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.

The Case for Diet Soda

One thing I’ve noticed since switching to diet soda is that I get a lot more people chiding me for my drink of choice compared to back when I drank regular soda.

I get it, drinking either form of soda is unhealthy, there’s no need to tell me that. Plain water is always the better choice (sparkling ftw btw). It’s nice to have the taste of a sweet beverage on your lips every now and then. Like the occasional pint of beer I drink – funny how I never get any flak for that.

Anyway, I’m not here to change anybody’s minds about drinking diet soda – it’s like religion. People can drink or believe in whatever they want, just don’t force your preferences onto others. However, I do want to clear the air on the topic.

While doing some research for this post, I came across this video and it sums up everything better than I ever will (it even has sources):

If you don’t have 24 minutes to watch it, here’s the lowdown: consuming a safe level of Aspartame does not increase your risk for any disease. Don’t drink more than 24 cans of Diet Coke a day and you’ll be fine. So, you can stop spreading tales about how I’m going to die faster because that’s not trueThere’s no concrete evidence to say otherwise.

Also, as an active smoker, I can probably say that being killed by diet drinks is the least of my concerns.

For people arguing over how ‘natural’ foods are always going to be healthier vs something created in the lab – just because something is artificial doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. Whether something is made in a lab or found in the wilderness does not determine the safety of food substances. Perfectly safe substances can be made from toxic materials and vice versa. There’s also tons of shit out there not made in labs that are harmful to humans.

For the record, diet Dr. Pepper tastes like ass. It’s the only non-diet soda I drink these days. Occasionally I’ll drink a regular Coke or Pepsi when their sugar-free variants aren’t available, but I’ll usually order something else instead.

A Caffeinated Idea

The other day, I was thinking about certified baristas who don’t make coffee anymore due to a change in careers. Why not give them a place to practice and make some money on the side as well? Introducing: The Freelance Barista Cafe.

While I haven’t fleshed this idea out enough to be pitchable on Dragon’s Den (good show btw if you don’t watch it already) and have no experience running a cafe, hear me out.

This is a cafe with a twist. In addition to regular baristas manning the machines and making coffee, we will have open slots every day for freelance baristas who want to work on that day. The whole concept is similar to an open mic night – but instead of playing music, they get to make drinks instead. Baristas will be paid a fixed fee or a percentage of each cup they make (or maybe a combination of both).

Why would we want freelance baristas instead of just keeping permanent ones? Well, the idea is that we have a cafe for some baristas who may be in the country on holiday, and they feel like spending a day or two to show off their skills. We could have regular folks who have been practicing making coffee at home and feel like serving the public without committing to a full-time gig. Heck, we can have baristas who are just looking for a change of environment from their regular full-time jobs. Other kinds of baristas could be retired folks looking for a fix to their itch, and poorer folks who don’t have machines to practice with at home.

Pretty sure this isn’t a thing at the moment (or I didn’t Google enough) but it needs to be in a location where there are enough Baristas to keep it going. It also gives customers who frequent the cafe new drinks to order if they’re in the mood for something other the usual.

While we won’t be able to control the standard of the guest baristas, the permanent barista we have will always be there to serve our customers standard drinks when they’re not feeling adventurous.

One thing we’ll need to keep an eye out for are folks with malicious intentions – gotta make sure our baristas don’t try to poison customers or make awful drinks on purpose.

And that’s about as much thought I’ve given to the idea. Anyone reading this blog with deep pockets, feel free to turn this idea into a reality. Maybe give me free drinks when I visit?

Portfolio Launch

Did you know that writers have portfolios too? A few weeks ago, I didn’t. Crazy, huh? I thought portfolios were only reserved for artists and designers until I started seeing a lot of job descriptions requesting them. It made me do a Google search to find out there was such a thing as a writing portfolio. If you didn’t know too, you do now!

Since I don’t have a job yet, I figured that now would be the right time to create a portfolio so I can easily share it with any potential employers. Better late than never! Feel free to check it out – it’s open to the public. I’d love any feedback or suggestions on how I can improve it.

