Stop the race to finish a book

I finished reading Sönke Ahrens How to Take Smart Notes today. And like what one person commented on the book in Goodreads said, "This book is GOLD."!

I will try to do justice in giving it a good review soon, but what I can share now are these two important lessons that I have learnt. 

One, I will stop the race of finishing books. I have started challenges to read a certain number of books every year and even reading beyond that.

And when I read, I did it with two purposes: (1) to learn and gain insight and (2) to finish them to add to the list of books read as an accomplishment.

But after reading Ahrens book, I need to stop doing that. Of course I will still learn and gain insight from reading, but I will stop the race of finishing books. 

And that brings me to the second most important thing: when I read, I will think, elaborate by taking notes and then to connect the notes. And it doing so, I will have a stronger grasp in my learning, thinking and ideas.

This will no doubt take a lot of time but don't even refer to the books I have read in past years, on the 11 books I have read these two months, not counting Ahrens's one, I don't remember much, if anything at all.

So even though it takes a lot of time, it is what needs to be done if I want to read. 

If I don't do that, I had better not read anything at all to begin with because in the end, it wouldn't make a difference whether I read or not, if I don't remember or gain anything from it.

And with that, of all these books I have read this year, I will need to reread A More Beautiful Question. Next to Ahrens's, this is also very good.

But Ahrens did say that it is dangerous to reread books but I have to do it, though I think I will wait it out awhile before I do. 

My project now is to read Daniel Coyle's The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

I need it badly for work.

pearlie

Play Triple Town and learn to be strategic

I don't play much games on my phone and have given up on what I was addicted to previously. I used to like games in the Candy Crush genre as well as Plants vs Zombies and Tower Defense.

But I've found this one recently which I do like and found myself spending a bit too much time on.

It's Triple Town and the objective of the game is build as many high level buildings as possible. It takes three small bushes to build one big bush, three big bushes to build one tree, three trees to build one red house, three red houses to build one house and so on and so forth until you get a big castle.

It's a strategic game and you need to know your moves ahead of time before planting anything. 

And since I'm not very strategic myself, I wonder if this count as good training.

pearlie

How to get myself to exercise everyday

I have posted my 2020 new year resolutions at the start of the year, and I made progress today.

I am good in all the resolutions except this one: exercise.

I know I needed to get active again and so when I made the resolutions, I decided to cycle 45 minutes every evening, but I have not done anything since. 

Until yesterday and today. I got on my stationary bike and cycled for 45 minutes. 


I am one who is very low in discipline. I know that but I did go to the gym every Monday to Friday morning back in 2014 and 2015.

This was because back then, I was always early at work since I need to drop my son at school. But it all stopped when he started college. 

So I thought about it yesterday wanting to get back to that commitment I had. I realised that it was the fact that I like to maximise my time and my resources. 

I had time back then to kill and so it was beneficial that I maximise it with something that I can do and since there is a gym at my workplace, why not. 

What can I maximise now to get on that bike?

Again I want to maximise my time as well but I also like to watch TV and YouTube but I find them a big, big waste of time that I'm prepared to ditch them. 

But what if I can do both, maximise my time and yet get entertained at the same time. 

So I said to myself: no bike no TV, no TV no bike. 

I've done it but only 2 days so far and I do hope it will work. 

And I must say that it is the book that I have been reading and talking about so much that got me here: again it's Sönke Ahrens's How to Take Smart Notes

He said, "bring those who really don’t like exercise but know they have to do it into a sustainable workout routine by focusing on one thing: Creating satisfying, repeatable experiences with sports. It doesn’t matter what (they) are doing – running, walking, team sports, gym workouts or bicycling to work. The only thing that matters is that they discover something that gives them a good experience that they would like to have again. Once (they) find something, they are encouraged enough to try something else as well. They enter the virtuous circle where willpower isn’t needed anymore because they feel like doing it anyway."

Fingers crossed this will last a long time. 

