Monthly Archives: January 2017

Sickness

The people of the world know who they are and do their job. They have two legs, so they run with their two legs; they have two arms, so they make handicrafts and incredible contraptions with their two arms; they have eyes, so they look upon nature and appreciate it and its splendor; they have ears, so they listen to each other; they have mouths, so they respond and socialize with one another; they have hormones, so they love one another; they have brains, so they understand that they must do all of the above.

Cue myself in. Actually, there is no cue, I just enter.

I have two legs, so I use them to sit on a chair. I have two arms, so I use them to type away on a keyboard. I have a pair of eyes, which I use to look at a fast-moving array of pixels in front of me. I have a pair of ears as well, so I use them to figure out what I’m told to do. I have a mouth, so I use it to speak my mind (i.e. blabber words) when somebody asks me something, often a highly objective question or an opinionated question with a highly predictable answer (“What do you think about my answer?” … “See? He agrees with me!”) that uses me as ammunition. I have hormones, so I fume and crush myself from within when I find that people are socially more successful than me and that no person of the opposite gender has exhibited a vested interest in me. I have a brain, which I use to muse on random ideas that appear to me, as opposed to making a concerted effort of committing to a project and factoring in other people when I do things.

Instead of finding manhood to be a blessing, a source of happiness, I have somehow found it a curse. It is a curse when your entire body grows hair to the point of excess, sexuality comes into full force, and you long to be with someone else.

It doesn’t matter what gender I am or would be; the result would be the same, really. If I was a girl, boys would be rain dancing for me to try to hook up with them, which is a horrible, disgusting thought. I’d probably burn through 6 different relationships. But since I am a boy, people think me simply untouchable, that I will seek out a relationship when I am ready. Both make me a highly selective individual; most girls think I am too smart for them. From what it seems like, they want someone they can have a degree of control over, someone so masculine that the fact simply flies over his head. And to be honest, I do want to cede a degree of control to someone else.

Can you believe it’s actually become a game?! I’m supposed to play relationships like a game! Is there such thing as a genuine relationship, where neither of us expect each other to play this so-called game? I don’t want to “practice” for this game, and I don’t want people to see me as a “practice dummy,” either. This clearly shows my lack of understanding of the “game.”

And since I am younger than everyone else in my class, it has dawned to me that everyone has one more year of experience dealing with these raging hormones and playing this darn game every day! It is the Tetris effect but of the entire human body. Somehow, I am supposed to become accustomed to feeling this longing for love every single day of my life.

I remember when I was a high school freshman when I heard the teacher talk about relationships and how many students like to do it in the hallways. I thought of how gross it was; why did people choose to start relationships in high school, of all places? Relationships would be impossible to sustain; no wonder people kept breaking up and finding other people. Adultery. But my approach was not backed by any personal evidence, and it was utterly wrong. Relationships weren’t formed because people were stupid and felt like doing it early; relationships were formed because people were chemically wired to find skin to touch.

Now, I’m completely desynchronized. Whereas most people had two entire high school years to try their hand and test the waters in preparation for college, I really have only had half. This is not to say that it will be impossible for me to find a relationship; it’s just going to be much, much harder.

What I am actually doing is that I am waiting for college. Right now, I am in limbo. I can’t start any extracurriculars, because it’s too late in the year for that. I could apply for a job, but there are many difficulties along the way, given I want to start an internship right away. College will give me a fresh start on – well, everything. It is a fresh start on absolutely everything except my family and my faith.

Nothing really matters to me right now. When I see other people having fun during this period of “nothing matters,” I simply become envious of them, until my parents tell me to appreciate what I already have. I wonder when their perspective will shatter in a year or so when my brother still doesn’t have a job and hasn’t worked toward getting a life after college.

Inferiority complex

Either you have an algorithm that works in under a minute, or you have entirely the wrong algorithm. “Tuning” is rarely appropriate. You generally have to take a fresh approach.

Because, naturally, there’s only one “best” algorithm, and of course it’s not yours. You’ll never hit gold. There are people older than you, smarter than you, more experienced than you, that can take any program you make and create a version that is ten times faster and more compact than any version you’ll ever make. And of course, you can’t use their version without nominal payment or earmarking your program with their name, at which point it’s not yours anymore. It’s his program. He made it.

You made a game? That’s not a game. I’ll show you a game. See how that’s a game? Look at those visuals. Where’s your artist? Oh, you’re working on this game alone? Good luck with that, I’m in the SF area if you need consulting.

You’ve only written 1,200 lines of code. Tell me when you’ve written 12,000.

Oh, so you’re a beginner. Maybe you should look at the LazyFoo SDL tutorials, because you’re obviously not doing it right.

