Friday, December 31, 2010

new year's revolutions

it was a thursday.  the last thursday of the year of two thousand and seven, before the weekend plus new years bonanza that offered my partner and me a long awaited break on the worst project during my time in consulting.

the project was the worst for several reasons.

a) during the financial crisis, there were a lot of companies going bankrupt.  this was one of them.  our data indicated that they were about to land in a heap of deep, smelly, toxic, never-get-your-foot-stuck-out-of-the-swamp shit, to the point where there was no return.  the company was never going to have the money to pay us for any sort of project that we were going to propose to them, because they were probably going to be worth somewhere in the vicinity of negative 100 million dollars. (not exaggeration)

b) our boss, a little aloof and unaware of the hardware requirements for exact precise multivariable statistical modeling, basically made us tweak a model that said they were going to lose a bajillion dollars, to get it to maybe say they were going to lose, around $5.04 less than that.  (ok, that might be an exaggeration)  only, miscommunication as to what he wanted made us not exactly sure what to do and we basically created lots of iterations of the model.  this always took hours for a computer to process, and if you made a small error, you had to process the whole model from the beginning.  think of the frustrations of an average computer science course and multiply them by around 10.  or some exponent of that, because computing problems can become exponential when it comes to data processing.

in case you didn't understand all that, it fucking sucked balls.

c) there are a few problems inherent with adding more variables of precision of multivariable statistical modeling.  all data pertaining to periodical financial payments suffer from the same problem no matter how "good" you get your model, because data are (can you believe it, data is the plural form of datum, so "data are" is correct here as weird as it sounds) either incomplete or obsolete, due to the imperfections of data gathering and constantly changing macroeconomic conditions that are unpredictable.

d) basically, because of all that, my partner and i essentially spent most of the past two months (during the time when things are usually relatively slow) staying late doing work that had around a 1% chance (probably not exaggeration) of ever amounting to a billable project.  we were just cogs in the proverbial machine, doing useless drivel just for the sake of being "employed" doing something.


__________


the hum of the fridge tempted me.  tempted me to walk closer, and grab another coke.  another coke for my sanity, along with one of those chewy chocolate chip granola bars.  god damn it, i'm going to get something out of this shitshow of a situation, as i chomped on my granola bar.  ah shit, that just means i'm going to get fat.  so basically, i lose again.  STUPID PROJECT.  ah, i'll take a water.  MULTIPLE waters.  take a shitload of them HOME, gotta take a little for my trouble right?  i was going nutso.  crazy even.

2007 was a rough year.  it had been a rough time.  growing pains had been excruciating, i would imagine that certain extenuating circumstances probably made them more so than the average young adult coming out of college.  a lot of pressure and responsibility had been squared on my shoulders, and i was pretty close to a mental breakdown.  time was slipping out my grasp, and i was getting left behind.

i thought back to the first project i had at my job.  how i quickly met extreme amounts of adversity over a situation that was blown way out of proportion and how i suffered through that experience.  was it worth it?  there was just a cocktail of unfortunate circumstances that made me really depressed about everything, the way my life was headed and where it was at that point.  i remember my sister's college friend (who was on the project with me), reassuring me, "though you may not believe it about yourself, you are different from most people.  i know that because i know you and i know your sister.  i have faith that you'll stick it out, you'll become stronger, and that you will do amazing things.  just be patient for the right opportunity."


__________


we had just finished the latest iteration.  it was time to take the next few days easy, for the new year was going to arrive.  i bid my partner goodbye and walked home along quiet park avenue.  i remember walking through the snow covered beautiful bryant park area on my way home, and promising to myself that as shitty as 2007 was, 2008 was going to be something different.  the course of my life will change, and it'll be drastic.  but i can't keep wallowing in self pity, i've got to go out there and make shit happen, because shit won't just happen on its own.

because shit's just nasty on its own.  jay kay.

i like to think of it as new year's revolutions.

__________


as 2010 comes to a close, i find myself making the same promises to myself as i have 3 years ago.  let's hope i'm right about it, again.

carpe annum.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

stepping stones

some truths i've been wrestling with recently from countless late night conversations:

- we are all inherently unlovable people.  we are flawed.  love for one another, in its purest, unadulterated form, cannot exist with simple human capacity.

- a lot of relationships are temporary.  and as much as i want to hold on to them, stop time and freeze moments, and life to remain the same as it was, i cannot keep savoring pockets of time over and over again.  versions of ourselves are never constant; people are changing continually.  memories conjure up idealized visions of a person, when in fact those memories are merely fantasies.  but that idea of a person, that VERSION of a person, is gone forever.  

- thereby, relationships that end but result in formative periods of life are not a waste of time.  they are not a waste of time.  not. a. waste. of. time.

- we do not have the capacity for redemption of any sort of regret or mistake that we have made.  there is nothing we can "fix" by overcompensating.

- guster is a very emo band.  (ok maybe that's not really being wrestled with)


unfortunately, intellectually understanding these truths doesn't equate to successful emotionally grappling with them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

a little something for the holidays

the holiday season always gets one in a pensive mood, for a lot of reasons:

a)  it's the time when you go back home and stay with the family, usually with long periods of time with nothing to do but think in one's room
b)  it's the end of the year so it's a time of evaluation, etc.
c)  the holidays become more and more a time of nostalgia instead of a time of wonderment (at least for me)

i just dug up something i wrote almost 7 years ago, whilst in college, about love.

what is love?

as mentioned in the post, i agree with ben folds, that it's stupid to try to do a love song because there's only so much you can do that hasn't been done before.  well, i guess you can say that about anything in the media about a love story, but a song allows for smaller amounts of variation as an art form than say, a book or a movie.  a song almost requires a deep part of oneself now to be original, some sort of personal touch to it that's really hard to fabricate. 

i won't get into the way love is overromanticized and idealized and what not in today's society, because that's a whole other gak post.  however, i got a request recently from a friend to do a cover of a song she liked, and being the holidays which is supposed to be cheery or something, i decided to just run with it and have fun.  the song is called, "1, 2, 3, 4" by the plain white t's.

the song is a very simple love song with very simple lyrics.  in fact, it's not a very unique concept, it's lyrics are similar to the song "back at one" by brian mcknight, or my favorite female punk rock song three small words by josie and the pussycats (ok, maybe i just love rachael).  it reminded me of the common early 60's beatles songs, just very simple lyrics and chord structure, but catchy.  (now, don't get a heart attack, i'm not comparing them to the beatles).  it's overall kind of gute.

