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.

Antarctica, take me to

Despite my dislike of the cold, for some reason I have Antarctica high on the places I’d like to visit before I die. I don’t know why.

I know nothing about that place, except that it’s just covered in snow and that I’d probably freeze to death there. This morning, I saw a post on reddit about passwords on Antarctica and I was reminded of the place.

Maybe it’s the fact that I know nothing about it that makes the idea of going there so compelling. Then again, I’d have no idea what I would do in Antarctica (did you know it’s spelled with a ‘c’ after ‘r’? I’m getting schooled by spell-checker). I mean, I’m not much of a wildlife person, my idea of entertainment usually involves screens or music (doubt I’d find much of either over there). I guess I’d be able to take nice photographs and visit research centers. Maybe spot some wildlife if I’m lucky. Perhaps I’ll encounter The Thing (wouldn’t be a bad place to die).

I think I would also enjoy the fact that there aren’t many people there. It wouldn’t be crowded (oh god, I hate crowds) since not many people live there or visit the place. I think it would be nice to have a hot pot meal and finish it off with some nice belly warming alcohol. Mmhmm.

Clicking on the first relevant link I saw on Google, it would cost me over RM25k for a nice week-long trip there.

Not cheap at all, and definitely out of my budget for now. I would have to save up for it or find some alternative means of getting there. Time to do some research! Anybody with info, feel free to drop me a message. I’m real keen on visiting the place.

Vortex Core Update (and typing tests)

Just thought I’d post a small update since Vortex posted new firmware for the Core that enables custom remapping via its online layout editor. Thanks to it, I’ve got the keyboard bound to 99% the way I like it.

My previous complaints about not being able to reassign the Fn1 keys and having too many unused keys rebindable have been solved. My only gripe is that I can’t move the default Fn key – I can only assign another key to work as Fn, so I now have two Fn keys instead of one. However, since it’s not that much of an issue I can live with it (I still hope they will fix it in a future update though).

Currently, my Vortex Core has the following layout:

For those of you interested in using this, here’s my layout file for you to flash onto your Core.

On a side note, I’m done with 100% keyboards – I’ve replaced my full-sized SteelSeries Apex M500 at home with a Plum Nano 75. I wanted to give Topre clones a shot and the Plum Nano 75 seemed like a pretty good idea.

For a Topre-clone, I would say it’s far from the stock experience of real Topre (comparing vs the HHKB). I bought the 45g dome version with additional 20g springs and it still feels linear as hell. I can’t imagine what the 35g dome version would be like. I might replace the domes in the future for more tactility, but I’ll stick with it stock for now. Typing on it sounds quite nice – it’s a very ‘ploppy’ sound. It’s hard to describe but you can check it out on my typing demo:

I love its form-factor. The function row over a standard 60% body is perfect for keycap compatibility. The only thing that would make it better would be a HHKB-style bottom row, ala the Eve Meteor.

I appreciated that the stabilizers came lubed with the board though. No rattle at all, and the build quality of the board was solid. The stock keycaps leave a lot to be desired (in terms of appearance). Fortunately, it has MX-compatible stems so I swapped them out with some Tai-Hao Black on White ABS keycaps (costar stabs were a pain in the ass though). The cable channel can be annoying if you unplug it often but since I’m leaving the board on my desktop at home, this isn’t an issue for me.

I bought the non-Bluetooth, non-RGB version so I can’t comment about those features (who needs them anyway?) but overall, I’d say get the Plum 75 if you’re a fan of the form factor and intend on replacing the domes if you’re not a fan of linear typing experiences. Avoid it if you’re looking for an alternative to real Topre – get a real Topre keyboard instead.


After recording the typing test for the Plum Nano 75 I decided that I would make typing test videos for my other keyboards as well, so if you’re interested in hearing how my other keyboards sound, here they are:

HHKB Pro 2

KBD Fans HHKB

Vortex Core

Hair by Hair

You know what else takes as long as waiting for your keyboard parts to arrive?

Me growing a beard. Actually I think I’m going to receive all my keyboard parts before I grow a decent beard.
It’s been a few months since I started using Minoxidil and I don’t think it’s making a big difference. However, I am only on my second bottle, so I didn’t really expect anything so soon. I definitely have noticed a few additional hairs on my face, but they are countable and I am still nowhere near being a poster-child for beard Instagram.

Regardless, the journey must go on and I shall continue using Minoxidil until I run out of it. Here’s to a better beard future.

On the other hand, the hair on my head has been growing quickly and is showing no signs of slowing down (woot). I am constantly being nagged by my mom to get a haircut though. I dread going back to the days of styling my hair every morning before going out. But I also don’t think I’d look good with a shaved head. Decisions, decisions.

If only there was a way we could control where the hair grew on our bodies. Or at least swap our hair follicles. I’d probably trade away hair on my pubes and armpits for hair on my face. That would be a pretty good deal. I’ve probably got way too many pubic hairs.

Friends We Don’t Deserve

There’s something comforting about having a dog on your lap while you type away in front of your computer.

It’s like having a living, breathing teddy bear. Sometimes I wonder what she’s thinking about. Is she day dreaming? Is she asleep? Any slight movement I make wakes her up, so I can’t really check if it’s the latter but her steady breathing pattern hints at sweet dreams. Do dogs even dream? I’m sure they do. What do they dream about? Freedom?

And then I start to wonder, does she think about what I’m doing? Does she wonder if it’s trivial or important? Am I saving the world or just typing random shit on a public diary?

Does she enjoy lying on my lap? Does she enjoy it or find it boring? She’s not complaining – not that I would know if she was unhappy, I can’t speak doggo. I would love to be able to read their minds though. Or understand their barks. I think it would be an amazing ability to have. It could also lead me down a pretty interesting career path. Also, I’d be able to tell stories that dogs want humans to know.

Do dogs want us to know anything? Maybe not. Why should they care? Why do dogs care so much about people who essentially enslave them for their own selfish purposes? Actually, do we even know if dogs really love humans (I’m almost certain they do) – for all we know, they’re actually the most manipulative creatures in the world, getting us to do their bidding. And people who abuse dogs are actually saving the human race from being overrun by our four-legged friends? Just kidding, I don’t believe that at all. Dogs are our best friends we don’t deserve. So we try our best to make their lives as luxurious as possible.

Royalty

Just a song I wrote a few months ago. Finally finished it and recorded a rough demo on a productive Thursday night. Enjoy

Royalty

on your bed you lie like royalty
in your mind you wish that you were free
all the luxuries meant for a king
but are you truly?

when you trade your air for water
all our words fall upon deaf ears
you look forward to be released
follow the bright light

watching over you like guardians
just like statues we wait
as the waves crash all around us
behind a glass display

tethered to a bed, is it living?
lines on a graph, numbers falling
your whole being reduced to
beeps on a machine

(take my lungs, I didn’t treasure them anyway)

when you trade your air for water
all our words fall upon deaf ears
you look forward to be released
embrace the darkness

waiting for the full collapse
your last dying breath
we mutter empty words to comfort ourselves

it’s all up to you now
it’s time to say goodbye
we mutter empty words to comfort ourselves

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.