Anthony Bourdain killed a red stag

anthony bourdain parts unknown scotland
A scene from Parts Unknown, Scotland episode

I was on the plane yesterday to Hong Kong when I watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Less Known documentary. Episode one covered Scotland, Glasgow mostly, where Bourdain spoke to many different kinds of Glaswegians (people of Glasgow).

Anthony Bourdain

I’ve always found Bourdain to have a quirky but captivating air around the way he hosts. He often looks simultaneously unhappy and pleased at the same time and occasionally switching it up. Perhaps that’s a prerequisite to keep an audience engaged? To keep them guessing just what was going through his mind as he chews on Scottish haggis (a blend of different, mostly unspeakable parts of a sheep) or locks his rifle on wild game, one trigger squeeze away from irrevocably take its life for his and his company’s dinner that night…

Anthony Bourdain. American documentary host who travels around the world savouring cuisines from every corner, sharing his thoughts about cultures and places as we go on rides with him. First of all, what a job! Second, the way his killing of a red stag was filmed was tremendous. The camera crew and post-production team did a very good job capturing the emotions and intensity of the moment. I felt as though I was there, belly perched on the ground behind tall grass, holding the rifle myself.

This was the moment I found myself nodding at the name of the series: Parts Unknown. How many of us city folks will ever get to hunt and kill the animal that ultimately ends up as meat on the dining table? How many will have the guts to pull the trigger when that opportunity presents itself, to turn a brief moment of stability into instability, a moment of innocence to guilt, a moment of life into death? And then proceed to de-gut the animal, (involuntarily) smear its blood all over our face to bake while hiking back home?

Let me get this out before someone decides to slam their laptop down and confront me with a rake. I am not advocating for more people to kill animals. Hunting, especially for leisure, is inhumane in my eyes and always will be. Hunting for food infuses something messier into the reasoning, though, and watching Bourdain pull the trigger on a lone red stag in the middle of the Scottish mountains has opened my heart to something I only fleetingly considered before.

That hunting might be the a humane and kind act is difficult to understand at first, until you look at what is actually happening around you. Unlike what my mother-in-law chooses to believe about the ‘fact’ that the meat we buy from the supermarket were already dead, discarding our understanding of the simple economics of supply and demand, the animal we buy is obviously only dead meat because its butcher trusted someone would buy it and cook a “nice steak”.

While we can sit around to debate whether the onus is on the animal farmer or the butcher or the buyer or the supermarket to ensure every person knows where the meat he/she is buying comes from and what it means to exchange cash for it, I believe it will get nowhere. Those who eat meat will likely continue eating meat, as long as said eater doesn’t have to do the killing with his/her own bare hands from trigger to slicing to smearing and ultimately to searing and chewing and digesting.

Hunting, seen in this light, becomes somewhat of a good thing. I recall Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook once declaring that he will only eat the meat that he kills. I’m not sure how someone living in San Francisco could possibly follow through with such a promise without going to ridiculous lengths, but his story tells of an idea that I’m becoming increasingly interested in exploring in my own life – that is to kill and eat an animal myself at least once.

Catharsis. That is what I expect would happen in the chemical soup in one’s brain when killing another living being. In Bourdain’s case, that living thing is a red stag that exudes anthropomorphic traits of grace and majesty (why else do hipsters like using their horns so much in everything?). In my case, how far into the future I can’t be sure, it might be a deer or something else. The species matters only to my conscience, and very little to any meat eater, lest they be hypocrites of the worst kind.

So that’s what I was thinking on the flight to Hong Kong. Apparently Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown had 11 nominations and won 4 Emmy Awards. One important thing, added to my bucket list!

The generation that sees google as a word, not company

I had just left another hardware meet up (called Hackware) and I’m emanating inspiration now, so I thought I’d write it all down while things are fresh.

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The theme was Single Board Computers, so everyone who spoke had to talk about them. That includes the world renown Raspberry Pi, but also other less known things like an Intel Edison chip and so on. All very geeky and so interesting to an outsider like me.

What left the strongest impression on me was the presentation by two secondary school students. They showed that they’re conversant in computer and engineering speak as they presented two of their projects — both drones.

They’re just in secondary school… this fact is really profound. I was busy chasing after my current wife when I was their age, occasionally studying because I (think I) knew in some fuzzy way that it’d affect my future. That was my grasp of the life then, and this is their grasp of life now. They’re building drones and have an understanding of technology like it’s their mother tongue.

