Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from a certain someone...

To every single person in the world that considers me a friend:

I'm sorry that I haven't been updating or been spending enough time with you guys. Recently I've been busy, as well as spending a lot of my time thinking.

This Christmas, lying on my bed, I realized that one of the most important things to me is to treat my friends right, and I realized, better than ever before that all you guys out there, wherever you may be, be you in America, the UK, Singapore, Australia - anywhere in the world right now - you guys mean the world to me.

I may not do it right all the time - I often come off as self centered and arrogant - but I've realised that I really mean well, even though sometimes I come across as a cold callous bastard. If that was the case, frankly speaking, I just didn't know what to do.

Alone in my thoughts I just knew in that moment that I wanted you all to know - even though I may not be immediately near to you, or available to meet up - that all of you mean a great deal to me and that I sincerely wish that you have a merry, merry Christmas, from the very bottom of my heart.

So sorry that I may not be able to be with you at the moment, but remember that I am just human, just like you. But I miss you so.

Merry Christmas, and happy new year, from the deepest crevices of this boy's heart.

Your faithful friend,
Kevin Chan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Medical Expenses.

I finally have something to write about, but even though I slept the whole day, I'm still in no condition to write as I still am in a drug induced stupor due to the horrible, horrible flu that plagues me now.

Yes, I kid you not.

And I have like $40+ worth of medicinal pills and capsules all scattered over my desk. My head's in such a mess and the state of the room really mirrors how I feel inside. Messed up, apathetic and tired.

Let's see how things are back home.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Memento Mori

I woke up at about 1:45 today. 1:45am - right smack in the middle of the night.

Earlier today I was helping out at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon as a volunteer part of my Impresario committee's effort to canvass some extra funds for our project.

The Drinks Station

I was posted at one of the drinks stations and this is how it all looks like after the runners were through with us. (:

We were there at City Hall right from 12:30am last night, all the way till about 12:30pm on December 7th, and as a result of that, my internal body clock is majorly messed up right now.

Waking up in the middle of the night is weirdly disorienting. I'm pretty used to sleeping and waking up in the day, but waking up when it's all dark, silent and cold around you is weirdly disquieting.

I was lying in bed, and I just felt this chilling emptiness inside me calling out to me, and I wondered - what is my great purpose in life?

Or does it make sense to have any at all?

It's just one of those moments that makes you just pause to ponder and reflect, and I realized that there are somethings that I really want to do before my lease on this mortal vessel I call my body is up.

Here's a few of the things I thought about:

1. Write a published Novel
I've been talking about this for some time right now and I'm kind of disappointed in myself for not putting in much effort at all into planning and writing my novel and so I did a Google search for "how to write a novel" earlier tonight and I did manage to get some good pointers on the step-by-step guide to the process of writing a novel.

One article that I found particularly useful was the "Snowflake Method" and I decided to do step 1 of the method which is to write an overarching one sentence summary of my novel.
Step 1) Take an hour and write a one-sentence summary of your novel. Something like this: "A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul." (This is the summary for my first novel, Transgression.) The sentence will serve you forever as a ten-second selling tool. This is the big picture, the analog of that big starting triangle in the snowflake picture.

When you later write your book proposal, this sentence should appear very early in the proposal. It's the hook that will sell your book to your editor, to your committee, to the sales force, to bookstore owners, and ultimately to readers. So make the best one you can!

Some hints on what makes a good sentence:

  • Shorter is better. Try for fewer than 15 words.
  • No character names, please! Better to say "a handicapped trapeze artist" than "Jane Doe".
  • Tie together the big picture and the personal picture. Which character has the most to lose in this story? Now tell me what he or she wants to win.
  • Read the one-line blurbs on the New York Times Bestseller list to learn how to do this. Writing a one-sentence description is an art form.
(Read the rest of the "Snowflake Method" here.)

