Downtime by SeerLight
The night is my escape. The cool breeze and moonlight my companions. Distant chatter, feet on pavement, wheels on roads – a soothing soundtrack to accompany the scene of my favorite movie, one I try to watch every night.
I sit on this ledge. It is dangerous but it is also where I feel the most safe. Away from everybody out there. I enjoy this solitude. I don’t have to talk to anybody, and nobody has to talk to me. It is bliss.
There is no reason to leave. Up here, I don’t have to worry about a thing. Nobody can see me. Nobody can reach me. Just a fly on a wall, watching the world go by. I like it very much.
The funny thing is, this isn’t even my apartment. I don’t belong here. Maybe one day when I make enough money, I’ll buy this place. Then I can stay here all night long. However, a part of me thinks that if I could come here all the time, it wouldn’t be so special anymore. I wouldn’t treasure every moment out here. Are things special only because we can’t have them all the time?
Oh dear, I’m starting to doubt the eminence of this place. That isn’t good. I thought I’d never find a lookout point better than this one. Now I’m starting to have second thoughts. What is wrong with me? I thought I was free from all those problems. I clear my thoughts and take a deep breath. I focus on the view again. I take it all in one more time.
The night is my escape. I make my way down the fire escape and wander off into the darkness. It’s time to return to the world. It’s time to head back home.
Writing Prompt from Reddit: Downtime
There are many things we take for granted each day. And it’s only because we’ve been doing them our whole lives without having to change a thing. For example, walking, dribbling a ball, cycling, driving a car, and swimming. We can do all these things because we’ve been doing them for years. Muscle memory, they call it.
One of the activities that fall under this category is typing. For my whole life until recently, I’ve been typing on regular keyboards. Though they have been in different sizes, they all maintained the standard 60% layout (number row on the top, QWERTY staggered layout, and modifiers accessible with both hands). I’m a touch typist, so for me to type, I rely heavily on muscle memory. However, that has changed recently with my acquisition of the Vortex Core – a 40% keyboard. For reference, here’s a picture of it:
Ever since I started touch typing, I have been resting my fingers on the home row (ASDFGHJKL) – two rows below the number row on a keyboard. On regular keyboards, my method for finding the home row is touching the edge of the number row, and going down two rows. On the Core, this number row is missing, so I have to consciously make an effort to only move my hands down one row from the edge of the keyboard. Fortunately, typing letters on this keyboard is the least of my concerns. Without having to punctuate my texts, I can still hit my average of 70 words per minute.
Continue reading “Teething Problems”
Some of you might have noticed that my blog has a new look now (it’s only obvious if you’re browsing on your desktop). Since I launched blorgy.net way back in 2007, I’ve only been through two revisions. The other day I was just thinking about changing up my site a bit since I had some funky keycaps which I could use to recreate my original logo and I just continued working on the site from there.
I compressed the archives and categories section in the sidebar since I don’t think people use them too much, and they were getting a little too long for my liking (I can’t believe I’ve actually managed to keep this blog running for over ten years!). I added some social media buttons, removed dead links, and reduced the number of posts on the front page. I also added ‘related posts’ at the bottom of each post since I’ve got a wealth of posts to link to now (I’ve written over 700 posts to date). Hopefully it doesn’t link too many cringey posts.
Overall, they aren’t huge changes, but I think the site looks a lot better now. Also, the color scheme is based on the Vortex Core keyboard (the keys in the logo are from the keyboard). I’m a big fan of its retro color scheme. The font used is Bryant Regular, which is similar to Gorton Modified (couldn’t find the font for that) – the font used on the legends of SA keycaps. Not sure if I managed to change all the elements of my site properly, but based on my initial checking, it seems fine. Let me know if I missed anything.
Prior to this, I hadn’t touched CSS or HTML in a long time. I had to do tons of Googling for simple things like changing the background color. It’s crazy how much I didn’t know or remember! Anyway, it was a fun experience and I’ll probably make additional tweaks over the coming weeks if I think of anything else.
One of the funniest things about the karaoke is the generic videos they create for songs that don’t have official videos. These generic videos usually consist of white people (usually attractive girls) running around beautiful scenery, doing random moves and maybe looking into the camera or staring into the distance. They never have anything to do with the songs, so it makes you wonder how such videos were conceptualized in the first place.
Who thought those videos would be a wonderful idea? I’m pretty sure a lot of people thought they were good because they caught on. If they weren’t successful, there wouldn’t be so many of them around. Somebody definitely thought – hey! that’s a wonderful idea. They’re easy to shoot, and can be applied to any music video. And so the trend was born.
After doing some digging, it turns out that these karaoke videos were commissioned by companies to circumvent copyright. Initially they were even weirder videos of random shit, but they were eventually replaced by the stock footage kind I was talking about. They were mostly low-budget and done by young, aspiring directors. Interesting read.
Anyway, I don’t know why I decided to write about karaoke music videos today. I have a story idea about karaoke music videos though. It’s about a guy who goes karaoke singing one day and sees this extremely attractive girl in a karaoke music video. He falls in love with her and goes on a mission to find out who she is, so her can track her down and ask her out.
I’ve always told people who asked that I intend to leave this world when I’m forty. I figured that at that age, I would have experienced everything I would have wanted to experience and it would be a good age to go. But when I first started saying it, I had a long way to go. It hit me recently that forty isn’t too far away. Eight more years, that’s less than a decade.
I still think it is a good age to go, but I was recently asked – what if you’re really happy and successful when you hit forty? I really don’t know. My plan at forty would be to do all the life-threatening activities like bungee jumping and skydiving and hoping one of those activities would kill me. But if you think about it, people don’t die that often doing those things. There’s probably a higher chance of my body developing cancer from smoking or my liver failing from drinking too much alcohol before that.
