Mere Coincidences

Yesterday, as I was walking to my car I went past two policemen who were standing by the side of the road. While I’m normally not bothered by policemen, I noticed that one of them had a sub-machine gun hanging by his side and it bothered me. For some strange reason, I had an irrational fear of the policeman aiming the gun at my back and shooting me after I walked past him. I have no idea why the thought popped into my mind but less than half an hour ago, I had just posted my writing prompt which was about firing a gun.

The day before that, I watched Seven Psychopaths (a great movie by the way) and there was a scene about a self-immolating monk. This morning when I took my routine dump, I was browsing reddit and came across this article about a mummified monk found inside a statue. Now they aren’t exactly related, but they did both involved a monk sitting cross-legged and dying. Another coincidence in the span of two days.

It’s like putting an item on my Steam wishlist and seeing it go on sale the following day or appearing in a Humble Bundle. However Instagram and Facebook ads – those aren’t coincidences. You see them based on your browsing history (and phone usage).

Coincidences happen only because we recognize them. Humans are good at recognizing patterns. Like how I remember the feeling of losing too clearly – not winning 15 games of Dota in a row kinda does that to you.

There was a time where every time I watched Na’Vi play, they lost and when I missed their matches, they won. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay away from watching them during their tournament playoffs ?.

Seng Yip asked me about jumper cables the other day. I told him that he could buy them from a petrol station because I experienced it a few weeks ago on my road trip to Penang. Ian’s car couldn’t start so we had to purchase some jumper cables to bring the car to life. Turns out the battery was dead and the cables were useless. But I had information on where to get jumper cables and how much they cost.

You only stop learning when you’re dead. Everything you’ve done and learned in the past is to prepare you for something in the future. Whether or not you live long enough to apply the knowledge is another thing.

Like working at my first job in Inspidea, I learned to tell stories through animation. Next month, I start my new job, telling stories through animation. Seven years later. Seven Years is a great song. Seven. Seven Psychopaths.

Seng Yip’s lucky number is Seven. On my trip to Penang with The Propositions, we briefly spoke about the movie Lucky Number Slevin.

Dota is Life

I’ll never be a professional Dota 2 player. Maybe if I went back in time and committed myself to the game. Just maybe. But for now, I’ll stay a regular pleb, struggling to win matches against people in the same skill bracket as me. I don’t have the mechanical skills that professional players have. I don’t have the skills of each hero or costs of each item memorized. I don’t know how much damage each skill does, what its cooldown is or how much mana it costs at each level. Let’s not even talk about farming patterns or last hitting skills.

It’s not the end of the world though. I have fun playing the game. I enjoy all the banter and trash talk that goes on between my friends and me. It’s how we bond. It’s like talking shit over a couple of pints. Except that it’s much cheaper and we can do it over the comfort of our own homes. Sure, sometimes it gets stressful, especially when we’re on a losing streak. But you can’t win every game you play, so I just accept it. I win some, I lose some.

It’s like life. Not everything goes your way. Even if you’ve planned something down to the finest detail. There are elements of randomness that can throw everything away. A lucky rune or Roshan respawn. An accidental feed. Accidentally activating your Black King Bar too early, and not having it ready in time for the next fight. There’s a million things that could go wrong. Just like how there’s a million things that could fall into place for no good reason, and you end up winning off it.

Sometimes one mistake is all you need – to win or to lose. It’s unpredictable. You’re on a team of five people playing against five other people. Human beings do the most random shit, sometimes you can’t even understand their decisions. But it’s just a game, and we all go along with it. You make the most of it. You can play to the best of your ability and adapt to everything else that happens. Sometimes it’s good enough, sometimes it isn’t.

The best planned projects can end up failing, and sometimes last-minute work gets you your client’s approval. Mistakes can turn into opportunities and vice versa. Timing, opportunities, and communication. All essential skills both in-game and in life.

Enemy split pushing you? Try to get a successful gank off and force them to retreat. Enemy five-man pushing you? Split up and take multiple objectives, forcing them to retreat. Game is in a stalemate? Catch them off-guard and force a high ground fight.

Work got you feeling down? Get a new job, ask for a new role, take a break. Feeling broke? Watch your budget, don’t overspend, save more. Don’t have enough time to do something you like? Spend less time on other things so you can make time for it. There’s always a solution to everything – but it’s not always going to be easy. You’re going to have to make sacrifices in life. That’s just how things are.

Sometimes you want to play the mid role, but there’s somebody else on the team who picked mid first. That’s fine, just pick another hero and go to another lane. Learn to adapt, overcome. There’s nothing wrong with playing another role. Sure, you don’t get to hog the limelight, but you’ll get your chance another day. There’s always another day.

It’s just like life. I’ll never be a professional Dota player, but at least I’ll be a professional at something else, and I’ll be making more money than I ever will playing the game (I’ll eat my words if I ever qualify at The International Kappa) – and that’s all that matters.

