Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Custom fortune cookie time!

This is a slightly leftfield post, but it was so entertaining that I couldn’t help but share it.

Mission: Custom developer fortune cookies for the Chinese New Year!
Why: Giving your developers a good laugh with relevant fortune cookie messages

We have a pretty awesome development team and we celebrate a diverse number of events. The Chinese New Year was approaching and the group were in the preparatory step of asking everyone to bring a dish… Note that I find all kinds of interesting ways of squirrelling out of bringing anything (the only thing I know how to bake is textures in a computer game :)). For this event I jokingly said I would bring fortune cookies.

Buying a bag of fortune cookies is such a cop-out, so here’s an alternative idea – make your own.

What you’ll need:

  • A fortune cookie recipe – they’re remarkably easy to make
  • Relevant fortune cookie messages, here is my template
    • We spent 20 minutes racking our brains for funny messages, it’s definitely the best part!
  • About 2 hours trying to not singe your fingers while folding the cookies

Happy New Year everyone!

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Seori – My learnings on mentoring

Mentoring.

Between you and I, I always feel like the youngest in a group. It may be younger brother syndrome, or from the fact that I don’t want to be an expert because it means I will soon start plateauing. My older brother said something memorable when we were teenagers: if you want to be a good pool player, find the meanest guy in the pool hall and challenge him until you win. Generally, it seems, I naturally gravitate toward being the noob challenger rather than the expert.

Either way, for 2015, I was tasked with doing a bit of mentoring/coaching. *Clap/rub hands* Right, so, where to start?

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My Maranifesto: The Game of Running

Everyone writes books on running. If you run (maybe a little, maybe a lot), you write about it (maybe a little, maybe a lot). I think at some point these running books gain critical mass, and become more than the sum of their pages. Why? Because if you run (maybe a little, maybe a lot), your probably read (maybe a little, maybe a lot).

I love imagining the emergent properties of things, as though you observed it strictly from its behaviour, and don’t understand its innate nature. Running books would have a great story. In the beginning there may have been one or two running books, little critters cowering in the corner of the sports section, thin and emaciated, travelling alone. Then the running book-beast, by all observations, began to multiple at a geometric rate. At some point they gained critical mass – a Phillip Ball phase change, no doubt. They began travelling in herds, swarming across the great plains of bookstores.

The humans continued picking at their masses, but they only grew more – the progeny of word of mouth. They began flocking into your bedroom, lying passively supine, waiting for you to gorge on their dietary suggestions, training regimes, and introspections. Now, few bedside tables have gone untouched, the running book-beast as ubiquitous as its domesticated distant cousin, the post-thanksgiving diet book.

By some groups, it has gained almost religious status, with rituals and doctrines that indicate (again solely by observation) that this animal is almost sacrosanct. ‘Coming of age’ rituals develop between the runners and the book-beasts, e.g. when a running group leader ‘borrows’ a dog-eared, coffee-stained, beast to a neophyte runner uttering sacred words such as “…oh you don’t know about fartleks? This is a great book on it which will help you set up a training regime using fartleks to increase your pace.”

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RIP Oliver Sacks

While wandering through the Naperville Barnes & Noble one Saturday night, I found ‘The Mind’s Eye’ ensconced in a pile of self-help books.

At the time, I knew nothing of Oliver Sacks or his material, but over the last month I’ve had a crash-course in psychology, cultural history, cycling, and life in general from Michelle (a beautiful 1%er whose mind is overflowing with material more than her room is with books). She has a voracious taste for this type of material, and considering that I was listlessly slogging around waiting for her to get home that night, I picked it up. The title bounded around in my head and lit up some evasive memories that, although not clear, promised it to be an interesting read.

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2am… Needs and Wants

Maslow, the(slightly over-referenced?) triangle of needs – eat your heart out. Life has changed a lot since 1943 and that initial design of needs and wants. WiFi, for example, is an essential part of our existence – yes we joke about it, but take away your phone for a week… Feel the burn? 🙂

It’s 2am and I need (want?) sleep. Seems like as good a point as any to pound out a few words, I guess.

Last weekend I ended up hunkering down in surfer beach hostel on Mission beach in San Diego. One night while fighting off some insomnia, I was examining the common area bookshelf and found an intriguing book – Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Not sure how common area books work, but I assumed it was a book share and subsequently liberated it from the hostel to read on the plane (just to be sure I will send it back once read). Well, I can’t put it down, it’s a beautiful read…

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Without Meaning

It is not the cessation of dreams I fear, but the ceasing of desire.
Dreams are plentiful, rampant and unbidden in every waking moment.
It is in the moment when I cease to desire them,
Disregarding my imprudent pursuit,
Abandoning my unrelenting yearning,
that I, too, shall cease to exist.

– Sam

P.S. Yes, desires/dreams may kill you, but apathy/complacency will just shatter your back…