Journal #325

Today I won’t be writing anything about my day. Instead, I will share content that I enjoyed consuming.

The Denial of Death

Below are some launchpad covers of songs that I like. The animation and light works are just beautiful and inspiring.

Alan Walker – Sing Me To Sleep // Launchpad Cover

The Chainsmokers – Closer // Launchpad Cover

Paul Flint – SAVAGE // World’s First 21 Launchpad Cover

Kaskobi & Nev Play: ZEDD – Beautiful Now (KDrew Remix)

The Spectre – Alan Walker – Cole Rolland (Guitar Remix)

And here is a screenshot of the game Deemo that I have been playing on my iPhone and iPad. The tree in game is now growing slowly but surely.

And finally, this is how all of us live our lives these days, eyes glued to our smart phones not caring what’s happening around us and fail to appreciate life as it is.

Mac Lethal – “Til the Casket Drops” (Official Music Video)

So question is: Is technology better for us?


Journal #306

First major event in the morning, my mom asked me to go back to the SingTel Shop to re-contract my mobile subscription and home fibre internet. At first, I was disgruntled but nonetheless went with the idea.

I went for a quick shower. Well, I never like going to the mall without feeling clean. We arrived at the store at around 10.30 in the morning only to see a long queue formed in front of it. We joined the queue and waited until 11.00 am, which was the officially opening time.

I re-contracted back the Combo 3 plan for my mobile subscription. This time it comes with near unlimited SMS and phone call. The terms and condition stated it’s actually 10,000 SMS and 10,000 minutes of phone call per month.

In general, I only use a maximum of 100 minutes per month and sometimes, I don’t even hit 10 minutes. As for SMS, I only use it for receiving notifications sent by companies for transactions performed.

And SingTel also offer me additional 2GB free of data as part of this re-contract. So all in all, I got 11 GB of data per month to use. I already got 3GB as part of the plan and another 6GB as part of the Data 3X add-on. Now I can watch more YouTube video on the go.

As part of the re-contract, I could get a new phone. Since I have already got an iPhone X previously, this phone is meant for my mom. I got her the Oppo R11s Plus, which is kind of an upgrade from her Asus Zenphone 3.

Admittedly, I like just how colorful the display. Google app icons do look playful in a way with those colors. Apps on iOS does get a little dull.

Oh, I forgot to write a review about my iPhone X. I will get that done by the end of the week.

I also used the chance to terminate my second mobile line that cost me $10.90 every month since I don’t need it anymore.

The home fibre internet re-contract also saw the per-month price dropped from 69.90 to 49.90 excluding GST. That means I get to save about $10 every month.

That’s a good thing. I got pretty sick and tired of paying so much for internet when the quality of service just don’t even seem worth it. Personally, I won’t mind paying up to $200 per month if that means I get 1 gigabits per second connection to everything that’s out there. But SingTel can’t guarantee that. Nothing on the internet can guarantee that.

After that, my dad and sister join us at the mall. We went to have our breakfast there and bought stuff for Chinese New Year.

So far so good. I’m grateful for everything.

I spent the time between late morning and early afternoon finishing up The Evil Within 2. I got the chance to start a New Game Plus that brought over all my weapons, skills upgrade, whatever that was in my in-game inventory.

Here are some screenshots from my game, spanning yesterday and today’s sessions…

That monster is an ugly SOB.

Ah.. Chapter 14, I’m almost at the end of the game.

That’s a really nice environment with its eerie atmosphere. It evokes a sense of awe in me and creepiness. But I love it.

That’s the boss… really really ugly. Remind me of Attacks of the Titans.

Here comes that tail!

Here it’s the end.

After the gaming session, I decided to get a haircut. I went to a salon near my house, got my haircut and bought lunch back. Lunch was Char Siu Rice and Waffle with Red Bean paste. Then I spent most of the day watching Altered Carbon on Netflix.

In the meantime, my dad was complaining about no one cleaning the house for Chinese New Year. He’s not wrong there. My house isn’t exactly very small. Just that I’ve already decided that I will clean my room next weekend. This weekend was to get my mobile and internet subscription sorted.

When I decided that I will live a un-busy life, that’s what I will do. One thing at a time and spread out the work over the week. I have yet to get some new clothes for the new year anyway.

