Double Parking

The other day, someone decided to do a double park, blocking my car from exiting. I had to turn on my lights and beep the horn a few times. Fortunately, that person happened to be in a store nearby, so he ashamedly ran out to move his car. Also, I wasn’t in a rush, so it was no big deal but he did waste a couple of minutes of my time.

Now imagine, if I had to get somewhere urgently, and that person was out of earshot? What if I had an important job interview? Or had to say farewell to someone who was on their deathbed? What if I drove faster because I was late (due to the double-parker) and ended up in a car accident myself? I know I’m being overdramatic, but hear me out.

This scene always comes to mind when I think of what ifs

Unless it is a matter of life and death (which isn’t the case 99% of the time), there never is a reason for anybody to double park their vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you’re seated right outside so you can see when the car you’re blocking needs to leave; would it kill you to just find less inconvenient parking so you don’t have to inconvenience anybody else? Sometimes those 2 minutes you cost somebody could make a big difference in their lives.

Besides the vehicle you block, double parking also causes issues for other vehicles: you turn two-lane roads into one-lane roads. This makes it so that people have to drive around your vehicle to move forward, which can create jams. People trying to reverse their car will also have no vision of oncoming traffic thanks to your car blocking the road. People having issues reversing can also create more traffic jams.

All because so you could get some roti canai a couple of minutes earlier?

it’s very easy to just park further from your destination and walk a bit. Sure, the weather sucks, but your body will thank you and you don’t inconvenience anyone but yourself. Don’t be a dick. Don’t double park.

These Old Bones

After leaving my last job, I kinda figured I was done with working 12+ hours/day events. Turns out, life has a funny way of catching up on you. For the past four days, I’ve been helping out at a company event (a children’s concert), and it really threw me back to my Big Bad Wolf days. Coming home just to shower and crash my aching body into bed, just to wake up the next morning to repeat the cycle. I honestly felt like my bones were sighing with relief every time I laid myself down.

Although it has a lot to do with the fact that I’m nowhere near in shape, it brought to mind the things that I took for granted as a child. I think all the damage I brought unto myself is finally showing itself. Back then, I would read in bed, play games on my GameBoy under covers, fall asleep in funny positions, and I’d be okay (I guess you could say I ruined my eyes). These days, all I have to do is sleep on my side and wake up with neck aches for the rest of the day. It’s crazy.

Which reminds me of this meme I saw a while ago:

While it’s funny to laugh at such images (thanks to whoever created it), I can totally relate. I haven’t stopped using the stuff mentioned for earlier stages of life; yes, baby powder is great – especially for dealing with groin sweat, I never realized it was a thing until not too long ago when it started happening to me; deodorant and cologne is still part of my life.

Look at what’s on my desk at this very moment:

I didn’t plant them there for the sake of this post

Also, I remember people telling me that Poy Sian inhalers were something old people used. I guess I was just ahead of my time.

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my favorite travel companion

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Now that I’m done typing this, I just realized it was a long-winded post to tell the world that I’m an old bag of bones (with loads of belly fat).

No More Asus Laptops for Me

I shall start with a disclaimer: this is purely anecdotal. It’s what happened to me over the past two years with my ASUS Zenbook (UX430U).

What kind of laptop charger has a breakable ground pin?

As you can see from the image above, that was the icing on the cake of my terrible experience with this device and ASUS Malaysia’s service center. Let’s start from the beginning.

ASUS Zenbook UX430U

I purchased this Ultrabook after leaving my previous job as I needed a laptop to work on. I only had an old Linux machine at home to use with a dying battery and keyboard (despite be replacing the battery and hard drive earlier, it didn’t help much). I know I wanted something slim, lightweight and powerful enough for me (I hate slow laptops, there’s never an excuse for it). I didn’t need to game on it, so an ultrabook with no discrete graphics card seemed right up my alley.

After doing some research and shopping around, I settled on the ASUS Zenbook UX430U. It had everything I wanted, and the price tag wasn’t unreasonable. Bought it, and started using it daily. I loved the weight of the machine and the performance I got out of it. It was a joy to use – until the first problem reared its head up less than a week in.