so i decided to team up with sam chu and his handy dandy camera, to make a nice looking vid for xmas.  fiddling around with fcp is a bit fun, it was actually enjoyable to edit, but a huge pain to wait for everything to render...i need a faster compy.  i think a lot of my editing got lost in the rendering and what not...but i  hope you guys enjoy the video for the holidays.




side note: for me, it's actually never as easy as "1, 2, 3, 4".  in fact, i probably only said that particular phrase in the low teens for the past decade, a few each per family member.




extra bonus:  awesome relient k xmas song that someone showed me:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

pretentiousness

i recently read a heartbreaking work of staggering genius by dave eggers on the recommendation of my sister.  she actually recommended it a long time ago when we were on some family vacation around 6 years ago, when i scoffed at the title.  i was thinking, "that sounds like it was written by a pretentious douche.  blah blah blah."  my sister told me, "i think you'd relate with the author."  i laughed in disgust.  alas, my sister knew me better than i knew myself.  she gave me reading after all.

but i was also right.  after reading the book, the author comes off as a pretentious douche.  except it is palatable because he is cognizant of his own douchery.  and as i've come to terms of my own douchiness in spite of the fact that i champion the anti-douchebag cause like no other (that's for another entry), i realize that we are all douches, and we are all frail.  self-awareness, however allows one to harness the pretentiousness (i think pretention would be a better word for the noun version of pretentious but it's not one for some reason) into something powerful emotionally, and see where we are coming from and why we feel what we feel.

there's nothing i can really say that hasn't already been covered by the many reviews i've been perusing over the web over the book, that the book starts out with a great canvas of the tragedies of egger's life, and then slowly moves along as he drags on about his life in san francisco, with little bits and pieces of wisdom here and there thrown in the mix.  that when he writes, it's with an unashamed raw honesty that removes any shred of shame and bares it all so his secrets, as he says, would become less painful than if he were to contain them within himself, as cancerous, mutating things. (i'm paraphrasing.)

but what i can say that's unique to me is that i'm alarmingly like eggers.  i say alarmingly because there's a whole lot of "us vs. them" mentality similar to what you find in salinger's "catcher in the rye".  sometimes it's good to want to stand out, to be as eggers puts it, "I think if you're not self-obsessed, you're probably boring."  but then it's one thing to be a dreamer and say all these idealistic types of things in theory, and another to offer any real viable practical solutions.

for me, it's been easy to acknowledge that i've been somewhat of a whiny bitch sometimes, but i use that sometimes as justification for continuing on doing so.  it's fine to feel pain and to acknowledge that growing up is painful, and that the idiosyncrasies of society and its unwillingness to really be accepting and open can really be terrible to outsiders, people who's experiences they don't fully understand.  but at some point, you have to "grow up" and face the fucking music, because life's not going to pass you any favors just because you go against the grain.

what makes the book unique for me is the raw emotion, unfiltered truth behind his thoughts, the knee-jerk reactions and impulses spewed out for every stimulus he encounters.  pretentious as it may be, it is unequivocally truthful, and that to me is invaluable.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

objects in the mirror are not as evil as they appear...

there's a lot of people, normal looking people, people you talk to everyday, at work, school, church, wherever, that have a lot to hide.  i used to think that the way i thought was common to most people, that i generally believe in doing what's fair and just for others by SOME sort of standard even if it's at a cost to myself.  but over and over again, i find that most of society does not feel the same way.  i was surprised to find out certain things about people i knew over the past few years, things i would be like, "NO!  SAY IT AIN'T SO!"  and being just in bitter anguish about what i knew about that person and reconciling it with my previous conception of that person.  it disgusts me that there are people who will just not care about what happens to others as long as it benefits them.

now, being inherently evil myself, i do agree that my standard is not up to par, and that my voicing of this is probably akin to pot, kettle, and blackness.  but it's just appalling to me how some people can just really lack any sort of sense of responsibility for their actions, and WORSE, be unapologetic for their wanton destruction.  the obvious ways these kinds of evil manifest itself in our world are through senseless acts of violence and destruction, but what's scarier is that this same type of evil is amongst us, subtly hidden through various layers of deception.

i often think of my own capability of evil.  what are my motivations for all circumstances?  where is the source of pain that causes my own desire to destroy and hate others?  how can i come to terms with it?  at times, i feel like i am ultra judgmental and legalistic.  at other times, i am wrought with the guilt of people i have failed.  i find that my thirst for vengeance sometimes makes me at my worst, finding ways to cut people to shreds.

i want to believe and hope in people, but through the various encounters and stories i hear, it gets harder and harder each year to think that there's any shred of decency left.  i have always been at war with my own cynicism with people in general, basically assuming them to be guilty until proven innocent.  the worse part is that it seems that a lot of the time, we just ignore the dirt and evil everyday, and maintain that it is just collateral damage, the cost of living this life.

i hope i never get to the point where i just accept the way people are as "business as usual".  and i hope to be able to always be willing to pay the consequences to man as best as i can for my own sins.

Friday, December 17, 2010

self-loathing

there are plenty of reasons we don't like/hate other people.  most people don't get along with others because they're different.  they don't fit in some way, they create awkward situations, they're annoying in some way, they don't adhere to similar principles, they are too uptight, they are too easy going, they are too stupid, they are too pretentious, they are overly polite, they are ridiculously rude, they smell/don't have proper hygiene, they're boring, they're too out there, they're crazy, they have terrible taste in music/film/literature/art, they have no ambition, they have too much ambition, etc.

however, sometimes there's a reason that's deeper than all of those that make you feel a certain kind of hatred for someone.  perhaps hatred isn't the word i'm looking for, hatred sometimes implies that you actually care about that person's unwell-being, whereas i'm thinking something more like loathing.  where it's not like a burning hatred, but like an ugh-like feeling.  like the feeling you get when you get up for bed and get ready to go outside in freezing weather to go out for the day for work or whatever.



