Quick Life Update

I am reminded today why I hate working in KL. Working in the city is fun if it’s work that interests me and makes me glad to be alive. Other days, like today, it’s drudgery and exhaustion. Empty even.

I do blame my mood somewhat on my period. It’s been a depressing few weeks, not helped by an unusually boring time at work. That said, I am getting more steps in my daily commute. It’s been easy to get 8,000 steps a day. Yesterday I even managed to hit 12,000 plus steps. That is crazy, and I paid for it with feeling much more exhausted than usual.

Even so, I went to bed at about the same time as I usually did last night. Was supposed to sleep but too exhausted to kick self off the computer chair. Apparently doing 12,000 steps a day feels like doing a 10k. I did that about two years ago; a 10k run easily netted me 10k steps within 6 kilometres.

Pretty sure I’m getting my numbers off but at this point I don’t quite care. What I do care is that my feet still feel exhausted but my brain is not. Which is one of the reasons why I hate working in KL. It’s a situation where my body is exhausted but my mind is not. I am so tired though that I don’t have the energy to write at night. My brain spins the wheels but the car is going nowhere.

That said, I did manage to get some ideas for a new concept down. It seems interesting but I don’t think it’s that viable. Or rather, I haven’t found the hook yet with which to write it. Still, I have the weekend somewhat to work on it, in between planning for Korea and Taiwan.

Yes, company trip is coming up this Tuesday, followed by Taiwan the following week. And I need to figure out what time I will be heading to the lodgings of both.

Ah, procrastination.

Trying something different

Trying something different today. I recorded a video of me using my mechanical keyboard and the resulting text is below. I have fixed the post for spelling but that is about it. Enjoy!

Still not convinced you should get a mechanical keyboard? In case you are wondering, the video you are watching is a CM Quickfire Pro video. This keyboard has blue keys and as you can tell, is very clicky. Please do not mind the slow typing speed. I find it a little hard to type when I am thinking fast on my feet about this review.

Usually if I am talking to my friends I can type much faster. If you are wondering why I am so slow, you try typing with a camera between your hands. It is not easy. The setup isn’t the best but this is pretty much what you sill see and get with this keyboard.

I hope you have enjoyed this two minute video. Have a good day! Naoko signing out.

2014: A reflection

Simply woven, easily told
The day is done, the year is old
No more stories, no more lingering
Tis time for bed, time for dreaming.

The flower that blooms in autumn is brighter still
The flower that blooms in summer sweeter still
The flower that bursts in spring, livelier still
The flower that buds in winter, lonelier still.

Winds of change, winds of gold
The horse gallops where it will
Settle down, settle fast
Claim your field before you till.

The year is new, the kiss is sweet
Memories remain till merry meet
Of new beginnings and bitter endings
Of light found in darkness ending.

Good night good night forevermore
Goodbye goodbye till the greetings roar
You will not be missed, 2014
But we’ll remember your lessons, not throw them to the bin.

[Letter] To the future me

Hey, remember when we coloured our hair purple? Was a fun experience!
Hey, remember when we coloured our hair purple? That was a fun experience!

Last November was a very eventful month for me. To say that it was overwhelming is an understatement. Things happened. Hearts were opened. Laziness was indulged. Panic was had. Triumph was snatched.

And we’re not talking just about Nanowrimo.

The heart of November, to me, has always been about the writing. It’s always one of the things I look forward to the most when the end of the year approaches. Nanowrimo always marks the beginning of the last two months for me. More than any other month in a year, Nanowrimo reminds me that madness is around the corner for the next 120 days and I need to be prepared. The rest of the year, in comparison, is spent, in a way, hibernating.

But this year has been very different. So very different.

For the last few years, I was content to simply write. I rarely had the opportunity nor inclination to submit my stories anywhere. I was simply coasting along.

Last year, however, just before Nano, I had an incredible change. It left me bent, maybe a little cracked, but it was necessary. Like the bamboo, I needed to have the heavy rain and strong winds to wash me anew and see how far I could bend without breaking.

As it turns out, I could bend quite a fair bit.

This year, things were slightly better. Or I should say, much better. The clouds that remained after the storm gave me the time I needed to absorb the lessons from that thunderstorm. It hurt, of course, but it also crystallised for me, somewhat, things that I wanted to do.

I did kind of lose my way for a while. That gloominess meant that I couldn’t see the sun for a bit, that I was indulging in mere fantasies and continuing to drift without a concrete plan. The raindrops were still on me, and I lost myself in the illusion that drifting and coasting along, was all I could do in this life.

If anything were to happen to me, I wasn’t the one to do it. For once, I wanted things to happen to me, instead of always having to be the one to chase the rainbow.

As it turns out, allowing myself to stand still and hesitate was probably one of the best decisions in my life. A strong wind, from multiple directions, came and swept me off my feet. Some days, it’s not blowing in the direction I want. Other days, it’s such a strong wind that all I can do is stand, hold my ground, and open my arms wide to feel it running through my hair, carressing my face, and making me feel joyously alive.

I haven’t allowed myself the pleasure of merely being in a long time. To exult in my senses, delight in my mind, and please my imagination.

