Persuasion vs Manipulation

Melbourne's Giant Coin Purse
What is the difference?

Some time ago, I had been trying to find the line between the concepts of Persuasion and Manipulation. This wasn't necessarily because I wanted to justify manipulation, but I did want to be more persuasive. Who wouldn't like to be more capable at getting what they want? This made me consider where the line of acceptability was. The problem, though, is that with some lines of thinking, people will misinterpret. They may assume you want them for unsavory reasons, or maybe just don't know the difference between right and wrong. 

I now see it as a process of moral discovery. The question: “What is the difference between persuasion and manipulation?” Actually think about it, and try to come up with an answer. If someone persuades you to do something, they change your mind to take a different perspective or course of action. Manipulation is… what? To get someone to do so without being aware that they’re being persuaded? To get them to act against their self interest? Or is it simply intent?

Day 132 - Governments and Street Art

August 17th, 2015

I wake up to find my left shoulder blade has a knife stuck in it. Not literally, but the pulled muscle is so bad that it limits my lung capacity and range of motion significantly. This is what you get from sleeping on futons, though who can argue with such good hospitality? I discuss potential outcomes with Shimou based on the problems with China and decide it’s best to resend my request for information to the Aus Gov.

The potential outcomes:

Day 131 - Do the Café Hop

The State Library
(Goddamn, I love working in this place)
August 16th, 2015

I'm procrastinating a lot, using Shimou as an excuse since she hasn't started moving yet. I know this is procrastination the same way that I know me moving will also spur Shimou to get started.

Luke had suggested Shimou and I check out a cafe called Manchester Press in the CBD, which closes at 5. We manage to find it at 4:40 after taking the train into town and tracking it down the alley of an alley. Nice place, not too expensive, good coffee, and had a menu of bagels as over-the-top sandwiches. Didn't try any, unfortunately, because the kitchen was closed.

Day 130 - Great Ocean Road

The Entrance
Though it's not a toll gate or anything...
August 15th, 2015

It's an early morning after staying up until 3:30am local time, getting up at 6;30. Luke, Shimou, and I are taking a bus tour 5ish hours away along the Great Ocean Road! It's a crisp morning, and I'm thankful that they made these triple meat, double decker sandwiches the night before (turkey deli, tuna, fried egg, cheese).

From the bus
Walking through the Australian winter air and sleepily riding the train into town, we stumbled through town to the meeting point. Half a block before reaching said point, Shimou says "oh yeah, did I mention this is a Chinese tour?" Uh, no, you did not*Bring it on!

Day 129 - Bureaucratic Hell

Melbourne University
August 14th, 2015

Most of the day is taken up by waiting to get someone from the Australian bureaucracy on the line to find out how to get a copy of my working-holiday visa. Why am I doing this? Because China has decided that it’s essential for them to know that I am able to work in Australia before they will allow me to do so in China. I have no idea what relevance it has to them. “Why don't you just hand over a copy of your work permit?” Therein lies the rub.

Day 128 - Beach Boxes Bonanza

Strike a Pose
Aug 13th, 2015

After last night’s late-night writing session ending at 4am, I had a hard time dragging myself to coherent consciousness at 1pm. Again, I let Shimou sleep a little later, eventually rousing her when 2pm rolled around.

I can tell that I'm not as sharp, motivated, or contemplative as I was when eating a lot of veg, and lifting regularly. You may notice a lot less random tangents or ideas being presented in my writings. It’s like night and day. Time to attempt a shift for the upward: yogurt, a pear, and frozen vegetables for breakfast. Nutrition and exercise are the best ways I've kicked it into gear. Well, that, and listless anger.

Day 127 - Melbourne's First Day

Melbourne from the Bridge next to Flinders St Station
Aug 12th, 2015

1am local time, we wake up tired. I'm awake enough that I don't want to go back to sleep. Shimou keeps sleeping until I force her to get up at 2. The shower is.. interesting. I has 2 sliding doors, one of which is not very firmly set in its track.

Since being sick, my digestive tract is a mess. Gas in excess. Probably TMI, but follow me here. Due to this excess gas, Shimou has dubbed me pì wáng [pee wong], which translates to “fart king.” I've since accepted it and use it against her. Whenever I feel one coming, I chant “wáng, wáng, wáng,” to assert my kinghood. “Wǒ shì nǐ de wáng. Wǒ shì pì wáng!” which means “I am your king! I am The Fart King!” After some time of whispering “wáng,” I say it the wrong way, which is wàng (downward intonation instead of upward). This is, apparently, the sound that dogs make in Chinese - instead of “bark” or “woof” they say “wàng” (again, it’s pronounced “wong”). She also calls me a dog in chinese, which I'm willing to equally run with. I will be the Dog Fart King! Cháng shòu Gǒu Pì Wáng! Long live The Dog Fart King! To complicate this title further, “Dog Fart” is the Chinese equivalent of the English phrase “Bullshit.” Dog Fart King = Bullshit King. I'll take them both.