Ok, back to Altered Carbon.

Thus far, I love the story, the character development, and the overall world building.

In terms of world building, it evokes the sense of dystopia when the characters are roaming around the planetary surface through poorly lit streets, prostitutes, dirty fight cages with modified aliens, drugs, and almost non-stop violence against the flesh.

Then there is the ultra-rich and powerful living out their dream life high up in the towers, above the clouds, with building houses and well-manicured gardens. They acted like they are all high and mighty and indulge themselves in zero-gravity fight cages.

The show does a pretty good job showing the difference what the poor and rich have access to though those things are really just two sides of the same coin. Power and corruption are the main running themes with a light sprinkle of desiring for freedom.

For the rest of the night, I will focus on doing more writing for my novel. I can’t keep putting it away.

Oh, by the way, I have never liked to separate my journal into sub-section and give them headers. I see my life as a continuous stream with different feelings depending on the time of day. I’m here to tell a story, not write an article. So I will stick to the format I have now.

Journal #305

There it is again.

That procrastination monster lurking in the background, asking me not to write anything today. It sent me on a YouTube mode. I watched one video.

And then…

You know what? Screw that. And procrastination monster, fuck off, I will write something.

And I will do it in third person mode again. It’s more fun for me and it does gives me an interesting insight to my life from a third-person perspective.

Although judging from the metrics of my blog, it doesn’t look like third-person mode is popular but then it doesn’t matter. I write not because of metrics. I write because I want to share and let out whatever stress or creative tensions that have been building up inside of me. I ignored those tensions in the past and made me depressed, which then lead me to feeling even more stressed.

So conclusion is, writing, no matter the form, do make me happy.

So here it goes, writing about my day in third-person mode…

It’s around 8.00 am when he woke up to use the washroom. He was still feeling groggy. The sleep wasn’t as good as he would like, having found himself awoke several times throughout the night with a somewhat active mind. Eyes heavy, he stumbled out of his room and off to the washroom he went.

After he was done, he go himself a cup of water and decided to he wanted to play some games on his PC. He powered up his PC and got down to play The Evil Within 2 until around 10 in the morning.

During his early morning gaming session, he also went and do 55 push-ups spread across three sets and some stretching exercise to loosen up his shoulders and arms. They had been pretty stiff and sore due to excessive computer use.

Quitting his game at 10, he joined his parents for breakfast. Having gone back to an omnivorous diet, it expanded his choices. Today he went with Chinese roasted pork belly, Char siu and rice for breakfast. It wasn’t that particularly good and salty.

After that, he went back home with his parents and got back to gaming again. He stopped again at around 1pm because he wanted to go to the SingTel shop to get his internet and mobile plans sorted. After having a quick shower, he got his mom to go along. The intention was to give her a new phone that goes with a new contract.

After getting his queue number from the service counter, his mom and him went for lunch at Thai Express. Since there was still time until it was his turn, he followed his mom to get a haircut and walked around at the NTUC supermarket. From time to time, they went downstairs to check on what’s the current queue number.

At around 4pm, he grew frustrated with the long waiting time and decided to go home instead. Although the service staff told him that it may take up to three hours, he was kind of expecting the queue to go faster. So he went home with his mom and on the bus home, he got a SMS notification saying there are only seven people left in front of him. He just couldn’t be bother anymore.

After he reached home, he changed into his running gear and went for a run. Before that, he got another SMS notification at 4.36pm that his queue number was called but he wasn’t at the store. In his mind, he went “whatever” and went ahead with his run.

He continued to play The Evil Within 2 after the run until it was around 7.55pm. During that time, he was feeling hungry again and made himself a cup of oatmeals although it was almost time for dinner.

For dinner, he joined his family at a nearby coffeeshop to have Tze char. For the dishes, they ordered steam fish, pork ribs king, salted egg prawns, mixed vegetable, and a bitter gourd seafood soup.

With the dinner done, they all went home feeling full and happy. The dishes were good.

In the meantime, the long hours spent playing games came to hunt him in the form of stiff back, shoulder and neck, which subsequently translated into neck pain, nausea and headache.

This is where he would call it a night and turned in.

Journal #285

Today is just a chilling Sunday so I spent most of my day just doing relaxing stuff. And I’m here enjoying the cool weather brought on by a Northeast Monsoon surge for as long as it last.

