Mondays And Headaches

How are you feeling today?
What is the root of that emotion?

1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

It’s the 125th day of the quarantine here in the Philippines. Since last March, I’ve been working from home and about two weeks ago it was announced that as a part of our organization’s business continuity plan, we’ll continue with this work from home arrangement until the end of the year. It gave me a sense of relief given that I won’t have to face the risk of going outside to carry on with my job unlike most Filipinos struggling in this situation.

Had someone told me that I’ll be working from home six months ago, I probably would have entertained that news with glee. But now, being holed up in in my room for more than four months, I feel the psychological impact of this set-up, and it doesn’t help with the burnout that’s been looming over me for quite some time now. You might be reading this and feeling the same way or maybe just stumbled upon this post without having been affected by this global pandemic, anyway, let me share with you a little tip I got from a self-help book:
your feelings are valid, and when you get to the bottom of it, it gets easier to ride the wave.

To answer the question above, I’m actually feeling frustrated right now – I always look forward to the weekend, especially when the work from home arrangement started that when Sunday afternoon hits, I end up feeling well, yeah, frustrated. How come I haven’t made the most of my free time and WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MONDAY AGAIN?!

I sat down, grabbed my trusty notebook and the nearest pen I could get my hands on. As I scribble down my feelings, I realized that this strong negative emotion stems from the work related problems that I’ll be forced to face again tomorrow. It takes me back to the responsibilities that I am obliged to do, and the tedious tasks that I have to repeatedly do for another five days. If I’m honest with myself, hell, I may be feeling this way because of my fear of failure and that I still might not be able to provide the solutions that I’m responsible to come up with. It’s not about my weekend activities or lack thereof, because in reality, I was able to spend time with my family, watch the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix and even the qualifying, play console games for a few hours and even see an anime film for the first time. In the end, it’s about this hard truth: my frustration stemmed from my fears.

Knowing and understanding this makes a great impact, because now I can address my feelings better and accept that there are things that I have no control of, and those that I do have, I can start working on. Instead of feeling miserable for the rest of the night, I now have the choice to refocus my thoughts on solving my problems or pushing them at bay to deal with tomorrow to take the rest of the night off peacefully reading blog posts and news.

Good night and as a reminder, keep in mind that:

Faith smothers your fear of the unknown

Jen Sincero

smothered

one last time, I told myself
look you in the eyes,
feel the tenderness of your lips.
one last bottle, as i empty another
enough tears and such sad music,
shut these mem’ries that linger.
one last drag, huffed and puffed.
the warm comfort of your touch,
now part of my haunting past.


must’ve been kismet, or call it fate
maybe just my own sinful measure.
count the chug, the drag, all the tears i’ve shed
in your arms, my walls could never deliver.
again, staring at those deep dark eyes,
forever – my undoing, i’ll surrender.

Sex and Vanity

It was 9:52 on a Sunday morning, fair but a bit cloudy outside. I was feeling quite tired despite of having been able to sleep for eight hours. I reached for my Kindle and decided to go for some light novel instead of a heavy read, and let myself be carried into the world of extravagance by Kevin Kwan in his new book Sex and Vanity.

The first part of the story revolves around another crazy expensive wedding, but this time set in the beautiful island of Capri and an adventure of a nineteen year-old Lucie Tang Churchill, our protagonist with Eurasian beauty that she seemed to be completely unaware of and born of old American money, and her love interest George Zao from Hong Kong, also born from a ridiculously rich family who kept his mysterious character together in the first act. It centered on Lucie and finding herself being drawn to yet also appalled by the young lad in the cobbled streets, ancient mansions, upscale hotels and historical beauty of the island only to be separated by a heated and passionate albeit unfortunate incident on the wedding day itself.