In case you’re wondering, I’m not planning to kill myself. I just don’t want to be old, sick and a burden to people around me. Also, I’ll save a lot of money for people who plan to take care of me. I won’t have to let them decide if they should pull the plug on me. I’ll be too young to develop the usual old age debilitating illnesses. They can also save even more money with no funeral!
Insurance. Why are people so comfortable with partaking in a business that is predicated on its customer being ill in order to reap any benefits? It’s kinda crazy if you ask me. For the longest time I didn’t bother with insurance because I thought it was a waste of money. I mean, it still is a waste of money – if you live the remainder of your life without being treated for anything major, you’ve essentially given away thousands for nothing. If you do end up using the insurance, it’ll be worth it. But it’s pretty much a gamble – like playing the lottery, instead you put your health on the line in order to win it. Anyway, I still have an insurance plan, but at least it has a savings component so I can get some of that cash back even if I don’t fall sick. I just have to be old enough to withdraw it.
Today, I went to visit my grandmother in the hospital. She’s not doing too well. I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I hate jumping to conclusions but chances are high that she’ll be parting this world soon. She’s had a long and good life, and this may be a heartless thing to say – but she’s going to be happier when she’s gone. I hope she has a speedy recovery or passes away painlessly. Love you, grandma.
Peace of Mind by andreasrocha
I dropped my backpack and sword to the ground and fell to my knees. The view was glorious. Up here, the air was fresher. The leaves were greener. The rocks – rockier. The tranquil silence complemented by the sound of rushing water in the distance. The Waterfall of Ages was a sight to behold. After days of trudging through mud, sludge and feces, this brief respite was heaven-sent.
I was on a mission to rescue a princess from a tribe of forest trolls, and it was taking a lot longer than expected. They had managed to escape with her when they abandoned their temporary camp after they heard that I was on their heels. Their tracks continued on towards the waterfall – a once sacred site for the forest elves, it had been abandoned for decades and was now known as a safe haven for the scum of the forest. Until today, nobody ever visited the area unless they were outcasts, on the hunt for drugs, or both.
I drank from my canteen and got up to my feet. I wanted to make more progress before night fall, I had to find a place to rest before those nocturnal bastards came out looking for me. I picked up my backpack and slung my sword over my shoulder. It was time to make a move.
writing prompt from Reddit: Peace of Mind
I remember when Apple first announced that they would stop putting CD drives in their laptops. Back then I thought it was in idiotic thing to do – I was still a heavy disc user back then. Listening to music on CDs, watching movies on DVDs and burning files to CD-Rs. I was like, this was never going to fly, what are Apple thinking?
Fast forward to this morning, there was someone in my office asking around if anybody had a CD player – she wanted to test a disc she had. Unfortunately for her, nobody had a drive. I looked around the room at everyone’s laptop – not a disc drive in sight. I thought that was pretty insane that nobody had one available for her to use. Then I started thinking about my own media habits and realized that I haven’t used discs in a very long time.
At home, I have a PC with a disconnected drive. The drive is sitting there in my computer’s case, but it’s not plugged into the motherboard. Why? When I was building my PC many years ago, I made a conscious decision not to plug it in because I hadn’t used it in a long time.
The DVD player at home is still hooked up to the TV cos my mom knows how to use it to watch movies, but these days she’s getting her shows over Astro anyway.
I remember when I got my first DiscMan – I was so happy that I could finally listen to music without having to rewind cassettes. I could listen to songs on repeat conveniently (previously, I used to record blank tapes of my favorite song repeated so I didn’t have to rewind to binge on the same song). It was a game changer for me. Over the years I continually purchased CDs to expand my music collection. It was when MP3 players became affordable, it became a game changer.
Now, I don’t even touch the CDs I own. The stacks of burnt CDs with music that I have sitting in my car? Untouched for years. These days I stream music from my phone via Bluetooth or I listen to it off a USB stick that’s perpetually plugged into the player.
RIP optical discs. It was fun while it lasted.
There’s a reason why I usually write fiction set in our world. I’m not very good at creating new worlds. Somehow I find the task of creating a new planet/city/location an extremely daunting task. I mean, it’s alright if it’s realistic fiction – you don’t have to establish anything. But when it comes to a make-believe world, you have to establish rules for everything. Even things that might not directly appear in your story need to be fleshed out. Like for example, we want monsters in a world. How did these monsters appear? Were they creatures from another planet? If yes, what brings them? Are they hostile/peaceful? How do the characters interact with them? What are their abilities? How do they look like? Do they drive the plot? Are they just sub characters? If the monsters were from the planet, how did they come about? Did they evolve naturally from other creatures? Have they just been there all along? Are they tamed? Do they speak? What do they do in the story?
There’s a lot of things to think about – and that was just one example. In a complete story you’d probably have way more elements than that. The name of the city. Its layout. The people living in it. The political/economical situation. The period. The characters. The food. The vehicles. They all need an explanation. If not written down, you should at least have some rough guidelines for them in your head. Because every time something monster-related needs to be written, those questions probably need to be answered.
When writing realistic fiction, you don’t have to do any of that. Maybe you explain your characters and the situation/place that they are in. There’s really not much else to do, you can just tell the story. People are already familiar with how human beings work. It’s not something that needs to be explained. Which is why I’ve been writing realistic fiction, or at least fiction set in established worlds. Also, it’s much easier to draw from real-life experiences if the setting is realistic. I can easily retell a story of my life in a character’s perspective without worrying if it would fit the world.
World building is something I need to work on. I have trouble coming up with fictional settings and names for those places (I faced those challenges doing my two Nanowrimos). I need to read more and pay attention to how people write their worlds. I could pick up a lot of tips.
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.
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.