It was such a surreal experience cycling for the past few days! Thick heavy fog reduced my visibility down to just tens of meters. In the morning, it got so cold that the fields were covered in frost. So was my jacket, slowly covered with thin lines of frost on the edges, the more time I spent cycling! I wonder how the ducks and geese that are still around can survive this kind of temperature. Should they not have migrated down south?Foggy pathI don’t suppose I’ll enjoy cycling under such condition everyday. But I really have no complaints for the past few days. Quite the opposite, I enjoyed every minute of it. I wanted to capture a good photo along my way to work to show the extent of the fog. But I suppose it’s always going to be difficult to capture such details, especially with just my camera phone…

Save the earth

Orang Utan

I remember organising a project on ‘greening’ the earth when I was in high school. Although I knew that we should do our bit to recycle as much as we could, I was not able to appreciate the gravity and seriousness of environmental issues. I had been watching some documentaries and tv programmes about numerous threats to the wildlife, extinction of uncountable species, large scale deforestation etc in the past few years. Every time I watch such programmes or come to read an article about environment conservation, it pains me to accept the truth that every damage had been done to ensure the survival of human beings. It may be 10 years too late for me, but possibly 50 years too late for mankind.It is surprising that even in a well-developed country like the Great Britain, a lot of people are rather contented with their current lifestyle and have no intention to do their part to save our environment. Energy consumption is unbelievably high and most people would choose to drive private vehicles when they could have opted for a more environmentally friendly transport.If we carry on living our extravagant lifestyle and have no consideration for our nature whatsoever, it is unsurprising that our children will never be able to see wild tigers, elephants, panda, orang utan etc. I truly think that if everyone puts some thoughts into thinking how they can help conserve the environment and take actions now, we may still be able to salvage what is remaining in time.

Web hosting service

I always have this question in my mind on whether hosting this blog on my home machine is such a good idea afterall. My web server is slow, because the uplink speed of my ADSL connection is only 256Kbps. I have no backup power supply, and my server is not secured from denial of service attack.I recently bought a two-year service with IX web hosting for my travel business project. It’s cheap but the service plan is surprisingly very generous. I get 1,000GBytes allowance for data transfer every month, which should be more than sufficient although I have lots of pictures on my website, and 100GBytes of webspace! When I did my research on which web hosting service to go for, I found that many of them have very limited allowance for data transfer. They may be very cheap, but they charge a lot when the allowance is exceeded (so look carefully at the small prints!). Another thing to watch out for is the customer support. Some web hosting companies have appalling customer support. And some are just resellers. For example they bought a dedicated server service from a web hosting company, and then resell spare capacity to other people. So although their service may be cheap, it’s probably difficult to expect much from them. The only consideration for me when I signup with IX web hosting was that they do not provide secure shell (ssh) access to the web server. But I’m glad it turns out that their web shell service is user-friendly enough. And I can still run scripts using crontab. So looks like maybe I should transfer this blog to IX web hosting as well. BUT, the challenge of administering my own web server is too hard to let go, afterall 🙂

A healthy day out

Dinton_PastureI was bored of our usual cycle route and thought I would find a different cycle route for our new adventure last weekend. Having searched the local council’s websites, I realised that there’s a 300+ acres of reserve park just about 6 or 7 miles from our place. It was great news! I had been wanting to make more use of my binoculars for birdwatching now that winter is here. We had a long 3 hour walk at the reserve park after about 45 minutes bike ride. It was a fun day. The reserve park has several lakes and is a good place to see wildfowls. I am so happy that I found this park and we will become regulars very soon. Here’s a photo taken with my phone camera to share with you.

Selflessness and selfishness

There was a time I sort of concluded, after some discussions with my friends, that all human are selfish. Selfish in the sense that when people are under extreme circumstances, e.g life-death situation, whichever way they choose, it is going to be a selfish decision, assuming that a choice is possible. Why would I think that way? Say there is a situation where somebody has to die, e.g. a crashing plane full of passengers with only a few parachutes, a sinking ship with a small life boat. Anyone with any self-worth will want to get hold of one of those life saving kit to survive, regardless of whether or not they will be called selfish. This should be the right spirit, as it means they know that their life is worth living, at the very least. People who did not consider, never cross their mind, of surviving at all has got pretty much the same mentality as people committing suicide, don’t you think?Desperately fighting for my chance of survival just because I want to be with your loved one, family and friends is selfish, I thought. So is giving up my chance of survival to someone else, as I’m selfish in the sense that I’m letting my loved one, family and friends down. It will seem like I don’t love them, or care about their feelings a great deal.But I suppose selflessness is more about not bringing in emotional attachments when making decisions in life. Needless to say, this is always going to be a challenge, for we will always have attachments to various things, in whatever form they may be, particularly ourselves and family members. So it’s probably about acknowledging and understanding these attachments, and train ourselves not to let them affect our judgement endlessly. Afterall, it only takes time to perfect the skill to become selfless, not cutting ties with families and friends, as I once feared.

It’s not over until the fat lady sings

Why the fat lady? My colleague who used this expression heard it many times before, but never really work out the origin of this expression. Determined to find out why the fat lady has a part to play, we couldn’t help but to put our work discussion aside and brought on the Internet to the wallsize projector screen in the meeting room to search for an answer. Here’s one the more relevant answers.On why a fat lady is often involved in bringing down the curtain of a show or opera is anyone’s guess. Maybe big women are just better in doing such soprano. But it became rather amusing when my colleague also told me that TFI Friday used to end their show with a fat lady singing, which is one of the reasons why he remember the expresion so well. So it could well be that some shows nowadays are putting on fat lady at the end just for the sake of this expression 🙂

Tiring life

Yes, I know it’s been a long long while and I make no excuses for not writing more often. But work has been rather hectic. I am approaching my 1st anniversary with my current employer. For the records, I have never worked with any employer for more than a year and I look forward to establishing a better employment history.I am not sure whether it’s the winter or the very fact that I am leading a tiring life that depresses me. My daily routine of being in the office (except weekends of course!) seems to make me feel dispirited more than ever.I don’t know how many working adults out there moan about not having enough time to do other things besides working. Honestly, I have great plans for the weekends every Wednesday. However, by the time Friday comes, I will be so exhausted that all I want to do is to take a rest at home and yet, it seems that no matter how much time I spend resting, it’s never enough.So my dilemma is whether I should do more activities every weekend and end up moaning about not getting proper rest or take more rests and still feeling lethargic.In any case, I have planned to attend a yoga lesson this weekend and hope that it’s a good start to having a more balanced lifestyle.