Everyone Hates Him

Source: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/trainers-hate-him

Dentists hate him – He is always late for dental appointments
Trainers hate him – He has a stubborn personality and is difficult to train
Doctors hate him – He has cured all known diseases
Racists hate him – He has found a way to make all races live in harmony
Morticians hate him – He has found the secret to immortality
Police detectives hate him – He has found a way to commit murder without getting caught
Farmers hate him – He does not need food to survive
People who hate farmers love him – The enemy of their enemy is their friend
Haters hate him – Haters gonna hate
Estonians hate him – He advocates violence against Estonians
Food hates him – He has an enormous appetite!
Air hates him – He converts it into carbon dioxide through respiration
Waiters hate him – He is a terrible tipper
Socks hate him – He has a face no sock can love

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What Skin Colour Customization of Emojis Taught Me About My Unexamined White Privilege

As white males go, I consider myself to be a relatively enlightened. If I weren’t such a stickler for grammar, I might even say that I’m woke. My Asperger’s likely makes me appear dispassionate and unsympathetic, but it’s really a two-edged sword in the best possible way: my condition also makes me aware of the irrationality of prejudice, while also helping me understand – at least as much as an otherwise very privileged middle-class white male can – what it’s like to be pushed aside as the other. (Here I am avoiding the extraordinarily loaded “d” word.) Or, to put a far more sinister spin on it, the terrible narcissism that arises from my condition and divides the world into me and all the not-mes also has the side effect of putting all of the not-mes on a roughly equal plane, regardless of their sex, race, and so on.

But in spite of all my aspirations of wokeness, I had a rude awokening a few months ago thanks to an update of WhatsApp that got auto-downloaded onto my clunky old smartphone. Amazingly, in spite of its cringeworthy name, this application has become a key part of both Facebook’s fearsome information monopoly and my chat-addicted life. Along with Facebook Messenger, it has become indispensable for me in staying in touch with my far-flung network of intercontinental friends. Between the two apps, most of my non-work communications apparently pass through the hungry maw of the Facebook monster – but hey, gotta help my autistic brother Zuck out, right? (more…)

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The Art of Getting Threatened With Having Your Ass Kicked

Well, I just had an interesting night – a night so interesting that it jolted me out of blogging semi-retirement. I write this at 1:50 AM, buzzed with the adrenaline of having been led out of a bar by the throat, courtesy of a man with a striking resemblance to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. It’s not the first time I’ve been threatened with violence in a bar, and I’m starting to think I’ve developed a real talent for it.

Now, I should have known better than to attempt a night out in my hometown. Fresh back from Mexico City, where people just seem to get nicer the drunker they are, I was in for a rude awakening as I experienced Canadian passive-aggressiveness amplified by the poisonous effects of alcohol.

It started last night, when remote acquaintances lured me out for salsa dancing night at a local bar. I can’t dance for shit, but I was trying to force myself out of my bubble – Every visit home is a fresh rummaging through my closet full of skeletons, many of them bearing the musty odour of a painful adolesence spent trying to come to terms with Asperger’s Syndrome. Besides, with no local job or school, meeting people outside my family and my old gang doesn’t exactly come easily. And although I knew that the locals wouldn’t be as tolerant of my herky-jerky ersatz salsa as the saintly ladies of Mexico were, I still had enough positive associations (or delusions) that I figured I’d give it a shot.

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I’m Not Writing These Days, But If I Were…

I haven’t written a blog post in over three months. Since then, my life has been a series of intense, bittersweet, and sometimes gut-wrenching experiences. I have suffered through the pain and anxiety of becoming homeless and come out the other end with a new perspective. I have lived little lifetimes in Taipei and Kuala Lumpur. I have loved and lost, and I have consumed unholy amounts of stinky tofu. And I have written none of this down, because even though I know that writing is one of the most cathartic experiences available to me, I am too easily distracted by the dulling opiates of my alcohol-free hedonism, my painful addiction to totally purposeless travel, and the vague sense that I am supposed to be working instead. So today I sit in the lobby of a hostel in Mérida, Mexico, thinking about how I should really be churning out code and meeting deadlines instead of indulging in my silly writing hobby.

So I brainstorm blog post ideas, and even mentally draft them, but never actually get around to writing them out. And really, can you blame me? (The answer is yes, but it’s supposed to be a rhetorical question.) Writing a new post is a major commitment for someone who finds it impossible to stop writing until he has reached the 2,000 word mark. So here now are some of the post ideas that I’ve dreamed up over the last three months. Is there one that you’d especially like to see? Comment here and let me know – I’ll get around to writing it up just as soon as I stop working, traveling, eating food, and doing anything else that could possibly stand in the way of my creative destiny.

