Thursday, 9 December 2010

Inspiration

When do you get inspired? How do you get inspired?

For the purposes of this argument, I'm specifically thinking about inspiration on things to write about. I find that inspiration hits me at the most unexpected times.

If I were to force myself to look at a computer monitor and say to myself "write something smart", more often than not, nothing comes. And that's the thing. Inspiration cannot be forced. Inspiration for me just . . . happens.

I got the inspiration for one of the last articles I wrote while waiting in the queue at the bottom of a chairlift at Perisher. It wasn't even because I was trying to come up with something to write about. I was just bemoaning to the boyfriend about how terrible I am at snowboarding.

The best opportunities to be inspired I believe are when you're out and about and experiencing and observing life. It's when you read something and are able to bounce off on its ideas.

And since I haven't really been out and about and/or reading things, I don't have much inspiration to write much in this blog at the moment.

Hopefully "they" let me get out soon :)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Positive thinking

Just got back from an evening out at work's annual bowling "championship" and learned something rather interesting.

No, I didn't learn that my bowling sucks. I already knew that. Most of the time, the ball ends up in the gutter instead of striking anything. I am so bad that one year, I actually won the encouragement award just to make me feel better.

What I learned was not so much positive thinking, than positive focusing.

Before I started the evening bowling, my boss had mentioned to me a study he read about where two groups of people were separated. They were taken to the bowling alley. One group was told to focus on what they were doing right and continue doing that, while the other group was told to focus on what they were doing wrong and work on correcting it.

By the end of the day, they compared the scores of the both groups. The group that was focused on what they were doing right had far higher scores than the ones that were focused on correcting what they were doing wrong.

And so I started the evening trying to do just that.

The first three tries, I failed miserably as the ball went into the drain. There was nothing right to focus on. I wasn't doing anything right at all. But then I actually hit something at the fourth try! And so I simply focused on how I actually did that and I swear, it worked.

For the rest of the evening, I was actually hitting things, even scoring a strike once! I was hitting nines and spares, although there was of course the times when I either missed, or only got three or something. But by my standard, it was a miracle. I actually went from not hitting anything at all over the previous years to actually hitting things.

My final scores for the evening? 74 and 76.

Not particularly impressive I know, but I reckon if I hadn't focused on what I was doing right, it would have been in the low 20s.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Recurring contact lens dreams

There's this dream that I have been having fairly regularly for the last few years. It involves me trying to put on my contact lens, but somehow the lens itself is as big as my face. And since most dreams defy logic, in it, despite it being so crazy big, I'm still trying to shove the lens into my eye.

It's a weird dream, but it's a dream I have very regularly. It's not a nightmare per se, but one of immense frustration and fear as to whether my eye will be fine after shoving something as big as my face into it.

I have no idea what it means or signify. I'm not one to believe in the mystic meanings behind dreams, but I do believe that what we dream somehow reflect something in our lives.

Most dreams I have are nonsensical, ones to be laughed at, ones to make you feel warm and fuzzy, ones to frown at...the memorable ones you talk about, but eventually, you simply forget about it. This recurring dream however, sticks (pardon the pun).

For those who believe that dreams somehow reflect our state of mind, I have to say that whenever I have these crazy contact lens dreams, my state of mind is always different. There are times when I'm stressed, times when I'm happy, times when I'm just, well, me. And yet, I dream the same dream, that of trying to put a ginormous contact lens into my eye.

Strange, but true.

Friday, 19 November 2010

You're Chinese, so...

It truly fascinates me how people assume things simply based on one person's race. Being from Singapore with Chinese heritage and living in Australia, I have been asked/told several things, including:

"So you go to the Chinese church?" followed immediately by "Why not? But you're Chinese," when I say no.

"You should minister/evangelise to the Chinese community."

"You must like this. All Chinese do."

    I recognise that people of the same heritage tend to congregate together. It's why we get places like Chinatown and Leichhardt, and have churches catering specifically to say, the Fijian or Samoan communities.

    But do you have to tell me what I ought or ought not do, ought or ought not like, ought or ought not be, simply because of the colour of my skin?

    Do all Australians hang out at the beach and love camping?

    Judge me by my character and personality, not by how I look.

    Thursday, 18 November 2010

    Pamper yourself, you deserve it

    It's a phrase that I am hearing more and more of in recent times: "take time out for yourself", "spoil yourself" or something along those lines. While it is not a bad thought in itself, I sometimes wonder if we may have swung too far to the other extreme.

