Song Requests Over The Air

While I was driving today, I switched to my car’s music player radio mode by accident, and kept it on after I realized my mistake. I thought I would see if I had been missing out on anything after all these years. After a minute or two, I concluded, “nope” and switched back to Bluetooth mode. But before I switched away, the station played an ad about itself, and one of the voice clips used was a lady requesting for a song.

I then wondered to myself, “why?”. Why would anyone make a song request in this day and age? It’s 2020, for crying out loud. There’s no reason to make song requests over the air anymore. Do you know how long it takes to: call up a station, wait for your call to get through, hope that your call gets chosen, speak to a DJ to ask for your song, and then wait for your song to come on?

A very long time. You could probably drive home, slip into something comfortable, lay down on your bed and put on that song in a shorter amount of time. Maybe pour a nice glass of wine too. It’s also very easy to go on YouTube or Spotify to search for a song that you want to hear. You can even rewind or replay the track as many times as you like. 

If you’re requesting a popular song, why? It’s going to be played within the next hour regardless. Something obscure? The DJs don’t have it, and nobody wants to listen to your shitty taste in music anyway. If you want to share a song with a loved one – send them a link on WhatsApp, and say “thinking of you”. Heck, you could even record your own voice message to accompany it. Or share a link on Facebook and tag that special person. It’s kinda like the same thing. Except that they won’t miss it if they happen to not be listening to the radio at that specific moment. I mean, that is the beauty of music on demand.

Radio song requests are dead, use that airtime to play shitty prank calls instead. Or run another ad.

A Day at the Park

We were just kids hanging out as a family, at a park, playing with our dog. The sun was coming up, so we decided to go home before the heat became unbearable. Heading back to our car, we passed by a playground which had some children playing on a swing. As we walked by, a kid on a swing fell off and started bawling.

Suddenly, this lady (who wasn’t the mother of the kid) came out of nowhere to chide us for walking with our leashed dog. She blamed us for scaring that kid off the swing. Obviously we had done no such thing. Looking back, I wished I thought about our dog attacking that lady. I bet that would have made young George laugh.

My mother, being the protective woman she was, stepped in between us and that lady and told her to mind her own business. We ignored that lady and continued walking to our car.

Many years on, I still remember that experience without knowing why it was such a significant event. Maybe I remembered wrongly, and our dog did do something to scare the kid. My confirmation bias refuses to let me believe it though. Our doggo could do no harm.

That was over twenty years ago, and today I finally realized why. That incident in the park marked my first ever encounter with a Karen.

Attention Seeker

Why do people stream? For money? Sure.

What about people who don’t make any money from it? I have no idea. I asked myself that question, and don’t have an answer for you.

I guess it would be nice to have an audience? But why?

Usually, I’m averse to attention, but also I’m someone who enjoys playing live music to a crowd.

Maybe I only think I don’t enjoy the attention.

Because there’s no other benefit for me to do such things. I’m not getting paid to play shows (most of the time) and I definitely don’t make any money streaming.

I moved my stream from Twitch to Facebook because it’s supposedly easier to grow an audience there – after all, my few hundred friends can see when I go online. I literally made it easier for people to find my streams.

But who wants to watch me play games? Especially when I don’t offer high-skilled or very entertaining gameplay? No idea.

Why do I stream then?

I guess it doesn’t make a difference if I do or not. On the off chance, someone tunes in, I have somebody to interact with. If not, it’s just a way for me to make full use of my sick rig and fast connection.

Tune in and follow my Facebook Page to catch me playing video games. I could be your next favorite streamer. It’s unlikely, but if you don’t watch, you’ll never know.

High Rise Living

The best part about living on the eighth floor of a building – you get a breeze all the time, no matter how hot it is outside. Just leave the windows open and fresh air trickles in. It’s nice. Sometimes when I don’t feel like using my fan, it’s a great way to save some electricity.