Reading the first part of the book really made me search for the tourist and some historical spots mentioned. What more can I say? Kevin Kwan has the ability to captivate us in the world of the crazy rich and yearn to see or experience it someday. For me, the first part captured the youth of Lucie perfectly while setting up the foundation for the other characters too, who would be later seen or mentioned in the story. While reading about the wedding week in Capri, I could almost immediately picture this novel in the big screen. That’s how Kwan delivered his storytelling – another chic story waiting to be adapted.

The second part of the book takes five years later from the incident involving drones and on to Lucie’s life back in New York where she says yes to the exorbitant wedding proposal of New York’s most eligible bachelor, Cecil Pike. Most of the chapters take place in the Hamptons but also takes us to an even more elite circle in the Upper East Side than Gossip Girl did. The extravagance of these characters quipped with satirizing them was what made me stick to finishing the whole book in a day despite (for me, at least ) the story not being able to pull off the romance part, at all. I simply find the young “love” of Lucie and George in the wedding week a little too weak to practically make that of an impact on the later part of the story, and Lucie and Cecil’s relationship doesn’t make sense to me (or to anyone probably, I mean really, how did these two even got together??)

I’d hand it to Kwan still for not only delivering a romcom but throughout the story, topics such as racism, the feeling and experiences of being multi-racial, and even the new vs. old money issue (probably being a problem only for the upper 10 percent of the world’s population) are being tackled. However, these were not deeply dealt with but was just a recurring theme and can be easily shied away from. Given these shortcomings, I would still recommend reading this book now. Why? Because I’d rather be transported to the enchanting landscape and dramatic scenery of Capri than be cooped up in front of my T.V. again for a whole new day in this quarantined life.

Power BI: Introduction

A week from now, I will be conducting a training on a Power BI for a private firm in the Philippines. As our organization’s technology specialist in Data Analytics, talking about Power BI should pose as an as easy task given my familiarity with the tool. However, as days pass, I find myself a bit nervous. So I decided to finally write about something data related in this blog. After all, there’s a whole page dedicated to this.


I was first exposed to the world of business intelligence in my first job – I was hired as an Associate Software Engineer for a known multinational outsourcing company just right after I passed my board exam. It was not in direct relation to my degree (Electronics and Communication Engineering), however I find myself pleased and doing well during the bootcamp. That’s when I find myself deeply interested in the field of business intelligence and data analytics. Needless to say, I was taught various tools to be used in this field, which includes Power BI.

Power BI is a Microsoft’s business analytics service consisting of apps, services, and connectors that turns data into reports and dashboards. It is composed of an application called the Power BI Desktop wherein reports are curated and made from various compatible data sources and connectors using immersive and interactive visuals, a Software as a Service (SaaS) called as Power BI service where dashboards can be seen and made online, and the Power BI mobile application which is available for both Android and IOS devices.

Being another Microsoft product, Power BI Desktop shares the ease of use and UI most people are familiar with. It helps that it follows and shares functions used in Power Query in Excel, which makes formulating your calculations easier. It also has intellisense enabled when creating your calculations or queries, which helps beginners and professionals alike when using built-in functions. The Power BI Desktop is pretty straightforward and can be used by beginners and hobbyists to create their own reports. Of course, complexity of the measures or data transformation may vary, but generally speaking, it is easy enough to learn and use even for people without much data science or math background.

In addition to it being dubbed as self-service BI tool, it also has a lots of supported data sources both on cloud and on premise such as Azure SQL Database, local Excel files, flat files on One Drive, SharePoint lists, Salesforce, Dynamics 365, and OData feed to name a few. Once published to its SaaS Power BI Service, a refresh schedule can be arranged so that your report always have the freshest data available to your use.

These data sources can be easily prepped, manipulated and transformed to create visually immersive reports with interactive visuals by simply using the old but reliable drag and drop function into the report canvas. Published reports can be shared to the organization with secure features such as row level security or can easily be embedded to websites and applications.

