Words Per Minute

Typing is such a fun activity. I remember when I was first introduced to a computer when I was a kid, I saw my uncle typing in commands in MS-DOS, and I thought it was such a ‘pro’ thing to do. So when I got my first computer, I was always booting up to play my games in MS-DOS mode even though they could run in Windows 95. I just preferred typing in commands in the console to run them – that was how much I enjoyed typing.

Fast forward many years to a couple of years ago when I had to use my sister’s old laptop (because I didn’t have my own laptop) and installed Linux onto it, I had so much trouble using the command line (and Linux was all about the command line) because I couldn’t remember anything beyond the basic commands. Sure, the GUI was fully workable, but to make the most out of the operating system, you had to use commands. I was Googling how to do something different almost everyday. I was quite happy to switch to a Windows laptop after that.

These days, unless I’m writing music (it’s quite a feat to write down lyrics with a guitar on your lap – much easier to put words on paper with a pen), I write with my keyboard. Like many things I enjoy, I’m not the best at it (gaming, music, drawing) but that doesn’t stop me from doing it. For some strange reason, it is satisfying to see characters appear on the screen each time you hit a key on your keyboard. Instant gratification. I guess the feeling of typing on a mechanical keyboard accentuates it as well.

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my typing speed recently by doing speed typing tests on Type Racer and Keybr. I have only hit 100 WPM once, but my average of 70 WPM is pretty good I guess. I probably need to type more (which I’ll do with my new job, starting next week yay) and eventually I’ll get faster.

I don’t type correctly. I definitely don’t use the proper touch typing method – my pinkies don’t do a good job or picking up the slack, and I use my index fingers way too much. Not sure if I’ll be brave or bothered enough to learn a new layout like DVORAK (apparently you can form more words on the home row than with QWERTY) but as long as I type fast enough to be a qualified typist, that’s probably good enough for me.

Maybe that’s why I enjoy playing Invoker. Casting combos quickly is as enjoyable as typing out a sentence quickly. With the added bonus of seeing enemies being blown up on your screen.

Do I love typing more than writing itself? I guess there’s a chance that’s true. Then again I disliked taking minutes at my old job. I probably just enjoy typing what I’m interested in.

Rain

For the past year, every time I’ve sent my car for a wash, it would rain later in the day. Case in point, I sent my car for a wash two days ago during lunch and it rained in the evening. I’m not even kidding. Unless you believe that there’s some greater being out there trying to fuck with me, there really is no relation between my car getting washed and the weather. But it did get me wondering why this always happens.

Do I have a biological barometer that instructs my brain to send my car for a wash whenever it thinks it’s going to rain? Instead of my bones starting to hurt or my body getting aches, my tells me, “hey – the weather is going to get wet, you should get your car ready for it!” I don’t know why I don’t check the weather before I send my car for a car wash. It’s literally one swipe away on my homescreen.

I know I’ve had some polarizing thoughts about our weather – before I experienced snow, I wrote about how great it would be to have cold weather in Malaysia but after that I wrote about how it was a hassle having to put on a coat and gloves every time you headed outdoors. The weather we had in KL last weekend was perfect. It was cold enough to put on a hoodie if you wanted, but not too cold to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt.

Rain is great – if you’re not caught in a traffic jam or have anywhere to go to. It’s the perfect complement to a cup of hot coffee and some cigarettes. The sound of rain falling and hitting a roof is calming and therapeutic. I guess there’s a reason why RainyMood.com exists. I don’t know if it’s just me, but for some reason I feel colder whenever I put it on.

Rain always comes to mind when I think about assigning values to situations/problems in life. To an area that is suffering from drought – rain is heaven-sent. To another place that is suffering from floods, rain is a nightmare. Rain, like everything in life, itself is neutral – it is your situation/mindset that determines how you see it.

Cellphone Memories

It’s hard to get lost anymore. I remember back in the days when we didn’t own GPS devices or have smartphones, finding a place you hadn’t been to before being such a daunting task. You’d have to ask for landmarks, which roads to use, and so on. You’ll even get traffic information to help you plan what time you should leave home. Last time we’d have to meet at a common point and convoy together to a destination. Now, we just look it up on the internet and send the address to people. They’ll find a way to get there.

Before cellphones, we’d have to schedule appointments using our home phone and head to the meeting point at the right time. If a person was late, there was nothing to do but wait around because there was no way to get in touch with them once they left home.

I remember making phone calls to home using a payphone in school to inform my mom I’ll be home late. Sometimes the payphone wouldn’t accept my coins and I’d have to run around scrounging for change from other people or the canteen. If the phone call was unanswered, I would have no other way to inform her.