Latent Rage

A couple of months ago, I was in my car on the way to work when I encountered some obnoxious pedestrians. They were trying to cross the road while they were wrong. Here in KL it’s a pretty regular occurrence, and I don’t have any issues with it because those people usually know that they are wrong. But if there’s one kind of person that’s more annoying than the wrong pedestrian, it’s the wrong pedestrian who thinks they’re right.

It’s kind of difficult to put into words what happened, so I’ve illustrated a diagram to make things clearer:

Full image

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The case against third-party antivirus software

Every time I get a new machine, I like to get rid of preloaded software I don’t use. One of the most common software you’ll find with a new device is antivirus software. I don’t use any third-party antivirus software because I find that it is unnecessary and causes performance issues on your computer. While it is useful, it becomes another app that you have to keep updated in order for it to function properly. Also, a lot of new devices come with trial versions or limited subscriptions, so they become useless very quickly.

There really isn’t a need for it if you know what you’re doing on your machine and you don’t easily fall for traps. Windows’ built in solutions (Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials) do a good enough job of protecting your machine – best of all, they are free. All you have to do is use your computer wisely.

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Finishing Friday

I’ve spent the better part of the day typing away in front of my laptop today. In case you’re wondering why, it’s because I haven’t been updating my blog for the past week due to me being busy with life. I’ve got 2 coffees and 3 beers in my system, there’s a Na’vi vs Mineski match going on right now (let’s go Na’Vi!) that I’m not watching, and I’m still typing away.

Last week, I found it quite difficult to keep up my writing, but today I seem to be on a roll. I guess like everything else in life, you just need to open the floodgates to get started. After all, it takes less energy to keep an object in motion than it is to initiate the movement. This, my friends, is momentum at work.

I don’t know why I’m writing all this nonsense. I guess it’s just good to see words from my mind formed on a page. Also, if I go along with Nanowrimo this year, I need to turn it into a habit.

Yesterday I played a miserable set. In addition to being unprepared (I’m still rusty as a nail…on the Titanic?), all my songs were downers. I mean, I guess I don’t have any particularly happy tunes in my repertoire, but even I bummed myself out playing those songs. I guess I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never write a happy song without sounding too cheesy.

It’s important to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, but I’ve also heard advice from the other end of the spectrum – keep doing what you like or are good at, and you’ll eventually find your audience. Now I don’t claim to be good at writing sad songs, but it’s just something I do naturally.

Is there a point I’m supposed to be getting at, it’s lost on me. It’s just a typical Friday night where I sit and drink coffee and write. Nothing out of the ordinary.

I guess I’ll just head home and give my dog a bath.

Maybe I’ve run out of words for tonight, the train has stopped.

Also, in case you didn’t know: the difference between that and which. Something I learned today.

See you next week, curious readers!

(dis)connected

Despite us being so connected in today’s world, sometimes it also feels like we’re so disconnected from each other. I recently found myself knowing so much about someone when in reality I knew nothing. I came to this conclusion after hearing some recent news about somebody’s plight. Based on that person’s social media, I didn’t think anything was wrong with that person. In my head, everything was fine and dandy. Sure, I haven’t been the best of friends and never bothered to find out how that person was doing on my own – I made the assumption based on the posts I read on their social media accounts.

How wrong I was.

I guess even though it’s so easy for you to update everybody around you about what’s going on with your life, you only share things worth sharing (though there are some people who behave otherwise).

At least that’s how I use my social media accounts. I share things that I think people will enjoy checking out. I don’t really share negative things, so somebody who isn’t close to me but relies on my social media accounts for updates on how I’m doing might think I’m doing fine, since I’m not complaining online. I mean, I could or could not be fine, nobody really knows. After all, I could be depressed and sharing uplifting stuff at the same time. What you see online isn’t indicative of what’s going on in my life – it’s what I choose to let you see.

Anyway, this leads people to think that a lot of people are living better lives than they really do. Probably that’s why you see a lot of happy couples and mushy photographs/status updates, and you rarely see posts about the opposite.

On the flip-side, don’t rely on social media if you need help. Reach out to your close friends or family if you’re feeling down. A status update can be easily missed or ignored by people who have too many things going on in their timelines. Better to get help sooner than later.

Also, worth a watch:

Keeping myself busy

If there’s one thing I think I’m great at doing – it’s keeping myself busy. I don’t remember the last time where I sat alone in my room pondering my existence and wondering what I should do next. I know when I told people I was going to resign without a job lined up, I was told many times that I’d be bored as fuck and that I’d be longing to work again. So far, that hasn’t yet. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a chance to properly relax for the longest time and now I’m finally getting to do it. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t been jobless for long enough.

Whatever the reason is, it doesn’t really matter, I’m not bored at all. I’ve been spending my time catching up with friends, watching movies and shows, performing at gigs and playing games (Cuphead rules). Next month, I’m going to attempt Nanowrimo again, so that should take up my whole month. I’ve got some ideas for my next novel but haven’t settled on one yet. Also, my last novel remains unedited, but it’s okay, it doesn’t need to be read by the public haha.

