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*shrugs* [Jun. 19th, 2011|03:43 pm]
There are these times where I think about my past, and then I go OH MY GOD DID I REALLY DO THAT!?


*cringes* Good lord that's embarrassing *cringes*

Oh yeah, also, I got a piece of paper saying that I can do math a few weeks ago. I guess I should say something about that. It's a very pretty piece of paper, and most of it is embossed. I'm pretty amused that they didn't emboss the part that says the date. You'd think that, since something like 5,000 of us (between grad and undergrad) were graduating on that same day, that they would get that embossed too.

Eh, it looks like I still don't feel like writing anything meaningful on here. Which is strange. Usually, I want to write some kind of "quarter in review" post after I finish a quarter, so you'd think I'd want to write a "UChicago in review" post. Maybe I'll decide to do it someday, but that day is not today.
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Beginnings (of a sort) [Nov. 2nd, 2010|01:32 am]
[Current Music |Ryu's theme (Jazz arrangement)]

So I haven't talked to my family much recently, whereby family, I mean you guys.  Half-apologies about that.

I say half because if I were truly apologetic, well, I would have just written home more often, because I've certainly had the thought quite a few times.  Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that I am rarely up to writing anything more than a sentence or two (which is funny, considering I historically have been the kind of person who writes super lengthy posts), and I don't want to flood people's LJs with tens of two-sentence posts.  But aha!  What if we compiled all of those two-sentence posts into a... I don't know... fourteen sentence post?  Then maybe it'll be worth reading!  Yes!  Yes!  Let's do it!

Every day from now until I get tired of it, I will write down some thought that has been going through my mind recently, or some event that happened that day, or, well... something.  I'll try to make it interesting, and hopefully through it you'll get bits and pieces of what I'm thinking about and what's going on in my life.  When I think there's enough content for a reasonable post, I'll post the last few entries.  If nothing else, this will make for interesting reading for me in the future.


Monday, November 1, 2010:  Nicky was bragging about how he stayed up until 6am or something similar for the umpteenth time this year.  I was in a grumpy mood, and when I am in these moods, I tend to show it, so I told him in a probably-not-at-all-useful-to-him-way that he was going to get his ass kicked in college if he kept this up.  I was fully aware that I was being mean, but I didn't care much -- He's not a friend, and I don't particularly like him, so it's not all that bad, right?  Certainly not bad enough to make me stop myself.

I later told Nikita (not to be confused with Nicky) about this event, using it as an example of how I get into moods where I just want to tell people off.  Her comments resulted in an... interesting observation about myself.  Nikita:  "Did you make an effort to stop yourself?" Me:  "Oh, I knew full well that what I was doing was mean" Nikita:  "Right, but did you try to stop?"  Me:  "I mean... I knew what I was doing"  Nikita:  "That's not the point, did you try to stop?"  Me:  "*pause*... I guess not.  How the hell did that never occur to me?"

Somehow I have been equating "being aware of a bad thing" with "making efforts to fix a bad thing," and while the first is a prerequisite for the second, the two are not identical.  Thankee, Nikita!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010:  When prompted to think of things that they found annoying about me (this conversation comes up if you talk to me -- I always want to know what other people think of me), someone claimed that I was too afraid of failure.  I disagreed.  It's true that I'm risk-averse, but it's not because I fear failure (I might be wrong here, but I really don't think it's the norm), but rather that I desire success.  There is a time and a pacing for all things, and if I don't think that this is the right time to attempt something or the right way to attempt it, I will wait and do it correctly later.

I can think of one notable exception to this claim, where I do fear failure, but I'm working on that one.

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Youlian vs UofC Fall Quarter. Round 4... FIGHT! [Sep. 25th, 2010|10:20 am]
It's the start of a new quarter, and that means it's time for me to be excited.  Keeping this short and sweet.

Here's to a quarter of constantly becoming a smarter, stronger, friendlier, and better person than I was yesterday.  To learning from my mistakes and remembering my accomplishments.  To being happy and kicking ass for a second year running.

...and here's to backing my words with actions.  Let's go.
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Hopes, Dreams, and the lack thereof [Sep. 2nd, 2010|11:50 pm]
I was originally going to make this into a fairly long, drawn-out post with some musings and a cutesy anecdote at the end about a dream I had recently, but that never happened and it seems too daunting to do right now, so I'm just going to get this off of my chest.

So I recently watched the (apparently) well-known "last lecture" on "Really Achieving your Childhood Dreams"  (available here:  http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/), and like so many things recently (grrrr...), it got me somewhat depressed (I _am_ using that term fairly lightly.  No psychiatrist referrals please.).  It feels like it has been forever since I have really had a dream.  

Certainly, this summer didn't help.  I had a taste of the one important thing that I was working towards (computer science grad school), and found that I didn't enjoy it one bit.  While I still plan to go forward in compsci, I'm no longer as gung-ho about it, and I would hesitate to say that a future as a solid computer scientist/engineer/whatever is my "dream" anymore, or that it ever counted as a real dream.  CS is... well... just another job, and I can't think of any good reason that the dream of "I want to be a solid computer scientist" is any different from the dream of "I want to be a good car mechanic."  It's pretty easy to achieve, there's really no follow-up to it, and it doesn't have many interesting tangents to pursue once you're in the industry code monkeying.  Maybe I'm just being needlessly harsh on the field, but "I want to be a great mathematician," "I want to help discover the origin of the universe," or "I want to chase birds all over the world" all sound like much more legitimate "dreams" than anything related to practical compsci, and that's before we even look at the seriously heavy-hitting dreams like  "I want to create a nationwide organization dedicated to making learning fun for high schoolers."