That was solved when my parents got cellphones, but I remember they charged like a ringgit a minute, so calls would frequently cut off because I didn’t have enough coins. That was partially solved with phone cards. I don’t remember if they could be topped up or you had to replace them. Either way, most of the time I was stuck with coins.

I remember my first phone that wasn’t a hand me down – the Nokia 3310. Man, that phone was the shit. I think I used it for five years. Snake 2 all day, every day. I was also a fan of customization back then, with phone shells (you literally replaced the plastic of the phone, you didn’t use phone covers to customize your phone back then). I swapped batteries and even changed the LED colors once.

I guess you could say I’m a big fan of customization. That trait has carried on with me throughout my life, manifesting in different forms. Now it’s the homescreen for my Android phone, cosmetics for Dota 2 heroes and keycaps for my keyboards.

The first time I was mugged, I lost my Nokia 7610 – my first color screen phone. It was a hand me down from my sister. I only had it for about a week before the mugging incident. That event traumatized me for a bit (I was constantly looking over my shoulder every time I was walking in public and crossing roads so I didn’t have to walk past strangers). I liked that phone. I enjoyed listening to music and playing games on it. It made Chinese New Year gatherings less boring.

My first smartphone, the HTC G2, was stolen from me. People like my phones? Or thieves aren’t very choosy. I’m not sure. Fortunately my phones haven’t been stolen from me in a while, and I hope it remains that way.

56100 Memories

I read that memories are much easier to recall if they have strong emotional attachments to them. I remember feeling abandoned because there was once, my mom didn’t pick me up on time after school. Almost everybody else had left and I was one of the few kids remaining. I was close to tears, and then my mom showed up. She was late because of traffic or she forgot the time to pick me up.

There was another incident when I left my school bag on the shelf outside the toilet before I went in to use it. When I came back out, my bag was gone. Somebody had taken it. Along with my school books. I felt really sad that day. Being a victim of theft. I’m pretty sure I cried while explaining what happened to my mom.

I remember the feeling of being lost looking for my seat at lunch. Back then, your parents could opt you in for prepaid lunches in school. You’d be assigned a number at a table, and during lunch time you’d sit and eat the food on the table. However, at the beginning of each school term, the numbers would change and your first day would be spent looking for where your seat was. I don’t remember talking to anybody during lunch time though. Lunches were probably unmemorable occasions for me.

When I was in primary one, I remember a classmate asking me, “hey, do you want to see my peanuts?” I was puzzled, and asked him “what do you mean?” The next thing I knew, he pulled up one leg of his shorts and pulled his underwear aside to show me his balls. Due to the pressure of the elastic pressing against them, it made the testicles look like nuts. We both burst out laughing. I guess I appreciated toilet humor from a young age. I’m not sure where he went after school, we didn’t keep in touch. I don’t remember anything else about him, yet I can recall that memory without any effort.

Back when we were kids, it was all about who could run the fastest as a measure of how cool you were. A lot of our recess games involved running. Tag, cops and robbers, fire and ice, and so on. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to challenge each other to races. I have a scar on my knee which is a constant reminder of a stupid downhill race I had with a friend (our school was on a steep hill). I don’t remember winning it, but I do remember tripping and falling, and the aftermath of cuts and blood all over my legs. It was a painful memory.

I remember attending my first funeral. It was my grandmother’s. I don’t remember feeling sad, because I was having fun with my cousins. We played with bottle caps and folded hell paper into airplanes. I also remembered the scent of the joss sticks and the smoke that made my eyes tear. Maybe I was too young at that time and nobody told me what had really happened.

I remember the first time watching the pilot episode of Adventure Time. I was so happy that there was a cartoon I clicked with on all levels. I had never seen anything like it before. I re-watched it many times that week, and recommended it to all my friends. It made me really happy. I think that was also the moment when I realized that cartoons could have jokes for adults without being crude or vulgar.

I remember spending a week in the hospital when my fever didn’t go away for a long time. It wasn’t very interesting. All I did was wake up for crappy meals and medication, watching videos on my tablet, playing a bit of guitar when there was nobody else in the room and going to bed early. I remembered my first cigarette after being discharged. I felt light-headed and couldn’t even finish the stick.

I’ll never forget the first time I consumed ash. It was at my cousin’s house party. I was young and couldn’t drink beer then, only shandy. I saw a can of shandy on the table that I thought was mine. Without second thought, I lifted the can and poured its contents into my mouth. Immediately I could tell something was wrong. Somebody had used it as an ashtray and I had a mouth full of ash. I spat it out and never touched another can of shandy again that day. I felt disgusted.

