Bad trade on Carousell

WARNING: THIS IS A RAGE POST. Hence the no-nonsense title.

I’m quite frustrated and I’m getting all my thoughts out here so that I don’t have to keep them in my head anymore. In my last post about Carousell, I mentioned I had a bad trade experience. I was ready to just forget about it then, but the guy sent a message five days later and I got pissed. Here’s the whole conversation I had with him.

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Everything up to here was going well, even though I felt he wasn’t being fully communicative. You can see that his messages were generally shorter and more abrupt than mine were and he was a little unresponsive and unfriendly. I felt like I was catering more to him than he was to me, but at the time I thought that was the way it should work; since he’s the customer, I should be serving him. It didn’t help that wasn’t using full sentences and spelling out all his words, but that didn’t annoy me then quite as much as it did later.

Now, the problems begin.

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Again with the SMS lingo, incomplete sentences and no follow up solution. This should have been a red flag for me; he wasn’t as interested in the deal as I was. But I wanted to sell me cards, so I worked harder. Lesson here is I should show as much interest as the other party. If he’s not going to put in effort, then I shouldn’t either.

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At this point I should have taken the mail trade and be done with it.

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My day was quite flexible, so I didn’t mind wandering about for a while. Wanted too go check out the churro place at Somerset anyway, but when I got there at 8pm, the queue was so long I didn’t think I’d have time to wait. Didn’t matter much; at least I’d found the place.

Look at the timings and content of my messages. I was courteous enough to inform him of my status, but he didn’t seem to bother at all.

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Now I was well and truly pissed. I wanted to shoot him down right there and then. His tardiness and his inconsideration for not informing me promptly at 9pm that he wasn’t gonna be able to make it. I mean, even if you’re in a meeting you could always just step out for a toilet break.

He gave me just a shallow apology and an excuse. No follow up solution to this problem, no alternative meeting time, no decision to tell me to go home. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being left hanging with no information at all.

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I waited til 9.31pm before leaving and sending him that last message for mail trade. Stayed at Jurong East station for half a freaking hour. Got to Bedok station at about 10.30, so I overstayed and was fined an extra $2.

Then look at the date next, I waited more than 24 hours before declining his offer. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore.

And then FIVE DAYS after I declined the deal he messages me.

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No apology for responding late and assumes I’d just hold the cards for him.

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Here, I was still being civil and controlled myself from lashing out. I thought was perfectly reasonable giving him 24 hours to respond before I removed the pending status of the cards he ordered.

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But that last message pushed me over the edge because he was implying that I was being unreasonable. Now I unleash all my fury that I’ve been biding all this while. No regrets, no remorse, no mercy.

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And he still wants to play. Either he’s incredibly stupid or… wait yeah he’s incredibly stupid.

He said he doesn’t just wait for me? HAH, he expected me to hold the cards ordered for him AND go through with the deal. I should have thrown that in his face as well, but I already had enough ammunition.

There’s a quote that goes “Never argue with an idiot; he’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience”. That briefly flashed through my mind before I responded, but I really wanted to vent my anger, burn him with all the power of the English language I could muster and besides, it makes a good story.

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If I wasn’t sarcastic, rude and dropping sweet burns before, I am now. I unleashed everything I had.

When I got home on Friday, I logged on to DBS with the intention to refund what he gave me. Then I realized I didn’t have his bank details and thus couldn’t transfer the money back to him. I immediately sent him a message requesting for his bank details.

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At the time of this writing (one day before this post is released), he still hasn’t replied with his bank details, so I still can’t refund his money. If he doesn’t bother, then I won’t either. Yay free cash.

This reminds me of something similar…

-Jace

Soulmate Theory

I have a new theory on soulmates. There is no ONE person just for us; it’s a type. There are many people with whom each of us could have a successful romantic relationship.

Okay, if there really only is ONE person out there for each of us, then the probability of us finding that one person is very very small. It’s so small it’s unrealistic. We also really don’t know exactly what we want anyway. Don’t we usually go into relationships thinking he or she is the one, only to find out they’re not?

