The pain of emptiness

On May 6th, 2013, I learned that I lost a thing forever. Due to my self-righteous anger, my forever alert of other people’s problems, and my own poisonous wishes — I wished for the bad things to happen and they did. I asked for it. Then I felt heart wrenched and  cried silently in the car. There is now an emptiness in my heart and a regret in my life that is impossible to be filled and remedied.

Be careful what you wish for.

There are certain levels of retribution in our life. The easiest one is not having the blessings in life that other people have and you are not even aware of it. You don’t even know there is such a wonderful blessing in the world.

Secondary to it is another type of retribution: you see such blessings but it is impossible for you to have. And you are left permanently yearning for the things that you could never reach. Sometimes you simply console yourself that maybe it is written, it is your fate.

The third level is taking away what you have taken for granted, sometimes forever, to deliver to you a wakening blow to realize that what a valuable object you have lost, and you will never able to retrieve it, ever. In many cases, the valuable thing is lavishly given to you is ruined by your own hand. After you realize what you have squandered, you are left with a feeling that a chip of your life is forever gone and it is you who chopped it down.

If you could still make up for what you have lost, then you are at the fourth level of pain. Fate just taught you a lesson and you can still get back what you want — if you truly want it.

Today, I know, I lost that thing forever. I can cheat myself by saying that it is fate that makes a joke an takes away what does not belong to me, but deep inside, I know I ruined it. Now there is an empty spot in my soul which is never going to be remedied.

Bebware of the blind overwhelming force

If you are an Indian caught in the westward expansion of the white people, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a Jew caught in the Nazi Germany, beware of the overwhelming force;
If you are a worker caught in the globalized capitalism, beware of the overwhelming force;
Do you surrender to the futility of struggle or you fight to death.
Or it does not even matter as the gust in the autumn will clear away the withered leaves anyway.
What is your choice if you are caught in the blind overwhelming force?

Two ways of consuming books

When reading a book, how to balance between speed and quality of reading? There are numerous books to read and there is certainly not enough time to read. Besides, life is too wonderful to be just spent in reading and consuming the mass produced words on pages.

As one historian eloquently puts, the increase of knowledge in history may risk the the actual understanding of the materials. The voluminous pages of names, dates and events, were forced upon readers, in a “buy and large” manner, typical of a society overbearing for more consumption.

As a result, wise reader need to choose wisely what to read and stop consuming whatever is conveniently accessible to him, either by deliberate information tracking or peer recommendation. There are always ways to do things differently and reading is one important factor. Books are products, and the majority of the products would be gone into oblivion within the next hundred years, into the trash of the historical dustbin, so to speak. Any reader without a discerning mind is feeding the braining with future trash.

Food for the brain should be planned and arranged as carefully as food for the stomach. Actively planning the personal diet results in a healthy body, so does selective reading. There are numerous marketing tricks which make us choose certain products, believing it is our personal choice. There are also numerous authors who write not to share information but to deliberately obfuscate the our understanding of the world — for seamy purposes such as pecuniary or political gains.

Allow me to go back to the topic about two ways of consuming books. One is reading and the other is studying. The later is the most time consuming but also should be very rewarding. Some portions of a book needs to be studied and cross-examined, and other portions to be read. I say this because I tend to consecrate books and afraid of fully committing to a book with the self-imposed obligation of finishing it from cover to cover. Bear in mind that today few books are written to enlighten; they are written to be consumed.

How about some jazz?

Today I went to a Jazz concert. It is the first live concert of Jazz I ever attended and the performance was wonderful.

When listening, my body can’ help shaking and dancing tot he rhythms of the music. The melody of Jazz sounds casual and informal, as spontaneous expression of emotions.

Jazz connects directly to the audience, and the instruments speaks directly to the audience. It is a hippy and cool, and I like the trumpeter whose music really talked into my minds.

Chaos management method

I have to admit that I erred on the side of being very disorganized. What’s ironical is that I spend more time trying to organizing things rather than focusing on the things to be done.

Today I make a decision to invent my own ‘chaos management method’, which means this:

Taking the state of chaos as the normal circumstance of things. Then focus on one thing and do it with consistence, and feel comfortable to leave other things disorganized and chaotic. Gradually, that one thing, presumably the most important thing to do for a period of time, will drag chaotic matters into its orbit, forming a stable planetary system around the common core.

