You Used to Call Me on My Cellphone

“Wow, still getting texts from my boss even when I’m dead, can you believe it?” I said, going through the notifications on my phone. Once I was done with all the tags to tributes and photos on Facebook, there weren’t many to go through. People tend to stop reaching out when they know you’re gone.

My new friend who seemed lost in thought a moment ago noticed I had a phone with me. “What the hell – how did you get that in?? I thought they confiscated that shit at customs?”

“Beats me, they must have missed it. Besides, there’s not much charge left anyway, it’s going to die – like I did.”

“That’s very funny, can I use your phone for a bit before it dies? I haven’t been connected to the internet in ages.”

“Dude, you came in right after me!”

“I know! It’s been half-an-hour.”

“And..?”

“That’s an eternity without being online!”

I shrugged and handed him the phone, “sure. If you get caught, don’t say it was from me.”

I didn’t bother logging out of my apps or deleting my messages – it didn’t matter anyway, we were in the afterlife, what would people do with information about my past life? I continued walking down the street, leaving my friend, who found a bench to sit on, behind while I explored this new world.

The afterlife isn’t so different from life. If I took a photograph of the two worlds, you would have trouble discerning the differences. I didn’t feel like I was dead. It was just like living but in another country.


A couple of weeks had passed since the day I arrived – I had settled into a new routine in this life. I had completely forgotten about the friend I made when I saw his face on the front page of the daily paper.

Suicide Bomber Stopped From Setting Off Phone Bomb – Terrorist is now in custody, and police are currently investigating the phone used in the crime.

I spit my coffee out.


Writing Prompt from Reddit: “You die with your cell phone in your hands, and the afterlife customs agents miss it when letting you in. You find that it still works, and you can connect to the internet and contact people in the living world.”

The Deal

Having just moved into your new home, you jokingly say “If there are any monsters in my room, come out and we can make a truce!” Then, a skeleton walks out of your closet.

I dropped my backpack onto the floor in shock and inched towards the exit, wishing that I hadn’t closed the door.

“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” said the skeleton as it closed the closet door behind it. (I assumed it was speaking despite its lack of lungs and larynx. The alternative explanation was me imagining voices in my head, which was probably just as bad).

“Are you questioning my ability to speak?” it asked when I didn’t respond to its first question. (Holy fuck, was it a mind reader too?) “No, I’m not a mind reader, that’s just what all the other people I’ve encountered asked when they met me.”

“Come on kid, I don’t have all day. What are the terms of the truce this time?”

“I didn’t think of one yet! Give me some time!” I managed to blurt out. It was the truth, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I said those words.

“You’ve got ten seconds, if not I’ll go all Army of Darkness on you!” (it sure knows its trivia!).

“Okay, don’t bother me and my family, and I will feed you once a week!”

“What, do you think I need food to survive? Look at me!” the skeleton retorted.

“I didn’t think it true! What kind of truce has worked for you in the past?”

“I the life of your firstborn child in exchange for peace and quiet is a pretty common one I’ve received,” it said.

“What if I don’t want kids?”

“What the fuck is wrong with you? Everybody wants to start a family!”

“Not me. I don’t want any kids.”

“Fine, you can make that promise then, since you won’t be having any kids. It’s a win-win for you.”

“Are you going to meddle in my affairs? Will you try to get my partners pregnant?”

“Hell no, I’ve got better things to do than to make holes in condoms.”

“What the fuck do you do inside the closet anyway?”

“That’s none of your concern.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

“So we have a deal?”

“Deal.”


“And kids, that is the story of how you lost an older brother. So if you see a skeleton in your closet, be sure not to make promises you might later regret.”


Writing Prompt from Reddit: “Having just moved into your new home, you jokingly say “If there are any monsters in my room, come out and we can make a truce!” Then, a skeleton walks out of your closet.”

30th Post of the Year

30, thirty. Three sets of tens. This will be the 30th post that I write in my blog this year. It’s something I’ve realized in the past – whenever I do a job related to what I do in my free time, I tend to spend less time on it. Now that I work as a writer/blogger for eGG, I hardly update this blog.

Is there a correlation between getting paid for doing what you like vs the amount of time you spend doing it in your free time? Maybe. But I’ve also seen plenty of exceptions. I know a lot of people who still draw for fun despite needing to draw for work. There are musicians out there who churn out music like nobody’s business despite getting paid to do so. So I might be an anomaly. Or there is an equal amount of both kinds of people – just my own confirmation biases at work.