I have a TV series to finish watching and so I need to get on that bike. 

pearlie

Take Notes to Think Well: Apps you can use

I am still reading Sören Ahrens's How to Take Smart Notes and this topic has been filling my mind these few days. 

I have shared it with my colleagues and friends and some of them are looking forward for me share insights from my study, which I will definitely post a review here soon, when I'm done with the reading, note-taking and thinking.

But one thing that I also find interesting is the many apps and platforms out there for us to use for note taking and journalling. 

And I use quite a few of them. You would think that I should just settle on one but I found that using different note and journal apps for different purposes serves me rather well.

Here are the ones I use and I highly recommend them.

Evernote
I used Notes in my iPhone when I was using my Apple gadgets but when I went full-on Android, Evernote is my choice for all my notes. I store them in separate Notepads for easy reference. I even take photos of my pen-and-paper notes and store them here for easy access. The only problem is since I did not pay for it, I can no longer send notes in via email as much as I like. 

Journey
I use this as a prayer and journaling app. I was using Diaro before but when I travelled to Seoul in December last year, I wanted to use a different app as my travel journal but ended up just sticking to one. Journey and Diaro is somewhat similar but I prefer the feel and user interface of Journey. I write in my personal thoughts and my prayers here. It is also very useful when I need to vent and when I need to sort out my thoughts and emotions. 

Diarium
I started using this a learning journal to note down one thing I learn every day. It started off well but soon I found myself forcing the daily learning points and so I stopped. But I stuck on with the photo calendar. I can view all the days in all the months in thumbnails and it does give me a big picture of how I spent my days. And with just a glance, I can see the significance of every single day. I like the feel that I have spent my days well. Well, some days at least!

Trello
This is what I am excited about now - Trello. It all started when I needed to sign up for an online conference next month that will last for 4 days with a crazy number of podcasts to listen to. I started to Google for smarter ways to take notes which was when I found Trello, which was also when I found Sönke Ahrens's book on How to Take Smart Notes. I have started to practice using the Slip Box in Trello and so far so good. If you want to know how a Slip Box work, wait for my blogpost on it. But in the meantime, do check out Trello. While the other note and journaling apps are straightforward linear ones, Trello is nothing but. You can create boards and lists and cards, and move them all around, which work perfectly well for a Slip Box. And if you check it out online, you will also see people using it for Scrum and sprints. It's quite powerful.

And here I must quote Niklas Luhmann (again), who created the Slip Box: one cannot think without writing. 

So we all do need to write, to take notes, to journal. It's the only way we can think good and think well. 

pearlie

Offering our imperfect selves to the perfect God

Art
Our church will be celebrating our 10th anniversary soon and I came up with an idea to put up a colouring piece of art for all church members to colour on.

It will represent the coming together of the church to "paint a part of ourselves" on the painting however small and however imperfect it will be. 

As a result, we will offer an imperfect church depicted in the imperfect piece of art as an offering to the perfect God.

Here's the art piece in church this morning:

And the result after some colouring:

We will have 3 more weeks to complete it.

pearlie

Long Overdue Date Night

We don't go out often for date nights but the thing is my hubby won't even call it a date!

Nonetheless, we just had a nice night out together, starting it off with a feast of the Musang King durian in SS2.


It is supposed to be cheaper but it was not so. And I have eaten much better ones before. I wasn't that happy with it.

We then made our way to Authentic Penang Char Koay Teow.


As usual, we dug in the moment the food came and never took any pictures. 


We ordered char koay teow with prawns and extra cockles, raw.

The verdict is the prawns to me are irrelevant, I don't know how else to say it. But the cockles is what made it really good.

That's when I told my hubby that's why it's called see hum chau fun. LOL

And we don't know why exactly but the fact that we shared one plate together made it taste even better. 

It was a good night out. 

pearlie
Photos from Taufulou and TripAdvisor

Started another book: How to Take Smart Notes

I know. I know.

I am already reading 4 books currently and I started on another one bringing it to 5.

