Monthly Archives: March 2009

Mainstream

yeah, mainstream kinda sucks…

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laptop hunt time

Apparently CS178 requires a laptop, for inclass photoshop editing and such.  So this gives me an excuse to get one now.  whooo~

I Hate You

I don’t really like having love/hate relationships.  I’d rather just love someone all the time, or hate someone all the time.
This is probably why I put all my friends up on my infamous “mental pedestal” and think that they’re all (most?) angelic and perfect, whereas on the other hand those-who-will-not-be-named-here always stick out in my mind as being people who I ALWAYS dislike.  Sometimes even a -forced- hatred, where I actually remind myself that I hate this person.  Because otherwise, I get lulled into not hating them, and then that just leads to more pain.

Discretion

Some people don’t blog publicly because they don’t want people to find out about their private life, or their true identity.  Those people are probably being smarter than I am, yet I’m still doing this.  As futile as it is, I can’t seem to shake the hope of someone actually reading my thoughts and gaining something from it.  Or, God willing, even -doing- something about it.

The way I think about it, it just saves me some trouble.  If you have a problem with who I am as a person, I probably hate you anyways.  Living with my mom for 19 years (and being an angsty teenager) has ingrained in me a desire to assert my own persona whenever I can.

to connect onto that last thought, let’s look at some forks in my life where I’ve either avoided harm by defying my parent’s wishes, or been subjected to them and suffered the consequences.

Instance 1: Back in CMS, I was in A band starting from 6th grade, although a stupid scheduling conflict prevented me from “actually” being in A band.  So in actuality I was in B band but I played with =both= bands for concerts.  Yes, I was that good.  In 8th grade My mom forced me to drop band and take Woodshop instead.  Forget the fact that I liked playing the flute and planned to do so in the future.  Forget the fact that I liked being in band and was surrounded by cooler-than-average people there.  Clearly Band was “a waste of time”.  And clearly woodshop was superior, since…my brother had taken it 9 years ago when he was at CMS. 

Result: Everyone in band hated me.  Even back then, I had developed a reputation for being a godly flute player (even though I wasn’t at all.  Hell, I was THIRD chair behind Mrs. V’s daughter and Chelsea M.!).  So people gave me a hard time about it when they found out that I had dropped it.  And for WOODSHOP, of all things!  One alto sax player (or was he a trumpet player?  I can’t remember because when I think of it I just come up with an image of Jeff Facun because he reminded me of him) actually physically harassed me for this.  In woodshop I ended up making a bunch of projects.  They’re all at my house in various places.  I’m not particularly proud of any of them.  I’m not using any of them.  The woodshop social scene was inferior.  It was more stressful, since I had projects to complete.  It took up more time, since I had to go into the shop to do extra work on projects.

Instance 2: Freshman year of high school, I wasn’t in the band program at all.  Instead I took…what the hell DID i take?  I think I must have replaced it with one of those shit classes, like Intro to Business.  Did that even help me for requirements?  I don’t even remember.  I didn’t join band until a year later, in 10th grade.

Result: I missed out on one year of the most meaningful, memorable, and life-changing experience I’ve ever had, and a year with the most important friends I’ve made.  If it was Intro to Business that I took instead of Band, then instead of learning how to march, and becoming a 4th year senior at the end of my journey, I learned how to….amuse myself with a computer.  And how to get admin access on a windows machine.  And how to use a proxy server to bypass the school internet firewall.

Instance 3: Freshman year of high school, onward.  My mom makes me join the speech and debate team.  “My brother did it”, so obviously it must be the right choice for me.