What happened

Despite deciding to play The Evil Within 2 yesterday, I didn’t. My neck pain was causing me to suffer from nausea and dizziness. I took two muscle relaxant tablets and went to bed early.

Woke up this morning at around 8.30am feeling much better. Throughout my sleep, I found myself waking up from time to time and had whole bunch of weird dreams that I vaguely remember.

At around 9.20am, I went ahead and played The Evil Within 2. When I stopped the game, I was at Chapter 7 and the time was about 1.30pm.

I switched to playing Cities: Skylines because I felt the urge. I reloaded the previous save game and continued tweaking my city. I redid some of the roads and expanding my city further with more zoning and roads. I also removed some non-productive bus routes and tweaked some of the existing ones for more coverage. I also added a new metro station and moved most of the rail lines underground because I needed the space.

The following are two screenshots that I took of my city, which is getting pretty dense now.

However, my city’s treasury is still not doing very well because of insufficient tax especially during the day. So I will focus on that going forward.

At about 5pm, I decided to stop and go for a run. So I saved my game, backed up the files, and shutdown my machine.

I came back home after running for about 4.3 kilometers and walked another 1 kilometer.

After the run, had a shower and went ahead to watch two episodes Saga of Tanya the Evil on Netflix.

How I feel

I feel great because of the weather. I have always hated the heat and humidity.

I also feel a little lethargic…no…scratch that…more like procrastinating.

At the same time, I also feel a bit depressed because I have to go back to work tomorrow. But I guess I can’t complain more about that because I need the money for my further education.

What I plan next

I will probably spend the rest of the night watching some more shows on Netflix or iTunes. If I get bored enough, I may decide to do some more writing.

Journal #277

Today marks the first day in 2018 that I actually went and played a game on my PC. The last time I powered it on was like more than a month ago.

What Happened

After coming home from breakfast, I decided to play some games on my desktop PC.

I powered it on, log on to Steam, and started browsing through the games. In the meantime, the existing games that I got were undergoing updates. One of the games was Resident Evil 7. Seeing it update reminded me of the DLCs, Not A Hero, where Chris Redfield is the main character.

So I went and installed it. I got down to playing it once it’s installed. But first, I made myself a big cup of coffee because I was feeling sleepy. I didn’t want to play a survival horror game in a sleepy mode.

When the game started, I was looking for any inconsistencies in the back story of Chris Redfield. As I played through it, it became obvious that this is the same Chris Redfield from the earlier games even though the character model is different.

It took me a less than probably an hour and a half to finish the DLC. Even so, I love it.

After I was done with that game, it was almost 2pm in the afternoon and I felt like playing other games.

I was feeling hungry too. So I made myself a big plate of instant noodles. I just didn’t want to go out and buy stuff.

At first I wanted to buy Ashes of Singularity but after reading through the reviews and seeing a little bit of the game play, I found myself not interested.

With that, I began weighing two other options that I have. The first option was The Evil Within 2 and the other was Wolfenstein: The New Colossus. My final decision saw me spending SG$79.90 buying The Evil Within 2.

The reason is simple. I wanted a game that has a deeper story that has an immersive world. I want to experience the game instead of simply running around and shooting things up. Depth is important and usually first person shooter don’t have the kind of depth. Of course, no games will come as close to role-playing games in terms of story depth.

After playing the game for an hour plus, I decided to go for a quick run around my neighborhood. Earlier in the day, I also did two sets of fifteen pushups as part of my training for the physical fitness test that I will have to take. I will gradually increase the sets and reps because my goal is to be able to do 30 proper pushup in under a minute.

I had a quick shower after the run and spent some time playing Sky Force: Reloaded on my iPad Pro while waiting for my family to get ready to leave for dinner.

We went to the nearby mall to have dinner. Specifically, I decided to treat them to eat at A-One, a Chinese restaurant. After that, we went to get a <$1000 desktop PC for my parents and a scanner for my sister. For the PC, I helped my parents to choose Asus even though there were other brands on the shelves. I just don’t trust the quality of the other two brands that were there, specifically Acer and HP,

Once we got the stuff, we went home straight and I help my parents setup the PC. That was when we realize we should have gotten a HDMI cable because we don’t have any more at home. So I went to unplug the HDMI cable that I got for my PS4 and used it. I will get a replacement tomorrow.

