knows? they may sound better in person. and it's not as if they'll like everything about me in the first place. well...it's something to keep me distracted for the time being, i guess. as scary jc friend said, eye candy is good for the soul. and honestly, i'm not sure if i want to get into another relationship right now. my "me time" plan will probably last until graduation.

being rendered semi-invalid really makes me appreciate being healthy. it reminds me that i should make better use of my time. need to get back in the game of doing my food prep and going to the gym, after fully healing from the surgery, of course. i have to optimize my day - finding a way to fit in lab work, gym, preparing meals, and potentially a few other things in. one of those potential things may be a second job. you see, my scholarship funding runs out in december, and i'll be in NUS until next may or so. half a year of no income is not ideal. i'll probably ask my friend for recommendations at the tuition centre he works at, though i'm not sure if anything will come out of it. i'd prefer to have secondary school kids, not primary school. in the worst case scenario, i can go into super saver mode and live off my savings. now that i'm single, i don't have to spend that much. my last big purchase will be my belated birthday present to myself, and i've got my eye on a sous vide cooker. i'll probably buy it by the end of the month, just have to work out where everything goes, and whether i have the space to accommodate it.

-random thought of the day: Remember to pay road tax!-

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

In the dying moments of my birthday, i thought that i should at least acknowledge the fact that i turned 29 today. as chemical engineer cousin reminded me, it's only another year before 30, so i should enjoy the remaining 364 days in which my age begins with a 2. to be honest, i'm feeling pretty neutral about it at the moment. maybe it's because the wine i'm having now makes it seems like less of a deal than it actually is, and the panic will hit me sometime in the next year.

although it's not really linked, i just wanted to talk a bit about bitcoin. when i first heard of it around 2010/2011, the price was like SGD 0.30 per bitcoin. today, the price is approximately SGD 7800. That's a 26000-fold increase over 6 or 7 years. which means that if i'd put $1000 into it back then, i'd have $26 million right now. don't know if i have the right words to describe my feelings about this. yes, i'm aware that i can't go back and change the past. but the thought of having missed out on such a huge opportunity frustrates me. then again, knowing myself, i doubt i'd have the courage/perserverance to hold on for so long. i might have sold the bitcoins i bought when their value hit a few hundred thousand. well...it kind of sucks, but i guess we have to make the best of our current situation, at which we have arrived by the decisions that we made.

been close to a week since i've been back from bali. getting back into the groove of lab work. my professor is about ready to submit the paper, so that's a load off my mind. according to my postdoc though, the journal we're submitting it to is of a higher impact factor than she feels this work is at, which makes me rather anxious. well...i suppose in the event that it's rejected, we can submit to another journal. elsewhere, i think i have a compound almost ready, but i'm not entirely sure. i think it's close, but i'll have to check on it after another step in the synthesis route. i'm grateful that my examiners seemed to understand the magnitude of my project more than i did at that time, because they said that they only wanted to see a working prototype at the end. i thought that that would be too easy. apparently not. well...i'm not giving up yet.

-random thought of the day: Be more organized.-

Friday, October 13, 2017

Probably should blog while the memories of bali are still relatively fresh in my mind. now...where do i begin? let's give a brief introduction of the place, i guess. bali is part of indonesia, though it's an island by itself. from what i noticed, they seem to not be "mainstream" indonesian. as in, they speak bahasa indonesia, but i believe that bali was once separate from indonesia before being unified. as such, its cultural heritage is somewhat different. i guess a close parallel would be kind of like what okinawa is to japan, or quebec is to canada. flying from singapore to bali takes just more than 3 hours. as of this post, the exchange rate from SGD to INR is approximately 1:10000. i changed SGD 253 for INR 2.3 million at changi airport, so each INR 100000 note was basically worth about SGD 10. have to admit, dealing with all those extra zeroes can be quite confusing initially, but you'll probably adapt to it sooner or later. interesting trivia. in chinese, the word "bali" is pronounced the same as "paris". there was almost a small miscommunication when my lab friend asked where i'd been. to avoid confusion, the suffix "dao" (island) is added when you mean bali and not paris.

airfare to bali is reasonable; i flew budget both ways, and the average airfare is about SGD 110 each way. arriving at the airport was a bit of a shock for me. the airport was basically a single building, housing just one terminal for both arrivals and departures. what was more scary was that the moment you clear customs and get to the arrival hall, you'll instantly be assailed by people going "taxi? taxi?". you see, bali's economy is predominantly driven by tourism, so foreigners are "targeted". as a consequence of being a tourist-driven economy, the locals understand english well enough, which i found reassuring since i don't speak bahasa at all. i guess i kind of understand how it feels to be linguistically handicapped. note to self: be kinder to people who may not speak english in singapore. anyway, thanks to my cousin and his now-wife, i never had to take taxis anywhere throughout my stay there. but if you do have to take taxis in bali, the advice i got was to look for blue bird group taxis, and insist that they go by the meter.

looks like i haven't mentioned it yet, but this is my first-ever trip to bali. it's also my first trip out of singapore since 2015. figured that i was overdue for a break. my flight arrived at about 7:20pm on saturday, and clearing immigration and customs took about 45 minutes in total. pro tip: if you're taking a short trip, don't bring checked luggage. makes life so much more convenient. that nearly backfired on me though, but i'll get to that later. i waited at the airport for my aunt and uncle, whose flight was scheduled to land about an hour after mine. we met our driver (after some delay), and got into the chartered minibus...which wouldn't start. my uncle and i ended up pushing the minibus for a short distance (maybe 50-100m) before it got working again. so no major harm done. we went to this restaurant called warung made ("mah-day", not "past tense of make") to link up with my cousin for dinner. the trip there was my first experience of the traffic and driving style in bali. over there, lane markers are more like...guidelines. even the arrows indicating the direction of traffic flow were guidelines, albeit ones that were more strictly adhered to. and the motorbikes, my goodness. if i had to guess, i'd say that bikes outnumber cars anywhere from 5 to 10 times. it was the first time in my life i saw a flock of motorbikes turning in front of our vehicle. it was glorious, and quite terrifying. let's just say bricks were excreted that first ride.

after dinner, we went to our hotel. my cousin was putting us up at the swiss-belhotel. i'd personally rate it at about 3 stars. the facilities were minimal (small but beautiful pool, exercise room with 3 machines, restaurant, bar), but who comes to bali to stay in the hotel all day? thankfully, the room was pretty good. my cousin booked me for a double room, so that was a nice surprise. let me digress for a funny-ish anecdote - my cousin had told me earlier that i could bring a plus one since the room was already paid for. having broken up by that time, i jokingly asked scary JC friend if she'd like to go. she actually considered it, before declining due to her schedule already being quite packed. she was suggesting that i introduce her as my date, and when people asked how a guy like me could get a girl like her, our story would be that she was actually the one chasing me, and i didn't want to commit to her yet. it would have been hilarious! ok back to the main story. i had no issue with the hotel facilities, and was generally quite happy with it. for $50 a night (after some discounts), it's pretty worth the money. the one thing i didn't find satisfactory was the breakfast that was included in the booking. i had 2 breakfasts in the hotel, on my first and last mornings there. the first breakfast was better in the sense that the items on offer were cooked decently. the second one was worse, because the one of the meat dishes tasted off. luckily my stomach could handle it. in the downtime between events (and for white noise at night), i turned the TV on. probably watched more TV in my time in bali than i have for the past 4 years. i was flipping through the channels and paused on cartoon network. somehow, it seems that the quality of the channel has declined, both in animation and production quality.

