Category: Rants

A new chapter

It is August 11, 2017. Two weeks before my first year of college. Time has passed, and everything will change now.

The days of being a slave to school are over. I do not want to live that life anymore. I have probably decreased my longevity by 10 years from the pressure of the past four. I want to actually develop a social life – meet people, learn how to do things – not just sit in my dorm, on my computer coding at every opportune moment I have. (Yes, I do want to bring my desktop, but for different reasons: I need a computer beefy enough to compile big libraries, and a laptop won’t cut it. I could try building a mini PC, but I doubt it will last me very long.)

I was awoken by my cat at 7 am, and then at 8 am. I looked outside: 7 am, and the sun had not even risen yet. Summer is over. The days of long sunlight, the days of adventuring in Japan, the days of fireworks at my uncle’s house, the days of total freedom and not knowing what to do with it, are all over once again.

This time, however, it is different. I will not be returning to high school anymore; I am finally moving up and forward, the progress I have been waiting months to achieve. It seems childish now to have a teacher paid to supervise you doing classwork, but I realize that many people remain trapped in their delusions of American sloth and thus fail to attempt to do their best. Then, in community college, there is no one around to tell them of the brutal mistake they have committed.


I have also found a friend who is interested in making an RC plane for FPV. Like me, he is avidly ambitious. However, due to the increase in popularity of “drones,” there are more prominent resources now on how to do FPV legally.

What has also arisen is the need (or lack thereof) for an AMA membership – I have read that the AMA these days are nothing more than lobbyists who use the $85-a-year membership required to be in any AMA-sanctioned flying club for just that, lobbying and advocacy of model aircraft in Congress. I don’t trust their insurance, because insurance companies these days are money-grabbers who will take every pain to keep their money, knowing that you put in so much more money for insurance per month than you could possibly lose from damages in a year. The AMA also fails to explain that, per 14 CFR 101.41(b) (“the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization”) does not mean you must be a member of the AMA to follow their rules.

Moreover, you need a Part 107 license for sUAS to fly beyond visual line-of-sight (required for FPV), and a technician’s ham radio license to operate the high-power transmitters needed for the video link, even if you are using ISM bands (2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz, etc.). Thankfully, the technician’s license is actually the easiest to obtain and doesn’t require learning Morse code. In essence, it allows one to operate radio equipment that is not certified by the FCC, and in special bands provided that one’s callsign is given and you notify the FCC what band you are going to operate in, for what reason, and for what period of time the use will take place.

After about 30 minutes more of reading, however, it seems that if you follow Section 336, which includes the clause stated above, instead of being bound under FAA law, you are bound under any community’s guidelines you choose (but you can’t mix and match – you have to choose one), without necessarily needing to subscribe to their membership. However, this means that their guidelines suddenly can become interpreted as law under the scrutiny of a judge. However, if you do Section 336, it seems you can bypass strict sUAS rules in favor of “community guidelines” that might be more lenient than what the FAA states. Either way, it is no doubt why commercial enterprises have gotten impetuous with the FAA: even for commercial quadcopter flights for freight, the FAA maintains its decades-old stance of not wanting to put any trust at all on electronics, especially as a primary means of controlling an aircraft. Military? Go right ahead, control your plane from half the globe away, guns hot. Civilians? You must fly within no more than 400 feet above the ground, and the aircraft must be spottable with nothing but your eyeballs.

But what is the point of comprehending the convoluted manner in which the FAA defines and interprets its own rules? If an accident happens, you get fined, go to court with the FAA, and your case just sits in a corner for ten years. So just go to some open field and fly – oh wait, you can’t do that because you don’t have an open field! – so you have to go to a club with a little tiny fly box, again sanctioned and forced membership by the AMA.

Maybe the AMA is the right way to go about this. But how do I know the club members aren’t some old-timeys who just take their big gas plane and fly it around for a while because they have nothing else to do, and then tell me that the best way to fly a plane is to not fly it at all and watch someone else fly it instead? That would be a tremendous waste of money on my part. On top of that, I need money for a bicycle, so that I’m fairly mobile when I’m in college.

I don’t know. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on me from all sides when I go to college.

Game development, and other depressing thoughts

I’m heating up from the lack of a working air conditioner in the rooms. There are two other working air conditioning units in this very large house, but what’s the point if they are in totally different areas. At least the temperatures are somewhat tolerable to an extent. Now the cat is complaining and suffering from the garage, yearning to come back inside, but no one else gives a crap until I let her back in and everyone else starts complaining about my decision to try treating a cat humanely, instead of indiscriminately putting a cat in the garage for twelve hours and then just forgetting about the cat. After all, cats can just groom themselves. You just put in water and food and they take care of themselves like plants. After I leave for college, my parents don’t give a crap about what happens with the cat. They are totally fine with leaving her alone all day, every day, except for maybe two to four hours a day. That is cruel and neglectful treatment of a cat, and I have suggested numerous times for them to find a family that could make better use of the cat. But they say no, she is already very old, she doesn’t want a lot of fun, she will sleep all day either way, and there’s really “no one” we can give the cat to. I look forward to getting away from home for once. Home is boring.