1) The laptop’s charging port stopped working for no discernible reason. It just stopped working, and I couldn’t charge my laptop. Now, you might say this is a case of bad luck, but the fact that I couldn’t get a replacement laptop on the spot was annoying. They wanted to send it to the service center to get it checked up and fixed. It only took about a week and was good to go. I was unemployed then, so it was acceptable to me even though I was unhappy about it, but I should have taken that as a sign of things to come.

2) Fast forward to about a year into having the laptop – everything was fine and dandy. Until I noticed something odd about my device – one of my USB ports wouldn’t charge my vape when I plugged it in. It could read files off drives and my phone fine, but it wouldn’t provide any charge. This bothered me as it was a laptop with limited ports (only two USB 3.0 ports and a USB C port), I had to make sure they were fully functional. I sent it to the service center to get checked out and fixed, which resulted in me in not having a laptop for a couple of days.

3) When the laptop was fixed, I noticed something odd with its display. It was randomly showing grey dots and lines on the screen, which was especially noticeable on black/dark backgrounds and images. It took another trip to the service center and a week to be fixed. This time the laptop took another week to fix.

4) My laptop’s speakers stopped producing sound. I normally listen to music using headphones, so this was something that took me a while to notice. I had to send it to the service center again, and they got it fixed within a few days. They said there was an issue with some connection.

Not detecting my SSD
The Blue Screen Of Death

5) The straw that broke the camel’s back. A couple of weeks ago my laptop was having issues with my SSD. It was an issue that I had encountered in the previous months, but it was usually fixed with a reboot (sometimes multiple). My laptop would somehow stop recognizing that I had an SSD installed and give me the BSOD while I was working. Sometimes during boot, it would fail to recognize that I had an SSD and throw me to the BIOS. This time around, restarting the laptop wasn’t doing the trick, so I had to send it to the service center again.

I informed the staff of the issue clearly – verbally and by writing it down. The lady at the ASUS service center acknowledged it. I passed the laptop to her and went off. I received a message the following day telling me that my laptop was ready for collection. I thought that was strange because I’ve never had a one-day turnaround from them before.

Reached the service center and asked them what the issue was – they told me that they formatted the laptop and it should be fine. I was distrustful of them. I told the lady that this was not a software issue, why would a format fix it? She just told me to go back and use the laptop and to come back if there were any problems. She also told me that one of the screws holding the bottom case of my laptop was missing. No shit, Sherlock. Why did you tell me that instead of just putting in a new screw? Were they short on screws?

Anyway, as I expected, the same SSD issue happened again. I even sent them photographs of the problem (at their request). Drove my ass to the service center, passed them the laptop again, with an “I told you so” look on my face. The lady apologized and said they’ll get it fixed as soon as possible.

About a week later, I collected the laptop from them. I turned it on at the shop (it was on sleep mode), and everything seemed normal (the missing screw was still missing). The lady told me that they replaced my SSD to solve the issue. Everything seemed normal to me until; I got back and rebooted my laptop after updating some drivers.

Hello Trojan!

The first thing that pops up on the action center is Windows Defender telling me that my machine was infected with a trojan. I did some digging through the Defender logs and noticed that it wasn’t the first time the trojan was detected. There was a backlog of when the warnings started appearing, and what files caused the trigger. Turns out that Windows Defender detected the trojan on the thumb drive that was used to install Windows updates on my laptop.

This meant that whoever was installing Windows on my laptop was clueless or had a complete disregard for basic PC security. I’m pretty sure it is completely unacceptable to be using an infected thumb drive while working on a customer’s machine (correct me if I’m wrong). That technician had also deliberately ignored Windows Defender’s warnings and continued installing files off that infected thumb drive. What kind of fucking moron does that? I’m pretty sure I said “are you fucking kidding me?” aloud to myself. I was furious.

I sent photos of the message to ASUS and told them that they had an incompetent technician. They had the cheek to tell me to just restart the PC. Holy shit, whoever ‘fixed’ my computer deserves to be fired and be hit by a car on the way home, with their box of belongings in their hand.

If by some chance you’re reading this, technician, fuck you.

Instead of sending it back to them and risk my machine falling into the hands of another idiot, I fixed this problem myself (created a bootable Windows 10 install on a USB drive, and wiped the SSD before installation).

For almost two years, I’ve had to visit the service center way too many times. This is not okay for a device that you rely on for work daily.