Regardless, I’m happy to say I haven’t completely abandoned all creative pursuits in my non-working life. I haven’t stopped making music, drawings or writing. I do it a lot less than before due to how busy work has been, but I have also spent hours playing video games. It’s all about priorities. I know the solution to not ‘wasting time’, it’s a matter of whether I want it enough.

There are plenty of people out there who constantly complain about things in life, even though they have the power to change things. It’s probably because their problems aren’t as big as they make them out to be. They’re not feeling the ‘something’ which pushes them over the edge.

Think about it – desperate people will do anything to get what they want or to get out of a situation. ANYTHING. This includes illegal, unethical and immoral actions because they believe that the consequences of whatever happens will be better than their current situation. Most people aren’t that desperate when it comes to making a change in their lives. They accept the inconveniences and resort to complaining instead.

We all get too complacent with where we are in our lives. Most of us don’t live terrible lives, and there’s not much more to ask for. Sure, life can be better, but how many of us are willing to put the substantial effort into it for a minimal increase? If we’re content with lives, why make a change?

I don’t fault them. It’s their own life after all. But complaining doesn’t do anything unless it’s to the right people who can make a difference (usually I’m not that person who can make a difference).

I’m sure this is a biased take based on the people I know or hang out with, but hey, it’s a blog after all. Everything here is anecdotal, if not fiction.


30. This year I turned 35. 30 feels so far away now. I remember the days when I used to think – I’m not ‘old’ until I cross 25. That was over a decade ago. This month, I woke up with a back pain that lasted 4 days. I had to consume medication and use Yoko Yoko to get rid of it. That was never a problem for me in the past! Also, I learned that there’s a correct method of sleeping with a bolster. You learn new things every day.

Would life be better if I had ‘taken care’ of myself when I was younger? Possibly. I think my body is paying me back for all the abuse it has taken for me. Can’t really complain about it, since I set myself up for it.

People place a lot of importance on age. If you think about it, every year is just another collection 365(.25) days. There’s nothing that sets one year apart from the previous one besides the numbers we write at the beginning or end of a date. A new day marks the completion of the earth’s rotation – that’s it. A new year is no different. People believe the new year means so much more than it actually does. How much a new year or day means is determined by the value we give it.

The world isn’t going to suddenly get better when it completes its journey around the sun tomorrow. The pandemic is still here, and people will still get infected and die. Work isn’t going to change. I’ll still be terrible at Dota and Dark Souls. It’s just another day.


30. Way past the halfway point of life and another year closer to death. Too young to die? There is no too young or too old. If you think about it, you’re always going to die too young. That’s what people who miss you will say. You were taken too soon. You could have done so much more with life. All that jazz. But what if you didn’t want to do anything else? What if you felt like you had lived to your full potential and there was nothing more you wanted to look forward to? Isn’t that possible? People will say, you can’t say such thing, you’ve barely done anything with your life. Who are they to say what we should have or shouldn’t have done? It’s my life, I decide what I do with it. There’s no checklist of things to do before you die – unless you write it yourself. And that list can be as long or as short as you want it to be.

Life has as much purpose as you give it. That’s why some people give themselves lofty goals and ambitions, and some people are easily content with what they have. We’re all different people. It’s expected. No two people will think the same or have the same values. Unless they’re twins (not the conjoined ones though, they usually don’t live long enough to set goals).

Am I happy with what I have so far? Pretty. It could be better but that could be said of anything and everything. Perfection is rarely reached, and things can always improve. But for what it’s worth, I live a happy, content life. Sure it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles or the glitz and glamor, but that’s not what I’m looking for. My ligaments are all attached to my body and functioning properly. I don’t have difficulties doing what I want, I have a close set of friends and a loving family. I have a job that pays the bills. I’m not sure what else I’d ask for to be honest.

It would be great to never have to work another day in my life, but if a genie granted it, he’d probably turn me into a paraplegic to cash out that sweet insurance money. Life wouldn’t be worth living at that point though. And I’m not sure if insurance companies can dispute the work of an evil genie. So I’ll just wait till my friend hits that sweet jackpot and gives me the million he promised (this paragraph is for posterity).


30. We’re no longer children. We think about life as adults. Our future. What we want in the coming years. I’ve thought about a lot of things over the course of the year, and in the process I’ve ended up hurting people. Now do I try to fix things? Do I let things be? Why am I so indecisive? I haven’t experienced such conundrums in the past, it’s completely new to me.

I ruined a relationship because I was unwilling to compromise. I didn’t want to be the one who caused someone else to give up a dream for me. But in leaving that person, it also ended their dream of being with me. Either way feels like a selfish move. And I don’t know what I should do.

