It’s just nice to know you’re not alone.

It would be typical to say things like, I know I wish I had spent more time with you while you were still around. But we both know that isn’t true. Regardless, I shall write about the times I can remember. All the trips to the cinema with you and grandpa when I was younger is probably one of the reasons why I love film. The Sunday morning Dim Sum meals were a good reason to skip church. The countless trips to Port Klang for seafood taught me I was mildly allergic to shellfish. You calling me George and not by my Chinese name cemented the fact that nobody would ever use it (remains true till today).

I also learned that Genting Highlands was a great place to relax, especially for the older crowd. I also learned that Hakka was similar to Cantonese – not that I was proficient at either dialect. Trying to talk to you was always a challenge. Something I’ll dearly miss.

This year’s Chinese New Year isn’t going to be the same again. No more delicious food or angpows that had more money than we deserved for being little shits. The fire crackers at your house was always the loudest. I doubt they were legal, but hey – it was so much fun wading through the sea of red paper in the aftermath.

Taking care of grandpa was something you were the best at. I wonder if he’ll realize that you’re finally gone. You’ve lived a long and wonderful life, and raised wonderful children and grandchildren. While it saddens me that you’re now gone from this world, it’s for the best. You’re in better place now. Rest in peace, grandma.

Supreme Master of Loving Huts

In today’s episode about technology, we’ll talk about going down the never-ending rabbit hole that is the internet. Have you ever found yourself on a site or a video where you read a comment or you think to yourself, “How the hell did I end up here?” The depths of YouTube, some call it. It also happens when you’re browsing Wikipedia or TVTropes. It’s not something new. I’m sure everybody has been down that road at least once in their lives. I think it’s been prevalent ever since the dawn of the internet. Just that these days, our internet speeds are so fast that it becomes trivial clicking on a link because you don’t have to wait for anything to load. My trip today took me to some interesting places.

I was doing some research on Indonesia for work today, and found out that the country was known for having birds of paradise. I decided to then look up if there were any cartoons featuring birds of paradise. I entered it into Google and a few links to the same animation pops up. Oh cool, there’s one cartoon about the topic. I decided to check it out. While watching the intro to the animation, I started reading the description of the video. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that it was attributed to a story by “Supreme Master Ching Hai”. That piqued my interest. I mean, come on – who wouldn’t want to look up information about someone called the Supreme Master?

And that’s where the rabbit hole begin. It started from me reading a Wikipedia entry about this person, putting their name in Google, looking up some Reddit threads and watching some YouTube videos. So, today I learned about the Supreme Master Ching Hai, her story, her mission, and her chain of restaurants around the world. I’d do a write-up about her, but Phoenix New Times already has a well-written piece on her that covers everything you need to know and how I feel about it, and there’s nothing else I can add with my limited knowledge on the subject. I quote from the article:

“In one such setting, Hai informed her supporters that crop circles are a kind of alien road sign through which extraterrestrials leave messages for each other. In another, she contended that the pyramids are meant to act as lighthouses for UFOs, showing them where to land safely.”

However, I learned something from today’s little adventure: while I (and a lot of other people) may find it easy to make fun of or laugh at an outrageous religion, it’s only because I know so little about it. Not that I’m an expert on other religions, but the fact that it is new compared to other religions, it hasn’t had enough time to settle in the world as something that’s accepted worldwide. Just like Scientology, except that the Quan Yin followers don’t seem intent on doing horrible things to its members or other people in society. They’re just vegans who are fanatic about their Supreme Master. Maybe one day they’ll turn violent and start terrorizing people, but for now they seem like a pretty chill bunch. Maybe in the year 5000, those religions will still be around and they’ll be as accepted as Christianity or Islam, who knows?

Start a religion so you can sell merchandise and stay exempt from taxes (the Supreme Master has her own line of jewelry and artwork available). Seems like a pretty good business model. Anyway, if you spend your money on such things, you probably deserve to have that money taken from you.

