Prayers for Rain

It’s been raining in Singapore lately, and when you’re walking home after work in slightly wet weather then you really have no choice but to take photos of the rain listen to The Cure, right?

By the way, due to my new work responsibilities I’ve instantly become an Instagram whore. Totes. Like overnight.

Check me out here.

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I love this alley.

So I sold out and went corporate

A while back, you guys might remember I posted about how much I love my puffy skate shoes, and the immense satisfaction I had for not needing to wear leather shoes to work in any of my career choices. Then, judging from the multiple posts I made about job-hunting, you would have probably deduced that I have been looking for a new job… especially since my previous animation studio decided to shut down on us.

My beloved puffy skate shoes

My beloved puffy skate shoes

Well, the good news is that I’ve found a new job as a social media manager, which is a bit of a departure from being an animator. Guess all that time spent being a magazine editor didn’t go to waste after all! But part of the new gig is that I’ve finally gone fully corporate, and now I’m going to work every day wearing leather shoes and shirt-shirts.

Imagine that… last year I was wearing shorts and sandals to work, and now I look like a legitimate employee of a legitimate company. Though I did have to do quite a bit of shopping to do so, as all of my old “proper clothes” mysteriously shrank while in storage for the last few years – I think I have some gremlins in my wardrobe whittling away the threads in my pants.

My new daily footwear for work

My new daily footwear for work

So these days, I wear leather shoes to work every day. I dreaded this part, but I guess I got lucky when I found a pair of Hush Puppies that are actually pretty comfortable. All of my old leather shoes, even the ones I wore to high school, have always felt like wearing iron maidens on your feet, or having my feet bound up like a Chinese concubine in ancient China. I can’t imagine doing that again on a daily basis!

Does it feel any different? Well, I get stopped by credit card salespeople on the street more often now, and I know why it’s called “office wear” and not “comfortable for walking longer distances in the Singapore heat wear”, but otherwise I’m glad I’ve got a stable job now at a place where I enjoy what I do.

Hope everyone is well! With any luck, I can keep posting fairly regularly again.

Something that bugs me about my mom

I’m not sure if this is an Asian woman thing, but my mom likes to listen to the worst advice. I recently attended this talk at some neuroscience convention, and while I didn’t understand most of what was said, I did come away with “exercise = good, because no exercise => vascular disease => depression => dementia”.

So I’m trying to explain to my mom that she really needs to include more exercise into her lifestyle for her own good, and she’s basically just side-stepping the issue and ignoring me.

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That on its own is pretty annoying, and it’s part of the reason why talking to my mother is sometimes such an exercise in frustration. But what’s even more annoying is that one of her gossipy friends could tell her that wearing a jade bangle and drinking ginseng tea while facing the north wind can prevent cancer, and you know what I’ll find her doing the next day? Standing there with a jade bangle, a cup of ginseng tea and a compass.

So in her mind, medical science is not worth paying attention to, while whatever Mrs Loo says is like the fucking word of god or something.

Argh!!!

Honor and Vitamin C

They say that too much of a good thing is bad for you, and I guess that’s true. Just take a look at vitamin C and honor. Both of these things are good, and if you lack either of them then you’re either unhealthy or a scumbag.

But studies have shown that too much vitamin C can actually damage your genes, which sounds pretty bad actually. Likewise, having too much honor is going to put your head on a stake… just ask Ned Stark.

Wifey and I were rewatching the first season of Game of Thrones recently… and I don’t know what is more annoying: Ned’s naivety or Prince Joffery.

Should've cut down on your honor intake, Ned.

Should’ve cut down on your honor intake, Ned.

6 things I learned while job-hunting for the past 6 months

Happy days and jubilation… I’ve found myself a full-time gig again! This past 6 months marks the longest time I haven’t had a full-time job since I started working, and honestly it was quite a different experience. I learned a few new things this time around, and here are some useful tips if you’re in the same situation.

1. When they say you’re “impressive”, it’s like a girl saying you’re a nice guy.

If there’s one keyword I’ve read in a lot of rejection emails lately, it’s “impressive”. I’ve seen stuff like “We’re impressed with your capabilities” or “you’re incredibly impressive”, but these would always be followed by “but it’s not an ideal match for us” or “there isn’t a close enough match between your strengths and our needs.”

So now I know that when a recruiter uses the word impressive, it means I’ve been friendzoned by a company.

That said, I really should’ve learned this lesson from the Star Wars movies because Darth Vader cock-teases Luke with this very same word!

2. If your resume isn’t working, revamp it entirely. Better yet, customize it!

I’ve been using more or less the same looking resume since I started. I guess it worked for me before, even when I made the transition into the animation industry, but this time I wasn’t getting the same kind of results. I’d tailor it slightly for different companies, but the basic structure was pretty much the same.