But today, I look at this question from Stack Exchange’s Game Development site (regarding licensing for someone’s Pokemon fan game), and I wonder what the point of toiling to make games is. I wonder what the point of the game dev site is, even. No one’s game will ever be good. No good, successful game developer ever used GameDev for anything useful, because they were so skilled at making games that all of the knowledge they needed was already bottled in their brains. No, of course not, your triple-A Japanese game developers don’t know English, why would they read GameDev? That’s right, because they are too busy being professionals and making video games professionally. Around half of all of the posts in GameDev have the tone of, “if you think your game will succeed, it won’t, and it will never be good or see the light of day, or even make a profit.” That’s right. Stop wasting your life making useless, dumb games, because your mind isn’t good enough to bring your “game ideas” to fruition. Your ideas suck, and if they just so happen to be good, will never be accepted by the rest of society unless you have the money to implement it.

Go back to consuming, plebeian.

That’s right, you don’t know how to make anything! You’re not creative. Every idea you have is based off the work someone else did. The real geniuses here are the likes of Hideo Kojima, who made such wonderful masterpieces that you will never equal or exceed in quality. In fact, you’re never going to become an aspiring game developer. Ever. And if you think you are, then you should stop being delusional and start looking for a job in web development. It’s a quick buck, can’t argue with that. Maybe IT if you don’t like that. Technical school for two years, and you’re set.

I took another dumb online depression test. I scored what is basically a high likelihood of severe depression. I hate being manipulated and used by my family, I hate being put aside in family matters as some clueless kid who is too clueless to at least be acquainted with family matters, I hate being scolded and looked in the face by my parents when I do something wrong, instead of being told how to make it right, and I hate sitting on my computer listening to my brother complain about how I “don’t want to play anything with him that isn’t on the computer.” I just cannot tolerate this suffering anymore.

I am so close to being able to receive legitimate medical assistance about how to unwind and untangle myself from the set of problems that gimped me from reaching self-fulfillment. My parents don’t believe it’s anything medical, no not any sort of chemical imbalance or conditioned tendencies. They think that it’s just me, that the problems are all coming from me, that none of them actually exist and I just make them up and I really just need a “spiritual director.” As I said before, spiritual directors are best for counseling, while psychologists are for actual medical diagnosis and treatment. I need a psychologist, not a spiritual director. My 80,000-word-long writings should be fair evidence that there are more problems at hand beside mere dissatisfaction and intermittent unhappiness. I have been conditioned by school so much that I am more proud of my work than myself.

The second hackathon

Actually, there is no second hackathon, because my friend forgot it was today, so I have no team to go with, and thus pointless to go to a hackathon with no team. Last time, I solo queued (i.e. went without a team) and the resulting team was absolutely terrible and useless. None of them had any idea of what I was doing. They probably just had some little Python experience and wanted to make a little tiny “choose-your-own-adventure” (okay, why do they call it a choose-your-own-adventure if the adventure has already been hardcoded into the program?! There are only a few paths to “victory” in such a game, and they all require choosing a predetermined adventure) and nothing more. Just like any amateur coder with nothing but 6 months of programming experience, they are unwilling to adopt anything but the most basic procedural design, even if that means a huge string of if-else statements.

Essentially, I don’t want to go to a hackathon that the organizers spent time, effort, and good money for to make it free, because I have an ego problem because I think that I am a better and cleaner programmer than anyone else I have physically met, and as such will never get along with anyone I meet in the hackathon, ever.

I wish I could collect useful input from other potential programmers, but how am I supposed to do that when they just look at me blankly and expect me to do everything else? There is no thinking involved on their part. If they could only just bother to look at my code and find mistakes I didn’t catch, instead of idly moping around merely bolstering the I-am-the-code-master self-impression, they could actually be helpful people and “fun” to collaborate with.

Computer science isn’t just about algorithms. It’s about good design, too. Stop throwing pointers and casting void pointers all over the place and adding yet more code to “the blob” of your own creation.

Maybe I’m just too competitive for my own good or for the good of others.

My ideas aren’t accepted by people as old as me, because they appear too ambitious or don’t know how to help me in my quest to bring such an idea to fruition.

My ideas aren’t accepted by people older than me, because they have all the time in the world on the Internet to observe that they are inherently flawed in some fundamental way, or that I’m too young or that I have no experience on the subject and don’t know what I’m messing with and that I need to order books X, Y, and Z from Amazon and read them to the letter and take notes on the material and quiz myself on it or whatever.

My ideas aren’t accepted by my parents, because they have absolutely no idea who can guide me to fulfilling them.

My ideas aren’t accepted by my friends, because they are not trustworthy, not there when I need them, or because they, too, have no idea how to help me fulfill my ideas.