However, leaving your windows open can suck occasionally – bugs and dust get into your room. The other day, a little beetle flew into my room and kept hitting against my window, creating an annoying sound that distracted me from sleep. Eventually it found its way into my mosquito trap. Not sure what happened to it.

Why do I have a mosquito trap? Even after cleaning out my room last year, mosquitoes decided to stick around, which bothered me. I bought myself a mosquito lamp trap – a contraption that shines a UV light and generates carbon dioxide to attract the bugs, and has a fan that stops them from flying out once they get in – a useful device. But even that wasn’t enough, I got myself a mosquito repellent mat heater and a couple of Ridsect cans to cover all bases. Yeah, I hate mosquitoes that much. If only they hated me enough to avoid me.

Another great thing about living in an apartment – you get a massive garage, a pool (that I don’t use), security, and a cafe to eat at when I don’t feel like going out of the building. On the other hand, it sucks walking to your car and realizing you left something at home – you have to decide if it’s worth delaying your journey by a few minutes because you need to go back up to get whatever you forgot. Vice versa, but I guess you’re not really rushing if you’re home. When you need to take an urgent shit or piss, the ride up the elevator can be excruciating.

It’s good we have guards to keep our parcels for us, but there’s also the fear of somebody else accidentally or intentionally taking our packages. I haven’t experienced this yet, but I’m sure it’s happened before. Also, the guards aren’t that vigilant – I have stuff stolen from my bicycle that was parked downstairs. One of these days I’ll confront the kid who did it. I might as well hunt for my flip flop thief while I’m at it.

What I’m trying to say is, living in a high-rise is neutral. Like everything else in life, you assign a value to it.

Evading the Commute, Falling Behind

If there’s one thing I never thought I’d say, it’s I kinda miss being behind the wheel. No, hear me out – I don’t miss traffic jams but I do miss listening to podcasts while driving. But wait, George, don’t you listen to podcasts because you’re trying to pass time in the car?

Yes, it’s true. However, during the past few months spent at home, I realized that I’ve fallen behind on my podcast queue. It’s starting to look like my Steam library. Because I don’t drive, I don’t listen to podcasts. So, why don’t I listen to podcasts when I’m not driving?

When I’m not driving, I’m usually doing something which requires my attention (not that I don’t pay attention while driving). In this case, it’s working from home, or watching a show, or playing a game. When I’m doing those things, I can’t have a podcast running in the background – I’ll either get distracted by what I’m listening to, or I’ll miss whatever the hosts are saying. There’s no in-between – or at least, I haven’t trained myself to be capable of doing such things.

I have limited time and attention span. I’m not sure if it’s a flaw, but I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one. Which is why I only listen to music while working. If I hear someone else talking at the same time, I end up losing my train of thought while writing. I definitely can’t watch a show at the same time. And with games, I end up not paying attention at all, which beats the whole point of listening.

What about listening before bed then? I used to do that but I end up falling asleep before finishing an episode and when I wake up the following day, I have to relisten to it to catch what I missed. Not a great use of time if I use it to consume the same content twice.

Is there a solution to this? Of course, but that would mean deprioritizing other things I enjoy so that I could squeeze podcast listening into my day. However, that’s something I’m not willing to do at the moment. I guess podcasts aren’t that important to me. If I was desperate to listen to them, I wouldn’t have this problem. Why the rant then?

Good point. Maybe I just wanted to write about working from home.

Working from home means you get to be more productive right out of bed. Just wash up, make your breakfast and sit yourself down in front of your computer, start working. I’m not complaining about working from home though. I think it is a good thing.

I also believe that this lockdown has a lot of companies rethinking their positions on letting employees work from anywhere (at least I hope so). As long as they get the work done, right? People save petrol and commute time. Nobody has to get stressed over traffic or risk getting into a vehicle-related accident. After all, the internet was invented for a reason.

Online Profile Privacy; Evening Drama Rebooted Plug

Back in the day, sharing your online contact details was a simple process.
You had your IM username (in ICQ’s case, it was your UIN) for people you want to chat with, and your email address for everything else. Most people would share either one without a second thought (assuming you were interested in speaking to the person requesting that information).