But this is a good one.

How to Take Smart Notes: One Simple Technique to Boost Writing, Learning and Thinking - for Students, Academics and Nonfiction Book Writers
by Sönke Ahrens

I have only read the introduction and I am in full agreement with it. 

He begins by quoting Luhmann, "One cannot think without writing."

Ah...Niklas Luhmann is very well-known in his circle of community and the book is based on his way of note taking: the slip box.

Here are some more of what I found in the introduction that so interesting that I'm looking forward to digging in further over the weekend:

Writing is not what follows research, learning or studying, it is the medium of all this work. And maybe that is the reason why we rarely think about this writing, the everyday writing, the note-taking and draft-making. Like breathing, it is vital to what we do, but because we do it constantly, it escapes our attention.

Just having it all in your head is not enough, as getting it down on paper is the hard bit. That is why good, productive writing is based on good note-taking. Getting something that is already written into another written piece is incomparably easier than assembling everything in your mind and then trying to retrieve it from there.

The quality of a paper and the ease with which it is written depends more than anything on what you have done in writing before you even made a decision on the topic.

pearlie

Ultralearning: how to master hard skills

Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
by Scott H. Young

I read this book August last year and found it a very good book. It lays out why and how we can learn and pick a difficult skill quickly and effectively.

With that, I had wanted to learn a computer language but I didn't follow through with it. 

I thought about it again today and felt that I need to start right now or I will never ever do it.

And looks like I need to read the book again.

pearlie

Lost Days by Dante Gabrielle Rossetti

The lost days of my life until to-day,
What were they, could I see them on the street
Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
Sown once for food but trodden into clay?
Or golden coins squandered and still to pay?
Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet?
Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
The throats of men in Hell, who thirst alway?

I do not see them here; but after death
God knows I know the faces I shall see,
Each one a murdered self, with low last breath.
‘I am thyself, — what hast thou done to me?’
‘And I—and I—thyself,’ (lo! each one saith,)
‘And thou thyself to all eternity!’

by Dante Gabrielle Rossetti

pearlie

Reading vs. Watching TV

I spent the last two years watching too much television. So I have decided to cut it down and get back to reading. 

But I am asking the question, is reading really better than watching television?

Compare reading and watching The Game of Thrones or Sherlock Holmes. What's the difference? Disclaimer: I've never read the books and I've just watched a little of both.

I read a lot of non-fiction. I do read fiction but I find it a challenge to find a good story to read. Compared to non-fiction, I don't know what I am getting into when I read fiction. 

But fiction is good. Alan Alda says it gives us "the chance to enter into another person’s life, to feel what they feel, to see life through their eyes, to enter their inner world." 

We can experience life vicariously in areas we have no chance whatsoever to live in. 

We can make decisions in decisions we will never get to make. We can see how life will unravel in lives we will never get to live. 

So does it matter if it's in a book or in a movie or television?

I think this picture says a lot.


Ok, let's look at the similarities and differences. 

Reading
- vicarious experiences
- heightened imagination
- need more discipline
- improves language and vocabulary

Watching TV
- vicarious experiences
- heightened senses

Anything else?

Since cutting down on TV, I have read more books but so far all non-fiction. And I'm watching a little TV.

Best of both worlds. Hence, I am happy.

pearlie

Inappropriate Recommendation

I left my Kindle on my office desk and when I came back I see this:


Seriously?

Amazon does very well in recommending me books in my account but why can't it do the same in my Kindle?

I don't read this genre of books and on top of that I upkeep my professionality at work. 

Kindle certainly isn't helping. 

pearlie

1917 ★★★★★


When I decided to go watch 1917 yesterday, I did not know anything about the movie. So I thought it would be better if I checked it out first before watching it.

I googled for "what to know before watching 1917", and after reading through this article, I thought these two basic facts would suffice. 

1. The plot is simple: two British soldiers were tasked to deliver a message across no man's land to call off an ill-advised attack, which will save 1600 people.

