3baid's Thoughts

Putting into words what occupies my mind

You have to buy. It’s for your own good.

Have you noticed how most of the stores in shopping malls have been discounting their products? Heavily promoting their “last batch” or “limited edition” product line? It’s not because of Christmas, or new year, or change of season. The reason is that these stores are about to reach the end of their fiscal year. That means they have to clear out their stocks and work extra hard to persuade customers to buy their products so that their sales figures look good on the annual report. It’s a race against time to get the most money out of people’s pockets and keep managers and owners happy.

“Try this perfume!”

“Buy this jacket, it’s the last one we have!”

“50% Sale”

“Sorry, we don’t have that anymore, it’s sold out. How about the other one? It’s almost the same! We only have a few left!”

As for the few stores that are not in panic mode, they have probably reached their sales targets already.

Some Japanese Concepts

The following were taken from Wikipedia:

Parasite single (parasaito shinguru) is a Japanese term for a single person who lives with their parents until their late twenties or early thirties in order to enjoy a carefree and comfortable life. In English, the expression “sponge” or “basement dweller” may sometimes be used.

Parasite singles are often blamed for a large number of problems in Japan, ranging from a decline in the birth rate over the economic recession to the increase in crime. Professor Tenki Yamada claims that the “spoiled” women that grew up during the bubble economy are particularly to blame. However, many people also feel that the young adults have no option but to become parasite singles in the current difficult economic situation, having to choose between career and family.

How many parasites do you know of? Would our lifestyle change if prices for land and housing were cheaper? If single women lived in their own homes instead of their parent’s? I’ve known people who lived in dorm rooms abroad and felt better about being in control of their time, space and lives as opposed to living with their parents and being under their supervision.

A tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms. Traditionally made of rice straw to form the core (though nowadays sometimes the core is composed of compressed wood chip boards or polystyrene foam), with a covering of woven soft rush (igusa) straw, tatami are made in standard sizes, with the length exactly twice the width. Usually, on the long sides, they have edging (heri) of brocade or plain cloth, although some tatami have no edging.

Unlike wood, marble, or ceramic material, tatami keeps the temperature of the floor relatively warm and has texture that is relatively soft. You won’t hear anyone yelling, “Don’t walk around the house with bare feet, you’ll catch a cold!” or, “Watch your step this floor is hard or slippery when wet” in a home with tatami flooring. That’s what I love about it.

It’s also very convenient and clean since the mats can be replaced or washed individually. In Japanese culture, it’s rude to step on the edges of the tatami. Maybe that’s because doing so damages the fabric that holds the mat straws together.

Fusuma are vertical rectangular panels which can slide from side to side to redefine spaces within a room, or act as doors. They typically measure about 90 cm wide by 180 cm tall, the same size as a tatami mat, and are 2 or 3 cm thick.

Historically, fusuma were painted, often with scenes from nature such as mountains, forests or animals. Today, many feature plain rice paper, or have industrially printed graphics of fans, autumn leaves, cherry blossom, trees, or geometric graphics. Patterns for children featuring popular characters can also be purchased.

Space is meant to be flexible, not rigid, so that it is possible to adapt depending on the occasion or the number of people occupying an area.

In traditional Japanese architecture, a shōji is a door, window or room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame of wood which holds together a lattice of wood or bamboo. Shōji doors are often designed to slide open, and thus conserve space that would be required by a swinging door.

Conserve space; now that’s an idea. Think of all those unused empty spaces behind the doors in your homes. The kitchen doors, the bathroom doors, the bedroom doors, the guest room doors, hallways, etc…

Futons are the traditional style of Japanese bedding consisting of padded mattresses and quilts. They are designed to be placed on tatami flooring, and are traditionally folded away and stored in a closet during the day to allow the tatami to breathe and to allow for flexibility in the use of the room for other purposes.