    The whole history behind why that phrase came about is because (or so we've been told) people, especially women, spend far too much time looking after their family, putting others first, serving people, that they forget that they themselves need some pampering time too.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a bit of me-time and absolutely love my baths, my mani-pedi sessions (until I caught a nasty fungus from a less than sanitary manicurist), massages and the odd day spa sessions. So believe you me, I'm a huge believer of pampering myself.

    But I wonder if that emphasis on looking after oneself may have caused some of us to become more self-absorbed than necessary. When we start looking to ourselves and putting ourselves first, we will eventually forget to think of others.

    Has this trend of "spoiling ourselves" caused us to become more selfish and less considerate of others than before?

    Wednesday, 17 November 2010

    How Jeff Kennett Beats the Blues



    Published in Signs of the Times, November 2010.

    pdf available.

    And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

    Monday, 15 November 2010

    Pretty hair clips

    Oh, so pretty!
     My initial plan to spend most of Sunday outdoors was foiled thanks to the searing heat that made me hastily seek shelter.

    So after a short shopping trip to the craft market, I found myself at home with enough time to finally try out the hot glue gun that I had bought a while ago when it was on an unbelievable sale.

    Gathering all the raw materials
    It took a while for me to figure out the hot glue gun as it was refusing to dispense any glue, but after about 15 minutes and a big dollop of melted glue on a piece of newspaper, I finally figured out how it worked. And then there was no stopping me. I was sticking everything to anything. Well, not really, but it was such great fun!

    So now, besides a couple of hair clips as gifts, and one for myself, I have a couple left over for the shop.


    Buttons hair clip
    Sunshine hair clip


    They're $8 each including free postage to anywhere in Australia. Interested? You can own these hair clips.

    Monday, 18 October 2010

    Ceral box storage bin

    So I attempted to make my own storage bin after seeing this post, considering I had obtained some free fabric scraps from my all-time favourite Freecycle and always had cereal boxes lying around the house.

    I also had some knitted flowers that I had made up from some yarn scraps that were perfect as embellishments.


    Ok, so the box is a little wobbly and not as professionally finished as the one by Urban Nest, but hey, it still works pretty good as a storage bin for my in-progress knitting projects!

    And since it's made completely out of recycled materials, the cost is free - except for the sewing machine needle that I had to replace coz I broke it while sewing up the fabric to the cardboard . . . oops.

    Sunday, 17 October 2010

    Photo scrapboard

    After my trip to America this April, I had a bunch of photos and souvenir things that I had collected that I was thinking of putting into a scrapbook. However, despite loving crafts, scrapbooking isn't really my cup of tea and I didn't really like the idea of simply putting memories in a book and then forgetting about it.

    Then I got a bunch of free pinboards from Freecycle and some pretty wrapping paper on sale at Borders and a dream was born.


    Considering the board was none too pretty, I spruced it up like I did before.


    It took a bit of coaxing to get the paper smoothly onto the board but I was eventually successful.

    I got a good deal for a collage print from Snapfish which meant my American photo highlights were nicely printed on a piece of paper, which also became the centrepiece of the "scrapboard". Then it was simply a matter of collecting up all my paraphernalia and deciding where to place them!


    And now the "scrapboard" sits proudly on my wall right above my desk in my bedroom.

    Thursday, 14 October 2010

    Understanding Breast Cancer


    Published in Signs of the Times, October 2010.

    pdf available.

    And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here

    Wednesday, 22 September 2010

    Birthday bag


    Another quick knit, but for an adult this time.

    It's called a make-up bag, but I reckon it could pretty much be used as a bag for whatever you want to put in it. Made it for a friend's birthday, it used up a rather small quantity of yarn and can be completed in probably half a day (I only spent an hour or less a day on it though, so it took longer).

    Personally, I'm not too keen on knitted bags, but the friend likes it and so that's all that matters! And any opportunity to use a fabulously blingy-button!

    Pattern here.

    Once again, if you've read this far, care to give me a scoop please? You don't have to sign up to anything or give away your email address. More info here.

    Tuesday, 21 September 2010

    Majority wins

    I was also given the opportunity to reflect one form of democracy in the same business meeting that I mentioned yesterday.

    Motions were passed based on the number of people who voted for it. So if the majority of people voted for something, a decision will be made along the lines of what they voted for.

    But is the majority always right? Just because a huge number of people support something doesn't mean it's a good idea right?

    I mean, Hitler had a huge number of supporters. . .

    And if you've read this far, care to give me a scoop please? You don't have to sign up to anything or give away your email address. More info here.

