This overlord, Silence

On Facebook was an uploaded video of an abusive caregiver smacking an old lady in the head. 

I didn’t finish it for its sheer atrocity. It was reported on CNN, and, on Fox News, I think. So I assume, the caregiver was charged. I think I’ll read the full story later.

This reminded me of what a friend of mine posted on her FB feed. Basically, a teller refused transactions to a senior citizen, because he was on the wrong lane. The teller, insisted that he should go to the senior citizen lane.

According to my friend, the incident escalated. I imagine the elder folk would insist on making the transaction of purchasing a damn movie ticket than fall in line again. The teller, according to my friend, started to act out, yelling at the old man. She even called in the security guard to escort the old man out. 

Now friend, she was on the same lane as of the old man. And upon purchasing her ticket, said to the teller, don’t you dare yell at old people.

Points are: Senior citizens deserve the respect they can get from people. It is the culture of the country that its people are so fond of bragging about besides shouting out how intelligent and amazing they are; The senior citizen lane is a privilege, and the teller seems to have mishandled the situation, she’d be lucky if the old man didn’t report to her supervisor and honestly I think she got -away with it – the people of this country is resilient from making formal complaints; And lastly, my friend is a coward.

It is clear the teller is a subservient cretin, incapable of empathy and remorse, and there are people far greater than her. 

My friend, along with anyone else who wanted or had the strong urge to help the old man, are cowards. They could have stepped in and instead they chose not to. My friend, to alleviate her own guilt of silence, posted the incident on Facebook. As if that did any good to the public. The response, of course, were flattering, stuffing “likes” – the illusionary merit for ego – and stating their own opinions of the matter about how villainous the teller is.
What would I have done in her place? Would I have stepped in? I don’t know. It’s a nice thought that I might have. I might have taken a video and then ask for the supervisor. Anyone who has a smartphone has that capacity. But I see that in myself there is a problem as well.

These are trying times that will define what the future of society will be. Being able to stand up for others is a small but significant step that needs nourishing. We can’t always hide behind social media. 

However, there are two other things that might hinder this. The first, people just do not care. Second, social media judgement. It is becoming increasingly common for other people to record videos of any incident and upload them in social media. Some people give the full details and others do not. And there is always a chance for incidents to go viral, damaging people’s reputations or putting their lives at risk. Even with all the details in, the public are quick to pass judgment.

That’s why journalism exists. This is a different topic, so I won’t elaborate any further. 

At this point I no longer know what I’m trying to say. I’m just a little downcast to see how people treat each other. Not just the senior-citizens and the teller/abusive caregiver incidents. Things that we constantly see online: News about another person gunned down under dubious circumstances, news about people being torn from their families – sent back to their home countries, leaving behind their children, and issues about the color of people’s skin, of gender, of intelligence, of age. 

Times like these I wish I were a kid again with the biggest worry was making sure I get grades high enough to please my parents. Changing times. Trying times. And many people are also fighting for it. Raising their own flags of war, to re-define what has been broken down. Perseverance, patience, and resilience. Yep. We’ll need more of those. 

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Light Up the Night

My wife once told me how envious she was on my life. That at a young age I knew exactly what to do with it. She wasn’t alone. We had a mutual friend, who said the same thing to me. I have friends who feel the same.

I couldn’t have been more than 11-years-old when I thought I’d set sail, determined to become a journalist. Somehow after staying tuned on National Geographic than at Cartoon Network had some sort of influence on me. Because it just hit me that the world is a massive place and there many fantastical and absurd things to see. And there was it. I wanted to travel and see the world. Not the Carpe Diem, penny-less, reckless, pursuit-of-life bullshit. Something more as a passion-driven profession, where I’d get to travel and write all about it, and get paid.

The truth is, being able to work on videogames is the first thing I really wanted to do. But my brain couldn’t comprehend coding and I keep feeling stupid whenever I try to study it as hard as I could, plus the severe lack of resources back then. (It is only recently that gaming industry is gaming traction from where I live.)

So I set out to become a journalist. Because it involved writing and I’ve been writing short stories and games stories ever since I’ve played “Super Mario World” and writing about games was the closest thing I could do to make them.

