Friday, December 31, 2010

Good bye 2010, & Hello 2011!

No, I don't believe in the bull crap that the world is going to end in 2012 or any time soon. The only ones capable of destroying ourselves are..... ourselves. Not some alien shit. And this is coming from some one who believed in Ultraman as a boy. Anyway, this is the last day of 2010 and I thought it would be good to do some reflection, look back at some milestones, and perhaps set some resolutions for the upcoming year. Nothing heavy, just writing down my thoughts so that it will be remembered.

Why? Because our memories are so poor. We forget too much, even the critical events that happen in our life, and the important people that cross our path in life. Even important memories fade with time, and time alone changes so many things. We're not the same person from yesterday, and we'll definitely be a different person tomorrow. While many things remain the same, such as intrinsic characteristics and habits, we reach new chapters in life and with these changes, we adapt and evolve. Our goals and visions change, along with priorities, focus, and even values. These determine the actions we take, and in the end decide how we reach the next chapter. And because of the pace that this takes place, we forget the little things that happen to shape our paths, and along with it the experiences that we go through.

Why am I saying all this? Really, it's for myself. To remind myself not to forget. That the one path I'm walking on right now is the one I've chosen, and how I live my life depends on which junctions I wish to take. And of course, to treasure everything that I've come across. Good or bad, my history is part of me. And lastly, to be thankful just to be where I am, who I am, and who I am with.

Right, back to topic. 2010 hasn't been one filled with change, compared to the previous years. It's been pretty smooth I guess, since there wasn't too many surprises and I had control most of the time. Work and family still requires delicate balancing, especially now since I've finally began my part time studies and have just completed my first semester. But no big shakes, that's the good thing. So, perhaps I'll carry on by listing out some of the key personal milestones....

1) Family. Really, everything is in place and I'm thankful that Rena is growing up well and healthy. Though there was a scare where I spent the wee hours at the hospital along with Mabel and her mother, Rena made a speedy recovery and is eating well and sleeping well. Many have asked me when's the next one coming, but to be honest we haven't really even decided whether we want to have a second. I'm not too excited over going through the drills of a newborn's father, nor do I want a son that badly. It would be ideal, but I'm happy with Rena. If anything, another daughter doesn't sound too bad and I already have a name ready, haha!

2) Work. Well, it's a good year in terms of work. A good boss, good colleagues, and a good working environment. Chances to go overseas, progression courses, and enlightening exercises. Good bonuses and rewarding in terms advancement. Got my IPPT Gold and Marksmanship this year (last time was a decade ago). Pretty good stuff so far. Only thing I wish for is more stability in terms of the overall evolution of the entire organisation, and perhaps a better career roadmap. For Mabel she's more or less a full time house wife now, but her Cookie Little venture is doing well right now and hopefully the orders will keep coming in.

3) Studies. Yes I'm slower in this aspect. Back in my earlier days of working, I did apply for a degree program, but I didn't manage to get it going, largely due to work and other commitments. But I didn't want to stop learning, and so in the meantime I got my Japanese language qualification, which was easier since I have the passion and interest. Too bad I've lost most of it due to the lack of practice, but I'm using it more and more these days due to new Twitter friends from Japan. This year, I've finally kicked start an actual degree programme, and one which is recognised by the Ministry of Education. I think I've done well for the semester, and got better results than I expected. Hopefully the next semester will be just as smooth.

4) Hobbies. Besides burning more cash on video games and buying toys, there's little I can say I splurged my money on. I always convince my wife that it's better than smoking or drinking, but I guess sometimes I can get a little overboard with online shopping since they always make it so easy for us to just click and spend. I've given up on modelling and airbrushing Gundam kits, but I've moved towards getting more Super Sentai and Kamen Rider figures as well. Not to mention my PS3 set broke down this year and I got a replacement set, complete with the Move and PS Eye too. But on the bright side, I don't spend more money when I'm home playing Black Ops or Sports Champions. :p

5) Running. The original goal I had earlier this year was 5 medals. I got 9 in the end, with 2 coming from full marathons. It's a good year in that aspect, but I've also got a few nagging injuries due to these runs, ranging from back pains to abrasions. I must firstly say I'm a bad runner and my timings are nothing to boast of. But I get pride from completion, and it feels good to be able to join in and complete races along with so many people. I've also signed up for 2 more upcoming marathons, with the next 2 months away from now in Tokyo. Preparations have began, and fears of the weather taking a toil on me have also inevitably made me nervous. Well, that doesn't stop me from looking forward to it. Tokyo here we come!

6) Twitter. One important aspect which I almost missed out is Twitter. Although I've not been on it for too long, I've made quite a lot of people on it, and a lot of them overseas. It's a great way to know more people, and although I haven't met many of them in real life, I look forward to meeting more people this way. I'm also making arrangements to meet some close Japanese Twitter friends next Feb, so hopefully I'll have more stories to tell. For those of you whom I met via Twitter and are reading this, thanks for making Twitter a good experience and here's to a good Twitter year in 2011.