    Monday, 20 September 2010

    What leaders are made of

    After a weekend meeting with a group of some 300 people in what could be summarised as an organisation's business meeting, I have come to the conclusion that I can never be a leader because of a flaw I possess - the inability to see the good in everyone.

    There were much discussion that resulted from a variety of reports that were presented by the leaders during the meeting. People were questioning decisions made and being critical of a variety of things. On top of that, there were those who were also trying to provide suggestions as to how to run the organisation better. And it was because of these interactions that I have decided that I will never be a leader.

    Instead of being defensive about the criticism, these leaders took it with grace and humility.

    Instead of retorting what sounded like a stupid remark with sarcasm, these leaders responded with dignity and understanding.

    Instead of laughing in the face of what seemed like crazy suggestions, these leaders saw the passion and reasoning behind them.

    For the best part of the time, the response of these leaders actually managed to placate everyone, even if they were sitting on opposite sides. The leaders appeared calm and collected, never getting frustrated, annoyed or dismissive.

    And that's why, I can never be a leader.

    And if you've read this far, care to give me a scoop please? You don't have to sign up to anything or give away your email address. More info here. Thanks!

    Thursday, 16 September 2010

    Please help me win

    Update: I forgot to mention that giving of scoops can be done once every day until the competition ends (October 14), so if you feel generous, giving of scoops every day will be immensely appreciated.

    Seems like my all-time favourite ice-cream company Ben & Jerry’s have just started a competition that I really want to win (grand prize = trip to Vermont, Ben & Jerry's HQ!!).

    The only catch is that the competition requires friends of the contestant to give them “scoops” and I don't have any friends! Ok, I do, but I'm still low on scoops.

    So I need help. If you are reading this, you are morally obliged (ok, you're not, but it would be nice if you did) to click this link - http://www.voyagetovermont.com.au/profile/2458abff - and when it brings you to a web page, click on the “give me a scoop” button.

    The more scoops I get, the closer I get to being ranked #1, which means the closer I get to winning! You don’t have to sign up to anything, give out your email address or anything. You just have to click that one button.


    Please?

    Wednesday, 15 September 2010

    Stripey baby set

    I promise, this will be the last baby set in the seemingly unending baby sets that I've been making.

    Well, until the next order comes along I suppose.



    Tuesday, 14 September 2010

    Clay face mask

    The bottom left package in orange and green was sitting on my desk when I arrived at work this morning, surprisingly bigger, heavier and chunkier than I thought.

    Well, actually, I lie. The package was in a brown paper envelope. It wasn't only after I ripped open the envelope that I saw the package. But I digress.

    In the package lay my "reef red clay mask" bought from New Earth Soaps. No special significance as to why I bought from them, besides the fact that I was looking for a face mask, wanted something "handmade" and sold near where I lived. A browse on (I heart) etsy resulted in discovering them.


    So apparently, the mask "will give your skin the wonderful glow of health and well being. It’s high iron content and essential minerals help to replenish and regenerate the epidermis of the skin to create soft and healthy glowing skin."

    In all honesty, I don't actually know if things like face masks work or do anything to increase the health and well-being of one's skin. But what I do know is that it just makes one feel oh-so-pampered, especially when soaking in the bath, while reading a good book!


    Friday, 10 September 2010

    Orange marble baby set

    After the yellow baby set, we now move on to the orange marble baby set. The hat pattern is the same, although the booties pattern is slightly modified and done in the round instead (minimal seaming!) and so is done in stocking stitch instead of garter stitch.



    And I actually found buttons that matched the yarn perfectly! What are the chances?

    Booties pattern here (Ravelry download).

    Monday, 6 September 2010

    Armageddon

    What is probably the funniest phone call I have ever received:

    Caller: Hi, I'm calling about an article that you guys published. I would like several copies of it.

    Me: Sure, what is it?

    Caller: The title is Armageddon (sounds like something we would publish) and it is written by Bruce Willis.

    Me: (are you for real?) Er, you sure it was written by Bruce Willis? Not perhaps Bruce Manners?

    Caller: Nope, I'm sure it's Bruce Willis. W-i-l-l-i-s.

    Me: Maybe if you can tell me what's on the cover, I can locate the article?

    Caller: Yes, it's got a picture of two men and a lady.

    Me: (this does not sound like our magazine. We only usually feature one person on the cover) Do you know who they are?

    Caller: No, that's what I'm calling to find out. I want 1000 copies to give away.

    Me: You sure it's Signs of the Times magazine?

    Caller: No.

    Me: What does it say on the front of the magazine?