Hence why the status quo is, and always will be, to sit in front of the computer, waiting and rotting for something to happen, because it never will.

None of that motivational stuff applies to 17-year old kids who just graduated from high school and are moving in to college, and it’s already August. They say “just do it.” Really? I don’t have ultimate control over how I live my life. I can’t suddenly designate my garage as a tool shed. I don’t have strong, reliable arms for construction of physical parts. I only have the power to do things through a desktop computer, because a computer takes commands and doesn’t laugh at me if I say something wrong, or interrogate my logic if I fail to express my rationale or reasoning correctly. It just lets me do whatever the heck I want.

Real life? No. You have physical limits. You can get cut, scratched, and injured permanently if you do something wrong. Your reputation and relationships with others are always at stake. You don’t have all of the money in the world to do something. Learning how something works involves taking it apart, sometimes irreversibly, with no guarantee that you will be able to put it back together.

In real life, things hurt. It hurts when your friends neglect you and abandon you, it hurts when you bite on a bone that snuck into the meat that was already difficult to chew with your misaligned teeth, it hurts when your foot gets infected by a complication of athlete’s foot. Everything hurts. Jesus was hurt until his death.

How exactly am I supposed to I enjoy a life where everything hurts me, and I unintentionally hurt everyone around me?

Computing

I want to stop my madness.

For God’s sake, I have such a tremendous conscience that reminds me daily of why I even make so many favors, why I help my friend make a TF2 trading bot that he’s going to sell for money, why I moderate a community about roleplaying on a tiny little window with characters resembling those from a video game you play on a console that has a tiny screen you carry around in your pocket, why I want to make an arcade combat flight simulator, why I even want to program in the first place.

I want to stop, and here’s why:

http://i.imgur.com/F7llyEG.png

ManicTime tells me that I spent twelve good, solid hours on the computer on Saturday, July 29, 2017. Two thousand and seventeen, yes, the year I ate my heart out for not doing my college applications well; yes, the year I learned some good, decent calculus; the year I visited Japan, yes, a foreign country, for the first time in my life (which I still have flashbacks of). And at the end of the day, I hunch back down on the three-monitor workstation to get some “work” done.

And my mother is absolutely intolerant of this now. I knew she was going to launch an attack one day: today was the day she did it. My brother was likewise on the computer as well – and this is why I often strive to not do the exact same thing as my brother – so my mother puts one and one together and scolds us both harshly. She told us about how we are helping no one, how we are destroying ourselves, how spending too long on the blasted computer will make us lose purpose of our life and connection with our families and everything that matters, and what will happen when there is no more computer. She said this was a “meditation,” but it was obviously a confrontation spearheaded by a rhetorical question. It is too painful to narrate the subsequent events. As the man I was called to be, my hormones make me tough, but for some reason tears sought a way out as I left the house.

I never wanted to be on the computer forever. But neither of my parents understand. My father is no engineering professor, unlike one of my friends. Who could possibly teach me about invention and mechanics? Yet my father bickers and scoffs on the phone about how you can learn engineering and invention from books. I don’t want books. You can’t get cuts and scratches with books. You can’t feel the materials you are working with and get a grip of the tools you must use and learn their correct applications. I always wanted to invent as a secondary hobby, something I can fall back to and complement with programming. If I had hooked onto the ability of invention when I was eleven or twelve, when it appealed to me so much, rest assured my life would be better today, and I would not have had any problems at all entering the highest institutions of the United States. It sounds egotistical, but I seek to assert, if hyperbolically, that invention was a passion never pursued, because there was no one to teach me. The topic comes so close to me that I weep again. The call drops, I take this moment to blow my nose out at the ground, and then I resume the call.

Yet here my father is telling me unhelpful advice about understanding things by “looking at them.” I can look at a car and not know anything about how it works. The car is the final product. But I seek to know how it reached that result, the process behind that result. Later, my father tells me to take things apart. Well, I’m not going to take apart my car, am I? But he still fails to understand, because his mentality is completely that of a consumer. He doesn’t give a crap about making things. He has his iPhone and his iPad and he’s happy.

On the other hand, I am easily able to penetrate sense into my mother, and obtain rational, functional results beside simply “pray and let things happen.” She understands, but she genuinely cannot and does not know how to help.

Then, there is the Japan account. I would love to write nostalgia about it, but I feel obligated to finish the main narrative before I get to the more introspective portion of it, the postface. But it is so sad, because the memories fade the moment I recall them. I have enough pictures to fill in most blanks, but when there are no pictures, it takes mental effort to scrape up events that occurred within the lapses of memory. I am so close to finishing, but the flashbacks of things like Sensei running back to help Ya.-san and Ma.-chan who had tripped on each other on the asphalt pulls me back instead of pushing me forward on the narrative.

This week, I have one resume, two coding assignments, one written summary, and a two-day-long hackathon to do. I’d love if the CodeU people had not decided to throw so many things at us on the same week, but c’est la vie.

