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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 goodnewsgeorge.com. 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 blorgy.net 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.

Situation Never What You Want It to Be

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my tailored pants were a little tight around the waist. So that night, I pulled out the weighing scale and checked myself. Eight-three kilograms. Fuck me.

It had been a while since I weighed myself and I remember it was around seventy-five. I had put on a significant amount of weight since then. It’s back to calorie counting again.

I recounted this story to my colleague, who replied with a quote that was shared with her.

You don’t get fat overnight.

What a simple but profound statement that got me thinking. Why do we expect to see results so quickly when we put in the effort to lose weight? It doesn’t make sense that you can undo months or years of bad habits by simply working out for a week.

Unless you’re made of LEGO pieces that you can remove from your body at will, it’s going to take effort and time. You don’t lose weight overnight either.

We can also apply that theory to other things in life. Like playing an instrument, a game, or a sport. You don’t get good overnight. It takes practice, patience, and knowledge.

I’m not good at guitar to begin with, so when I learn a new song, it’s going to take me weeks of consistent practice (assuming the song is at my skill level, to begin with) before I can play it. I might start by learning the intro, then the verses and choruses, and I break it into bits.

Eventually, I can play the whole song. The key is never giving up. It might not be obvious, but when something feels easier to do than it did yesterday, you’ve made progress. And you’ll continue to progress, as long as you’re not “doing it wrong”.

Like this quote from Denzel Washington in The Equaliser, “Progress, not perfection”. Rarely anybody expects perfection from you. And if they did, it’s usually for a good reason.

Many things in life are difficult to accomplish. That’s why we celebrate the people who make it look easy.

You don’t have to be as amazing as your idols, but as long as you’re better at something than you were the last time you checked, you’re allowed to be satisfied. Then strive to get better the next time.

It might take a while, but if you don’t give up, you’ll reach what you set out to achieve.

My pants are going to fit me fine again.

One Man’s Cringe Is Another Man’s Tattoo

I haven’t been in the mood to write anything new.

Every time I sat down to write, I told myself, “It’s okay if I don’t write today. I’ll get it down another day.”

The scenario repeated itself, again and again.

Until today.

I turned on my laptop, sat down with a cup of coffee, and did what I used to do when I wanted to be productive.

I launched WordPress, clicked on New Post, and forced myself to start typing. Something. Anything.

When you want to make yourself do something that seems monumental, break it down into little chunks. It becomes easier to accomplish.

You don’t need a clear idea of what you want to write. I mean, that’s great if you do. I didn’t and still don’t.

I scrolled through endless notes on my phone, no writing ideas. Tons of random lyrics, but nothing I could design a blog post around (without trying too hard).

It got me thinking. Who am I writing for?

This blog is my personal-public space (what an oxymoron). I don’t make a sen from my writing, in fact, I’m losing money paying for web hosting instead of using my free, already existing blogger account.

Who even reads this drivel?

Me, I guess. Does it matter who’s reading? Not really. It’s nice knowing that some people are entertained by this, but it’s not essential.

That’s just how art is as a hobby. I enjoy the process of creation. It doesn’t matter if other people didn’t enjoy my work. I had fun making it. That’s the best part.

While this blog started off as some sort of diary/journal, it evolved into a place for me to simply write.

Anything I wanted.

Rants? Check.

Thoughts? Check.

Dreams? Check.

Naruto x Demon Slayer hentai fan-fiction? Not yet.

The point is, there is no point.

Like an artist who is consistently drawing in sketchbooks to hone their craft, or a guitarist practicing the scales and strumming patterns – repetition is required to improving a skill.

The more you do something, the better you get. At least, that’s how practice works, in theory.

There are caveats like ensuring you have the correct technique so you’re not repeating the wrong methods and turning that into muscle memory (yes, looking at you, right hand (I use the same guitar strum pattern too much) what were you thinking?) but you get the gist.

By writing often, I hope to improve. It’s a skill essential to my current job and I’ve relied on it to make a living. I can’t be bad at it, can I?

By writing often, the process becomes easier. It may not seem like it, but this is practice for me. Each sentence I form helps future George be more confident about placing words onto a page.

By writing often, my audience gets more to read. All twelve of you, I know you’re out there. Thank you for reading.

By writing often, I understand the rules of writing better. That way I can create entertaining pieces that are informative at the same time. Edutainment, it’s called. My favorite way to learn.

By writing often, I can ramble on about not being able to write when I’m facing writer’s block. At least I’m putting words onto a page and not yelling into the void or keeping it to myself.

Is writer’s block real? Or is it some excuse that writers came up with so they didn’t have to admit they were lazy?

What I do know is writing makes me feel like I’m being productive. Even if I had spent the rest of the day loafing about. It’s a bit like negative bias but not really.

I’ve typed out six hundred words for this piece. Guess it’s time to call it a night. Don’t want it to drag on.

Perhaps next time I’ll practice my endings.