Tag Archives: thoughts

On Starting Again, Earth-Scorching, and Legacy

You’re familiar with the scorched earth concept, right? Wikipedia says it’s a military strategy where a retreating force destroys anything in their path that might be useful to the enemy. It’s this idea that if the enemy captures that territory, it’ll be useless to them. The scorched earth concept is mostly applied to retreating forces since there’s a higher likelihood the enemy will capture that land anyway, but here’s the rub: it can also be used for advancing forces, too.

I’ve been toying around with the idea of starting an entirely new blog in my head over the past week. Not just “Benny Ling’s Bling 2.0”, but something entirely new and fresh.

On the one hand, the idea of starting again is exciting. Leaving all the old stuff behind so there’s no baggage, nothing tying me down or holding me back. Free to explore new horizons, a place to write about stuff I find exciting and things I’m enthusiastic about, and so on.

On the other hand, I’m the kind of person that would feel extremely sentimental about all the old stuff I’m leaving behind. I mean, I get sad throwing away parts of my childhood, even stuff that I have absolutely no rational use for today or in the future, stuff that I haven’t touched for years. There’s quite a number of posts here that are nothing more than short sentences on a particular topic — which is great, sure, but compared to some of my longer pieces?

When I first started this blog I wasn’t sure if I wanted it to be a Tumblr-style reblog-fest where I’d repost any old trash from my social network, or whether I wanted it to be only about my writing. At first it was the former, and for a little while, I wrote a few bits here and there about cool things. But somewhere along the way I must have decided that maintaining such a blog was either daunting/exhausting/too-much-work or all of the above, because I soon stopped posting about stuff I had written and simply linked to stuff online that I thought was cool.

And don’t get me wrong, I still think most of that stuff is cool and/or worth your time, it’s just that, well, is my blog the right place for it?1 Do I want that stuff to have the same permanence as the stuff I’m proud of, the stuff that I’ve written personally? Stuff like my gaming reviews, pieces on why iOS is kicking Android’s butt, and putting together home servers.

Which is why I’m drawn back to this idea of starting again, and having a place for just my writing. It’ll mean less updates, even more sporadically than they currently are, but maybe — hopefully — it’ll mean an increase in quality.

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Hindsight isn’t just the excuse you should be using when you get caught checking out some cute girl’s butt, it’s also something that can prove almost infinitely useful regardless of the situation at hand. Let me explain.

As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t really exercise all that often. Infrequently, but not all that often. Anyway, we were talking about this at work one day, and instead of asking me straight out why I didn’t exercise a co-worker decides to ask the question: “where and when do you have your own time? To reflect, that kind of thing?” The only answer that came immediately to mind was my time on public transport. Sure, when I’m home I’m usually alone for the most part (thankfully my sister and parents tend to leave well enough alone), but even when I’m “alone” in my room I’m usually doing something — surfing the net, chatting with friends via IM, smashing people in online games, that sort of thing.

Indeed, my time on public transport constitutes the vast majority of time to myself. Sometimes I write blog posts like this, sometimes I write small reviews of iOS games I’ve been playing lately. Sometimes I just tune out and let my mind wander, but I’m always listening to music. Not necessarily paying any sort of attention to the music, but the noise helps block out distractions.

As someone who doesn’t really associate that much with other people you would think that I’d have a lot of time to myself, but that’s not always the case. For example, I’m actually phenomenally lazy so any free time I have might well be spent snoozing instead of working on that assignment that’s due in a couple of days.

Reflection also happens at the most inconvenient of times, too. Like when I’m trying to get to sleep but I can’t stop thinking about one thing or another, or when I’m trying to concentrate on some insanely-important programming exercise but keep getting interrupted with thoughts that have nothing at all to do with programming in C.