day 2 was the big day, so there was quite a flurry of activity. due to the reports of volcanic activity, some guests decided not to go after all. the dropout rate was about 20%, and that included 2 groomsmen. my cousin even messaged me a few days before to put me on standby as a backup groomsman. good thing that i wasn't activated, and was free to enjoy the event as a guest. the day started off with brunch with my aunt and uncle, plus my older cousin (the groom's brother) and his wife. we went to a cafe called livingstone, which was a short walk from the hotel. my aunt and uncle went back first as they had to go down to the wedding venue ahead of time, and i went shopping with my cousin and his wife at bintang supermarket. bought some souvenirs for the lab, as well as a huge 5L tank of mineral water, which is a trick i learned from following a senior coach to macau in 2014. then, it was back to the hotel to shower and have a short breather before we went down to the wedding venue. according to google maps, it's 18km away from the hotel. my cousin budgeted 90 minutes for us to make the journey, which i thought was excessive. turns out it was just right. you see, the roads in bali are in good condition, but the norm is to have one lane in either direction. so when something holds up traffic, there isn't much we can do to get around the obstacle. and the drivers are so laid back and gracious! like, i don't think the concept of right of way exists there. drivers will generally give way, even when a vehicle from the opposing direction borrows a section of the road to do a three point turn! it was seriously amazing to witness. i think the average speed of a vehicle in bali is between 20 to 40 km/h, and the fastest i've seen a driver go is 60-ish. unfortunately, that has the side effect of making trips take longer than they should, so do budget your time properly. from our hotel, it was me, our mechanic friend (the same guy who examined my car for COE renewal), his wife, and my cousin's JC friend. we got there early, and spent a while touring the venue. there was a little screw-up with the transport, but thankfully my elder cousin handled it and all the guests made it in time for the chapel service. before that, i also met my one and only tuition teacher. i had chinese tuition with her and her husband in primary school, for 1 or 2 years, i think. don't remember exactly how long, but i remember receiving a copy of harry potter and the goblet of fire after a tuition session, and staying up till midnight to finish the book. all in all, i think i haven't seen them in 17-ish years, although i do have a vague memory of going to their house once for teacher's day in secondary school. it was nice to reconnect with them, and surprisingly, she remembers a few (embarrassing) things about me that i'd all but forgotten.

the wedding itself was beautiful. the chapel was literally overlooking the sea, so i got some stunning photos. they used water features very well too; there were fountains, waterfalls, and even still pools of water. the service was christian-themed, and had the sense of occasion that a wedding should have. there were a few creative twists, like my cousin singing as the bride walked in. i think a few tears may have escaped my eyes, but i don't remember too clearly. after the service, it was time for dinner. unlike in singapore, where it's usually a sit-down dinner, this one was a buffet. i suppose it makes a bit more sense, since the seating arrangement was long tables instead of round. would have been challenging to serve dishes within everyone's reach. the food was good! they had a kushiyaki section, local dishes, and some fusion stuff, like a tuna cocktail. i'm hard-pressed to pick a favourite, but that's probably because everything was good. we were then invited to go outdoors to witness the father-daughter and bride-groom dances. the former was really touching, while the latter was quite amazing. apparently, they choreographed a dance and spent time rehearsing. i'd thought that it would just be a standard slow dance or waltz thing. and the fireworks which were set off scared the hell out of me. it was meant to be a surprise, and they later told me that the timing was off - a minute too early. wouldn't have guessed otherwise, it ended up nicely, i think. we continued the party with drinks back at the hotel bar, and then in the groomsmen's room. first time for me to meet my cousin's friends. they're generally a nice bunch, though i've only known then for a day. i must say though, the best man did a great job as emcee.

most of day 3 was spent with my older cousin and his wife, who graciously invited me to tag along with them on their sightseeing trip to the tegalallang rice terraces. before that though, we ate with my aunt and uncle at naughty nuri's, which is a diner specializing in meat. they're known for their pork ribs, which were great. surprisingly, my cousin told me that they opened a branch in singapore, at capitol piazza. we had ribs, satay, sausages, and dessert. i went for their shake, which was ridiculously sweet. pretty good experience overall. the rice terrace was - you guessed it - another hour away from the hotel. and sadly, it was raining. that diminished the experience a little, but i still got some nice photos. on the way back, we stopped by a coffee plantation and got an excellent and extremely informative tour of the place. tasted kopi luwak, which is the famed civet coffee. i'm not much of a connoisseur, so i didn't find it that special. the only thing i noticed was that it was milder and more sour than regular coffee. ended up buying more coffee and some tea as souvenirs, and a bag of coconut coffee for myself. was tempted to get vanilla coffee too, but goodness knows i drink less than 10 cups a year, and each bag makes 50. dinner came next, at this place called mexicola. it had a serious 1980s vibe, and as the name may have gave away, serves mexican food. seems like a popular tourist destination. there were caucasians dancing on the tables; think it was someone's birthday. after that, i met my other cousin (the groom) and his wife for their dinner at a restaurant called mamasan. the food there was amazing, but pricey. would probably go back again due to the large variety on offer.

by day 4, all the guests had probably flown back already, except the newlyweds and me. i did my best lightbulb impression and followed them to beachwalk mall for lunch and a movie. disclaimer: they invited me along; i'm not thick-skinned enough to elbow my way in. luch was at this diner called kafe betawi. we ordered various dishes, among which was the single most memorable dish in my bali experience. it's a soup called soto betawi, which translates loosely into "soup of the betawi (indigenous people of jarkata)". the reason why it's memorable to me is because previously, my impression of indonesian soups was that they're watery and not very flavourful. somewhat like drinking lightly-salted water. soto betawi is different. it's rich, flavourful, and you can add black sauce and achar to further enhance the flavour. i did some basic research to find out how to prepare it, and it seems doable. intimidating due to the sheer amount of spices involved, but doable. maybe i'll surprise my new cousin-in-law with it one day. we caught blade runner 2049 in the premier theatre, which is like GV gold class, but at a third of the price. they had leather recliners, blankets, and you could order food/drinks too! i liked the movie ok-ishly. since i didn't watch the first blade runner, i'm sure that i missed a fair few references. managed to follow the plot, and got the story overall. i've got a couple of facebook friends who analyzed the movie in-depth, going on about the rise of robots in future. me? i just enjoyed the movie on a superficial level. overall rating: 5/10. would not recommend watching in theatres.

we headed for a spa appointment after that, because who goes to bali without getting a massage? we opted for the 90-minute full-body package at this place called cozy spa. the therapist was extremely strong, which was good. i was in fairly considerable pain, which wasn't so good. my calves felt pulverized after the session, but i think it helped my circulation. that was followed up with dinner at a warung (diner), where the chili sauce was spicy beyond measure. my cousin enjoyed it, though it was a bit too much for both his wife and me. i had the duck, which tasted a little...not properly cleaned. but well, it's part of the experience. to round off the trip, i went for a foot reflexology session at sundari day spa (very close to our hotel) the next morning. it was definitely the better of the two spas. the therapist was great too...although i think he may have rubbed off 35% of my leg hair during the session. wasn't very eventful after that...went back to the hotel, checked out, took a grab to the airport, then flew back to singapore. i'm not entirely sure, but i think the grab driver cheated me a little. the price on the app was INR 44000, or SGD 4.40. i was prepared to give him INR 45000, just to get rid of all my indonesian currency. he told me that the fare was actually INR 50000, because the airport had an entrance fee. to be fair, there was a gantry, though i don't know how much the toll was. didn't want to make too big a fuss. after all, the difference of INR 5000 is like SGD 50 cents. while waiting at the airport, i noticed that there was a lady crying at the departure gate. i guess she probably just sent off a close friend or relative. to me, flying abroad has always been a happy experience. i guess it's because i only fly for holidays or otherwise positive things, and not to work for extended periods of time or whatever. i took a quick trip through the duty-free shop while waiting, and some small masochistic part of me went to the cologne section, where they had montblanc starwalker for sale. this same masochistic part of me proceeded to grab the tester bottle and spray a bit on my wrist. it smelled the same. a few of you would get why i said it's the masochistic part of me. for the rest who don't, it's because the ex used to wear that fragrance a lot. i have to admit, it smelled good on them. thankfully, i didn't feel any rage or depression. more like a twinge of sadness and resignation.

gosh, this is the longest post i've written in a while. i do want to talk a bit more, mainly to make some social commentary about bali and singapore, as well as to explore my feelings about the whole wedding/marriage thing a bit more. but that can probably wait. as it is, i'm sure that there's already a ton of stuff to read. so, until next time, i guess.

