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End Of Another Year

I started writing this post a few days ago but didn't have the motivation to finish it, so it's going to be my end of year and hello 2023 post. A two-in-one special.

It’s always fun to load up the previous year’s end-of-year post to see if I did anything I said I would do. Spoiler: I didn’t. But that’s okay. It’s just how life is sometimes. Life doesn’t have to be a constant state of progress. It would be great if it did.

A related image showed up in my Instagram feed recently:

Coincidence? Or algorithms at work? Probably the latter. That’s just how social media is. It used to where you’d get the latest updates. But if you follow too many accounts, it would be a mess if your feed wasn’t curated. You’d miss many posts that you’d care about.

On the other hand, only being shown posts that you care about creates a feedback loop. You like things, so the algorithm will show you more things it thinks you will like. Eventually, you’re shielded from everything else. This can be a good or bad thing.

Social media feeds are completely made up of what people you follow want you to see. And if these people don’t open up to you, you don’t really know what’s up.

Nobody’s life is perfect, but that doesn’t mean it’s terrible either. Life is a balance of ups and downs; there will be days you love and days you hate, and sometimes your feelings can change within minutes.

Life’s not a fairytale

2022 was an alright year for me. Overall, I’d say it was a neutral year, kinda like most years. The biggest win for me was my new (now current) job. Doing something I enjoy, working with chill colleagues, and having a positive atmosphere.

It’s been great, don’t get me wrong, but there are downsides too. Check out this table:

Negatives of my current jobBalancing factor
It’s not easyI’m no longer unemployed and I get to learn new things doing it
Lower take home salary (due to taxes and EPF)I don’t have to make manual prepayments for taxes and my company contributes to EPF
No more sleeping inI have work-life balance
Back to the office, terrible traffic jamsI get to spend time outside of the house, also I’m sometimes more productive in the office anyway
Expensive parkingFree coffee, fruits and beer in the office
It’s tedious to go for smoke breaksI don’t have to smoke alone, and smoking less is supposedly better for health

As you can see, even though I my job is great, it’s not without its downsides. But those downsides are neutralized by other factors. So overall, I consider it a win.

In terms of personal projects, this year was bad. I didn’t come up with new music or original YouTube content and haven’t been writing much. And I still haven’t played a live show since the pandemic. However, I’ve somewhat balanced that out by covering songs.

By making cover song videos, I learned to play and sing new songs. I discovered chords I never used. I also gained knowledge and experience in recording and video editing. I’ll be able to make better videos when I eventually create original content in the future.

I had some issues with Facebook Live which gave me a reason to move back to Twitch. It’s sad to say goodbye to all my Facebook Gaming followers, but until they fix their false copyright claim nonsense, I’m not going to bother returning.

I guess that covers what a neutral year for me is like.

To those of you who had a shit year, it’s okay. Look forward to the next one. One shit year doesn’t discount all the good ones you’ve had in the past. And nobody knows what the future holds. In the grand scheme of things, one bad year doesn’t even mean that much.

If you zoom out and look at your whole life, you probably have a lot more good or neutral years than shit ones. It’s just that we tend to remember the bad times more. Life sort of balances itself out that way. Unless you die before that. Then, that’s too bad.

If the year’s been great for you, be prepared for terrible shit to come your way. Or not. You could also die before your life balances out too. Then again, it’s not like you’ll care about what happened in the past once you’re dead. How can you care if you cease to exist?

In any case, while you’re still around, do what makes you happy. It’s your life.

Since we’re on the topic of the new year, I’ve got some goals for myself. Public goals to hold myself accountable.

  • Fully migrate this blog to and give it a facelift
  • Post 12 blog posts (not counting this)
  • Create 6 YouTube videos
  • Record a 6-song EP
  • Play 12 shows
  • Create 12 pieces of original art
  • Go back down to 70kg and un-tighten my pants

We’ll come back to this post in December and see how far we’ve gotten. Happy New Year everyone. Hopefully, this year will be better than the last.

Case of the Drizzles

The week before last, it rained cats and dogs. Since I spent a lot of time walking outdoors, I decided to buy myself an umbrella.

Fun fact, did you know umbrellas are expensive? At least the one I bought from myNEWS was. RM22. More than a pack of cigarettes.