Lately I’ve actually been using hindsight to gain new knowledge I previously didn’t have. There have been many instances just recently where I could have acted out and done something, but hindsight tells me those probably weren’t the best courses of action at the time. I guess the question then becomes whether I’ll regret not doing something (at that moment or later on), but hindsight is a bitch like that. I expect to lose many hours of sleep over certain actions or lack thereof, but I guess that’s life.

Personal time is important. I can’t really imagine a time where I’d go without it, and at a guess I’d start to have really insane dreams as my much-wilder subconscious wreaked havoc with my thoughts. I really can’t stress this enough: having time to yourself is a good thing. There’s nothing stopping you from going ahead and filling your social calendar to the brim with activities, and that’s all well and good, but don’t try and distract yourself from the person who really matters the most in your life — yourself.

Lie awake at night.

Take long walks.

Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s good to just stop and have a long hard think. If it helps, write your thoughts down to get them into some sort of meaningful order. If it helps, have music playing in the background. If it helps, do trivial tasks so you don’t get bored.

Reflection is one thing, ignoring yourself is another thing entirely.

Finally: no, I haven’t been caught looking (yet), so thankfully I’ve never had to use that particular pun at the beginning of this post. That’s not to say I’m not (looking), however. I’m sure that pun will come in handy one day! 😉

Your testimony, please.

Alternate title: testify, oldbag! (If you don’t get that, you clearly haven’t played enough Pheonix Wright. [link opens iTunes])

Okay, I’ll admit it: there are times when I think there would be nothing worse than going to church on a Sunday. There, I said it. Sometimes it’s because I played too much Bad Company 2 the night before and didn’t get to sleep until 1am and sometimes it’s because I’ve had a terribad week (in terms of sleep, anyway, averaging 5-6 hours per night).

My own laziness aside, it’s not until I actually drag myself out of bed, get ready, and sit down at church that I realise I’m glad to be there.

As I type this on my very-soon-to-be-replaced iPhone 3G, my mind flicks back to last Sunday…

If you’re a regular church-goer you’ll know that a testimony (sometimes also called a witness) is where some member of the congregation tells the other members how they came to be a Christian.

This one particular guy from the congregation stands up, somehow manages to mumble into the microphone “I really don’t want to be up here”, and then gets on with his testimony.

Well, if you could call it a testimony.

Now, I’ve said a friendly “hello” to this guy once or twice, but for all I know he’s just another churchgoer like me. I never see him come with a partner/wife though, but that’s not uncommon.

Anyway, he gets on with his testimony, and because he’s usually a pretty quiet guy he reads it out from a piece of paper. Which is fine, it’s normal to have notes or something. But I digress. Maybe it’s the fact he’s reading his testimony, maybe it’s just his actual testimony is amazing, but what he describes is actually pretty out there – not outside the bounds of reality by any means, but enough to make you stop and wonder.

Maybe it’s the fact that most testimonies I’ve heard are relatively the same (having Christian parents, going to a Christian school, etc, etc), but his story just makes me think. I won’t attempt to recall all of it here, but you hear stories of people coming from fractured families, having abusive parents, entering destructive cycles and so on, but it’s not until you actually hear it from a person that you know that it really hits home.

Not that he did come from a fractured family or had abusive parents, mind you – nay, his problem mainly stemmed from a lack of self-confidence and the discovery of alcohol – but it made me stop and think that yeah, that shit is real.

Maybe I’ve lived a fairly sheltered life. Maybe it’s because I’m lucky to have the parents that I do, and the lifestyle that I have.

I’m not really trying to say anything here, apart from the fact that I’m glad I went to church that day. 🙂

Google Android Personal Thoughts /via Boy Genius Report

Other issues that I can’t live with day to day? How do I copy text from non-editable field like an email, webpage, or SMS, or even a 3rd party application? Oh, I can’t. Say what you want about the iPhone not having copy and paste for two years — a joke — it’s the single best implementation on the planet for a smartphone and Google’s approach is almost as bad as RIM’s with the Storm-series.

via Google Android Personal Thoughts « Boy Genius Report.