Archive | January, 2009

Games, baby, games

31 Jan
World of Warcraft: Burning Steppes

Image by Evan Sims via Flickr

I love videogames. Ever since my father plonked me in front of an IBM PC and I discovered the weird, pixelated world of King’s Quest, I’ve loved games.

But the problem with games is that I love them a little too much. Once I get immersed, a game can consume my life. I gained nearly 10kg playing World of Warcraft, I was that hooked. Years before that, when I played Warcraft III I was so absorbed with it, I didn’t notice that my laptop was burning the skin on my thighs. It wasn’t until I had to send the laptop in for repairs and noticed that the funny scars on my legs disappeared, that I realised that Houston, we have a problem.

Last year was quite the bumper crop for games. And it all passed me by. GTA, Fallout 3…well, I did buy Spore. My brother is mad about it. I’m somewhat nonplussed. This is what we were all waiting for? Gimme Sims 3 instead. But hold it; I can’t really play a lot of new titles because I need more RAM (think 2GB more) as well as a new graphics card. My current display card keeps threatening suicide on me, which is not fun.

Right now, I have Warcraft III, Sims 2 (with a varied pix-and-mix of expansions), Team Fortress II, Beyond Good and Evil and WOW installed.

I’m toying with going back to World of Warcraft but, I don’t think I really have the time for it. There are too many things to be doing, and too little time. Some people prioritise – I have to keep reprioritising, because too many things keep distracting me.

To WOW or not to WOW? That is the question.

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A time to disconnect

31 Jan

Even during my supposed ‘break’, I found myself unable to take a holiday from the Internet. It’s like I’m on autopilot. The first thing I do is wake up, crawl to my computer, check my email, login to Facebook and that’s the beginning of my day.

ThatPerfil’s not how it should be. I love my PC, putting it together by myself and all, but I need to set boundaries and not make it an extension of my body. It doesn’t help that I’m chronically addicted to surfing the Internet and checking my email on my phone.

Since I can’t ‘disconnect’ on workdays (Mon-Fri), I’ll give myself this much leeway. On Sundays, everything is off. No blogging, no IMs, no emails. My mobile phone will still be on, but it’s for texts and calls only. I will pretend I don’t have a data plan and will not bother emailing or Web surfing. No Facebook either.

Because I need to unplug; I need to give over at least one day where I will not be enslaved to technology. So I will remember who and what really matters. And I pray that He helps me remember what that is.

Image by Daniel Zanini H. via Flickr

A bout of solitude

27 Jan
Thomas Merton

Image via Wikipedia

Taking a cue from Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude, I am holing myself up in the house for most of the week. The Agency has declared itself closed until Friday which makes me a very happy camper.

Alas, The Engine has work it needs done so tomorrow I will do the work and bug my colleagues for feedback about said work…on Friday. Thursday night will see me going to Bangsar for two back-to-back appointments which will see me hurling myself into the midst of people after three days shunning the company of mankind.

The McDonalds delivery man doesn’t count. Or the mamak down the road. I just don’t feel like cooking right now and anyhow, all I have is one pan, no butter or oil or onions. That will be remedied once I feel like doing some grocery shopping. Do I feel like grocery shopping? No.

I haven’t suddenly decided to become a Catholic mystic, nor do I plan to apply to a nunnery either. Mother Theresa I’m not. Thomas Merton’s writing, when not centred around Christian theology, is actually accessible to people of other faiths. Anyone can read his autobiography, Seven Storey Mountain, and find something to take away from it.


Symbolic superstition

25 Jan

I spent the last couple of days springcleaning – something I know plenty of Chinese families indulge in, the days before CNY.

See, the belief is that if the past year was crummy or you want to make way for the good luck of the coming year, you clean house before CNY. No sweeping, clearing or throwing out stuff on the day of CNY itself. You don’t want to toss out the ‘new luck’ supposedly.

No, I’m not becoming faux Chinese – apart from my maternal great grandmother being Chinese and my dad being approximately 15% Chinese, I’m quite happy to be Dusun, thanks.

It’s just symbolic for me, in a way. I wanted to get rid of all the debris from last year and all that clearing was a way for me to symbolically let go. This year’s New Year gave me a lot of pain. I had a wonderful time ushering in the New Year at a dear friend’s place, with a group of fun, lovable people. And with me was a guy I’d just started dating and it was a time of fun, laughter and drunken jenga.

But then the very next day, my date told me he couldn’t see me anymore. And that was the end of that. I was so depressed I cried the entire weekend. The leftover pizza we had, I kept in the fridge and didn’t toss it out until today. It took me a week to even clear up the cigarette box and stubs he left behind, I was that devastated. It helped that the very next week, I got a job offer and started work for The Agency. Work kept me busy, and my friends kept me sane. At night though, I’d still come close to tears and feel utterly miserable in the hours before I went to sleep.

I hadn’t wanted to start dating so soon after things went to pot in my four year long distance relationship. MFM was an accident, a bad idea, something utterly unplanned. Maybe it was because we were both on the rebound, that things happened too fast and I was too vulnerable. I was so scared initially, but the more time I spent with him, the more I adored him. I loved that whenever we were together, we could talk non-stop and things were always comfortable and never contrived. But I was always afraid that it was going to end, that it would be a case where my affection would be unreturned in full measure. My guy friends who did know MFM had their reservations about him. They felt he was leading me on, and that it would all end badly.

And my fears came to pass. I gave it everything I had, but it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. And it hurt. It hurt so bad.