You see, for the past 37 years of my life, I never had to buy an umbrella. There was always one lying around, at home or in my car. We’d get them as gifts, or they were purchased by my parents. I never spent a single cent on one.

Until last week. But let’s go back further in time.

A couple of months ago, I sent my car for a deep cleaning service. I had a tiny roach problem and since there was no way in hell I could deal with it on my own, I sent it to this place for the whole package.

They took my car apart, removed the seats and mats, gave it a good scrub, got rid of the roaches and eggs, and put it back together – not before unloading a hefty dose of lemongrass throughout the whole vehicle.

My car smelt brand new for weeks. And I had no more fears of roaches running across my windshield or dashboard. It wasn’t cheap (six hundred bucks), but it was worth it. I mean, it was the first proper deep cleaning my car had had since I got it over a decade ago.

Along with the roaches, they threw out many things that were lying around in my car. Receipts, random pieces of string, spoilt pens, and whatever was caught in between the crevices I never bothered to look down.

However, there was one thing they got rid of that they shouldn’t have. My umbrella. It was a large, sturdy, well-built, blue brolly, given to me many years ago during my stint in PR. It had the Microsoft logo printed on its surface(™), but that didn’t bother me.

It was my favorite rain shade. I kept it for so long because it never failed to do its job. The sliding mechanisms worked perfectly and the spokes never poked out as they do on cheaper, lesser umbrellas I’ve used before.

Because it worked so well, I made sure to never lose it. Even when I did leave it behind, I made sure to return and retrieve it. It was an amazing brolly, and it was free.

Anyway, when I got my car back, the umbrella was nowhere to be found. I asked the cleaners who went through their stash of items removed from cars and they said it wasn’t there. Some fucker’s enjoying the best sunshade of his life right now.

Things like that don’t simply go missing. I guess that’s the price I paid for letting roaches breed in my car.

And readers, that’s how I lost my umbrella.

I was tired of walking in the rain or waiting for it to stop. Nobody gets to decide how wet I become or how I spend my time. So I put matters into my own hands. Buy my own umbrella so I could stop living by the rules of the sky.

It has been a week since I purchased my lovely silver-colored umbrella with yellow trim and I have used it a total of zero times.

Now, why is that? You might ask.

Because I haven’t needed to.

It simply hasn’t rained when I was required to walk outdoors. I didn’t have to go out on days with light showers until the rain was already gone.

So in my car lies the most unused (useless?) umbrella I’ve ever owned. At least until I get to use it for the very first time.

But today, it hit me. Isn’t life all about perspective?

Did I waste my money? Or did I cancel the rain for only twenty-two bucks?

For now, I’ll use it as a stick for self-defense when walking around my neighborhood. I’m not planning to get mugged again.

What’s in a Name?

I am an ancient person. I existed before the internet was a thing.

You see, there was no need for usernames back then. Videogames were all offline. If there was multiplayer, it was on the same machine, and we all Player 1 or Player 2. We’d have the same character but skinned in a different color. Usually red or blue.

If I needed to enter my name for a high score, it would be my initials GW or GEO, depending on how many characters the game accepted. I remember it was a hassle to input W because not all games had a wrap-around for character inputs.

Then the internet came, and we had to pick a username for our dial-up account (Jaring). I’m not sure whose idea it was but ytwong was suggested by default – the initials of my Chinese name. Funny story, I’ve pronounced it wrong (still do) thanks to it being misspelled on my birth cert and every subsequent legal document containing it. Oh well.

Dial-up internet; Image credit

I didn’t think much of it, since that was just my dial-up username and I rarely used it. It was about a year later when Microsoft came to my school and did a presentation on Internet Explorer, Hotmail, and some other topics. We all left school that day with a CD-ROM that was chock-full of Microsoft goodies. The Internet Explorer installer, Comic Chat and I don’t remember what else.

Rushed home, popped it in, installed my new web browser, and one of my favorite chat programs til today – Comic Chat. Of course, I signed up for a Hotmail account. I wasn’t so adventurous and didn’t stray too far from my originally assigned name, geowongyt. A contraction of my first name, my last name, and my Chinese name initials.

Comic Chat; Image credit

It was easy to remember, I kept it and still do. It’s my longest-lasting email account, and I still use it today. Fun fact, I had the idea but never had the balls to register [email protected]. I thought about it many years ago and felt so clever, it’s probably taken by now, also it’s not very fitting for someone like me. Maybe one day, if I scrape up enough money to buy it off whoever owns it.