Day 126 - Goodbye, Perth!

August 11th, 2015

Part of me is disappointed that I didn't stick to leaving on the 10th, even though it doesn't matter. Plans change, no need to get down on myself for not sticking to my word exactly. I still feel it’s better to be disappointed in this than the opposite: not feeling anything bad when breaking my personal commitments entirely.

I make the house pancakes one last time, handing out small Canadian flag pins to each of the housemates as I run into them. Joy came back with a Chinese flag pin as a thank you, which I appreciated. I didn't expect anything back, especially since they let me stay there for two weeks at a cheap rate. Very nice. Shimou tried to give me a couple bigger things to remember her by, but I already am having problems with space and weight. I unload some of my things for her as gifts, though I'm not sure if she'd want all of them. She settles on giving me a bracelet that’s similar to the ones Yuzu gave me, but red and with gold beads instead of black with clear ones. I like these sort of gifts because they're small and valueless to others. No one is going to rob me for trinkets that have sentimental value.

Day 125 - Airline Resolution and "Pies"

Goodbye, Dogs Prohibited.
You're just too heavy for me.
August 10th, 2015

Shimou still holds that she isn’t going to come. She thinks it’ll be too difficult to say goodbye to me there, and then have to fly back by herself. I think that’s silly because that will force her to say goodbye sooner - tomorrow at the latest. She tells me to buy my ticket.

We eat breakfast, and the stress of the ticket still hanging is bothering me. If I’m flying out today or tomorrow - I’d like to know which. I clear the table after Shimou and Ella are finished eating, and set down to work. I’m about to buy my ticket when Shimou stops me from clicking the confirmation. She agrees to come, gives me the information I need to book both ticket, and awaAAAay we gooOOOoooo! Phew, bullet dodged. On the upside, by delaying that extra day, we got a cheap ticket with Virgin. That is the way to fly, man. They don't charge extra for luggage, have more space, and you each have your own video screen and USB charger at each seat. In the end, it cost $10 more than the dirt cheap ones, which would have still charged for luggage.

Day 124 - Last Game Day

Food Prepping
August 9th, 2015

Cotton mouthed and a mentally off-balance, I remember that we drank the night before and chug a few glasses of water. Shimou continues to sleep for another hour, while I relax next to her. After getting out of the shower, she informs me that there is actually a full house, with a handful of additional Chinese people over for making a big lunch. I wish I could stay, but today is the final game day and I had committed last week. I'm always torn between organization and chaos. If you're too organized, you have everything planned but no freedom for random events. This is a problem younger me would never have faced, except for being so disorganized that I had to scramble to finish things.

Day 123 - Last Mustang!

Ooo-la-la, Koko Black
August 8th, 2015

Today is my catchup day! I have the daytime free, and the evening booked for my last hurrah outing. There were plans to meet with Aussie Peter and Dean, but one didn’t respond, and the other post-poned. I pounded the keyboard all day, catching up on the work I had been slacking on. There is a very real difference in my productivity, how clearly I think, and how good I feel between now and when I was eating mostly meat and vegetables. Very, very real. Surreal.

I have ramen for dinner, as well as fermented milk drink and some yogurt. The antibiotics have finally run out, and it’s time to repopulate my gut flora. At least, that sounds like a good idea if I only know for certain how to go about doing it.

Day 122 - Goodbye, Eloise!

Oh! Hello, Northbridge!
August 7th, 2015

Shimou makes breakfast this time while I scramble to get through a Bali post, since they're really, really long. And this is cutting them down and not including everything in great detail! I just barely get through the one today, add the pictures, and push back my time to meet up with Australian Eloise at 10 to the time I'm supposed to meet her, Lee and Shimou jump in the car and are ready to go. Lee needs to stop one place for a quoted 10 minutes, which turns into 45. Lucky Eloise is a patient one.

Day 121 - Steele Tasting Coffee

August 6th, 2015

The days keep starting later and later. Chicken and rice for lunch, scramble to edit stuff because today is a busy day! Pharmacy, gym, coffee tasting, dinner, AND hanging out with Ricardo back at ye olde share house. Let’s get down to it!

Day 120 - Cleanliness is Godliness

Jigsaw Art
August 5th, 2015

Wake up. Pancakes. Again. Add berries for variety. 

