Fight World Hunger

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Friday, August 20, 2004

Slightly enlightened

i peek through the cracks in the fence,
flashing vertical streams of light and color,
i wonder if it is real,
the intensity makes me dizzy.
too bright, too fast.
i see life, just nanoseconds of it,
happiness, sadness. mostly good.
it smells of soggy timber,
not unpleasant, strangely calming,
i am happy once again,
happier if the dizziness ends.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Searching for a coherent answer

Its a never-ending cycle. I sit there with a piece of paper and a pen, and then ideas start to formulate in 3D. Then for days or weeks I'll be running through the design plan over and over again. There is much to ponder, whether its feasible, whether my current tools can support it, whether it will be able to withstand abuse, and what kind of problems that I may face while I'm doing it, and most important of all, is it ergonomically correct. At the end of the day, the finalized draft will become something that has been simplified, but not because it is easier, but because it is more efficient.

It is never easy to work with heavy duty logs, but just make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, that's my goal. The most disappointing moment is probably when you're doing something and one of the grooves split, or you accidentally cut the wrong area, and realize that that's done, and you have to start all over again. Of course, with this kind of work, fatigue sets in after a couple of hours, and then I start hitting my own fingers with the hammer. Its not fun but hey, at least I know when I ought to stop working.

The final draft, the single most important drawing, denotes what the final outcome should be. This is the work of several weeks of thinking, several months of training and experience, and may seem like there's nothing to it, but to me, its an engineering feat accomplished in my head. Perhaps this is what its about - breaking down various problems until they become a single, coherent answer that still requires laborous work, but once you are done with it, you can marvel at the fact that a conclusion has been reached.

To me, that means a lot more than just assembling furniture from Ikea. Which is the reason why no 2 projects are ever alike. They are solutions to a problem, and everyone is different. As a philosopher once said that the same person can be different at different times of their lives, making 2 of the same project would most definitely mean that the second one will never have the thrill of discovery, anticipation, and triumph as the first.

The search will never end, as curious souls we are constantly asking, constantly searching. This is the essence of life, it has been unchanged for centuries, we shouldn't be resting now.

Monday, August 16, 2004

when swayed, improvise.

'Good morning Mr.Tan, your saw is ready for collection.'

That's about the best thing you can hear on a bluesy Monday morning that you think is going to suck. And it gets better - got into the office, heated up 2 of the world's best egg tarts for breakfast, made some of that arabica coffee, and everything was just perfect.

My bench project is sorely overdue, just because of mechanical glitches I wasn't able to do anything about it last weekend, but you know, I've come to realize that everything does happen for a reason, whether you swear, or you mope, or think, or react, or choose not to react on it, it will happen, and there is nothing you can do about it, but move on. Improvise. Such a powerful word when you think about it, but yet, so little practised. However if everyone chose to be intelligent, you're going to just have similar problems at a different level.

The weather today was fantastic, cloudy, cool, and drizzling. Well, as long as it doesn't rain, I ought to figure that its a great day. While I was a the Bosch service centre, I picked up a brochure and there was this other drop saw that I wanted, at a promotional rate. Hmm, so tempting. Doesn't hurt that they're gonna throw in 12 cans of 100Plus, which I thought was quite strange. Did they think that we're going to be doing laborous work so we had to replace lost fluids? Anyhow, a couple of drinks never hurt anyone. Plus, included in the promotion, was the option to purchase a grinder at a reduced rate.

The measure of great advertising is to offer people what they want, with additional options that they may just want to pick up just because it sounds too good to be true. Just like how frankly I don't need a grinder at all, but somehow, I'm sold to the idea.

I'll let it pass, because as a consumer, that's the right thing to do. For now at least.

Work with what you got. Improvise.