back! and just as screwed up as ever!

Posted in College life, Depression, Friends, Myself with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by chthenos

I am back! I think for now I am going to use this blog more for destressing than for posting about stuff that interests me, because I’m busy. But we’ll see. I am learning some interesting stuff these days so maybe I’ll write about it. And maybe I’ll finally continue some of those stories from before.

so what is bothering me now? lots of things. lets start with the most pressing one. My roommate. So, all of my roommates are reasonably cool dudes. But one of them has a single extremely annoying habit. He likes to listen to loud pop music and sing along. The Chinese pop music isn’t too bad, although he listens to the same songs again and again. The American pop music is just terrible, though. It’s the kind of stuff my sister listened to when she was in middle school. I don’t think he listens to it because he thinks it’s good music. I think he’s trying to know a wide body of pop music so that he can sing when he goes out and attract girls. I don’t care what his music preferences are or what his girl-attracting strategies are, but he’s really loud, and he doesn’t like to close his door. So it’s highly annoying.

On a completely unrelated note, after 5 or 6 years of intermittent depression, I finally decided to go talk to a professional. I saw a psychologist at the campus medical center. Of course she was interested in stuff like my parents’ divorce and my family’s religion issues and suchlike. Perhaps it’s true that these things subconsciously affect me, but I didn’t particularly feel relieved to have talked about that stuff with someone, and at least consciously it doesn’t seem to me that that ancient history is what’s causing my problems. Anyway, I now have an appointment to see a psychiatrist, so maybe I’ll actually get to try some meds. Woot! I’m excited to experiment with my brain. And I’ll meet the psychologist again next week; she seems interested in talking about my behavior and attitudes and I’m hoping to discuss with her the balance between pushing myself to achieve and not pushing myself so hard as to destroy my self-esteem and create a lot of stress. In any case I think none of this is going to hurt me, and there’s some chance it might help.

Meanwhile, girls are still confusing. Let’s consider Situation WTF. Four girls are involved in Situation WTF. I’ll refer to them as A, B, C and D. Girl A lives far away from me. I only know her via the internet. A couple of years ago in my “internet girlfriend” phase, I talked to her a lot and we considered ourselves to be lovers. Then she started acting crazy and I cut off all contact with her, and after a long time we talked again and she sort of convinced me to talk to her again. She really did love me, in a way I never imagined before. I think she understands love in a way I can’t, and especially since we started talking again she has helped me understand what’s important in a relationship. However I am still averse to long-distance relationships, especially ones that didn’t originate “naturally”, and I feel that I don’t know her very well as I still have never met her.

Girl B is a fellow student. She is married. She is also a wonderful person and no matter how much I try to stop thinking about her “that way”, I can’t. It doesn’t help that we’re friends and she likes to talk to me and play cards with me.

Girl C is a fellow student also. I asked her out some time ago and she said no (actually twice, a year apart), and subsequently reaffirmed her lack of interest. So I finally convinced myself that we were just friends (like I wish I could with Girl B). Then Girl C decided to admit that she actually is interested in dating me! So, what am I supposed to do then? I don’t know why I don’t feel romantically about her anymore, but I just don’t. And it sucks because she’s a great friend and I don’t even know why I don’t want to be her lover, let alone explain to her.

Girl D is also a fellow student. She likes to flirt with me and I have been flirting back. I really have no idea what she intends. She often talks about her numerous boyfriends and claims to have a boyfriend in France right now. So, I have the impression that she’s just playing a game with me. Even if not, I don’t really know if I would want to be in a relationship with her. She’s definitely smart and interesting and she’s also kind of cute, but she’s not very nice. The main reason I like Girl B so much is that she’s so nice.

