2012 Summary: Songs

This is a summary of my top 50 played songs, according to iTunes and lastFM, over the past 12 months. I don’t feel it’s completely accurate (my iTunes and lastFM where unlinked for several months), but I don’t think it’s a bad representation either. Now, my top 50 played songs from least played to most played:

  1. Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” (176 plays)
  2. Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” (177 plays)
  3. Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” (183 plays)
  4. Christina Aguilera’s “Dirrty” (187 plays)
  5. Flyleaf’s “I’m So Sick” (188 plays)
  6. Within Temptation’s “What Have You Done” (189 plays)
  7. Hanako Oku’s “Garnet” (192 plays)
  8. Lady Gaga’s “Marry the Night” (197 plays)
  9. Christina Aguilera’s “Can’t Hold Us Down” (203 plays)
  10. Daniel Kim’s “Pop Danthology 2012″ (219 plays)
  11. Kelly Clarkson’s “You Found Me” (223 plays)
  12. Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” (232 plays)
  13. Christina Aguilera’s “Keep on Singin’ My Song” (238 plays)
  14. Fergie’s “London Bridge” (240 plays)
  15. Aqua’s “Roses Are Red” (242 plays)
  16. Sarah McLachlan’s “Adia” (243 plays)
  17. Nicki Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge” (244 plays)
  18. SMiLE.dk’s “Butterfly” (259 plays)
  19. Christina Aguilera’s “Oh Mother” (264 plays)
  20. Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (268 plays)
  21. Lady Gaga’s “Judas” (276 plays)
  22. Lunatica’s “Into the Dissonance” (281 plays)
  23. Evanescence’s “What You Want” (285 plays)
  24. Kelly Clarkson’s “I Do Not Hook Up” (285 plays)
  25. Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song” (291 plays)
  26. Rihanna’s “Disturbia” (295 plays)
  27. Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn to You” (306 plays)
  28. Konami’s “Can’t Stop Fallin’ In Love” (321 plays)
  29. G-Dragon’s “Heartbreaker” (323 plays)
  30. Foo Fighter’s “The Pretender” (351 plays)
  31. Michael Wong’s “Tong Hua” (353 plays)
  32. Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends: The Femme Fatale Remix” (357 plays)
  33. Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” (375 plays)
  34. Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” (380 plays)
  35. Britney Spears’ “Toxic” (388 plays)
  36. Evanescence’s “Bring Me to Life” (394 plays)
  37. Evanescence’s “Lacrymosa” (434 plays)
  38. Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me” (471 plays)
  39. The Pussycat Dolls’ “I Hate This Part” (492 plays)
  40. Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” (503 plays)
  41. Leona Lewis’ “I Got You” (558 plays)
  42. Nightwish’s “Bye Bye Beautiful” (561 plays)
  43. Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go” (582 plays)
  44. Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends” (632 plays)
  45. Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” (632 plays)
  46. Celine Dion’s “That’s the Way It Is” (647 plays)
  47. Maroon 5′s “Moves Like Jagger” (698 plays)
  48. Evanescence’s “Lost in Paradise” (740 plays)
  49. Christina Aguilera’s “Keeps Gettin’ Better” (826 plays)
  50. Adele’s “Someone Like You” (1,200 plays)

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2012 Summary: Reading

This is a summary of my reading from this past year. I set a goal on Good Reads to read 25 books this year, and I just managed to meet my goal. So here’s a summary of my reading from the past year, in descending order of my assigned rating.

    1/5 Stars

  1. Caitlin Kiernan’s Threshold
    Read: June 16, 2012
    A friend lent me this book, but I didn’t enjoy it very much. As I recall, it is a fiction book which blurs the line between reality and delusion, but I found the blur to be too great to be sensible.
  2. Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin
    Read: September 7, 2012
    As a fan of Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Lolita, I had hoped that this book would be just as enjoyable. On the contrary, the book followed the unfortunate mishaps of Professor Pnin. As unfortunate as the mishaps were, however, I didn’t find any of them particularly interesting.
  3. 2/5 Stars

  4. Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas’ The Memory Book
    Read: August 22, 2012
    This book seemed to be okay… …as a textbook. The book was too practice-based for me when I read it (I was taking no courses, and thus had nothing extensive to try memorizing). It was also to repetitive. I found the book to be mostly examples, all of which were extensions of only a couple of key ideas presented by the book.
  5. Simon Sinek’s Start with Why
    Read: October 16, 2012

    After seeing his interesting TED talk, I decided to check out Sinek’s book. Unfortunately, it was less than impressive. I found the presented argument to be less than impressive, although in the end I think I personally agree with the underlying idea that people should start projects with understanding the purpose, or the WHY.