-random thought of the day: Moving forward for the paper!-

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

This past weekend, i went out with scary JC friend and the chemistry guys for karaoke. she wanted to sing, so i thought might as well make a group outing of it. it was rather enjoyable, as these things tend to be. we sang at katong shopping centre, then had dinner at parkway. feels kind of familiar...i think we did similar for our previous session.

anyway, i drove scary JC friend home after the whole thing, and we had a chat along the way. it mainly covered our single lives, and future relationship prospects. even though i know it in the back of my mind somewhere, i always sort of forget how insightful she can be. i was telling her that there were a couple of people that i was interested in right now, but would probably not take any action on them. she told me that perhaps i wasn't ready for another relationship. this is due to several factors, one of them being insecurity about my physical appearance. and while i'm loath to admit it, she's right. after all, if i'm not happy with how i look, i can't project that aura of confidence and assuredness that would make dating easier. so i guess there's that to work on.

she also gave me some food for thought by asking me what kind are some of the physical attributes i found attractive and would go for. i think i would go for someone with a nice smile, who wears glasses, within 10cm of my height either way (less important), and who is reasonably in shape. and that's the problem...if i want to ask that someone has an attribute, i'd better be sure to have it myself first. it's probably a good thing that i'm not in a rush to get into another relationship, and that i'm taking the next few months as "me time" to work on myself. i figure that if the dating scene is about selling yourself well, i have to be happy with and confident in the product (ie. me) before i can effectively persuade other people to buy it. so yes. i figure that i have to make better use of my time and treat myself with more care. while i will start on the nutrition end after the bali trip, gymming will have to be put off until at least november due to...reasons, both medical and academic.

research is slowly killing me, by the way. i think i mentioned that my original plan failed, so i devised a shorter route to a simpler compound. the crude mixture is drying now. what worries me is that the crude mass spectrum doesn't show the platinum isotopic pattern. if this doesn't work, i'll just have to use a longer, messier route. with time running out, i must admit that the stress is building, and getting to me. maybe i need sleep.

-random thought of the day: I'm not sure.-

Friday, September 29, 2017

Getting revelations through dreams is not unheard of, but it's rare for me. so, i was surprised when i woke up from a nap earlier with the following thought in my head, 'one reason it didn't work out was that the ex was afraid to be vulnerable around me'. i don't even remember the dream that gave rise to this. but upon reflecting about it for a while, i guess that it makes sense. the ex always mentioned how they hated to let anyone, even the mother, see them when they were sick or just not at their best. to be fair, they were vulnerable around me on like, at least 3 separate occasions during our relationship. perhaps i didn't give off that aura of assurance or steadiness that they needed. that's consistent with the lack of security they felt with me, i guess. not sure if i could have done anything to make that better. you know, i think that after 22 months of dating, couples should be comfortable enough to be vulnerable in front of each other, tell each other about their own insecurities, and more importantly, take steps to overcome those insecurities with their partners. i guess that wasn't the kind of relationship we had. the ex told me that their (sometimes hurtful) reactions were meant as banter, which i will say is a legitimate way of communication - only when both partners perceive it the same way. part of me wishes i had cared a little less about the ex's feelings, and just applied my newton's third law philosophy. but well...too late.

there was another thing that came to me in a dream. this time, it was the structure of a platinum compound. i have no idea whether it's possible to synthesize, let alone if it will have any anticancer effect. weird thing about this dream is that it was so detailed! i remember seeing molecular models of the compound binding to something, and having data from some biological assays. perhaps i should read up on it. after some reading, it turns out that one of the products that would be released is a neurotoxin, so no. i'm not one for prophetic dreams, after all. oh well. we can't all be like kekulé and make dream-inspired revolutionary discoveries, can we?

HOLD EVERYTHING. as i was writing, a brainwave came to me. it's so simple that i can't believe i didn't think of it sooner. the idea is to cut out the middle linker and tether the 2 molecules directly. i've had a successful precedent for the methodology (with a different molecule) just a few days ago. if it works, i'll have a compound out as soon as next wednesday. i don't want to get my hopes up too high, especially since my small success this week was followed by a bigger failure, but i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

on a slightly more positive/happier note, i got myself a small breakup present. or perhaps i should say that it's a small "i survived the breakup" present. it's a ring made of tungsten carbide, blue in colour, with a white-coloured blue lantern corps emblem laser-engraved on. at least, i think it's laser-engraved. the size is a little bit small (my bad there), but it's ok. i didn't intend to wear it on my fingers...not while they still come into regular contact with various chemicals, anyway. my intention is to hitch it onto a thin leather strip/cord, and wear it around my neck. which leaves me in search of the aforementioned leather strip/cord. there are a few craft shops around, but all seem to be in the town-ish area. guess i'll have to schedule a trip to spotlight soon. been ages since i've been to dhoby ghaut. though admittedly, it's probably equally convenient since i still have a direct train, albeit on a different line and with more stops. perhaps sometime next week.

right, i guess that'll do. going to spend some time rereading old posts, then turn in. upcoming events include karaoke with scary friend and the chemistry guys, a JET programme briefing, and going to bali. might elaborate on those over the next few posts. also, maybe i should talk about a few of my more interesting grabhitch encounters.

-random thought of the day: Find motivation.-

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dealing with grief has 5 or 6 stages, according to an article i read. there's: shock (some pieces omit this), denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. somehow i feel that this doesn't necessarily apply exclusively to grief, but to negative events in general that are sufficiently upsetting. or maybe that's not entirely accurate too. perhaps it applies to different forms of grief. the most common scenario in which i've seen this being used is to cope with the passing of a loved one. thankfully, my scenario is only coping with the death of a relationship. but anyway. i'd thought that i had went through all the stages and accepted it already, until i felt an inexplicable surge of anger on wednesday. that's what also prompted me to read up on the stages, by the way. the article i read said that anger can occur at any time of the grieving process, which probably means that i'm not as over it as i'd thought?

so, i thought i'd do a bit more of an in-depth analysis...going through the stages, understanding where i stand, and perhaps why the anger is/was still there. it's probably a good thing that (i think) i skipped a few stages, or went through most of them as the relationship was still dying. i don't think there was much/any shock, perhaps only when the ex told me that they still couldn't love me after 22 months. denial mostly manifested in the thought that if i held on just a bit longer and focused on happy moments, something would change and the relationship wouldn't end. the thought process was similar for bargaining, in that i thought that if i improved my physical appearance by a certain time, the ex would be more willing to be intimate, and that would somehow save the relationship. i wouldn't really say that i went through depression, more like sadness that we were heading towards a breakup despite my efforts to be patient and accommodating. as for acceptance, i had accepted within myself that a breakup was the best way forward, and that there would be no turning back. have to thank scary JC friend for that, because she told me that she would only initiate a breakup if she really meant it, and not use it as a power play or for mind games. i think that's a great mentality to adopt.