Why are you using SDL instead of SDL2? Oh, you’re following that old tutorial. Don’t do LazyFoo’s tutorials, those are ancient. Buy my book on Amazon instead; when you buy my book through this link I earn more money.

Ah. So you’re using Python? It’s a nice little language but it’s overrated for performance critical applications like games. I recommend using C++ for that stuff.

Looks like you’re struggling with basic C++ concepts. I’ll point out that there are quite a few things wrong in your code, but more importantly, have you been listening to your CS106 lectures?

OH! You’re a high school student. Pfft, you’re only learning. Why don’t you do Unity or Processing? Looks like a good fit for you.

Don’t get frustrated with me, I’m working for free here and this is what you’re getting. You won’t find any different from anyone else, so don’t go trying to play tricks on me.

So you won’t listen to me and use Unity instead? Okay, we can play that game. You’re on your own now until you decide to cooperate with people who obviously have more experience than you. Hope you learned your lesson.

Nope, as I said, not going to say anything more. Look for resources on your own. Google is your friend.


The world is bitter without friends. Without friends, everything comes at a cost and inevitably becomes integrated into the global economy.

There are no words to say today. It’s almost the end of January and here I am, still waiting for something to happen. My birthday will either be joyous or miserable from my college responses.

Why I never bought an NXT

The story goes back to fifth grade. At that time, I watched a little YouTube here and there, but I found it a little boring actually. I was also subscribed to the LEGO Club magazine which, at the time, was free (and so was membership). There were also a bunch of videos of people making some amazing things with the Mindstorms NXT – mind you, this was the first-gen NXT; the 2.0 was only released shortly after my craze. And, of course, “craze” implies that the period of time I was interested in the NXT can be confined to a year or so.

I had an obsession with robotics. It’s actually quite sad, really, because I remember the time when I drew a picture of a robot and showed it to my dad in the car, and he coldly said, “Do you know how much money it costs to make a robot?” I answered, “A million dollars?” My brother seemed to be playing along, too: “No, MILLIONS!” As I sobbed, I contemplated my hopelessness: trapped in the body of an eight-year-old kid, with the vocabulary of a nine-year-old, it was futile to try to find anyone who would help me discover the power of robotics. My parents were (and, I suppose, still are) average consumerists, adhering to the ritual of replacement rather than repair, and if there is no consumer product or toy for it in Walmart, then it must be impossible.

At the end of fifth-grade, the classes were given an opportunity to build a robot, given brand-new NXT kits. We were split in groups of four or five and were just given the boxes, which hadn’t even been opened or inspected by the district, along with a laptop that included the NXT software. It would be wrong to call my group members dumb after such a long time, mostly because they were not as knowledgeable as me.

Since practically none of us had ever touched a Mindstorms kit before, the only reasonable course of action was to just follow the assembly manual for one of the robots, so we chose the golf bot. There is really nothing of significance that I remember about building the robot: the only thing I remember was me programming it. I recall having to yield time for the others to have a share of trying to program it themselves, in maddening frustration after they kept asking me where things were and mostly doing everything at a snail’s pace, in addition to my wasted efforts trying to look for the ability to code it in lines instead of blocks (to this day, I still believe programming in blocks is dumb). The one time I really had friction with my group members was when they were attempting to program the robot to turn 90 degrees and they couldn’t figure out me. Flustered me, I just said, “Hold on, just give me the laptop,” and they plainly said, “No, we want to learn how to do this ourselves.” Fair point. “Look, what you have to do is to make ONE WHEEL turn! No, not in reverse… no, the other wheel!” Eventually, they figured it out and credited me little.

The school had also set up a robotics night, but for some reason, I took little part in it. I believe the reason was something related to considering my team members to be too incompetent to possibly work with. The school also made a lottery for one Mindstorms set. Half-hoping to get one, I salivated a little, but I knew my chances were astronomical; after the robotics night, the craze was over and the kits were gone.

In essence, I never bought an NXT because I associated it with the past, a past when my parents did not want to buy me anything except the cheapest toys, because they believed I would never use them. And of course, since they were too cheap, I enjoyed them for a while and then something broke or I simply put it away. Since there was “no cheap NXT” being mass marketed at the time, and of course no Amazon to buy cheap Chinese knockoffs from, they decided not to give me anything robotics-related. Just give the kids some robot picture books and send him on his way and maybe the obsession will stop.

My obsession, I supposed, diminished, but it never really subsided. I still hope, one day, to create something decent robotics-related: say, for instance, a machine that will help me store boxes away in hard-to-reach places, like the attic or on the ceiling.

When people ask me why I didn’t enter into the Intel STS, or USACO, or FIRST, I tell them, “because nobody wanted me to.” Really, my parents couldn’t care less if I entered into any of those competitions, much less my computer science teacher or my “friends” which are really the only people who could possibly care. And no, the Internet doesn’t count because those people just don’t care at all. Who could have helped me, anyway? People were getting accustomed to me doing all the heavy lifting, so why would they take their time to help me?