I decide to collect all my things and pack them into my suitcases to make sure it'll all fit and that I have it all organized, living off as little as possible. I know I'm not leaving for another 5 days, but it’s causing me a little anxiety to not be ready or sure that I’m within the weight limit. I guess it’ll just force me to toss some things. Collecting all the stuff triggered a cleaning mode for me.

Day 119 - Pannucakku Surprise

August 4th, 2015

Only six more days. Six more days until I leave Perth indefinitely, who knows when or if I'll be back. Here’s where a tendency to wax nostalgic is irritating. I can feel a difference between my general mood and ability to motivate myself now, compared to when I was eating a lot of meat and vegetables. I want to go back, but the situation is unstable and I'm even poorer than before. I'm stuck with making pancake variations and french toast, eating through the leftover stuff I have so that it doesn't spoil or otherwise go to waste. Hooray...

Day 118 - Jesse, It's Time to Cook

So good
August 3rd, 2015

BOOM! Healthy. My batteries are sitting around 90%, and I wake up at 8:30 for no reason. My mind starts racing thinking about all sorts of things and projects, and I decide to hell with sleeping more. I’ve been sleeping for a week. Out of bed, I pop some pills and set up camp to start doing the work I've been feeling too shitty to actually dig into. 

Day 117 - Stink Cloud Suffering

Note: Unrelated pics, there's not usually
much to see during these games.
August 2nd, 2015

Today is the second last game day! They moved it just for little ol’ me, saying they didn't want to finish our current campaign without me. I'm honored, especially considering my character was mostly useless until recently.

I gather my things and make pancakes from scratch. Shimou and Co. have only ever tasted the bottled ones. I told them it was probably cheaper - and better - to do it make them from scratch, so here I am. I'm not actually sure it would be cheaper, but generally buying pre-made, smaller servings is more expensive per serving. I haven’t done the math - sue me.

I pop my pills and make sure to bring them with me. This is going to be a bit of a test to see if I can make it through a 6 hour game session without problems. Please be the correct antibiotics! Please work against this particular strain! And please, for the love of god, don't be allergic!

Day 116 - Delirium Ensues

I don't remember what this picture was supposed to be,
but it sums up how I felt that day.
August 1st, 2015

There is no springing out of bed. Not today. The fever was back all night, becoming a pendulum between chattering teeth and a sweaty marinate. Time for the doctor. Damn it. I’d really rather not spend any more money, especially after Bali.

Slowly shower, slowly get dressed, and slowly walk to the train like a delirious elderly man who keeps receiving random pulses of dizziness or invisible forces poking him. I’m sweating from the very slight effort of strolling *800m. Can't wait to get back in the gym.

Day 115 - Grocery Madness

Oh, Ms. Poppins! How surprising!
Subiaco! Sup dooby doo
July 31st, 2015

I spring out of bed, feeling much better than the past couple days. Let's run with it! I realize that the Chinese folks I'm living with were surprisingly impressed with pancakes, so why not give french toast a go? They are less impressed. After eating, I decide it’s still best to stay away from the gym for at least another day or two, but I will go with them to the grocery store to get out of the house.

Initiate inexplicable sweats and mild delirium. The FEVER is back and I'm stuck in this damned grocery store.

Day 113-114 - Like a Dog

Bad English, but I like it nonetheless
July 29th-30th, 2015
A cafe in Ubud...

This day and the next were a wash. The 29th was entirely spent between the washroom and bedroom. Sweating, Shivering, Suffering. I choked down whatever food I could that Shimou wonderfully, and abundantly, served me. She took great care of me, more than I felt I deserved. I am grateful for it. 

...These were through the windows
in an alleyway
The 30th, I was in bed for the first half and was able to leave the room for a couple hours near the end. Meanwhile, I didn't actually make any buffer posts like I had thought would be a good idea (damn you, past-me), leaving me to last minute editing, cleaning up, and posting. Hopefully this will explain why those ones may make less sense than normal. The fever finally breaks, but the symptoms linger.

Day 112 - Bazaar Games

July 28th, 2015

My view from the shower
It’s Game day! Yes, that’s right, Game day! And I have no plan!  Shimou proposed that we go into the Ubud Market in search of a gift for one another to commemorate the trip. It’s on! Price limit: $100,000 Rupiah!