Mindful Smoking

Is that a thing? Probably not.

Earlier, while I was having a cigarette, I noticed that I put my fingers to my lips frequently – every time I took a puff, my digits touched my chops. Usually, this never bothered me – until today.

For some unknown reason, I started thinking about where my fingers had been – the buttons on the elevators, the lid on my post box, the money in my pocket. Not very hygienic considering the state of our world at the moment. So, I did what any sane person would do: I put my cigarette out and threw the remaining pack into the bin.

Just kidding, I didn’t do the latter. However, I decided that for the rest of the day I would vape since it wouldn’t require pointers touching my facial orifice. I’ll only smoke cigarettes when I have access to soap and water to clean my claws. I’m already putting tons of unknown variables into my cavity every time I use restaurant utensils, I can afford to reduce it by one. Am I naive to think that germs can’t travel from my finger to the button of my mod, and make their way up to the mouthpiece of my vape? Probably. But it makes me feel better and that’s what counts.

But George, why don’t you just give up the habit? I’m trying to ensure the ineffectiveness of my sperm – at least until I have a vasectomy (by the way any kind of smoking is bad for your fertility, not just menthol). Also, an interesting result came up while I was Googling factoids for this post. Did you know that hand sanitizer can kill sperm? It’s not recommended though.

Seeing posts about people panicking on my social media feeds is doing nothing but spreading the fear. At least mass gatherings are banned. People who don’t have to attend church anymore will realize how much more fun it is to sleep in on Sundays and to keep their hard-earned money for themselves. You don’t know how churches spend their money anyway.

I can’t wait for the lockdown, then I’ll get to jam with my neighbors. Would give me a reason to dust off my harmonica (if I can find it).

How Sicilians deal with the quarantine from PublicFreakout

On the bright side, most people are staying in and playing video games. It’s a great way to pass the time and there’s no physical contact. Skip LAN parties (RIP Geekfam after qualifying for the LA Major) and couch co-op, ya dingus.

I Am

Things were different in the past, now people care about my color.
At times I am a burden, other times I am a frill.
I can be specific or all-encompassing. I am ubiquitous.
You could live without me but it would be difficult.
Commonly found in the air or on the ground, above and under you.
People worry when I’m left alone in populated places.
You put in me things you trust. I try to keep them safe.


The other day I woke up with a dream where I wrote a riddle and I thought it was brilliant, I managed to save a line on my phone before going back to sleep. I thought I’d try to recreate it but it turns out that writing a clever riddle is harder than I thought. To write a clever riddle you have to skirt the line between being too obtuse or too obvious – something I haven’t mastered. In turn, doing this exercise made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into creating good riddles. Maybe I’ll attempt more in the future.

In case you didn’t figure it out already, I am a bag.

Labor Goals

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that looking for a job is like looking for a life partner (or maybe I’m just mashing two subjects together, who knows?).

In the past – people used to flip through classified pages to look for jobs – and to look for partners. While most of the searching has evolved to be online today, newspapers can still be used in the same way.

Life partners can be introduced to people – so can jobs. People set up friends with each other all the time, they do the same with jobs too. There’s no guarantee that they will fit well – but at least you can say you tried.

Head hunters function like matchmakers – seeking out potential candidates for companies or people to fall in love with.

Relationships can end out of the blue – like being let go from a job. The difference is you sometimes get compensated by the company.

Full-time jobs usually take up a significant amount of time – and so do relationships. If they don’t, it’s very cushy and you should keep it.

Some jobs give you money, and so do some relationships, but some relationships require you to spend money to keep them (though it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to equate that to working for no pay).

It’s not necessary to have either, but a good job or relationship will make your life much more pleasant.

Rejecting a job offer is usually the nail in the coffin with a company, which is similar to rejecting a partner. Sometimes it’s due to various circumstances a person can’t commit to either. Maybe it’s not the right time, maybe it’s not what they’re looking for right now. Sometimes you try again after a few years, there’s no telling if it’ll be better the second time. It could work or fail terribly.