I wonder what the best way to get into something new would be. When I go to college, I do not want to be a recluse on the computer when I do not have anything to do. That is not the life I wish to live anymore. I lived it back then because I had little choice: the homework load was unpredictable, my dad would pick me up hours late, and I was already very introverted. If I had a choice, I’d choose cycling, but a good bicycle is very unaffordable right now, and I am unsure of my investment.

I don’t know. In three or maybe four weeks, the life I had for nine years will be over.

Employment

This entire blog is the reason I’m not going to get a job in the future.

And if you keep thinking like this, you really won’t.

This website is so heavy in material that I deemed it dangerous to put on GitHub, so I removed it from there. My GitHub profile comes in contact with way too many people now, and one day they might be recruiters. They will not necessarily be recruiters of reputable companies, but they will take notice of my problems anyway. On the surface, I know my stuff. Good poise, eloquent diction. Very technical. Splendid work ethic. On the deep end: contrived, arrogant, anxious, troubled, and terribly unpredictable.

When it comes for resume time, mine looks weak.

  • No formal job experience in a technology company (this man has no ability to interact in a diverse workplace environment).
  • No formal education in computer science, except the classes he took in high school (this man knows nothing and should wait until his junior year of college).
  • No outstanding computer-related awards, despite this candidate’s purported devotion to computer science. (If this guy is a genius, where’s his award from USACO and TopCoder?)
  • No continuing hobbies (this man is single-minded and is going to burn himself out).

Every contest I am eligible for, I compete against college students in their junior and senior years, doing algorithms and some wondrous magic I have absolutely no training in. Do I care about writing hacky code on B-trees to earn some points I use to hype my professional self? NO! I care about writing actual code, used in actual applications. The problem is that nobody wants to use your code. That’s right, no one. They’ll -2 your code on Gerrit, ask you to send your CLA via fax to some random toll-free number and wait 5 business days for processing, and do everything they can to block your pull requests. When it’s your application, the investors and the judges will question every decision you have made up to that point in time, unless you use media buzzwords that inaccurately represent your super-simple program yet make them warm and fuzzy on the inside.

The question is, has this ever happened to you? How do you know they’ll do this to you? Looks like you really have no experience. Clearly, your blank resume represents you very accurately indeed.

Most problems you have encountered and written about on your blog have been caused by you, and only you. The distinguishing factor is that you put the blame on other people and fail to accept responsibility for your own problems. Own up to your mistakes like the man you are going to become. Remember your bad experience in the Japan trip from not going to Akihabara? That was all YOU. YOU were the one who decided to go with the wrong group, YOU were the one who decided to spend time in places that weren’t worth a visit, YOU were the one who decided to go to Harajuku instead of Akihabara. No, it wasn’t the tour’s fault, so you should change your review to four stars. And you enjoyed it right? So change it to five. It’s rude behavior in the travel industry to give bad reviews. If you had a good time, then give a good review. Don’t nit-pick the small stuff, think about the larger picture.

If you continue like this, you’re never going to make it through college, so you better delete everything in this blog and hope it hasn’t already damaged you. Yes, that’s right, DELETE ALL OF IT and consult a mental health professional right away.

Where did you get this quote from? Did you write this yourself? Why do you make things up and condemn yourself for things that you can’t even control? Just chill out, man.

I can’t chill out. There is no sense of progress in the office. My dad doesn’t even pay me, even for the time I work. But if I haggle, then he’ll give me looks and might scold me for asking for money.

Orientation

Look, I’m sorry I couldn’t get to the travel account. I’ll finish it over the weekend or something, and in return I will make this one concise.

The people of orientation were very friendly and thoughtful, almost to a Japan level of thoughtfulness and convenience. Even the food service people were competent in their jobs, in contrast to my horrible experience with lunch ladies in high school, where they just yell at you something and you don’t quite know what they said, but you say “Yes” anyway.

But when it was time to register, I thought it was going to be all right. I had planned to make a script to register all of my classes the moment that the registration opened, but I didn’t think the interface would prevent you from even getting to that menu before it was time, so I was unable to capture the HTTP requests for replaying. The infrastructure held together at the last moment from all of that incessant refreshing for the opening, but a few seconds before, the gates of hell opened once more to my mortal eyes. The servers slowed to a grinding halt during the redirects.

Once I confirmed my email and clicked a tiny little checkbox, I was then able to access the registration page, in which I entered the five-digit “nuclear codes” which I had determined after many hours of advising. Some of them gave me red error text; I read it quickly and moved on to the next numbers.

The casualties were my first-year “signature” course, which filled up 100% within 120 seconds of registration opening, and second-semester Japanese, which was on waitlist, but I was not allowed to enter the waitlist because prerequisites were being enforced.

I thought “quick, let me register for Government” which is another class I’ll eventually have to take, but alas, the ones available conflict with my schedule.