In my past five years as a journalist, I have been to Thailand, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, India, and Indonesia, for numerous times, each exploring another part of the country where I haven’t been before. I think, it’s a little hard to tell which one had been the best. There was that one trip to Singapore, where all 12 of us media friends sat at dinner, being loud and obnoxious, singing the theme song of Captain Planet. Holy shit, right? Then there was my first visit to China, to Beijing specifically. I scaled a tiny fraction of the Great Wall, sailed along the Yellow River, saw the faces carved from mountains – two emperors, whose names I forgot, and then, the best of all, Kung Fu training where the tour guides made us dress up. The twist here, had been the bus drop out was in a massive tourist location, and there were people all over the world, looking at us, taking our pictures. We had to walk over an hour, to get some basic training, and then, a little more walking, we got to watch actual martial artists practicing Kung Fu in its full glory.

The stuff you see in films where dozens upon dozens of rows and columns of children going “Hiya! Hiya! Hiya!” are true. It was a thrill.

Then of course there is that first travel, to Bangkok, Thailand. Where the gracious phone maker company treated us to a very sketchy massage place. At first we all though, ah, okay…. All the people that will be doing the massages are all dudes, so, for half of us guys, are like, okay that’s a little better. For a moment there we all thought we were being forced to do something illegal.

Then each of us were ushered to our separate rooms, a blank, boring room, with a lone mattress on the floor, and a bright red light on the ceiling. Holy fuck, what have we gotten ourselves into?

It all turned out well. We’d hear the occasional scream from the other room, and someone from the other room would shout, “Hey you okay?”

It was a legit massage place, long story short and the most amusing tale that night was this really hot girl that were with us, got a little bit of unwanted extra attention. Nothing terrible happened to her. She just managed to laugh it off. This is a tale best saved for another time.

Later that night, we were on a cruise ship along, from what I recall, is called the River of Kings. We passed by underneath a bridge, with a couple of Thai people waving at us, shouting something. It could have been “Hi!” or “Fuck you!” I don’t know. It was nice and sweet and tourists waved back at them.

I started a blog before going to bed. A travel blog, because, this was it, my moment to write about the places I see. I don’t know what happened to be honest. The blog died before it even took off. I started a second one for book reviews and that went nowhere as well. A few months after that, the Visceral Writings WordPress blog came to life, originally designed to document my writing progress.

I think I realized too late, no one really gives a shit about reading the behind-the-scenes of how a novel came to be. Especially from a no one such as myself. I thought about spicing it up by putting in writing advice. Then I realized, that was stupid. Who am I, to give proud advice to other writers? We’re all equal and on the same boat. Inspiration and motivation? Maybe. Yeah. I suppose that’s alright. But it’s not enough of a reason though. It only made me look arrogant.

Look, I’m not saying I will start handing out advice if I become a better writer. There are tons of writers out there that are doing a better job. My work pales in comparison in mostly everyone else that I know and anything I put on paper continues to be criticized to no-end. But it’s cool. I’ll keep on writing.

I suppose the purpose of this post is simply to make it formal. I’d like to jump start the travel writing thing while I still can. So this blog of an aspiring author will now write about random travels every now and then. I’ll try to recall some of my past visits and write about them too. Keep on trying new stuff and all those ridiculous stuff.

All I’m saying is, most of my life has been in the dark, wandering out alone and shit. I guess it’s time to put on a little lights here and there.

Hell, I might even try to do food writing. Uh, maybe not.

Now Listening: Light up the Night, by The Protomen

 

Delicious Friends

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It appears that I simply cannot learn.

I have my WIP, “The Year of the Red Whale” and it is being developed rather smoothly. I have about 40,000 words in, halfway through before I start chopping limbs and make sure they re-grow right. There are also a slew of other stories eager to be written into existence. And already, out of the blue, I have initiated a brand new project on a whim.

To make matters worst. It isn’t just a new story.

Over a year or two I used to read a lot of articles from the gaming website, Killscreen. And they loved talking about Failbetter Games’ “Sunless Sea.” And recently, I decided to download it on Steam and play it. By damn, my head was blown away.