Then there was this one particular job, and I was hit by a giant light bulb of inspiration to completely redesign and rewrite my resume. As I was applying to a sporting-related company, I completely rewrote my resume like an athlete’s bio and had my brother (who’s a designer) lay it out as such, complete with a douchey photo of me with a mean look and an aggressive pose. I got called in for an interview a few days later.

ghost_person_60x60_v1This point applies to your LinkedIn profile too. If you’re not getting any hits there, it might be that you’re not filling your profile with the right keywords. A friend went through my profile and had a bunch of suggestions. I did as he asked, and I started getting more inquiries via LinkedIn.

And if you haven’t uploaded a profile photo yet, please do it. Nobody wants to hire the creepy gray ghost guy.

3. LinkedIn is like the lottery.

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Speaking of LinkedIn, I really feel that it’s like the lottery. I didn’t have a lot of luck with it, and the few hits I’ve gotten with it have never worked out… but if you don’t buy even a single ticket, then you won’t have even the slightest chance of winning the lottery.

Besides, while you might not find or receive a job offer from it, most recruiters will definitely look up your profile to find out more about you. I definitely saw a lot of recruiters poking around my profile after sending them an application.

And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, then in a recruiter’s mind you have a significantly higher chance of being one of those technophobes that can’t figure out how to use email.

4. Don’t just use one job-search website.

I figured that Singapore’s such a small place, and one job site would probably have much the same openings as the other. It was the impression I got when I was last job-hunting, so I just used the one site this time.

One day, I went to poke around another one, and I found a ton of different openings. The application rate went up after that.

5. Don’t stay cooped up at home.

I know it’s incredibly depressing to be unemployed and sometimes you don’t want to do anything except wallow at home, especially since it’s far cheaper than going out and you’re undoubtedly on a budget now… but you should still go out because shit happens.

I went out to watch Django Unchained with my wifey one night, and bumped into someone I haven’t seen in a long while. He found out that I was going back into full-time writing, and told me about a potential opening at his workplace. I applied, and I was talking to his boss the next week. Sadly, it didn’t work out though.

6. Social media can be used for more than just sharing cat videos.

But you know how I got my new job in the end? I tweeted “Is anyone looking for a writer?” and someone responded. Cha-ching!

Sterilizing Sonic

Yesterday, we finally brought our dog Sonic to the vet to have him sterilized. After four years, we finally made the decision to go ahead and do it.

"You're snipping off my what?"

“You’re snipping off my what?”

I know all the vets and pretty much animal welfare groups will always support sterilization and encourage you to do it when they’re 5 months or so, but we had a few reservations about it.

  1. Wifey was really afraid that Sonic would resent us and hate us for snipping him, and that it would result in some change in his behavior.
  2. Her previous dog wasn’t sterilized, and he lived quite a long life.
  3. Those little shiny things are so damn cute.

We actually have a little running joke where we refer to his little balls as his squeaky brake pads. After all, he probably has NO IDEA what they do, and the only practical use they have in his opinion is that they slow his butt down when he lies down on the floor, and then they make that cute squeaky sound.

They’re also so shiny from being used as brake pads that they have what VFX folks refer to as “specular lighting“.

Sonic's brake pads

Sonic’s brake pads

But with Beanie on the way, and the way Sonic exhibits aggression and jealousy when other dogs and little things are perceived to muscle in on his turf (especially Knuckles… Sonic HATES it when his brother Knuckles plays with wifey and will aggressively chase him away), we figured it’s probably time we really thought about this. I did more research into the matter, and it does appear that the health benefits significantly outweigh any cons that might come with sterilizing a pet.

In fact, there appear to be only two basic reasons why a pet-owner shouldn’t sterilize their dogs:

  1. You’re planning to breed them.
  2. You intend to enter them into shows (sterilized dogs are disqualified… which I find really prejudicial).

We don’t intend to do either, so these were never good reasons for us. It was really just us projecting our own protectiveness onto our fur-kid.

So I made an appointment with our vet, and we brought him in yesterday morning. Wifey was mulling over whether we should cancel the appointment right up to the moment we walked into the vet.

Our brave boy waiting at the vet

Our brave boy waiting at the vet

The process took a while, and we were told to head off and come back after almost 5 hours while they perform the surgery and keep him under observation. We did that and headed out to buy some fresh snacks for him from the pet bakery, but we couldn’t really rest easy while we waited for the vet to call.

But when we finally went to pick him up, we felt a huge sense of relief because he was so happy to see us with his tail twinkling at 7 wps (wags per second). Looks like our fears of resentment were unfounded!

He got home and was a bit disoriented though, but I think that’s more from the anesthetic rather than any change in his behavior due to his missing brake pads. He’s pretty exhausted, so he’s been sleeping quite a bit. But we’re really just quite glad that he’s okay and all is well.

Sadly, as much as we want to reward him and make him feel like a champ we were also told to put the Cone of Shame on him so that he won’t lick his wound and cause an infection or something.

Sleeping soundly... and here you can see the surgical scar

Sleeping soundly… and here you can see the surgical scar

Whether his jealousy and temperament has been lowered remains to be seen though – I heard that it’ll take a few weeks or so before the residual testosterone in his system wears off.