  6. Shane Mac’s Stop With The BS
    Read: December 4, 2012
    I admit that I did find some of the ideas in this book interesting. However, on the whole, I found most of the experiences of Mac (this book was a compilation of short thoughts he had on random topics, all written while on a long train ride) to be all-in-all un-enlightening.
  7. David Allen’s Ready for Anything
    Read: December 30, 2012
    After finding his Getting Things Done to be quite useful, I thought I’d also check out Allen’s Ready for Anything. In this book are 52 short essays, each covering some aspect of productivity. Unfortunately, more than new ideas, I found this book to be mostly essays on “How to fix your GTD… …when you’re doing it wrong.” But I did get quite a few good quotes from the book…
  8. 3/5 Stars

  9. David Allen’s Getting Things Done
    Read: January 3, 2012
    This is Allen’s Getting Things Done–one of the best known self-help books. It wasn’t my first time reading it, but it was my first time implementing the system. I’ve been using the system since (tweaking it here and there), but I’ve found it to be working pretty well. I’ll be revisiting this book again this week to touch up my GTD system before I go back to work next week.
  10. John Marsden’s Tomorrow, When the War Began
    Read: January 8, 2012

    I decided to check out the Tomorrow series after watching the movie (trailer above) with some friends. Unfortunately, the movie never made it to North America; my friend only had it because she brought it back from Australia. Anyhow, I quite enjoyed the movie, and likewise, I found that I also enjoyed the series. It follows a group of teenagers who, upon returning from a camping trip in the surrounding Australian outback, find their country invaded by another, and everyone in their home town taken into some work-camp like environment. It follows their attempts to both survive and fight back.

  11. John Marsden’s The Dead of Night
    Read: January 22, 2012
    The second book in the Tomorrow series.
  12. John Marsden’s A Killing Frost
    Read: February 4, 2012
    The third book in the Tomorrow series.
  13. John Marsden’s Darkness, Be My Friend
    Read: February 23, 2012
    The fourth book in the Tomorrow series.
  14. John Marsden’s Burning For Revenge
    Read: March 24, 2012
    The fifth book in the Tomorrow series.
  15. John Marsden’s The Night is for Hunting
    Read: April 6, 2012
    The sixth book in the Tomorrow series.
  16. John Marsden’s The Other Side of Dawn
    Read: April 8, 2012
    The seventh (final) book in the Tomorrow series.
  17. Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games
    Read: April 15, 2012
    I don’t have to say much about this book because it was so big this past year anyways… My brother had the box set, so I decided to borrow it and check out the series. As it turned out, the books turned out to be a very light read. I did like the series, as I found the plot and characters to both be interesting.
  18. Suzanne Collins’ Mocking Jay
    Read: May 13, 2012
    The third (final) book in the Hunger Games trilogy.
  19. Kenneth Blanchard & Spencer Johnson’s The One Minute Manager
    Read: September 19, 2012
    A super short read, this book talks about managing people effectively by developing goals with them, praising them for what they do right, and letting them know where they went wrong. I liked the idea of the book, but I didn’t like how it was presented.
  20. Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex
    Read: September 27, 2012
    Middlesex is an autobiography by intersex individual Cal. I liked how the style in which the book was written, and I liked reading about all the challenges experienced by the narrator. What I didn’t like was the autobiography being more about Cal’s ancestry as opposed to Cal himself.
  21. Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You
    Read: October 27, 2012
    As a regular reader of Newport’s blog, I decided to check out his new book when he announced it on his blog. I thought it would be interesting to get a perspective countering the Passion Hypothesis. However, what I found instead was a common-sense argument against a weaker version of the Passion Hypothesis (ie. if you want to get a good job, do what you love). His points I feel are an important reminder to some, but all-in-all I didn’t feel they brought many new ideas to the table for most.
  22. 4/5 Stars

  23. Philip Dick’s Ubik
    Read: January 2, 2012
    A science fiction read, Ubik was the best book I’d read in a long time. I especially liked the style it was written in. However, it may be too bizarre for some to enjoy.
  24. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
    Read: April 29, 2012
    I think many people are familiar with the dystopia that is Brave New World. I liked the ideas that were presented in this novel, but I do recall preferring the style of 1984 over that of this one. Still, a good read for an interesting thought experiment about various aspects of society.
  25. Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire
    Read: May 8, 2012
    The second book in the Hunger Games trilogy.
  26. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    Read: October 6, 2012
    I feel that the ideas on personal development in this book are both practical and important. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People looks at how you operate alone (eg. with your emotions and decision making), and then with other people. In looking at these aspects of life, it helps the reader explore whether or not they’re living life as they want to, and if not, it pushes them to change.
  27. Daniel Pink’s Drive
    Read: November 14, 2012
    I feel that Drive offers an important perspective on motivation that explains much behaviour in the world today. For instance, why are students not motivated to do their homework when we tell them they will get an A for getting it done? This book explains why carrot-and-stick methods of motivation do not always work, and why it is often important to consider autonomy, mastery, and purpose when considering motivation. I feel that this book provides a good overview of why this may be a better explanation for motivation than simply the carrot-and-stick motivation that was commonly referred to previously.
  28. Matthew Inman’s How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you
    Read: December 31, 2012
    This is the first laugh-out-loud book I recall reading since Azumanga Daioh (see below; all the sub versions were cut horribly, so I decided to go with a dub). I thought it was a funny look at cats for cat-lovers.