growing up, there was a phase of my life where after years of introversion, i taught myself social norms.  i won't get into the reasons for the sudden decision to do so, but i will say that it did reinforce the fact to me that insecurity isn't only particular to the "uncool", but manifested in different ways.  throughout the process, there were growing pains for sure, but i luckily had friends that were positioned to help me along the way, and were eager to do so once i sought out their aid.  i consider myself to be a rapid adapter and improviser to various circumstances, and i was able to put on an almost completely different persona in a pretty short period of time.  i suppose this was my very first experience as an "actor".

there was another kid however, who was also a bit awkward.  he reminded me a lot of himself, in pushing to be socially acceptable.  unfortunately, he was doing it "all wrong".  he didn't have the advantages or support group that i had, and was doomed to failure from the get go.  i saw a lot of myself in him and was turned off.  i would sometimes think to myself, "ugh, you can't do that man.  you're trying too hard."  part of me hated the idiots who humored him by making him believe that they accepted him when they were actually just keeping him around for their amusement, laughing at him behind his back.  but another part of me loathed him because he was showing traits that reflected how i was in his position, what i saw as weak and stupid.  i would not humor him in the same way that others did, but i didn't help him along either, partly because i thought he should figure it out on his own, and partly because i thought he may have been a lost cause in that regard.  because of that, he saw me as an enemy, someone who was "hindering" his progress to becoming "cool".



thinking about it now, i regret my actions; i probably should have reached out, but i didn't want to because i hated what i saw of myself in him.  sometimes, whatever weakness or struggles that we have, we magnify in others and criticize them more harshly for it, whether they deserve it or not.  we think that because we have overcome them, they have no excuse for struggling through them.  but the truth is, we are the most specialized in helping those people.

other times, we see ourselves in other people, and see those same struggles.  and desperately want to save them from it, as if doing so would redeem our own mistakes.

i wonder what triggers the difference.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

regret. hope.

i am undeniably human.  and therefore, err.  somehow need to push back the erring.


thanks to tom for gakking me this song a while back:


"where did i go wrong
i lost a friend
somewhere along in the bitterness
and i would have stayed up with you all night
had i known how to save a life"

- the fray

this is one of my favorite music videos:




also got this gem from julia:





guy in movie's name is Nick Vujicic, he's an actual guy irl.

Monday, December 13, 2010

yay for janet again! (part deux)

it's my sister's birthday, so in addition to a shopping spree thing for her birthday, i decided to write an updated post on her.

so it's been 6 years since my last post on my sister on her birthday.  she was only turning 23 then which seems so young and gak like.  6 years later, a year before the dreaded 30, my sister is still alive (amazingly, the universe has allowed her continued existence to remain intact), taking names and kicking ass.  sort of.

since the last post, my sister has studied in paris, almost worked for a high end fashion company in france (before they were closed by proctor and gamble), started her own line which has had its shares of unfortunate near successes that have been thwarted by the economy (apparently people are less willing to buy high end fashion clothing in tough economic times, go figure).  

my sister has been continually pressing after her dreams, but the difficulty to succeed, especially in this environment, is high (without prior connections and/or lots of moneys) and she sometimes is discouraged.  for some reason, since i finance some of her operations and am in a bit more of a financial secure position than her, she has started to rely on me for support instead of vice versa.  since i am undeniably immature, and thus unable to give her the emotional support that's probably more characteristic of an older brother, she yells at me for being inept.  money does not equal maturity, folks.  mo money just means mo problems.  but that's for another post.

but one thing i do admire about my sister throughout all this is that she has been able to keep knocking on doors amidst the rejection she faces.  she always is willing to try something new, network, and be on the hustle, grinding out every bit of potential in an opportunity.  it'd be a travesty to me if things didn't work out for her because of her effort and talent.  

our relationship has evolved too.  since we now live in the same vicinity, we hang out on a regular basis.  i have introduced her to some of her favorite shows such as dexter and 24, and i used to humor her by watching gak like gossip girl and project runway.  we have been an invaluable source of support for each other in our respective professions (i mean i think you really need a crazy sibling that's doing something out of the ordinary to understand what you're doing when you're asian).  

some have compared our relationship to dexter and deb in the show dexter, where the two have essentially depended on each other, dexter for deb's understanding of human interactions and emotions and deb for dexter's representation of a completely stable force in her life.  plus, another similarity is that deb curses a lot.  and dexter kills people.  uh, i mean...what?  anyhow.

anyhow, this entry is a bit too warm fuzzy, so i'll just end by saying that i will look to my sister and see how she leads the way into the end of the 20's era, and try to emulate the attitude of giving everything my best shot.

Monday, December 6, 2010

gak

when most people meet me for the first time, i pull back from my average linguistics usage and talk pretty much like a normal human being.  probably a tad on the quiet side actually.  but the way i talk to my friends is totally different.  all throughout the past 10 years or so, there's been some sort of catchphrase or linguistic abnormality that i would employ on a regular basis.  in fact entire entries have been dedicated to decoding what i say, unfortunately, they have been met with harsh criticism and eye rolls from the people who probably have sticks up their asses and who think they mean srs bsns.

most of the things i use now (my repetoire is usually changing) however are not my own inventions, but an evolution of speech of what makes things easier to express in a rapid fire instant messaging type manner.  the focus of this post will be on the ever malleable term: gak.

it's been a while since i realized that this phrase needs to be clarified more than most of the other things i use, primarily because of its frequent usage.  mark chen once told me over the summer, "you know, i was beginning to think i pinned down the meaning of your word 'gak', but now i'm not so sure."  needless to say, i found this confusion hilarious.

to put it simply, gak is an all purpose word used to describe something that's off.  if something is gak, it means that it's not what you expected.  gak's derivation is debated to come from a variety of sources, even plugging it into urbandictionary won't give one a satisfactory take on it.  i suppose nickelodeon's substance of gak is an accurate way of picturing gak in a tangible form, it's like a substance that is used to soak a person in who has pretty much failed in some way.

anyhow some common expressions i use that incorporate gak (they may have explained before but this is in more detail):

WTGTD (what the gak that do):  a combination of the phrases "what the gak" and "what that do".

"what the gak" is essentially a tamer version of "what the fuck", because instead of fuck, we use the semi-harmless gak to convey the sense that something is amiss, but not to a "what the fuck" level of amissness.

"what that do" is a phrase that is essentially equivalent to "what the hell just happened just now" combined with a "are you serious?".  it's effect is more potent when you delay the amount of time between the words, like "what.  that.  do." 

so in summary, wtgtd is a combination of amissness with a touch of disbelief concerning it.





