A voice crying in the wilderness

Posts tagged ‘Lifestyle’

Content, not the container

I’ve decided to do away with my collection of records and cassettes. Truth be told, I haven’t listened to them in years or I’ve obtained CD or MP3 versions that I play through computer, media centre or mobile phones.

I used to be fascinated by all the old formats but reached a point where I started running out of space for them. Sorting through my cassettes last night I realised that have digital versions of three quarters of them and most of the rest I likely never will listen to again.

I find the same with my collection of video games and books. There are a few books I will like to keep in a physical form but many I will only have as an ebook, particularly one I will only read now and again, or reference books.

As there are only handful of games on each platform that I enjoy, I don’t want to have consoles upon consoles around the house.

Emulation of these systems is an ideal solution – the original games can be played on one system pretending to be another. The controllers may not be “authentic” but the experience is largely the same.

I frequently play games from my childhood using Commodore 64 and Amiga emulators, sometimes arcade machine emulators as well. On occasion, I will acquire a remake for a more recent system (in the hope that the remake is faithful to the original and not a “reimagining”). The original is often crafted to create an atmosphere that makes the best use of the host system, remakes often are a mechanical imitation that copies the look without recapturing the feel.

There is further justification for emulation as well – as equipment gets older, it starts to fail. ROMs develop what is known as “bit rot”, the chips losing or corrupting the information stored on them.

With eBooks, it pays to shop around if you are using a tablet rather than a dedicated ebook reader – even then you may be able to access books from different purveyours. Try, if you can, to source your books in an unprotected epub format. With the apparent exception of the Kindle, all readers are able to read these, along with PDF. The concern with eBooks is that the publisher may remove books from your collection without warning, apology or compensation. Of if they cease trading, as has happened a lot in Japan recently, you may lose your books when your devices stop functioning.

How do you present yourself as a Christian?

When you tell people that you are a Christian, you can see their eyes glaze over immediately. People jump on you, calling you judgemental, superior and discriminatory – even people who know you well enough to know better. Even if you try to explain or defend your beliefs, they won’t listen and simply shout you down.

I recall a comic showing people listening to Eastern philosophy or popular commentary and taking it to heart or revering it but when shown similar wisdom from the bible, they instinctively recoiled and rejected. Even though the same person might quote from psalms or proverbs not realising its origin.

But as a Christian, how do people perceive you? Do you come across as smug and superior? Do you present an attitude of “Holier than thou”? Do you take humble to excess? Are you so meek and mild that people look at you and see a whipped puppy? Are you a hypocrite? Saying one thing but doing another? Do you gossip and slander, backbite and speak ill of one another? Christians are human and therefore sinners – we are weak and flawed, the same as everyone else. We are perhaps a little more aware of our shortcomings and strive to keep ourselves disciplined – but we still have our faults and foibles. I have struggled with smoking and alcohol abuse. I experience bouts of depression and my discipline is at its weakest when I am tired. I, too, get angry and say things that offend people with intention or realisation. I know that if I repent and pray, the Lord is kind and forgiving but people sometimes are not so.

The Father is full of grace but that isn’t a “Get out of jail free” card – we are still subject to the laws of man and people still carry grudges.

The Rules of Misconduct

Rules for driving in Albany:
1) Never slow down for roundabouts – especially if you don’t have right of way
2) It is normal for teenagers to walk out in front of moving vehicles
3) Don’t indicate – it confuses people if you tell them what you intend to do
4) If you stop at a roundabout for a teenager crossing the road whilst indicating, the driver behind you is at risk of having their head explode – or they will just start beeping and screaming abuse

2015 – The Year of Getting Stuff Done

Everything you know is wrong

Black is white, up is down and short is long

And everything you thought was so important doesn’t really matter…

– “Weird Al” Yankovic, “Everything you know is wrong”

Stress and depression have a tendency to arise when the brain attempts to devise complicated solutions to simple problems.

The events of the last few weeks have left me wondering where I am heading in life – all the plans I had made and the life goals I had set suddenly were rendered worthless and meaningless. I suddenly found myself at an impasse, unable to proceed in any direction without tearing myself free of my moorings and returning to my starting point. I have done that once already in my life and have no desire to do it again if I can avoid it.

Part of my predicament stems from both career frustration and family obligation. I find myself needing to be able to fulfil both duty to my wife and to my immediate family, and seek a career that permits both. One that also permits me to be simultaneously in two locations 400km apart.