In the future, I’m not going back to ASUS if there’s an issue with my laptop I can solve on my own, and I’m not purchasing another ASUS laptop. They’ve taken more than enough of my money and my trust. I still have faith in their hardware like graphics cards and motherboards (haven’t had issues with those yet) but their laptops are a definite no from me. Based on my experience, I will never recommend an ASUS laptop if you need something reliable.


Side note: in addition to all the time spent waiting for the laptop to be fixed, there was a lot of time and fuel spent driving to service centers, paying for parking and tolls, and loss of productivity from not having a laptop to work with. Oh yeah, I had to back up all my files and remove my logged-in accounts every time I sent it to be serviced (huge pain in the ass).

Also, if you remember, I purchased a tablet to serve as a working machine during the various times my laptop was out of commission and it’s been a lifesaver (it’s still running great btw!).

Don’t Call It a Comeback (Momentum)

If there’s one thing I learned the importance of a long time ago, or something I know very well – it’s that momentum is a real thing. Once you start something, it’s easy to keep going. But when you take a break for whatever reason and you walk away from it – coming back to pick up where you left off is a difficult thing to do.

There are a lot of things I wish I was doing, but I don’t bring myself to do them because it’s so much easier to be lazy and indulge in video games or watching shows. It’s already 7 months into 2019 – and have I accomplished any of my goals for the year?

Nope.

The main issue about taking a break from something for a long time is that it’s difficult to pick up and resume where you left of. Before you say, George, “You’re just being lazy!” Yes, I am aware of that. “There’s no such thing as momentum, it’s just your lack of willpower and discipline!” I wouldn’t argue with you about it. But this is something that I’m not the only one who struggles with. It’s a common thing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s something that I should accept. Regardless, it didn’t stop me thinking about it, after all – momentum is a very real thing (and it exists not just for physical objects, but in the metaphysical world as well).

For example, there have been countless moments in video games like Dota 2, where a team that has been doing poorly at the start of a tournament, picking up steam in the later stages to win the whole thing. On the other end, there have been teams on hot streaks who then have a day off (because they’re in the winner’s bracket) and lose their next match. Even on a lower level, some games are won by momentum because one team keeps its cool under pressure better than the other one. Winning one team fight despite being very far behind turns into winning two, three more, and then the whole game.

Reeling it back in to something more relatable – is this why some bands find it so difficult to follow up their debut albums? After spending so long on their first one and releasing it, they’ve expended all their creativity and energy, they can’t pick it up for the second release? Or is it why some bands churn out hit records after hit? Or maybe it’s a different reason – in that time between the first and second release, you’ve changed as people, and don’t create the same sort of art as before. You don’t have the same thoughts, you’re no longer in the same head space, maybe you no longer have the same struggles, maybe you have a different set of restrictions this time around. Who’s to say? Not me, I haven’t released an EP since A Million Different Weddings (which remains unfinished til this day if you remember my promise of creating album art for it).

I’m sure it’s just my lack of willpower.

Momentum is important. I remember last year when I was blogging on a daily basis – it was easy to keep up. I wrote something everyday, I forced myself to do it. Sure, it hampered the quality of my writing (to be honest, it wasn’t that great to begin with) but at least it was consistent. These days, I find myself looking at the calendar and going – oh, it’s been a week since my last post. I guess it’s time to write a new one.

It’s kinda difficult to write when you’re not doing it everyday (work doesn’t count). Like my comic. Animal Bus – I haven’t been working on it for some time – we’re way past the December launch date I set for myself last year, and I’m nowhere near the state I want the comic to be before I release it. My game – no progress, ideas. Songs – I’ve managed to write something new, but I haven’t branched away from my usual acoustic guitar, 4-chord song structure nonsense.

I guess I’m making excuses for myself when I don’t need to. I’m not even on a deadline, and nobody is holding their breath for my stuff. What I’m trying to say in so many words is that I haven’t accomplished anything this year. What’s new?

Comments left unsaid

I’ve written about the perks of online dating before, and one of the best things about not being face to face (initially, at least) is the ability to take the time to think of what you want to say before hitting the send button. This aspect also translates to other aspects of online communication – like leaving comments or writing posts on Facebook. Believe it or not, despite all the stupid things I share online, there are a lot of things I’ve stopped myself from posting after second thoughts. As we all know, once something goes online, it’s pretty much there forever (probably more applicable to people with a following, but nevertheless a good thing to keep in mind if you’re worried about any backlash).