which leaves anger. i guess i'm angry because the ex had been rather inconsistent throughout the relationship, in the sense that there are double standards. for instance, the ex said that they couldn't love me because i wasn't kind enough and that they didn't feel secure with me. and yet, they loved their first ex despite being cheated on, lied to, and generally being treated badly. bear in mind that the ex's definition of love is "i'd die for you". i'm not expecting them to die for me, but the fact that they'd rather die for someone who treated them like that, as opposed to me, is rather...difficult to swallow. i guess you could say i'm angry because i feel that it's unfair to me. and during our breakup conversation, the ex did mention that they could have looked past the physical aspect if only i had been kinder. i highly doubt that. thing is, that never came up as a reason for not wanting intimacy. the main factor that had been brought up from the start was my lack of a nice body. so i'm taking that with a pillar of salt. of course, that may have been said to leave a better impression of them in my mind, but i won't question their motives too far. it's way too late for that now, anyway. to bring that back to anger, perhaps i'm angry that i was being taken for a fool, or that even up to the point of breaking up, the ex still didn't give a reason which i personally found satisfactory. but well, as one of my friends (whose ex broke up with him over his temper) said, if they want to break up with you, anything you do will be perceived as wrong. so there's that. and i suppose a part of it had to do with lack of reciprocation. major example here being the valentine's day conversation. i realize i haven't blogged about it, so i'll give a quick summary. after our valentine's dinner this year, i half-jokingly suggested to the ex that since i had been the one planning valentine's days for the past 2 years, it would be their turn next year. their first response was "then i'll disappear that day", and there was no follow-up "i'm joking!" or anything like that. i don't know if i'm being sensitive, but seriously, that made me feel rather lousy. even "but it makes me feel special and loved when you do things like that" would have been better, and i likely would have agreed to continue doing it. maybe this might put into perspective why i felt that the ex was taking excessively without giving much in return. and no, throwing money for expensive gifts doesn't count for much in my book. i'd rather have something cheap and hand-made than any of the high-end portable consoles. the former shows more effort, i think.

regarding that bit about unfairness, i came across this in the past week by sheer coincidence. it's a quote by captain picard (played by patrick stewart, whom i first knew for his portrayal of professor x) from star trek: the next generation. it goes "it is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. that is not a weakness, that is life". and speaking of signs, it seems the universe at large has been pushing me in the direction of moving forward. for instance, the wifi in school died last weekend. i thought my computer was giving up on me, so i changed my password (which used to contain the ex's number). that kind of spurred me on to remove more remnants of our relationship. my friend gave us a couple's gift once...matching black rubber wristbands with the batman logo and "partners in crime" written on them. i have no idea what the ex did with theirs, but i hung mine on the gear stick in the car. i replaced it with another wristband that i got some time ago from an event. i'm also thinking of selling the 2DS, PS vita, and maybe the 3DS. i've also deleted our chat, changed my phone wallpaper, and deleted my grabhitch routes to and from their place. you may call these actions minor or even petty, but i think they have helped to some extent. have to change my desktop password next; i keep forgetting.

i guess that helped to sort out my emotions a little better. at least i somewhat understand the reasons for how i've been feeling this past week. to not cause anyone to worry excessively, most days have been good, really. just that the odd bad day will catch me unawares. thankfully, my chemistry friends are (and have been) here for me, so i have people to fall back on if it gets too daunting to solo it.

on the topic of potential relationships, i had dinner with someone last sunday, and we had fairly enjoyable conversation. that is, until they brought politics in. this person is a hardcore supporter of the ruling party. nothing wrong with that. thing is, they were trying to evangelize and "convert" me. not the right thing to do on our first one-on-one meeting and third meeting overall, if you ask me. if we were to date, we could probably work past the difference of opinion. but the more i interact with this person, the more i think we'd be a poor fit. for instance, this person is really into shopping and buying branded stuff. while i'm not dead-set against it, it suggests to me that this person is rather superficial. and more recently, i've noticed that this person likes to take pictures of good-looking guys and worse, set such photos as their profile picture on line (the app). by "take photos of", i don't mean like approaching them and asking "hey can i have a picture with you?", but more like those stalker-type sneaky shots. it's quite disgusting, now that i really think about it. shows lack of consideration for the subject. what's worse is that this person is extremely adverse to having their photo taken, so where's the whole "do unto others" thing? too bad, i found them quite attractive. but as you know, good looks don't make up for questionable character.

that should do it for this post. i should really blog about more positive stuff, huh? having such depressing stuff can't be good for my readership. thankfully i don't make money from this. anyway, i'm just going to check on my reaction and head home. hopefully my synthesis works.

-random thought of the day: Better to be single and happy than partnered and miserable.-

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Almost 48 hours after the breakup, i'm doing ok. more or less anyway, given the circumstances. one noticeable change is that over the past 2 days, i've been more sensitive than usual to feelings and emotions, those of sadness in particular. like, i was watching random recommended youtube clips, and there was one of naruto (the anime character) meeting his parents. not going to sidetrack too much, but if you don't know why this is a sad moment, it's because his parents sacrificed their lives to protect him when he was a baby, and he grew up alone and ostracized, only meeting them (well, energy forms of them) when he was 16. the manga's been out for so long that i think this hardly qualifies as a spoiler. but anyway, that video brought forth a fresh flow of tears, to the point where my nose got temporarily blocked up. guess it's the after-effects of what happened.

one of my friends told me that he deals with breakups by immersing himself in work. so whenever his productivity suddenly skyrockets, his colleagues know what happened. i'm considering that; it might not be a bad thing since that i have to get the compound out ASAP. actually, i needed to get the compound out like, 3 months ago, but we work with what time we have now. somehow, the reactions aren't as straightforward as they should be. i'm not getting any of my products! and that's a big big worry. hopefully i can make something in the remaining 18 days of september. if i can pull that off, there'll still be a chance for thesis submission by next january.

also been thinking about other aspects of moving forward, like potential new relationships. at this point, i'm not actively looking for one. i've been thinking that i should have some me-time and learn to adapt back to being single. there are a few people in my social circles whom i find attractive, though i can't determine if the feeling is mutual. if the opportunity for a relationship presents itself, i wouldn't be hasty in either accepting or dismissing the possibility. it will require a fair bit of evaluation, especially since the wounds are still rather raw now. the one guiding principle above all is to treat the other person fairly, meaning that it shouldn't be a rebound relationship, and i shouldn't think of the next person as a replacement for the ex.

by now, i think most of the people important to me know about what happened. their reactions have ranged all the way from emphatic ("i know how you feel"), joyful ("congratulations/well done!"), supportive ("let's have dinner soon"), _______ (fill in an adjective that describes "i can only imagine how you must feel"), to concern (how're you doing?"). chemical engineer cousin also reminded me not to dwell on it too much, and not ruminate excessively over the whole situation. no doubt i will inevitably think about it once in a while, but i won't let it consume me.

you can probably see that my support network has been truly amazing in catching me at these low moments. it's easy to forget that they exist when things go well, and only turn to them in times of need. i hope i'm not such a person. and of course, i owe them my thanks, and more. interestingly, one mentor figure said that i might be too concerned about others and not about myself, hence my ability to wait so long for the ex. i wonder if that means i have to be more selfish. well, maybe not selfish per se, but maybe i have to consider my own interests and needs more in future relationships. good learning point too.

still haven't written the letter to the ex. don't dare to. not sure if i want to while everything is so fresh. but it will have to happen, sooner or later. maybe just before or after bali.