Result: I join the team, and meet a group of people.  This is actually a good thing, as some of these people would go on to become meaningful to me later on in my life.  I take the speech thing seriously for the first year and write a speech, practice it, and enter competitions.  I even do extemporaneous speaking, which involves speaking about public events.  I suck at this because I never read the news and I hate politics.  For the rest of my high school career, I slack off on the speech and debate team because I realize I don’t like it.  I know I don’t like it, yet I still feel a certain sense of obligation, partly because of my mom.  I end up going to meetings and other events occassionally, but I try to get out of it whenever possible.  During sophomore year I think I still went to a couple of events, and even competed (?).  Past that I think I ended up doing one event over the next two years.  The end result was one extra line on my college resume, saying something like “7th place in so-and-so competition”.  Ironically, that placement wasn’t for the first speech that I did during freshman year (the one I actually prepared for)–it was for something during junior year (?) where I didn’t really prepare for it at all, or know what the hell I was doing.
Speech & Debate didn’t help me with my public speaking skills.  It wasn’t until I became a section leader that I was able to speak comfortably.  Later when I became Drum Major, speaking to large groups didn’t faze me at all.
As another aside, we went through a multitude of different coaches for our speech and debate team.  Two of them happened to be men, and I hated them both.  One of them I knew from before.  He was a substitute teacher who took over one of my middle school classes when the teacher (who was a GOOD teacher) got pregnant.  He was sexist, he didn’t end up teaching us ANYTHING that the original teacher had laid out in her lesson plans, and he accussed me of plagarism and got on my ass whenever he could.  I could tell that he didn’t like the fact that I was smart.  To this day he remains on my list of people who I’ve hated more than anyone else.  Thankfully he only came to one meeting (wtf).  The other guy was annoying and also idiotic, but not quite as bad (though he drove me nuts as well).
The other thing that Speech and Debate taught me was that I hated Speech and Debate people.  I hated the mentality.  I hated the atmosphere.  I hated almost everything about it.  I can understand how people can be passionate about it, but it was SO not for me.  It was almost disgusting.  You might even call it -Phony-.

Instance 4: Throughout high school, my mom tries to get me to establish the Math Club, the Rubik’s Cube Club, and the French Club.  Of course…since it would look good on my college apps.  I personally didn’t see the need for any of the three clubs.  I didn’t like doing stuff like that either, and hated the idea of having to associate with bureaucracy, or leadership.  Even after I became DM I still hated logistical stuff.  The ideas for all three of the clubs were pretty much nonexistant until they were implanted in my head by my mom.  Who, of course, had the idea from when my brother did it.

Result: All three clubs fail miserably.  For one, there was no interest.  Fremont is…well, Fremont.  The amount of people who are smart enough to be good at math are few enough that you can count them on your fingers.  The amount of those people who are interested in math competitions, you can count on one finger (me).  That kills Math Club.  Rubik’s Cube Club consisted of a bunch of idiots who showed up on basically the first meeting.  I think I hated almost all of them on sight.  And French club was miserable.  It was downright depressing.  Sometimes it would just be ME.  Sometimes it would be me and my cousins, watching some random ass french movie, and me thinking “SHIT this is a waste of my time” and feeling depressed.
Clubs don’t really work out if the president doesn’t even want them to survive.  The end result is 3 extra lines on my college resume, and a whole shitload of misery and jumping through hoops for things that I wasn’t passionate about at ALL.  When I had to explain about them to my friends it was even worse, because I was downright ashamed.

Instance 5: Sophomore year (?) of high school.  My mom makes me join track and field, since I “need some sort of physical activity” (marching band doesn’t count!).  And, of course…since it would look good on my college apps.  And, of course, my brother did it, so it must be the right choice for me.

Result: Obviously not built for speed (or power), my only choice is to do high jump, long jump, and triple jump.  But I suck at those too.  I didn’t make any friends in Track & Field.  Well, Brian Wong was funny sometimes.  I end up being forced to do 200m too, though I consistently get last place in it (not even close).  I end up feeling drained after every practice because of the energy I exert.  Later on I try tennis, since I figure I’d like it more, but I’m not that good at that either, and I mess up my wrist in the first week.  During tennis conditioning I have one of the worst physical experiences with vomiting that I’ve ever had, and I drop it.  I don’t think i did track during senior year.  The end result is one more line on my college resume.  And not even a good-looking one, since I never won ANYTHING.

