Strovek Writes

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Willpower

I lost 20 kilograms within nine months in 2005 using willpower and determination. I learned a lot from the experience, losing weight is not a simple process of exercise or just diet; it is a combination of both. By 2011, I regained almost all the weight loss and now weigh more than when I started. I tried the process again but have failed multiple times.

I know I have strong willpower but that is not enough because I have to think about it and make conscious decision like what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. It takes too much mental power to do that and there is always the urge to skip one day and then skip one week.

There has to a better way. It is time I created a process that I can follow without making much decision and turn it into my routine. The routine will need to:

  1. Ensure that the calories in my food intake does not exceed the calories I will burn daily.
  2. Have enough exercise so that I will continue to be strong and flexible.
  3. Get enough sleep. I had not noticed this earlier, the amount of sleep also helps in my body weight management.

I do not know if this will work but am definitely going to try.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Potential

I recently noticed something in the bible that I had not noticed before. Adam lived to the age of 930 years old, Noah until 950 years, and Abraham until 175 years.

It made me wonder why our lifespan has decreased so dramatically and seems a bit strange that there are increasing articles regarding increasing lifespan due to advancement in Science and Medicine.

I wander what determines the lifespan of a person, is it their lifestyle, diet or sense of purpose. If given a chance to grow that old, would I want to? Is growing old a curse or a blessing? What if everyone in the world has the potential to live that old, what is the implication of on food supply, resource availability and living conditions. The problems with overpopulation in certain parts of the world have shown us the potential hardship it will bring.

I do not have any answers, just questions.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Anime Review: Your Lie in April




The anime is also known as Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso. This is the kind of anime that you either love or hate. It was hard to see the suffering the protagonist had to go through as his friends try to support him but were not able to reduce his pain. The following are the characters in the anime and my thoughts:

Arima, Kousei is protagonist who was known as the human metronome because of his piano playing ability at a very young age. He was unable to hear his own music soon after his mother passed away. He has given up playing the piano but held on through his assignments in school.  As far as he is concern, he has no other skills other than playing piano but he has lost that due to his disability. As the story progress we are given a glimpse of his tortured childhood where he is forced to play piano and nothing else. He started taking up piano again after much pestering from Kaori Miyazono.

Miyazono, Kaori is a free-spirited violinist introduced to Kousei Arima by his childhood friend in what was to be a double date Tsubaki was to introduce her to another friend Watari. However, the first meeting did not start well when Kaori mistook Kousei as a pervert. Her style of play went against what the judges were looking for in her first competition but she did not care as long as those who heard her would be moved and would remember her. It is later in the story that we see that she had an ulterior motive, to get Kousei to play again. She was moved by Kousei first public performance and had set a goal to get her idol back into music but her time was limited.

Sawabe, Tsubaki is Kousei neighbor from childhood. He always declined her request to play because he had to practice piano. Together with Ryouta Watari, the three of them were close friends. She treated Kousei as her dumb big brother and hated music because she did not understand it and felt that music kept taking Kousei away from her. She is more physical and is the captain for the baseball team in their school.

Watari, Ryouta is close friend to both Kousei and Tsubaki and is the boyfriend to Kaori. Even though Kaori is his girlfriend but it looks like Kousei spends more time with Kaori because Watari is busy with his duty as the captain of the soccer team in school.

Seto, Hiroko is a close friend to Kaori’s mother. She is famous pianist and feels guilty for the Kaori’s suffering because she is the one who suggested to Kaori’s mother to make him a pianist. She returned to Kaori’s life after Kaori made the first appearance in a piano competition.

Igawa, Emi a capable but emotional pianist. She was the main competitor to Kaori. Takeshi was inspired to compete after seeing both of them in a competition. She has a goal to surpass Kaori.

Aiza, Takeshi is a very capable pianist with the sole goal of surpassing Kaori. Takeshi, Emi and Kaori were always in the top three in all the competitions they participated in but the top prize always went to Kaori. Kaori was always unreachable because he left immediately after each competition without waiting for the results. Takeshi considered Kaori his hero.
Aiza, Nagi is Takeshi’s sister and idolizes his brother. She asked Hiroko to teach her how to play piano but was assigned to Kaori instead. The training paid off when she successfully played a duet with Kaori in which Kaori challenged her while she managed to keep up.

There are a few other support characters like Koharu Seto and Nao Kashiwagi. I liked how the stories developed between the episodes as well the connection between the characters and in the end the love of mother and child and how this was not communicated (and in the end misunderstood).

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Destruction of Our Way of Life



It saddens me to see that our way of life is being destroyed. We had a culture of harmony and peace, nobody worried about what races and religion or offending each other; there was always mutual respect.

We are now under attack from within. When somebody tries to be helpful, we question their sincerity and look for ulterior motive. There are boogie-men everywhere. There is increasing distrust between brothers and sisters because of their race or their beliefs. Foreign cultures are adopted, replacing the beautiful cultures of love and beauty. Unfortunately, no one dares to voice out for fear or being attacked and chastised by so called religious police and non governmental groups.

Do we have so little regard for our culture and our way of life that we allow the few in power to destroy our culture all in the name of religious harmony. Can a simple sign or words cause people to change their beliefs and convert to a different religion? Do the way we dress turn normal citizens into sexual predators?