I wish I could just leave and admit defeat, but I couldn’t because I was missing three credit hours to deem me a full-time student. I kept browsing around, finding ways to prove to myself that every single course was full. When everyone was gone from the room, one of the advisors told me some course numbers that had not been taken yet that could be used to fulfill a requirement, and then drop once I could take Japanese. I don’t even think I’ll be able to take Japanese this semester, to be honest. It’s waitlisted, and sticking to a crappy class and crappy dorm seem to be the status quo.

During the day, I felt all right, but at night I kind of realized how antisocial I am, and how there are simply an excess number of people for me to ever correct that without professional help. I thus considered professional help, but sadly didn’t think that there would be any time for me to make any sort of consultation with anyone. I also didn’t know if they would notify my parents. I don’t want my parents to be notified. I already told you: because that makes the whole family in need of professional help, and then we all get thrown into group therapy, which sucks. And then to make me guilty, my parents will repeatedly suggest me to see a “spiritual director” which does not solve problems caused by chemical imbalances and is still unable to make a diagnosis. If I think I have anxiety, which I do, and need a beta blocker or something, well a spiritual director is probably going to tell me “it’s just some bad things and you just pray and meditate and relax and it’ll go away.” Really? It will go away? I am not criticizing the spiritual director’s job; they help people who just need to talk to someone about life problems; I am criticizing my parents who think that a spiritual director is just a throw-in, cheapo equivalent to a psychologist. After ranting for almost two years now, with the tendency of subordinating myself toward others and practically asking for the bottom of the barrel since I was twelve or so, is this really a temporary problem? But somehow, I have to explain to them this, but I don’t even know how.

It’s college and everything is supposed to change, but really I’m just whining at a higher level, and still not getting what I’m paying a good sum of money for.

Ugh.

Change

Now that I’ve graduated and my trip to Japan is over (still working on that memoir/account), it’s time for me to bring my brain back to rewind mode.

The good news is that I haven’t killed myself from stress yet, and the Japan trip was actually enjoyable, rather than some horrible disappointment.

The bad news is that I feel like I fit in less into the world now.

Back then, I was just a kid and I let my dad take care of all of the important work. I knew my role: I was a kid, and my dad was the guardian. Now, my dad passes on an unknown quantity of responsibilities back onto me, and now it’s not clear what he wants of me. I still need his signature for many documents, but it is still my responsibility to keep the submission of such documents within deadlines, which is difficult given my dad doesn’t care about my deadlines. I tell him that he needs to sign something and he never does it, or maybe I find him sleeping on the couch. My prayerful mother is oblivious to paperwork and requires me to answer many questions and wait for her to put on her glasses and carefully read what she is about to sign, before she even attempts to ask for a pen. This is, of course, assuming she isn’t still at work or praying quietly somewhere.

  • Code Lyoko, my favorite franchise, is dead.
  • Garry’s Mod, my favorite sandbox game of all time, is on the way to the grave now.
  • I don’t even play Team Fortress 2 anymore, or even any video game in particular now.
  • School is over.
  • Young people in their twenties or thirties are filling in menial labor positions. This somewhat concerns me because it feels as if there is some kind of upsurge in unemployment or oversupply of skilled labor, or perhaps high demand for unskilled labor as people retire. For example, my last bus driver looked like he was in his twenties.
  • My house is not surrounded by a forest anymore, but rather more houses.
  • Parents of newer generations are being trained to be more paranoid about the Internet, that everyone is a stalker and everyone is out to get you and find your house and kidnap you.
  • Companies are being overrun with young programmers a little older than me, kids who think that ambition is easy and that every idea should be supported.

I only listed this because after a week of not being at home and not touching a computer, I realized everything in my life has changed yet remained the same, like the dust that constantly rests on furniture yet is quick to leave when blown lightly. The dust is simply replaced with new dust.

Even the local horse racing park is shown to have a changing demographic. I don’t see as many smokers anymore blowing all their retirement money betting their butts off all day, because they’re dead or they’re out of money and they want to retire for good. Now I see parents being followed by kids and employees who appear slightly friendlier to newcomers. Sometimes I’m even concerned about the future of horse racing as a whole: maybe in forty years it’ll be long gone. People won’t think racing horses is humane anymore.

And now what? The burden of the future is shifting onto my shoulders now. They say it is sinful to dwell on anything except the present. It would be nice if I could stop deadlocking myself with posts about nostalgia. I have things to do, you know.

I must finish the account. The memories are fading quickly from my mind…

Reality

After spending what has pretty much been one solid week sitting in front of my monitor, I haven’t accomplished as much as I wanted. My imagination is abuzz, but where is the action?

Instead of doing productive things for the world, I’m stuck here racking my brains for an asset download protocol rejected by a developer, adding features to a poorly-designed Java application for a summer project (I mean, it could have been worse), and comparing Qt and wxWidgets despite not really knowing C++.