Even Animology shows you that there isn’t just one person for you, and that’s a tool for finding your soulmate. Each person does a quiz and is given a profile, which consists of a colour and an animal. There definitely aren’t 7 billion permutations, which means that there are multiple people who have the same profile, meaning multiple people can be your soulmate.

Therefore a soulmate is not a person; it’s a profile. But each of your possible soulmates could be different too. It’s a person’s quirks and choices that make them who they are. So then once you’ve found your soulmate, it all comes down to whether you can tolerate their quirks.

So I have a new action plan: dating by elimination and actively looking for deal breakers.

See, I figure that if I work the probability, dating more girls would mean that I’m more likely to find someone I can click with. Cast my net wide, ya know? Also, each time I ask a girl out, I find out more about myself, what I like and what I dislike. That way I can fine tune my search for my next date.

Perhaps this sounds very mechanical, unromantic and somewhat desperate, but hey, I’m looking for my future partner. Someone who I can and want to spend the rest of my life with. I deserve to be picky and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that happens the way I want it to. Okay, that sounds so controlling. Rephrase: I’m doing everything I can so that when the right woman comes, I won’t mess it up. Every girl I date unsuccessfully provides me with practice and experience for when I finally meet my significant other.

So the second part to my plan is to actively look for deal breakers. Habits and quirks about a person that make me go “Nope, I’m sorry, I have to call this off right now.” Some of these include smoking, the inability to understand my jokes (especially puns), excessive use of vulgarities and not making the effort to look decent. I’ll expand more on this and in more detail in a future post.

This is also the way I’ve started looking at the new friends I make. I actively look for deal breakers. I find that there’s another advantage too; these things I look for give me conversation openers. Like, I ask them if they smoke. If they say yes, I back away. If they say no, then I can start hating on smokers.

Someone once said that bonding over shared hatred is stronger and more fun than bonding over shared interests.

-Jace

Carousell

I’ve recently been using Carousell, a mobile app similar to Ebay, but specific to Southeast Asia. I think it’s much more user friendly and intuitive, as there are less options and requirements than Ebay. I can only compare it to Ebay because that’s the only other secondary market platform I’ve used.

For now I’m only trading Magic the Gathering cards and books. Two weeks ago, on Friday, I made three trades. Bought the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy at $25, Mastermind at $7, and did an even trade with Magic cards. My first three transactions went pretty well and I was very happy them.

Not only do I plan to read the books I bought, I’m also going to wrap the covers in plastic wrap and resell them when I’m done. Perhaps I can even make a slight profit! As of now I haven’t sold any books, just cards. (I’m selling the Divergent trilogy and the Rogue Agent series, if anyone is interested!)

Last Friday I bought Ellen Degeneres’ book, Seriously… I’m Kidding for just $8. I’ve only read a bit of it and I can’t stop laughing!

But it’s not always good. After I bought Seriously… I’m Kidding, I was suppose to meet another guy to sell him $5 worth of cards. The plan was to meet him at Woodlands MRT station at lunch, around 12.30pm. I messaged him at 11.30 saying that I’d be on time, but he replied to say that he’d gone somewhere different for lunch. So we pushed it to 6pm, after his work. I had to go back to Jurong East station to pick up the book anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. When I went to pick up the book, I asked if he’d be there, but he said no, perhaps around 9pm instead. I was fine with that because I would be taking the train home anyway from town area. I could make a little detour.

Then the real problems started. Initially, I wanted to go check out a new churros place at Somerset, but when I reached there, it was already 8pm and there was a huge queue. In order to make it to Jurong East by 9pm, I’d have to leave at 8.15pm. The queue looked as if it would take more than 15 minutes to wait for, so I left empty handed. At least I found it and I knew it was popular.

As I left, I shot a message informing him of my location and estimated time of arrival. No reply. At 8.40, I sent another message saying I’d be there by 8.50pm, as well as a description of what I was wearing and carrying. No reply. At 8.55pm, I started getting worried and asked if he was on his way. Finally at 9.15pm he said his phone was dying and his meeting ran late. I asked if he could reach by 10pm, but he didn’t respond so I left at 9.30pm.