    Caller: Armageddon. It's got two men and a lady on it.

    You mean this "magazine"?????????

    Sunday, 5 September 2010

    Yellow baby set



    I first made this set in pink (booties and hat) and was recently asked by a friend to repeat it as a gift to her friend's baby.

    Given the colouring of the baby, I thought a pale yellow would be a better match and have had to make it slightly bigger as well as the child is older.

    A really enjoyable knit the second time round, and I think I'm also mastering the art of seaming.

    I must try to use the leaf in the hat in something else some time.

    Thursday, 2 September 2010

    Lattice scarf



    I love mixed media creations where you make something with unexpected materials, so when I came across the lattice stitch knitting pattern, I immediately knew I just had to use it to insert some ribbons.

    I bought the yarn ages ago when I first learned how to knit and could not really think of something to knit it with. However, I thought it was perfect for this use. The yarn is a thick and thin and the texture really lent itself to the scarf. I especially love just how soft, warm and light it is. And of course, being in black means it practically matches everything!

    You can own this scarf!

    Tuesday, 31 August 2010

    Fear

    I am convinced that the older you get, the more you start fearing things. This is not about phobias like spiders, the dark or ghosts, but things like falling over and hurting yourself.

    As a child, I don't ever recall fear stopping me from running at top speed, hurtling towards a goal, trying a new sport or climbing up a high vantage point (I grew up in Singapore, we don't have that many trees to climb).

    My knees were constantly scabby from falling over. I would cry from the pain, scratch the wound, pick at the scab, and then forget to learn my lesson and start running all over the place again.

    Fast forward a few years and suddenly fear sets in. I bungee-jumped when I was 18, but I can assure you there was not so much courage there as a fear and general wonderment as to why I had even wanted to do something like launch myself out of a crane several hundred kilometres up in the air only secured by a giant rubber band.

    I have never had a fear of heights but today, I hesitate to walk to the edge of a cliff with a sheer drop and being on a tall building sometimes makes me feel like visiting the toilet in a hurry. And when it came to my skydiving experience, that first step off the plane was probably one of the scariest thing I had ever done.

    And over the last few years as I'm trying to master the art of snowboarding, the simple fear of falling over and hurting myself has prevented me from snowboarding properly.

    How is it that fear sets in when we get older? Do we get "wiser"? Do our bones get more fragile? Do we become wusses?

    Is it why Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15), because as we get older, we actually "fear" the kingdom of God and what it actually means?

    Friday, 27 August 2010

    Of interviews and transcribing

    Since starting work with Signs of the Times, I've had a lot more opportunities to do more in-depth/longer interviews, most of which are also done via the phone.

    With people speaking faster than I can write/type, the easiest solution is to simply record the interview. You place it in front of the speaker, hit record and then you can relax, listen to what the person have to say and think about what question you'll ask next. No more furious scribbling and fear of missing anything.

    The only problem with that is the need to transcribe your interviews afterwards. An hour-long interview takes at least two hours to transcribe because of all the pauses you have to do to make sure you've typed everything in. And really, by the end of the interview, all you want to do is write the article, not transcribe it.

    But I think the worst thing about transcribing an interview is when you've done a really bad one. Then you have to relive the experience all over again...

    Thank goodness I don't have too many of those!

    Well, back to transcribing now.

    Monday, 9 August 2010

    Winning the lottery

    How many times have you wished you'd win the lottery, retire from work, move into a big house and live in luxury forever?

    British man Neil Chester did but is actually (sort of) regretting it. With his winnings, he bought a £1.8 million mansion on an 7.3 hectare estate in Hampshire, installing luxuries such as an indoor pool, sauna and cinema. But it's not all roses and sunshine.

    His wife says, "In a small house you are always all together. Now I have to make a point of finding them – we don't even watch TV together as we are all in different rooms."

    And of course, "You don't realise how expensive running it can be, and there are rooms we never use."

    It really makes the cliche "money can't buy happiness" ring true.

    Too often, we dream of earning or having huge amounts of money so that we don't need to worry about life and have a great lifestyle. But a lifestyle is created from our habits, from who we are. Money cannot change that. Yes, it may make life a little easier, but I believe eventually, we'd still have the same kind of troubles if we don't change our attitudes and habits.

    As for a huge house with all sorts of luxuries. Just think of the little luxuries that you've bought yourself. How often have you used that blender? How often do you soak in a bath-tub? How often have you actually sat down to watch a movie?

    We're always gathering stuff in the hopes of attaining some form of satisfaction and happiness, but when we actually have the means of doing so, we realise, life hasn't actually gotten any better.