LIG (like it's gute, where gute = gak+cute):  this is just the next step in the evolution of the phrase: "like it's cute"

"like it's cute" describes some sort of occurrence where cute doesn't actually mean cute, but more like clever.  that guy was trying to be "cute" by doing something that he thought would be clever, when in fact it was probably just dumb.

by inserting gak into cute, to make gute, we just simply add the little flavor that says the thing we're describing not only was "cute", but a bit off in its "cuteness".

sometimes cute can actually mean cute, and the gak is just added for humorous effect.  like when i showed a picture of a bulldog recently in my tweet, LIG was an appropriate phrase to use.

and sometimes LIG doesn't even need a reason to be used at all.  normal things can have a LIG like quality to it, just because it may be slightly out of the ordinary for some small particular reason.




JAG (just another gak) - this is describing the average person.  the average person is JAG.  used when describing or contrasting oneself from the norm.




gakked in the eye - essentially getting screwed over in some way.  again, imagine getting gakked by the nickelodeon substance by failing some sort of task.




gakking around - the equivalent of any response you provide in an instant message conversation that essentially says you are doing nothing.  (which is impossible, since you're always doing something, so you're pretty much dodging their question because you're too lazy to answer them appropriately)




any word can be interchanged with gak, but usually you only want to change one word in a sentence or phrase otherwise it gets a bit too confusing and you usually want to use multiple syllable words so it's easier to quickly determine what's being gakified in the context of the sentence.  sometimes certain combinations work better than others.  For example, the word computer is better transformed into gakuter rather than comgakter or compugak, whereas an iPhone would be better expressed as an iGak.

some common gak rules:

- any syllable ending with a c/k sound is a more likely candidate into transforming for gak
- nouns are usually better candidates for gak
- gaks tend to gravitate towards less stressed syllables, though not necessarily





now these probably aren't all the usages of gak but i believe i've covered some of the main bases.  and i've been writing way too much on this now.


so i will now leave you with this humorous usage of gak:

on the fifth day of gakmus, my true gak gakked to me:
FIVE GOLDEN GAKS
four calling gaks
three gak hens
two turtle gaks
and a gaktridge in a gak tree

notice that three gak hens i used gak for the adj instead of the noun.  that's because things that are french are usually gak, and for the sake of variety.  (the same usage of gak in each sentence would be too repetitive, things need to be changed up).

knowing thyself

i'm always refining my image of myself, trying to become as self aware as possible in all contexts and circumstances.  fortunately, i have met good people to reveal to me aspects of character flaws and that ask me questions that make me constantly question why i do the things i do and about the events that have shaped me up to this point.

recently, i figured out a few things about myself:

a) what drives me (hint: i'm definitely not a "like me", that's for sure)
b) my self-consciousness when it comes to my self-consciousness
c) having a holden caulfield-complex

unfortunately, just knowing things about yourself isn't simply enough to shut it on or off.  character development is painful, and requires a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.  and sometimes it's hard to continually get up and believe that process is worth it, or that at some subconscious level, you want to hold onto those aspects of yourself.  i guess that requires a certain measure of faith.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

keeping it real

doesn't merely mean aggressively stating your perspective of truth, but allowing yourself to be vulnerable in acknowledging that your perspective of truth may be wrong.

especially when accepting that truth hurts like hell.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

the beauty is in what isn't said.

like so many jimmy eat world songs, i feel like the best ones ("for me this is heaven", "sweetness", "praise chorus" ,"23") aren't as given as much attention as their more popular songs.  which is just fine for me, it kind of adds to the possessiveness you have when you have music that you enjoy that others don't really get in the mainstream too often.

while JEW has become mainstream-y, i feel like they still do try to experiment and innovate when it comes to producing emotive music.  i say emotive, instead of "emo" because i feel like they carry the emotion without being "emo".  in my opinion, bands like Taking Back SundayYellowcardGood Charlotte, Simple PlanThe Starting Line and to some extent All American Rejects (though i love listening to some of their songs as a guilty pleasure), have saturated the market with overly bitter and whiny content.

the song i cover by JEW is "chase this light", something that i've listened to a lot a few years ago.  here are the lyrics:


I'm a suspect, I'm a traitor
I'm only here in body, visiting
Yellow faces and the distant screams
The beauty is in what isn't said
I'm rising to my feet

Because tonight, the world turned in me
Because right now, I don't dare to breathe

Oh, babe, I know
It's alive
And somewhere for us to find tonight
Chase this light with me

My just so
My last call
My life is yours, in your gifted hands
Confetti rain fall on the quiet street
These things I found are special now
The knot is in my reach

A movie still-photograph
Through our martyrs eyes I can see
I've seen the best of love
The best of hate
The best reward is earned
And I've paid for every single word
I've ever said

Confetti rain falls on the quiet street
The beauty is in what you make it
So get up on your feet



what i like about this song is how much meaning is packed into such a short song.  the movement of the music and the vocals also give it a sense of urgency, while the lyrics and melody serve to couple that with a sense of reassurance.  it also has a kicking bridge, which i always love.

i always wanted to play this with a band.  and now that i think i'm going to try to maybe form something of a band or do some stuff musically, i decided to finally finish this sucker off, because i've meant to cover this song for a while.  the song was a bit difficult technically for me, but i think i made something halfway decent:






enjoy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

dexter quote of the night

"despite having considered myself a monster for as long as I can remember, it still comes as a shock when I'm confronted with the depth of evil that exists in this world."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

thanks

i have a lot to be thankful for, it seems.  on an absolute scale in comparison to most people on this planet, i'd be an ingrate.  here's a good article on the feeling of being ungrateful:

http://www.russellmoore.com/2010/11/23/why-im-ungrateful/

it's kind of like when you're in a poker tournament and you bust out in the money, and people who don't play ask you like, "why are you upset, you just won x dollars."  but in reality, you've already experienced that elation of winning x dollars at that point of the tournament, the mindset is "i've got x dollars locked up, now let's see if i can get some more gold"  you become disappointed because you didn't win x + y dollars when you bust at that point.


so yes, compared to the whole human race, i do have a lot to be thankful for.  the superficial things would definitely put me in the top 99.9% probably (estimated 7,000,000 ppl in that category):

1) it's nice having a large cache of cash (ucwidt)
2) it's good being tall (being a short guy would probably suck)
3) having leverage from my background that would lead to a lot of opportunity and what not (education, connections, etc.)

and more srs stuff like:

1) generally been pretty healthy given how poorly i treat my body
2) having the freedom to pursue what i want because of my financial cushion
3) having a sister that loves me even though i'm annoying
4) having a mother that loves me even though i don't answer her calls all the time
5) having a father that loves me even though i don't listen to what he wants me to do with my life
6) having friends that actually listen to me and don't unfriend me when i go turn into emo tech
7) having a mind that is able to really absorb and understand and learn from the experiences that i have, and being able to slowly piece together the meaning of it all.
8) having the feeling of purpose in life (however faint of an inkling it might be at the moment, it does exist)


so, yeah.  thanks.  people.  God.  wat.