The way I see it, I’m never going to emerge from this a good man. Maybe I’m just a terrible person after all.


30. Cats have 30 teeth and there are 30 tracks on The Beatles’ The White album. I don’t own a cat or listen to The Beatles. Over the years, many people have recommended them to me though I still don’t get why they are heralded as one of the best bands of all time. Millions of people around the world love them, I still don’t get it. For me, the best band of all time are Dance Gavin Dance. No one even comes close. Also, I’m sure that will change one day, but that’s my answer for now. I don’t own a cat and I think dogs are the superior animal, but we know there’s no need to justify that statement.


Thank you for reading this drivel.

Obligated (to myself)

Hah! Thought I wouldn’t write a post this month? Wrong. This blog is still alive and well, I’m merely alive. I’m just writing for the sake of writing, so this blog isn’t a dead piece of shit. Regardless, I’m alive and well. Not dead yet (damn). Just evading Covid 19 like Sajid Mir the FBI, while keeping Evening Drama Rebooted going.

What’s been up, George? Well, I’ve been very unproductive in terms of creative projects, since breaking my posting streak for Animal Bus, I’ve lost all momentum, and I’ve let work overtake my free time (that I don’t allocate for relaxing). Kinda sucks, but I’ll bounce back (eventually). On the bright side, I’ve been playing a lot more guitar than before. Wrote a bunch of new songs and I’ve been practising “Both of Us” by You Vs Yesterday (what an amazing band I discovered randomly, will write about them in the future).

THIS SONG IS FUCKING AMAZEBALLS

Keyboard wise, I haven’t built anything in a while. I rebuilt my Daisy cos when I initially built it, I didn’t think about the Mini USB port tolerances, which meant I had to use specific cables with the keyboard. Now it’s reset, all of my cables can work with it (yay). Still waiting for a keyboard kit (Terrazzo) which is supposedly in Malaysia but untrackable at the moment. Then I have an ergo version of the GNGKB75 in the works (need the acrylic case cut for it).

Other than that, life’s just been an endless cycle of work, relax, work, relax. Sometimes work, work, relax, work. Am thinking about taking a long break at the end of the year. Maybe make another trip to Cameron Highlands (if conditions allow). I kinda miss the solace I get from being alone. Probably won’t bring too many things (a single guitar, mic and laptop is enough).

Speaking of laptop, I made some upgrades to mine. Back in September, my laptop was crashing constantly. Did some diagnosing on my own and learned that the SSD was dying. Decided to pay the Asus service center a visit to find out what I could do. They told me that it would cost RM50 just to find out what the problem was since my warranty was expired (finally). I told them I knew what the issue was, all they had to do was replace the SSD. They told me they were selling the SSD for RM450. Felt like I was going nowhere, so I told the guy, “thanks (for nothing)”, and left.

Did some searching online and turns out that the SSD they wanted to sell me only cost RM88 on Lazada. Real fuckers. Apparently service centers overcharge you for parts to dissuade customers from coming back to them (if the replacement part fails, they don’t want to deal with it). Not sure if it’s true for all companies, but I got annoyed. Anyway, I decided to give myself an upgrade by buying a larger capacity SSD 512GB for RM270 and replaced it myself. Wasn’t very hard to do. Most difficult part was figuring out where the hidden screws were for my laptop (under the back feet), and replacing the SSD was a straightforward task. After reinstalling Windows, everything is working as normal. I haven’t had a laptop crash since I put in my new SSD. I also replaced my battery since the old one was at less than half the original capacity, which was easy to do.

With the amount of fixing I’ve had to do over the past few months, I feel pretty confident with my PC building and soldering skills (I had to desolder 6 keyboards for a friend). I enjoyed doing it, a possible change in career? Maybe one day. For now, I’ll keep them in my repertoire of skills.

One thing I realized ever since I started working is that doing a job related to something you enjoy somehow leaves you with way less time to enjoy it than before. Honestly, when I was in animation, I hardly drew, when I was blogging, I hardly blogged, when I sold books, I hardly read, and now that I’m in gaming… fortunately I still get to spend most nights still gaming, but there have been stretches where I didn’t.

On the plus side, I’ve resumed reading. I finally finished the book I started earlier this year – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. It’s a good book, I enjoyed it a lot. And the fact that some of the characters felt so relatable made it even more interesting. I guess you could say I’m a fan of his work now. Can’t wait to get started on his other titles.

However, I do wonder if any meaning/tone was lost during the translation of his books. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think they did a bad job at all (not that I could tell, since I’ve never read the originals in Japanese, I wouldn’t know), but I wonder if some parts were funnier/sadder etc because of the translation. Something to ponder about. Regardless, he inspires me to write characters who are deeper and more complex than the typical token stereotypes.