    As for a huge house? It looks nice and impressive and all, but I think all the cleaning it requires will drive me insane. I can't even keep my two-bedroom apartment clean!

    Friday, 6 August 2010

    My first book!

    Ok, it's not quite my first book in the traditional sense of the word since it's a collection of short stories, but hey, it's the first time I've been published in a book!

    And this was published a few months ago. Yes, it took me that long to get it scanned and to put it up online.

    You can read the story here.

    And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

    Thursday, 5 August 2010

    Excellence in Mediocrity


    Published in Signs of the Times, August 2010 (under a pseudonym).

    Article first written here.

    And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

    Wednesday, 4 August 2010

    Bindi Irwin: A Grown Up Little Girl


    Published in Signs of the Times, August 2010.

    pdf available.

    And if you're interested, my (almost) complete writing portfolio can be found here.

    Monday, 2 August 2010

    Flip-top mittens


    Being a cold frog, I'm always extremely susceptible to the cold, particularly when it comes to my hands and feet.

    I'd been using fingerless gloves for a while now because I love the ease of which I can still use my fingers for stuff. My hands feel a little claustrophobic when I'm wearing gloves and needing to do stuff.

    And yet, it's not perfect. My poor little fingers still get cold. Sometimes to the point where I curl my fingers in underneath where the fingerless gloves end.

    Well, gone are those days thanks to this wonderfully versatile flip-top mittens! Wear them as mittens to warm your hands when you're just walking and not needing your hands for anything. And when you need to pick something up, or actually use your fingers, pop your fingers from underneath the "hood", button the flap down and viola! Fingerless gloves!

    The only downside I suppose is the fact that the thumb is not as versatile and always completely covered, but hey, unless I can be bothered to do a flip-top thing for the thumb too, I think I can live with one thumb covered.

    I used the dorset buttons that I made previously and the match perfectly and beautifully!

    Pattern here.

    Sunday, 1 August 2010

    The blog that was


    I've just recently changed the look of Aussie Adventures and therefore feel the need to document and archive its old design.

    Thanks yellow background and pink gerbera, I did enjoy looking at you.

    Friday, 30 July 2010

    Time

    I've been thinking a lot about time lately. It might have something to do with the fact that I'd been sick for a whole week without energy to do much. It might have to do with the fact that I've recently turned the big three-o (yes, I can hear you gasping in shock).

    Have you ever been asked, "Where do you find the time to [insert appropriate activity here]?" Or perhaps you've even asked someone that question before.

    In my opinion, it's mostly an unnecessary question because we all find the time to do whatever we want to do the most. It's all a matter of priority (conscious or otherwise) and preference.

    Where do we find the time to watch TV? Where do we find the time to read? Where do we find the time to sleep? Where do we find the time to eat? Where do we find the time to go shopping?

    It's true, some activities are more necessary than others but think about all the time that you spend doing the things you enjoy doing. Where do you find the time to do it? You just find time, don't you?

    Say you enjoy watching TV. You've probably given up some time reading a book to do so.

    Say you enjoy going out for walks. You've probably given up some time cleaning the house to do so.

    Or take my example - I love knitting. All I've simply done is use the time where I would be sitting in a car on a long road trip doing nothing to knit. Either that or I knit furiously when I'm watching TV.

    These are things that you don't actually think about. You just give up something to do something else.

    But we live in a society where we're made to feel guilty that we have time to do anything. If we have time for some R&R, it's most likely because we're "lazy".

    Are we really?

    Do I really have to feel guilty simply because I've managed to prioritise my life and do what I enjoy doing the most? Do I have to feel bad because occasionally, I am able to do two things at once?

    The next time you feel tempted to ask someone where they find the time to do something, take a moment to think: that particular person does not have your life. Which means they have very different priorities to you. Which also means they have very different interests to you. Which therefore means, while they may have found the time to do something you would actually love to do, they have essentially given up the time to do something you have actually done.

    Wednesday, 21 July 2010

    Bobble scarf



    I love how this scarf twists and wind around itself, making it look like as if it's braided. It's a simple cable pattern that makes the two colours stay together but twisted. It took a while to figure it out, but once I got the hang of it, it was a really quick knit.

    The only problem I have with this is that the twists don't actually stay where they're meant to sometimes and so the wrong side of the scarf shows.

    Monday, 19 July 2010

    Lil' headband


    Just a simple little headband knitted up while I was up north in Townsville with nothing to do and a limited amount of yarn. It actually fitted surprisingly well!

