Diamonds In My Chain Gold

Random thought post? Sure. I haven’t done one of these in a while.

It’s interesting watching how my nephews are growing up. I’m happy that the elder one is generally obedient and very patient with his younger brother. I don’t know why, patience is one of those traits you don’t see in every kid. Hopefully his younger brother will follow in his footsteps. He’s definitely not patient right now. However, they are both extremely loving and caring towards their younger sister, so that’s a good sign. Crankiness seems to be a common factor if you try engaging with them after they wake up. They need a couple of hours to warm up it seems.

Today’s kids are the TV – or screen – generation. At least based on my observation. Not that there’s anything wrong, it’s just how times have evolved. Like back in my days, it was action figures and army men. TV only became a hobby much later in life. Nowadays, we have access to so many more displays – everywhere we go we either have a TV, smartphone, tablet or laptop. Back then, all we had was the living room TV and the shared family computer. Even I’m a TV kid now – these days I fall asleep watching Twitch streams or YouTube videos, and it’s all by my own volition. I bring my phone into the toilet to Reddit while I take a shit. I listen to podcasts from my phone while I’m driving. I read articles or watch videos while eating if I’m by myself.

Now that I own a smartwatch, I can’t imagine spending money on a non-smart one. It’s crazy. A few years ago I would’ve said that was a ridiculous thought. Then again, it’s not like I was much of a watch person to begin with. But now that I’ve experienced life with one, I don’t think I could resort to regular watches. My phone already tells the time, why would I need something that only does the same thing? Also, the fact that I can change my watch face to match whatever I’m wearing (not that I do it very often) means I have a watch to suit every occasion.

Even with access to every kind of music imaginable, these days I still find myself going back to the same old artists – Post Malone, Joji, Rich Brian, Higher Brothers, Dance Gavin Dance, Emery and Tilian are my jam right now. I guess I’m a creature of habit. Every time I hear songs from them played in random locations like cafes and clubs, it puts a smile on my face. I get so hyped for no reason. I used to feel the same way back then when there wasn’t internet streaming music. It’s amazing how the way I react hasn’t changed.

Vaping is more enjoyable when you have a good coil and good juice. It can definitely replace cigarettes. Not that I’ve been looking to do that – it’s just something I noticed. Snus are still great. I make sure I have some with me all the time.

I think I am easily influenced – at least by people I like. I don’t think I’m a trendsetter. Not that it matters, but quite a number of things I’m into now are directly because of my friends.

Dabbing for photographs is very cringeworthy.

Unironically, I’m a Pewdiepie fan. I enjoy watching his videos. He deserves his success.

Better Call Saul’s next season can’t come soon enough. I’ll have to settle for Riverdale in the meantime.

Having a beard hides your double chin. Then again, maybe I should work on losing weight instead. I have been watching my diet again though. Went for a health check up the other day and was told by the doctor that my BMI was a bit high. Fair enough, I thought, since I had let my diet loose for a while.

My laptop is still under repair, which kinda sucks. On the bright side, I still have been able to complete my work using a tablet – great because it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders when I walk around with my backpack. Typing on the screen is still terrible but I’ve got some great portable keyboards which rectifies this issue. Battery life on this tablet is also insane – I love how I don’t have to worry about keeping it charged.

Animal Bus is officially in the works. Stay tuned for updates 🙂

Destination: Gwangju

It’s been a while since I’ve traveled for work. It has been almost a year since I’ve stopped doing back-to-back traveling. This change of pace is welcome. Anyway, today’s flight was good. Didn’t end up landing five-years later, like the TV show Manifest. Am here to attend the Gwangju ACE Fair which begins tomorrow morning. In case you’re wondering, I’m not in Seoul – nowhere near, in fact. Not that it really matters since I won’t have much time to do touristy stuff. Also, I’ve never been to South Korea before, so I have nothing to compare this place with anyway. For what it’s worth, we seem to be in a very seedy/happening part of town. Tons of massage parlors, gambling dens and motels in the vicinity. On the plus side, there are tons of bars and restaurants around as well.

I didn’t manage to sleep for long on the plane today, so I watched a few movies. It didn’t help that the lady next to me kept flicking her long dreadlocks on my arm and went past the arm rest, invading my personal space. Also, she kept looking at photos of herself on her tablet. I have no idea why. Upon loading the movie selection list, I realized how much I took MAS for granted. Korea Air has such a limited selection of movies. Also, their captains make way too many announcements. I managed to watch: The Commuter (I was let down by the middle-end 5/10), Life of the Party (couldn’t even finish the film, 2/10), Fahrenheit 451 (interesting concept, though I thought it could have been executed better, 6/10 – will probably have to read the book or wiki it), Dude’s Manual (honestly, it’s not a very good film, but the actresses were gorgeous so I kept watching 4/10). Maybe on the flight back I’ll spend it sleeping instead.