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UBC Athletic Fees

In case you missed it, earlier this month, the Ubyssey published an article highlighting a student effort to make it possible to opt-out of the $21 athletic fee currently integrated in UBC student fees. A follow-up article came out today from VP Finance Tristan Miller in response to the effort.

In the original article, Neal Yonson is cited as follows:

Yonson argues the group is taking the wrong approach to reforming fees; he said he wishes they would instead work with the athletics department to examine the overall budget and fee structure.

I agree with Yonson. As a (ex-)regular user of UBC Rec’s drop-in facilities, recreational leagues, and annual events, I have seen the value of the UBC Rec facilities; that being said, I have also seen the bad sides of UBC Rec many times.

In my experience, UBC Rec is the epitome of disorganization. One of my biggest peeves is the online drop-in schedule which is so seldom up-to-date that is not worth online viewing. Their other main method of sharing the drop-in schedule is through an automated message machine on their phone line; the last time I phoned this a couple of weeks ago, the message given was dated as being a couple weeks overdue, with an overdue and thus useless schedule. Although local team mates have been pissed off when we’ve shown up to league games only to find out that they had been canceled without any notice, bussing with friends out to UBC from Tsawwassen only to find out that the drop-in schedule was wrong and there was, in fact, no drop-in that day was a total and unnecessary disappointment.

Furthermore, I am not always impressed by their operations. Yes, I have met people at UBC Rec who are professional, courteous, and hard-working at their jobs. But I have also met people who are on Facebook instead of manning the front desk, people who are upstairs shooting hoops with friends in drop-in when they should be at the front desk, and people who have ignored ‘clients’ at the front desk to continue conversations with visiting friends. I have seen referees with UBC Rec who fail to make calls against players with whom they happen to know, and then proceed to converse and play around with those people during half-time and after the game. I have seen groups of UBC Rec people goofing around the front desk working on a promotions video, which I assume to be a problem only because I assume they were being paid for their unproductive time goofing off. (On that note, I wonder how much UBC Rec invests in promotions? I don’t know if I see this as a valuable allocation of resources as I think UBC Rec’s longtime and prominent presence on campus to carry its name around campus conversations; I do not think that having media teams spend hours filming and producing videos is an effective use of student dollars.)

Despite this, we continue to give them about a million dollars of our money each year.

Miller ends his piece on the following note:

If the petition goes forward and is placed on the ballot in the spring, it has the potential to remove nearly one million dollars in funding directed towards students. If this referenda passes, this is money that students may never see again. Be careful what you ask for, as you just might get it.

Although the athletic fee is funding directed towards students, I think it is important to recognize that “funding directed towards students” is not necessarily “funding that benefits students”. From what I have experienced with UBC Rec, “this is money that students may never see again”, even before the referenda that Miller warns about.

However, I do not yet know if I would completely support the petition to opt-out of the athletic fees. I think Yonson makes a good point in that UBC Rec offers an important service to students, and that it may be more beneficial to fix the system than to reduce its capacity. Rather than targeting the UBC athletic fees, perhaps it would be more beneficial to make demands possibly including those listed below amongst others, and then holding UBC Rec accountable for addressing such changes.

  • UBC Rec should maintain the online drop-in schedule as a valuable resource; it should be accurate and up-to-date at all times
  • UBC Rec should maintain its answering machine as a valuable resource; it should be accurate and up-to-date at all times
  • UBC Rec should implement a better system for deciding whether to cancel matches, and a better system to then inform league participants of such schedule changes
  • UBC Rec should have higher expectations of its employees, and hold them accountable should they choose to ignore their responsibilities
  • UBC Rec should instantiate a policy where league officials cannot officiate a game in which they have a personal relationship with any of the players present

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Hey Jud–Actually, No…

From the Thought Catalog article “15 Bad Things Even The Nicest People Do”…

Act like they don’t see someone that they definitely recognize and know, but would rather not engage in a brief, awkward what-have-you-been-doing-with-your-life conversation.

I do this sometimes, often without even thinking about it. I wonder if I don’t think about it simply because it has become routine. I’m going to work at stopping this bad habit of mine.

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