The Evil Within 2

I took some screenshots of my play-through of The Evil Within 2 for the first chapter. I got to say, I’m really impressed by the environment, the atmosphere, monsters, and characters. There were times when I actually felt genuinely scared. I can’t say much of the story yet but I can tell it’s getting pretty interesting.

So far, the game does a good job of invoking the sense of dread and sadness. I shall continue to play it tomorrow.

How I Feel

I feel alright today though there were times when I was bit angsty. Mostly, I suspect it was because I’m pretty tired too. When I’m tired, I don’t have the patience to deal with certain stuff.

My body does feel a bit lethargic lately for some reason. I suspect it could be because of my meat intake for the whole week when I’m in military camp doing my training.

Being Grateful

I’m grateful for my family and the things that they have done for me.

Journal #251 – Chilling rainy Sunday with life review

If I really have to list something useful that I did today, I can probably count them with one hand.

The first most useful thing was writing an blog entry about “Why I buy Apple products as a minimalist”, which I publish here and here.

The second most useful thing was me going for a quick 30 or so mins run at around 4.30pm and earlier in the day, I went and did twenty push-ups, split into two sets of ten.

The third most useful thing? For most people, I don’t think they will call it useful but for me, it’s probably is. I went to watch two more episodes of Dark on Netflix. I actually spent more effort to absorb in the scenes, looked at the expressions of the characters, their behaviors and actions, and start thinking about how I would create the show, scene or characters as a writer. It’s important to train yourself to think like a writer when you are consuming content produced by other people. To me, it is part and parcel of getting inspirations and understand how to get people to consume the content you create.

Other than that, I spent the other part of the day playing Sky Force: Reloaded on my iPhone and iPad Pro so that I can collect enough stars to upgrade my plane. That I definitely won’t call useful but it’s part of my desire to just chill.

I also went to get the Designed by Apple in California book out from the cabinet and start browsing through the pages. As I was browsing through, I spent some time understanding the designs and appreciating them all. It turns out I really found joy in going through the pictures and thinking about the story behind those designs. It’s so much easier to understand the context given that I have read Jony Ive’s biography and is still in the process of reading Steve Jobs’s biography. The process of going through the designs also got me feeling nostalgic as I started thinking about my days in secondary school when I was studying Design and Technology.

Thinking back, I do have some inclination for the design and technology subject in general. I understood the technical stuff rather easily but not so much of the society aspect or aesthetic. For my Singapore-Cambridge GCE Ordinary Level D&T project, the end product was average but I managed to score slightly above average compared to my peers because of my strength in the theory part and orthographic projection. One year earlier, I actually did very well for N-Level examination. If I remember correctly, I actually scored an ‘A’ due to the end product, theory and the drawings. It was actually a useful end product with a pretty good design.

So you see, when it comes to creating things, you will fumble and tumble from time to time. The only difference is how much effort you put and how much desire you have to achieve mastery and greatness.

Back then, I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent job if I went to do product design and I did find an inclination towards writing and interest in programming. So after my O-level examinations, I went with something that has practical uses given the economic situation and culture of Singapore. That was why I chose information technology for my Diploma and subsequently Computer Science for my degree.

Now if I were to do it all over again with what I know now, I will probably put in extra effort on my writing and have it run concurrently to my software development career so that I have more choices. But there is no point in regretting this because it’s a fact that I wasn’t mature or self-aware enough back then. So what I can do now is to forge a new path with the experiences and knowledge that I have gained. It’s never too late. I have already took the steps to improve my writing skills by applying and going for courses, keep writing, and learning from other writers.

So stop your bullshitting about being too old, feel tired or lazy studying, and complain about the fact that you are sick your current, meaningless job yet want to change career or do something more meaningful. Start creating the plan and taking the necessary actions or be quiet about your current life and apply gratitude.

Journal #250 – Saturday life update

I woke up this morning to a runny and stuffy nose. I don’t know why but I suspect it was either a common cold or allergic rhinitis. I believe it is the former because there is cough associated with it. But neither am I a doctor nor  do I have a microscope to see what I sneeze out, so I can’t diagnose myself.