-random thought of the day: Please let my reactions work!-

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Starting with the condensed version of this post: i'm single again, (some) tears were shed. if that already sounds too depressing, don't read any further.

it's been almost a week since the last post. and considering the week before that when we already weren't really talking that much, i had about 2 weeks to prepare for it. things started off rather normally...dinner at tanjong pagar, short trip to JEM, then back to the partner's place, where i sat them down at the void deck for a (the) talk. i began by asking them how they defined love. and the answer was they would be willing to die for a person that they loved. clearly, i'm not at the to-die-for stage (pun intended). so that's fine. next question was, what was preventing me from reaching that stage? answer - i'm not kind enough. seems like the partner expects someone to be at least 10 times more patient and understanding towards strangers than i am. and unfortunately, that's just not my character. apparently, the partner said that if i was kinder, that would supersede the physical aspect. well...who knows. i'm not going to get caught up in debating too much about would-haves and could-haves, nor will i read too deep into whatever the partner said now. after all, it's too late already.

we shared some honest conversation, and the partner told me that i made them feel special, accepted them for who they are, and went above and beyond a normal boyfriend's "job scope" in doing romantic gestures. and despite all of that, no love. i was reminded of the nokia CEO's famous statement, "we did everything right, and we still lost" (paraphrased). granted, i don't think i did EVERYTHING right...i'd rate myself at about 70% for rightness. but as i told the partner, i'm not attempting to assign blame or credit. the partner also told me that they thought love was a feeling, like one day they were expecting to wake up and go, "oh, i love him now". my opinion kind of differs. yes, there has to be some feeling for love to occur, but a large part of it is also choice. like how you can choose to suppress your love for a person and never tell them (quite unhealthy, by the way), choose to love them even when there's conflict, and as i've recently experienced, choose to love them despite them not loving you. the partner did apologize, for being selfish, among some other things as well. i didn't quite know what to apologize for. i guess for not being the partner's ideal boyfriend, and for my lack of patience relative to them.

i also told the partner that i treasured our time together, and that's the 100% truth. while i think it was a learning experience, another part of me wishes that i could have learned the lesson sooner. but hey, better late than never, right? the relationship was good for me too, and i told the partner as much. being with them did help me to mellow out a fair bit, and to their credit, the partner was very patient with me and my flaws. i guess towards the end, i did get tired of being reminded of these flaws, although the intention was good. the partner's advice to me was to keep on doing what i was doing (romantic gestures like writing letters, cooking, etc.) when dating someone else. personally, i never felt that it was anything extraordinary, and that it was just something i'd do for my date/partner. on my part, i told the partner that although their intentions were good in getting gifts and whatnot, perhaps next time check with their future date/boyfriend. for instance, i have a PS vita. 2DS, and 3DSXL which are more or less gathering dust. the partner did give me permission to sell them, though i think i might keep one.

while we were being completely honest, i also told the partner that i had two main regrets after all the dust settled. first regret, that this went on longer than it should have. in retrospect, i shouldn't have agreed to take the relationship to the next level in june. ending it there might have saved me a significant amount of negative feelings. or maybe i should have ended it even earlier. admittedly, i have friends who told me to end it as early as a month into dating (based on the previous rejection). again, i suppose i had to learn the hard way, otherwise i'd always feel a worse kind of regret, that of wondering if i could have tried harder. the second regret is a bit more selfish in nature, and it's that i wish we could have been intimate, at least once during our dating or relationship. again, not full-on sex, but more than kissing. you fill in the blanks yourselves.

somehow, i think the partner was prepared for this outcome too. they said that they'd been thinking a lot about something i said - that tolerance isn't acceptance. and i guess they finally acknowledged that they'd just been tolerating me and hoping that i'd change to suit their expectations. and i also guess that they didn't want to waste any more of our time(s?). i still find it baffling how the partner can love their (first) ex, but not me, despite me treating them better and being faithful and all that. no point thinking along those lines, right? i know. so i guess we both knew where the relationship was headed. and i just had to be brave enough to initiate it.

most interestingly, the partner thought it was sweet of me when i told them that i had planned to text the mother tomorrow, to inform her about the split as well as to thank her for looking out for me and accepting me into the family (kind of). as fate would have it, she was still awake when we went up (unusual), so i got to tell her in person. surprisingly, i had kept it together pretty well up till that point, but tears fell when she hugged me and wished me the best. i can't explain why, either. i then beat a somewhat hasty retreat, and cried a little more in the car before driving off. thankfully i'm almost incapable of producing tears when i drive. fun trivia: i've owned a car for longer than the relationship lasted. i'm still choking up occasionally as i'm typing now, but i understand that it's normal.

all things considered, the silver lining was that it was a pretty good experience for a first breakup. well...as good as breakups get, anyway. no violence, no drama, no outbursts, no blame games. i should be lucky if all my future breakups (*touch wood*) went like this. bearing in mind chemical engineer cousin's advice of no bitterness, i'm grateful that both of us were able to approach it maturely and with no animosity. at this point, i think we can remain friends, and/or remain in each other's lives to some degree. i told the partner that it was the end of the road for us as a couple, but not a dead end as far as we were concerned. maybe that'll change when either of us starts seeing another person, but for now, that seems to be the understanding. i'm fine with it, more or less.

predominant emotions i'm feeling now are sadness and relief. sadness that nothing tangible came from my effort, yet relief that i don't have to fight the losing battle any more. again, i should be grateful that the breakup wasn't ugly. i was telling the partner, that maybe one year later, i might look back at this and laugh. not sure how my feelings will change in the next few days/weeks/months, but i do know that time heals all wounds. and no matter what, there will not be attempt #3 with this same person.

for fun, let's go through some numbers. dating attempt #2 lasted from 11 november 2015 to 10 september 2017. yes, tomorrow would have been our 22nd month anniversary. so we were together for 22 months. i thought the 22-month mark would be on the anniversary day itself, but it seems that like phone billing cycles, a month counts as the anniversary minus one day. as i deleted our chat from my phone (after making the necessary backups), i saw that our conversation had 38014 messages. i don't know when the chat history starts, since i've accidentally wiped out my chats before. assuming it's for the whole duration of the 22 months, that's about 1728 messages per month, or 58 messages a day on average. assuming we met an average of 1.5 times a week, that's 6 dates a month, 132 dates in all. i don't even know how to begin calculating the distance i've driven for the relationship. i'd say probably...5000km? we've celebrated 2 christmases, 2 new years, 2 CNYs, 2 of their birthdays, 2 valentine's days, 1 of my birthdays (though the partner had already bought tickets for the upcoming final fantasy concert as my advance birthday gift this year), 2 of the mother's birthdays, 3 staycations totalling 7 days and 4 nights. not sure what other figures i can come up with. if there's something you want to know, just comment and i'll give you my best calculation/guess.

well, i guess that as i prepare to wrap this post up, it's time for me to change the term of address. after this post (after this line, in fact), "the partner" will become "the ex", or i will only refer to them as a partner in the past tense. i guess that's another achievement in life unlocked - have an ex. the relationship was definitely a learning and growing experience, and it helped me find out more about myself, in terms of tolerance levels and my style of loving. as mentioned before, i'm resolved to not let this affect my future relationships negatively. if anything, it should show me what kind of person i'm more suited towards (or what kind of person is more suited for me). i think i'll follow up with a post in the form of a letter to the ex, but not tonight. being highly emotional fatigues me.

