Sunday, April 09, 2017

Weird dreams have come back over the past week. i think i've had literally 7 nights' worth of them. although i usually don't remember them beyond half an hour of waking up, immediately telling the date about them in the routine good morning message seems to help with memory retention. it seems that two major themes have persisted through most of the dreams - professional wrestling, and secondary school...although i think there was that one odd army dream too. i don't understand it myself. why those things, out of everything i've experienced in my life? goodness knows. i used to think that weird dreams meant that i was stressed, but now i'm not so sure. i feel some pressure, but nothing debilitating. and if those dreams were caused by stress, wouldn't i dream about the thing that stressed me out? don't see how something that happened 10 years ago or more would affect me now, yet here i am, dreaming about these things. well...i doubt it's of much significance, unless i subconsciously want to switch careers to professional wrestling.

made a couple of important decisions in the interval between posts. i'll be renewing the car's COE after all. i'd asked my regular mechanic at my last servicing, and he said that it was ok to renew (ie. that there weren't any major problems with the car, and that it could last another 5 to 10 years). got a second opinion from my cousin's friend, who's a mechanic too. he says that the gearbox and engine are in surprisingly good condition, and that the only issue with the car is that some parts need to be replaced due to wear and tear. in fact, he recommended that i renew the car, because it's japan-made, and sturdier than the newer thailand-made ones. the wear and tear is expected, after 10 years. i'd replaced some things during servicing, but apparently my regular mechanic didn't get everything, or thought that the parts weren't a priority to replace. i'm expecting a quote tomorrow, and am also hoping that all in all, it costs less than $1500.

although i'm pretty sure that i'll renew it, the next question is how long to renew it for. there are two options, 5 and 10 years. i can renew the car indefinitely for 10-year blocks, but only once for the 5-year option. renewing for 10 years will cost more upfront, but actually costs less per year than 5 years ($6000 vs $7000 per year for 10 and 5 years respectively). the rest is about the same. both require annual inspections, both face the same increments in road tax. i suppose it comes down to how that fits into my own timeline. let's see...5 years from now will be 2022. with luck, i should have graduated, and probably be 2 or 3 years into a job. by then, i think i should be able to afford a new second-hand car. so logically, 5 years would be the way to go. at the same time, that "no renewal" condition really makes me hesitate. it's like, what if i need the car for say, 6 or 7 years? the only way that's possible is if i renew for 10 years and deregister early. the flexibility offered by the 10-year COE is really a significant draw. it's not that urgent yet; i can afford to sit on it for another week before committing to a decision.

can't remember when it started, but as i grow older, i'm increasingly losing faith in singaporeans. it seems that i've become more aware of peoples' ugly sides. well...maybe not ugly. i think a better way to say it is that people look out for their own interests first. there's nothing wrong with that. what's wrong is when they serve their own interests at the expense of others. the date works in customer service, so i hear about this kind of stuff on a regular basis. customers knowingly incur charges, yet try to get them waived. when they're refused, they abuse everyone in their path, including the customer service person taking their call. i guess people feel that they're more important than everyone else around them, just like with some drivers. it's best illustrated with a phenomenon i've observed way too often. here's a question for you. in heavy traffic, which lane moves the fastest? i think under normal circumstances, the logical answer would be that the fastest-moving lane is the rightmost, or overtaking lane. in practice, my observation is that it's the second-rightmost lane that moves faster in general. there could be a multitude of reasons, but i think the more likely ones are that people hog the right lane, and that too many drivers try to cut in. you know, i have nothing against people driving slowly. i do, however, have problems with people driving slowly in the fast lane...because they inconvenience others who actually want to get somewhere quickly. and don't even get me started on the idiots who can't drive within their lane, or don't signal when changing lanes. could be that i was never exposed to it so much until after JC, but i didn't remember it being this bad. well...i guess it's inevitable that we meet horrible people at some time in our lives. what really matters is how we react to the horribleness. the date had mentioned that i was rather easily provoked while driving. my usual response is that i naturally get agitated when our safety and well-being is on the line. i'd rather come across as aggressive than run the risk of being injured or worse due to some other driver's mishandling of their vehicle.

research is slow, but there's progress. my enzyme project is about 80% complete in terms of data gathering. just 2 more experiments to go, but somehow it's these last few experiments that i'm having the most issue with. 80-20 rule again. the main issue is that the compounds are very poorly soluble in the solvent i have to use, so i'm trying using a co-solvent, lowering the concentration, pre-dissolving, sonication, basically every strategy that i can think of. hopefully i'll arrive at a solution within this coming week. i've written a few paragraphs of the paper, but i know there's a lot of work that needs to be done there still. searching for references, for instance. i'm still confident of making the june deadline...hopefully the experiment i set up over the weekend will be successful.

there's been a lot of unhappiness/outcry about the legal system in singapore recently. first about the pedo MMA instructor, then about the church pastor. don't think i need to drop names here; you'll know who i'm talking about if you live in the country and/or follow its news. personally, i do feel that they both got off too lightly. the MMA instructor, especially. without revealing too much, let's just say that i knew of him before this case (not that he was a predator though), and i found his character to be somewhat questionable. and there is no good way to explain away the fact that he got such a light sentence despite knowingly and repeatedly committing the crime. as for the pastor, you may call me cynical, but i don't buy the argument that he did it all for the church. truly altruistic people are few and far between, and i really doubt he can be counted amongst their number. i am not religious myself, which may be why i smell a rat in/with his style of christianity. giving of tithes makes sense, when it's a small church and a small community who give within their means. but to persuade/instruct people to "give till it hurts", sometimes to the extent of selling a car or downgrading to a smaller house is way way too extreme. what makes it worse is where the money goes. from what i understand, it isn't all that transparent. and is there really a need for such a ridiculously huge church? if i was inclined to religion, i'd rather give what i can out of my own free will. even if it means that the facilities are a little run-down. after all, as long as you have god/whatever deity you worship in your mind, the physical environment doesn't really matter, does it? on a semi-related note, the idea of religion is a great in theory. but the human element twists it and distorts the message to further certain agendas. it's similar to communism. it sounds good - all men are equal. yet, i think it fails because man is greedy by nature. you know the whole animal farm thing. all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. what was supposed to be a great noble thing gets turned on its head because some (most) people will never be satisfied with what they have. but well...not my business. if they don't bother me, i won't bother them either.

i keep wanting to write about pets, but by the time i remember, i've run out of steam. shall start the next post with it, then.

-random thought of the day: Something feels off.-

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