While I’m doubtful that they have as great an understanding of the applications of the things they’re building as professional engineers, the fact that they understand how to put technologies together into a useful project is amazing. Just think about what they’ll do when they’re in university, and what they can do when they’re done!

So at the end of today’s session, I moved one seat over to ask one of the team mates (they’re schoolmates, essentially): How did you learn so much, enough to make these incredibly sophisticated things while having what seems to be a complete understanding of how it works by yourself? What resources did you use to learn?

I had nothing but admiration for them, and asked in the humblest way I could. And his answer was ridiculously simple: google. That’s google with a small ‘g’, because I’d just realised the crucial difference between them and me —they grew up with google by their side.

Google is a word, not a company name to their generation and those after them.

I believe that that has a profound impact on how they think. This is not to say that every 16 year old is like them. The fact remains that guys like them make a very small percentage of their generation. Most still spend their time looking at and going after girls, trying to be cool, or maybe trying to ace every test to clinch some fuzzy idea of a bright future.

So they googled

What’s the big deal? Everyone can google. I speak like I’m some old man but in fact, I’m only 26. Google became mainstream when I was in junior college, and I’ve since learned a thing or two about how to get search results that I want.

But the big deal is this:

How many of us make use of google in a manner that is proactive to learn something new altogether?

Judging my own behaviour and that of my friends’, I’d say almost none of us do. Most of us search for learning resources for keep-sake, not for immediate use. Having come into close and regular contact with technology much later than these boys means we are older when we stumble upon the treasure trove of tutorials online. Older means less time to learn (as we like to think about it, anyway), and we end up being resource hoarders.

Thing is, there’s really no point in bookmarking sites like Code academy or Free code camp or some Udemy course. It’s like a pill — it only starts to work when you ingest it. Then you slowly digest it. To become newly skilled at something (like say, programming), you will need to take multiple pills as part of a course. It’s like antibiotics. You just have to keep going and finish the course.

You just need to use it

Google is there, you just need to use it. That’s basically saying that the manuals and tools are freely available, and all you need to do is manage your time and show up.

Taking inspiration from these young guys, I’m going to build some stuff I’ve been wanting to build for a while but have been putting off mainly because “I’m not technically sophisticated enough yet”. That’s actually my excuse to myself and to people who ask, verbatim. It’s flimsy considering the power of google is just a few centimeters above on my screen in that search bar.

The list of projects I want to do over the rest of the year:
  1. A drone that can fly, and can be controlled by a person.
  2. Some security camera that records footage whenever movement is detected.
  3. Single-board computer based home server.
  4. A video camera + server setup that records footage and automatically uploads them to my own server.
  5. An automatic electronic door lock with PIN access.

The plan from here for the rest of the year

I don’t really know just how achievable this is, but I know only one way to find out.

And if my progress learning web development full-time using Free Code Camp since almost two months ago is any indication, then I think it’s doable, though probably by a stretch when it comes to time.

My priority now is to learn web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript and soon, Ruby on Rails), while occasionally dedicating a full day to working on a hardware project. I’ll keep a log on my website, and maybe update here on Medium too.

My first full month of learning code everyday

A blink of an eye and it’s been almost a month since I posted anything here.

Nope, I haven’t got an epiphany to write about some big idea. I just miss logging things and having the option of a guided walk down memory lane whenever I feel like one. So I’m going to talk a little about what’s been happening this past month.

I’ll start with today.

We played a nice game of badminton in the morning with my university friend Ezra at NTU. Mei has only been playing with twice and I can tell she’s already getting better at the game. I mean, she was kicking our asses. Part of my shoe sole came off halfway though (because she served the shuttlecock to the wrong half of the court and I stupidly ran after it by reflex), so I didn’t get the chance to claim victory. Or so I tell myself.

Then our usual lunch at the Business School, and then back home.

At home I spent the remaining 3-4 hours coding. I’m currently coding a simple Wikipedia search engine webpage that works in this sequence: User enters search query –> backend code sends the query to Wikipedia’s server –> Wiki server returns data related to search query –> front-end code displays data in human-friendly results. Been working on this for the second day straight now. Should be done by the time this post goes online.

Before long, my parents came to pick us up for dinner. We ate some delicious Chinese food at an upmarket restaurant called Pu Tien in an upmarket shopping mall, Ion Orchard.

wife banter with husband
Banter while waiting to be seated.
women carrying mannequins
Caught human trafficking at Ion Orchard shopping mall. Busted!
An Asian face like you've never seen
An Asian face like you’ve never seen

That about sums up my day today.

