I hate moving house

A word of advice to those planning to move house soon. Do not attempt to do it without sleeping the night before. (That means no last minute panic and packing.)

I can’t claim that I totally didn’t sleep. I slept 30 minutes from 5:30 am to 6 am on Saturday. That’s definitely not good.

My friends (who helped out with the moving) can all attest to the fact that I looked and acted like a zombie all day. I had to operate on auto pilot: Walk where I was needed, carry what needed carrying, clean what needed cleaning, unpack what needed unpacking, like a mindless robot.

Even taking out my camera to snap a photo was done on auto pilot, which explains why I hardly took any photos. This is one of the few:

[Guitar Rambo]

Kerrendor plays at being Guitar Rambo with all our guitars. We have a Guitar Hero III guitar, a Rock Band guitar and, of course, my faithful old classical guitar.

We actually have another. The Goonfather has an electric guitar from his teenage rock star wannabe days. But we didn’t bring it to our new place because he wants to sell it. Any buyers? It’s really old in terms of age but new in terms of usage.

Our TV didn’t arrive until after 4 pm, after which the Goonfather set it up temporarily in the living room so our friends could play Rock Band while we busied ourselves unpacking.

[Impromptu jamming]

The TV and speakers had to be placed on the floor with cables running all over the place. Feels grungy.

[Impromptu jamming]

I didn’t get to play. I was too busy making my room liveable asap so I could have a nice, comfortable place to have a warm shower and sleep, hopefully some time within this century.

I didn’t have a chance at all to touch Grand Theft Auto IV. Sorry, GTA fans.

Well, we did get a few minutes to try it out this morning so I cammed it. Except my audio cable is now in the car and I can’t edit videos without sound, so my GTA4 review will have to wait a while longer.

But first impression is pretty damn awesome and I can’t wait to play it for real.

By the way, the Goonfather is a goondu.

We were back at our old place today to pack more stuff. I was trying very hard not to collapse from exhaustion when I suddenly heard an exclamation.

“HEY! I FOUND MONEY!!”

Turned out he’d found an old red packet which still had money inside. There was a $50 bill and a $20 bill. That is so archaic!! It’s not the new plastic limited edition $20 note. It’s the old old design paper note from god knows which millennium.

“Hmm…,” he said. “This is the exact same ang pow I found when we moved house two years ago.”

What a nut.

While we were packing two years ago to move house (seems like we move quite a lot), he had found this red packet and was so excited about finding extra money that he proceeded to pack it in together with all the rest of his junk. During the unpacking process, he dumped everything wholesale into drawers and closets.

You can probably tell what happened next. He clean forgot all about the red packet for the whole two years we lived in that house.

I bet this is going to happen again. And again. (This won’t be the last time we’re moving house.)

Because he was making such a commotion, his mother came into our room to investigate. She saw the red packet and said, “Didn’t I give this to you when you went to the USA to study?”

That was donkey years ago lor!!!!! Hahahaha.

Damn goondu lah. Always complaining about being broke but at the same time leaving money lying around in the middle of old documents and junk.

Anyway, a shout out to all my friends of Club Morte (sometimes also known as Hammer Morte). Thanks for all the help!

Oh, gosh. No rest for the wicked. More stuff to upack, loads of editing work to do because I didn’t get a chance to work on them this whole weekend.

Whoever said weekends were for rest?

The devil got me

I sold my soul to the devil today, when I swore never to do it again.

I’m speaking metaphorically lah, what is wrong with you?

I mean, what is wrong with me. Sorry.

The devil has a three-letter name. Its name is J.O.B.

And I don’t mean a job like an acting job or a writing job or a modelling job or a temp job like I’ve been doing in the last few years, allowing me to live a relatively free-spirited life with no serious obligations.

I mean a J.O.B. with a regular salary and CPF.

[Get thee away!]

So, now, I’m staring at my PC monitor, wide-eyed, heart thumping, awash in a stupor of disbelief.