There’s that word again: flexibility. Bedrooms are typically rooms for sleeping (it’s a bed room) and not a place for working, studying, playing, watching movies, trying out clothes, or doing the laundry. That’s why people tend to want bigger rooms; they want to use more space to do different things. I’ve seen many homes where the master bedroom has all kinds of sub-rooms within them.

What if you could tuck away your bed and hide all the fixed furniture? You’d have a blank canvas to build or transform the room into whatever activity suited you. I know it’s not practical to have to change the room every so often, but when it becomes as easy as folding fabric, you get to use the entire space to its full potential. One minute, it’s a place to sleep and relax, the next, it’s  a seating area for the friends you’ve invited over for coffee hot chocolate. Like the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind”.

Defused

An electric plug had become so loaded, it melted. Its plastic casing fused with the socket on the wall. I pried it off using the backside of a hammer. It smelled. But why didn’t the fuse melt and cut-off the power before the socket overheated? The purpose of the fuse is to provide protection, not to demonstrate its ability to endure high current.

As I looked at the burned socket, I began to wonder about myself. What load am I lifting? Do I have a fuse? Would my fuse protect me? Will it let me know if I’m trying too hard or doing too much? Or would it let me keep running and running, until it is too late and I completely burn out?

Not Enough Internet Subscribers

By my estimates, and I’m not just guessing, there are no more than 110 thousand residential internet subscriptions in Kuwait. That’s very disappointing. Even when you consider that these subscriptions are probably shared among house members, let’s assume an average of 5 people per household, it still only adds up to 550 thousand internet users.

The 2010 estimate for Kuwait’s population was 3.5 million, 33.9% of which were Kuwaiti nationals. That means there were no more than 1.2 million Kuwaitis. Now let’s make a crazy assumption that 80% of all internet subscriptions sold were exclusive to Kuwaiti homes. We find 440 Kuwaitis with access to internet out of 1.2 million, or 37%.

Out of every 5 Kuwaiti homes, only 2 have internet access.

Life Maintenance

Have you thought about how much time and effort we spend just to maintain ourselves? Let’s start with our head and work our way downwards. First you got to maintain your hair. You have to trim it, wash it with shampoo, brush it or comb it to keep it in order. There’s an entire industry just to maintain hair. If that wasn’t enough, men have to maintain facial hair while women endure all kinds of pain to eliminate body hair.

Then comes the skin. Skin doesn’t require too much attention, except for regular washing and maybe some lotion to keep it from getting dry, but for some people, that’s not enough. They want a have a certain skin color or tone, or want have a soft texture without creases. I’m thankful for being a man. There’s an industry for that as well.

Lets move along to our head, or more specifically, our brain. Brains need sleep. Around 7 or 8 hours a day. That’s one-third of a day. We spend a third of our life sleeping. Or at least trying to. Sleeping keeps your mind sharp, your memory retained and your body repaired and ready to take on  a new day. It’s important to have an uninterrupted sleep on a comfy bed, otherwise you’ll wake up with a sore for the rest of the day. Yup, also an entire industry for mattresses, pillows, drugs and sleeping techniques!

Our faces also need regular cleaning: clean ears, clean eyes, clear nose, brushed and flossed teeth, fresh breath. Your nails and toe nails have to be clean and trimmed almost on a weekly basis. There’s an industry and a doctor for each one of those, you bet.

Something that many people maintain very little of these days is our muscles, namely the heart. We have to exercise. We have to rev up our cardiovascular system and get the blood flowing from time to time and unclog our arteries and veins. Most people’s jobs require them to sit on a chair for 6 to 8 hours (another third of your day!) and that doesn’t do you any good.

Finally, we need to eat and use the bathroom regularly. We can’t just eat anything, it needs to be a balanced diet to remain healthy. We need a wide range of fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Yes, fats. No, fats don’t make you fat, eating and drinking sugars and carbs all day and not moving makes you fat. Get over it.