May-June 2016: Post-US trip

Since we got back from our month-long trip around the US (from New York to Los Angeles), I’ve been busy coding. It’s the first time I’m learning to code this furiously. My hunger to know how to code is growing by the day, and it feels great.

These are interesting times. Code is not like English, though they’re both languages. Knowing code isn’t exactly going to let you ‘talk’ to your computer. Programming language syntax is like English vocabulary, but the grammar is completely haywire. A lot of times I want my webpage to do something but it ends up doing everything else but what I intended. If it were like talking to a computer, I’d be able to tell it like in a conversation. Nope, we’re not there yet with technology.

Programming also differs from talking because of the logic involved. In speech and in writing, we imply certain things, like who’s saying what in a dialogue between two characters in a novel, or the fact that the car we’re talking about has four wheels and runs on petrol.

To a computer, though, nothing is implied. Instead, everything is and must be spelled out. Firstly for the computer to understand what you want it to do, and then secondly for other humans who might have to read your code to understand what you were trying to accomplish when writing different lines of code.

It’s not easy learning to code from scratch. But the good news is, ‘scratch’ is no longer below sea level. In 2016, learning from scratch is no longer starting from zero – all the free resources online that have been made by people to teach and empower others to make software have made the barrier to entry significantly lower.

That said, I must maintain that it’s not easy to learn. Don’t listen to the “programming is easy!” hype. Nonsense. Quincy Larson’s post gives newcomers a better preview into what it’s like psycho-emotionally to learn to code. (Larson is the founder of Freecodecamp, the free online course where I’m learning to code from.)

The tools and scrolls are more attainable than they’ve ever been in history, but becoming proficient at reading and writing code still takes a great deal of patience and time. It is, after all, a skill.

(Becoming good is also difficult because programming languages and protocols and standards continue to evolve quickly. HTML5, Ruby on Rails, etc.)

Last week I was stuck on a coding challenge where I was supposed to write a web app that tells you the weather in your city. The sequence of events that the code needed to handle was something like this:

  1. Ask you for permission to get your location.
  2. Get your location through Chrome’s built-in geolocating feature (works only with Chrome users).
  3. Send a ‘get’ request to a weather server with your location.
  4. Receive location-specific weather data and display them on screen.

I worked on it everyday for close to two weeks, hitting obstacle after obstacle.

I know, I know, I’m new to the whole thing so that pace is normal! But here’s where I stop you. Though you’re probably right, the way that is said makes it sound too easy.

You see, I was stuck on a very specific problem. I could write out the sequence of events that needed to take place for the programme to work right from the moment I received the challenge – the structure wasn’t the problem. It was what code to use to implement that sequence that baffled me.

For example, while asynchronous processes made sense to me (multiple things happening at the same time to reduce a user’s waiting time on a webpage), actually trying to put them in a queue (so that code chunk B is able to execute using some data returned from code chunk A which operates asynchronously) wasn’t at all straightforward when you have to code (not write) it out. It wasn’t easy, until it become easy – when I finally figured it out.

Now it’s really quite straightforward to me. When an async operation has successfully completed, you can declare a callback function whose code will then be executed, and the way you do that is to…

Okay, I’m not quite ready for technical writing yet so I’ll skip the details.

Anyway, the process was gruelling. That’s my point. I tried many different methods to try to achieve the result I wanted over the two weeks and I was on the verge of giving up a few times. But whenever I came close to quitting, I just told myself to stop coding and go do something else.(That’s usually reading or watching Casey Neistat vlogs.) I’d have nothing to lose. Just put it all down and take a breather. I can come back if I felt like it later in the day. I’d close the Free Code Camp and Codepen tabs in my browser, along with the 10-20 tabs on HTML/CSS/JavaScript tutorials and references, and just move on to something else for a couple of hours.

Then I’d come back with a fresh-enough eye and mind to tackle the problem again. Eventually I solved it. You can imagine how happy I was when I finally understood a viable method to handle async processes in JavaScript. (Okay again, maybe not. Not until you try coding yourself.) I don’t think learning a new word or way of expressing myself in writing or speech in English can ever bring me that kind of euphoria that learning code does.

All’s going well so far. My mind’s still set on the long game of creating a company that’s good for society. Coding is the means to that end, and I’m focused on getting good at it right now. The rest should fall in place bit by bit, pun proudly intended.

The Underappreciated Magic of a Cold Shower

I’m growing up. Maturing. Definitely considered an adult now at 26.