Momentum (lack of)

Those few of you who still read this blog have probably noticed the decrease in posting frequency. It all started when I decreased how much I wrote to two times a week, then once, and it devolved into a post a month.

The lack of momentum is real. But that’s okay. We all grow up and have more pressing things to attend to in life. Can’t be spending time typing shit onto this blog every day anymore.

Considering I now have a full-time job as a writer, I guess I’ve been getting plenty of practice doing that. But I shouldn’t make excuses. Lazy is as lazy does.

I had a streak going with Animal Bus for most of the year until I got extremely busy with work and started delaying my chapters just to accommodate all the work I had to do. That kinda sucked. At least Evening Drama has been going on consistently. We’ve already crossed 30 weeks, so I’m proud of us. Let’s see if we can keep it up to the magical 52.

I haven’t done anything keyboard-related in a while, except desoldering a whole bunch of keyboards for a friend. I have an ergo version of the GNGKB75 waiting to be built, but I need the case for it cut first.

I still play Dota, but less frequently than before. Kinda ironic how working in a games-related field takes away my time to game. Then again, it’s been the same for every other job I’ve worked in. Does that mean people shouldn’t work in areas that they enjoy? Beats me. Then how are you supposed to “Do what you’ll love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”? Hm. I guess I haven’t figured it out yet.

Life’s been busy, life’s been up, life’s been down. Life’s been all over the place. My mind is all over the place. Like this post. But at least I’m writing. Something.

I posted up some new tracks on SoundCloud, feel free to check them out. I post more Instastories these days. I still rarely tweet (I mostly retweet DGD lyrics).

COVID has really changed how life has been for me. And a lot of other people. Okay, the whole world. Most things are shitty, don’t think anything has improved. Oh well. At least I really don’t have to go into the office now. Not that I found that to be a problem in the first place.

I had a dream I went to a doctor and tested positive for the coronavirus. Don’t think it means anything right?

Stay safe, peeps.

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.

Flaw(ed) Academy

It’s been a while since I signed myself for an online course – the last one being many years ago when I had plenty of free time in one of my jobs. But a couple of weeks ago, an Instagram ad caught my eye – it was a free Creative Writing course from Shaw Academy. Since I’m always looking for help to improve my writing, I decided to give it a shot. I clicked on the ad, followed the instructions, and signed up.

First hiccup – there was no Creative Writing course for me to choose from. It had automatically signed me up for some Social Media course which I had no interest in. Puzzled, I tried digging around the website to no avail. Seemed like I was stuck. I decided to ignore it and move on with my life.

Last week the ad popped up on my feed again, and in the comments someone left their email address to get in touch with for support. I decided I would give it another shot, so I reached out to them and wrote about my issue. Support was quick to respond, to my surprise, and they added the Creative Writing course to my account. Sweet. I logged in and scheduled my first set of classes.

The next day, it was time for my lesson, I was late by a few minutes when I logged in, so the video was already playing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was no rewind or pause button. Strange, I thought. Regardless, I continued watching the video until the end, where the instructor mentioned that these lessons would be rewatchable from the Course Toolkit.

So, off I went in search of the Toolkit – turns out it was something I had to pay to access. The only other way for me to watch the portion of the lesson I missed is to reschedule the lesson to another day. The assignments for the course are also part of this toolkit, looks like I won’t be submitting anything for this course.

I understand that having this strict schedule might be an attempt to discipline students into following deadlines/schedules – I get it, but this is not a real school. It’s not even a live stream broadcast where a student coming in late could disrupt the session. Just give us playback controls! Isn’t that the point of technology? Isn’t it the point of online courses? They’re meant to be flexible so people with busy days can learn whenever they have the time.

And why call it a free course when students can’t complete it without paying any money? I might sound like some spoilt brat but I’m comparing this to edX – an online school that is actually free (with the option to spend money for a physical certificate if that matters to you).

I’ve completed eight courses on edX over the past few years, and I can tell you it does everything right that Shaw Academy doesn’t. Videos can be controlled, and you can watch them at any time. No need to spend any money to access lesson materials, or bother trying to squeeze it into your schedule – it’s all available when you have the time. There’s human interaction if you’re interested (most courses will have a forum for discussion and to comment on each other’s work).

Shaw Academy, thanks for the free trial, but I won’t be continuing with my course even though the lesson videos were informative. Unless some drastic changes are made to the whole learning experience, I can’t imagine anybody paying for this. Especially when there are much better and free alternatives out there.

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.