Then came the world of webchats. I was introduced to WBS and created an account on the site. I picked the name Gus091. Gus was taken, so I added 091 at the end, inspired by my favorite basketball player at that time, Dennis Rodman. This was before I became a Hawks fan and Mutombo stan, of course.

Writing about webchats, I remember running around this furry chat/game called Furcadia. I had no idea furries were a thing, I participated because my friend asked me to, and it looked like a fun RPG. Also, holy shit – the service is still up! I don’t remember the name I used on it, but it was probably Gus091. That name stuck around for a while.

Furcadia; Image credit

Then came the age of PC gaming. Back then, internet gaming wasn’t widespread yet – our home connections were too slow for that. However, we still had our fix of online gaming thanks to LAN. And the first game that I found myself playing was this first-person shooter called Quake II.

I needed a name for myself. Something that was badass. Gus091 was much too soft and not cool enough. I came up with a name I thought was clever, DeFragger. You see, kills in Quake were called frags. There was a Windows program called Disk Defragmenter which you ran occasionally to optimize the way your hard drive stored files and improved its performance. And that’s the history of my very first gaming handle. Not bad for a start, I suppose.

Windows 95 Disk Defragmenter; Image credit

DeFragger ended up being the gaming name I used for a long time. It wasn’t until college that I started playing Counter-Strike and I had some friends who changed their names all the time. It was at that point I realized that names didn’t need to have so much meaning and I let go of whatever loyalty I had to my username.

So off I went, using a name depending on my mood or whatever was the flavor of the month for me. From bands I enjoyed, mURDERDOLLS, names that would look funny on the kill feed, an old lady, to band member-inspired names, mUNKY_sLAYER, and many song-inspired names like old robot (not Young Robot because I’m old), old sausage (inspired by Old eLeVeN), and lyrics like MULTIPLE STAB WOUNDS and most recently, I'M CUMMING EVERYWHERE. Special shout out to Dank Soul, my first Dark Souls character name which I kept for all three games and Elden Ring.

Dank Soul

I’m sure there are many more I missed out in the list above, but the point is, names aren’t something I hold sacred or dear to me anymore. Like Shakespeare, I agree with the point that names have no intrinsic value and they’re merely used to identify people or objects. People spend way too much time thinking of names for things in their life.

What a way to segue into my admitting that I spent money last weekend to purchase Yes, you read that right, I parted with my money on something I deem worthless. Just kidding, it’s not worthless (also, I practically burn money buying cigarettes, see the pattern?), it’s a functioning URL, which points you to this blog – for now. Who knows what it’ll turn into in the future?

Anyway, it’s a domain name I’ve been eyeing for some time now. I’ve thought about retiring the domain (which is embarrassingly childish) for something I can say aloud without thinking twice. I have no idea if it’s going to fuck up the thousands of links I have throughout the past 15 years of this blog and any SEO scores I’ve built up (LOL) but we’ll cross that bridge when it comes. I still have a few months to go before I have to renew or release it.

So why, goodnewsgeorge? Why is this name so important that I needed to own the dot com? To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m attached to it. For one, it’s not even original.

It started when I listened to a band called Bad News Bears, who put out this catchy Hellogoodbye-esque tune:

I enjoyed the song so much, I looked up the band. Turned out their name was inspired by the 1976 film of the same name. I couldn’t use the name, obviously, so I decided to give it a twist. Replace Bears with George and coincidentally, Bad with Good to keep the XYX naming scheme.

Good News George was a fun alternative to Sunshine Boy (or was it Kid? I can’t remember), a nickname some college friends had given me because I smiled all the time. It was easy to remember, reflected my personality, and wasn’t offensive or cringey. Also, it was available on every social media platform I used, which made it a no-brainer to use.

Which got me thinking, what if 30 years down the line, when I’m dead and gone, I wonder if my goodnewsgeorge accounts and blog will still be around? Will the internet even function in the same way?

What if some kid thinks of the same username and tries to register it for himself? He’ll then stumble upon this blog on the Wayback Machine and learn the story about some old geezer who took the name first. And he’ll never be able to use it.

Sorry, goodnewsgeorge, I’ve got some bad news for you.