I don’t know if it applies to everyone but I have erased a lot of comments and posts I’ve made online before hitting the send button. 99% of the time, I decide it’s not worth saying anything because it honestly doesn’t affect my life or I don’t care about it enough. I just ignore the post and move on. In a few hours, the post will be buried, and you’ll never have to see it again.

The 1%? I share stuff in a private group chat and talk about it there. That way I get the opinions of people I care about and not have to worry about what other people think about my views.

And no, I’m not saying that it’s what everybody should do – far from it. I believe in the freedom the internet provides us, after all, who doesn’t like to laugh at the stupid shit that some people say?

On that note, why do some people insist that you ‘pm for price’? I never understood that and still don’t. It’s a fucking marketplace, people expect to be told the price of an item before they decide if they want to buy it. Why is it private information? Are you going to tell people different prices depending on who’s asking? Are you going to dispute complaints that people may have about the price because it isn’t listed publicly? Why not just put the regular price down and give discounts privately? Why make people jump through extra hoops just to buy your shit? It’s so scummy. I read news about it being made illegal a while ago yet I still see people doing it. If you’re selling stuff, don’t be a dipshit and post your prices publicly.

Gift Cards Are Worse Than Cash

There’s something that I’ve been wondering about for a long time – why do people think gift cards are a great idea?

Buying someone a gift card assumes that the recipient:

  1. still wants something from the shop you bought it from
  2. is willing to travel to the shop
  3. before the gift card expires

You’re basically making your recipient do work for his or her own present – when you could have just given them the gift in the first place. So you say, you don’t know what the recipient wants – why not just give them cash?

Cash is flexible – because it is not tied to a store, it can be spent anywhere and on anything – they don’t have to travel to an inconvenient or faraway location to purchase something. It doesn’t expire, so if the recipient doesn’t want to spend it, he or she can just save it for something else. There is no way a gift card can be better than cash. If a store offers discounts for people buying using gift cards – the recipient can just purchase those gift cards to get what they want since they’ll be going to that store anyway.

Of course, gift cards can be used as jokes – i.e. giving a vegan gift cards to a popular steak restaurant – the recipient will either end up not spending it (wasting your money) or giving it away (which I guess is a good thing, since you gave them a present to gift for free).

I can’t think of a situation where presenting someone with gift cards is better than giving them cash.

Goodbye Unifi

Yesterday I handed in my termination application form and returned my broadband modem to Telekom. I’ve been using Telekom’s Unifi service since I moved in to my current home in 2011 so you could say I was a pretty loyal customer. I never had any problems with the service – my download/upload speeds were good enough for gaming, streaming and torrenting. The network was rarely down – I didn’t have any issues with the service at all.

So why did I terminate my account? I was happy with my internet service. It was Telekom’s very own marketers that pushed me over the edge. About a month or two ago some dude called me up and told me that because I was a long-time customer, I was eligible for a “cheaper price promo”. I told him that was great, and I was interested in switching to it. But he told me that I couldn’t just switch my account to that new price – I had to cancel my account and sign up for a new account to get this new price point. We got into a debate over how absurd that was and I ended the phone call with him after about 20 minutes without agreeing to take this “promo”. Immediately, I went online to do some research about TM’s current price offerings.

My plan then was RM179/month for 30Mbps (which was supposed to be upgraded to 100Mbps for free this year but due to my condominium’s network cable limitations, it wasn’t going to happen) – a plan that they don’t offer anymore (you have to Google to get to this page, it’s not even linked from their homepage – why is it still up?). If you check their website, they currently offer: RM129/month for 100Mbps (unlimited) or RM79/month for 30Mbps (limited to 60GB a month). This meant that I was paying an extra RM50/month for my current plan. Now, who in their right mind would want to do that?

My 2-year contract had already long expired – couldn’t they have just reduced my monthly fee to match the current price? Why did I have to cancel my account and sign up for a new one just to pay the correct price? They aren’t selling my old price plan anymore, it doesn’t make any sense that I have to keep paying for it since I was no longer bound to a contract.

I wrote them a lengthy email about my situation and they didn’t answer my question. They kept harping on the fact that I had to cancel my account to get the correct price. They marketed this ‘new’ price as a promotion. How the fuck is it a promotion if it is just the correct price for a service I’m overpaying for? If I had to guess, they probably wanted me to commit to another 2-year contract, or they wanted me to contribute to their number of sign ups for the year.