Day 111 - Market Misadventures

July 27th, 2015
Rediscovered that my phone does have panarama
Back pool area, with the back right area leading to a ravine.
Surprise! Breakfast!
Life is Good. Waking up naturally at 10 because of habit and sunlight flowing in through the sheer blinds. I was thinking that we should change places tonight because this one wasn't the best (no kitchen private or drinking water in the room) but changed my mind when I realized that they prepare breakfast and coffee on demand. Banana crepes, omelet, and coffee? Don't mind if I do. I explored more of the place while we waited for the cab, finding a better view of the pool lounging area at the back. Very agreeable.

The only goals for today were babi guling, massage, and checking out some shops. Turns out that babi guling closes at 3ish, and we are still full from the unexpected brunch. Tomorrow is our last chance to get some of that sweet, sweet pig.

Day 110 - Snorkeling off Lembongan Island

Great Snorkeling!
July 26th, 2015

The French(?) guy who rented us the room didn't handle the room's problems very well. He wasted our time by getting us to wait in the room for an hour because he asked us to, then messaged us 45 minutes later to say he was with his girlfriend and couldn't come back right away. We're only there one night, and my natural urge is to not clean up after myself. He can clean it after being a dick. But I stop myself because that's not who I want to be. Ultimately, I'm glad I didn't because he came back later and reimbursed us ~40% of the cost.

How to Get More Respect through Language

Why Focus on Language

A while ago, I started working on changing the language I use. As you may have heard, the language we use will shape how we think. I’m not going to go so far as some people have, which was to say that “if you eliminate the word from a vocabulary, people would never think of it again.” Instead, I worked on changing things to a more positive spin, or to gain more control over my thoughts. As another quote says “Careful with your thoughts, as thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become character, and character becomes destiny.” Heavy.

Day 109 - Touching the Holy Snake

A quick tour through our second place
July 25th, 2015

Today started at 10, and a slower pace. Thank God. I like seeing stuff, but I've never been a fan of the "culture by machine gun" approach to travel. Then again, it was nice to see so much of Ubud before fleeing the city.

Nick is gone, replaced by a different taxi that the villa's owner helped us find. We were planning on snorkeling today, but the sea is rocky and our boat has been cancelled on our planned return trip. The hotel we booked wouldn't let us cancel without forfeiting our money. Change of plans.

Day 108 - Monkey Forest and The Most Expensive Coffee

She missed the memo
July 24th, 2015

It's ridiculous that I've had to train myself to enjoy things like this trip. "Wherever you are, that's where you are" is the phrase I've been focusing on for the past year or so. It sounds stupid on the surface, sure. The way it was explained to me was this: if you're unhappy and constantly complain, it doesn't matter what your environment is. You just won a trip to your dream destination? A negative person will be a negative person in the end, though they may perk up a bit at the initial change. Hell, even I complained about that kid on the plane, though I mainly included it because I thought the phrasing was funny.

Day 107 - We made it!

And we made it!
July 23rd, 2015

Ever been on one of those rides where the cart is on hydraulics, moving to and making you feel like you're in the movie? I pretend that the cab is one of those rides because I have just as much control in the outcome. For me, part of learning to relax is letting go when holding on changes nothing. I've come to terms with the idea that there's a chance of an unpredictable, violent death. It's part of the trade-off for quick transportation. The upside with flying is it will probably be instantaneous.

On a less morbid note, I'm amazed this guy's car has so few dings on it. He almost took off a side mirror or three on the ride to the hotel. Maybe that's just the way they drive over here because the lanes are clearly suggestions more than rules.

Day 106 - Trapped in the Airport

The Beginnings of a Shanty Town
July 22nd, 2015

As the title indicates, I'm literally trapped in the airport, counting the hours as we wait to see if we can actually leave at the now-delayed time of departure. Lee and Joy have arrived at the airport at 2:30pm in anticipation of their flight, which was scheduled for 4:50pm. Our flight was originally scheduled for 8:05pm, so we arrived around 6pm. All four of us sit here, playing cards, at 2:30am. The flights have both been delayed to the same time, which sits at 4am as of writing. The griping from people around us has died down as the room's people have reached entropy, sleeping spread out on the various seats and huddled together along the walls. We are all trapped here. But let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

Day 105 - Shimou Returns (From Beijing)

Enter Epic Panflute
July 21st, 2015

I am determined to make burritos today, damn it! I said I'd cook for them Sunday, but the stores were closed. I bought the stuff yesterday, but they ate early. Not today. Today, they will eat my food and like it! The only thing I have to do is go to the gym, which I'm really tempted to skip. I remind myself that Bali is tomorrow and I likely won't be able to go again until we get back, and then only 10 more days of it until Melbourne and Beijing. Likely, there will be no gym then, either. Seize the day!