That's about it for 2010 I guess. Now for some chop chop resolutions.

1) To be a better son, husband, father. I need more patience and less witty sarcastic remarks which I know can make me seem rude at times. Hopefully I can change and not show so much anger at times of frustration. :(

2) To study hard and make sure I clear all those credits every semester. And to do well of course, and to complete the entire programme within the shortest possible time.

3) To ensure I get good feedback from work, and to push forward for better recognition. And more importantly, to ensure that the job satisfaction level remains high.

4) To be faster, stronger, fitter. This year I'm raising the bar by quite a bit. I hope to retain that Gold award in IPPT, and also to join 10 runs this year, along with 3 marathons.

5) Lastly, to dedicate more time to friends since I think I've been neglecting some circles for a while now. It's not easy balancing work, family, and studies, but I believe that friends will make the balancing act easier if I know how to make it work.

Well, these are the main ones. Of course, there are sub-bullet resolutions within these 5 main goals, but I'll leave that to another day. Oh and of course, 1 more resolution is to write more and share more on this blog. So once again, I wish all of you a happy near year. 2010 is done, and it's time to start a new chapter on a fresh page. May 2011 bring laughter, joy, and peace for everyone! Moving on! :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010! メリークリスマス!

Merry Christmas! Once again I've failed in updating as much as I'd like to, and from the usual once a week post I've degraded to more or less a once a month kind of update schedule. It's not that I'm very busy since work is at a low key period and that the semester hasn't started yet. I'm just lazy, and perhaps there isn't a lot to shout about or share these days. It's been a good week for me, since I've received my results and I've done better that I had hoped. Remember the paper I was bitching about? I was calculating how much I'd get and sadly no matter how I figured, I would still fail. Guess what I got a B. Must have been a hell lot of moderation and I'm not too low on the bell curve.

Rena turned 2 late last month, and in the short span of 4 weeks, me and Mabel hosted 2 parties at our place. One for Rena's birthday, and the other for the Christmas day celebrations. Once again, thanks to all who attended. Our place isn't a terribly big one, but I hope everyone found it cosy. It's not easy having to cater to the babies, the girls, and the guys, but it was fun for me, since there's khakis to play Sports Champions with me. And on behalf of Rena, thanks for all the gifts. She's having a blast unwrapping them all :)

Since there's some leave to be cleared during this festive season, I finally found the time (and determination) to break out my PG 00 Raiser model kit and to complete it. It's a gift from my friends at work, and not completing a gift seems to show insincerity. I tried to complete it earlier this year, but could only manage the main body parts and not the add-ons. It took me a couple more days to finish it, complete with panel markings and the spray on finish. I don't do air brushing any more, so a matte aerosol finish would have to suffice. It was quite simple and I'm pretty happy with the results. However, I'm not too sure whether this would re-spark my interest in Gundams, since they take so much time and dedication to complete. Ready made figures are so much easier. And I still have a MG F91 Gundam in my storeroom. Anyone keen to take over from me?

And since I had the camera out, I took a few more pictures around my place, including updated shots of my collection and posted them on my Facebook account. If you're reading this from the blog, feel free to visit my album via the FB link on the right panel. The PG Gundam kit took up quite a lot of space, and I still have 2 more MG Kamen Rider W figures on the way. I really need to create more room soon.

On the gaming front, I've been pretty much busy with Call of Duty: Black Ops at night, and I'm about to reach my first Prestige level. Though, I've been thinking hard and more or less have decided not to go beyond level 50, since I'd like to keep up with the various Challenges, and I don't see the game keeping my interest beyond the upcoming month. Check out a clip I uploaded to youtube, showing you exactly how NOT to plant a claymore in the multiplayer mode.

And so in my haste, I went out and bought a new game: Dragonball Raging Blast 2. From the reviews I knew that as a fighting game, it was mediocre at best. But as a fan of the series, I realised that there's a very high nostalgia factor in this game. 90 characters, show accurate scenes, and what-if scenarios tempted me too much not to invest in it. And while I wasn't too impressed with the interface and the system, it's still pretty fun to re-live moments which left me amazed decades ago, and to be immersed in the world of Dragonball again during this lull period doesn't sound too bad. Not too bad at all.

On other media, a new Super Sentai team has been announced, and since it's the 35th anniversary of Super Sentai, it's going to be a show which features returning characters. The poster you see here showcases all the previous Reds, and it's impressive how much they are going to bring back for this upcoming season. I look forward to this new season with much anticipation. And finally..... since this is likely to be my final post for 2010, I'd like to wish everyone a good upcoming new year, and hopefully 2011 will be a good year for all. Till the next update, ja!