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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Busy Busy Busy

Recently I’ve just been really really busy with my day job (iPhone app development). I worked long hours and sometimes weekends too. And it’s getting closer and closer to Christmas and also closer and closer to the deadline. I am tired, and it looks like I won’t be able to get that many days off. I admit that sometimes I just start getting angrier and angrier at the project for not being done and over with. It’s a mix of stress, frustrations, and seemingly impossible deadlines, but I’ll get over it, I guess.

Lately I just feel too tired to do anything after work. I haven’t been doing much besides watching TV after I got off work. I am beginning to understand why some people watch so much TV. It takes no effort. You don’t really need to think. See, reading takes so much more energy. You have to turn on your imagination to translate words into images. You have to move your eyeballs to scan the pages. What’s more, you even have to to use your fingers to turn the pages! So much effort! TV, on the other hand, allows you to be lazy and to stare passively at a story as it unfolds. That’s so much easier than, say, going through my Google Reader, which, as you can see in the picture, has more than 1000 unread posts. Going through that thing is simply too much effort.

The show that I’ve been watching lately is Lie to Me. I’ve been curious about the show after seeing the commercials, but haven’t had periods of time of feeling so lazy until lately. So I started watching it. The show is about a group of experts in lie detection that assist individual clients and FBI to investigate who is telling the truth. I watched it and ended up liking it. I’ve already gone through all 10 of the episodes currently on Hulu (the whole season 2 so far). I wouldn’t say it’s a show that’s so clever that it totally blew me away, or the story is so deep that it makes me think about the meaning of life. Some people criticized it for copying TV shows like Psych and The Mentalist, but eh, what do I care? I just want something that entertains me without too much effort on my part. See? A show that makes me think too much would not be something I want to watch when I am tired. Also some people compared the main characters’ use of detailed observations of human interactions to what Sherlock Holmes does. Well, I like Sherlock Holmes stories so I guess that worked for me as well.
Before any of you starts telling me that I should get off my ass and stop watching all that TV, well, you got nothing to worry about. I am currently going through Season 1 of Lie to Me, and I only have six more episodes left to go. Once that’s done, I’ll have nothing to watch for a while and get back to something that involves not as much blank staring. And I am still somewhat active in my TV watching anyway. For example, tonight I saw one of those scenes in which two people walked through a hallway/corridor while talking about a case they were working on. These kind of shots are common on TV and they are often shots from different angles spliced together. I rewinded (rewound?) a few times to see if they repeated or skipped any part of the hallway to make sure the length of the hallway matches the time it takes to finish talking and go from the starting point to the destination. And yes, they did match up correctly. I wonder if they tried it out in rehearsal to figure out if the hallway is of the right length. See? I am doing something.

My friend just had a birthday party this past week and we also did an White Elephant thing. It was quite fun. The rule was that the gifts had to be used items and no new wrapping was allowed (so I wrapped mine in ad paper). You could either pick a gift at random or steal someone else’s. With more than 30 presents there, it was quite entertaining with random gifts like mugs that look like a snowman, etch-a-sketch, Aspirin, coffee-flavored vodka, and some interesting looking books. The game ended when the final present was unwrapped and it was… post-its. What a great way to end the game after all the anticipation! So what did I get? Well, you could see what I got here: a book and some beans in a fancy container. The book is Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott. I’ve never heard of the book before, but it called itself a “romance” and yet it was full of geometric diagrams. It even called itself “unabridged” while it was less than 100 pages long. I think it would be an interesting read. And the beans… I honestly have no idea what to do with them (now that’s a true white elephant), but I already said they will make a repeat appearance at the next potluck. Eh, I’ll figure something out.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Hopefully work becomes less crazy soon!


  1. vered
    December 22nd, 2009 | 8:11 pm

    I never realized before what it is that you do for a living. It’s interesting to get to know you (and your struggles) a little better. I do hope work becomes less crazy soon, and in the meantime, hang in there!

  2. December 23rd, 2009 | 1:20 am

    Hehe, yeah, I don’t mention work that much. The thing is, I don’t like to write about what project I am working on, since that’s between us and our clients. And in general, I simply don’t like to rant because I think it’s unproductive. Also I don’t believe in repeating to myself and others how much things suck. There’s no point in reinforcing that. I would rather just get over it than dwell on it. Thanks for the pep talk!

  3. December 24th, 2009 | 2:08 pm

    Yep, every once in a while I get burnt out and for days I spend all my free time gazing blankly at the television. I know the feeling! I also love White Elephant. My family does it every Christmas, except we call it “grab bag,” and the presents are new. My favorites are always the joke gifts. Gotta have a sense of humor!

    Happy Holidays Kelvin!

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..Creative Writing Ideas in the News

  4. December 25th, 2009 | 2:51 am

    It’s always good to have a good mix of thoughtful presents, interesting presents and plain gag gifts. That’s what makes it fun! (Okay, really, people that have a sense of humor make it fun.)

    Happy holidays to you too! 😀

  5. January 1st, 2010 | 3:59 pm

    That book looks interesting. I have heard of it before. I’ll have to put it on my Amazon wishlist!

  6. January 3rd, 2010 | 1:30 am

    I haven’t gotten to actually reading it yet. Hope to get to it soon.

  7. Na
    February 2nd, 2010 | 1:28 am

    Most people don’t realise *why* Lie to Me is so similar to Sherlock Holmes: the truth is that all the characters, including those in the Mentalist, etc. all use *cold reading*. It’s just Sherlock Holmes, nor anyone else, actually ever called it that. (It’s also all deductive reasoning, but don’t tell CSI that)

    You could paint the beans… make a little flea circus!

  8. February 2nd, 2010 | 2:52 am

    Well, each of them has their own spin. Sherlock Holmes is not only good at observing people, but also small traces of clues that can lead him to solving the case. Lie to Me has the micro-expressions stuff. CSI has the forensic science stuff. None of them (actually, none of the police procedural drama) can be considered entirely original, but they keep making a bunch of these since people like watching them.

    I personally don’t think Lie to Me is all that original, but I think it’s well-executed. That’s why I enjoyed it.

  9. Na
    February 3rd, 2010 | 3:07 am

    Yep, I agree it’s all sort of different angles of the same detective work. Personally I never really got into Lie to Me. I think I’ve just been oversaturated with murder mystery stuff (my dad’s a huge fan and buys every new book that came out: so I read a lot of them too when I was younger).

  10. February 3rd, 2010 | 4:35 am

    Actually, there’s so much murder mystery stuff out there, that I think it’s more important whether you like the characters or not than whether the cases are interesting or not. As for Lie to Me, I basically watched the whole series backwards. I think season 2 is pretty good. I also like the pilot but the rest of season 1 is sort of bland.

  11. Na
    February 3rd, 2010 | 9:02 pm

    So true. I think pretty much all of the shows I watch, I watch because of the characters (and arcs) and their relationships/dynamics with the others.

    Watching backwards? That would confuse the hell out of me!

  12. February 4th, 2010 | 3:43 am

    The thing is, I want to watch the new episodes first to see how the show is right now. I like shows that have episodes that don’t have that much to do with one another and can be watched in any order, because I won’t feel obligated to find the missing episodes, if I missed one.

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