Twenty-Five Things

Sunday, 2009-02-08; 02:21:03

“Write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.”

Usually, I hate weblog memes. They’re meaningless, trite, and almost always reveal nothing about yourself. This, on the other hand, is the first weblog meme that intrigues me. Maybe because it’s freeform writing instead of just answering questions, or maybe it’s because the first time I saw it, the result was compelling. Either way, I’m breaking the rules and doing it anyway even though nobody has tagged me. Take that, internets!

Speaking of the internets, I have a conscious habit of making them plural, both in speaking and in writing, just to make sure that people remember how illiterate our former president was. Other than that, I’m a pedantic grammar nazi.

I love cooking, I think because I like eating. I would just as much prefer making something at home than going out to eat, if I am skilled enough in making the food in question. I have this nasty habit, though, of not wanting to use recipes, so I rarely end up broadening my cooking repertoire. I don’t know, using recipes feels like cheating somehow, like you didn’t take the time to actually figure out that certain flavors and textures go together. It’s psychologically easier for me to learn from someone than from a recipe book, like from my dad. I guess I need a cooking partner with whom I can share techniques and dishes.

On the other hand, it occurs to me that I have no problem at all with using recipes for baking. Weird.

One strange habit I have involves my hands and feet when listening to music. I like to walk in sync with the beat that’s playing on my iPod. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t (because some beats are too fast or slow), but it’s desirable. Similarly, I like to tap or drum my fingers on my pants or my bike handles along with the notes of the song’s melody. I do it with both hands, too, and I try to randomize the fingers I use between successive notes; sadly, I usually fail, because my hands inevitably become mirror images of each other while I’m tapping. Annoying.

If someone says they’re an audiophile, I tend to think they’re a liar until proven otherwise. Most people who claim to be “audiophiles” claim to be able to tell the difference between 192 kbps MP3 files and those of higher bitrate. I doubt their ears or their sound equipment are good enough to do so. And even if they can, they can’t tell unless they’re intently listening for subtle differences, which they would do in no other situation other than one in which they’re trying to prove they’re an audiophile.

I have two general areas of interest that currently dominate my life: geology, and Cocoa programming. I’ve chosen to pursue geology in school and programming as a hobby. There have been times in my life where I’ve considered if I made the right choice, since I write very little about geology and a lot about programming. Recent years have also seen a drop in motivation in my geology projects, as well.

I have concluded, perhaps not 100% to my own satisfaction, that both are in the right places. I have spurts of insight in programming, but they are not nearly enough in number to sustain me in a career. I sometimes go weeks and months at a time without writing a single line code. That means that I actually enjoy coding when I am actually coding.

I do have other interests, though, and it depresses me that I don’t have time to pursue them. I think I have some talent in both technical (i.e.: architecture) and freeform drawing, I’m passionate about politics, and I have a lot of experience in music and wouldn’t mind singing for people other than myself. I’ve also participated in a couple plays and enjoyed acting a lot. I wish I could get paid to do all these things.

I’m pretty sure “meme” (as in “weblog meme”) is pronounced mehm, not meem. It makes me cringe when people say meem. It’s probably because I took French in high school and “même” is pronounced mehm. Also, “memetic” is definitely pronounced mehm. But does “meme” derive from the French word “même”?

And more importantly, where did people get the idea that it was pronounced “meem”?

I’m an approval junkie, I admit it. Don’t get me wrong, I derive a great amount of self-satisfaction from finishing a project, like getting some code to finally work, or sieving and abrading rock grains to the correct size and shape for analysis, or even just cleaning the dishes. But I like it even more when someone else acknowledges my work somehow. I hate it when people patronize me, or say anything beyond a simple “thank you” or “good work”. It’s much more meaningful to me for someone to simply use my code as a foundation for a more complex product, or to link to my writing, or to mention work I’ve done in a presentation, and I appreciate it.

I am very conscious about judging people by their actions, not by their words. It irks me when people do little things like not being observant enough to tell the difference between unmarked recycling and garbage bins in the apartment, or don’t move a lane to the right while driving when someone faster is coming up behind you. Big things, like constantly changing what you want out of somebody, or not being open and honest about how you feel about a situation, will make me very much dislike you.