Sometimes, I don’t feel like being a programmer anymore. My programming is doing little to help people directly: there are people somewhere in the world starving, while I’m trying to figure out how to transfer files from a server to a client in the most efficient manner to save players a few clicks. The contrast simply taints my conscience.

On one side, I know far more about programming than most people my age – many can code, but can they critically analyze others’ code? Can they say, “oh, you should not use a singleton here”? I can take a college computer science class and probably be able to skim through most of the details and have to hunker down only on the absolute specifics of the curriculum.

On the other side, there are professionals on the Web who puff their chests at anyone who dares to be wrong: “Arrays are pointers? Blasphemy! Go back to reading your textbook!” They’re the people who say “C++ is for Real Men” yet when it comes time to make some Real Men, they say, “No, you won’t ever be a Real Man!” And to be frank, associating an intricate programming language with testosterone seems pretty sexist to me, on top of the elitist overtones this message already portrays.

But what is reality? Well, this is reality when I turn off the monitor: It’s 9:15 am, and there is no breakfast on the table, so I toast some pieces of bread that have conveniently already been placed in the oven. Now it is 9:30 am, and I have the rest of the day to myself, so I check the usual feeds to see any messages I have missed overnight. I play Nuclear Throne with my brother to agitate myself for the day, but when it comes to work, nothing comes to mind. Nay, there is no impetus for learning C++, no sense in implementing a protocol no one will use, no reason in working on a UI for a game I do not play anymore (with a programming language I do not know), no team members ready to continue working on that theoretical chat program. My parents are hard at work; I have the house to myself and my brother.

I look at the sun and it is quickly ascending: a while looking at my brother play Starbound, and it is already lunchtime. I get my act together and start working on a small fix for that game client, and once the fix is done, it’s 2 pm, so I take a break. Some browsing and it’s 3 pm. I don’t know what to do. 4 pm. My brother asks me to play with him; all right. 6 pm. I’ll screw around a little bit more; 7 pm, and time for dinner. 8 pm; I should shower, but too concentrated on my current task: updating WordPress. 10 pm: apparently my busiest time of the day. 11 pm: time to wrap it up. 12 am: asleep. The day repeats.

I hate being on the computer all day. It’s unproductive and distracting. If I leave home, though, I have to put up with traffic constraints (best leave after X am and return before Y pm), time overhead (at least 40 min for driving to and from), and costs (on average, I find someone will spend $40 on something). I don’t want to spend money, so I want to stay inside.

No, I don’t want imagination to get the best of me. People see lucrative virtual universes on their computer monitors, but I see the flesh and blood of their eyes and the liquid crystal components the monitor is comprised of. The little creatures of Starbound, who colonize your base within seconds of your query for colonists, walk around aimlessly asking your character to send a secret message to their closest neighbor. Anything that looks remotely hostile in Starbound – well, just a slash will kill it, no matter how many words come out of its mouth or how humanoid it appears. Like any video game or action movie, there is no dignity in killing the thugs – when they are all dead, everything surrounding their lives are simply disregarded: their possessions, their memories, their ancestry.

Aliens, Pokemon, zombies – none of it exists. They are all works of fiction created by humans for entertainment, to distract oneself from the depressing realities of greed, corruption, egocentrism, and poverty. It would be very nice indeed to visit one of these “perfect worlds” where anyone can build anything and go to war on a whim, but these worlds are not compatible with ours. As such, until I die, the only world I wish to interact with is this one.

Innovation has always come one step at a time. How do I go from sitting, doing nothing at my desk, to working together with competent people to actually make real things with a real demand? I wish I could answer that question, for I have been seeking an answer for years now. Nobody can seem to procure an answer, either. And once this is done, what idea is the world ready to receive, and what ideas are red herrings whose trajectory merely falls in the trash can? I don’t want to simply volunteer doing some menial task. I want to innovate and work on new tasks. But no one gives me this opportunity yet. How long more must I wait?

Final report

I have a sore throat right now, so I don’t feel completely great. But the fact that high school is over has failed to sink into my brain. It feels like the chaos will continue next week, but it won’t. It’s over. College will not be like high school, but my brain predicts that it will be a greater burden, a tougher threat, that necessitates mental preparation.

I hardly felt emotional. It’s not the end of the world; it’s not like those people instantly disappear or something once the ceremony is over. Yet I am somewhat concerned: will I ever see them again, or care about them again? Something tells me that it doesn’t matter anymore, that the ultimate answer is no. We spent time with them because they were our classmates, but now they are classmates no more. They are a distant speck now, with their personality assimilating to new, unanticipated branches and derivatives which appear unbeknownst to the old friends. Eventually, the old friends have lost their commonality, and their sole connection is that they once knew each other and laughed together a long time ago.

Of course, there were few other ways to complete my schooling. My greatest disappointment, aside from my dad taking a total of nine photos during the ceremony on my DSLR (and no videos!), was the tendency for teachers to pull me into only what was required to be known and nothing else: “You don’t need to know that (yet).” Is life to be imparted from a textbook? Hence, I’m grateful that this phase is over, that now there is no institution locking me into a fixed eight-hour schedule dictated by an electronic bell system that sounds in 45- or 50- minute intervals to indicate a forced transition between entire subjects. No, enough of that.