So yeah, this is the WTF situation. Girl A and Girl C both have serious psychological problems and also like me. I don’t like either of them back. I like Girl B but she’s married. The situation with Girl D is unclear. And I still complain that I can’t get girls. Of course, it’s probably true in the sense that I could not go out and find a girl at a bar or club and get her to be interested in me. So far, girls have only expressed romantic interest in me after I have spent enough time talking to them about their fucked up problems. But I don’t want to have a relationship in which the romance is based on my listening to the girl’s problems. Seriously. Why can’t I have a “normal” relationship? But I don’t know what “normal” is. I don’t know what I want from a relationship. Maybe what I can give is being a good listener and being helpful and generous and kind. That’s the only thing I’m good at anyway. And that’s not a very sexy set of attributes. But if I manage to know a girl for long enough then sometimes she notices this and some girls actually like that. And then if there is to be a relationship I have to have a reason also. Why do girls like me for what I do? I make them feel better when they are feeling bad I guess. How do I know if a girl does that for me? Girl B does that for me. Maybe that’s why I like her. Am I not giving the other girls the opportunity? I definitely gave Girl A the opportunity and she doesn’t. I don’t feel like Girl C would either. And for Girl D, one of the reasons that our relationship is confusing to me is that it isn’t really like that. We don’t talk about serious things. We don’t even really do much together. We just flirt. So that’s why I suspect it’s really just a game anyway. But I mean, she’s cute, so if I had a chance to make out with her I probably would do it.

Well this is stupid. I just wrote a ton of words and it’s mostly weird rambling. I think the problem is really with me. I don’t understand my own emotions. I have a hard time recognizing what emotion I’m even feeling, or when I am feeling emotional. I wonder if this is connected to my other psychological problems, and to what extent this stuff is physiological. I mean, what if it’s really just that I don’t produce enough serotonin? To what extent is that affected by my conscious choice of thoughts? When I tell myself “it sucked that you didn’t do any work today, you lazy ass, you need to work harder tomorrow to make up for it,” does that actually put downward pressure on the amount of serotonin in my brain? It seems odd, but possible. How do I continue to motivate myself to do all of my work without thinking negative things like that? Effective motivation is a combination of positive and negative reinforcement. Maybe I should create a structured system of rewards and punishments so I can better adjust the balance between positive and negative feedback…

So, yeah, back to relationships. I feel lonely all the time. I want to talk to Girl B more but I don’t want to treat her like a girlfriend when she isn’t. I hate to put all of my problems on her anyway. Basically, I don’t like talking to my friends about my problems because (a) I feel uncomfortable if they know about my weakness and (b) (the more significant one, often) I don’t want to be a burden to them, especially since I know how busy they are. And I know some of my friends do not like discussing “serious” topics whatsoever, and would feel very uncomfortable if I brought up this kind of stuff with them. Hopefully the psychologist will be someone for me to talk to.

I really just don’t understand why I can’t be happier. Why is it hard to be happy? Why is it hard for me to influence my emotions? I don’t know. I’m going to sleep. I have a lot of studying to do tomorrow. This week has sucked.

Update

Posted in finance, Friends, Myself, Philosophy, Writing with tags , , , , on June 7, 2008 by chthenos

Well, in the unlikely event that I had any regular readers, I’m very sorry for my long silence. I’ll try to give a brief update to explain what’s been going on…
So, I’m in NYC now working for a hedge fund. It’s really awesome. I love it there and I will probably continue to work there after I graduate (if they’ll have me, which seems likely). The only problem is that I am working pretty long hours, and by the time I get home I am physically and mentally tired and I just want to sit around, read a bit, and sleep. On weekends I hang out with my friends, do errands, and rest. It means I hardly have time for writing, or even for casual blogging.

I have had some interesting experiences to do with relationships. There was this girl that I thought was awesome. But she’s actually married. So forget that. But she is still awesome, and luckily she likes me too so now I have another good friend. It is not easy for me to find someone who is quiet and doesn’t like to do much besides be with friends and talk about things. I don’t like doing “normal” stuff like going out to clubs and movies and whatnot.

I also decided I basically have no hope with girls. It’s already too late. Already most of the girls I meet are already in a serious relationship, and it’s impossible for someone who’s physically unattractive to have any luck from “dating services” (eg online dating sites, speed dating, etc). People like to tell me that I’m a great guy and eventually I’ll find someone for me. But really they are saying “I wouldn’t date you, but you’re a good friend, so maybe there’s a chance.” There’s no chance. There are only more people waiting to give me the same assurance, to take just my friendship and shift my hopes on to some other girl.