Wedding Dates

Over the past few years a lot of people I know have been getting married, with a few more later this year. Anyway, a number of them went to visit mediums to find the perfect date to have the wedding, which got me thinking. Would two different mediums give you different dates for your marriage? I mean, if their calculations/faith etc worked – they would give you the same dates, right? Are you allowed to cross check? Do they get offended if you question or choose not to follow their suggestion?

I thought about it and maybe there’s something more behind the scenes. I’m probably talking out of my ass here but hear me out: what if wedding planners, restaurants and hotels are working together with these mediums? It’s nothing complicated or nefarious – venue owners will shave some sort of schedule showing which days they have been booked for weddings. This information is passed on to their network of mediums who keep those dates in mind. When people come to them for a date suggestion, they give them these dates where the venues are available to host weddings.

It works out for everybody. The couples get a place, the mediums get paid for their advice, and probably a fee or cut from the booking, the venue gets business. It’s like using booking.com to find a place to stay, instead you’re consulting a religious person to help you decide when to get married. Doesn’t seem too far-fetched, and it is a lot more reasonable than believing in signs, the zodiac or calculations of dates.

The End of a Season

As my holiday draws to an end, I thought I’d sit down and reflect on the past few months of my life. I can summarize them in one word: great. It’s been amazing not having to worry about anything work-related. I didn’t do anything productive, as is the case with most holidays, but I did have a good time. They were probably the best months of 2017.

A short list of things I did:
– woke up late
– go to bed late
– drink lots of coffee
– visit Cameron Highlands
– played a couple of gigs in Penang, as a bassist for The Propositions
– recorded a few demo tracks
– resumed reading
– wrote a novel
– resumed blogging
– watched a lot of movies
– watched a lot of TV series
– partied a few times
– caught up with friends
– got myself hooked on mechanical keyboards
– started the design document for my first game (it’s been like 3 years, I know)
– got my first plant (LUL)
– got a new bed
– got a haircut
– played a game of basketball

Anyway, the main thing I learned about my season-long holiday is that a break from work does wonders. I’m feeling refreshed, re-energized, and re-centered. I’m ready to get back into the daily grind – in fact I’m looking forward to it. I’ll probably try to utilize my leaves as often as possible to give myself these brief respites to keep myself happy. I’m not getting any younger after all. 2018 is going to be great, I can feel it in my bones.

What I intend to do this year:
– finish my first game
– record songs that incorporate keyboards in some way
– play more sports
– learn to play a Dance Gavin Dance song

Battle Bay Review

I’m not much of a mobile gamer, mainly due to the fact that most touchscreen games have terrible controls and that I’d rather game on my desktop instead of my phone. The best mobile games for me have been quick and simple puzzle games that don’t take a long time to load and play. Games you want to play while waiting in line for something or while taking a shit (though I’d much rather read books or reddit these days). In the past, I scratched the itch with games like Hoplite and Pixel Dungeon. Recently I’ve gotten back in 2048. It’s such a fun and simple game. Not a lot of thinking, but satisfying to make progress in. Easy to drop in and out of.

Continue reading →

#livingmybestlife

If religion is for everyone then why are some people ‘better’ at it or on a higher level? I mean, it’s supposed to be a way of life. If you’re not elevated enough, you have to suffer with the rest of the non-believers.

How can one person be closer to god than the others? How do we even know that they’re really closer? Is there some sort of scale or progression meter that tells a person how close they are to being next level? How does one decide that a person is ready to lead a church or not? Do they really get visions from god?

How do we know they’re not hallucinations, delusions, or just lies? There’s no way to verify. I could write a story about seeing a flaming chariot on the way to work and a burning bush calling out my name, but when I tried to record it on my phone, the video only showed a black screen and a voice faintly calling out a word that resembled ‘George’. Then the next day, I woke up and there was blood on my wrists and I hear the voice of Christ (how do I even know what he sounds like?) telling me to sacrifice my dog and paint my eyes with her blood, so I could see the truth. I did all that, and I started seeing the true intentions of people around me. And as you read this, feeling incredulous and think that I’m joking, I’ll tell you that you don’t believe me because you haven’t seen the truth yet. You don’t know the truth, I do! You can’t tell me otherwise because I have seen it. There are no more wounds on my wrists because it’s a miracle.

People will tell me I’m crazy and will recommend that I get checked up or sent to an institute. They’ll say I’m blaspheming. But I can say it’s the truth because I experienced it, and that you should believe me! Religion! It’s my calling! I know what’s going to happen to the world! However, nobody is going to be able to verify if I’m lying or not.

Assuming I was telling the truth, does that suddenly elevate me to a higher status? Since I had visions and god spoke to me. Will people be more inclined to take my word as truth? Beats me.