Now that CyberPatriot is done (for me, since state round was a trainwreck) and I failed to do anything for Google Code-in, it’s time for me to look at how many things I’ve failed at. Forget it, all those colleges I applied to? They’re all going to reject me. All of them.

People keep calling me “smart” and “rank one” but quite frankly, they’re better than me! They have girlfriends, know how to solve 50 puzzles, actually do something meaningful outside of school, are the presidents of a zillion quadrillion clubs, etc.!

My parents would tell me, “Don’t look at other people, just look at yourself!” That’s really great advice, given my brother is almost twenty and is in dire need of a life. Maybe he ought to look around and see what other people are doing?… nope, can’t look at other people.

You know, even if I had an NXT, nothing important would have happened. I would still make the same crappy mistakes of procrastinating. My parents would still not care.

I guess there was no point in an NXT at all. What’s the whole point of this magical brick for.

Relationships

Notice that I didn’t prepend the title with “on” – that’s because this is more of a sentimental post that pertains more to the present as opposed to me trying to take a firm stance on a specific subject. You may also notice that my rate of posts has been declining to almost once a month – this is because I believe these writings are almost complete and I don’t really feel like devoting any more time to them.

Now that college admissions hell is subsiding and I can finally return to a slightly saner life, I have to start thinking about things other than college. Yes, I’m literally waiting for me to arrive at college so I can start afresh, but I must make do with the time I have left right now.

When I entered high school, I had no idea what people were doing and why. It was a chaos I wasn’t really prepared for, so I stepped back for a while and just focused on academics like I always have. Sophomore year, I began getting a grip on things, meeting teachers, getting some “friends.” On top of that, my hormones started becoming active around the time I was reading Les Miserables – I just started understanding the whole idea behind love. It wasn’t something gross – it was an instinct, an activity literally ingrained into our human selves.

Fast forward to the present. Whereas I once looked away in disgust when a couple made out in the hallway, I now simply look forward, slightly envious of people who were valued enough to have a mutual friendship, but more than a friendship, more like a bridge between the two sexes. They can’t help it, and there is nowhere to hide. They have no choice but to do it in the hallway.

I received mixed signals through my childhood, anyway. My mother had always given me the message “dating is bad, if you’re going to have a relationship do it once and drive it through marriage,” my father, “well dating is how I met her in high school, so you better start now,” and the old videos from school, “oral sex is still sex.” Hence why my brother is almost twenty and still has not attempted a single relationship.

My hormones feel like they are burning through me. I once made a small attempt at a relationship last summer, but I failed miserably and never forgave myself or the girl for it. I kind of friend-zoned myself away from her unintentionally, and it’s too late given she has totally carried through another relationship after me. I have hope, but the depressing part is my hormones remain unsatisfied. They want this warmth – I can feel it right now – that can only be received from another human body; and what do I have to offer to these hormones? It’s the way I act: I’m too repellent, too sophisticated, and that repels the people who at least have the initiative to look into me a little bit deeper.

And if I do encounter someone, it’s very difficult to satisfy everyone. Given I’m Catholic, there’s a tiny little checklist I follow, and generally being Catholic tends to weird out people who do not understand why people pursue religion so devoutly. On top of that, my parents ask if that other person is Catholic, if the family has Latino roots, and so on.

Another significant factor which I almost forgot to mention is age. I’m a year younger than pretty much everyone in my class, so it is strange for me to be dating people who are older than me, since according to my father, women mature much faster than men.

It really just boils down to gender differences. The whole objectification of women is our fault, men’s fault. The prevalence of social justice warriors and feminism and all the stuff that triggers people on Tumblr is our fault. Patriarchy, our fault. The fact that I’m even talking about this is our fault.

I’m expected to be a tough, gruff man with a thick beard and lifts 75 or he’s a sissy. And to be honest, I’d rather be the sissy. Why am I socially expected to wear those bulky jeans or the basketball shorts every day, or put on the spiky black Nike shoes, or go along with stuff like “man up for breast cancer with pink”?

Despite my sense of autonomy, I lack solidarity. I spend my waking hours on the Internet trying to find activity or people like me or both, to little avail. It’s killing me on the inside and draining my gender identity. I’ve told you before: sometimes I look at the girls around me and wish to know what it would feel like if I put on similar clothing: tights or skinny jeans, leg warmers, boots. It is a day that will never come and an experience that will never be felt.

I have prayed a number of times hoping I could put an end to this misery. But the hormones return to torment me day in and day out, and the dream of finding someone is often the thought that puts me to sleep.