Instance 6: Junior year of high school.  Having such a life-changing experience in band, I decide I want to join Winter Percussion this year.  My parents argue ferverently against this, saying it’ll take up too much time, and that it might conflict with math competitions.  I don’t back down, since at this point I’m becoming more and more my own person, and since I KNOW that this is the right decision.

Result: My parents give in.  I join winter percussion and learn mallets, which is fun.  Then I learn timpani, which is amazingly fun.  It was even more fun because of how many changes I had to do during the opener (which is when I played timpani).  It was ridiculous, and challenging.  It was great.  I get to be in a group of hardcore band members who are only there because they want to be.  I get to work with a different set of staff (Corey, Alexa).  And Kellen was awesome.  I ended up missing WP champs for a math competition, but it didn’t make too much difference overall.  Around the end of my first WP season I start getting interested in snare.  I pick up some things over the next few months and start practicing for fun.  I eventually get a real practice pad and start getting more serious about it.  After one year I’m a somewhat competent player, though I have no real experience.  During senior year I come into WP knowing that I want to do snare.  I’m a non-percussionist who never marched snare before, but I take it anyways.  I would have been center snare, except for the fact that they assumed I was going to miss champs again (I didn’t).  This works out because I was tired of leadership after being DM and just wanted to be plain hardcore anyways (and I =was=).  Over the course of this season I get together with my ex, and become very happy in my first and last actual relationship of high school.

Instance 7: College.  I feel pressured to major in EE even though I don’t even really know what it is or have any real interest in it.  This pressure comes from my mom, since–well, my brother did it, so it obviously must be right for me.  In the back of my mind I know that CS makes more sense, since I actually like programming, but I decide I’ll “go along with it”, at least until I find out what EE even entails.

Result: I plan out my entire college curriculum according to EE major requirements and start down the EE path.  During Fall quarter Sophomore year (a few months ago) I take an EE Analog Circuits Laboratory class which makes me miserable because I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing.  I spend hours trying to answer vague pre-lab questions and I still have no idea what a transistor is (no one ever taught me this!).  My partner is supposedly more knowledgable than me in EE but is no real help.  I end up burning through wires and chips because I didn’t understand how electrical ground works.  In the meantime my CS107 class is the best class I’ve taken at Stanford, and the assignments are not only fun but easy.  My frustration with the EE class causes me to go into social isolation on multiple occassions, leading to a downward spiral that climaxed during winter break when I experienced one of the low points of my entire life.  I switch majors to CS and suddenly feel like I have direction in my academic life.  This quarter I take CS140 – Operating Systems and at times become extremely burdened with work (in no small part due to group members SUCKING) but don’t mind because I actually understand what the hell is going on (though, to be honest, I almost -didn’t-, because the course, prof, and TAs were no good).

Bottom line:
=Damn straight= I’m gonna forge my own path through life.  What the hell kind of person would I be if I didn’t?  I wouldn’t be Timm[ie], and I wouldn’t even be The Man.

—–

I’ve been posting HELLA lately.  Maybe I’m trying to make up for the time I lost from my temporary leave of absence.  Or maybe I’m just feeling venty -_-.

Gifts and Letters

Why do I write letters?
Well, for one thing, I like writing.  This blog should be evidence of that.
I also like venting out my issues.  This blog should be evidence of that as well.
It also makes me feel like I’m keeping in touch with my friends.  This is a really big deal for me.
And, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good in the world–it makes me feel good about myself.  After all, isn’t it nice to receive really long handwritten letters from your friends?  I know it’s something that I really love, so why shouldn’t I spread that joy?

Why do I give out gifts?
Isn’t receiving birthday gifts and Christmas gifts fun?  Why shouldn’t I strive to bring that to other people?  I don’t think birthday gifts and christmas gifts are only for little kids.  Why would that be the case?