Friday, November 5, 2010

korean funeral procedings

chilling.  that's the best way to describe the sobbing of my 3rd aunt, my grandmother's primary caretaker in the past decade or so, during the funeral.  as she lay the flowers on the coffin before burial, she broke down in the type of wailing you only see in dramatic films.  she kept saying that she was sorry, even though i don't really think she really had anything to be sorry about.  perhaps she was sorry for not being there during the actual time of death (she had gone home temporarily with us to take a short break and didn't think my grandmother would pass away so quickly once her blood pressure dropped), or not doing "enough" to keep her healthy for a longer period of time.  we probably all carried some sort of guilt, my father for not coming earlier to see my grandmother one last time when she was conscious because he had scheduled too much work, and me perhaps for not really being that close with my family in korea enough to really feel impacted.  the feeling of my grandmother passing hasn't really sunk in yet, and maybe it won't really, because it's not really an integral or everyday part of my life that will be missing.

when we landed at 3:30am on saturday, we quickly rushed to the hospital for a quick look at my grandmother.  she was comatose, pale, in the intensive care unit, basically being kept alive by the machines.  to me, it was almost as if it was already too late, the grandmother that wanted to see her favorite son (my father) had already fallen into unconsciousness and the plane of interaction between us and her could never be crossed again.  at 12pm, my father told the doctors to cease iv fluids that maintained her blood pressure, and a couple hours later, she passed away.  the wake process started almost immediately after which lasted until 4:30 am monday.  we all dressed in funeral garb, the men in suits and the women in traditional black hanboks.  some, like my father, stayed at the wake location the entire time, while others went back to catch an hour or so before coming back on sunday. 

sunday morning, the funeral managers (i don't know what to call these people, they weren't exactly just undertakers) prepared the body for burial.  our collective family sat in a room with a glass window, watching them clean the head, arms and legs of the body, and then wrap it up.  they then gave us fake money to place on her (so she could spend money in the afterlife), to which my mother and i declined.  after the body was made in a weird decorative mummification type thing, it was placed in a coffin, where it would lay until it was transported to the burial site the following day.

during the wake period, there were several periods where we would all collectively bow in front of a table filled with an assortment of food, first each son with spouse in order of birth, then the daughters with spouse in order of birth, then the son's sons in order of the son's birth, then the son's daughter, then the daughter's children, then all together.  the funeral manager guy would do some weird ritual of swirling some soju over these incense candles and then click chopsticks against a bowl, signifying that the deceased has eaten.  this process would repeat several times during the day.

after periods of meeting random people who had come to pay their respects (mostly friends of my father), and taking short naps in between, i was too exhausted to think much of anything during the actual wake.  when we finally all rode a bus to the grave site around 2 hours outside of seoul, i had almost emptied all thought.

the grave site was a large mountain that was pretty much dedicated to being a graveyard.  just from first glance, i'd say there have to be like at least 10,000 graves on it, maybe even a large multiple more.  it had the look of an ancient civilization lost long ago, with neat rows and rows of graves, graves as far as the eye can see.  that was where we finally buried my grandmother, and had the bowing ceremonial thing again with a small table of food prepared in front of the grave.  we started to then lay dirt on the coffin.  once a body is buried, it does give a sense of finality to someone's life.  the body is now physically separated from us, further representing a psychological severing of any connection with the deceased.  i surmise that it was this that caused my aunt to finally break down, and by doing so, brought emotion to the rest of the family.  it was strange to see my father comfort my aunt as a role as a brother, a role i never see him in.  it was also the first time i've seen him smoke a cigarette in my life.

after a day of mourning on tuesday, where it consisted of us just staying in the day and hanging out, we went back to the gravesite once more where we again did the bowing ceremony thing one last time.  we paid our last respects, and i wondered to myself what i was feeling again.  the grandmother i knew was the grandmother i left behind the last time i saw her over 9 years ago.  in my mind, perhaps i had already let go of her as she faded in my memory.  maybe that's why there was little for me to hold on to.  as sad as it is, there was a period of transition where i just "outgrew" her, when there was no real possible growth in our relationship left in the way that it existed, without any real physical interaction.

and that to me was even more chilling than my aunt's sobs for forgiveness, the realization of the coldness of my own heart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forcefields.

i heard my grandmother was dying today.

when i found out about the death of my former high school orchestra teacher, i was confused about how i felt.  in the teacher's case, she was kind of like a genuine "mr. schuster" type of person, warm, caring about students, and encouraging them to be proactive in the arts (in this case orchestra), although the dynamics were probably around 100 times less dramatic.  she taught elementary school orchestra too, so it was almost like she was with me from the very beginning of my violin "career".

our high school was kind of small (around 600 students), so the orchestra was tiny compared to most, meaning that the amount of privately trained students were sparse.  as me and my sister were the best violinists in the school, we had a closer relationship to the teacher than most.  our relationship became somewhat strained as i began to have the identity crisis that most asians in my situation face towards the end of my high school careers, the one where i began to question the activities i was doing all my life when i didn't even enjoy them (i.e. playing the violin).

a few incidents happened between us, and long story short, i felt somewhat betrayed and unappreciated by the teacher in the end.  i held that grudge up to the day i found out she had passed.  i didn't know how to feel.  i knew i had the capacity for feeling sadness/shock over someone's death (because i had a very real experience in a dream of mine, not from anything real life however), but for some reason nothing registered when i heard about her.  did my heart become that calloused towards her i couldn't even feel anything towards a woman who probably meant well for me most of the time?  did i not feel guilty that i wasn't a better witness to her even though i knew she was not a christian?