Now, with the number of different social networks available, it’s a bit more complex. Different online profiles have different amounts of information that you would like people to have access to, they all have different weights.

This thought crossed my mind earlier today when I was asked to request to join a Facebook group and to inform the person in charge of that group over Whatsapp instead of Facebook. In my mind, I was thinking, why? Why not keep everything on Facebook, since the platform facilitates both groups and messaging. Then I thought, maybe that person didn’t want to share their personal Facebook profile.

But that person gave me their phone number (which was on the signature of the email) – something I have always rated as more personal than a Facebook profile. On the other hand, this person might have given me a business number to reach out via Whatsapp instead. Then I thought some more – why didn’t that person just make a business Facebook profile for such situations in the first place?

And then I concluded that maybe I’m just overthinking things.

For reference, this is what my social media privacy levels are:
Phone number, email: for friends, family, and work.
Facebook: for my friends and acquaintances.
Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Soundcloud, YouTube, this blog: for the public.
LinkedIn: for future employers and friends? I’m not sure yet. I only created an account (earlier this year) to apply for jobs, and I have less than 10 people in my network. I don’t even log on to it unless I get an email alert.

Pretty much everything is available to the public, and the only reason my phone number and email address aren’t is to avoid spam. If I could put it all up there without such problems, I’d probably do it. After all, the internet is around to make you easily contactable.

I don’t have multiple accounts and only use my various accounts for different purposes – but if anyone from the other circles find their way to my other accounts, I’m not bothered by it. I believe that anything online is pretty much public, so I don’t post anything online that I don’t want people to see.

While writing this piece, I got carried away with work and when I returned, I lost my original train of thought. I think it was about how different people treat their details differently, and most people are probably a lot more concerned about their online privacy than I am. Maybe I’ll return to this topic in the future. Possible Evening Drama Rebooted topic?

Also, if you haven’t been following, I’ve been hosting a weekly live show called Evening Drama Rebooted on Twitch for the past few weeks. We’ve managed to keep the show going for eight episodes despite not having consistent times – quite an achievement, in my opinion. It’s about me, Seng Yip, and Christin shooting the shit over random topics. The show was born at the start of the MCO and should go on at least until it ends. No idea about our future plans yet. And yes, the name is a throwback to a group blog we used to write for. Check out our past episodes on YouTube.

The Botanist

Today, I learned about the existence of David Goodall – a renowned 104-year-old botanist who flew from Australia to Switzerland to utilize the country’s assisted-suicide facilities. While stories like these are probably more common than I imagine (albeit, with younger people), what made this occasion special was the invitation of press coverage.

You see, Goodall had a mission. He was a representative of Exit International – a nonprofit advocating the legalization of euthanasia. He wanted the world to know that some people want to die, despite being perfectly healthy and of sound mind. You don’t have to be broody and depressed to want to die. Sometimes you’ve just had enough of life, and that’s reason enough.

In his own words when asked if he was happy, “No, I am not happy. I want to die.”

And sure enough, the media brought his story to light. They covered his life, his decisions, and his situation. It sparked a lot of debate, and while I don’t know if Goodall’s death directed impacted any policies worldwide, it gave him the attention he was looking for.

Goodall wasn’t enjoying his life. He no longer could do the things he enjoyed despite being healthy. Sure, he was slowly deteriorating, but it was a slow process. He lost the ability to drive, his eyesight started failing, he had a fall in his home and was only discovered after two days by his cleaner. His quality of life wasn’t great and yet he was still illegible for assisted suicide in Victoria, Australia – the only state where it’s legal but only if you’re terminally ill.

He didn’t know how long he was going to live for, but whatever that number was, it was too much for him. He announced his plans to his family in April 2018 and set his plan in motion. A month later, he flew to Switzerland and was administered a lethal dose of Nembutal (by his hand), to the soundtrack of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

Usually, I’m not an advocate for suicide – but hey,  if someone in his position requests for assisted suicide and they are in the right mind, I think it should be granted.  It’s a long and troublesome process that nobody applies for on a whim. You’ve got to want it if you want it. Also, it’s not cheap (sorry, poor people, you’ll have to do it illegally – or do something stupid like Bruce Willis in Die Hard 3).