Regardless, I went ahead to eat breakfast with my family outside. After breakfast, I came home and made myself a big cup of coffee using the NESCAFÉ GOLD BLEND BARISTA machine. I went and take meds for the runny nose with the coffee.

Compared to Starbucks coffee, I never found Nescafe coffee to be any good. It is average. I guess it’s because it is instant coffee and you can’t subject it to the same process as how people make coffee using actual beans, grinding them, and forcing hot water through them over several seconds. Nescafe coffee doesn’t quite have the strong aroma, the right ratio between bitter and sour taste (more towards the former) found with Starbucks coffee.

By right, I should have felt drowsy some thirty minutes to an hour later after taking the medicine but the coffee prevented that. So I was awake for most of the morning and early afternoon. I used the chance to watch Dark on Netflix. I only managed to watch two episodes, follow by two episodes of The Code before I felt very hungry.

I went to make myself lunch. I had Nissin instant noodles with sesame oil. I added an egg to it for protein and taste.

After that, I took another pill and waited for it to kick in again. I used that time to prepare a review of the Apple AirPods because I wanted it. I wanted to share with the world about how I felt about using the earphones. Then I went for a shower and at around 5.30pm, I felt sleepy and decided to take a nap.

By the time I got up, it was around 7.30pm. I felt slightly better. and my family and I went out for dinner. After that, I came home to just chill, and watch some more shows on Netflix.

Ever since I downloaded the game Sky Force: Reloaded, I have been playing it quite often like when I got nothing to do, using the toilet, etc.

The game really does test your patience as there is drudgery involved. You need to collect the stars in order to upgrade your weapons and to collect enough, you will need to keep playing. Your plane will get destroy often if your reaction time can’t keep up or when you make a mistake and that means you will need to try again.

But overall, I do like the game and I’m reminded of playing one of the Raiden game during my younger days. I vividly remember dying so often when I was playing that game. In hindsight, I guess it’s because I was young, had poor hand-eye coordination. After playing so many FPS as I was growing up, I guess I have develop a better reaction time and hand skills in general.

Journal #242 – Haircut Sunday

Slept at around 4am after having too much coffee last night and woke up at around 9.30 am feeling very hungry.

Throughout the night there were moments when I actually heard my stomach growling from hunger and got pretty gassy. But I just chose to sleep through it all.

After I woke up, I went for a cup of water. Upon drinking it, my stomach actually hurt. I suppose it’s because of the pre-existing ass and stomach discomfort caused by the hunger. Then I went about preparing some instant oatmeals to eat and just decided to laze around in bed.

I took the chance to play Sky Force: Reloaded on my phone, collecting as much stars as I could so that I can upgrade my plane to make my life easier in the game. So far, I actually enjoying playing it though I didn’t go as far as buying stuff. Don’t see the need to spend money.

After that, I went out with my parents again to have breakfast.

But today’s main thing was that I got a haircut after three months. I had to time it just right because I got reservist next month and didn’t want to cut my hair twice within a three month period. I waited that long because I do like to show some “f#*& you” attitude. When my hair get long, they make my head look very fat due to the volume. Kind of like a massive mop.

When I was at the salon, the hairdresser was surprised and asked, “how long have you not cut your hair.”

I told her three months and she said she’s can’t believe I can tolerate that sheer volume of hair.

I just smile, told her how I want my hair cut, and let her do her thing. She also asked me how was it like to use the Apple AirPods and how much it cost. She saw me listening to it earlier. We talked about it for a while and said there are cheaper alternatives for bluetooth earphones.

Generally, I won’t outright advise people to get Apple products when there are cheaper alternatives. But if they do want Apple product, I won’t stop them. It’s their money after all and they can decide for themselves what they want or need.

After the haircut, I went to get a waffle from the bread store with red bean paste and a veggie patty sub for my lunch before going home.

Personally, I have no issue with the veggie patty sub but some of my friends do. They say it taste like shit. For me, I do need the protein.

Had a shower, washed my hair thoroughly and just sit back and relax. I went to watch some television show while having my lunch.

Now that I’m done with my lunch and television shows, time for me to go for a run. I don’t want to run in the evening because of the sheer amount of cars and smokers plying the streets.

Finish a run of 4.2 km and I walked the rest of the way home to make up the rest of the distance.