Why do we care or bother about what happens to us after we die? Why not make the most of what we know for sure – our lives that we are currently living. Sure, we don’t know for sure if we’ll be alive tomorrow morning, but we do know what we’re capable of doing in the next minute or hour. Just focus on that instead of trying to score brownie points for a proverbial next step. Like, who cares what people think of you after you’re gone? Why not work on the people who do care while you’re still around?

It’s as if there’s not enough to do in this life already, people are doing more things to make sure they’ve got a good shot at going to heaven. What is heaven? Nobody knows. Everything we’ve read about it – all written by people who haven’t been there. There’s no proof it exists, yet so many people are living their lives to get there someday.

If god really wants everyone to live in paradise with him, why not just take everybody in? Why does he need the clause that you must submit your life to him in order to be accepted? What happens if you get to heaven and choose not to be a Christian anymore? Do you get kicked out? Do you get sent to hell?

Why do people call other people ‘bro’?

Excuses or Dependencies?

I’ve previously written about how I’ve conditioned myself to write when I’m outdoors with coffee and cigarettes. It’s not much of a problem, since I don’t write that often, and I’ve been only writing for fun. However, today, as I sit here at a cafe, smoking and drinking coffee – I think I might have turned it into a habit. A dependency.

Like sure, it’s great, I get to compartmentalize my life – home is for relaxing and fun, cafes are for working. I don’t think about work when I’m home, I just think of all the fun things I can do. But because of that, when I’m home – I don’t feel like working at all these days. Like, I can’t even take my laptop out to write a simple blog post. I have to drive out of the house, get a caffeinated drink and light up a stick to get the engine running.

I admit, it works, but I don’t think it’s good in the long run. What if one day I have to quit smoking or drinking coffee? I guess I’ll learn to adapt, but if it’s in the middle of the day and I’m at the office with no chance to go out, then what? I sit at my desk and stare at the blank screen for hours?

Maybe it’ll be different when I actually do start work. Since it’s been a long time since I’ve held a writing job. But I’ll probably have to condition myself again to work differently. Unless I get an office with a smoking room (hah!) that would be fun.

What about other routines I have like taking a shit in the morning if not I’ll feel uneasy until I do? Is that a bad habit? People tell me it’s good that I have regular excretion habits, somehow I feel like I shit too much. It feels terrible leaving the house without taking a shit in the morning (i.e. I’m in a rush for a morning appointment). Especially during traffic jams. I always get the feeling like I’m about to shit my pants. Fortunately that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s bound to happen someday. right? I’ve had to deal with this for the longest time. Seems like another dependency to me.

Just like the first stick of the day. I usually have one while waiting for my car engine to warm up or as I’m exiting my condominium if I’m in a rush. My day just doesn’t start without one. I guess it’s like brushing your teeth before you go to bed or when you wake up. Nobody feels good going to bed or going out without doing it. Right?

Out With The Old

Today I spent about an hour clearing random shit from my room. Since it’s the new year, I figured that I’d tidy up my room a bit. I went through my desk and four drawers, picking up and throwing away stuff that I didn’t need. Turns out I had a lot of shit that was lying around. Bills, cards, broken pens, pieces of paper, my old TESOL assignments and teaching material, books, batteries, 56k modems (I found two of them), broken cables, used organizers, and press kits from my short stint reviewing movies a few years ago.

Initially, I took the time to go through each item and realized that it would take too long, so I only took minor glances and what they were before deciding to throw them away. I had tons of rubbish, ended the night throwing away four bags of random shit.

I applied the following principle to efficiently clean my room: if it was something that I hadn’t touched in years and there was no reason to keep it, I threw it away. I mean, if I hadn’t needed the items in years and I didn’t even know they were lying around in my room, they were as good as missing and it will probably be unlikely that I’ll ever need them in my lifetime. Hopefully this won’t come to bite me in the ass in the future, but we’ll see.

I made some surprising discoveries – I found a lint roller and a portable vacuum cleaner. Two items that I had purchased in the last month. Could have saved myself some money if I had bothered looking for them (or remembered I had them in the first place). I also found my old cellphones – the Galaxy S2, Moto G and Redmi Note 3. I think they’re still semi-working, but I have no use for them. I’ll probably donate them or keep a couple around to mess with them.

Next up, time to go through my cupboards to find even more things to throw away.

I’m probably going to throw away my empty alcohol bottles because I don’t think it’s cool to keep them anymore. Also, they are a waste of space and a possible hazard. I’ve got tons of boxes that I kept because I thought they looked nice. They’ll be going too since I’m not going to move anywhere or resell those items they contained. I’m also going to go through my closet to get rid of clothes I never wear anymore. This should be fun!

I’m retiring Music Mondays because I feel like they’re a bit too samey (both the bands I recommend and the way I describe them). Monday posts are now going to be miscellaneous!