today, it was somewhat different.

my relationship with my grandparents are almost nonexistent.  my mother's father was dead before i was born, and my father's father died when i was around 8 or so.  apparently when i was 4-5 and sleeping, there was one time my grandfather would be holding my hand when we were in the same room together, and once someone entered the room, he would immediately pull his hand back as if nothing had happened.  typical traditional korean male hiding their emotions.

in the case of my father's mother, i really felt that she was probably the most accepting of me out of all my korean relatives.  maybe it had to do with being the only male from america, showing flashes of random genius (calculating exchange rates from won to the dollar when i was 5), or that i was just that endearing.  in any case, i knew she like my grandfather really enjoyed when i was around.  i would hardly categorize our relationship as close however, seeing as i barely spoke any korean (apparently i also said something like, "there's a bug, get it!" which my parents always love to reference for some reason) and i saw her only when i visited korea (last time being in 2001).

i felt something stronger compelling me this time around, enough to go to korea tomorrow in order to be present.  it wasn't that surprising that she was dying because she had been sick for a while, but in the midst of sorting through what i thought about it, i realized that again i wasn't THAT affected by it, and THAT realization actually made me more sad.  i feel like i would only have a visceral reaction towards only a few people's deaths in my life.  looking back on the my life, i can probably recount the few events that shattered my trust and hope in people and ultimately made me less willing to actually care.  the hopelessness i feel towards relationships began to become more apparent as my stoic self began to surface.

people in my life have changed.  they drastically differ from the version you remember them to be from 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even 5 years ago.  unfortunately, a lot of the times, i hate the newer versions, the ones that don't seem to remember the older versions, that don't have the characteristics of the old one you'd like to keep.  kind of like microsoft excel 2003's superiority to microsoft excel 2007.  i just can't hang on to people the way i used to because they ultimately are not the same person anyway.  perhaps in my sick and twisted conception, that person has already "died" several times and the real death is the same as any other.

but i am grounded by the fact that i know my capacity to be deeply moved is still there.  i know because i have always felt and have been carried away with strong emotions, no matter how much i try to guard myself from them.  i know that there are some people i would sacrifice everything for, not only because it is my responsibility, but because i care deeply enough about them to do it willingly.  maybe one day i'll learn how to trust the human race again.

Gone.

We are not infinite
We are not permanate
Nothing is immediate
We’re so confident
In our accomplishments
Look at our decadance

-switchfoot

Friday, October 15, 2010

i have an addiction.

i hate change.  there are so many things i try to cling onto.  no matter how much i know how inevitable the outcome to be, i will resist change like a delinquent running up down escalators in a shopping mall.  i have this condition of remembering things as "the good old days", but when i actually remember them, they were probably filled with as much strife and anguish as any other.  but there's something idyllic about the past, some moments you wish you could repeat, others you wish you could redo, but moments that can't be truly recaptured despite our best efforts.

i don't take many pictures of my life.  sometimes i wish i was more of a picture person.  there is something fun in reliving moments by just flipping through old pictures.  but other times, i'm glad i don't have too many pictures because i look back at myself constantly and cringe at how i was.  i recently told a friend about reading my past entries from like 8 years ago and how i was just so much more awkward and emo back then.  needless to say, they've mostly been privatized, and i'm embarrassed to know that they were actually once public.  but i don't think the next decade or so will be as transformative as the last one, so maybe i'll have this up in ten years.  we'll see.

therein lies the disconnect between how i remember the past, and the harsh reality of how the past actually was.  physical evidence, whether the recordings are visual or written, give a glimpse of how things really were.  it shows me that even though i think some aspects of the past were great, i'm still addicted to experiencing change and something new.  one of my favorite times was freshman year of college, not because it was particularly fun or crazy, but because it was totally new.  meeting new people, getting used to the whole campus life, it was just a sensory overload of fresh experiences.

it's that feeling of freshness that i think i want to hold onto.  that time when you're totally experiencing something awesome for the first time, and then it doesn't seem so awesome for the 100th time.  kind of like listening to college a cappella groups or eating a shake shack burger (did i really just say that)?  as a kid, i wished i could have a switch to make me forget things just so i could play my favorite RPG games again (re: chrono trigger, which i prob plan to get and play again anyway since it's awesome).  i'm addicted to experiencing new things that give me goosebumps, that shock me to my core, that awaken the curious dreamer within me.

it's kind of like when ichigo is fighting kenpachi in bleach (an anime series) for the first time.  kenpachi explains to ichigo that his only purpose in life is to fight because it makes him feel alive, and that he actually handicaps himself during fights to make it more interesting.  he gets excited when his opponent is strong, because that means he actually will have the fear of death keeping things fresh for him.  in the same way, i try as much as possible to put myself out there, even in times when it may seem masochistic to do so.  i can't bear for life to be boring, so sometimes i just do something random to spice it up a bit.  i suppose i'm impulsively trying to recreate that sense of freshness, but perhaps it's the best when its truly organic.

i guess that's one of the reasons i became so attracted to acting.  it affords the opportunity to experience a wide spectrum of circumstances without actually having to go through them (because that would probably be detrimental to one's psychological well being).  in my pursuit of acting, i hope that i would try to branch out as much as i can and try to take in as much as i can, just by observing and reliving other people's experiences.  in this article about ed norton, he discusses his different views on how he went about his career and explains what he does in order to portray the reality of the different roles he takes on.  this is something i definitely want to replicate.

i don't want to just hold onto ideas of goodness that i've had before.  i want to go out and have an experience today.  my apologies if you get burned in my whirlwind of insanity.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

order has been restored.

link


"Perhaps more interesting is what it says about the current state of Duke's program. Remember when the Blue Devils were faltering? Remember when Duke couldn't get past the Sweet 16? Remember when Coach K was spending too much time with the national team? Remember when the Blue Devils weren't deep enough? Remember when Duke couldn't lure top recruits anymore?

Those days -- if they even existed in the first place -- are officially over. The Blue Devils are the reigning national champions. They're the favorite for the this season's crown, thanks in part to one of the best recruits in the 2010 class, Kyrie Irving. And they just signed the best overall player in the class of 2011 and are all the way up to No. 2 in ESPN.com's updated class rankings.

