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Thoughts

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.

I Am A Two-Percenter

On Wednesday, I joined two-percent club. I loaded a Wikipedia page like I had done every other day and was hit with the following message:

To all our readers in Malaysia,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Wednesday we ask you to sustain Wikipedia. 98% of our readers don’t give; they simply look the other way. If you are an exceptional reader who has already donated, we sincerely thank you. If you donate just RM10 or whatever you can this Wednesday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has been useful to you, take a minute to donate RM10. Show the world that access to reliable, neutral information matters to you.

Thank you.

It wasn’t a strange message. I had seen similar ones in the past and never had trouble ignoring them. However, this time it felt different. Maybe because it blocked the top portion of the page and I had to scroll down to read the article.

Or maybe because this time I noticed they said “readers in Malaysia”, which made it feel personal even though I knew it wasn’t. Whatever it was, it triggered something within me. It made me think about how often I used Wikipedia.

I use Wikipedia very often. When I’m learning about a new topic, it’s one of the first websites I visit. I love that they have such detailed entries on whatever I happen to look up, especially when it comes to music and bands.

I love tracing the history of my favorite musicians and finding out which bands or side projects they’ve been a part of, so I can check out more music from them. From those articles, I discover even more related musicians to listen to.

Sure, these days we have Spotify’s “fans also like” and their curated playlists, but they don’t give any context to why I should listen to them. I enjoy discovering the lore of musicians, why they leave or get kicked out, and their ties to other musicians.

I also like knowing the names of obscure bands and releases so I can hunt them down on Soulseek or YouTube. Spotify doesn’t have every song out there, unfortunately. Wikipedia makes sure I know that.

Beyond music, I’ve used it for looking up GPUs, countries, languages, comics, books, and everything under the sun. I know Wikipedia isn’t just one person. The site is great because its contributors do a fantastic job of filling up and updating the pages.

It’s not a reliable source for academia due to its editable nature, but I’m not using it for such purposes. All I want to do is grasp certain concepts quickly, or look at information compiled in neat tables. I click on external links when I want to find out more.

Easily editable is a double-edged sword: it means that it’ll be constantly updated, unlike encyclopedias. On the other hand, people can choose to fill pages with nonsense. Fortunately, attempts to vandalize articles are usually spotted and fixed very quickly.

Wikipedia isn’t as “rabbit-holey” as TV Tropes, which I’m glad because if it was, I’d never get anything done. Then again, it can already be quite a time sink in its current form but that might just be me and my curious nature.

After donating, nothing changed. I received a thank you email from Maryana, Wikimedia Foundation’s CEO and I resumed using the site as normal. I didn’t gain any extra perks which would have been a nice touch, but I guess that goes against the spirit of donations.

I guess it feels good knowing I’m doing something to keep one of my most-used websites afloat, even though it has been running for over twenty years will continue doing so without my help.

I’m sure I underpaid Wikipedia but that’s okay, other people can pick up the slack. What am I, Mr. Moneybags?