Checked. Simple plot is good since I don't really like war movies. And while watching it, I did subconsciously ask myself, why? 

Why don't I like war movies? I didn't have the answer then but after thinking about it, it's the complications of war strategies and reality of suffering that confounds me.

2. The 2-hour movie is filmed in one continuous shot. 

I didn't really expect much from this since I was not aware of this method of filming. 

But it turned out to be what I was paying attention to in the entire movie. And I can't decide now whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, since I kept asking how did they do that rather than why did they do that?

The camerawork was very well done. It was seamlessly stitched into one continuous shot from the scene where he was seated in the fields leaning on a tree to the last shot doing the same. 

I felt like I was there with them, following them as they walk in the trenches, going in and out of rooms, walking through no man's land, across the fields and through the woods. 

I even found myself looking to the left and right to see for myself what could be there. (Get a seat right smack in the middle of the cinema, where the screen size is just nice--not too big and not too small.)

And there were many scenes where I actually asked out loud: how in the world did they do that?

As for the plot, it is simple but it does keep you on your toes not expecting what will happen next. And there were several unexpected turn of events. 

However, I did find that there wasn't much in character development, with very little insight into their lives and thought process. I couldn't understand the reasons behind some of their decisions, good or bad.

I have several favourite and memorable scenes. These aren't very much of a spoiler but you may want to stop reading here if you still haven't watched it. And if you have watched it, I'm sure you'll know which scenes I am referring to:

- the first scene and the last scene that served as bookends to the movie
- the scene at the farm, so unexpected
- the gushing river scene and then with such a quick camera turn that I sat up. What? How? Rewind!
- the most mesmerizing scene with the River of Jordan

The most amusing thing to me was that I totally missed all the cameos except for the second last one, which is a good thing because I was thrown off for the first time and thankfully it was already at the end of the show. 

So is this movie better than Parasite? I don't think so but it's still good and worth a visit, or two, to the cinema. 

For most parts I was all into the technicalities and marvelling at the camerawork. It was only towards the end that I finally felt it and was cheering him on. 

So what's next? 

I will certainly be checking how-did-they-do it and the-making-of videos on the movie. 

pearlie

Why I had to watch 1917


I don't do crazy things on a Monday but I just came back home late after watching the movie 1917.

It was such an experience that it will be worth a few blogposts.

For one, I only heard about it after it has been Oscar-nominated in the Best Movie category along with a few others, including Parasite. And as I took notice of the media after the nomination, it was touted to be the only strong competitor of Parasite.

I knew then I have to watch it. But I don't like war movies. 

About Parasite, I was expecting it to win. I felt that after all the attention it was getting, it has to win Best Movie or the Oscars will have a lot to answer to, for sidelining another excellent but non-English movie. 

Yes, I was expecting Parasite to win. But I was also afraid that it might not. 

It did!

It was then that, war movie or not, I really have to watch 1917 to now decide for myself if Parasite really deserve to win. 

Verdict?

Sorry it will have to wait. I will post a review--as soon as I can wrap my head around it.

pearlie

What happened to the ebook revolution?

I read this article today: What happened to the ebook revolution?

And I thought it was interesting to note that about 10 years ago, around the same time when I picked up on my reading again, experts have confidently said that, "in the dim and distant future of 2020, print books will be largely relegated to the role of decorative shelf fillers, and we would all have a personal pocket electronic library."

And this comic from the year 2010 certainly alludes to that. 


But the article says that it's not quite the way it turned out. 

I can attest to it that the Gen Z loves reading print books. I had a hard time convincing my son to go electronic. He prefers the print version and would drag me to Kinokuniya to get him the books he wants. 

Apparently, only 20% of book sales are electronic and the main users of e-readers are the Gen-Z's parents and even grandparents. 

I know the statistics would be different for us here in Malaysia (don't even get me started on the extremely low percentage of readers here, let alone electronic or otherwise) but it looks like it applies to me. 

As much as I rather not admit it, this library of mine has become decorative.