If Duke "went" anywhere, it is officially back. That's a scary thought."

chronic intoxication

And young thoughts, we used to have those big smiles
We were still so many miles from a broken heart
But nowadays we never think about the change
Really know what we’ve became really ain’t the same
- nieve and cook

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tourney poker 101

recently, i made it deep into the borgata world poker tour main event, and have been tweeting about my progress.  poker was actually the initial reason why i got twitter, so that people who were interested would be able to follow how i was doing in the tournament without my constant having to text individual people about what happened.


before, i would write blog entries about how the day went.  for example, you can catch my archived world series of poker entries.


now that i have a few followers on twitter that don't know about poker and have somewhat been interested in my live tourney updates, i would like to write a short informative entry about the basics of tournament poker and how to follow my seemingly nonsensical tweets.


most of the references below will be related to no limit hold em.


in poker, there are two ways to make money, playing in cash games, or in tournaments.  in cash games, you start off with however much you wish to play with (there is usually some sort of table minimum to buy in for), chips represent actual cash value.  you can pick up and leave whenever you want, and if you run out of money, you can buy in for more.  when you leave, you cash out with however many chips you have in front of you.


in a tournament, everyone buys in for the same amount, and the casino usually takes a vig (anywhere from 5-10%).  all the aggregate money goes into a prize pool.  the way you "cash" in a tournament, or make money, is finishing in a place where there is a payout.  (most tournaments payout the top 10-15% finishers).  everyone starts off with the same amount of chips, and when you lose all your chips, you are "busted", or you are out of the tournament.


in a tournament, blinds and antes go up every level, and each level lasts for around an hour or so.  in the WPT event i just played, it was 75 minutes.  at the WSOP main event, it's 2 hours.  usually blinds and antes increase by a factor of 20-25% each level.  these level ensure that players bust out in a somewhat timely manner, otherwise tournaments would last for a long time.


so when i write something like blinds 2/4 1a, that probably means the blinds are 200/400 with a 100 ante.  (or 2k/4k with a 1k ante, depending on what came before i was abbreviating)


average stack is calculated by taking the total number of chips and dividing it by the remaining players.  usually this isn't that pressing of a statistic unless it's a certain type of situation, but it's nice to keep tabs on i suppose.  so when i say avg is x, that's what i mean.


there are several special situations in tournament poker, but the most pertinent is the bubble.  this is when say there are 100 spots that pay in the tourney, and there are around 110-101 ppl left in the tourney.  the closer we are to the money, the slower the play gets for the short stacks, because they don't want to get knocked out before the "bubble" bursts.  sometimes certain players will pretty much play super conservative and fold HUGE hands in order to try to sneak into the money and not go broke.  more experienced players will take advantage of this situation and use aggression to steal pots from their weaker opponents.  in some situations, players have folded big hands face up to me, showing me that they're willing to lay down in order to make the money and won't get into big pots with me without a big hand.


a race in poker, is when the money goes all in before the flop, and the odds are pretty much 50-50, (a pair vs. two overcards is such a situation, which is actually closer to 55-45)  this is also verbalized as a flip, because it is like flipping a coin.  so when someone says i couldn't win a race or a flip, they mean they couldn't win one of these common situations.


another abbreviation commonly used is < > = when i'm all in pf.  for example, if i write, won a 500k pot AA>AK aipf, i mean that i won a 500k pot where i had AA and the opponent had AK, and we were all in preflop.


when i indicate position, i'm telling you where i am sitting at the beginning of the hand and where my opponent is sitting.  this gives additional information to the dynamics of how the hand plays out.


positions at a table:
SB = small blind
BB = big blind
UTG = under the gun, or first to act preflop
UTG+1 = one after UTG
MP = middle position
MP+1 = one after MP
HJ = hijack, two before the button
CO = cutoff, or one before the button
BTN = button, or the dealer position




when a hand "holds" that means that going into a situation where all the money is in and there are cards to come, you have the mathematical edge of winning the hand, and you win the hand in the end.  your hand "held down" the winner for you.


when i have hands, i usually abbreviate them by just two letters


A/K/Q/J/T/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2


so if i have aces, i'll just say i have AA.  if i want to indicate suits, i'll write i have AdAc meaning i have the ace of diamonds and ace of clubs.  if i have something like 76cc, it means i have 7 of clubs and 6 of clubs.






other section:


qualifiers/satellites.  these tournaments are tourneys that have a smaller entry fee, and the finishers in these tournaments win a buy in to a tournament.  for example, to enter in the world series of poker, the buy in is $10,000.  there are several satellites where the buy in is less than that, for example if 10 ppl were to play, the buy in would be 1k + some sort of vig, and one person would win a seat to the event.


steal.  a steal is generally just when you raise preflop in a later position and you take it down.  you "stole" the pot from the players in the blinds.  a resteal is when someone reraises a raise preflop to steal it away from the original raiser.  this is also conventionally known as a 3-bet.




that's it for now...if i have more i'll add it to my next entry, how i play tournaments.

so i was adding music to my feeble collection on my computer and

came across these few sites to quickly gloss over some good songs:

http://top10070s.blogspot.com/
http://top20080s.blogspot.com/
http://top20090s.blogspot.com/

anyone have suggestions of good albums and what not (old or recent, all genres except lame).

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

what is truth?

about two weeks ago, a korean/japanese american held the discovery channel hostage with explosive devices and fake pistols as an environmental terrorist.  most people followed the incident during the work day, wondering what the eventual outcome would be as the general internet community, along with twitter, spread the news of the incident like wildfire.  then just like that, a sniper picked him off as he was threatening some of the hostages.

koreans, normally proud of their race when they do well (read: kim yu-na, hines ward, etc.), were quick to banish him off to his japanese heritage, or had some sort of similar reaction of "oh no, not again" or "ah crap, sorry about that bud" like when seung-hui cho went ballistic at virginia tech.  the rest of the world went quickly  back to normal, and the man was dismissed and forgotten.

and by all rights, incidents like these should not be given that much media attention, for it would inspire other would-be copycats to gain their own spotlight.  but reading about james j lee (i won't go into the countless other terrorist inspired events for now), made me wonder about his perspective of truth.  most of these kinds of people don't believe that what they are doing is wrong, they think that they are revolutionaries for a just social cause.  i believe that terrorists are marked by their beliefs that their cause trumps the sanctity of human life.  their ideologies are always stained by some sort of selfish desire that they try to mask with a "for the people" spin.