Other interesting things I discovered going down the rabbit hole today: she actually has a sizable following here in Malaysia. There’s a Loving Hut outlet in Malaysia (which I’m keen on checking out, even if it means supporting her), and last year there was a screening of one of her musicals in KL. Today I experienced the same feeling I did when I discovered that there were Mormons and Scientologists here in our country. I don’t even know why I was surprised. Anyway, like my favorite saying goes: you learn something new everyday.

If you’re keen on learning more about the Supreme Master and her teachings – there’s the Supreme Master TV channel streaming her content 24 hours a day:

I’m a wreck when I’m alone, I’m the boy who lost his home

I don’t have much to say except this band except that they rock.

The Dangerous Summer are one of my favorite bands of all time. I was surprised to learn today that they had released a new album this year. I thought the band was done when they lost one of their members a while ago. Turns out they’re still alive and kicking and making kick-ass music. Having listened to their latest release, the self-titled ‘The Dangerous Summer’, it’s safe to say that they still have it in them. All the trappings of a standard TDS song are present: layered guitars, emotional lyrics and raw vocals – everything a TDS fan would be looking for in an album from the band.

I can’t recall how I got into the band – it was probably a recommendation from a list or article I read. However, I remember when I first heard – Permanent Rain. It made me a fan of the band instantly. I immediately proceeded to consume all their music, and even learned how to play the acoustic version of the song. With each new release, which were remarkable by the way, I found myself always returning to their debut album ‘Reach for the Sun’. Something about the music on that album which made them so magical to me. It’s not like they changed their sound or anything after the album – I guess it’s just hard to recreate the feeling of discovering something for the first time again.

I was immensely pleased when they released an acoustic version of the album. I guess they really liked it as well if they thought it should be rearranged and re-recorded! They should totally release an EDM version of the album, I don’t think they can do any wrong with the material.

Over the years I’ve been impressed with the consistency of their releases. I don’t think they’ve ever released a single bad song. Hopefully AJ and the boys can make it over to this side of the world before they breakup (again). As usual, here are a list of some of my favorite tracks from these guys.

The Dangerous Summer – Ghosts

The Dangerous Summer – Fire

The Dangerous Summer – Permanent Rain

The Dangerous Summer – Catholic Girls

The Dangerous Summer – Knives

Section cut short: for some reason, Hopeless has blocked a lot of their YouTube videos in Malaysia, which is a shame, but they’re on Spotify, so head there to check them out.

You can play it sensible, a king of conventional or you can risk it all and see

Sometimes I just enjoy sitting with a cup of coffee in a cafe, with nothing on my mind and my laptop opened in front of me. I know I should be writing but I have nothing to write about. So I launch FocusWriter and start writing about not having anything to write. I think it’s because I enjoy pressing keys on keyboards.

There’s just something therapeutic about pushing buttons on a keyboard and watching characters appear onscreen. It doesn’t even have to make any sense. It doesn’t have to be meaningful. I guess it’s like jerking off, except that you can do it in public without getting arrested. I mean, technically, there is no reason for anyone to jerk off. It’s just fun to do.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman for the past few days. It’s really good. I was pleasantly surprised by how contemporary the songs are. When the first song started playing, I genuinely thought I was in the wrong cinema. My expectations were surpassed for the film. Sure, the story is nothing to shout about, but the songs and the choreography are top-notch. Definitely worth rewatching or relistening to. I thought the movie felt a bit short (probably because I enjoyed it so much) and I was surprised when I learned that it was 2 hours long.

Also, I stayed to watch all of the credits because I half-expected to see Fall Out Boy being credited for the movie’s songs. I can easily imagine Patrick Stump performing the songs on it.

I’ve been at my new job for two weeks, yet I’ve worked for less than 10 days. Thank you blessed public holidays.