    Friday, 9 July 2010

    Pink American shrug


    I can't believe how easy the pattern is to make this shrug! It literally is simply knitting a rectangular piece in 2x2 rib for long and wide enough, sew it in the right spots and viola! A knitted item of clothing! How incredibly clever is that!

    And now that I've discovered how easy it is to do that, I might have to add a sleeved version.

    Knitted in 100% wool, this shrug is very warm despite weighing virtually nothing at all. In this cold weather, I like wearing it under my jacket. And when I do that, I hardly have to wear many layers because it keeps my neck and shoulders really warm. The only problem are my bare arms.

    Most of the shrug was knitted up while I was in America and we were road-tripping up and down the West Coast.

    My friend Jeanelle took the photos and I think she did a magnificent job, considering the subject matter!

    Tuesday, 6 July 2010

    Sunday, 4 July 2010

    Braided scarf

    Made my very first pom pom a few weeks ago. It turned out to be so easy and a really excellent way of using up scraps of yarn.


    I'm going around making pom poms as and when I feel like it now. I've made four more since, and two have been attached to an elastic to be used as a hair tie. The other two...I'll decide later.

    But these particular pom-poms were attached to the end of a scarf done in a cabled pattern that made it look like it was braided. Real easy pattern and you can pretty much knit it up on auto-pilot when you've memorised it (which is not hard at all)!



    Pattern here.

    Thursday, 24 June 2010

    First female PM in Oz?


     So, it seems that Australia now has its first female prime minister.

    It's been a pretty exciting last couple of years - both Queensland and New South Wales now have female premiers as well.

    The interesting thing though is the fact that (if I remember correctly), not one of the female leaders were actually elected per se, they were simply appointed after the man in the job quit/stepped down. This theory is now moot since I've been told that Anna Bligh was actually elected :) (And yes, I realise that when Australia votes, it's for the party, not the person. But the leader of the party when it got elected was a man, not a woman.) I'm not quite sure what that means, other than, hmm...it's interesting.

    Would be curious to see what difference a female PM would have on the country!

    Monday, 7 June 2010

    The ridiculous price we pay for entertainment

    The Big Bang Theory: The Complete First SeasonJust read in the news today that the stars of Big Bang Theory are asking for a 285% increase in their paychecks. So if they get their way, they'd be getting about well, $250,000 per episode.

    $250,000!?!?

    That's about how much I'd possibly earn in several years, and that's not even including the fact that I still have to pay rent, food, petrol, tax and all!

    Don't get me wrong, Big Bang Theory is one of my favourite sitcoms. I love the show and I would like to see the actors getting paid for their services. But $250,000 per 30 minute episode? Surely that's a bit much.

    Yes, I can see that they probably don't just work 30 minutes to produce an episode, but surely they don't put in, oh, say five years worth of work for it!

    And even if they didn't get the pay increase, their current rate of $65,000 per episode has got to be pretty darn good too.


    That's per episode folks, not a year. I think they make about 13 episodes per season/year? You do the math.

    It's a really strange statement it makes about the state of our world today, that we put so much value in entertainment that those in the industry are one of the most highest paid professionals in the world.

    Even a doctor, who saves lives, don't get paid that much in a year. And they're actually making a difference in the world.

    I have nothing against actors. In fact, I admire their talent and will not hesitate to admit that I'm an ardent consumer of the entertainment industry. But I simply cannot understand or fathom why we would place so much value on what is ultimately meaningless drivel and yet turn a blind eye to the people who contribute so much more to our survival - farmers, medical professionals, teachers and the like.

    If I didn't know better, I'd say that our society has become so consumer-driven that we'd pay people big bucks simply so that we can earn even bigger bucks. Oh wait, that's exactly what the TV stations are doing with their TV stars, in the hopes of earning a fortune from companies who will place ads in the shows, in the hopes of earning a fortune from us.

    Thursday, 3 June 2010

    Church personalities?

    Seems that some British academics have discovered that church actually attracts a certain demographic of psychological types.

    According to the National Church Life Survey (NCLS), "They wondered whether the strong presence of certain psychological characteristics among churchgoers could mean that those with differing psychological types may sometimes feel alienated."

    Using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, they discovered that there is an extremely high percentage of church attenders whose psychological types are:

    S - sensing
    F - feeling
    J - judging

    (there is an almost equal number of E and I types).

    In NCLS' media release:

    They said the over-representation of preference for “sensing” characterised a community concerned with continuity, with traditions, with stability, and with a God grounded in divine changelessness. “Here is a community concerned with guarding what has been handed down by previous generations.