It’s a pretty savage game with a, simple combat mechanic. What made it interesting is the adventures. Taking risky voyages far into the sea. The farther you go, the fewer supplies to eat, the fewer fuel to have to get home. Cannibalism and madness take over. It’s a well-polished game.

Then I learned all about their policies about fan work and how they support indie developers, going to the point in providing rich lore of advice in how to become a better writer – in the verse of game design.

In short, I have become madly in-love with the world of the “Sunless Sea.” So I sent them an email, telling them I’d like to write a fan novella. They responded less in 24 hours, saying yes, reminding me of their guidelines. My mind just sunk in to the bottom of the Unterzee.

Will I still go for it? Damn right. Why not just write my own story in my own universe? Great question. I don’t know how to answer that. I just want to contribute something into their universe, even if its just a novelized fan-fiction.Maybe this is a catalyst, for me to try to speed up and improve my writing progress. We’ll see.

I have no characters and no plot to begin with. I even have doubts in my own skill, afraid to put a tiny stain on the Fallen London Universe (the world where Sunless Sea take place) even though it would be something easy to ignore. So, in the coming weeks, I’ll be spending more time playing the game, digesting the lore, studying the intricate writing and design, and seek deeper understanding in the Wiki.

I have also put up the new image header for this blog. The very first since I started this in 2012. It’s a wallpaper from the “Sunless Sea” and apparently, I’m allowed to use it as a book cover.

Again, what I’m about to do is a fan work, based on the Fallen London Universe, created by the game developer, Failbetter Games.Estimated production time will be on the last week of March.

Exciting times ahead.

Let’s talk about the Predator 21X

A few days ago I actually got to play with Acer’s gaming monster, the Predator 21X. And this thing costs 9,000USD. If you want to be specific, 8,999USD. In the country where I’m taking residence at, it costs about 450K, half a million. Add another 500K and you have a spanking new Honda Civic 2017 . Choose your poison.

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When the Acer Predator 21X first landed in the office, I was surprised to find a luggage half my size. It was huge. It weighs eight kilos and while the laptop itself isn’t really heavy, the rest the stuff that comes with it are.

The Acer Predator has a 2K curved screen. The angle feels odd at first as the display being curved inward to you, but then, just give it a couple of minutes, and you may find yourself immersed as ever into whatever world you’ve plunged yourself into.

It has two Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics cards. Now, one of those things is more than enough to pretty much run any videogame today. Having TWO of those motherfuckers would give you an overkill impression. If you settle down for a bit. Is it really overkill? If you want to play over 60FPS at 2K, hell man, this is for you.

Boot up is amazing. That’s expected, having a 1TB SSD. And 64GB RAM tells us this thing can and will run over just about anything. And to cool this thing down? FIVE cooling fans. Holy shit, right? Surprisingly, the Predator was quiet.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular games’ recommended specs based from Steam and Google.

Doom: Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB.

Dark Souls III: Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970.

Grand Theft Auto V: Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 660 2GB.

Overwatch: Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM with 768MB VRAM, Nvidia GTX 460.

League of Legends: Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce 8800.

If you compare, holy shit, right? You can practically play any game with the Predator 21X. If you’re a YouTuber, you can edit and render videos with this thing no problem – even though an Nvidia employee told me that the Nvidia Titan X is recommended for video rendering.

Anyhow, no doubt you can even compete in “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” with this thing where every nano-second is essential to victory.

One of the more cooler features the Predator 21X has is the number pad. It attaches on the side of the keyboard via magnet. You can detach and flip it around for it become a regular touch-pad. It’s a small but really awesome thing. The Dolby sound is pretty rad as well. On 50% volume, playing Paramore and Van Halen music with and the office was ready to explode. I love it.

On the left side is the headphone jack and a port dedicated to microphones, which, will get you in touch with your teammates or whenever you’re recording commentary for your video. And finally, as for the mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX switches, I’m not sure what to feel about it. The clicks when pressing them feels satisfying but in some way I feel they’re a little too cramped together. Maybe it’s not designed to be a typing machine? Of course it isn’t and the keys being spaced so close would make it easier to hit skills buttons when playing.