Okay, I actually did that for 15 minutes.

But that’s about all the time I can spare for frivolous self-indulgences. Because I have a J.O.B. to do.

Alright, I shall stop stringing you along before you get tired of being strung along and decide to leave.

So. I have agreed to be the editor of a new publication. (I think I’m not allowed to say what it is yet.)

*cue shocked gasps of breaths*

C’mon, humour me.

That was my old occupation, being an editor. I was an editor in a newspaper, a magazine and a web portal. But I quit eventually because I wanted to act and didn’t want to be tied down by a regular job and I didn’t like the stress of that job.

[Pencil-wielding horror]

I swore never to go back to the grind. Over the years, I rejected several related job offers.

So, why did I accept this offer?

Because it’s a very small publication and I got the impression that I’ll just need to spend like four days a month working on it.

Because it’s gaming related and sounds vaguely fun.

Because I need to re-oil my marbles.

Well, I figured that it won’t kill me to give up four days of my life each month.

And then I had a serious meeting with my boss-to-be and I started getting the idea that the job is much bigger than I expected and that I may have to spend a lot more than four days a month.

But, by then, I couldn’t back out anymore because I was hooked by the challenge.

And the money.

Which is not much, really, but the promise of extra monthly income is very attractive to someone who hasn’t been getting much of a regular income in years. (But which really shouldn’t even be a consideration considering that I’ve been happily living an income-less life all this while.)

You can tell I’m confused. Can I plead duress?

Anyway, just like that, I’m back on a payroll.

[I'll pay you in houses]

While the job will have fun elements, it will also bring the kind of unwanted stress which drove me away from my old career in the first place.

For example, I have exactly two weeks from now to work out my editorial direction and publish the first issue.

And I already had my year nicely planned out with exciting personal projects to keep me awfully busy.

But now I’m going to have to rework my priorities. Give up a few things. And get used to the fact that I don’t own myself 100% anymore.

Sure, it’s not a full-time job in that I have to sit in an office 22 days a month. I’ll just have to go for meetings and work mostly from home, but the stress will be full-time.

An editor’s job is 24/7, I suddenly remember my ex-ex-boss teaching me. It doesn’t matter the amount of time you’re doing the physical work of putting the publication together, you’re constantly monitoring trends and news and thinking six issues ahead while you work on the current issue.

I’m starting to wonder what I just signed up for.

The devil got me. After all these years.

[The devil got Sheylara]

Money is dirty

Stupid conversation between the Goonfather and myself.

We were in the car, driving out to dinner, when he asked for a piece of tissue paper. In my usual clumsy way, I accidentally pulled out two pieces instead of one. I blamed him because it’s fun to blame the Goonfather.

“See lah!! You made me pull out two pieces!” I said.

Of course, blaming people doesn’t solve problems, so I considered my options.

Use the extra piece myself? Don’t need it.

Stuff it back into the packet? Feels a bit unhygenic.

Make a tissue hat for the Goonfather to wear? Naaah.

My best solution, I decided, was to pass the problem on to the Goonfather. Haha!

“I’m going to put the extra piece in your pocket,” I said. “You can use it to wipe your mouth after dinner.”

But as I was about to stuff the tissue into his shirt pocket, I noticed that he had some dollar notes sitting inside.

“Argh, I can’t put the tissue in here. You have money inside.”

“What’s wrong with money in my pocket?”

“Money is dirty,” I informed him.

“…,” he said.

“If the tissue paper touches your money, it will become dirty, too.”

“Why is money dirty?” he wanted to know.

“Cos it gets passed around from person to person so you don’t know where it’s been. I’ve been taught since young to always wash my hands after handling money.”

The Goonfather was speechless for a moment, so I pressed on.

“If you rub the tissue and money together, then you wipe your mouth with the tissue, it’ll be like wiping your mouth with money. You wouldn’t wipe your mouth with money, would you?”