In the end, I was find an extra $2 for overstaying in the MRT, so that just added to my level of annoyance. I left a message asking for mail trade, but he didn’t reply. So I decided I would have nothing to do with him anymore.

This was a very important lesson for me. Sometimes I’m too nice. I don’t like conflict, and I do my best not to go into an argument unless a) I can win flawlessly and b) winning matters. I don’t take action in anger very often, but when I don’t hold back anything.

Mum always says to pick my battles.

-Jace

The sweet tooth is…

Like any normal person, I love sweet foods. But I’m also watching my weight because I don’t want to be unhealthy. So here’s a list of all the sweet stuff I love.

CHOCOLATE. Who doesn’t love chocolate? Personally, my favourite is dark chocolate. The darker, the better. I like the bittersweet taste and the fact that it doesn’t melt as easily as milk chocolate. In fact, it melts so slowly that I can just pop a piece in my mouth and let it melt as I enjoy a storybook. White chocolate gives me a sore throat and I absolutely abhor anything in chocolate, except more chocolate. Fruits, nuts, jams, syrups, wafers and rice krispies just don’t do it for me. Even cream is iffy. I like my chocolate dark and plain, in it’s pure, majestic, original form.

Next, ice cream! Who doesn’t love ice cream? My favourite flavour is cookies and cream and it’s my default go-to flavour every single time. I also love butterscotch, but so far I can only find that flavour in Swensen’s and I don’t go there very often. The closest I’ve gotten would be vanilla with caramel bits which we found in a supermarket. Cold Storage, I think. The only thing I like better then a cookies and cream ice cream is a cookies and cream milkshake! My friend Mark got me started on Oreo milkshakes recently, which we always get from Carl’s Junnior. I never really loved milkshakes before that. I mean, if I was offered one I wouldn’t turn it down, but it just was never at the forefront of my mind when it came to dessert. I did go on a milkshake craze once, when I went to New Zealand on a school trip in Secondary 3. My best friend at the time and I drank one milkshake everyday while we were there, because New Zealand had what they called Thickshakes; extra ice cream. YUMMY.

Frozen Yogurt, or Froyo is the most healthy indulgence I let myself have. My friend Lisa got me started on this, so now I always associate froyo with her. I experimented with a few toppings before settling for my standard order of Nata de coco and mixed choco chips. I learnt that Oreo cookie crumbs didn’t blend well. I liked peach, but as a rule of thumb I don’t usually mix my fruits with sweet treats. I’d rather have the fruits separately. Nata de coco, like peach, blended well with the yogurt, giving the yogurt some solidity and chewiness but not overpowering the yogurt taste. Mixed choco chips doesn’t blend with the yogurt, but I like it more as an ending than as a topping. When I finish the yogurt, I pour everything that’s left into my mouth. I swallow the melted yogurt and I just leave all the choco chips to slowly melt in my mouth.

Cookies!!! I FREAKING LOVE COOKIES. Chocolate chip and Oreos are my top favourites. Oreos, for obvious reasons. Chocolate chip is the most basic, standard cookie you can make. I personally love Subway cookies. I used to order double chocolate chip, until I discovered that I love the slight saltiness of chocolate chip. After that, I never went back to double chocolate chip. I usually save the cookie for the next day’s breakfast, where I can dip it in milk. I haven’t quite mastered the art of cookie dipping, so sometimes my cookie piece gets smaller when I pull it out of the milk and my table gets a little messy.

Raisin cookies are the reason I have trust issues.

The most recent sweet treat I’ve taken a liking to are churros. They’re fried Spanish donuts usually topped with powdered cinnamon and powdered sugar. Sometimes they have stuffings in them too, like chocolate and caramel. I haven’t had a stuffed churro for a long time now. Last time I had churros, it was just the plain kind with chocolate and condensed milk dips. And they were mini.

I like sweet stuff and I cannot lie, I liked them baked, frozen or fried…

-Jace

Hey, do ya wanna see my bird?

01 Bird in hand

Yeah I’ve been using that opening line every time I share this picture. It never gets old!

Also, to whoever knows my inappropriate joke twisting the saying “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”, hope you get a good laugh out of this.

I can make anything sound sexual.