Even more essential than all of these is water. Your body needs to be well hydrated throughout the day. Wikipedia says that, on average, 57% percent of our weight is water. That means if you weigh 60 KG, 34 KG is water and 26 KG is the rest of you. Don’t even think about avoiding water to lose weight please. I keep telling people that weight is not a measurement of health, it’s a measurement of your bones (the heaviest part) and muscle (second heaviest part) and everything else. Fat cells weigh the least. You need more movement and less worry about weight.

Phew, that’s a lot of work! Let’s go over this one more time: Sleep for the first third of the day, be productive for the second third of the day, clean and maintain your body, eat well and move about in between your productive hours. Remember to please the five senses: look good, smell good, feel good, taste good eat well, and say positive things. Simple? Yeah I didn’t think so either. Try to make it a habit.

Hello

Hi. I had to start new. I woke up this morning with so many thoughts and ideas swirling on my mind that I could barely resist the urge to find a space for me to pour it all out on. These are my thoughts.

Even as I’m writing this, my mind is loudly reminding me of that article about the benefits of journaling. It said something along the lines of, “if you want to free your mind, you have to stop editing and just put down the words as they come to you”. Fine, I’ll try. I’ll leave it all up to the WordPress grammar and spell checkers from now on.

I can’t write all my thoughts though, I’m sure you know why. Some thoughts can be offensive, others private, or probably won’t make sense and I’m not going to put in the effort to articulate them. Sorry. I don’t think many of you care, and those who do, shouldn’t.

The general theme that I’m planning to follow is simply, “nice things”. Why? Well, I mean come on, 2011 was bad enough. Steve Jobs died, the guy who invented the C language died, Egypt went through is still going through a revolution, let’s not mention other nations, and then there’s the occupy wallstreet movement. Oh, almost forgot, there’s SOPA, the internet censorship fiasco.

Yup, the world is pretty bad at the moment. I need to focus on what inspires me and what I’m passionate about. If I can’t bring myself to get excited about anything anymore, then there’s no point in getting up in the morning. It’s December and the weather has been getting really cold, so I might as well just stay in bed all day instead, you know?

Because this will be is the first post, I’m going to point out a few things about this blog, a few about my choices. For my own sake even. First, I hate long posts, and I’d make my posts shorter if it were possible, but I want to stick with having one post per day, so if you’re scrolling through this, you’re better off visiting other websites or checking back later when you have better time. By the way, I can’t promise posting every single day, it has to be meaningful somewhat.

If reading slowly isn’t your thing, perhaps you could help yourself with a cup of hot chocolate, or tea, or coffee, or whatever beverage you fancy to ease your mind. After all, you might enjoy it.

Doesn’t it seem odd that we’re always running out of time these days? It’s getting harder to focus on doing just one thing before something else jumps at you. A tweet, an email, a message, a call, ooh look a cute kitty picture! Distractions are evil.

Speaking of, don’t expect to see too many pictures here. I know, posts without images are quite boring, but that’s just the way it has got to be, otherwise I won’t focus on writing and fiddle with other things here and there.

Back to the topic of time and distractions. Here’s a funny question: isn’t technology supposed to help reduce the amount of work we do? Was it not designed to give us more capabilities? Allow us to be productive by eliminating repetitive tasks? Be “the bicycle of the mind”? The way I see it, most people just use it as a source of entertainment: games, music, movies, video, random pictures, chat. Very few people make music, make movies or create world simulations, collaborate effectively or solve problems. They are probably, on average, less productive than what they were using pen and paper, don’t you agree? No, wait, if there’s anything people managed to do, it was to start revolutions using technology. Heh.

I’m going to try to keep this space as simple as possible. I picked the manifest theme because it’s free of clutter and I also plan on removing the footers at the bottom for a simple reason. Who would want to browse the archives by a particular date or month? Or looks up tags? Those things were made for search engines! You are a human, use the search field to find what you’re looking for!

Oh and same thing goes for those “share” buttons. What a waste of space. Are people so lazy that they can’t copy the URL or permalink and paste it on their social feeds? I can sympathise with those using their phones, maybe, but on modern computers where people spend most of their online time on social network sites, it’s pathetic.