And this is where my entire library is displayed now: in Goodreads

Yeah...another decorative library but virtual. Except that I do post book reviews there once in awhile. However, it's not my complete library because I don't add the ebooks I buy until I have finished reading them. 

And I have not been reading all that I have purchased. I still have the habit of buying books but not reading them!

At the last count, I probably have 1700 books and if I can read 30 in a year--that is a comfortable number for me--it will take me 57 years to complete.

That is provided I can live that long and if I can stop buying books. Both of which I can't.

Anyway, my son has a Kindle now but I'm sure he still buys print books from Amazon once in awhile. 

pearlie

Book Review: A More Beautiful Question

A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
by Warren Berger

This is a very good book. If you like to learn how to think well, this would be a good place to start. 

It all begins with E.E. Cummings, "Always the beautiful answer/Who asks a more beautiful question."

Warren Berger started by asking why aren't we asking any more questions. Younger kids ask a whole of them but by the time they started school, they begin to stop asking and when they are at middle or high school, they may stop altogether.

I agree with him that schools are programmed to provide answers and to demand answers, not questions. 

And as we get ourselves into the working world, questions are usually not welcomed. 

I remember my first few days working in a company when I asked a question since I was new to the environment. The looks I got stopped me from asking anymore and go find the answers myself. 

So Berger's book is a much needed one. We need to ask questions again.

I like that he gives us three question starters in how to train ourselves in innovative questioning. It is to ask: why, what if, and how?

The book also explored questioning in business and questioning in life. 

As I read the book, I have begun to ask questions myself and I found two of the most important ones here: "What is my sentence?" and "How might I live up to my sentence?"

Here's an excerpt which I find so profound:

This is a favorite question of the author Daniel Pink, though he acknowledges in his book Drive that it can be traced back to the journalist and pioneering congresswoman Clare Booth Luce. While visiting John F. Kennedy early in his presidency, Luce expressed concern that Kennedy might be in danger of trying to do too much, thereby losing focus. She told him “a great man is a sentence”—meaning that a leader with a clear and strong purpose could be summed up in a single line (e.g., “Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves”). Pink believes this concept can be useful to anyone, not just presidents. Your sentence might be, “He raised four kids who became happy, healthy adults,” or “She invented a device that made people’s lives easier.” If your sentence is a goal not yet achieved, then you also must ask: How might I live up to my own sentence?

Don't you see that it is such an important skill to learn and nurture?

I have made this a required reading for my team at work and we are going to train ourselves in asking.

With that, I aim to read it again in 6 months time to see how we have progressed and to pick up where we lack.

Oh, let me log it into my calendar now. 

pearlie

Ahhh! Nightmares!!!


I had a nightmare last night and was woken up from it at 2am. It was quite vivid about a murder or some killings. 

And thankfully I've forgotten the details of it. 

But why do we have nightmares?

This webpage looks helpful and the only reason that seemed relevant to me was the worry one. 

I had a fitful sleep as a result, with a few more dreams that I can recall in bits and pieces, with the final one an enactment of a meeting I was suppose to have later in office today!

Sigh...I need to really catch up on my sleep tonight, but it will have to be after 12:30am--after all the fireworks die down from the ushering in of the 15th day of the Chinese New Year or Chap Goh Meh.

I can already hear the fireworks and the night is still young. 

pearlie

The Prelude


The Prelude 
by William Wordsworth

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop, 
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, 
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude; 
How potent a mere image of her sway; 
Most potent when impressed upon the mind 
With an appropriate human centre—hermit,  
Deep in the bosom of the wilderness; 
Votary (in vast cathedral, where no foot 
Is treading, where no other face is seen) 
Kneeling at prayers; or watchman on the top 
Of lighthouse, beaten by Atlantic waves; 
Or as the soul of that great Power is met 
Sometimes embodied on a public road, 
When, for the night deserted, it assumes 
A character of quiet more profound 
Than pathless wastes.

pearlie

Matthew for Everyone!