“Nice guys finish last”, they say. Well, I can learn to live in solitude. I think people are made to love, and perhaps more so myself than other people, but I can give my love to my friends and that will be enough for me. I will work hard and I will be wealthy and I will use my position to keep myself comfortable, to live a life full of (solitary) experience, and most of all to bring joy and comfort to my friends.

So these are the things that have happened in my life lately. Don’t expect frequent posting to resume at least until the fall semester starts. I just don’t have the energy or inspiration to write after work. Maybe I’ll write a bit about my travels once I am going on them during July. And perhaps some ideas will strike me from time to time. We shall see.

Big changes

Posted in College life, Myself with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by chthenos

My life is getting completely flipped around. In every possible way, almost the biggest possible change is happening. Let’s see….

1) I just moved to my apartment for the summer. It’s the first time I’ve lived on my own (well I still have roommates, but it’s not on campus, no dining hall for food and janitors cleaning everything). I also have to pay bills and stuff!

2) I just started my job. It’s the first time I’ve had a full time, regular hours job. It’s a very laid-back place, not too structured, but the environment is still completely different from Princeton.

3) I might have a girlfriend. (The situation is kind of confusing.) I haven’t had a “real” girlfriend since high school, and dating is much different then, I think.

4) I’m going to get a new laptop. A much more powerful laptop than the one I have now. I can’t wait; my current laptop is decrepit and barely functional. (Hilariously, when I give it to my mom, she probably won’t think there’s anything wrong with it, except for the missing Return key.) I haven’t decided yet for sure but I’m probably going to end up getting a Lenovo ThinkPad Mobile Workstation. Seems like a pretty sweet machine.

5) I’m about to start learning Chinese. It’ll be the first time I’ve seriously tried to learn to speak a second language; I studied Hebrew and Spanish in grade school but it was just because I had to. I was never really conversational in either of those languages.

So yeah. It’s almost like I’m switching into a completely different life. Although #1 and #2 will only last for the summer. (Hopefully #3 [is real and] will last for longer than that.)

damn do I suck

Posted in College life, Myself with tags , , , , on May 18, 2008 by chthenos

I had a fun time last night  but I totally failed to even make out with this girl who was intensely hitting on me. That’s what I get for being drunk. (So, despite my complaints in previous posts, apparently I can get drunk. Let’s see what it took: 4 shots of tequila, 2 margaritas, and about 4 beers, all in about an hour. Hm. But I was almost completely recovered 5 hours later, and I have no hangover now, which is really awesome.)

So, here’s why I suck right now. I have absolutely no idea how to write to a girl on a dating site. A good friend of mine advised me to create an account on a dating site (’cause at my school there are basically 0 available girls who have any shared interests with me whatsoever), and I did so, and I search around and found some profiles of girls who seem cool, but now I have no idea what the hell to say to them. ‘Hey, your profile is interesting, lets meet for coffee some time?’ …..

sleep deprivation insanity

Posted in College life, Depression, Myself with tags , , , , , , , on May 14, 2008 by chthenos

so, sleep deprivation does weird things to your mind. actually, one of my friends told me that he’s experimenting to see how long he has to keep himself awake in order to hallucinate. i haven’t quite gone that far, but i’m certainly not functioning normally right now.

My impression is that it’s much harder to consciously regulate brain activity when you’re very tired. basically it gets harder to cause uncommon neural pathways to fire and easier for the most common ones to go. like i dunno, whatever one wants to fire does. so as you can see i’m having a hard time expressing my ideas clearly because i can’t choose words very well right now. and you’ll also see that i’m going to ramble like hell until i get bored of writing this post.

so why am i sleep deprived? i guess i should tell the story. so on monday morning I guess I woke up at a fairly normal time, like say 8:00. just guessing. i then began to work on projects, one of which was due on tuesday at 5 and the other on tuesday at midnight. so with the mighty power of energy drinks and bananas, i kept myself awake (but for 2 short naps) from then until now! oh yeah! actually it got kind of bad near the end, I was trying to write programs and they weren’t working well and I couldn’t understand why not. but probably it was simple and i was just too tired to figure it out.