Last Tuesday I found a little green bird. It was just sitting on the floor, even when I walked past it. So I slowly knelt down and went into a sitting position. Still didn’t move. Reached out slowly. No reaction. I started stroking it’s feathers and it still didn’t give a damn.

I thought it was injured or something, but I couldn’t see any blood and it looked quite alert. Eventually I worked up the nerve to pick it up, so I cupped my hands around it and it just walked onto my hand and perched on my finger. IT WAS SO COOL HOLY CRAP!!!

So I brought it to the table and sat quietly with it for about 15 minutes, then it just flew away. It was quite amazing. The whole time I wanted to get it off my hand onto the table, but it just counter balanced and kept it’s perch on my finger.

I don’t even know what kind of bird it was. I’ve approached and picked up cats, but never a wild bird before. Also, I’ve never approached or picked up a girl either. I can’t say this went horribly, but I really thought picking up chicks and getting pussy would be different.

This is the first time this has happened to me, and while I’m doing my best not to put any significance on the event, it’s hard not to. Perhaps it is a sign for me to start taking action and just talk to a random cute girl, but to quote 500 Days of Summer:

“You can’t ascribe great cosmic significance to a simple earthly event. Coincidence. That’s all anything ever is. Nothing more than coincidence.”

-Jace

When life gives you lessons…

…make lessonade

I believe that everyone crosses my path for a reason. And that reason is to learn a lesson from that person. That person will stay with me until I learn that lesson, or until someone else comes to teach me the same lesson.

Everyone has something to share, but it’s always up to me to learn it. Once I do, that person usually fades away slowly. When someone stays, it means they still have things to teach me. Not everyone just has one thing to teach me. That’s why I do my best to keep learning new things from all the friends around me.

I’ll share two lessons I learnt from the last two dates I went on with two different girls. I ended each of them after the first date because I knew that they weren’t what I was looking for. But what I look for in a girl is a different story. My point is, I had to learn the same lesson twice.

Everyone is different when they’re behind a screen, no matter how many pictures of them you view. Perhaps it’s just a personal quirk, but I really feel disappointed when I invest so much time into a chat conversation and then I don’t like the girl when I finally meet her. It’s not just about looks too, it’s posture, the way she carries herself, facial expressions, physical habits, speech patterns and the way she dresses. An online chat definitely doesn’t show me everything I want to know. Most of the time, pictures don’t do so either, because people tend to be in a pose, meaning it’s intentional, it’s what they want the camera to see, and therefore, not always true about that person. I’m probably no exception.

I also have a bad habit of romanticizing my date before I meet her, based solely on the conversations we’ve had and the pictures I’ve seen. But I don’t do this just for dates. Sometimes when I make an online friend, male or female, I do that too before I actually meet them in person. The last example was when I was in Japan for my internship and I made friends with a traceur through one of the Facebook parkour groups. He and I had awesome conversations, not just about parkour and we really clicked. At least, I thought so. So before I returned to Singapore, I thought he was really awesome. Until he couldn’t even bother with basic courtesy.

Everyone comes into my life to teach me something, so this is what I learnt from that experience.

Another thing I learnt was that everyone has childhood beliefs, whether they be true or not. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about beliefs you formed as a child, growing up in the environment your parents raised you in. It might not even be their fault; they may not realize the belief forming in their child’s mind. Most of the time, it’s harmless. I’ll share two of my childhood beliefs here.

First, I thought all cousins lived far away from each other. See, my immediate uncles and aunts didn’t have children then, and both my parent’s cousins (and their kids) all lived in various parts of Singapore, far away from where I stay in Bedok, so it was quite inconvenient to meet up except during Christmas and Chinese New Year. Also, a phrase I kept hearing was “Oh I visited my cousin in [country/city]“. That gave me the impression that people had to visit cousins, nobody stayed close to, or lived with their cousins that they didn’t need to visit.

It was always weird to me that my friends hung out with their cousins after school and I didn’t hang with mine. Now my mother’s brother has three kids, but oldest is seven or eight years old I think. I don’t interact with them much because of my schedule, but my brother loves them to bits and goes over to babysit very often.