When you find the right job or relationship – they say it doesn’t feel like work anymore. Everything just falls into place. You’re content, happy, and tell everyone about it. It’s all you’ve ever wanted in life.

However, people sometimes look for new jobs while currently employed and or companies come knocking with a seductive deal. There’s always a better option out there – right?

Anti-Modern-Radio Me

When I was young, I remember being bored to death whenever my parents switched radio channels to listen to oldies. Songs they listened to growing up. They would tell me that they don’t make songs like they used to anymore. I would fervently disagree with them, defending my tastes in Limp Bizkit and Eminem. I assumed they didn’t know better.

Now that I’m older, I don’t listen to the radio anymore – mostly because they mostly play songs I dislike, have terrible DJs and too many advertisements. When I have to (because I’m driving someone else’s car), I tune into Light and Easy – a channel that mostly plays oldies because I can enjoy them, unironically. I enjoy listening to songs that I heard growing up even though I wasn’t a big fan of them back in the day because, amongst the cesspool of modern radio, they sound euphonious.

It can’t be that music has gotten worse – there must be a reason why these artists on modern radio are getting airtime and making new records. There is a demand for them even though I might not like their music. It’s just not for me.

But why do I not enjoy a lot of current music? I think it comes down to a few factors:

  • I’m listening to the wrong stations – maybe, but I can’t be bothered to give other radio stations a shot. It’s not worth the time, so I stick with what I know and enjoy.
  • My tastes have already developed and I’m rejecting what’s new and unfamiliar. I have noticed that it doesn’t apply to a lot of new music I discover that’s not on the radio, so probably not the case.
  • Mainstream radio has always been trash and the only reason I enjoy old pop hits now is that I grew up listening to them – the nostalgia and singalong factor is what draws me to them. This seems like the most likely reason.

Is this what my parents were experiencing when I was growing up? As kids did they face the same chagrin for their music tastes from their parents? I’ll have to ask them to find out.

On the other hand, if you think I’m just some whiney old boomer who is wrong about modern music, feel free to share some songs to change my mind. I’m open to listening to new songs and artists. I know there’s a lot of good stuff out there I have yet to discover.

Why Write?

Over the past week, I found myself doing a lot of things I put off in the past. I finally set up a LinkedIn account, used it to apply for some jobs. Logged in to my many years old Jobstreet account, also to apply to jobs. Created accounts on brand new sites to look for jobs. It made me realize that for the longest time I didn’t have to look for jobs – for most of them I was just given the opportunity to do something by other people and I took it. It would also have been true for my next job but alas, things didn’t work out as intended. So now I’m doing the job hunting on my own.

Nothing to report so far, but I find myself questioning my lack of productivity. After all, since I’m jobless – I should make the most of my free time right? Spend it drawing, writing, making music, etc. Instead, I’m gaming and watching shows on Netflix. I guess I need to get into the rhythm of working again. Tomorrow will mark the second month of unemployment. Woot.

On the bright side, I can say I am ready to return to work again after this breather. It reminds me of the break I took after leaving Big Bad Wolf Books, but with 100% less Cameron Highlands. I think traveling around Malaysia would be nice, but irresponsible in this time of contagion. Better to sit home and do things in front of my computer. After all, that’s what I’m great at.

The other day I was asking myself – is writing a phase? Is it something people only do once in a while? I know some people who have stopped writing even though they used to write tons only a few years ago. What changed? Do people eventually run out of ideas? Don’t ideas constantly refill? I’m not sure.

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’ll update my blog every weekday. Back to writing topics, fiction and so on. It was a thing of the past and I’m bringing it back. I just want to tell myself that I’m capable of churning out content daily. It’s good writing practice after all.

Wow, over three hundred words just to spout a bunch of bullshit. I think I still got it. See you guys next week!