I had a terrible omelet on the plane for breakfast but that was made up by the delicious spicy beef soup meal I had after landing. Had spicy pork for dinner and that was good too. Looking forward to more meals in Korea! Coffee wasn’t impressive – it’s very light and watered down compared to how I like it. The weather today was pretty good – neither hot nor cold. Just the way I like it. According to the forecast, it’s going to be raining over the next few days, so I’m not looking forward to that.

Anyway, I’ve only spent half a day here, so I haven’t got much else to say for now. If you’re interested in the random photos I take, you can follow me on Instagram. Oh, this post was written on my Tokyo 60 – Box Navy switches are so damn loud, but man, they feel so good. This is definitely a board I won’t be bringing to work unless I replace the switches.

Shower Slippers are Aptly Named

So, over the weekend I decided to replace my 10-year-old+ flip-flops. No idea why it took me so long, but the soles of the footwear were coming off and they were already ugly as hell. I figured Saturday would have been a good time as any to get a new pair. Off I went to Mid Valley, braving the crowds and going from shop to shop, looking for a pair of nice flip-flops.

I don’t think I was very picky when it came to choosing my footwear, but there were a few criteria I had to meet:
– not hideous
– cheap enough to leave outside of my apartment (we’ve had a history of stolen flip-flops left on our welcome mat)
– no strap in between the big toe and the rest of the toes (I hate the feeling of something in between my toes)

That was it. Surprisingly, it was quite difficult finding something that matched my criteria without breaking the bank or in my size. It all came down to a pair of Nike flip-flops I found in Sports Direct. Other close contenders were some pricier Birkenstocks and Skechers footwear which I didn’t really feel like shelling out that much for.

Seeing how the Nikes were cheaper than Birkenstocks or Skechers and they felt comfortable enough, I decided to go with them. So, this is where I managed to ignore two warning signs: the flip-flops had a label on them “Kawa Shower“. I said to myself – what are the differences between shower slippers and regular flip-flops anyway? I always thought people wore regular flip-flops into bathrooms (but I have no idea why they did it – I guess it’s for people who don’t shower at home and the floor of the bathrooms they use are filthy? Like in public places? Beats me.)

Second warning sign: there were holes in the soles of the flip-flops – I didn’t think they mattered at all, beyond being able to drain away any sweat from my feet – which was a plus point in my mind. And in the event of rain, flip-flops weren’t going to protect my feet anyway.

After paying for them, I immediately put them on and threw away my old flip-flops. They were textured and a little grippy, but they were comfortable enough for me to walk around in them. Soon I forgot I was even wearing new flip-flops. All was good. I was happy about my purchase.

Fast forward to today, when I had to use a public restroom. I walked into a stall that had water all over the floor and without thinking, I took a step towards the toilet bowl. Immediately, I felt the filthy public toilet floor water rise up through the holes of my soles to the bottom of my feet. It was then I realized my mistake.

Right after I exited the toilet, I bought myself a new pair of flip-flops from Yubiso (only RM28, and they fit real well). I’m just glad the combined cost of the flip-flops didn’t exceed the Birkenstocks or Skechers but now I have a pair of flip-flops that I’ve only worn for a day and will probably never wear again – at least not to places where I’m expected to get my feet wet. I guess I now own a pair of holiday flip-flops.

Curated Feeds

It’s been a while since the introduction of in popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. While I’ve always been a huge proponent of UI updates and redesigns, I was initially upset. I liked viewing stuff chronologically – it was something I was used to. However, after a while, I stopped bothering with trying to get my updates sorted chronologically, and just accepted that the algorithm knew what it was doing. So far, it’s been alright. I hardly check out updates in order anymore, since the more relevant posts do pop up on top.

But after a while, I discovered that I kept seeing posts about things I was interested in (let’s not forget the ads as well) – it was no longer showing me random stuff that I used to encounter. It has turned my feeds a little stale. Sure, it’s great to know that what I want to know is readily available – but what about all the things I never knew I wanted? It’s all buried under this circlejerk/echo chamber of a news feed. Don’t get me wrong – I like the fact that after months of me filtering my feed, Facebook now doesn’t show me things I don’t care about – but I now miss out on stuff that I might care about because I don’t know about them.