also it might have been a mistake to spend an hour at dinner and 2 hours playing bridge. i also send a long random email to the hot girl that likes to play as my partner in bridge club but is a foreign grad student and wearing a ring on her left ring finger so she’s probably married but i haven’t asked her because that seems a weird question and anyway even if she’s not why would she give a second thought to a worthless dude like me. but anyway now’s not the time for such considerations.
oh man so i dunno like i just want to say stuff but there isn’t anything to say. asdfasldgh well this is pretty crazy. i’ll just ramble meaninglessly until things happen. oh man i want to become an expert in machine learning and code up some killer automated trading strategies and be a rich bastard! i want to be the next ray kurzweil! i am reminded of the talking heads song … uh… is it “the book i read”? or “first week/last week”? i think it’s “the book i read”. and he says at one point “i’m so ambitious” …. oh man i love talking heads, david byrne is the man. so was tommy makem, so sad that he has died. only liam clancy left. that man owns too.

my back hurts from sitting hunched in front of my computer for like 36 of the past 42 hours. its just wrong. i really need to start exercising again. well i guess i can start going to the gym as often as every day if i want! well i suppose i should go to sleep soon, i’m starting to come off the caffeine high from the energy drinks i had. dude i’m really crashing. it’s weird to be able to notice it as it happens. like i have stayed up late and had ups and downs of awake-ness before, but i’ve never crashed this quickly and noticably. weird! well i guess i’ll be passing out soon but for now i  shall ramble on some more before that!

god this post is so badly written. i don’t even know what i sound like. i cant possibly sound like a little kid. i probably sound drunk. don’t they say that? tiredness is equivalent to drunkenness? i wonder to what extent its physiologically similar. like maybe alcohol has a similar effect on neurotransmitter activity or whatever the change is when you’re tiredc.

oh yeah i relearned how to solve the rubik’s cube recently. apparently hardcore dudes oil their cubes with vaseline or something like that in order to make them rotate more easily. i am tempted to do this because i already damaged one of my cubes by rotating it too vigorously. the cube is so mathematically interesting. so is bridge. i want to get some bridge books to read this summer. i could totally be a beast at bridge if i put my mind to it. im going to have plenty of time for stuff this summer so I really should become good at something. or accomplish some goal. seriously.

goals:

read brothers K by dosty

get back in shape by going to the gym regularly, and actually lose more weight too

practice contest math a bit

practice bridge for the national championships

get better at programming

perhaps even learn to play the theremin as well!

get drunk (this has never happened to me before! but maybe at my next birthday party it will. i’ve got a lot of booze in here for that purpose right now)

yeah dude some of my friends are awesome. but i really don’t have many friends. it’s kind of sad in a way. i dunno i just don’t get close to people. i wish i could. :-/

how come i get into depressive thoughts so easily these days? maybe i should actually go see the docs here. maybe they’ll give me some pilllz. happy pills! i wonder …

all right screw it this post is over. BLAM rat-tat-tat blood is everywhere and all the people are screaming and dying! the people being, uh, that part of me which is writing htis post? oh god i have so much work to do tomorrow

Jet Li

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2008 by chthenos

I love Jet Li. I really do. I think he’s the best martial arts actor since Bruce Lee in terms of martial arts ability, and he’s also one of the best actors in the martial arts genre (which Bruce Lee wasn’t, although luckily he didn’t really have to play any complex roles).

But I like more about him than his sweet moves and hardcoreness. There’s something else that Jet Li does which I find highly admirable. What is it, you ask? It’s that Jet Li promotes cultural openmindedness. Let’s look at two movies of his that I just watched:

1) Fist of Power. This was essentially a remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury. The plot is simple: Chen Zhen (Bruce Lee; Jet Li) is a martial artist and he returns to his school to find that his master has been poisoned and the competing Japanese martial arts school is harassing his school. Bruce Lee’s movie was very pro-China and anti-Japanese, black and white. Jet Li’s version has the same plot, but it’s much more open-minded.