-random thought of the day: Should also thank my friends. More details in another post.-

Monday, September 04, 2017

Exactly how powerful is facebook's algorithm for targeted ads? don't know if it's sheer coincidence, or if something did indeed send this into my recommended articles:


you should be able to click on the image to go to the full article...at least that's what i intended. click here if it doesn't work. as you may have guessed, it's occupying my thoughts a fair bit, though the roles are reversed in my case. 20+ months is not a short time. it's almost an NSF's entire term of duty, the time given to JC teachers to prepare their kids for A-levels, and according to a website i found, it's about half as long as the korean war. if you ask me, it's also more than enough time for love to develop. is a person's loveability based on their appearance? i honestly don't think so. perhaps it's a side-effect of growing up not being the most attractive, but i tend not to let a person's looks influence my interactions with them. unless they have a face that deserves to meet a wall repeatedly (like the notorious "pharma bro"), but i don't think i've encountered more than 10 people like that in my life so far. and besides, the article states that once the lady realized that she still loved her boyfriend, her libido returned. so i guess that it's mind over matter?

until now, i am still puzzled as to why the partner is unable to feel love for me. i do things for them, sometimes even going out of my way to do so, i give in to them (on most things), i do things that are above and beyond the basics, so why is it so difficult to elicit an "i love you"? rediscovered this clip while browsing youtube. although the issue from which the conflict stems is different, it expresses my frustrations quite nicely.



i have been digging and digging to uncover the reason for that reluctance. perhaps the hurt from the previous relationship really was too deep. to be very selfish for a moment, i somehow feel that that isn't fair to me. relationships should be between two people who feel almost equally strongly for each other, right? i mean, it doesn't have to be right down the middle, but in this case, it feels like 80-20, which is sad. for full disclosure, although the partner told me that they didn't feel love for me, i managed to get "i am fond of you" out of them. it sounds so...superficial. i personally am fond of chocolate, driving, and sushi, to name a few things. i wouldn't even say that i am just "fond of" my car; i feel more strongly for it. so...i'm not quite sure how to take that. but then, one of my friends brought up a good point. he told me that maybe the partner and i had different definitions of love. for instance, i say "i love you" quite...not carelessly, exactly, but i'm a bit more liberal in the sense that i say it to my good friends. the level of emotional attachment i assign to that is like, i would go out of my way to help them in a crisis. like, bail them out of jail (not like it's happened yet). the partner may see love as something that entails a bigger commitment, say, abandoning everything and following me overseas if the need ever arose. so if i look at it like that, i guess i can sort of come to terms about them not loving me. to be fair, i have never said "i love you" to them too, only because i know how they'll react. i don't want a confession of love to be met with disgust or awkwardness, jokingly or not.

having had conversations with just about all the people whose opinions i value, i think i have arrived at a decision. if the partner cannot give me anything definite (in terms of time or actions that we can take other than to wait), or if i cannot accept the values for those parameters, then the logical thing to do would be to break up. i guess i've known this for a while, just that i've been afraid to face it. i came close in june, but the partner agreeing to progress past the dating stage gave me hope that things might work out. while i'm at it, let me just list all the breakup inhibitors that i've identified over the past few days.

obviously, there's fear...fear that i'll never find someone else. looking at it another way, it could also be fear of being single? it's not quite the same, i think. i'm ok with being single for now, but not ok with being single forever. then again, scary JC friend has always told me that it's better to be single and happy than partnered and miserable. while i'm not at the miserable stage yet, i do see what she means. it could also be fear that i'll never find someone like the partner again (though most of my friends might agree that that's actually a good thing instead). seriously though, perhaps it's part of my low-self confidence regarding my appearance, but i often wonder - who would accept someone that looks like me as a partner? it's weird, because if i look at it from a "friends" perspective, i wouldn't befriend anyone who only sees me for how i look, and not who i am. logically, shouldn't that apply all the more for potential partners? guess that's a hole in my logic that i have to fix.

a certain amount of pride/ego contributes to the reluctance to break up too. you see, i've always said that we can't choose our blood relations, but we can choose the people with whom we surround ourselves. if a relationship that i chose to be in doesn't work, that just means that i have poor character judgement. and perhaps me wanting to hold on to the relationship is just so that it appears that my choice wasn't that bad, and that i am a good judge of character after all. but you know, it's no point to keep up appearances. that's actually something i personally quite dislike, as my posts around the CNY period would reveal. so that's probably the worst reason to be holding on.

lastly, hope. it's the most powerful reason that's keeping me from walking away. so many times, i've thought to myself, 'maybe the partner will make a breakthrough soon'. but if there's been such slow progress over the past 20+ months, what are the odds that there will be a huge change in the next few weeks? there are 2 ways of looking at this. first is the optimistic/delusional/gambler's way. if there hasn't been a big change for so long, surely a big change is coming? compare that to: my 4D number has never shown up in the draw, surely it will win something this week? next is the more realistic perspective, and that's "if there hasn't been progress for so long, what makes me think that things will be any different anytime soon?"

right now, it seems that we are headed more or less for a breakup. i'm still reconciling myself with that, and i'm about 80% ok with the idea now. i would like to think that i'm not making a rash decision, and that i'm not giving up too easily. i shouldn't feel accountable to anyone else but myself, and perhaps to the partner, but to a lesser degree. perhaps the partner's right, in that we shouldn't use other peoples' standards to judge our relationship. but i'd say that external influence will always play a part. we learn everything from external influences, after all. although if i were to strictly follow my friends' timeframes, the relationship would have been over by this time last year. so, here's the plan: one more meetup to talk, and possibly reach common ground. i really don't want it to turn hostile, or to even think of it as a negotiation. don't know how successful i will be on either front, though.

suppose i should do a little preemptive planning. most likely scenario: breakup. worst-case scenario: ugly/hostile breakup. depending on how the talk goes, i guess we may be able to remain friends. although given how little we have in common, i'm not sure how big a role we will continue to have in each others' lives. ordinarily, i don't think our paths would have ever crossed, if not for that message i sent over two years ago. i do wonder what kind of an impression i will leave with the partner. that i'm decent boyfriend material, provided that one can get over my looks and temper? shouldn't really worry about that now, should i? one thing's for sure, though. there won't be a third try at a relationship after the next breakup. you know the old saying...once bitten, twice shy, third time you can go and die. so, amicable breakup or not, i'm very sure of that, at least. it seems like such a waste, though, to throw everything away because we disagree on a few things. then again, the disagreements happen to be over a few major things, with seemingly no acceptable resolution possible.

the partner has told me that they are over the ex, but that the experience with the ex had ruined their capability to/capacity for love. if anything, i will make sure that i only take away lessons from this experience, so that it won't be unfair to future people i meet/date. a song describes this kind of well...i've thought about it for a while now, maybe starting within the past year, but definitely within the past 6 months. this is the song.