I Love Billy Joel Because My Life Is A Series of Cliches
The Tinder Transsexual Conundrum
Things I Lost While Traveling (Actual Things, Not Metaphorical)
I Hate All Backpackers And Also Myself
Nobody Cares About Your Damn Writing
A Fool’s Errand to Ivanova, Bulgaria
Facebook IDs Are a Thing, You Bozos!
A Series of Excuses For Not Knowing Much Tagalog
Only Happy When I’m Singing
Searching For A New Home

You Can’t Run (Or Fly) From Your Problems
You Know, Humans Are Damn Weird-Looking
Peso Ringgit Rupiah Mango
Boiling Water and The Beautiful Illusion of Purpose
Little Lifetimes (The Tender Pain of Taipei and the Beautiful Anxiety of Kuala Lumpur)
Don’t Take Your Person So Personally
What Skin Colour Customization of Emojis Taught Me About My Unexamined White Privilege
Touring America In My Self-Driving Car
The Joys of Traveling Miserably

 

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Reflections on Having Written Yet Another Dog Post

Over the past few months, I have been posting with abnormal frequency about my dogs. I suspect this is – spoiler alert – because I will have to give them away once I leave the Philippines. You might say I’m practicing missing them now so that I’ll be really darn good at it by the time they’re actually gone. At this rate, however, my blog will soon be completely overrun with dog-related content. OK, listen – I’ve heard of a dog with a blog, but a blog with a dogs?! Now I’ve seen everything! Or, more accurately, now I’ve seen two things (a dog with a blog and a blog with a dogs, if you’re keeping score back home).

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Beans, Rice and Loneliness – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Ometepe turned out to be stunning – and of course it was, because my good buddy Joe said it would be! (I’m only surprised I didn’t skip it after he recommended it.) The island is formed from two volcanic cones, joined together with a narrow land bridge to form a figure-8. The waters along the island’s long sandy beaches, while murky brown, have the comfortable warmth of a tepid bath – even in the middle of the night – and offer stellar views of both volcanoes, albeit only in the daytime. Staying in a comfortable guest house at the edge of the barely-a-town of Sta. Cruz, with the beach just across the road, I got to soak in the warm waters of the lake while watching horses walk along the shore. I felt like I had found a tasty little morsel of paradise.

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False Promises for a New Year of Lies

In the venerable spirit of using this blog as my notepad, I thought I should follow up my introspective, beret-wearing New Year’s post with a bloodlessly practical list of resolutions. Or if not practical, then at least bloodless!

This year, I half-heartedly resolve to:

Learn Mandarin: Mandarin is the language of the future, or so they say. I’ve never been one to focus too much on the “usefulness” of languages, having already poured significant energy into study such burgeoning international languages as Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Bahasa Indonesia. (The fact that they were pretty useful when I was living in their respective countries only slightly mitigates my sarcasm.) That said, falling in love with Taipei last year provided a powerful inspiration, and I’m excited to escape the tyranny of phonetic writing and delve into a whole other approach to the representation of verbal ideas. The whole language-of-the-future thing might be more compelling if I wasn’t planning to confuse the bejeesus out of myself by taking mainland-oriented online courses that use simplified characters before spending a month in traditional character-using Taiwan. If all else fails, at least I’ll get to eat a lot of stinky tofu.

Prognosis: Proper Chinese writing technique is out of the question when I can bypass all the niceties of stroke order using the massive cheat of Pinyin keyboarding software – What a time to be alive! I doubt I’ll learn to read too many characters, either, beyond the ones that regularly appear on restaurant menus. That said, I think I’ll at least be able to speak coherently enough for the locals to reply with suitable condescension. (Just kidding – Taiwanese people are lovely!)

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If I’m Gonna Die Eventually, How Can I Be Conscious Now?

Back in my rebellious teenage days, a rotund, sweat pants-wearing Bloggerbels spent the vast expanses of free time afforded by his status as a social pariah on pondering the deepest questions of human existence. Taking Homer Simpson’s classic utterance of “Everyone is stupid except for me” as my non-ironic life’s motto, I furiously scribbled my undercooked “insights” into beaten-up notebooks, presumably so that posterity would not be robbed of my precious gift.

One of the many imagined “epiphanies” that sprung from just below my mussed brown hair was related to the connection between consciousness and the afterlife. How, I asked myself, could I simply cease to exist at death, given that I was quite obviously conscious and aware at that precise moment? If there was clearly some conscious agent present to pose the question, how could that same asker simply seem to exist? How could this seemingly unbroken stream of consciousness simply stop? It would feel like a negation of every undeniably real moment of consciousness that had become before.

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The Horror of the Loving Machines

I recently returned to my beloved pooches in Manila after over five months of travel. Apparently I belong to the “out of sight, out of mind” school of attachment, as opposed to espousing the opposing “absence makes the heart grow fonder” theory – That is, I have to confess I didn’t miss them very much at all while I was off devouring stinky tofu in Taipei night markets and gawking at the opulent marble pedestrian underpasses of Baku.

But upon returning to Manila and settling back into my old life, I quickly realized what a balm it was to be welcomed home each time by hyperactively sweet balls of loving fur. And as I reflected upon how aggressively loving they are, I remembered a term (not original) that a former friend had used to describe dogs: loving machines. And as I turned the term over in my head, it slowly stopped being adorable and gradually became a bit creepy. (more…)

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President Pussy-Grabber and the Romanian Railway Police

Over the last few weeks, two parallel sets of misfortunes have been unfolding: one on a global scale, and of tremendous significance; and one on a personal level, and not important to anyone but me.

The more important narrative has, of course, been that of a short-fingered orange sex criminal being appointed to the office of the most powerful man (and yes, it’s still an office apparently reserved solely for men) in the world. The much less important one involves me leaving a trail of lost and damaged property through Europe, along with a few stray fragments of my heart – let’s start with that one.

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