If I want to discover something new – I have to intentionally look for it – a harrowing task when I don’t know what I’m looking for in the first place. Imagine missing out on something revolutionary and life-changing because it wasn’t on your radar in the first place? You now have to rely on people you see to hopefully keep you abreast of whatever that is. I haven’t gone back to browsing my news feed chronologically (Facebook still offers the option but Twitter and Instragram removed the option unless you were viewing individual pages) – it was just something I realized not too long ago.

These days I get most of my updates from Reddit, fortunately I don’t think they have algorithms to tailor your front page according to your profile – you just get highly rated stuff from subreddits you’re subscribed to. Hopefully in the future we’ll get options to see the news however we like it – chronologically or curated. I think having the option is always a good thing. Imagine getting your email in a curated order, with no way to switch it back – that would be such an annoying feature.

The International 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to experience The International properly, and boy have I missed it. For those of you who aren’t already aware, I’m a huge fan of Dota 2. I’ve been vocal about it, writing about the topic in the past. Nothing in-depth of course, mainly because I don’t have the skill or knowledge to do so, and because it’ll mean nothing to most of you guys.

The International is something I have been looking forward to every year for the past 6 years now. Ever since I got hooked onto Dota 2 around its second year, I have been using up a whole stretch of leaves just to catch the matches live. Then I started working in Big Bad Wolf, and that wasn’t a possibility anymore since I would be out of the country during the same time every year (Bangkok) for our sales. Now that I’ve left that job and am no longer working super-long days, it’s nice being able to catch the matches live again. There’s something about watching an event unfold live that makes it so much better than watching replays, highlights and reading reports.

The story lines this year are good – we’ve got a lot of underdog tales, extremely competitive teams, a brand new venue, and all sorts of other antics that r/dota2 memelords will appreciate. I’m a VP fan this year but am also rooting for Liquid, Mineski and Winstrike to do well. I still rock VP’s hoodie when it gets cold – the orange and black is also a great combo (here’s to hoping they revert after TI8). Day one is over and day two starts in a few hours. Can’t wait to experience the remaining week of top-tier dota (and hopefully replicate some plays in my pub games lul). One day, when the stars align, and if Dota is still around, I hope to attend TI in person. I can only imagine how much fun it would be.

If you’re interested in catching the action, The International 2018 will be streamed on Twitch and Steam.TV.

I Don’t Wanna Go to Jail

The other day I read something interesting: When you remember a past event, you’re actually remembering the last time you remembered it, not the event itself. I don’t know if it’s common knowledge but it has been explored in one of my favorite movies of all time – Memento. Anyway, reading about it depressed me a bit. It means unless you have photographic memory, each time you try to remember something in the past, you start to lose pieces of it. Details will change, events will change, feelings will change, and eventually the memory will be drastically different from what it once was. It sucks, but that’s how our brain works. It’s one of the reasons why I like writing down my thoughts whenever they pop into my mind. I know they won’t be the same if I think about them again in the future – how I felt, what I was thinking about etc will all be different after a few days or weeks. If I’m in front of the computer, I try to blog them, if I’m out and about, I make little notes on my phone to write about them later. In addition to thoughts, one of the things I like recording are my dreams. Which brings me to writing about a dream I had last night. I recorded it as soon as I woke up, but details had already started to fade as soon as I started typing them into my phone:

I dreamed about beating up a politician. I had no idea why or what made me do it but I did it. He was unarmed and I had a stick with me. He was defenseless. Also, this took place while I was holidaying with my friends.

Anyway I was caught on camera, because I made no attempt to cover up, and I still fled from the scene of the crime. The authorities dropped by the hotel to question me and they told me that I would be going to jail. So for the next few nights, I declined going out with my friends. I just stayed in the hotel. I said I was gonna go to prison any time, so they should have fun without me.

I didn’t end up in jail, and our holiday concluded with no drama. Maybe I couldn’t dream what the interior of a jail was like, so my brain skipped that part. Or maybe the worrying was done on purpose to make me feel worse. Things could have been interesting or fun in jail? I don’t know. Fucking brain.

But during my time alone, I kept thinking to myself, oh shit my life is ruined. Nobody is going to hire me anymore. I’ll be a stain in society. I was going to have a criminal record. I wasn’t going to get a decent salary anymore. I was so worried. And I kept thinking, why the fuck did I do that? I wasn’t instructed to. Nobody convinced me or paid me to beat up that old man. I did it on my own! I was filled with regret.