Matthew for Everyone
by N.T. Wright

I have blogged before that I have joined a group in church to read the New Testament in one year. 

We are currently still in the Gospel of Matthew. 

And in the reading, there are many times when we asked questions and when we come across some complicated verses. This is where after referring to the few commentaries I have on Matthew, namely:

- Donald A. Hagner, Matthew, Word Biblical Commentary
- Ulrich Luz, A Commentary on Matthew, Hermeneia
- R.T. France, Matthew: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentary
- R.T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, New International Commentary on the New Testament
- N.T. Wright, Matthew for Everyone

...I find that I like N.T. Wright's version the most. 

It is not as technical as the rest, it's more readable and insightful in its exegesis.

With that I went and check to see if I have all the volumes in the series and found that indeed I do, except for the 2 volumes on Romans. I actually spent about RM400 buying the series, not including the ones on Romans.

When I went and looked for it in Logos.com, the series is on sale! 

It's now only RM94.37 for 20 volumes instead of a whopping RM904.56.

But I wonder if I can get it even cheaper for the 2 volumes on Romans. I doubt it and I think I will have to pay RM94.37 not for 20 volumes but for only 2.

What a bummer!

Here's the link if you are interested. And of course the link may or may not work with it being time sensitive.

pearlie

Take a long look at the mirror before we even begin


I was reminded today of the Bible verse about the speck and log in the eye and found it here in this passage. 

Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

It is a very timely lesson that when we want to complain and judge others, first take a look at ourselves. And by the time we notice our log and try to remove, the speck on the other person eye doesn't seem so bad anymore. And by the time we judge our own actions and behaviour, we know we stand guilty and sinful before our God.

I like NT Wright on this passage in his Matthew for Everyone, where he said:

God intends that his world should be ordered, and that injustice should be held in check. Jesus is referring, not to official lawcourts, but to the judgments and condemnations that occur within ordinary lives, as people set themselves up as moral guardians and critics of one another...

He doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have high standards of behaviour for ourselves and our world, but that the temptation to look down on each other for moral failures is itself a temptation to play God. And, since we aren’t God, that means it’s a temptation to play a part, to act, to be a ‘hypocrite’ (which literally means a playactor, one who wears a mask as a disguise)...

Jesus, we should note, doesn’t rule out the possibility that some people will eventually be able to help others to take specks of dust out of their eyes. He isn’t saying that there is no such thing as public morality. But he is warning that the very people who seem most eager to tell others what to do (or more likely what not to do) are the people who should take a long look in the mirror before they begin.

I know that I need to stand in front of the mirror more and longer.

pearlie

Women in Ministry: Egalitarian or Complementarian

Our church has started preaching from the Pastoral Letters 1 and 2 Timothy and today's passage was from 1 Tim 2:8-15, with these problematic verses:

1 Timothy 2:11-15 ESV
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing-if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

I have had sessions from the previous church I attended where the pastor had brought us through his Complementarian view, which I don't fully agree with. 

But I have not delved in deeper on my own. 

Until today. I had to dig out my copy of Two Views on Women in Ministry and I have just started reading. It will be a long read. 

Two Views on Women in Ministry
by Linda L. Belleville, Craig L. Blomberg, Craig S. Keener and Thomas R. Schreiner.

I just remembered I also have a copy of this book by Craig S. Keener who holds the Egalitarian view. I need to dig into it as well.

Paul, Women & Wives: Marriage and Women's Ministry in the Letters of Paul
by Craig S. Keener

It looks like I'm in a church with two opposing views to my own. Their Calvinism and Complementarian views to my Arminian and Egalitarian stand. And I'm not even sure of it's eschatological view yet.

So what does it mean for me? Does it matter?

I am okay with differing views on eschatology and women in ministry. It's only the Calvinism-Arminianism that I am more concerned about. 