As I grow a little older each day, I can feel myself grasping life a little better. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, even though there’s probably a kernel of truth in it.

What I dare say is this: with each passing day as an adult, I’m becoming more attuned to the pace of my daily life.

At 26, I’m finally able to appreciate the weather every day in ways other than “Oh man, now we won’t get to play ultimate.”

I’m able to tell the difference between today’s weather and yesterday’s. (Today’s was definitely much more comfortable than yesterday’s, with cooler temperatures but also an overcast sky that breeds melancholy.)

Little things like that.

Just as cool air brushing against my skin makes me smile (which didn’t happen much at all when I was pre-26 – then it would be a game of ultimate or Runescape), I’ve just started noticing how much I enjoy taking cold showers. Ahh, blissful cold showers…

Since coming home to Singapore from a month-long trip to the US, I’ve grown used to the cold, dry weather there. It was spring-but-kind-of-wintery when we visited. In Singapore it’s always (and forever will be) sunny and moist.

And even though I can live with the weather here (like I have for 26 years – I wonder how many times I’m going to say my age), I hate it. Can you blame a guy for not enjoying being sticky and smelling like armpits?

Cold showers are a godsend here. I take 3 short showers everyday now (since I’m home most of the time on my laptop). Sometimes I’ll take four. And I look forward to it every single time.

As I got out of the shower just now it hit me that taking cold showers might not actually be that commonplace a practice, even among my countryfolks. (The likelihood of a random man on the street who regularly takes cold showers is probably higher than that of a random woman because of our Army days, but very few people I know, even guys, take cold showers regularly.)

For one, my wife can’t do cold showers. Cold water–that is, water that is not heated but is also not deliberately cooled–is unbearably cold for her. She’d just stare at the water rushing down from our rainshower head and not dare to walk into it. For her, it’s the heater, every time.

I can imagine most people don’t take unheated showers either. I mean, nobody really goes “Ahh, all I want right now is a nice, cold shower.” Warmth has somehow become associated with niceness when it comes to bathing.

Perhaps it’s weird that I love cold showers, then. But I wish more people would realise how amazing it feels to cool the f* off with cold running water all over the body. Also, a big plus with cold showers is that it’s supposedly incredible for the body and mind. (I tried looking for scientific articles to back me up, but apparently a lot of it isn’t conclusive yet. That’s however not to say that the amazing feeling post-cold-shower should be passed off.)

We like air-conditioning here, but we don’t take cold showers. It’s just one of those things. Like sunglasses. When I was in the US, for every 5 people I’d see 1 in a pair of shades. In Singapore it’s more like 1 in 20. That’s irrational.

I mean, think about it.

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| * United States

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|———–* Singapore ———— (equator)

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|

|

The horizontal line is the equator. That’s the imaginary line that demarcates the circumference of the Earth that is closest to the sun. In other words, it’s where everything is hotter and more humid than almost any other place on Earth (except in a volcano).

The US is closer to the north pole than the equator. Singapore is pretty much right smack on the equator.

Why aren’t more of us wearing shades in Singapore? I don’t get it.

But yeah, I enjoy cold showers and wear shades in Singapore. I like to think that that’s me appreciating the power of the little things.

Meta Work Talk

man working with his hands
Image: Eddie Klaus

I’ve been thinking lately about talking about work. It’s something young people fresh out of college naturally pick up, but it can be kind of problematic.

While it’s ok (and natural) to be inclined towards topics on productivity and case studies of successful people, I find that it’s a distraction 95 percent of the time.

The remaining 5 percent are moments when a video, article or podcast is in perfect alignment with one’s current situation. If you’re just starting out building a blog, then the “Start a blog” resources on ProBlogger are gold. They belong to the 5 percent.

The rest, like podcasts on finding readers, building a community or making money blogging belong to the 95 percent for you. If you’re just setting up your blog, anything aside from Getting Started guides are a distraction. Even the third Getting Started guide may be a distraction.

Most dangerous of all is when we don’t see the line separating the 95-5. That’s when we waste an unspeakable amount of time not focusing on what matters at that moment for our business or career.

That said, I’m often guilty for consuming ‘content’ broadly related to my topics of interest (blogging, writing in general, nonfiction, filmmaking, technology in general, coding, making tech hardware). I guess this is my note to self?

I have to say, though – I’ve observed many friends who are guilty of the same. At least I’m becoming aware of the problem. I hope for the same for them. Every solution begins with awareness of the problem. That’s why meditation is now making waves all over the world.