    “A community shaped by such a pronounced preference for sensing may, however, be quite alien to individuals who view the world through the lens of intuition.”

    The researchers said the over-representation of preference for judging characterised a community concerned with organisation, with discipline, with structure and with a God who welcomes a regular pattern of worship (whatever that pattern might be).

    “Here is a community concerned with valuing regular commitment, advanced planning and respect for guidelines (implicit as well as explicit). Such a community may tend to reject spontaneity and flexibility. A community shaped by such a pronounced preference for judging may, however, be quite alien to individuals who view the world through the lens of perceiving.”

    The over-representation of preference for feeling characterised a community concerned with human values, with interpersonal relationships and with a loving and caring God. “Here is a community concerned with peace and with harmony. Such a community may tend to project a feminine profile, given the significantly higher levels of preference for feeling reported among women than among men in many national population studies.

    “A community shaped by a preference for feeling may, however, be quite alien to individuals who view the world through the lens of thinking.”

    ***

    I'd always thought that the church attracts a certain personality type, but to have it confirmed by academics is rather interesting to me, perhaps more so because my psychological type doesn't actually match that of the majority.

    Perhaps that explains why I get frustrated sometimes and why I cannot understand why people cannot see things the way I do?

    And perhaps the reason why churches cannot seem to reach out to everybody in the community is because we lack the understanding on how to reach out to certain personality types that are foreign to our own?

    What about Jesus? Does He appeal only to certain personality types, or is it simply a church/organised religion thing?

    Tuesday, 1 June 2010

    Enough

    While editing an article for work a few days back, I came across this verse from the Bible:

    "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21).

    I've been thinking a lot about shopping, owning...well, material possessions, lately, thanks largely to this book by John Naish:

    It's an interesting book. I don't completely agree with what Naish has to say, largely because he believes our drive to consume more, work more, want more options, become more technologically dependent, etc., stems from our Neanderthal roots.

    But despite the strong evolutionary emphasis, both the book and the verse got me wondering, "Just how attached am I to my material possessions?"

    I'd like to believe that I'm not that attached, that I really can live without whatever material goods I've got in my life. After all, going on holidays have proven to me that I really can survive with only a few items of clothing and without whatever I've got at home.

    But if that's true, then why do I sometimes feel an innate need to go shopping and buy more? If I am not attached to the stuff that I've got, why do I want to get more of the same (or not so same) stuff?

    Because ultimately, it's all just...stuff, isn't it? Why do we fill our lives with so much stuff? So much so that we transform our garages into stuff-holding rooms and perhaps even hire storage areas just to hold more of our stuff. Stuff that we may not even know we've got, or even need to have.

    Sure, some of it makes a lives better or entertains us, but do we need to have that much stuff that we don't even have time to use all the stuff?

    And if we don't actually purchase all that stuff, will we feel willing and able to give the money used to obtain those stuff to the poor?

    Perhaps it's time to rethink all the stuff in our lives or even our need to introduce more stuff into our lives because after all, just as we've entered naked into this world, we will depart naked, without our stuff.

    How attached are you to your stuff?

    Friday, 14 May 2010

    New articles published

    I've just returned from a two week holiday, which explains the lack of updates on this page. Am slowing catching up on the mountain of paperwork on my desk and the crazy amount of emails in my inbox, so it shouldn't be long before I start writing again.

    In the meantime, if you're interested, you can catch up on some of my writings over the last couple of months, including:

    An interview with Stan Walker

    An article on Cate Blanchett

    and most recently, a how-to piece on avoiding debt.

    Saturday, 10 April 2010

    Sleeves #2

    My aunt liked my sleeves so much she decided she wanted a pair as well. So after about 10 days of knitting (most of which was done in the car while commuting to work), they're ready to be mailed off.


    Thursday, 8 April 2010

    OMG they had sex!

    It's an ironical age that we live in.

    We like to think ourselves advanced and modern. We like to believe that the sexual revolution helped us in becoming less prudish and more liberated.

    We tell ourselves that it's alright for people to have sexual relations outside of marriage. In fact, it's virtually society's norm.

    Sex is no longer meant to be something whispered, but something as normal as say, having dinner.

    Then why is it that every trashy/gossip magazine that you pick up inevitably revolves around who had sex with whom, when, where and how?

    If it's that normal, why are we still gasping when we realise that hey, celebrities have sex too!

    And why this endless intense interest in whether Tiger Woods had 101 sexual partners and who Paris Hilton is sleeping with currently?