“I wouldn’t wipe my mouth with money because I couldn’t afford it,” the Goonfather said. “People say money is dirty because they can’t afford to use money as tissue paper.”

The conversation had taken a ridiculous turn and I didn’t even know what I was arguing anymore.

I said, “But even if you could afford to wipe your mouth with money, you wouldn’t!! Paris Hilton wouldn’t wipe her mouth with money.”

“That’s because money is too cheap for her to wipe her mouth with,” was his explanation.

“But it’s not a matter of price. Nobody, no matter how rich or how poor, will use money to wipe their mouths.”

“That’s because poor people can’t afford to and rich people can’t be bothered to.”

“But it’s not about money! It’s about hygiene. And practicality! Money isn’t even absorbent. Would you wipe your mouth with a gold bar?”

“I would if I had gold bars sitting around.”

“Why would you use gold bars to wipe your mouth when tissue paper is better?!”

“Because I can afford to.”

“How the hell do you even wipe your mouth with a gold bar in the first place?”

“I’ll mash it all over my face and lick it.”

“YOU ARE DAMN DISGUSTING!!”

I put the loose tissue paper into my bag, which was probably about as hygenic as putting it into the Goonfather’s pocket.

Finally, the tissue paper was used to soak up spilled water at the dinner table before we even started eating, much less encounter the need to wipe our mouths.

So, in the end, all that trouble was for nought.

If only life were so simple

You say to Snoseniffer the Schemer, “Tell me about the blacksmith.”

Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “The blacksmith’s assignment is to make us coins. We needs lots and lots of gold coins. The more coins the better.”

You say, “Why?”

Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “Why? Because everyone needs lots and lots of coins… We puts them in chests and counts them and the more we have the better we are.”

You say, “But why? What’s the point? Are you trying to buy something?”

Snoseniffer the Schemer says, “Huh?”

— extracted from a dialogue in EverQuest II between a player and a goblin.

Gaming life is very easy. You kill monsters, you get money, you buy cool stuff with your money, all without breaking a sweat. (Well, gaming can be stressful if you choose to make it so, especially if you’ve played Star Wars Galaxies, but we’ll leave it at that.)

When I’m broke in the real world, or when there is something I desperately want to buy but can’t afford to, I would wish I could just go out in the streets, bash up some monsters and earn some money.

Yeah, right.

In the real world, you could, of course, go out and get a job to earn money. But real world jobs don’t spawn all over the place like monsters do in game worlds.

In the real world, you have to go through an interview for a chance to get a job. In EverQuest II, you don’t need to be interviewed by the monster to get its loot. You just take it by force.

These days, the economic system in games is getting more complicated, though. You can make money in so many ways. You can be a businessperson. You can be an entrepreneur. And you always make money. You never lose (unless you’re a hopeless moron). So, if you’re someone with half a brain, you could make a fortune in a game world if you wanted to.

For instance, you might start a business selling potato pies. You invest a small sum of money (which you got from killing monsters) to make a first batch of 200 pies.

Most of the time, if it’s in the game, you will have customers and your pies will sell for a tidy profit.

But let’s say, for discussion’s sake, your pies are extremely unpopular, you’re extremely unpopular and everyone hates you and hates your pies and they don’t sell.

Your potato pies sit there for three weeks and they are still untouched.

IT DOESN’T MATTER BECAUSE GAME WORLD PIES DO NOT SPOIL.

You can keep them in your backpack for five years and they’ll still be as fresh as the day you made them.

And, one day, you decide that enough is enough and you’re sick of staring at your 200 unsold pies, so you make your way to a non-player merchant (that is, a computer-controlled one).

THE MERCHANT WILL BUY YOUR PIES!

EVERY TIME!

Giving you a tiny profit, even!

If you’re a business savvy person, you could make unbelievable amounts of money in the game. If you’re not, you make a small amount. But you still make money and you never starve.

Isn’t that grand?


Killing crabs for dinner.