If it’s problematic, why do so many people continue to watch videos that are purportedly going to help them in their careers (but probably aren’t actually going to help because there’s poor alignment between the topic and their work situation at the moment)?

I can think of three main reasons:

  1. I need inspiration!
  2. It’s satisyfing to learn new things.
  3. It’s easier than actually doing the work.

I think everyone understands the first two, but few at all realise that the third is even a part of their motivation to watch, read and listen to all that material on the internet.

Casey Neistat produces interesting films, and in his extremely popular vlogs (he just hit 3 million subscribers) he occasionally talks about his work. His videos on How to make films and another by Gizmodo on ‘Casey Neistat’s Wildly Functional Studio‘ have millions of views each. Why?

Because watching other people doing work you want to do is so much easier than doing the work itself.

Notice that Casey Neistat hardly ever goes into meta work talk. He talks about work, but he doesn’t talk about how he goes about his work. There’s a difference.

Lately I’ve come to notice that some people are above meta work talk. They don’t feel inclined to join the rough and talk about how to maximise productivity in a day. They just focus on doing the work.

Some of them, like Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Neistat, are getting behind the call to stay focused and put in the hours to create something meaningful. Do the work first. There are no shortcuts.

(A side note: American soft power seems to be slowly shifting from primetime TV shows to independent personal brands like Casey Neistat, Gary Vaynerchuk, Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, etc. on YouTube and Medium and blogs. Since they have their personal reputation perpetually on the line, I tend to trust them more than TV producers and actors.)

If you ever find yourself watching one too many videos on coding or make-up or filmmaking, stop and ponder for just a moment and ask yourself: Are you watching videos because the information is immediately useful to your work at this moment, or because it’s easier than actually doing the work?

Having Less is Great

Stranded in the rain earlier today, I had time to kill. (That phrase should be illegal.)

At first I listened to an episode of the Tim Ferriss Show (a podcast) where he interviews a palliative caregiver and professor in UCSF, BJ Miller, on his job and what he’s learned studying close to 1,000 deaths. He’s learned a lot, but his lessons are all over the place in the interview and I’ll need more time to extract them before applying them to my life.

A particularly poignant memory of it so far (I’m halfway through it) is his recount of the accident that cost him two legs and half an arm. He was surprisingly casual when he recounted the traumatising story of climbing up a train and having an electric arc zap his metal wristwatch that blew him far away from the train. He’s a strong person, that much I learned.

But more than that, what’s impressive about this man is how he turned his life around. It wasn’t bad before, but he didn’t let things go south from the day he lost 3 limbs. His spirit is incredible!

But I digress, as I did halfway through the podcast. I switched over to my current obsession – Casey Neistat.

He’s a filmmaker and entrepreneur and, now, mostly known as an extremely popular Youtuber. He does vlogs.

I watched a few of his vlogs. Every time I do, I get a strong dose of inspiration. There’s something about this person that appeals to me… I’d just learned that he’s had a rough time before he became successful. (Yes, I know, who didn’t?)

That’s actually what I’m trying to get at today with this post.

In this particular film–something he did in collaboration with The Nantucket Project–he tells the story of Casey Neistat (himself). It’s that popular “my life” type of video. Him being a filmmaker, I had high expectations, and it didn’t disappoint.

A small digression here into filmmaking – it’s clear after watching a number of Casey’s videos that quality of the picture doesn’t matter much at all for Youtube videos. Unless you’re makign a nature documentary or a Hollywood movie, film (ie. camera) quality is responsible for zero outcome. It’s all about the story. I’d recommend anyone to sample a few of Casey’s videos–including the one who he explicitly says what I’ve just said–to get a sense of what I’m getting at.

Ok, back to his life video.

I’m particularly interested in the stage in his life that I’m currently at. Casey Neistat left home at age 15. Went to New York when he was 20 to make films. He had very little by way of money, and at that point when he was 20, he already had a 4 year old son.

First thing I thought about was how he managed to stay creative under so much pressure. I’m in a much better situation now than he was then, and I find it difficult to let my creativity manifest in my writing (blogging) projects.

Could it be that having less actually played to his advantage?

It’s been proven time and again that limitation is the mother of creativity. When faced with great odds is exactly when we flourish in trying to overcome and succeed.

I have to admit, being part of a family that is above middle class, many things are taken care of on my behalf. At age 26, I’m living with my wife of less than a year in our own apartment. That’s ridiculous by most standards in Singapore. I’m acutely aware of my privilege and I’m working hard (since getting my bachelor’s degree last June) to make it on my own.