This may sound abstract, so let me give you an example:

When organizing numerous types of files in a computer, I used to put them into different categories and created an individual folder for them. The time spent on examining and organizing them are considerable, but the result is not satisfactory. Very soon, I will create a lot of folders with all kinds of names and initial purpose of organizing them is defeated.

Now, I will do this: throw all the files into a portable drive, and only keep the documents that is absolutely necessary for the current project in the computer disk drive. When the current project is finished or suspended, immediately move them to the portable drive. The only thing to keep in mind is that care should be taken to give the files recognizable names so that they can be easily searched and located in case they are resurfaced to attention.

Executive files should not be bothered with any form of organization. Photos should be named with their occasion and the date. For the Office files and informational files, make sure they are synchronized across the computers and backed up automatically. The idea is: rather than managing several chaotic universes, I would just throw all objects into one universe, and find the things I need in that big universe.

I am a non-linear person and this is my method of chaotic management.

What if I am the garbage comber, what if I am God?

My daily jogging is now changed into jogging on alternate days. I run at least 3km every other day, sometimes 5km and I plan to extend the route into 6km and keep it that way for a while. Today I did 5km but didn’t feel enough because I didn’t sweat as much as before. Next time I will wear my wrist watch so that I can time my speed.

Now back to the topic of this post.

Many times when I return from my jogging, I saw a middle-aged woman combing through garbage bins. Once I saw her bending her upper body into the trunk of the garbage cart and digging. Obviously she collects recyclable things and sells them to make a living.

I took pity on her because it is such a ghastly job and I cannot imagine how I can endure it if I were her. Imagine the smell and all kinds of nasty things you may find inside piles of garbage contained in plastic bags. What if I am in her position, how would I change my fate? Presumably nobody wants to do such a kind of job, even the most dedicated ascetic would shun away from this way of living.

If I were this woman, would I be tied down to this job forever, busying feeding myself, and never have a chance to escape? Most probably? Would I be able to squeeze out some spare time and learn different skills at the age of 50? Would I quit that nasty job and become a dish washer or street sweeper? Would I so hate myself that I would plunge into the sea in the stormed weather? Or my mind would be so numbed that I don’t even pity myself or care nothing other than the garbage harvesting?

I do not know the answers. I wish I could see the woman’s life to this point on a screen so that I could draw some lessons.

Today, when I entered my neighborhood and saw her again, I suddenly had his idea: what if I am God, what can I do to change her miserable life?

My immediate thought is make her life even worse off and utterly desperate so that she can be galvanized into taking some drastic measures to change her life. Then I can help her and decorate her new path with more opportunities and pleasant surprises. I know giving her more garbage to harvest will not make her life better, and only when she has nothing to lose, she will try to seek a different path and only at that time my help will not become charity.

In one sense, I am no different from the garbage woman. Do I dare to break away from my current and start a new one?


My judgement on the woman who collects garbage is merely and completely conjured in my mind, and it does not reflect her true state of mind and living style. She may be a perfectly happy woman with a very fulfilling life. After all, nobody can say guarantee that an emperor lives better than a peasant.


Let’s lose some weight

I lost over 10 pounds in the last 40 days or so by following this routine:

  1. Exercise. Alternating jogging (3 kilometers) and walking every other day. I feel I can even do 5 kilometers for the running.
  2. Eat far less. I do not eat a formal lunch, only having some fruit to ease the hunger. I have some meat for dinner but eat as less rice and noodles as possible.
  3. Sleep early. I do not stay up too often as before.

When it gets warmer, I will alternate jogging with swimming.

Strength and determination can only come from the inside. I never dreamed that I suddenly have such a strong will and persistence to exercise and keep fit. You know what? It feels so good to be thinner and energetic again. I do not need so much food to keep myself going with daily life. Actually, eating less means less burden for my stomach and body to handle the carbohydrate I get from rice and noodles.

My plan is to lose 30 pounds and go back to my normal weight.

Four years of blogging

This blog started in the April of 2008 and now it is almost four years. A lot of things have happened and I didn’t record them all in this blog.

I just did some cleaning and editing of this blog, deleting two lame posts, reinserting a missing and removing the empty folders in the upload directory.

There are 143 posts right now. Those posts in which I have invested efforts and time, are still very readable. I can’t believe I actually spent so much time writing the trivial things, but this is not a waste of time as long as I keep writing in English. At least my English writing will not get so rusty and I am not supposed to compose a magnum opus here.

The thinking and the weirdness will go on.