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Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 04:05 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

The Stars Are Right

SN1101E South Asia: People, Culture and Development also done, bringing my seventh semester in NUS to a close. Felt that I didn't really do full justice to the questions after bothering to seek out, photocopy and bind all the suggested readings, but it's over, heck. The module did put our standard of living into perspective, however - truly it came down to the lottery of birth. Happiness, of course, is another (relative) thing; While my studies do lead me towards some stuff that I desire, it seems that it does not lead towards that which I truly want, but then I see no guaranteed path to achieving that either. Still, one can't complain too much.

Out of nowhere I found it fit to dabble in a bit of astrology, and to my delight some websites have made the construction of natal charts free and easy. A nice development from when I was given the Book of Tests as a prize in Primary Four, and couldn't make much sense out of the Astrology section (by the Milo Kovar Astro-Psychology Institute) that headed that book. The palmistry text that I photocopied from a few of my friends then interested in that area was much more readable, and I daresay I still have that somewhere, that is if my grandmother hasn't managed to winnow my collections stealthily, as she usually does.

I don't think that makes too much sense on its own, so here's a primer on natal astrology. There's some science involved since it involves the exact position of the heavenly bodies at the exact time of birth, before the jibjabbering about zodiac signs and houses comes in. Obviously, irritating problems arise when one gets born near the poles, but since I was an Equator baby no such complications arise.

Breaking it down into the basics:

Sun*AquariusAscendant*** (I)Cancer
PlutoScorpioMidheaven (X)Aries
Asc NodeGeminiXIIGemini
*The Sun sign is probably what most people think of when they refer to their zodiac sign. Represents one's consciousness and outer individuality. One of the most significant indicators, together with the Moon sign and the Ascendant.
**The Moon sign represents emotional responses, feelings and the subconscious self.
***The Ascendant (rising) sign represents one's outlook to life and public face.
Sun-Moon combo - Aquarius/Scorpio.

If you be feeling curious now, or like me are in the glad state of temporarily having nothing better to do, just whip out that ol' birth certificate for your time of birth (not strictly required, since the date is usually sufficient for the planetary positions but the houses need more accurate timings) and generate your own natal chart in one easy step. Astrozoom.com even has an interactive Java chart, so take your pick. They should give the same results. And be sure to have a large tablespoonful of salt and a knowledge of the Pollyanna Principle, too.

So are my own readings accurate? Decently enough, but without subjecting myself to comparisms with randomly generated sets of planets and houses I can't be certain - and now that I know the actual readings such an experiment probably wouldn't be accurate. I therefore leave this possible addition to the sum total of human knowledge to some experimental psychologist looking for a project.

Went hunting for a tennis racket alone after gana pangseh by Mr. Alvin, and settled on a budget made-in-China Yonex RQ Force ZX (standard 27-inch length, slightly oversized 110 square inch head, ten and a half ounces {~300 grams} in weight), in red and a very deep blue. Come to think of it, one of the South Asian examination questions was about India and China's engagement with the global market. Argh, scratch that thought. Got a free waterbottle into the deal. Didn't manage to locate a shop doing authentic EPL lettering for my United jersey, so Scholes 18 will have to wait.

Remembered reading something about tennis grips in the latest edition of the Sunday Times (May 4), so I dug into the karang guni pile and re-read it with racket in hand. My natural grip seems to be the Eastern one, which was to be expected as that's the way I hold a badminton racket too. Can't imagine wielding it the Western way - I would probably twist some muscles that way, but let's see how theory holds up in practice on Wednesday when I give the racket its first trial run.

Prototype subject to minor refinements

Following onto Wenhoo's suggestion on an idea I floated, I concluded without empirical testing that that particular bit of my anatomy wasn't quite up to the task. Some raffia string and tentative swings later, I was convinced of the potential of the concept, and as a bonus the triple-sized handle should serve to strengthen the grip. Intimidation factor when playing table tennis yet another plus.

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