But that will be for another blog post. 

pearlie

How Great Thou Art by Anthem Lights

How Great Thou Art by Anthem Lights

I was preparing for song leading for worship tomorrow and I was looking for video links to send to my musicians when I found this version of How Great Thou Art by Anthem Lights. 

I really like their arrangement, voices and harmony. 

The first verse sets the stage in proclaiming our great God who greated the universe, O how great Thou art. 

Then the second verse draws us into the work of Christ on the cross, I scarce can take it in, how great Thou art

They then lightly tread from verse three on Jesus leading us home, building up to a majestic then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, how great Thou art!

O how great are You Lord, whom I proclaim and worship and love. To You all honor, and glory, and majesty. Amen.

pearlie

116 apps and counting

I was searching for an app in my phone when my colleague commented, "wow, you've got so many apps!" 


I know I like to look for apps when I want to get something done using my phone but I thought it's a norm that phone are filled with lots and lots of different apps. There are so much you can do with them!

I download a lot of them but since my Razer Phone 2 only has 64G memory, I try to cut down on the apps in my phone and remove those I seldom use. 

Right now I have 116 apps installed.

Too many? Too few? Or a norm? 

How many do you have?

Oh yes, a shout-out to Quimchee, the webtoonist of I Love Yoo, from where I took my phone wallpaper from as you see in my screenshot above. I love her work!

pearlie

Throwback #2: Mattress Hunting



I was having lunch with my colleague when the subject of mattresses came up.

This was because I was complaining about the mattress in a hotel I was in recently. It was so soft I had to wake up everytime I wanted to change my sleeping position. And I'm lucky I didn't get a back ache sleeping on it.

My colleague then commented that she needs to change her Getha mattress she bought 5 years ago which is now too soft for her comfort.

I remembered blogging about my experience in buying my mattress only to find out it has been 9 years since I purchased it! 

Wow...I thought it was just 3 or 4 years ago.

I wanted to buy a Getha mattress too but found a more affordable option - Naturatex. And I did list down some good tips when shopping for a mattress. Go check it out if you are interested.

My Naturatex mattress is still in tip top condition. And I'm sure it will last for many more years to come.

But just for the record, I've only paid RM1 for each day of the past 9 years. 

Hmm...it's my most comfortable spot to come back to every day.

pearlie

Conversations in Outlook?

I'm back at work today, not taking any days off for the Chinese New Year and as I was viewing through my emails in my Outlook, I  nonchalantly thought about how I wished that my emails in Outlook can be in conversations like in my Gmail.

But I did an about-turn. And asked myself more seriously, can Outlook actually do that now?

I did a search and yes! You can view emails in Outlook in conversation form.

Check it out here on how to make that happen in your Outlook. 

But being a slow day at work today, I have not had the chance to really try it out. So I'll reserve my comments till when I can really test it out. 

A good discovery nonetheless.

pearlie

Where's the hook?

In the recent music workshop I attended a couple of weeks ago, one of the electives I attended was song writing.

I picked this because I wanted to attend something new, something I have not ventured in before. 

Though I did co-write two songs, both wedding songs, which were presented during the weddings but they are now lost and forgotten. 

Anyway, I found the session very interesting and there is this one thing I learnt that I keep trying to look out for in the songs that I now listen to.

It's the hook.

Any good song has one. A hook is the x-factor of a song: a melodic, rhythmic or harmonic phrase that adds a particular interest to the song. It's the part that makes the song stand out. 

Apple Music had this new song in my playlist recently and as I listened to it...there! that's the hook! 


Do you hear it?

pearlie

A day in the forest

CNY
My hubby and I spent a great day in the forest with family in this awesome looking house in the hills. 

It's like my idea of a dream house, which is house-with-glass-walls-on-a-hill, except that it's so much bigger. 


And here's my hubby setting up his drone to take videos and pictures like the one above. He had a lot of fun.

The weather was cool and nice, in the range of 24°C. Though the skies were a bit dark and the sun didn't show itself...

...giving it a darker side to the scenery.