How to get an Australian Working-Holiday Visa

A friend from home messaged me to ask about getting the Working holiday (417) visa. I realize that I haven't actually talked about this at any length and anyone paying attention to this blog may have some questions.

What does the working holiday visa get you? It allows you to work for a maximum of six months in one position, meaning you have to work at least two jobs in your one-year stint. You'll be able to pick up most jobs, which usually lands foreigners in the service industry (~$20/h min wage; little-to-no tipping), Mining industry (mid-to-high 20's/h, less common), or construction (mid-to-low 20's/h) are the most common. They all pay pretty well, with the Mining Industry, particularly Fly-In; Fly-Out (FIFO), paying the best. This means you live at a work site that they fly you to, work there for a couple weeks straight, then fly back home for a couple weeks to do nothing. Not the best way to live, but it pays in the 100k+/year neighborhood, I think. Don't quote me on that one, but I do know it also comes with higher rates of depression and lower life satisfaction. You can probably work a job in the same industry you did back home, such as banking or accounting, though you may want to look into the Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189).

Day 104 - How to Build a Habit

This scrolling picture circle in the
shopping area of the CBD
July 20th, 2015

Sleep late on occasion is great. I was up until 2:30am, powering through the double-posting objective of setting everything up until the return date. I'll have to edit a couple more as a buffer, but everything’s looking good. To be honest, I liked having the delay between events actually taking place and being put online because people who were in it will either forget to check, or won’t be bothered as much by something that was unexpectedly included. Like an emotional buffer. So now I'm stuck between a few options of either a) not telling new people about the blog, b) censoring what I say so as to appease people, or c) post what I would normally say and deal with the aftermath. I'll probably end up doing the third because it will be the biggest pain in the ass and make me get better with conflict and fallout. Probably. Further, I'm not sure many Chinese people will bother even trying to read an English blog, even if they're a character in it.

I made my breakfast of lentils, tuna, and tomato sauce with a side of cruciferous vegetables and black coffee. Puttering online, I'm simply procrastinating gathering my things to head to the gym. One of my main obstacles to setting up the gym habit was how damn inconvenient it was. A 10 min walk is easy, but a half hour voyage is not. 

On the topic of habits: 

Day 103 - Moving Day II

Me and Bobo after I wouldn't let go til she smiled
July 19th, 2015

The day begins with me eating these frozen dumplings/gyoza that I have been ignoring for the past week. Bobo knows what they are, and accepts my gyoza gift. “Thank you, God” she says. I am a Gracious God.

Everything is mostly packed and it’s not clear when Lee will show up to give me a ride to my new digs: Shimou’s place. I figured I should go there - at her invitation - instead of pay for another week since Bali is this Wednesday. There’s something about moving out that’s generally depressing to me. A room that used to have personality looks so pathetic when it’s been stripped down and made barren. It’s like the soul has been completely sucked out of it, and, in some sense, it has. I’ve always had a weakness for nostalgia.

Day 102 - Republics and Cannibals

Yes, that's Jaws eating a burrito
July 18th, 2015

After dumping my ideas onto the page like I did a few posts ago, I figured I wouldn't have as many things to talk about for a while. Somehow, on the half hour walk to work, I came up with a handful of new ideas to throw down. I’ve heard that walking is supposed to be great for optimal blood flow to the brain, while not being so exerting (such as jogging) to take your attention away from your thoughts.

At work, I chatted with Nadja about podcasts because I've only recently started listening to them. One of the episodes I recently covered from The Tim Ferriss show was on how to approach making a podcast and what to strive for when making it. Listening to it made me want to try my hand. I explained to Nadja how I started listening to it, being the 4 hour work week. Apparently, she knows a group of people from Germany who are living the lifestyle described in the book. They meet up in Thailand every year around now as an annual thing. That's damn good to hear.

Intermittent Fasting, Caloric Restriction, and General Diet

This is your life ending, one second at a time
Full disclosure: I am not a biologist, and I'm basically just riffing out what I've come across in as much detail as I felt was necessary to absorb and be useful. If you find these ideas interesting, or you think they're wrong, then I encourage you to please prove me wrong with research. I'd rather be corrected.

I had a realization: Right now, I may be the cleverest I will ever be. At least in terms of speed of cognition. The only thing I could do to reach even higher would be to meditate, and maybe take supplements. Oh, and possibly sleep a normal schedule… but nah. I wonder if blocking all possible light would help with the quality of sleep, as I’ve heard that even the slightest light will disrupt sleep quality. With my sleep schedule, I might as well be basking in it. Sometimes I am. Anyway, it’s probably all downhill from here. Or is it?