I was sorely lacking this for the longest time, and I didn’t know it.

So what happened in November?

Well, for one, I won Nanowrimo by the skin of my teeth. For another, I met an interesting group of friends, one of whom opened my mind up to new possibilities. Also had a timely and much-needed reminder to take care of myself and those I love. I travelled, and for once, did not feel as though I should be guilty for travelling. And food. Ah, glorious food!

It’s been almost a week since December started, and I’m still excited. There’s ideas I want to explore, things I want to write, articles to make and Fiverr stuff to check out. And if you are wondering, yes, I offer resume-checking services now.

Some of the leads may not pan out. Some of the plans will probably fail. But I’ve never felt this loved or this supported before.

Sometimes, the jigsaw puzzles just fit.

See you soon.

[Lyrics] SCANDAL’S 「Image」

New album out 3 December, 2014! Really enjoying their lyrics (though really, that Superhero thing…). Romanji here, English under the cut as usual. Got it from here.

Nakidashi sō na machi o se ni
TV no nyūsu de wa
atarashii seimei no tanjō o
minna ga iwai waratteru
konna kaze ni boku datte
umarekawaretara to omotteru

yarinaosu koto mo
Kuririkaesu koto mo
kantan janai kara

sukoshi nayande iru keredo
ashita wa umaku yarerutte
seimei no tanjō
kokoro no dokoka de omotteru

sutoppu deki nakara shinchō ni imēji shite asa o matsu

me o akere ba atarashii boku ga iru
ima kara nandatte egaite ikeru
hakinareta kutsu de itsumo yori keikai ni
fumidaseba nani demo tobikoerareru

imēji shita risō wa genjitsu yori muzukashii ga
itsu datte atarashii sutoppu wa kireru

naganen kie nai nayami goto
chīsana koro mi ni tsuita kuse
butsuketa kioku mo nai no ni dekita aza mo
kizukeba issho ni ikite kitanda
kyō ga subarashii to ienai tadda ichinichi tatoshite mo

mada mi nu ashita ni arāmu o setto shite
namida o gutto kotaete yume o miyou
tsuki ya hoshi wa kumo ni ooware te mo
kawara zu ni kono machi o terashitsuzukeru kara

mezashiteita mirai ga ima to chigatteite mo
daijōbu donna basho e mo mada jiyū ni ikeru

ima made no jibun o shinjite imēji shite asa o matsu
me o akereba atarashii boku ga iru
ima kara nan datte egaite ikeru
hakinareta kutsu de itsumo yori keikai ni
fumidase ba nani demo tobikoerareru
imēji shita risō ga genjitsu o nurikaete iku
itsu datte atarashii sutoppu wa kireru

~~~~

In the back of a town that seems on the verge of tears
On the news on TV
Everyone is laughing and congratulating
The birthday of a new life
And like them, even I’m
Thinking of how it’ll be like if I were to be reborn
The things I’d do over
The things I’d repeat in the same way
It’s not easy so
I’m a bit troubled but
I tell myself I’ll do well tomorrow
The birthday of a new life
I’m thinking somewhere in my heart
Since I can’t stop I’ll continue carefully, as I wait for the morning that I imagine
When I open my eyes, there’s a new me
From this moment on I can depict anything I want
The shoes I’ve had experience putting on, I put them on and
If I take more steps than I usually do I can overcome it all
The ideal I’ve imagined is even harder than reality but
New stops always break through long years of unending worries
The habits I’ve gotten used to since I was little
I have no memories of them but when I notice my birthmarks
I know we’ve come this far living together
Even if we can’t say today if a wonderful day, and just appreciate the day for what it is
We’ll set an alarm for the tomorrow we can’t see, firmly bear our tears and dream.
Even if the moon and the stars are covered by the clouds, they’ll still like always, continue to shine on the town
Even if the future we were pointing to is different now, It’s alright
Whatever place it may be, we can still freely go there
I’ll believe in the me I was until now and wait for the future I imagine
When I open my eyes, there’s a new me
From this moment on I can depict anything I want
The shoes I’ve had experience putting on, I put them on and
If I take more steps than I usually do I can overcome it all
The ideal I’ve imagined is even harder than reality but
I always through new stops.

Alive!

Writing to me, is simply thinking through my fingers
Image from http://myliteraryquest.wordpress.com/

Writer’s note: Just been swallowed wonderfully in some new beginnings. And it’s also Nanowrimo, so most of you will know that I’ve disappeared into somewhat isolation to concentrate on a new novel. See you in December!

Just wanted to drop off a quick note that yes, I’m still alive. The blog hasn’t been updated in a while, I know, and it’s a combination of being busy at work and doing other writing projects. Just dropping by to tell everyone that yes, I’m alive, and yes, I’m still writing.

With that, back to work I go!

Quickie: Short+Sweet Malaysia 2014

This is going to be a quick review because I really wanted to post this two days ago but had no time to write.

Summary of this is that if you’re new to watching theatre in Malaysia, want something different and can take a joke, come and watch Short+Sweet Theatre Malaysia, happening this week till next.

I caught the First Week (next week there will be different shows) and I highly recommend catching this week’s one before they finish their run. Among the skits to look out for:

Cari
For a Malay play I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I do know is that the cat here is cute. The twist isn’t something you see coming from a mile away, which is a very nice touch compared to most Malaysian media. I enjoyed this far more than I thought I would. On another note, this sketch was in Malay, and so if it’s not your first language you may find it hard to follow.

Anda Rasa?
This was another Malay play that blew me away. The premise may be popular, but I loved how they tackled the question of sanity here. What impressed me most was the acting; I really got the sense that the prisoner knew he had been sentenced to death, but he was exhausted, somewhat, by the procedure involved. Easily one of my favourite plays.

Captain Everything
Never have I seen the power of a child’s imagination portrayed so effortlessly, so realistically, so wonderfully ever. It’s a whole hodgepodge of pop culture references and one that’s incredibly nuanced.

However, I think the ending would have been better if it had stuck to the “lost in imagination” premise instead of “knowingly making a fourth wall reference” that it went to in the end. The latter is overdone, I think, in Malaysian theatre, and I think the former would have made the message of the play much stronger. Swiych mentioned that this ending weakened the play, and I agree.

Allegra the God
Bias alert: I know the playwright for this, and I am familiar with the canon she’s creating. Part of my glee comes from watching a world come alive, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching this.

That said, if you have sharp ears, enjoy word play, and delight in sarcasm, then this one’s for you. It’s a pragmatic view of how Gods operate, has reference to bureaucracy and cage matches. Sadly, the delivery is a little marred, and I could barely hear one of the actresses during the play.

The rest of the acts are quite intriguing in their own right and fun to watch. Some, like Tough Love, employ good timing and great delivery. Others, like But If I Don’t, Know That I Love You and Sticky Situation are slice of life.

The only skit that I had a personal issue with was Partner, Pattna. While I understand it was to poke fun at the older generation, I felt it was stereotypical and quite standard. Don’t get me wrong; I thought the script, acting and execution was spot-on. It just didn’t make me feel anything more than “meh” after watching it. The other plays, even the ones I haven’t mentioned here, left me with something to think or feel after they ended. This one left me feeling empty inside, cause it didn’t feel there was any point to it.

With that said, go and catch Short and Sweet Theatre Week 1 before they end! You can find more info on the KLPac site.

Sex Education Part 1?

When it comes down to it, I think that sex education is directly tied to being comfortable with your body. I don’t mean necessarily that you feel comfortable to put it up on display or even to expose yourself. At its core, knowing how your body works is an incredible sense of empowerment.

You know the phrase, “Knowledge is power?”

Basically that’s it.

The knowledge that you know your body, that you know how it will react, what pushes it to its most efficient, how it helps you get the job done… All this is empowering when you realise just how much information you have.