One could really just stay the whole day here and look out to the stretches and stretches of green foliage and white greyish cloudy skies. 

It was peaceful...

...except that city people (I assume that they were) do not realise that sound gets amplified quite a lot in the forest and the people occupying the premises opposite us were making so much noise that it became really irritating.


We tried not to be bothered by it the best we could. And here we are all lazying on the floor. The place has yet to be filled with furniture but no one minded because it's still quite comfortable.


The house is a 4-storey building and here's the 2nd floor overlooking the 3rd floor and the loft.

And my favourite? Yes, the loft. It's the coziest of places. 


We had steamboat for lunch al-fresco in the temporary shed at the entrance of the house, since the kitchen isn't quite ready yet. 

And here is one of the adorable residents of the house who was tailing everyone just to get a bite, and many a bite did he end up getting. 

We had a wonderful day. 

I'm looking forward to coming here again, when I really need to get away from the noisy city to a quiet place for a quiet retreat. 

Ah, provided that the noisy city people remain in the noisy city. 

pearlie

Happy New Year Everyone!

CNY

My father side of the family, or at least part of us, gathered for lunch today and it's so good to see each other again. 

Let me wish you:
恭祝大家新年快乐
身手灵活犹如松鼠
比天竺鼠人见人爱
幸福健康机会平安
数不尽,有的藏

In Cantonese:
zuk1 daai6 gaa1 san1 nin4 faai3 lok6
san1 sau2 ling4 wut6 jau4 jyu4 cung4 syu2
bei2 tin1 zuk1 syu2 jan4 gin3 jan4 ngoi3
hang6 fuk1 gin6 hong1 gei7 wui6 ping4 ngon1
sou3 bat1 zeon6 jau5 dik1 cong4

In literal translation!
Wishing everybody a Happy New Year
Body and hands lively like the squirrels
Compared to guinea pigs people see people love
Happiness, health, opportunity, peace
Counting unexhausted there is to keep

Gong Hei Fatt Choy! Wishing all of you the best of the new year!!! May we all be blessed and happy all year long!

pearlie

Chinese New Year Eve Reunion Dinner

CNY

It has been many years since we've gathered for a reunion dinner at my mother-in-law's home. She has been away most of these years but she's home now and it's nice to gather again as a family.

She cooked such a delicious spread and we really missed her cooking!!!


Oh so yummy...

Gong Xi Fa Cai everyone!

pearlie

What are you reading?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how I have not been reading much last year and that I wanted to catch up on it this year.

And catch up I certainly did. I was so much on the roll that I read 6 books in just half a month. 

I began with Bruce K. Waltke's Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? followed by the rest you see below. The sequence is quite logical as I progressed on from one book to another. 


Then I wanted something a little lighter and decided to read Tolkien's The Hobbit. I'm still at it. It started off quite good and fun but got dreary as it moved along. The story gets harder and darker. Just like Bilbo, I wished he was back in his hobbit-hole in The Shire. And just like him, I'm good just staying at home with no adventures. And yes, this is how boring I am.

As a result of reading NT Wright's The Case for the Psalms: Why They are Essential, I started another reading plan in the YouVersion bible app to read the whole of The Psalms in 31 days. I am on track with the plan but I do find myself glossing over the Psalms at times and thought I should read it together with a good but simple commentary. I must say, I have many commentaries on The Psalms but Derek Kidner's TOTC version would be a good one to start with. 

Then I found this in my stash - Walter Brueggemann's From Whom No Secrets are Hid: Introducing the Psalms. I started reading it and it's really good.


However, I also have these two books still hanging in there unfinished. 

I'm still holding on to Jay Heinrichs's Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion. It's a difficult but good read, and I do need to acquire the skill of persuasion and so I will get back to it soon.

Finally, it's this one by Bonnie Hagemann - Leading with Vision: The Leader's Blueprint for Creating a Compelling Vision. It started off well but I'm not too sure if I'll get back to it though. 


There, my reads and current reads. 

What are yours?

pearlie