I guess it goes without saying that this childhood belief has been shattered.

My second belief was that when I turned 21 years old, I’d be an adult and magically know everything I needed to know. Of course, now that I am 21, I know that’s not true, but I still held that hope when I was 20. I love my parents. They’ve always been such strong role models for me throughout my life. My dad taught me math, discipline, being aware of my surroundings and self control. Mum gave me a good grounding in English, showed my brother and me the wonders of science and always made sure we had the best she and daddy could give us.

I was really lucky. I still am very lucky to have them. My point is that my parents knew everything. I could ask them anything I wanted and they’d give me an answer, or show me the way to find that answer for myself. I always thought that my parents were just giving me practice in discovering my own answers to the questions I had, but looking back now, I realize that sometimes they themselves didn’t know the answers and redirecting me to find them myself was a cover up. I’d just happily go read up the answer and share it proudly with them. They’d learn something new, I practiced my research skills, and maintained the belief that adults knew everything.

Not everyone has had my advantages in life. Heck, one of the girls I had a first date with legitimately thought the moon was made of water.

Water.

It’s not a harmful belief, but it’s not true either. I can’t really blame her much too. This was a childhood belief that had never been challenged because the subject never came up. It wasn’t solely why I didn’t ask for a second date, but it was a contributing factor.

Anyway, it’s now become a baseline for me whenever I meet new people. It’s also a consolation I use when one of my friend’s dates don’t go well. I’ll just be like, “At least she doesn’t think the moon is made of water” and we have a good laugh and feel better.

Everyone that comes into your life has a story and a lesson (or a few) to share. It’s up to you to learn it.

-Jace

World Building

Wow, writing this story is much more difficult than I thought it’d be. I’m now world building and it’s slow because I’m the only one doing it. I mean, I do bounce ideas off my friends, but I want to be able to say I made this story myself, you know?

Anyway, this is an update on what I’ve got. I know I said I’d have a chapter once every two weeks starting July, but I already missed the first fortnight because I’m not ready to release it yet.

I did settle on a structure and names though. I’m gonna write a trilogy, and the titles are Learn, Remember and Forget. That should provide me with enough scaffolding flavour to craft my story around, as well as know what parts of the story should belong to which book. Sometimes I think of scenes in my head, or encounter real life scenarios that I can incorporate into my story, so the titles give me a filter and assign each scenario.

I thought I’d be able to do this whole project Bottom Up style, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I’m a top down person. I need to have to whole structure then work out the details. So that’s also why I’ve been delayed in writing; I’ve been busy planning out the major portions of the story.

On a fun note, I’ve created a skill tree for mental abilities! Did quite a bit of research in telepathic skills and psionic abilities. It was very interesting and the research not only helped me create the skill tree, it also helped me classify different types of abilities that my characters would have.

I also finally created my antagonist. There are several stories in which the antagonist isn’t actually bad, just misunderstood or different from the protagonist. For example, Alien. The xenomorphs are just animals that have evolved to be at the top of the food chain. They’re only the “bad guys” because they kill the humans, which most viewers “support” or “root for”. From the xenomorphs’ point of view, they’re just following their natural instincts to hunt for food and protect their queen from threats. Humans are merely food to them, just as cows and pigs are to us. Aliens are much like ants and bees, but these creatures aren’t “bad guys” to us.

There are many other non-evil antagonists out there too. Freedom fighters, natural disasters, unavoidable situations. It just has to be unhelpful to the protagonist. So that’s how I’m going to write it. I’ve come up with a sort of left brain vs right brain sort of concept, but I’ve filtered that battle into Remember and Forget.

The last reason I have for delaying the story is making characters. It’s one of the reasons why I thought of the Friend Date. I get to see different types of people and then model my characters of them, or blend different aspects or quirks of different people I know to create a new character. My protagonist is easy, he’s modeled of an ideal version of myself. But since this story is about mind reading, I’ll need to understand different people and how they think; what exactly goes through their minds.

So anyway, the new release date will be in the first two weeks of August. I’ll probably finish the first chapter in July, but I’ll need some buffer time to prepare more. I always like buffer time.

-Jace