No cure for a busy mind

Things have been quite intense and stressful at work during the past few months. Fortunately, the situation is more under control now and I somehow retained my sanity through all that craziness. After being told to relax repeatedly by several people, I decided to do something that always works for me: shopping for a new fountain pen!

However, this turned out to be anything but relaxing. After failing to find anything that meets my expectation, I started the process of ordering a custom-made pen. With so many decisions to make, it actually requires no less work than designing a research project or writing a proposal. Well, at least these are the "good" kind of problems to have on hand. :)


The secret handshake

Finally my boss approved that I am worthy material and granted me the privilege of reading his treasured copy of "Academic Gamesmanship: How to Make a Ph.D. Pay" by Pierre van den Berghe (ISBN: 0200717154). The author's cynical view on the inner working of academic world was hilarious, which makes the reading experience some sort of a guilty pleasure. The level of sarcasm is truly astonishing; Bill Bryson's work reads like children's literature in comparison. Too bad the book is out-of-print now (1st edition was in 1970) and the price of a used copy is simply outrageous (ranging from $35 to $468 on Amazon), otherwise I'd want one just for the fun of it.


Frustration, frustration, frustration

My brother said "... My little brother has a bright career in science, making a shitload of money is not his top priority in life. It's just like I am in business and you can't judge my success by counting how many research papers I have published...."

My mom heard "blah blah blah. Your second-born is a loser. blah blah blah. Your first-born is a failure. blah blah blah"

Seriously, WTF?


That's what friends are for

Quite unexpectedly, an old friend from college called to congratulate me on some great things that happened to me recently. More importantly, he volunteered to offer some very useful info that I didn't even know I need (but found extremely helpful after I learned about it). The kind act was deeply appreciated.


hPDA rocks

As a part of my recent experiment with GTD, I started using a hPDA to organize things in my life. Incidentally, I had to make yet another intense week-long business trip to Taiwan earlier this month, which provided a good opportunity to test out this new system.

I am happy to say that the ingenious hPDA works great for me, particularly when things are getting crazy with an international trip that was filled with dozens of important meetings in a week. The flexible formatting of hPDA worked much better than any app that I can find for my iPod Touch. Furthermore, the portability/robustness/responsiveness of a hPDA is way better than any electronic alternative. Although backup and syncing remains as an issue with hPDA, I think I am hooked.