Why has all this paranoia surfaced in recent years? We consider ourselves cultured but our actions show that we are becoming more and more uncivilized. There is an invisible force at work trying to instigate us, separating us so that the few can stay in power. We need to stay united, remember what we had and reclaim the peaceful way of life we had since the founding of our nation. We, the silent majority need to claim back our way of life. Do not allow the selfish few rob us of our past and destroy the future of our children.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anime Review: Handa Kun



Imagine being in high school and believing that everyone hates you - that is what Handa Kun believes and as a result he has creates a wall between him and everybody else in school.

Due to his paranoia, he was unapproachable and those around him mistakes his actions and get the wrong impression about him. The story takes us through his experience and how those who felt threatened by him ended up becoming his fan. As his fan base grew, our hero is totally unaware and just see more and more threats. All these events makes for a very funny anime.

Some examples of the situations are as follows:

When one of the girls in his class tried to confess to him, he thought the letter was a chain letter like the ones he used to get and refused to read it. When he threw the letter away without reading it, another classmate (the best friend to the girl who wrote the letter)  scolded him and then pushed the girl to confess to him. Instead of confessing, she asked him to see him after class in the gym. He thought the girl was calling him out for a confrontation. His attempt to pass a message to avoid the confrontation resulted in both girls competing for him.

In another episode, he was sent to get a truant from his class to return to school. The truant was bullied previously and had dropped out from school and bulked up to avoid being picked on. After that, the truant decided that he did not need school anymore and decided to be the neighborhood protector. Handa actions during their first meeting convinced the truant that he is much stronger than him (not really true) and pledged to be his protector.

Things I learned from this anime are:

  1. When people do not know the facts, their imagination will create stories that are often bigger than life.
  2. Our unproven beliefs can enslave us and make us suffer unnecessarily.
  3. Imagination can make people act irrationally.

There is a lot of lessons to be learned from this anime. I feel a bit guilty laughing at the suffering of the protagonist.

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Just Do It




Whenever I have a decision to make but do not know what to do I have to remind myself to just take action. I may not have all the answers or information at the moment but too often the delay will make things worst. I realize that taking immediate action may result in making taking the wrong choice but I found that the odds are more positive than negative. There are also times when doing nothing may be better. Therefore, before taking action and making the choice, it is important to look at a couple of things:

  1. What do I know about the different choices?
  2. What are the known risk with each choices?
  3. What would happen if I do not decide?

If the risk is high then more information or some delay is necessary. Talking to some friends may also help. In the end,  I will still need to make the decision. Once the decision is made and the action is taken, everything needs to be done to increase the chances of success, this includes:

  1. Follow through. If I start but take the action half heartedly the action is doomed to fail.
  2. Reduce the risk. Identify potential risks and take steps to mitigate the risks.
  3. Keep your eyes open. Yes, I have taken action and am fully committed to the choice, however, I need to continuously have checkpoints and see if changes are needed or evaluate the soundness of the decision.
  4. Keep the faith. Lack of confidence and experience makes it difficult to move but believing that I can will help.
  5. Failure is an option. Sometimes, the decision is not the right one so I should allow ourselves to fail and admit that the decision is wrong, I just need to make sure that I do not admit defeat too early. A lot of results need time and if I quit too early, then I will never see those results.

I still have to remind myself to take action. How about you?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Perodua Bezza


I had the privilege to drive Perodua Bezza for last week for five days. I had not read much about the car prior to using it so had used it without any expectation. I am impressed with the experience. The one I used was of the highest range which cost RM 50k.

I was initially uncomfortable with the keyless feature. I was afraid of dropping it or misplacing it but got used to it after one day. One thing I missed was the lack of auto lock. All cars I have driven since the introduction of central locking has that feature. To make up for the lack of feature, the remote control will only unlock the driver door by default, you can open all the doors if you press the remote longer.

The idle stop is an interesting feature, when the feature is enabled, pressing the brake (and holding it down), the engine will be turned off when the car is fully stationary. It will stay off up to three minutes if the driver continue to apply the brake. However, if you are like me and prefer to take your leg off the brake and place the car on neutral, you will not get the benefit of this feature. Fuel consumption was great, when I drove it, it was able to provide an average of 13.5 km per liter versus 8.2 km liter for my Innova.



The Bluetooth car kit is great, it was relatively easy to pair my smartphone with the car. After pairing, it, I could play my podcast on the car stereo, perform hands free phone calls and use the navigation system.

The navigation system seems primitive, it did not show the traffic condition view (or maybe I did not know how to use it). The sound was loud and there was no option to control the volume. Each time we activated the navigation, we had to agree to some warning before we could proceed. There is a shortcut key to the navigation. However, to exit, it was necessary to click on the setting and select exit - going to another screen will only let it continue in the background.

The touch screen is not very sensitive and is sometimes frustrating to use.

The car was spacious, plenty of space for the passengers at the back and plenty of room in the trunk. The seats have leather like covers.

There were also some features like Vehicle Stability Control which I did not test. It has sensors both in the front and in the back (rear sensor is common but the front sensor is new).

I liked the rear camera, with its placing, it was easier to use - helpful when I perform reverse parking.

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review.