Monthly Archives: February 2017

Social ineptitude

As I hear my brother coughing and sniffling his throat out in his room from the cold he claims he’s been having for five days now, I’m frustrated at a cold that is in the making of my own. And the only reason I suppose I have a cold now is because of what I did yesterday evening.

It was totally a charity event, and to support the organization that essentially devised the entire event (and which I am a member of), I decided to volunteer helping out with a very simple game. Very, very simple game. But my old restraints and shackles came back, and I did not feel that it was possible to have fun.

I don’t remember the last time I truly had fun. I only remember playing video games with my brother and his friends. But most of my time is devoted to browsing for information, doing homework, sulking, stressing out about things that are due in the future, and sleeping. Most of the time, I feel like a worker bee – working and expecting nothing more but more work.

Skip back to the event. It was getting cold – not frigid, just a little cold – and I could sense my hands numbing. A girl in my class was helping me out; she was sincere and had a tendency for chit-chat, although I wasn’t very good at maintaining it. She tended and complimented the kids much better than I could, predictably.

This continued until another girl in my class came – this one, I knew quite better than the previous one. It was interesting, because I had considered her somewhat socially awkward like me, but she ended up enjoying her time excellently with the first girl. Eventually, another group of about 3 girls came to volunteer as well. It appears they also enjoyed their time; they took Snapchats, laughed, took a picture together, and so on. Even the second girl who came danced to the music with the first one.

I didn’t seem singled out – they even invited me to do it with them – but I don’t seem to know how to blend in. I thought of the past – all the embarrassments of my life, the “why do you do this, that” questioning by my family, their incessant laughing about me – and I didn’t want it to carry over to my friends. Being sedentary is my status quo, unless I’m incentivized or obligated to stray from it, which is how my brother manipulates and coerces me to play with him.

I remained the entire two and a half hours awkwardly attempting to fit in, but not doing it very well. I was somewhat demoralized from my first rejection: I was not selected to deliver the commencement speech. Moreover, it is fairly evident that I was rejected from the UT honors program, since a meeting was allegedly already held for those accepted. That’s another rejection. And if that’s all it took to reject me from a state university honors program, then I await nothing but a shower of rejection letters from every single university I applied to.

My obsession and stress of homework has taken me nowhere. My father says, “But you are valedictorian!” Wrong – the school district has not recognized a valedictorian in over thirty years! In essence, what I have involuntarily striven for will not give me a great advantage in the future. Or rather, it will decide my future in a negative way.

I could have made the electric bike, or the Steam crawler, or the windmill, or the FPV plane. But I opted not to, because it strayed from the status quo and therefore did not seem socially acceptable to me.

I just feel like taking the keyboard and rubbing it on my head from frustration.

It’s so difficult to even type nowadays. This desk doesn’t really fit me anymore; the optimal position is exactly between the keyboard tray and the desk. However, my father does not want to change it, as I am going to college anyway, and he wants to save money. I don’t have anything to rest my wrist on. It’s frigid outside now.

The friends that had joked with me and about me will be gone soon, and I will be left with nobody.

The grim future established by the status quo awaits me. I feel like a dishonor to myself and to my family. I could have done so much more than this, and proven my worth to my parents. I hope their illusion of me is shattered, and that they realize that I am less accomplished than them. But for now, my father says “No, you are special, and that is why you cannot fit into groups. You want to be normal, there are trash magazines you can read, and dumb television you can watch.” Yes, I’m “special” but they will realize that I am just as special as any other person, and that my “special”-ness does not necessarily guarantee my future great accomplishments in life. In fact, the more accomplished people in my class have a job, participate in some sort of major school organization, aren’t anal retentive about grades, and generally do just as well as I do in standardized tests. And there are also people who are just as smart as I am who don’t care at all about grades, like one of my friends who will be coming back for his fifth year in high school.

The truth is, nobody gives a crap about what I write, because nobody reads it. All they can think of is “valedictorian, yes! you are smart, yes!” and nothing more. I know that many boys have no problem being around girls – they childishly bump into each other or poke each other and it’s totally fine.

Am I scared of relationships, or naturally subservient, or too humble, or afraid that I am violating someone’s personal rights? I don’t know what’s going on.

 

Pioneering

I wish I could be the first to discover something, and really develop the idea, and teach others how to do it.

I remember about 5 years ago, when Source Filmmaker was released. Nobody really saw it coming, but many people were clamoring to get the software Valve was using for their TF2 trailers, once all the Meet the Team videos were completed. Nobody knew how to use it either; there were a few official tutorials, I remember, but nothing too excessive. This was internal software that was just relabeled and rebranded for public use.

Within a few days, people started coming up with stuff. Crazy stuff, but the people who were still making Source videos at the time were still using GMod for a lot of the action shots. Neither of them, of course, slept very much.

Very quickly, people began figuring out things and posting tutorials. While I do believe there was a private beta, this was the real public beta, and it was gaining popularity bit by bit.

Fast forward a few months, maybe a year or so. Graphic artists, modelers, bored people, have invested so much time on their videos that they have created a subscriber base of 50,000 and have now began making money out of what they make from SFM.

Fast forward to the present. These people, if not already retired and moved on to other things in life, have become professionals. I bet you, if you ask them how to use Source Filmmaker, they will charge you a nominal fee for one-on-one, or they will ask you to buy their “course” or “collection” online, similar to what Andrew Price already does with Blender (which, hey guess what, also happens to be software that was released or at least became usable relatively recently).

Now, how about chip design? You’ll find the same thing: semiconductor fabs, yes, those stereotypically secretive high-tech factories, are only to be found managed by the wealthiest companies in the planet, and the competition is sealed. You will not make microchips. You will never catch up to how we got to the 10 nm process either, as it is all under wraps with non-disclosure agreements, extremely closely-guarded trade secrets, and 8 years of college research and the PhD, and then maybe we’ll consider you to work at Intel or Qualcomm or the likes.

Welcome to a world where we make you think that every idea in the world has been taken, so that we can then discourage you and let us think of more ideas and claim them as our own.

Bittersweetness

I have been complaining for over a year now about stupid things and whatnot. Actually, they are rather important conflicts I have had in my life, and there has been regret and stress and depression sprinkled throughout. And don’t forget the happy parts, too.

As I hand in the last form required for the application to MIT and watch some compilations of the likes of Robot Wars, I realize how powerless and futile my efforts have been to actually make something. Look at them, they have built little robots that zip around and fight each other, which I think is much more entertaining than any other kind of robot! Then, I look at the projects I have now, and wonder the potential that I can reap out of them. Then, I look at what people my age have accomplished: on a local level, they excel at orchestra, compete at national science and math olympiads, make perfect scores at standardized tests, and the list goes on.

The point is, I don’t care about their exact achievements; I only care to point out that I have wasted my time, and keep wasting my time. This entire rants section can attest to the fact that I could have done more productive things with my life so far.

I have a multimeter, an LCD, a soldering iron, and an Arduino, just laying around. I wish I could just take the soldering iron and solder the LCD, and then connect it to the Arduino.

I wish I could explain my crazy project pitches to friends, that they might be able to back me up a bit and work with me. But it has never been like that; my solitude can attest to that fact.

Things, for some reason, appeared soothing for me today, as if it were around how I wished them to be. The calm before the storm, perhaps.

Something assures me that I will not enter MIT, or any of the other universities I applied to. That in order to move up, the world will have to accept me for who I am.