And so, this morning I woke up feeling like I never want to go to jail, ever. Need someone to beat up a politician? Don’t call me.

Variety is the Spice of Life

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the past 30+ years of being alive, it’s that I enjoy change. I thrive with change. Be it working in a new environment, learning a different keyboard layout, embracing technology or just dealing with different shit in my life. I can handle it. The only thing I can say I don’t like changed is when bands change for the worse (subjectively) – even then, I deal with it by not listening to their new/current stuff, or eventually embrace it. Change is good, it keeps you on your feet. If everything was the same every single day of your life, wouldn’t that be boring?

If an app doesn’t do what you want it to do – you don’t have to wait for an update to get new features. Find an alternative to use! If you have the means, code one yourself. Unhappy with how your key caps look? Change them. Want a different religion? Go worship something else! That’s the best part about life – you can change your situation. I’m a big proponent of the statement – life is what you make it. I can’t remember the last time I thought to myself, man – I’m having such a boring day. I just find things to do. I’m not saying I have the best life, but I do make it interesting for myself – and that is good enough for me. Sure, it could be better – but that’s just life. A never-ending struggle to improve.


I thought I had a lot to say when I started the topic, then I realized I had written about something similar previously. Initially, this post was inspired by a dinner I had the other day at a Vietnamese restaurant. I was served a bowl of noodles without any cilantro. I thought it was strange because as far as I know, Vietnamese food is always served with it. That led to a conversation about things I used to dislike as a child but enjoy now.

drunkstoreyheart

Ever done anything so terrible you wish you could turn back time? I know I have. Plenty of times. The last one just happened a few days ago.

After a night of celebrating a bar’s sixth-year anniversary by drinking a lot of six baht beers, my friends and I headed to another watering hole for some drinks and beer pong. After we were done with our never-ending table of cups (on a sidenote, beer pong isn’t as easy as it looks), we headed to the tables closer to the stage to watch the live band, and drink even more beers.

I had lost count how many I had downed throughout the night at this point, but for some reason I was still on my feet. Anyway, cut to a few songs in, for some reason I get invited by the singer of the band to go up on stage to play a song. Overconfidence, which turned out to be just my drunken stupor, got the best of me and the next thing I know, I was climbing on stage and taking the guitar away from the band’s guitarist. (Hindsight is a bitch, but the correct response here would have been to decline the offer and stay the fuck seated. Then none of this would have happened.)

I strum a few chords, guitar seems to be in tune. I step up to the mic.

“Hello everyone! I am George from Malaysia,” I spoke into the mic (as far as I could recall, there was only one other table occupied at the bar that night – but that was bad enough). “This is a song I wrote.”

I strummed the first chord of Reason. I thought to myself, hey – I think I got this! I started singing.
Holy shit. I was terrible. However, I figured I’d pick things up mid-song – it was an original anyway, and nobody had ever heard my stuff before (I’m sure after that night, nobody would ever want to listen to my music again). The chorus came – I forgot the chords, played the same chords as the verses. I sang out of key. I repeated lines. I forgot lyrics. Honestly, I don’t think I could have put on a worse show in my life if I even tried on purpose.

Maybe they were polite. Maybe they thought they would give me a chance to redeem myself. Or maybe it was just all in my head, and the band actually wanted me to get off the stage. For some reason, they told me to play one more song. I think they thought they had discovered the next William Hung and wanted me to continue with the shit-show. So I did. I played a second song. It was all a blur at this point. I don’t remember even finishing the song. I probably ended it right after the second chorus. I can’t remember. At least I didn’t knock anything over or stumble off the stage.

My friends cheered for me when I got off the stage. I felt euphoric. The pub band probably had the biggest laugh of their lives or were horrified.

Fast forward to the next day, when I woke up and pieced the previous night together. Holy shit. What the fuck did I do? As if on cue, in came the texts from my friends – photos and videos of my god-awful performance. Nope, it wasn’t a dream. And nope, I’m not sharing shit. You might think I’m being a tease by writing about such an occasion and not releasing the video, but this shit was shameful. I intend to take it to my grave. If anybody else posts the video, fine, but you won’t be getting it from me. This post is here to serve as a reminder that I’m a terrible drunk.

To Brownies, if you guys ever for some reason stumble upon this post, I’m truly sorry for ruining your wonderful set. You guys were amazing live and I hope you guys go far in your careers. Couldn’t find you guys on Instagram/Facebook to personally apologize (but I’ve sent you guys an email). If you guys ever do drop by KL, drinks on me. Just don’t put me on stage again if I’ve had one too many.