It’s hard, letting go. Hard, trying not to relive the good times and all that could have been. But as I threw out all the accumulated rubbish in my house, and weeded (or at least tried to) my garden, I silently prayed that I could let go of all my emotional baggage as well.

I don’t want to be afraid of being hurt again. I don’t want to close myself off from people, afraid of rejection or betrayal. I don’t want to always be thinking that I’ll be played again, made second best again, dejected again.

There can be no perfect happiness, or a life without pain on this world. But I want to live it anyway. I will seize the roses, despite the thorns and bask in the sun’s warmth, even when it burns and it dazzles and makes me perspire in the heat.

Like my spiritual mentor says, I’ll jump first. Fear later.

I don’t want to be a lifelong hostage to my fears. I won’t be my own jailor.

A time to breathe

24 Jan

Yesterday was a day where I felt distinctly overwhelmed. The morning was spent trying to cram as much work activity, including enquiries, con calls and the like. Then it was zipping off to my driving academy where my instructor was not only cranky and irritable, but inordinately sensitive to criticism. I came home with my ankles, back and arms hurting and wondering why I was bothering with the whole driving thing.

The night brought a more pleasant diversion – a meeting of writerly minds for what promises to be a huge theatre event. I’m plenty excited about it, but as with most projects in my life right now I have to keep mum. A lot of things to keep me busy with my clients for The Job for this quarter and the next, while it looks like theatre is stealthily embracing me, as though she’s been waiting all of my life.

Both my father and mother were theatre practitioners – my father acted and wrote plays with a decidedly religious bent. My mother writes scripts for radio, acted in theatre and sang while also being quite the actress herself. My sister is the real thespian/performer in the family but, for some reason, decided to recede in the background and avoid the limelight.

Now I’m surrounded by theatre performers and enablers which is both exhilarating and frightening. It feels like home and yet it scares and confuses me. Ultimately, I want to give back to the world and make a difference. But I’d be a terrible social worker. I’m too poor to be a philanthropist. I don’t have the single-mindedness to become the advocate for a single cause.

So the route I’ll take is this – to do all I can with what I have. To sing, to write, to perform for a purpose and believe wholeheartedly that if God does want me to do something, he’ll give me the tools and the time to do it. I’m no longer the young narcissist or self-absorbed lost wannabe artist/writer.

I’m just me, and that’s good enough for Him.

I’m back…and gone

23 Jan

After a whole slew of emo-angsty-personaldrama posts, I’m back to blogging about PR!

How’s the week been? Well, it’s been busy. I’m already mentally exhausted, and I’ve only got two clients to help with. Probably if I was at one of those big agencies where I’d be looking after an entire roster, I’d be six feet under by now.

Not that I’m complaining. A lot of my journo friends think PR is thankless ass-kissing, menial work which leaves you drained. Yes, there will be the tiring red tape like media monitoring and reporting, clipping articles, sending out physical releases via fax or post, running errands and the grunt work of event handling. That’s all a given – emails, coming up with copy, cold calling media, none of that is incredibly glamorous.

But I find it satisfying because I get to spend a lot of time thinking up ideas,pushing leads and devising strategy. At the end of the day, no matter how tired or spent I feel, I’m happy. Not that I didn’t love my job at The Mag, but there were days I felt like I was chained to the desk plugging up holes. Where even after I wrapped at the end of the month, I’d feel despair. I’d given it my best but my best still wasn’t enough. I was Atlas, carrying the sky, and always worrying that it would fall.

Am also feeling rather happy because I have the whole of next week off! It comes at a great time because right now, my lawn is a mess that needs cleaning up and I need to tidy up my workspace.

Have a Happy Chinese New Year, Rat or Ox, Tiger or Rabbit, Dragon or Snake, Horse or Sheep, Monkey or Rooster, Dog or Pig!

I speak, for You do listen

22 Jan

I’ve been rereading Thomas Merton’s Thoughts in Solitude and even hiked over to Kinokuniya to find more of his works. I found nothing I wanted.

Yes, there is his acclaimed Seven Storey Mountain, but the Merton I read is not the Merton of his first novel. The Merton I found was a wiser, more knowing one, who saw the follies of his earlier notions in Seven Storey. And his writing speaks to me; his prose is powerful and beautiful. But it is not the craft which draws me in, but his earnestness and his open honesty.

His writing’s touched me enough to attempt to do a Merton, to put down my prayers in written prose and attempt to come to terms with all I want to say to Him.

My Lord my God,

I struggle to put aside my longings and instead set my sights on the path You have made for me. Every day I tell You, I am grateful. I tell You that I will trust, that I will not fear, that I will rest in Your love.

Then why, dear Father, do I run, and quake, and seek answers where there are none?

Just when I think I have put on the blinders of faith and courageously go forward, I bolt and hide. Why do I seek false solace and imperfect refuge in my hedonistic urges? I say I fear the darkness but more often than not, I hide from Your light when I know it can sustain me.

I trust mere men more than I trust You sometimes, listening to their empty promises, deluding myself by seeing what is not there. I fear being alone when I should know by now that You have never, and will never, abandon me. You have held my hand and listened to me weep in the silence of dark nights. But I listen not to You but the fervoured whimperings of my broken heart.

So do not abandon me, Lord, though I stray from Your side. Do not let me fall into the abyss of despair, do not allow me to stay drugged in the smoke of the opium of my desires. For I am weak, despite my pride and my insolent dependence on my skills and talents, none of which I would have without You. Remind me, when I forget, that You have never left me.

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