I’ve got some song ideas that I want to work on and I want to head to the studio to record my second EP. I’ve also got a gig standing in as a bassist for the Propositions next month, so I’ve got plenty of things to do (in addition to writing for this blog). I also have Inktober to catch up on, which I’ll do this weekend. Also, I want to start my first game which I’ve put on the back burner for the longest time.

I’ve been keeping myself busy.

Unlucky

Last week I mentioned that my laptop was having issues – I couldn’t turn it on without plugging it into a wall socket. This was terrible for me since I couldn’t work on a computer out of the house. I like my coffee and cigarettes without having to take a break from the keyboard.

Anyway, I brought my laptop to the service center on Sunday and got it back Tuesday – pretty good service IMO. According to the salesman, the laptop I bought was a flagship product, so it supposedly had a higher priority when it comes to servicing. Not sure if he was spewing bullshit since the other salesman told me that my laptop was eligible for a 1:1 replacement if there was anything wrong within 2 weeks (which turned out to be false). Even the rep at the official service center told me he was surprised at how new my laptop was. He also mentioned that it was the first time they had received the device for servicing since it was a brand new model (almost 2 months old when I bought it).

But whatever, I got it back and it seems to be working fine for now. Hopefully I won’t have to take it back to the service center anytime soon. Apparently there was a problem with some battery connector or something in the laptop. They reattached it properly and it’s fixed.

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Day Tres in Strawberry Land

Sitting here alone in this dimly kitchen, I wonder to myself, was this really necessary? Did I really need to get away from the city. What was the point of the trip? Do people really ‘find themselves’? Why do they need to travel so far? Does the distance help? Or is it just the act of going away that’s enough. Is it symbolic? Would things have been any different if I stayed in KL and just locked myself in my room? Maybe.

Maybe not. Being completely by myself for the past 3 days has made me realize I can live alone. I don’t really need to talk to anybody – it’s okay being by myself. I mean, sure, I respond to texts and Instagram comments, but that’s about the limit of my social interaction. I haven’t felt the need to talk to another human being in person. In fact, it feels good not having to deal with anybody right now. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the company of other people. It’s just nice to do things all by yourself every now and then.

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Still alive

Day 2 of my Cameron Highlands escapade. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. The only difference between here and home is that it was really cold last night and there was nothing I could do about it besides crawl under more layers of clothing. I’m starting to believe I’m really not cut out for living in cold weather (as evident in my previous posts).

I did wake up to some bad news though. I was thinking of using my laptop on the bed, but it died as soon as I unplugged it from the wall socket. I thought that was pretty weird, seeing how it was fine yesterday. I tried turning it on and it wouldn’t respond. I reconnected the power and it turned on fine. When Windows started, I checked the battery and apparently there was no battery present (impossible since this laptop has a built-in battery). I did some troubleshooting, and now Windows detects the battery but says that it isn’t charging. Computer still refuses to boot up without being plugged in (I’ve tried rebooting many times). I guess I’ll have to stick with pen and paper when I’m outside. Hopefully I won’t be having anymore problems. Am definitely going to take it back to the store since it’s not even 2 weeks old. Bah.

The rest of the day remained cold and started warming up towards the evening, which was good. But I’m guessing it’s going to be another cold night today – but I’ll be prepared for that. Ran out of toilet paper today (there was hardly any left to begin with) so I had to make a supply run. Also stopped for some lunch at Old Town because I wanted to see if it was any different from what we have in KL. It was the same thing, just a smaller menu. Food was still delicious (or I was hungry, I’m not sure).

After that I went to a tea plantation to drink some strawberry tea – that is some good shit. I’m probably going to start drinking it more in the future. Did a bit of writing and came back to the apartment. Messed around with the guitar and came up with a new tune, now I just to put in some words.

Had dinner earlier, walking distance from this place, substandard fried rice, but the food on the other tables smelt delicious. Came back home, and now I’m writing this entry while waiting for water to boil so I can make some coffee.

It might be too early to jump to some conclusions but I feel like this trip hasn’t been the best use of my time so far. I mean, sure I get the peace and quiet and nobody to bother me, but I’d get the same thing too if I was in a cafe in KL. The only difference is I can’t just pull out my guitar to start jamming whenever I felt like it.

I do enjoy the weather (when it’s not freezing) but Cameron Highlands feels like the kind of place people go to to die. Might just be this part of the highlands, but I’ll do more exploration tomorrow. So far, all I’ve seen are really old people or children. No one in between. Then again, there really isn’t anything for young adults here. I’m surprised there are schools though. And tons of Oppo shops. Also, I saw a Mary Brown and KFC on the drive up, no McDonald’s here (not that it matters – I’ve eaten enough McDonald’s for the month collecting the Adventure Time toys).

Welp, gonna get back to finishing my new song this evening before I call it a night.