    Ok, so maybe what Tiger did was wrong. There is no way to justify cheating on someone that you've promised to be true to. But I have a sneaky suspicion that the interest is not because of his cheating heart, but because he actually had, OMG, sex! Several times! With several different people!

    Why are we so obsessed with something when we keep telling ourselves and everybody else that it's nothing much to talk about any more?

    Monday, 29 March 2010

    Natural weight

    Had a real lovely time at the beach with D yesterday. While there, we hung out at a cafe having a late brunch and reading the Sunday papers and I came across a rather interesting article exploring whether we all have a "natural" weight.

    You know how some people just seem to stay skinny no matter how much they eat? And then those who can't seem to diet successfully?

    In a recent documentary for BBC2’s Horizon, 10 “naturally slim” volunteers ate almost double their usual kilojoules (14,651 for women, 20,930 for men) for four weeks.

    Eight gained weight but two were physically unable to eat that amount of kilojoules, and one of them even lost weight over the month.

    Most interestingly, they all reverted to their previous weight within weeks of the trial ending, without dieting.

    Dr Susan Roberts, author of The Instinct Diet (Workman), has found similar results.

    “I have conducted food trials where we have enlisted ‘naturally skinny’ volunteers to increase their kilojoule intake and they really struggled to overeat at every meal.

    Left to their own devices, their instincts were to skip a meal or go light on supper to balance out their intake.”

    So your annoyingly “naturally skinny” friend will in fact be unconsciously eating less and regulating her meals.

    I'm not sure just how accurate or how true the results are, considering we've all been struggling to find out the secret behind being slim and successful dieting for as long as I can remember, but I have to admit that there is some truth behind this study.

    It's interesting that it's no longer about metabolism, but simply about our natural tendency towards something.

    Ironical also because I had such a big meal at brunch, I ended up only eating one meal yesterday.

    Friday, 26 March 2010

    Angua boots

    I wrote about the bag that I was going to put these in a while ago, but never actually wrote about the actual project since I wanted the owner to see it first. Now that she has, I can talk about these socks/boots things.


    I love them!

    I knitted them with two strands of 8-ply yarn, so it's really chunky and gives it a rugged kind of look. They were originally meant for a stage production so that they looked like boots without the chunkiness or clunkiness of boots and I think they would have served quite well.

    But I think they serve very well as house socks on a cold winter's night too.

    Wonder when I'll make a pair for myself...

    Thursday, 25 March 2010

    Munty

    So I was leafing through this magazine in the library and found this gorgeous pattern for a stuffed bunny. In the photoshoot for the magazine, the bunny looked really cute and since Easter is approaching, I thought he might be a great sewing project.

    Instead of stuffing him with stuffed toy-stuffing, I stuffed him with rice, with plans to use him as a heat pack. I was given some free scrap fabric months ago from Freecycle and so decided to simply use whatever fabric that I could scrounge.

    I'm not sure if it's such a good idea because instead of gorgeous, perfect bunny, I ended up with Munty.


    He's my munted bunny.

    He can't sit up straight, he's not particularly stuffed and well, he's just not finished professionally. People would probably laugh in my face if I even tried to sell him. But you know what? He's so ridiculously looking he makes me smile. So I think he's served his purpose.


    Now we'll find out if he'll serve as a nice heat pack come winter.

    Monday, 22 March 2010

    June lady sweater

    10 months. That's how long it took for me to knit up this sweater.


    Sure, there were loads of other projects in between, but this sweater definitely needed stamina and patience. There were times when I really wanted to simply give up. I'm used to knitting up quick stuff that take at the most a month to complete. I'd never attempted something so big and so cumbersome for such a long time.

    There were times when I simply wanted to give up. And most of all, there were times when I just wasn't sure if what I was doing was right and that the sweater would either fit or even look like a sweater.

    But well, in a grand story of perseverance, stubbornness and perhaps sheer stupidity, I've completed my June lady sweater! (It's called the February lady sweater, but I started it in June last year, so well...)


    It's not that hard a design actually. It just needed concentration at some parts sleeves, increases, etc. The lace repeats were really easy and I had them memorised soon enough.

    The sleeves are alternated black and orange not solely because of design - I just didn't have enough orange yarn for the whole sleeve. I had initially wanted the sleeves to be super-long, but well, a lack of yarn meant it stayed 3/4 long. I don't think it looks half bad though.

    And because I just cannot have things looking too normal, I decided to alternate the colours of the buttons too.


    And just in time for autumn!

    Now, what grand project will I embark on next?

    Pattern here.
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