I don’t hate people. I rarely hold a grudge against people, either. It takes a lot to push me to the point where I will avoid any interaction with someone. It’s possible to get back on my good side, but extremely unlikely, because it’s usually not you, per se, that I dislike, but your actions. I will not hesitate to tell you what I dislike about your actions if you ask, either. But I will continue to dislike you until you change your actions.

No one who’s ever gotten on my bad side has yet done so.

I need a clothes shopping buddy in addition to a cooking buddy. I hate clothes shopping. It takes so long to look for clothes and try them on. And you’re likely to not find everything you want at one store, so you have to go to another.

The problem is, I do like to have clothes that look good, and I tend to keep clothes way past their shelf life. I need someone to make the shopping experience fun so I’ll do it more often.

My room is very spartan. I have few things on the walls; when I lived at home, my mom usually put up various works of art for me. Currently, I have a life poster and my M.C. Escher print enlargement that I made years ago and are waiting to be put up. The latter is too big to put up in my room.

I wish TV would die. Not the shows themselves, but the concept of you having to submit to the TV’s schedule, rather than the other way around. I suspect 24-hour cable news programs wouldn’t have much of an audience if people had to choose to watch them on their own time. Darn.

I am passionate about the little things, and passionate about the big things. Things of medium importance? Meh.

I frequently wonder whether the lack of genuine, long-term relationships in my life is a big factor in my recent lack of motivation and slight bout of depression. Then it occurs to me that it might not be, and that scares me even more.

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re boring if you only talk about your career (± partying). I frequently find that conversation with other graduate students often gravitates toward their area of study or last weekend’s greatest drinking event. Yawn. Talk to me about the model rockets and trains you used to build as a kid with your uncle, or the trips around Europe that you used to have every summer including that one to the former Czechoslovakia, or the ridiculous props that Of Montreal used at the last concert of theirs you went to.

But for god’s sake, I really don’t give a flying fuck about how many people attended the event at the on-campus pub that other night.

There’s a difference between being smart, and being intelligent. The vast majority of Stanford students are smart, probably much higher than the proportion of the general population. Stanford students however, by and large, are not more intelligent than everybody else. Just in my experience. I’ve only met a few people every year with whom I enjoyed spending time and would like to keep in touch.

Yes, I sometimes come off as arrogant. Well, it’s usually after-the-fact that I realize I’m acting above everybody else. It happens less often among people I genuinely like hanging out with.

I’ve been happier as of late having succeeded at widening my circle of friends. Previously, I used to hang out exclusively with fellow graduate students. Now, in addition, I have a circle of old high school friends, friends from Boston, friends from Twitter who often happen to work at Apple and live in San Francisco, and then the person I’m dating who doesn’t really fit into any of those categories. I’m finding the group I least like to spend time with is other graduate students.

I like San Francisco. I think I would like to live in the city, but it’s infeasible to do so while I’m a student at Stanford. I’ve been going up more often, recently, though, and it’s been fun. I need to make more friends with people who live up there.

I’ve been considering moving out of the Bay Area once I’m done with Stanford. I’ve become increasingly impatient to do so, but it’s more that I’ve become increasingly dissatisfied with Stanford rather than being dissatisfied with the entire Bay Area. I guess it depends on where I end up working or going to school after I graduate from Stanford.

Having a car puts a bad taste in my mouth. It’s very convenient to have one, and the one I have is a beater car so I’m not too concerned about it being stolen or wrecked or anything like that. (It has a gash in the right side; both right side doors won’t open.)

However, I’ve noticed that it’s taken the place of my bike. I used to bike to the grocery store. I used to bike to downtown Palo Alto if I needed to get something. I used to bike to Mountain View. Now, more often than not, I drive. It’s possible it’s because I inherited the car during the winter, when it’s much less hospitable to bike. I’ll see what happens when spring and summer roll around.

Twitter has become an outlet for random observations and thoughts that I would otherwise not write down, and exaggerated outrage that lets off steam about real issues. I like it.

Socks can often make or break an outfit. Black socks look terrible with tennis shoes and shorts. White socks don’t go well with more formal pants and dressier shoes.

Everyone judges people on first glance. It’s impossible not to. Don’t feel bad that you’ve made a judgment about someone just by how they look. Oftentimes that judgment can be spot on. Just be aware and open to the possibility that some people are a lot different than the first impression that they make.

You have reached the end of this entry. Consider yourself tagged to make your own.

Emotional Supernova   Personal   Older   Newer   Post a Comment