Yeah, so I decided that the one sentence summary for my novel would be - A coming of age story of a boy struggling with meaning, purpose and love in his life.

One of my favourite books is Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Reading it somehow changed my life in ways that I would do no justice to describe in words. Who better to write a coming of age novel than one who is currently going through all that the dear protagonist would be going through in the novel? The only issue is that I'm still unsure of how this story will end, but we'll wait and see, won't we?

2. Run a full marathon
Watching the runners push themselves through the marathon today was inspiring. At the drinks stand, we saw people from all walks of life - from the fittest athletes of African origin to the grotesquely obese; from the very young, being pushed around in prams to old, wizened grandparents all pushing themselves to complete the marathon.

And I realized - I don't want to go through life without conquering a challenge like this one.

It's not going to be easy, but the more challenges you overcome in life, the stronger and more confident you become of overcoming the rest. I want to do this simply because it is not easy, and I really need to grow stronger, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually to overcome the challenges ahead. I just have to.

I don't know why, but I feel like I'm floating right now, but not one bit sleepy. Guess this is the time to take a break. Hope you guys out there are great.

Memento mori, least we waste another day.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

That Mirror Image

It's amazing - when it's the exams and there's so little to say, I still end up blogging like no tomorrow; but when the exams are out and I have so much to say, I find myself holding so much back.

You can never be completely honest when you write about your own life. You can try, but as hard as we try, we never really depict ourselves for who we really are. Consciously or unconsciously, we are always leaving out little bits and pieces so that the pieces, when put together, depict an idealized version of who we are, maybe better, maybe worse, but never who we really are.

A caitiff's threats mean nothing to a true man. For real.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The learning never ends! Opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew!

School's out, but the learning never ends!

I learned FOUR new ways in which you can open a wine bottle without a corkscrew! Seriously, who has a corkscrew these days anyway? Read it and I felt that it would be real useful to share with you all out there!

Method 1 - The Hit-On-A-Tree Method

While you don't really need a tree, all you do with this method is to continuously hit the bottom end of the wine bottle on a even vertical surface, preferably padded with some sort of soft cushioning to reduce the probability of the bottle cracking.

Knocking the bottle against a vertical surface somehow increases the pressure inside the bottle, slowly nudging the cork out! Don't believe it? Just watch the video below!

I tried it in my room, and after hitting the bottle on the wall a hundred and one times, the cork didn't budge and inch. Damn. The only thing that happened was that my Indon neighbour who somehow goes to sleep at 12am came knocking on my door with a mega-tulan face. Oops.

Method 2 - The Pull-Cork-Out-With-Household-Implement Method

Now this is basically using some sort of household tool to pull out the cork.

First firmly embed some object firmly into the cork and then proceed to pull it out cleanly with a some tool, preferably something that would give you some leverage, like a hammer, or a pair of pliers.

This one is pretty straightforward, but you better make sure that the paperclips or screw that you embed in the cork do not end up breaking the cork, because that will cause your wine to be filled with woody sediment, which is not a good thing. So when doing this, please be real careful.

Method 3 - The Sword Method
While this looks the coolest when done with a sword or sabre, it can be done with the back of a spoon too.

This can be pretty messy and dangerous if done wrongly, so here's the link to the how-to page!

How to Open a Champagne Bottle with a Sword

It's really pretty cool and I so want to try it someday! When there's champagne and a nice sword, Kevin will be there to sabre the top off!

Method 4 - The Push Method
When you've really exhausted all other options and still can't get the cork to budge, just push the cork in all the way. By compressing the air and the wine, the increased pressure can cause the wine to spurt out, so be careful when you do this!

Use a long tool, like a chopstick to just push the cork all the way in and the wine should just come pouring out already!

So that's it! Four useful ways in which you can try opening a bottle of wine when you find that you really don't have a corkscrew. And it is time to make myself sleep and wake up at the obscene hour of 645am, so I can make it for a meeting at Chua Chu Kang at 8am. That's life.