Here’s why it’s okay for old people to want to die even if they’re not close to death – they’ve lived for a long time. They’ve probably done everything they’ve ever wanted to do in life, there’s nothing more to experience – they’ve hit the max level cap. Especially for people like Goodall – he’s been married thrice, lived in multiple countries, and earned accolades for his work. For crying out loud, he used to perform in a theater till he was 90, and was still working at the age of 103!

Goodall didn’t want to be a burden on people (my man) and dreaded the thought of living in a nursing home. It was going to be beneficial to his family since they wouldn’t have to care or worry about him anymore. I thought that was very selfless of him. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I agree with euthanasia.

I’m sure I won’t live until anywhere near a hundred, but in the event where I require assistance to end my existence, this post is up for everyone to read if they were unconvinced by my decision.

You fought a good fight, Mr. Goodall, rest in peace.

On Being Productive

I don’t consider myself the most productive person in the world, far from it. However, I am more productive than some people (according to them). As discussed in last week’s Evening Drama episode, there are things I do to help me in this aspect, so I thought I’d elaborate a bit more.

If you’re here for a list:

  1. Make things as easy as possible for yourself to be productive.
  2. Breakdown tasks into achievable portions. Scale down large ideas if you have to.
  3. Reward yourself. You’re more inclined to finish off your work if you know you’ll enjoy yourself later.

Long version:

Make things as easy as possible for yourself to be productive.

One of the best ways to make or break habits is to modify the situation. For example, if you want to stop smoking, you could start by getting rid of all your cigarettes. If you want a smoke you’ll have to ask someone for it or go out to buy a pack. If your gym is walking distance compared to an hour-long drive away, you’re more likely to stick with the former. Change the conditions of what you have to do so that you don’t have to go through too many hurdles to stay productive.

For example, if I’m planning to write or draw for the day, I launch WordPress, Google Docs, or Manga Studio on my computer. Knowing that an app is open makes me more inclined to work on my writing or comics because I’ve removed the hurdle of launching it.

Other things that can help – having a nice workspace. Clean up your desk, untangle your wires, make sure you have what you need to work within arm’s reach. If you have to leave your desk to get a tool in the middle of your work, you’re just giving yourself extra obstacles. Do your best to have everything prepared beforehand.

Breakdown tasks into achievable portions. Scale down large ideas if you have to.

Based on how fast you work and how much time you have, set yourself goals that are achievable for the day. If you only have an hour to spend on your projects, it’s more reasonable to write one chapter instead of five. It’s better to output small amounts of work consistently than nothing at all. If time only permits you to draw a single comic panel for the day, then just do that. Don’t aim to draw five pages if you can’t work that fast. You’ll only discourage yourself when you don’t achieve your goals.

If you think your project is too big, don’t be afraid to scale it down. Turn it into bite-sized chunks so you have no issues completing it. If something is too much to handle, chances are, you’ll set it aside until you finally ‘have time’. No, break it apart, and do something now.

I’ve learned quite a lot from my time blogging and drawing Animal Bus. At my blogging ‘peak’, I would write five posts a week, that gradually slowed down to three, then two, and now once a week. To be fair, I was feeling the burnout and I was running out of ideas (I found myself repeating topics when writing drafts). I decided to cut down the amount of writing. This allowed me to spend more time writing longer pieces, something I enjoyed more, which resulted in higher quality posts (at least I think so haha).

When I started Animal Bus, I had a lot of free time. But as the weeks went on and I eventually launched the comic, I found myself with less free time. I couldn’t keep up the full-color vision I had for it. I decided to scale down with imperfect coloring. It still took too much time, so I switched to leaving it black and white. And now, it is manageable. I didn’t think I would be able to keep up with the weekly upload schedule, but since the downgrade to no colors, it hasn’t been an issue. In the future, if I want to color it, I can always go back.