First, look at what happens to Chen Zhen. He’s studying in Japan, and he has a Japanese girlfriend (that he wants to marry). After the master dies and he returns to China, his girlfriend comes eventually, and his own school refuses to let her live with them and demands that he choose between his school and his lover. And he chooses her. (Note: in Bruce Lee’s version, not only is his girlfriend Chinese, but he chooses to defend the honor of his school despite her objections [she knows he'll die].) Then, the girlfriend recognizes how important the issue of his school is to him so she returns to Japan to wait for him.
Next, look at the general attitudes of the minor characters. In Bruce Lee’s film, the Japanese are clearly the aggressors and the Chinese are oppressed. There’s no question of Chinese blind hatred of the Japanese possibly being wrong, and there’s no question that any Japanese might not be so evil. But in Jet Li’s film, he shows that the Chinese wouldn’t accept any Japanese — they strongly objected to Chen Zhen’s wanting to marry a Japanese girl (even though the new master of their school was marrying a prostitute). Some of the people in the school were willing to accept her but most of them were not. And Chen Zhen couldn’t get a room for him and her in a Chinese hotel either, they wouldn’t allow a Japanese to stay there.

On the other side, most of the Japanese were what you expect: cruel oppressors. But there are exceptions. The uncle of Chen Zhen’s lover, a Japanese martial arts master, likes Chen Zhen and tries to help him. The Japanese ambassador in Shanghai was horrified by all of the violence and repeatedly intervened to stop Japanese from hurting Chinese. (This doesn’t mean that he didn’t think Japan should control China, but he didn’t want violence at least.) And the master of the Japanese martial arts school that was in conflict with Chen Zhen’s school wasn’t bad either. He was more of an “old-fashioned” villain. He was a complete ass, but he was at least honorable. When Chen Zhen challenged him, he told his school that there should be no revenge if he died. And when he found out that the reason he won his fight with Chen Zhen’s master was that the master had been poisoned, he was very upset: he would have preferred to lose a fair fight than to win dishonorably.

So while Jet Li’s version of the film doesn’t downplay the badness of the situation with the Japanese at that time, it is much deeper and has many more complex characters than Bruce Lee’s version. In all, I think it might be the best martial arts movie I’ve ever seen. It has a classic and simple plot, but still manages to have interesting characters; the acting isn’t terrible; the martial arts is amazing.

2) The One. I have much less to say about this movie. The only thing I wanted to point out was that in this movie, Jet Li’s wife is a white woman. And she talks to him in Chinese a couple of times. At one point he speaks about her in a way very reminiscent of Eastern philosophy. So again in his movie he has characters crossing cultural boundaries (and being happy as a result). Oh, also, when the multiple universe thing is being explained to him, he is told that in other universes the guy who is him is sometimes married to a different woman, or to a man. And in his universe he’s a policeman but in another he is a criminal. In a subtle way this suggests that everyone is capable of a lot of very different things. But maybe I’m reading too much into it (after all, Jet Li’s character reacts negatively when Statham says he was gay in an alternate universe).

I also watched War recently. In that one Jet Li is the villain, and he’s very secretive also, so there’s little to say about his character. But it’s an awesome movie too. (More of a Western-style shoot-em-up action than a martial arts action movie, although Jet Li gets in a cool sword fight near the end and he has some other sweet moves interspersed throughout the movie.)

In conclusion, Jet Li is awesome.

To be loved

Posted in College life, Depression, Friends, Myself with tags , , , , on May 8, 2008 by chthenos

Is it too much to ask?

My friends talk about how they intend to make five million dollars in the next 10 years. Or how they’ll make a big difference in medical research, mathematics, or something. They’ll have some huge success in politics or in social work. And I have those dreams too. I’d like to think that I could be very successful in mathematics or in finance. I’m a brilliant young guy and I should be on top of the world by the time I’m 30! But is this really all I live for?

I’d rather be loved.

I’m pretty creative. I could do a lot if I were rich. I think I could keep myself occupied. But I don’t think that I would be able to manufacture the same kind of happiness that comes when you are with a person and all you care about is her and all she cares about is you.

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better if I just gave up on this, instead of constantly wishing for it in vain? If I could be satisfied by professional success, and be satisfied to reign in solitude, maybe I would be much happier overall.

It’s amazingly hard to stop hoping for something. To convince oneself that the possibility does not even exist.

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