I’m not saying I wished I was in a tougher situation – that would be foolish and insensitive, and I don’t think that way. What I’m saying is that having less is a powerful driver to work hard and deliver projects/products/services, and I’m curious to find out if there’s a way to artificially induce less-ness without bringing inconvenience (even harm) to the people around me.

Donating things I own to friends isn’t a viable option. My wife would think I’ve lost it. Besides, our accumulation of material goods is already proceeding at a very low rate (from my judgement, that is) compared to many others (though I can’t say the same for debt to the bank). I don’t think it’s the things that we own that makes me feel like I have a lot. It’s probably more about the house, in the nice neighbourhood that I didn’t work to attain.

If I woke up everyday with the mentality that I have to make ends meet today, by whatever means, I think I’d be at least five times as productive and creative as I am right now. It’s a ‘life hack’ that’s staring me in the face and I have no way of accessing it.

Not yet, at least. I have a few ideas in mind but I’m not sure whether they’ll work:

  • Throw myself into a huge project that is way beyond my skill level, with my reputation as an individual writer/maker on the line.
  • Sell the house and move into a much smaller home. <– I’m most inclined to this based on impulse. Probably because it’s going to instantly propel me into living with less.
  • Stop believing that this is a viable shortcut and just get down to work, willing into existence the projects I have in mind. (Willpower isn’t my strength, so maybe I should be working on that?)

If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Energetic Vs. Hurried

The main thing that occupied my mind today is the difference between hurrying and being energetic.

I realised that even though I’ve been particularly motivated lately (since we got back from a month of travelling in the US), I’m probably not operating at full capacity. Deep down, I know I can perform at an even higher RPM (that is, rigour per minute), and not only get more things done but also give people around me an energy boost.

This idea came to me serendipitously as I was watching one of Casey Neistat’s many vlogs recently. (He’s a filmmaker who’s been making films for a while but only recently shot to fame for a cool idea to use Twentieth Century Fox’s movie promo budget for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty on helping people in the Philippines after it was struck by a typhoon.) Casey embodies an energy, though it’s not of the explosive variety. Rather, its’ something more consistent and nuanced. It emanates from him.

Somehow this reminds of something I’d recently read in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, What The Dog Saw, about ketchup. I think it was chapter 3 or 4 where he explored the (continued) reign of Heinz tomato ketchup. At some point there was a lengthy discussion on food tasters and what constitutes a ‘high amplitutde’ food (food that has a holistically blended texture, flavour and aroma that tastes like one thing rather than its constituent ingredients). Casey (the filmmaker) is like a high-amplitude person.

Anyone with a high resting energy is the high-amplitude human equivalent of foods like Heinz ketchup. They resolve to being consistently performing at their best, as a whole.

Ok, maybe the parallels here aren’t as strong as I make it out to be. You’re smart, decide for yourself!

Anyway, let’s get back to the original topic – being energetic vs being hurried.

Being someone who believes in the power of meditation to stabilise our mind and body (in a secular way), I intuitively judge people who are energetic and move faster (or speak louder) than the average person to be unstable. (Not mentally, spiritually.) I’d jump to the conclusion that the person needs to work on his/her inner strength, to stay composed in every situation. To take time to think, decide and then act.

A good friend of mine has these qualities as his natural disposition. I’ve been admiring him for his composure for years now, since I began regularly meditating. I mean, he usually takes up to 5 seconds before giving an answer to something I ask! That’s something.

But I think I might be mistaken. I now think that you can be at peace inside (spiritually stable) while being a human Heinz being.

I tested it out today, and I think I managed to combine the two quite comfortably.

Being aware of time and what’s happening around me (my wife preparing for her make-up gig later in the day, Brownie patrolling the corridor for scrap food, the kitchen lights staying on when it should be off…), I turned up my energy.

From within me, I mustered something to become energetic. Then I sprang to work, vacuuming and mopping the floor and changing the bedsheets at close to double my usual pace, maintaining a level-headedness the entire time. I remained aware of things around me. I continued to be more-or-less present.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. What’s even more interesting is my new take on moving/talking fast. A person can do things fast and look hurried to an observer, but that person can also be composed and be in the present. For now, it remains hard for me to distinguish someone who’s hurried and unstable from one who’s energetic and composed. I expect it to get easier with practice.

I’ll be practising observing people to see the difference for sure, and I’ll do it in Heinz state. Everything from now in Heinz state!