I have a retinue large enough to find whoever I want from my class, so the problem of friendships does not concern me after graduation. If I want friends, I’ll get them.


The sore throat is gone now, and my greatest fear is that the memories of school will fade away so quickly. I know it is not possible, but the mere thought that disuse can cause thoughts to simply fade from the brain is simply startling.

School really was just a chapter of my life. I figured the only reason I didn’t get to MIT was because I didn’t apply myself enough. I just took orders and that’s it. I didn’t live a life of excellence like I should have. I’m not talking about “rugged individualism” or any of that “patriotic” idealism; I’m referring to the concept that when you do something, you do it excellently. But by the end, my perfectionism had to be degraded to stave off my recurring depression.

I see companies of people pouring money into ideas and making great things, things that could never be accomplished alone in one’s spare time. Do you really think I love being here on the computer doing nothing, repeatedly checking forums and Discord for any new stimulus that might need my attention? No.

I wait for the day I’m talking to the psychologist and he tells me, “Well, you spend too much time on the computer. Get off and stop using the computer,” and I’ll answer back, “What will I do instead, then?” and he will tell me, “Read books. Play board games. Go outside.” But I will tell him this: “I do not want to consume anymore. We consume, consume, and consume. I want to create.” And, of course, with the limited mindset of a simple member of society, he will suggest me to paint, or draw, or write, or build with blocks. But I want to do no such thing; these are simply small enjoyments, little capsules that release brief pangs of satisfaction.

Let’s get down to it. I want to create things that actually help people. I want to design and build real contraptions with a functional purpose. Heck, I’ll start a company if I have to, but I want people who can, will, and are inclined to help me reach these goals. Screw individualism. It took Adobe a decade to build and perfect a full-fledged image editor that open-source devs still haven’t even finished. I guess David Capello was right to charge for Aseprite: there was no way to accelerate production without dedicating yourself to it. (Heck, he had been working on that for more than a decade.)

I’m not a kid anymore. I want to make dreams realities, but I can’t do it alone, much less in front of a big blasting array of pixels. All my life I wanted to build things and I was never given the opportunity to truly apply myself in that field. The NXT was an opportunity seized from me; the FPV project, my father found no purpose in; the water-condensing windmill – well, let’s just say I never even got a chance at that; the electric bike, my family dismissed as some kind of glorified moped. I don’t know how to read or understand circuit diagrams well. I have no mechanical intuition or background.

I don’t want to take an ordinary job, either. Even the prospect of “coding till I drop” seems rather dull. I want my job description to be “teaching an AI how to automatically correct common programmers’ mistakes,” or “provisioning AI VMs with calculus, English, and Google.” I know my college professors won’t help me in that, either.

Ideas

Descartes says, “I think, therefore I am.” Cogito ergo sum.

So I think and I think and I think. I think about and dwell upon the the same idea for weeks. The organization is coming together. Yes, a few problems here and there, but I think I can begin. But first, perhaps there is anyone who can help me?

All right, so let’s verbalize my ideas. Oh, but where to start…? The ideas are ideas, not pictures or words. They are in their abstract form, tethered perhaps by a word or two. But all right, I’ll do my best.

So I try structuring my main idea into question-answer form, to try to address any common questions people might have about the idea. I think about what I am writing for maybe half an hour or so, analyzing any hole or implication that may be in the writing, for any of that can jeopardize my entire idea and argument. Finally, after thorough consideration, it looks like the writing can be published and it is open for comment now.

I patiently wait. The hours pass. Sometimes, the days pass. And sometimes even, no one ever replies. Until, of course, someone responds.

The first post, naturally, is critical. I don’t know how it happens, but I’m a magnet for “rational thinkers.” Perhaps too rational, because there is no nodding; they go right ahead and begin the step of critical analysis. The answer often begins with the fatal argument, or the sentence, “I don’t see your point,” and then followed with the fatal argument.

It’s the blow to the stomach, the painful blow I always dreaded, that makes me feel horrible for a long time. My logic is flawed. I don’t think the same way as other people, and my blind spot was revealed. There goes my idea and hours of thinking about it, because it was flawed in the very end. The way it is done now, of course, turns out to be the most logical way of doing it, devised so easily and elegantly. He gets the reputation. He gets the privileges, especially the privilege of carrying out subsequent ideas without further scrutiny, except if it is blatantly wrong.

Make an electric bike? No, because you’re basically making a moped. Just buy a kit, you lazy bum.

Zero-gravity soccer? What an astoundingly dumb idea. You’re putting in so many hours on something nobody’s ever going to play.

Python on a calculator? Do you really know how bloated Python is? It takes MEGABYTES of memory just to run a simple program! Just use the scripting languages our people have already made! Oh, you don’t want to learn a new language? What a lazy inconsiderate fool.