A Holiday

It’s been a while since I’ve had a holiday – then again, the last time I had a holiday, I was bumming around in between jobs. I guess that wasn’t too far away then. Anyway, tomorrow I embark on my first trip of the year, and first trip since I visited Cameron Highlands last year (where I failed miserably trying to draw inspiration from the nothingness and cold air around me). I’ll be heading to Bangkok and it’s not for a Big Bad Wolf sale (for the first in a long time). I’ll be bringing my laptop with me, but whether or not I write anything – that’s something to be seen. Hopefully it won’t be emails to colleagues.

In other news – it’s July! Time sure flies by real quickly when you’re not keeping track of it. I can’t believe we’ve already crossed the mid-year mark. In case you’re wondering about the lack of posts, work has been keeping me busy, which is a good thing. I’ve been spending my creative energy focusing on it instead. I’ve also been relaxing my writing schedule – I figured it would be better to write only when I feel like it, instead of forcing myself to churn out posts everyday. The hacking of my blog also dampened my effort to maintain the blog. But since the latest changes I’ve made to its security, everything seems fine and dandy, so I might pick up posting more again.

I’ve got a lot of keyboard-related stuff shipping in over the next few months, so I’m looking forward to it (assuming there are no delays, fingers crossed). I’ll be putting out more keyboard-related content when that happens. If you’re looking for a band recommendation, my current jam has been State Champ’s Living Proof (when I’m not listening to Dance Gavin Dance’s Artificial Selection). These guys are what All Time Low used to be. My favorite song off the album is The Fix Up – I think I’ve listened to it a few hundred times over the past week. It’s so good.

Anyway, I’ve got a flight to catch later, let’s hope it’s not one of those magical disappearing planes. Until then.

Stop Hacking My Blog, Man

It’s been a while since my blog was last hacked. This time it was more subtle – there was some malware causing redirection shenanigans leading people to other sites instead and set off Chrome’s unsafe site warnings. I thought I solved it by creating a new copy of my blog (and losing my old theme in the process) and deleting all my old files. I changed my passwords and installed some security plugins. It’s been fine for the most part and everything seemed okay for a while. But over the past few days I’ve had malware warnings again and notifications about failed logins and files being uploaded to my blog.

Obviously something is up but I have no idea what. I deleted and restored the files on my blog and everything seems okay again. Today I enabled 2 factor authentication. Hopefully that solves the problem. Because if someone else is getting in without my knowledge, I don’t know what else to do. My web host can’t seem to offer any solutions either, claiming that it’s probably a WordPress issue and that I should create my own CMS or switch to an alternative – something I wouldn’t mind doing if it wasn’t so much of a hassle.

WordPress makes blogging so easy and I’ve got everything setup the way I want it. If I were to move the blog to another service, it would break ALL the internal links on my site. Not a good idea, obviously. But if I keep getting attacked, I don’t see an alternative. Maybe go back to blogger or have my site hosted on wordpress.com – which would be terrible. If anyone has any solutions, I’m all ears. But for now, I hope 2FA is good enough.

Also, I don’t understand why hackers would want to target my site. I honestly have zero traffic – I max out at around 30 visitors a day, usually it’s less than 5 people. Nobody shares my articles besides myself. The only ones that have any traction are posts about my Vortex Core and Whorecraft review (I kid you not, I get search results for it almost every month – unfortunately the images don’t even load anymore because I wiped my web space, also it’s such a shitty review, it doesn’t do the movie any justice).

But back to why I’m targeted. I know it’s the result of random attacks – hackers sniffing sites on the internet, finding those with weak security and injecting malware into them. They don’t care that I’m just another blogger with nothing important to say – to them I’m just another conquest (if you can even call it that). They’ll take what they can get to increase their botnets. Hopefully none of my readers are daft enough to fall for fake links (trust me, you won’t find singles in your area clicking those shady links).

Even though these words will fall upon deaf ears, I just hope they will leave me be. Trying to get rid of malware is exhausting. There’s only so much effort I want to put into maintaining this site. The whole reason I’m using WordPress is because it’s free and isn’t supposed to be high maintenance. Please exclude me from your attacks.

In other news, I’ve been slowing down my writing recently. I have either been too busy to write or not bothered to write when I have the time. I think it’s because I found the quality of my writing going down. If I want to put something up, it should at the very least be worth my reader’s time. Not that any of us gain anything from it. Time is a limited resource after all.