What's more, I don't even have lesser dreams.   I'm not looking to travel.  I'm not dying to make my parents (or graduate schools, or anyone else) proud/impressed with what I'm doing.   I'm not out in the trenches helping people in need.  I've got a few goals, sure, but they are all things that just take time and/or things that I know I am going to achieve.  They are safe, and they aren't particularly interesting to anyone (not even me).  Now that I think about it, probably the closest thing that I have to a "dream" is the "dream" of being a good person (I have a definition that I'm not going to go into right now), which is nice and makes me happy at times, but that's more of a "way of life," I think.  Maybe I need to add something to this "way of life" to make things interesting again?  Hmmm... futzing with my definition of "good person" might actually come in handy... but that's a debate I'll finish having with myself later.

I guess the bottom line is... I don't feel like I do anything that matters.  The things that I am working towards seem insignificant and the things that I'm not working towards seem too daunting to attempt (and, let's be honest, I don't particularly care about most of them in the first place).  What the hell am I doing with myself?

Shit.  I think it's time for me to sell all of my belongings for plane tickets to Korea and try my hand at professional StarCraft.  I'd detest the lifestyle, the leagues are dying out, and I've never played at better than a C- level, but hey, it's a dream ain't it!

Edit:  Midlife crisis, perhaps?  Pity. I had always assumed I'd make it past 42.
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Heartbroken [Aug. 1st, 2010|10:28 pm]
Blizzard, you just went and killed my one true love.  I've never seen a plot with more holes, and your online service is absolute garbage.

RIP StarCraft (1998-2010).  You will be missed.

(...well, I'll probably still play the original...)
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Rock on comrades [Jul. 19th, 2010|09:26 pm]

That is all.

Edit:  I've been informed by Leonid (who can actually understand the lyrics, and so differentiate the two) that this is actually the Russian anthem, and not the Soviet anthem, so neither the CCCP nor the "Rock on Comrades!" applies.  Sad though that is, the piece is still awesome. 
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What I'm up to this summer. [Jul. 10th, 2010|11:38 pm]
The Haltman has asked about what my research is this summer, and I promised him I'd post it to LJ. Ergo, this exists.  If anyone else is interested in reading it, you're welcome to do so, and I'd be happy to hear feedback, but I'm mostly just making this post to satisfy the afforementioned Haltman's curiosity.

T3h D3741L5Collapse )
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Arrrrgh! [Jul. 5th, 2010|10:12 pm]
I wanted to spend this summer getting research/job experience that might be useful in applying to grad school, learning random skills (like, say... how to cook, or how to juggle, or how to play To Zanarkand on the piano), and basically doing whatever the hell _I_ want. This is a brand new thing for me, and it gives me a whole world to explore.

And I think I'm doing a pretty good job so far. The research is going well, I can do a three ball cascade, and only about half of my meals have been noodles or sandwiches. I've taken a lot of great walks around various parts of the city (One with Don, two with Winston, one with Andrew, two by myself), and I've found plenty of neat shops and events to keep me entertained. I've started reading again too, having finished Joyce's Dubliners and an introduction to Islam ("No God but God" by Reza Aslan) and now starting on Ulysses (Nikita made me do it =p, but it also seems like a fun book to attempt to read, even if I expect to fail.)

So why, if I'm actually having such a good time, am I so damn unhappy? I'm having a blast doing fun and interesting things most days, but the moment I stop, vague undercurrents of malaise show up. This is something that I've been dealing with for the past... I don't even know how long it has been at this point? I thought that it would go away now that I've been really enjoying myself, but somehow... it hasn't, and it's damn infuriating. How is it possible that I've spent the past year happier than I've ever been before, and yet I still feel shitty. Maybe even shittier than usual.

I know I'm being incredibly vague here, but this is actually just about the best that I can do at describing this problem. Bleh.

I do have one guess as to the cause. I don't have a real peer group, and I haven't had one for a long time. While I have enough friends to be happy, they're scattered all over the place. I don't have a pile of people that I can walk up to and just... enjoy myself with. All I have is individuals, and sometimes... recently more and more often... I get tired of those one-on-one conversations that I have championed for so long. I just want a pile of people to relax with. Where can I find it?

...of course, I could be completely wrong as to what causes this malaise. Who knows.

Oh, and just to clarify, while MC certainly satisfies the above criterion of having a peer-group for me, it's not a long term fix, and I'm not at all regretting not being at camp. I'm psyched as hell for MC '11, mind you (oh man am I psyched for it! I keep envisioning all of the campers that I'm going to punch in the face... I mean make really really happy.), but this is my year off. I'm not worrying about it, and I'm not missing it much. Camp is a wonderful place, still the best in the world, but I've been to four of them now. I have a pretty good idea of what would be going on if I were there. To quote Dave Savitt... "No two Mathcamps are ever the same, and in that regard, [MC '08] was no different."
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And then I dream... that I am who I wanna be [May. 19th, 2010|09:39 pm]
Naruto has _such_ an uncanny ability to cheer me up. One panel in this chapter... really... really did it for me. Thanks again, Mr. Kishimoto!

Actually, all things considered, this has been a surprisingly good week. Even if I did finally get hit by my quarterly malaise earlier today, well... I've overcome it faster than ever, and I'm now pumped and ready to kick ass for the remainder of the quarter. Bring it on UofC. My power level is over 9,000. My dial goes to 11. You're not winning this fight. Let's go.

Sorry for the brief and somewhat cryptic entries as of late. Let's just say that I've missed you guys, and I promise to write something substantial soon.
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Simple pleasures [May. 16th, 2010|10:38 am]
[Current Mood |contentcontent]

Staying up until 2am playing Agricola with Jasper, Michele, Andrea, and Courtney was wonderful. I really needed that in more than one way.
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