Unable to sleep last night, I arose and entered into a couple of hours prayer and meditation. I thought about all the tasks that I have undertaken over the years – composing music and songs, writing short stories and poetry, writing and drawing comics and cartoons, preparing and taking photos. Some of these tasks have been published and earned money.

I would be the first to say that I’m not particularly good at any of them, though – I became good enough to be satisfied with my competence and then lose interest.

But I consider that God gave me these talents for a purpose – not to taunt me with my limited competence but to forge a new way in life. My inspiration recently has been for writing articles dealing with my Christian faith (as well as my associated political and social views). During my prayers, I wondered if I should renew my artistic pursuits and combine them in a way that I could earn a living. It will be a slow process – I’ve not done any substantial drawing since JAMWAF (the JAFWA newsletter) and Xuan Xuan (a Perth-based manga anthology) ceased publication over 10 years ago. I’ve not spent much time playing music since I stepped down from the church music group two years prior to my wedding. I do still partake of photography and writing though.

So, since 2015 is My Year of Getting Stuff done, I propose to renew my creative activities as well as write more. Moreover, when I write articles, whether it be about Christianity or computers, I plan to post them in forums more visible and accessible rather than just my obscure blog.

I’ve enquired about drum lessons as well, so prepare your ear plugs.

Fykall, Clean My House

Ever get those moment of epiphany, when everything you need to do or you need to achieve are suddenly visible to you, like walking drunkenly into a darkened room only to have someone switch on the light?

That happens to me all the time.

So after having a really freakishly awful time during October, I’m making an effort to get some semblance of order back into my life.

I went out for a walk this evening – something I’ve not done for over a year. Although its late Spring and we’re partaking of that nonsensical process that is daylight saving, this evening was heavily overcast, raining only slightly and rather cool. I enjoy my evening walks – it gives the body something to occupy itself with whilst the mind gets on with the task of sorting out the Thoughts of the Day. Plus I need to try and get fit again. Really.

With a rental inspection due in the immediate future, I felt it was time to have a big clear out. Over the last couple of years, I’ve accumulated so much excess computer gear that it had taken over both kitchen and dining area – my apartment was rapidly turning into Style’s Dad’s house; so much accumulated clutter that there was practically no room to move. On top of that, there’s a number of boxes of crockery and glassware that I packed up years ago when looking to move somewhere else due to unruly neighbors. I figure that if I haven’t used it in three years, I don’t need it anymore.

The same goes for my manga – I’ve decided to donate all the collected editions to the JAFWA library (I’ll probably end up putting the individual issues up on eBay or something since the library doesn’t want those).

I managed to find a new home for most of the computer gear – a customer who comes into my office on a regular basis is on the lookout for leftover bits and pieces to assemble systems for people who either can’t afford a system or don’t need anything powerful.

The next step is to change my lifestyle – eat better, drink less, exercise more. The past weekend I finished the last bottle of Falling Down Liquid (plum wine made by my parents) so that temptation has now been removed. With cosplay activities finishing up for the year, I now have more time to cook properly and can go back to planning my meals rather than cooking quick and easy (and typically unhealthy) things.

I’ve also made an effort to renew my interest in gardening. When I first moved here, it was the first time I’d had a decent size garden that I could shape to my whims. I started growing vegetables (bok choi since I do like my stir fries, cos lettuce, pumpkin, onions – nothing particularly challenging) but after the first successful crop, everything went to seed. I pulled it all out and started again, only to have that go to seed immediately as well. My interest declined rapidly after that and the vegetable garden was eventually given over to a decorative herb garden. Eventually most of that died as well, until only the oregano survived and threatened to take over that entire area.

So last weekend I pulled most of the oregano out and binned it. I have since made a mental note to remember to wear long sleeves when working in the garden – not because of the risk of sunburn but because contact with most plants brings me up in hives.

That was the other reason I lost interest in gardening.

I’ve still to dig up the mat of roots that the oregano has left behind, but once that’s done I’ll plant carrots, zucchini and broccoli and see how that goes – that’s a suitable Summer crop for this area I’m told.

Eating well has always been something of a priority for me so that won’t be too much of a challenge, but staying off the booze and continuing to exercise will prove more difficult. Since I got back from Rottnest with Mistijen back in September, I’ve been saving up for a bike of my own so I’m hoping that will help. Looking forward to just getting on the bike of an evening and going exploring.

If I can get back into the routine that I used to have many years ago, next time I go back to Rottnest with Mistijen, not only will I be much fitter, I will have a bike that doesn’t cause me so much discomfort that I feel like the seat has come off and I’ve been sitting on the pole.