~~~~~

So what does knowing your body have to do with sex education?

Well, it comes down to basic protection. The thing about sex education is that it is supposed to demystify the process of having sex and/or everything related to reproductive health. And reproductive health is more than simply sex.

What is sex education anyway?

In most definitions, sex education is more than sex. What is sex? It’s a mating activity that two (hopefully) adults partake it. Sometimes there may be more adults. Sometimes there may be only one. Sexual activity varies, but involves one human being (or more) touching themselves to achieve orgasm.

Where do they touch?

Usually the genitals, but there are other parts of the body, called the erogenous zones, which also serve to stimulate sexual desire. In females, such stimulation will lead to the lubrication of the vagina. In males, it will lead usually to the stiffening of the male penis. The desire, when accompanied by physical stimulation, is supposed to peak to the point it culminates in what is called an orgasm.

And now, here we get into a somewhat murky part of the syllabus.

Traditionally, it has been taught that orgasm is the ultimate aim of sex. What makes it murky is that a female’s orgasm is not as obvious as a male’s, and is often thought to be harder to achieve. For males, it is taught that ejaculation is proof of orgasm. Another word for this process is “climax.”

However, while it is true in many cases that orgasm accompanies the male ejaculation, it is not true in all cases. Google says that orgasm is characterised as a feeling of pleasure at sexual climax. In males, it is considered to be an accompaniment to ejaculation. However, in cases of rape and non-consent, it is possible for the body to be sexually stimulated and achieve climax without actually achieving orgasm.

Hands up if you followed me through all that. Good. You know now a little bit more about mechanics of sex than you did before. Would you be surprised to learn that the Malaysian education syllabus doesn’t include that bit of information?

And we haven’t even gotten into the topic of how sex can be pleasurable, how to protect yourself, and taking good care of your reproductive health. We teach our kids about how eating fibrous food is good for their digestion. We teach them that exercise is good for their health. We teach them the importance of keeping clean.

Yet when it comes to their genitals, we are strangely silent. The genitals is another part of the human body. It is used every day, as part of our natural bodily processes. It is as part of us as our arms are. Where is the shame in that? In learning how it works to keep our kids safe?

We tell our kids not to play with knives because they can cut themselves. We teach our kids how to play sports in accordance with the rules so they will keep their limbs intact. Yet we will not arm them with the information they need to make safe reproductive health choices. Are we not failing them as parents? As adults?