O-Town - All or Nothing
I know when he's been on your mind
That distant look is in your eyes
I thought with time you'd realize
It's over, over

It's not the way I choose to live
And something somewhere's got to give
As sharing this relationship gets older, older

You know I'd fight for you
But how I can fight someone who isn't even there
I've had the rest of you now I want the best of you
I don't care if that's not fair

'Cause I want it all
Or nothing at all
There's no where left to fall
When you reach the bottom it's now or never

Is it all, or are we just friends
Is this how it ends
With a simple telephone call
You leave me here with nothing at all

There are times it seems to me
I'm sharing you with memories
I feel it in my heart
But I don't show it, show it

And then there's times you look at me
As though I'm all that you can see
Those times I don't believe it's right
I know it, know it

Don't me make me promises
Baby you never did know how to keep them well
I've had the rest of you
Now I want the best of you
It's time for show and tell

'Cause I want it all
Or nothing at all
There's no where left to fall
When you reach the bottom it's now or never

Is it all or are we just friends
Is this how it ends
With a simple telephone call
You leave me here with nothing

'Cause you and I
Could lose it all if you've got no more room
No room inside for me in your life

'Cause I want it all
Or nothing at all
There's no where left to fall
It's now or never

Is it all
Or nothing at all
There's no where left to fall
When you reach the bottom it's now or never

Is it all or are we just friends
Is this how it ends
With a simple telephone call
You leave me here with nothing at all

well...i'll know soon enough whether it's all or nothing, i guess. i think a sure sign that i am approaching my limit is that the acceptable timeframes are shrinking. from june next year, to christmas this year, to our second dating anniversary in november, and now, to before i fly to bali for my cousin's wedding next month. maybe it's for the best that i don't drag this out for too long. if it means being the bad guy who's inconsiderate, impatient, and can't wait for a good thing, maybe that's the unpleasant tradeoff that i'll have to make.

-random thought of the day: Everything happens for a reason.-

Friday, August 25, 2017

Just want to put on record two conversations today that have had a significant impact on me.

conversation 1 was with my lab friend. or rather, my ex-lab friend who is working in the neighbouring research group. i gave him a lift on the way to genesis, and took the opportunity to monopolize his ears. his take on the whole thing is a little different, and was a new perspective for me. so far, almost everyone i've talked to has told me to break up and go. my friend, however, told me to stay and try until i could try no more. and only then, leave. i think it's interesting, because by doing this, i'd have accounted to myself that i've done all i can, and there was really nothing else for me to do at that point. i guess that's something that i can consider.

conversation 2 was with a lady who took my grabhitch after my gym session. we got to talking, and she told me that her husband was hitting the gym too. we had a nice conversation about various gyms, and i told her about my horrible experience with personal trainers from anytime fitness. before she alighted, she actually commended me for attempting to live healthily and getting fitter. slightly embarrassed, i told her that i had a car and couldn't complain about distance or whatever. she said that still, it took effort to drive from NUS to genesis, and to prepare my own meals. she knows, because she sees her husband go through the same thing. that really made my day. i was just thinking to myself that maybe the partner doesn't actually see the behind-the-scenes stuff, like shopping for groceries, or leaving lab and praying that traffic won't be too rough, and that i'll be early enough to beat the ERP. to be fair, they do send encouraging messages for the workout, but i thought it was nice that someone recognized the preparations that go on outside the gym too.

that's it, i guess. rather short post. the partner and i had a whatsapp conversation too, and it's given me a lot to think about and to reevaluate. brief highlight: even after so long, the partner doesn't feel love for me. and as you know, time has not really helped with the whole finding me unattractive thing. i still don't understand why the partner is holding on to this relationship in light of these two things. maybe now you see why i'm questioning my purpose here. a few of my friends have said that i'm basically disposable. sucks to hear, but i can't really deny it. well...let's see how things go. i'm due to talk to chemical engineer cousin and the chemistry guys too. i think by then a decision might come to me.

-random thought of the day: Need to clean my room.-

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hello readers! this post will be split into a happy part, and then a sad/emo/frustrated part, and maybe a neutral part if i have the time and mood. i'll put markers so you can avoid anything that might spoil your mood.

happy part
chemical engineer cousin is in town! she's back for a work trip, and her husband came along. although they've been married for close to 10 years, i only saw him in person for the first time this past sunday. that was during a big family dinner at long beach. my cousin did tell me before that he's really introverted, but i thought he handled the crowd quite well. i had a bit of one-on-one time with him earlier today, as i brought him to the SEA aquarium and the trick eye museum. he's a nice guy, really easygoing. the conversation was a little halting, probably because we were unfamiliar with each other, and probably because we're both more introverted anyway. at the end of the day, he enjoyed himself at the aquarium (or so he said), so mission accomplished. and we both thought the trick eye museum was nice, but not fantastic. it's more for those who are into taking photos. $25 ($20 after passion card discount) is not worth it to me.

as for my cousin, it's her first time back in singapore in 12 years, according to her. that means the last time i saw her in person before last sunday was either sec 4 or J1. doesn't seem that long to me. but looking back, i guess it's accurate. A-levels, army, undergrad, and grad school so far. sounds about right when put into stages of life rather than number of years. thankfully, we live in an age of email (then ICQ, then friendster, then blogger, then facebook), so we still remained relatively connected throughout that time. she was also the one who helped me through the whole saga of 2014. so despite being physically far apart, i'm still closer to her than to some of the other cousins whom i see more regularly. we're due for a proper face-to-face catch up this coming saturday. her husband will be there, though i'm not sure about the partner.

sad/emo/frustrated part
perfect transition! so as you may guess, the relationship has been the main cause for my negative feelings recently. it's 2 issues which i'm facing. before i go further, i'd just like to say i'm not assigning blame onto either party. i will just state the facts. so, we had an argument last saturday. the partner wanted to go to bugis to check out a new phone, and maybe buy it. i think it was a combination of not understanding why they wanted to change phone again, and also the impression of not being told the whole story that caused me to have a negative (over)reaction. that night's dinner was the most uncomfortable dinner we've had by far. tonight's probably ranks a distant second, but i'm getting ahead of myself. to be perfectly honest, i simply do not see why the partner feels the need to change phones so often. of course, it's their money and i have little to no say as to how they spend it. but it simply does not make sense! although they resell the phones that they don't use any more, used stuff will naturally be sold at a loss. so assuming a phone change once per month, and a mark-down of $50, that's $600 lost over the year! and i'd probably understand more readily if all the phones bought and sold were different. but there have been at least 2 samsung S8's in the past year. and my question is, why go back to a phone that you sold because you didn't like? i'm all for splurging a little (even if it is a silly/unnecessary purchase) to reward yourself, goodness knows i do that too. but this is irrational. maybe it's linked to our perspective. i don't know how much money the partner has in the bank, and they won't tell me. fine, no issue. but i've asked whether there's 5 months' salary as backup in case of a rainy day, and apparently there isn't. i'm just thinking to myself that the money spent on phones could be put to better use, like investing or even just saving. but again, it's out of my jurisdiction, so to speak.

so after that disagreement, the partner said that they wanted to be left alone for a while, which is why i only messaged them yesterday. we had dinner today, and as you saw above, it was rather uncomfortable. might be because we had a talk before dinner, where the partner said they felt stifled because i took offense to certain things they said. i think most people will agree they they do not like to be reminded of their shortcomings, or to feel patronized. the latter comes from the "don't bully me" incident in magic. i felt lousy about it because the partner is obviously a better player, due to experience and knowing more about the game and about the cards. so to accuse me of bullying is like...damn. google images doesn't have anything appropriate. the image in my head is of 2 kids at a playground. the bigger/stronger kid is beating up the smaller/weaker kid, while repeatedly chanting "don't bully me!". it would be different if i was in any actual position of power, in which case i'd probably laugh it off and be all "what are you going to do about it?".