A colleague had mentioned that hardcore gamers who has the buck will get this. Or someone who is about to dive into the hardcore gaming scene would. Look, I don’t know, I went into some soul searching, and I just thought that maybe, just maybe, a hardcore gamer would prefer to build his own gaming rig. It would be cheaper. And it would be your own piece of art. How I see it, the Acer Predator 21X is for people who has the buck, and just wants a really powerful laptop. If there’s one thing my colleague said that I’d agree, this thing is a more than capable desktop-alternative.

I wish I had more photos to share to prove that I’ve actually managed to play with it. But ah well.

One of my earlier posts, I said that I would buy this thing if I had the money. I kind of want to take that back. I don’t think 9K is worth shit. Especially I can build my own setup, choose exactly the parts I want. As purty as the curved screen is, I don’t really need it, a standard 2K flat screen is more than enough to satisfy my graphical needs. Now, if I had shit loads of money, like, a really lot, then, as how Acer put it, “Why not?”

For Honor gets Open Beta

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I just received a press release from Ubisoft. I’d write a more proper article but oh, I have this headache.

Anyway, I first ran into Ubisoft’s “For Honor” at E3 2015. I was with a group of other games journalists from Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. And they were all crazy about this game and none of us could get a decent schedule to view it because there was just so many people to wanted to check it out.

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For Honor Closed Beta Peaked at #1 Streamed Game on Twitch on the First Day

 Ubisoft announced that the “For Honor” Open Beta will be available to all players from February 9 to February 12 on current-gen consoles and PC. Prior to the Open Beta and to continue the War of the Factions, Ubisoft will dispatch some of the fiercest warriors including Lauren Cohan, Jason Momoa, Alfie Allen and Demetrious Johnson, as well as several of the top Twitch streamers to pledge their swords in a live For Honor battle taking place on Tuesday, February 7 at 11:00 p.m. CET Paris Time. This live War of the Factions competition, which will showcase the new Elimination mode, will be livestreamed on the For Honor Twitch channel.

For Honor Open Beta Trailer

Players can continue to hone their skills on the battlefield by joining the For Honor open beta from February 9 to February 12. This beta will include the new Elimination mode, a best of five rounds four-versus-four match with no respawns. Elimination joins three additional modes playable in the open beta including Dominion, Brawl and Duel, and nine playable Heroes. At launch, For Honor will feature twelve playable Heroes and five different multiplayer modes.

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The War of the Factions will continue into the open beta giving more players a chance to fight for one of the three Factions – Knights, Samurai and Vikings. Following the closed beta, the Vikings led the War of the Factions, which pulled data from the performance of players across all three platforms. Although the Vikings are currently in the lead, Samurai and Knight players have the chance to lead their Faction to victory during the open beta and earn rewards when “For Honor” launches on February 14, 2017. (Just in time for Valentine’s Day! Yay!)

Here are the details for the Open Beta.

Close Call

Today I am grateful.

About two years ago I treated myself with a Lenovo device, where I had written dozens of stories. Then it came to an unexpected problem where Windows 10 couldn’t be loaded correctly. I tried to solve the issue by myself but got nowhere. I had the laptop fixed but for some nefarious reasons, retailer suggested replacing the laptop instead.

To this, I agreed, shedding a few extra bucks for a laptop that, at least could be used for gaming. I couldn’t play “Overwatch” with it. Hell, I can’t even play “Heroes of the Storm” or “Dota 2” in it properly, which is weird.

In any case, this laptop has allowed me to write and re-write over dozens of stories and a little over a hundred articles for the broadsheet. A few months later, the very same problem that has seized my Lenovo. I was furious. I raged. I smacked the wall.

My wife was a little scared of me as I went ballistic. For that, I am truly, ashamed. For her love and everything that is good, she just clung on to me. And, after I had calmed, I restarted the laptop on Safe Mode, took what I can, and decided a last ditch fix. Almost the same things I did with the Lenovo a year before, along with a few tweaks. My wife guided the entire way, as we plunged through advanced troubleshooting and venturing into the depths of command prompts.

Somehow we fixed it. And for that, I am grateful, to her, to the Lord, I am able to continue writing on this machine a little longer. Oh, I intend to switch to a MacBook when I get the budget.

For now, I’ll keep on writing.

Listening now: Surrender the Night, My Chemical Romance