A lot of people I’ve met have said that they’ve done either or both of the above at some point, but they’ve stopped doing it because they just don’t have anymore time.  But “not having enough time” really just means “it’s not important anymore”.

So the real question is, why?

Why do people pick up so many things, only to stop them so soon afterwards?  It happens all the time.  I’ve witnessed people take up Rubik’s cubing and then quit.  I’ve seen people take up Diablo 2 and then quit.  I’ve seen people take up music and then quit.  I’ve seen people take up glowsticking and then quit.  I’ve seen people take up blogging and then quit (this probably happens more often than anything else).

I myself have retired from speedcubing, but that was after I had done it for 4 entire years (more than that, even).  I played Tetris Attack for that period of time, too.  SSBM is the same.  And I’ve been writing letters for probably that amount of time, too.  Of course, there are some hobbies that I take up knowing full well that I’m not going to devote that much time to.  Popping, for example (I’ve never even had a real practice session for popping).  The Touhou Project games are another (I simply played through them all on either normal or easy, regardless of continues, and now I consider them to be “done”).

But that’s not really the issue here.  The issue is that people are always moving on to different things.  In terms of gaming, they never really reach any legitimate potential–they never try for hard and long enough to achieve their dreams, like I have.  But in terms of life, they’re never remaining constant with their dreams, their relationships, and their activities.  People get different interests.  People find different groups of friends.  As soon as the element of daily contact disappears, a relationship inevitably fades away.  Sometimes it happens instantaneously, and you never hear from each other again.  Other times it happens gradually, so that you might not even notice it.  “We should keep in touch!” means “it would be nice if we still remained in contact, but we probably aren’t going to.”  “Let’s get together sometime!” means “The thought of hanging out with you is nice, but not nice enough for me to do actually anything about it.”  “I’ll give you a call on Sunday” means “I don’t think I’m doing anything, so keep your schedule free in case I feel like it.”

Are people just inherently biased against long-term commitments and interests?  Is it just human nature?  After all, Chobits taught me that humans are dynamic–their feelings are always changing.

So then, is the fact that I stay committed to all these things a bad thing?  It’s something I’ve been proud of in the past, but it doesn’t seem to be doing me much good right now.  I’m updating a blog that no one reads anymore.  I’m holding onto dead friendships.  I reminisce about old memories.  Is it really the answer to just give all of that up?  I don’t know, but if the answer is yes I think I would still deny it fervently, at least for a while.

I guess it’s true that things that are of no purpose anymore should be discarded.  I’ve at least learned to accept that.  I’ve come to grips with the notion that it’s okay for friendships to die out, if they don’t work anymore.  Surely when my girlfriend broke up with me, and when my best friends exploded (on two separate occassions!), that taught me something about closure and moving on.  And theoretically, I’m supposed to be “over” Band now.

But there are some things in my mind which I tend to place up on a pedestal.  Like friendships.  There are certain people who have been so special to me in the past, that I feel like their friendship is something that is sacred–something that I should hold onto with my life.

As other people move on, and find new things to do, and new people to be with, it’s obvious that I’m the exception, and that this isn’t the case for everyone else.  Maybe I just wasn’t special enough to anybody.  I try to be special in whatever ways I can–writing letters…giving gifts…being the nice guy…but somehow I’m never the focus of anyone’s attention.  Am I just unacceptably anti-social?  Or maybe I’m just wrong and everybody else is right–it doesn’t matter if people have been special to you in the past.  If they’re not here, then you shouldn’t go to them.  If they don’t reach out to you, then you shouldn’t reach out to them.

But what does that leave me with?  In the end, if I travel that road, it just means that I’m doing even less.  The assumption is that if I clear away room in my life taken up by my past, then I’ll have more room in it for things in the present.  But what if I -like- the past?  The present is an unknown–it may not turn out to be better than the past was.  It may not even turn out to yield anything at all.  But the past is special to me.  The past has the happiest moments of my life.  I can’t toss that aside, even if it means I’m left behind while everyone else moves forward.

in short,
You People Suck.