Again, like the first point – the idea is to make things as easy as possible for yourself to turn it into a habit.

Reward yourself. You’re more inclined to finish off your work if you know you’ll enjoy yourself later.

This one is a no brainer. I usually tell myself that I can watch a show, play a game, or have a cigarette only after finishing a task. While it may sound stupid, it works. I trick myself into working for a reward all the time. If dogs can pull off tricks for treats, so can humans. Make sure you follow through and only reward yourself when the task is completed. If not, this method won’t be effective. Just like when a dog knows it can earn treats without doing tricks, it’ll be less inclined to do so – after all, why work for something when it can take the easy way out?


This ended up being longer than expected but hopefully, some of you find it helpful. If you have productivity tips of your own, feel free to share in the comments! I’m always looking to learn new tricks.

Shiver Me Timbers

Why isn’t it offensive to mimic a pirate accent? What even is the pirate accent? Did all pirates speak like that? Do pirates speak like that? Did they have the same accent but in different languages around the world? What was the origin of the pirate accent?

And just like every question I’ve asked in the past, it has already been answered.

Pirates didn’t speak the way we hear or read about in books or movies – they’re all a product of Hollywood. Mostly thanks to Disney’s first completely live-action film – Treasure Island (1950) starring Robert Newton. On another note, it’s amusing that Disney is still making movies glorifying pirates despite their strong stance against piracy.

According to reports, Newton decided to use an exaggerated version of his West Country accent for his character in the film, setting the stereotype for how pirates spoke back then. So you have him to thank for our perception of pirates.

West Country English is what people from the southwest of England spoke – not just pirates. Which makes sense since pirates came from all over the world, not only from England. It would be impossible for all of them to have the same accents (unless it was a rule they had to follow).

Do pirates today get offended by how they are portrayed in the media? Pirates are supposed to be tough nuts who don’t give a fuck about what people say, right? I did a quick search on modern pirates and it turns out that Four Year Strong resemble pirates more than they will ever be.

Somali pirates, photographed in 2012
When you’re holding guns, there’s no need to look fearsome.

Conclusion? What we know about pirates is the result of many years of Hollywood stereotyping. Like nerdy Asian kids, autistic savants, and Mexican drug dealers. No complaints here, I’m just looking forward to a pirates film with a sprinkle of Cthulhu magic, leviathans, and an easycore rendition of Bella Ciao. Come on, Álex Pina, you can do it!

Bad Beer Served Chilled

Ever wonder why drinks that are meant to be consumed at a certain temperature taste worse when they are not? I was thinking that to myself the other day when I left a cup of coffee on my desk because it was initially too hot to drink. I didn’t know the answer, so I did some googling. Today I learned that temperature can drastically affect the way a drink tastes.

If a drink is too hot or cold, the taste receptors in your tongue don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. This means, at extreme temperatures, you don’t taste the full flavor of whatever you’re putting into your mouth. You don’t taste the full bitterness of coffee or beer, which makes the drink more pleasant.

When your drink cools down or warms up to a more acceptable temperature, you can taste more of the flavors that make up the drink, making it more bitter or sweeter, and amplifying what it truly tastes like.

For coffee, this isn’t too bad. I enjoy the bitterness of a strong coffee even if it’s warm, but when it comes to beer, it always tastes terrible to me.

Turns out, I’ve been doing it wrong (or drinking the wrong beers). Apparently, bad beer is served cold so that it tastes palatable when you’re chugging it down. When it has warmed up, you can experience all of its flavors, which often brings up the comparison to piss. Good beer is supposed to be consumed at close to room temperature so that you can taste all of its flavors.

I haven’t had many beers at room temperature (not a thing here in Malaysia), but the next time I have something more premium or some craft, I’ll give it a shot warm. Won’t be anytime soon, but for now, I’ll make do with cold diet sodas and instant coffee until this Movement Control Order has been lifted.