Since Telekom wanted me to cancel my account anyway I decided it would be a good time to give Time a shot. I signed up for an account over one afternoon at Seng Yip’s house (the sign up process is a stupidly simple and quick process, big props to Time for making the transition so easy) and scheduled a date for them to come over. That day was yesterday and after successfully upgrading to Time, I drove to the Telekom center nearby my house to terminate my account.

I hope Time lives up to its reputation – based on my friends’ experiences I’ve made the right choice (and for the past 24 hours I’ve been very very pleased with it). When the billing date comes around, I’ll be happy with the lower price and the fact that I won’t be charged for a service I never use (looking at you HyppTV).

Also, this switch comes one year after I shut down a Time telemarketer almost a year ago. Does this mean his call worked?

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.

Too Young To Die

“Oh, he/she was so young.”

What is that supposed to mean?
Is there an age we’re supposed to die at?

Is any age ever a good age to die?
Can someone be too old to die?
Or is that just the default response for someone to say whenever they find out the age of someone who passed away?

Isn’t it all relative? What if the person who passed away did everything he/she ever wanted to do before passing away? Would that a good age then?

What if they didn’t die, and spent the rest of their life accomplishing nothing else. Would they be at a better age to die then?

If someone was too old, would the correct response be “I guess his/her time was up”?

There’s no right age to die.
People just die.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” is sufficient.

There’s really no need to add anything else. It doesn’t make people feel any better. Really.

The Only Conversion a Dying Person Needs is Respiration

I was listening to the latest episode of the Break It Down podcast today and they brought up the topic of dying happy. There was some interesting points raised during the discussion, including extending someone’s life against their own will. What if a person who is hospitalized would rather die than be treated? Who would it be the person in charge of making the decision? According to the guest, doctors usually go with the conservative route – meaning if somebody wants the life of the patient extended, they will comply. After all, they say things like: he’s too old, he can’t think properly, of course he wants to die.

But how can you tell if someone is saying what they truly mean? Do you hook them up to a lie detector? Some people have lived enough and are ready to leave the world. Do we deny them their wishes? What a tough position to be in. I don’t envy doctors. But if it’s against the law to not do everything in your power to save a life, why aren’t people left hooked up to machines forever? After all, there is a chance in a billion that their bodies will miraculously recover due to sheer willpower to live. Can you still call it living if you’re forever tethered to your bed or a drip machine?

Speaking of people who are dying, do we take advantage of them and convert them to our religion when they’ve lived their whole life following a different one? What makes it okay to do so? Are all their past sins (praying to idols and various other activities) suddenly forgiven? To be honest, it’s happened recently to some of my family members and I find the act despicable. What gives you the right to convert someone to your religion just because you follow it? Fuck that shit. If someone wants to live differently from you, let them.

What is the point of converting someone to your religion when he/she doesn’t have enough time alive to contribute anything meaningful to your cause? Does it even matter at that point? Why does this god want the souls of everybody? Sounds the plan of some sick, twisted villain. If everything was according to ‘God’ then I guess it was supposed to happen that way. You can’t fight destiny right? Oh wait, I thought humans had free will. So what does ‘God’s plan’ really mean? Nothing?

You know, when people can’t be saved by medicine, they say – it’s part of His plan. So why even bother praying? Why even bother checking them into the hospital? If they were going to survive they would regardless of what they did right? Using religion to cope with problems is one thing, but using it as a convenient excuse just unravels the whole farce that is essentially a legalized cult.

I used to be a believer. I would even consider myself devout at some point in my life. Initially when I left Christianity, I was apathetic to the whole situation. It didn’t bother me and I left it at that. It’s been over a decade since I stepped foot into a church to worship, but I find myself filled with contempt instead of indifference. It’s like God has turned me into this hate-filled meatbag to go against his word. Wait, does his master plan still apply to my life once I’ve dismissed his religion? If I don’t believe it, does it make it false?

I believe that religion was created during simpler times when there were no proper laws in place to govern the behavior of people. Now that we’ve evolved and progressed as a race, there’s really no need for such things anymore. Sure, keep it around if it helps you get through with your life, but don’t shove it down the throats of people despite what your god tells you to. Or do. I don’t care. You’re just wasting your time, go be productive instead.