I’ve had phlegm-filled lungs for the past 3 weeks. I wonder if I’m extremely sick. Coughing everyday and blowing your nose every hour gets kinda annoying. A part of me thinks I should get it checked out. Another part of me thinks that it’s going to go away eventually. Other than that I feel fine. Then again, there are quite a number of sick people in the office. Maybe it’s just a bug going around.

Having experienced keyboards of all sizes, the only thing left for me to try are Topre switches, the HHKB layout, and ortholinear/split keyboards. I’m currently doing fine with the Core and inserting apostrophes are almost second nature to me now. Still struggling with numbers, brackets and symbols like !@#$%^. But I think I’m getting better. I also started pressing Shift with my left pinkie. I’m also liking the arrow cluster on the bottom right of my board instead of using Fn + IJKL – it makes text selection so much easier.

I wonder how much coffee I need to drink before one cup isn’t enough to perk me up. I can go for days without drinking any coffee, so I don’t think I’m addicted to it. Cigarettes on the other hand, haha. Wedding dinner to attend later, been a while since the last one. Should be fun mingling with people I don’t really know. Who am I kidding? I’m just going to hang out with the people I know. To vapers out there – do you keep a bottle of juice with you if you don’t have a bag to bring? Feels odd to me. Which is why I usually just go out with cigarettes. They’re much smaller and I don’t have to worry about running out of battery or fluid.

I recently read that if you haven’t used your Steam Community Market account in a while, it gets disabled. Decided to put up all the trading cards I’ve collected over the past year on sale. Feels good getting a notification every few minutes about receiving a few cents. Eventually I’ll make enough to own a Dark Artistry Cape, you just wait!

New clothes for the new year

I’ve never been one to do any Chinese New Year shopping because I honestly don’t think that just because it’s a new year, you need new clothes. You only need new clothes when your old clothes become unwearable, there’s no other reason. If you want new clothes, that’s another story, but you never need them.

Anyway, I haven’t been shopping for new clothes in a while, so I took advantage of the CNY sales going on to do some shopping today. I managed to get myself a couple of T-shirts and shirts for reasonable prices at a warehouse sale. One thing I’ve learned about purchasing clothes is that while something might look nice hanging from the rack, it might not look good on you. I discovered this a while ago while going through photographs of myself.

I used to have a bright orange shirt that I enjoyed wearing but I don’t anymore – I think I gave it away. The problem with that shirt was, while I thought it looked good, it clashed with my skin tone. I think I’m too tan to pull off a bright orange shirt look. However, I only realized it after wearing it for a few years. Since then, I have never bought another bright orange shirt.

Today I discovered a new color that looked good on me – mint. Prior to this, I didn’t own any mint-colored shirts, so I was pleasantly surprised by how it looked in the fitting room mirror. I picked up a red T-shirt as well, because everybody needs a red shirt for Chinese New Year, and two smart shirts because why not?

While writing this post I came to a realization that I’m no good with words when describing clothes. I guess that’s why I haven’t spent a lot of time describing them in my stories. I tend to write from first person anyway, so it’s not a big deal. But I guess I could do a better job of describing what characters wear. Definitely something for me to work on.

I still need to get a pair of new sandals but that should be an easier task than picking out tops. Later this year I’ll probably also need to update my jeans selection. I might give blue jeans another go.

Also, why do people tuck in their T-shirts? Honestly, I have no idea, but I see it all the time, especially by older people. Unless the T-shirt you have on is over-sized, I see literally no reason to tuck it in. It’s like, people who tuck in their T-shirts are actively trying to make themselves look worse because as far as I know, your T-shirts don’t tuck themselves in automatically. Maybe it’s a fashion statement. Or some trend I’m missing. I probably should work on my own dressing before I comment on what other people do. Fashion is confusing. Regardless, it’s almost as bad as popping your collar. Brr.

Also, catch me wearing these someday:

Seen on Reddit

To those of you who have yet to do your CNY shopping, have fun!