Learn Japanese? Why, you’re never going to live in Japan! Why couldn’t you just learn some European language or continue improving your Spanish?

VCR on a tape drive? Don’t you know how much a VCR can really hold? Look, the Shannon-Hartley theorem says that even with the most optimal modulation technique, you can only hold up to about 35 GB of space on a 180-minute VCR! What a useless idea. Go take your insanity somewhere else.

Ace Attorney Online on web? It’s already being worked on! Do something else.

Steam friends crawler? Don’t you know it will take months to gather the data you need and greatly strain the Steam servers and your quota while you do so? Also that it’s a terms-of-service violation for crawling a user’s profile without their consent? With those constraints, your project is basically impossible! Sorry, all that code is for naught. Tough luck kid.

A larger E-Ink tablet? Do you know anything, anything at all about manufacturing or making hardware? Exactly! Just wait for someone else to do it for you, or you can dish out a low, low $750 compared to the amount of money it took to make this product, you inconsiderate butt.

You want to make a hex-based language? What is this stupid idea, something from a movie? Do you know anything about linguistics? I thought not. Go back to high school and play basketball or something. Go enjoy your life and get off the computer.

Er… a combat flight simulator. Look, the whole reason a good combat flight simulator hasn’t been made is because it’s really hard to make one already. Have you even made one? I thought so! Hey, maybe you should look at Unity? You what? But you haven’t even tried it! Why are you criticizing a software you haven’t even tried? No. You don’t know anything about making games. Just, no. Get off. Your opinion is completely baseless and false. Shut up. No.

CUDA parallelization for Powder Toy, huh? Have you ever used CUDA in your life? You know, we’ve tried this before. If we had succeeded, your game would be faster by now. Just get a better CPU, cheapskate.

A Yu-Gi-Oh card database? Don’t we already have one? Oh, but with more features? Eh, nobody really plays Yu-Gi-Oh anymore. Even if you made it, I wouldn’t start playing again.

A water-condensing windmill? I’m not going to even start trying to point out the flaws on that. I know you’re trying to help people, but you’re no expert. Here are some helpful textbooks to prime you on the subject.

A calculator with an E-Ink display on every button? But what’s the point?!

Another competition system for the UIL Computer Science hands-on rounds? But our system already works. And besides, what if this new one breaks or the power goes out? We’re just going to keep this old system, we’ve been using it for 10 years now and we’ve had no problems with it. Wasting paper is better than being short of it.

A meme stock market game? It’s already been done before.


There is nowhere for me to contribute. The best coders are already on the best projects. I’m stuck in school where people are dumb and yell around and have a dozen girlfriends and generally don’t give a crap about me. They just adore me because I make a good comeback and “roast” people even though it is never my intention of doing that.

Then when I go to college, it will be all backwards: everyone will be better than me and I’ll just percolate to the bottom. I’ll think I can come out on top, but I can’t. I’ll just sink, whatever was left of the support network assembled by my parents will crack like tempered glass.

The only contributive thing I’ve been doing are the tasks no one wants to do because it takes a mind-numbing amount of time; the menial stuff. Stuff like entering data into tables, sorting records, counting money, transcribing scans, tagging issues, backing things up, setting up computers.

And then I’m told to watch movies that are supposed to make me feel good – oh yeah, watch Hidden Figures, look at the depiction of people who were considered inferior simply by the color of their skin and still ended up learning Fortran and contributing to the space program. Oh yeah, watch that one other movie where that teacher gets a heart attack but still ends up teaching calculus to this class of poorly-educated kids and having them all pass. Oh, look at the realism. Look at how God makes anything possible through the vision and money of Hollywood directors.

Yeah, take pleasure by the fact that there is someone in the world who is still worse off than you are, and that you aren’t that person. Take pleasure in that you’re still not the worst of the worst, even if you are pretty down there right now.

No, stop taking everything personally. This doesn’t have anything to do with you. Maybe if you stopped taking everything personally, your blood pressure wouldn’t be so high. Why don’t you take a walk? Why don’t you meditate? Why don’t you turn off the computer for once? Why don’t you play with your brother?

Do you pray? Huh? Just like your dad. None of you do what you have to do. You know what you have to do… you just don’t do it from sheer laziness. Because of the computer. Get off the computer. Actually, you know what, don’t get off the computer. Just do whatever you want. Do whatever you want. I don’t even care anymore. Your body, your consequences. Don’t ask me for help.

Don’t you know how much money it takes to build a robot? Millions of dollars! It’s not like anyone can build a robot in their garage.

So what if I did want to make a robot? Huh? Who would help me?

No one!

That’s right, no one. They’re too busy with band or being someone else’s friend. Awww look, the poor kid is crying because he doesn’t have friends. You do have friends, it’s just that you don’t invite them or do anything with them. It’s your fault, not theirs.