As for its benefits, Power BI when used to show insights on data can provide data driven decisions for an organization. Business intelligence is an emerging trend in the industry now, and as we move further along with technology, a bit of knowledge on this fields can benefit us in the long run. Here are some reasons why you should consider learning this easy to learn but powerful tool.

If you have questions or need some tips, kindly let me know by commenting on this post. I’ll be glad to help! 🙂

let the bull win

My whole body trembling,
pressed my foot, held tighter,
Going on superhuman speed,
the world flashing in red and green.

The chance I see is all it takes,
my fate to be etched forever.
A silver knight riding before me,
an opportunity to seize – I’m ready.

The voice urged; I pushed further,
took the battle to the sharp curve.
A fraction of a second it took,
the knight, the curb, my world.
I fought, I spun, and shuddered –
more is what I deserved.

Inspired by one of the moments in the eventful race that begins the Formula 1 2020 season. Looking forward to see more exciting races for the rest of the season.

alternate reality

In a parallel universe,
colliding you and I – freezing,
stopping clocks;

In a parallel universe,
my grasp matches yours,
steadfastly strong;

In a parallel universe,
your voice wanes not,
sorrow has no place;

In a parallel universe,
for you and I alone,
planets, stars align;

In a parallel universe,
we would be
what is of
love.

Close Them Now Please

from 1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

Did you do it? Even for just like 5 seconds, maybe?
You did? Nice!
You didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t have either. But you might want to slow down for a bit and read my two cents on it.

Why am I, a stranger, being such a pushover and asking you to close your eyes or maybe take some deep breaths?
Because we all we have to. At least once in a while. Living in this day and age, amidst a pandemic, in an economic dip, being bombarded with news filled of abuse, hatred, and hopelessness, things can be pretty upsetting and overwhelming. And yet, even in this “new normal” while we’re still being forced to live in quarantine life for everybody’s safety (including our own, please wear your mask), we are being expected to push ourselves to our limits for the sake of our jobs, finances, stability, hell even the comeback of the economy.

We’ve been programmed to measure our “worth” in our productivity. However, more often than not, this so called productivity is being wrongly measured as simply the amount of time you’ve worked. Which then leads people to think that in order to be productive, you have to work your ass off as much as you possibly can. This I believe has created a generation of young adults so desperate to prove their worth in this big world and has ended up with so much cases of burnout that it has now become a household term.

Burnout can come at you no matter how far you’ve risen in the ladder, how many medals you got, and how many times you’re revolved around the sun. It has gotten to me so bad. So bad that I considered quitting my job without the prospect of another opportunity, so bad that I found myself crying at 3 in the afternoon feeling miserable and unaccomplished despite of everything I’ve achieved thus far (engineering school ain’t for the weak, the board exam rattles most, getting promoted).

I am not immune to this. I simply don’t know where it all went wrong – I have a stable relationship, a career, hell even a title I don’t ever use (except for this site obviously), and yet I feel trapped in a perpetual state of exhaustion. With my fear of failure and love for challenges, I always strive to come through and do all that has been tasked to me without considering my work-life balance and in total disregard of my time. I do all that I can to meet deadlines, and deliver what has been asked of me, not even pausing to ask myself if I want to do it and why. AND THIS, THIS IS THE REASON WHY I STARTED WRITING AGAIN.

It feels like I hit rock bottom and you know what they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. But damn do they made it sound so easy. In reality, this has forced me to read on self-help books I used to shy away from. Instead of staring blankly at my laptop thinking that I’m working, I tap into resources that poses information that could possibly do me good. It also forced me to think about how I overcome all the hurdles I had to pass and how I’ve succeeded. I was forced to look back and go after my passion – what drives me to live and not just exist.

It forced me to take a break. I cannot stress how important it has been to me and this journey to getting myself back up on my feet. I know I am not there yet and I’m in no position to instruct somebody, but if anything and it helps, do not forget to let yourself get some rest.

Take a break.

Close your eyes. There is nothing to see here. That’s the point.