Once home, had a quick shower, and started watching Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix. Surprisingly, I found myself really enjoying the show. I guess it’s because of its dark nature, the gore, and more importantly for me is how does someone so different try to live their lives and blend in.

For the rest of the night, I suppose I will try to write the at least one chapter of my new book.

That’s all for now.

Journal #241 – Kick back Saturday

Today is the 15th of the 10th month on the Chinese calendar. I chose to go to a Chinese temple nearby with my parents to offer some prayers and after that, we went to have vegetarian food at the nearby coffee shop.

Every religion has their specific days to do certain things. For us taoist, it’s the same. On the 1st and 15th of the Chinese calendar, the devout will go to the temple to offer their incenses and donations. After which, they will proceed to eat vegetarian and local vegetarian food tend to include quite a lot of mock-meat.

After that, my parents and I spent sometime watching a local Chinese TV production call Happy Can Already on my Apple TV through the Toggle app. It is actually one of the only shows in Singapore that feature Chinese dialects primarily.

Now that’s what I call spending time with family.

After that, I went to download an app call Sky Force: Reloaded on Apple TV and spent some time playing it. Drudgery is involve too. Patience is required. It’s a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up game that more closely resemble a roguelike due to its persistence of the plane upgrades. It reminds me of Everspace, which I throughly enjoy playing too.

You know, in the past, I never had the patience to play such game. If I keep dying in a game like more than three or four times, I just give up. Now, I suppose I have outgrown the traditional FPS games for their instant gratifications and moved on to something else. Or maybe it was companies like EA, Activision Blizzard, and Ubisoft that ruined games for me- excessive micro transactions, franchises milked dry, lack of innovation, and overpriced. And I find fault with their lack of investment in the lore of the game. The games these company make doesn’t scream investment or quality anymore unlike the old Westwood-made RTS like Command and Conquer…

Oops…sorry, I digressed. Ranting about video game should be a blog entry on its own.

After playing that game for a while, good thing that it also sync to my iPhone via Game Center, I went to watch Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix. If I remember correctly, I’m already on Season 2.

After that, I went out with my family to eat dinner at Hot Tomato. I had fish and chips while my parents and sister had salmon mango salsa. Then we went shopping at NTUC to get grocery. It was one just half an hour ago that we reached home and I got down to write this journal.

On the way home, I found myself enjoying Hollwood Undead’s album called Five 1 with the Apple AirPods. The bass and mid-range is just good and the music doesn’t sound cramp together.

So indeed, tonight is a kick back Saturday.

Journal #235 – Did some gaming, sick again

Today was nasty because I woke up to a bad cold. I had to deal with lots of sneezing, puffy eyes, and runny nose. By the end of mid-day, my room’s dustbin was full of tissues.

But I didn’t let it stop me from playing some games. Today I specifically went with playing Starpoint Gemini Warlords.

Originally I bought the game (that was several weeks back) because I thought it was interesting but I didn’t quite like the first few hours of playing it. It felt a little clunky and the learning curve was a little bit too much. As I had Everspace to keep me occupied, I didn’t put much focus into Starpoint Gemini Warlords.

And today when I went to play it for several hours, it was starting to get the hang of it and I found myself enjoying the game.

By about mid-afternoon, I decided to stop and play Cities: Skylines. It was a short game because I didn’t know what else to do and I was still dealing with the cold. Before that, I took a pill for it and by the time I was done with the game, I was already feeling sleepy.

So I went to take a nap until about 6pm when I woke up. I was already feeling better and I decided to go for run. By now, the rain had already stop but the ground was still wet but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I ran about 4km before deciding to stop. Since I ran on the pathways beside the roads, the evening air was particularly bad. There were cars everywhere and most of them were diesel-based. Some could be from Malaysia too and may not have installed any quality filters. So all I could smell was car-exhaust. I suspect I have already breathed in an insane amount of toxin into my body.

I have been looking at the AIR+ Smart Mask to protect myself from the bad air quality in Singapore as you guys know I am particularly sensitive to cigarette smoke, car-exhausts, etc. I just hadn’t gotten around to get the mask because I was lazy and self-conscious. And now I have reached the tipping point.

And now as I’m writing this journal, my runny nose came back. Sigh.

Time for another pill and sleep early.