and as for other things the partner says that i don't agree with, they tend to be hurtful, like that whole gym thing. again, i will ask - is it so hard to be positive and affirming? i have never made fun of the partner's shortcomings, simply because the thought never even crossed my mind! if i wanted to, i'm sure i could find a few flaws or areas in which the partner doesn't measure up to pick on, and do it in such a way that it hurts the most. but what purpose does that serve? i wonder if the partner secretly feels inferior, and therefore feels the need to put me down to bring me closer to their perceived level of themself. it's an interesting hypothesis, which is sounding increasingly likely to me. i still ask the same question, is it so difficult to mean what you say, say what you mean, and express your feelings? can you believe the partner has never even said "i like you" to me, let alone "i love you"? not even in the privacy of the car, or a hotel room during staycation, or even their own room when i'm over at their place. i get the different love languages thing, but there should be some basic level for each love languange right? i'm not asking for a love song, or pages of poetry and prose. just "i like you". if it's really that difficult, then something is wrong. which i hope you can see is why i wonder whether the partner buying me extravagant gifts that i rarely use (2DS, 3DS, PS vita) is just a way to compensate for the inability and/or refusal to say "i love you".

earlier on, i also told the partner about acceptance vs. tolerance. although they may be used interchangeably sometimes, they actually mean very different things. tolerance has an underlying sense of reluctance, like "i can't find anything better, so i'll settle for this one". i kind of feel that that's the partner's attitude/mentality towards me now. maybe i'm convenient and nice to have around because i have a car, or because i'm someone who can help them run errands and carry their shopping, or because my presence can dispel the loneliness. whatever the reason for the partner having me around, if it's anything other than "i love him", then perhaps we need to reexamine the relationship. i don't want to stand in the way of the partner finding true happiness. if the partner defines true happiness as being with someone with a killer body and gorgeous face who doesn't mind being at the receiving end of barbed comments, then there's clearly a mismatch here.

there's been a persistent issue in the relationship, and that's regarding physical intimacy. *friends and family, you might want to consider stopping your reading here. you have been warned.* physical intimacy can refer to a rather broad range of things. to be blunt, i'm referring to sex. well, not full-on sex, but more than kissing. that should give a decent impression about the range of activities encompassed. the partner has been reluctant to engage in any of that, and the usual line is that they needed more time. first of all, i know that the partner has done stuff with the ex, so there's somewhat of a precedent. it's been a year and 9 months, which i think is a reasonable time for a couple to get intimate. there are no religious concerns, or stuff like saving yourself for marriage, so i was a little confused as to the reason for waiting. i had my hypotheses, and unfortunately the partner confirmed that one of them was right - the one where they didn't find me physically attractive. for reference, other hypotheses included: the partner is doing this to push me towards working out more and becoming more attractive; the partner doesn't feel that that kind of intimacy is essential to or needed in a relationship; (extremely unlikely, but for the sake of completeness) the partner is fulfilling that need with someone else; the partner has an STD that they are reluctant to tell me about; the partner doesn't want to do it at home; the partner can't get over the ex.

learning that raised so many thoughts and questions and scenarios in my head. first of all, i know i'm not the most attractive person, in terms of both looks and figure. i will also admit that the partner is more attractive than i am. so i guess it's understandable for them to want someone closer to their level of physical appearance. my next question is why date me and why even agree to be a couple if they found me unattractive? the partner told me that it was because they were trying to convince themself that my personality and character would override my lack of physical attractiveness. now, i don't quite feel that this is right. my perspective has always been that if you love someone, you love them for who they are. looks and personality don't go on the same balance. i don't know about you, but i'd rather have someone who looks below average and treats me with love and respect (and intimacy), than be in an abusive relationship with a model. unfortunately for the partner, my character is just like that. whether you know me for a month or a year, i don't think i change very dramatically. so i guess if the partner can't convince themself to be attracted to me after so long (1 year 9 months of dating, 2 years 1 month of actually knowing each other), then i don't think there's much more hope. i also told the partner that i would not treat them extra special just to get into their pants. i don't want it to be a transaction. thankfully, i'm not desperate for sex. and sex should never be used as a bargaining chip or a reward, anyway. it's something couples do as a way of showing their love. hookups are different, but that's a topic for another day.

my natural instinct is to look for ways to solve this problem. even after meditating on it for almost 2 weeks, i only see 4 possible outcomes, out of which only 2 are realistic. if you're still reading, i hope you can provide alternative perspectives which i may have missed. first possible solution: wait. i just sit back and let the partner come to terms with it in their own time. while this would be the most ideal solution, there are 2 risks. (1) my patience running out (as it is i'm already close to my limit of waiting. it's almost been a term of NS!), (2) the partner being unable to convince themself. just because i give it time, it doesn't mean that success is guaranteed. for all i know, i could be waiting for 5, 10 years, only for the partner to tell me that they just can't see us in bed together. then not only do i lose out on that end, i lose out on the time wasted while waiting. second solution: the partner suddenly agrees to give things a shot. let me tell you, pigs will probably fly before this. third solution: open relationship. if the partner doesn't want to get physical with me, let's both find other people. while it technically is a possible solution, it isn't a solution to which i'm particularly inclined. call me old-fashioned, but i believe that couples should be monogamous. whatever happens while a person is single is all fine and well, but as a couple, you should be devoted to each other. and even if the partner agrees, i wouldn't go for it because knowing myself, i may not be too good at separating physical and emotional intimacy. falling for a hookup would just complicate matters. plus, i don't believe in sharing, not in this context, at least. last solution: break up. since it is clear that an acceptable compromise can't be reached in an agreeable timeframe, might as well just call the whole thing off. this is definitely a last-resort-type thing, because i don't see how we can be friends after breaking up due to this issue. so, while it is not my preferred solution, i worry that it will soon become the only solution. of course, if i'm being perfectly honest, i will feel that it's a bit "wasted" that we never got to do anything physical. maybe that's just typical guy thinking...i don't know.

at the end of the day, you may ask why i'm making this out to be a big deal. that's because while sex isn't THE thing in a relationship, it still is A thing. i'm still a guy, and i'm still young enough that my sex drive hasn't died yet. biology aside, it is (to me, at least) a way of connecting with your partner on a deeper level (yes, i know the double meaning is there if you look). interesting trivia: denial of sex to a spouse is actually grounds for a divorce. i think the period for it to qualify is 2 years? if so, i'm quite close to the mark already. so it is definitely something important to the development of a relationship. and if the partner doesn't feel attracted to me, how can this work out in the long run? although credit where credit is due, i applaud the partner for holding out for so long. suppose i should applaud myself too, otherwise questions may be raised.

just had a stray thought. maybe the partner isn't the one for me. or maybe i'm not the one for them. i know friends from secondary school who look worse than me (in my opinion, of course) and/or are in worse shape than me, yet they have girlfriends or wives. one of them is even married with a kid! of course, there is a giant difference between them and me, which may account for our different luck in love. as for what that difference is...wait a year and 2 months and i'll tell you.

right. i see my course of action now. and that is to wait until i can wait no longer. i had thought about giving it until the end of the year, but i have a feeling that things will come to a head much sooner than that. maybe as soon as this weekend, even. whatever the case, i will continually remind myself of 2 things in which i believe: (1) this too shall pass, (2) everything happens for a reason. maybe this is to teach me a lesson to love myself more and not be pressured to conform to others' standards of attractiveness.

-random thought of the day: Do I look that bad? ...Maybe don't answer that.-