james j lee had a somewhat admirable cause that he was an advocate of, trying to promote programs that would perhaps improve the environment.  however, if his primary goal was to change the minds of people, he probably came up with the worst plan possible to do so.  he makes a few huge mistakes:

a) resorts to violence to promote non-violence (thinks humans cause wars which produce pollution in the environment)
b) has demands that require a LARGE time frame to accomplish, when his actions are during a hostage situation, something that is usually resolved within a day when there's one gunman and infinity SWAT surrounding a building.  this would make it quite difficult to make sure your demands are met.
d) has an OVER simplified view of how the world works.  #11 on his list says: "You're also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war."  yes, cause if the discovery channel had the answer to that, they wouldn't already have notified the US government.

all in all, his demands and rants make him sound like someone who didn't really give much thought to how to change society, and just wanted people to cater to his beliefs to how the world should be.  he never really proposes a solution that would produce lasting change, and because of that, he merely sounds like a raving lunatic.  but in his mind, he convinced himself that he was doing the right thing by taking people hostage in the discovery channel (i mean who holds the discovery channel hostage?  you can't make this kind of stuff up).

he made up this truth for himself, "if i hold the discovery channel hostage, i can make them change their television lineup, which will in turn make people have less babies, stop war, and stop using oil.  i pretty much will effectively end the human race and save the planet as a result."  sounds crazy, but this sounds like exactly the train of thought that he had (ignoring for the moment that there could've been some other ulterior motive to his actions, i.e. garnering attention for just attention's sake).

sometimes i wonder if there will be a point in time where i fully convince myself of some "truth" that is not grounded in reality.  sometimes the reality that we find ourselves becomes questionable because there's always a "this is the way it should be" thought that creeps into our minds, and how we go about getting our realities calibrated to that utopian ideal could potentially be more damaging than good.

i like to think of myself as a level headed person who will listen to ALL the facts, details, emotions, motivations before making a judgment on something, but there will always remain the possibility that my limited comprehension of the world will fail and that i'll start believing in a lie.  it reminds me of my favorite quote from memento, "we all lie to ourselves to make ourselves happy."  instead of facing reality, it's easier for us to create some sort of lie for ourselves to produce the illusion that the something wrong with the world is outwardly focused instead of inwardly.  in order to inspire real change, one has to understand why things are the way they are, by relating to it with their own personal experience.

i will continue to look for my own truth.  i'll let you know when i find it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

this could be the post-missions depressed side of me speaking but...

why does it seem like everyone around me has got it all figured out?  i've nothing but feelings of inadequacy when it comes to my life as it is.  although that new york times article about 20-somethings reveals that we're taking a bit longer when it comes to making life decisions and steering our so-called lives into something that means a lick, i can't help but feel like i've somewhat past some sort of prime.  i feel like i wasted my time doing stupid stuff, instead of working on the things i care about, and that i'm past the point of no return.

i'd like to believe i made some good choices with my life.  i'd like to believe that i have made the better choices with the information i had available to me.  one thing i've been worrying about is actually choosing a career in an art related field.  in other areas of life, there are tests, there are scores, there are quantifiable things that would indicate whether or not you're suitable for it. 

i asked my sister about her fashion industry, "how do you know if you're better than the people you're competing against?"

she replied, "you know if buyers buy your shit."  ok, i'm paraphrasing, but she said something like that.  basically, you don't know for sure if your actual talent will outshine everyone else's until after you've done it.  to do so, you have to have faith in yourself.  and sometimes you won't ever know, as my sister always likes to point out the example of van gogh, that he died in relative anonymity during his life.  she also likes to point out that famous or rich people who have no idea what they're doing also tend to succeed in the fashion industry by virtue of just being able to throw their stuff out into the market with their moneys.

my friends are doctors, hedge funders, internet startupers, video game makers, musicians, professional gamblers, cooks, entrepreneurs.  people who are confident of what they want to do, and go on and do it.  they seem sure of their life direction, and what they want to be doing in 5 years.  5 year plans, like stalin.  ok, maybe not, but yeah.

when i say that i want to acting, i'm filled with doubt.  as a person who for most of his life grew up in a upper middle class suburban household, i sometimes wonder if i have the emotional and sociological cognition to understand and appreciate different circumstances accurately enough to be talented in this area.  to clarify that jumbled cacophony of a sentence, i feel like my emotional spectrum might not have been developed enough irl in order to be a good actor.

yet there's something in me that can't deny that the sum of my experiences is somewhat unique.  i mean in theory, everyone's life is unique obviously, but i think that i've collected a lot of experiences in my lifetime to be familiar with a multitude of social interactions.  from these experiences, i think i'm able to relate to a wide variety of people.  it's also this belief that makes me think that i do indeed have something different to bring to the table when it comes to acting, and that i will be able to harness this ability in someway.  i'm also a bit insane, which helps.

unfortunately, as someone who grew up being a problem solver rather than a creative mind, i tend to think of things in terms of how to improve/fix/make more efficient/etc. it.  none of these skills are manifested in being an actor.  an actor must rely on instinct and his technique in order to relate to his environment, with most cognitive functions being peripheral accessories.  i have to instead now, "believe" that i have what it takes.

and of course, there's no other way than to try.  and try i shall...

constantly at war inside me are the cynic and the romantic.  the romantic will need to shine in these next few years of my life.  let's hope i don't waste them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

inception thought

it's been a while since i've written a long entry about a movie (i.e. back in my days when i was (still am?) obsessed with the matrix).  maybe i'll write one about inception later on, but i think a lot of blogs and stuff i've been reading covered that already.

but i've been thinking about the ending and how i predicted it would happen when i was watching it.

*SPOILER ALERT* the following needs to be highlighted to read:
What if instead of the totem spinning and the screen cutting to black, if instead the totem kept spinning and you saw Cobb's father-in-law see the totem and knock it over?  Much sicker, imo.

dontcha think?

Friday, July 9, 2010

sneak preview

sometimes i can think to recite words that i read and rewrite.
my pens paint people that I've proven wrong.

-

it's been real busy, i'll be back blogging and what not in august i suppose.  maybe when i'm not up at 4+ am (aka emo hour).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

lasik

so as some of you may know by now, i underwent LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery last tuesday, to correct my nearsightedness that i've had for about 20 years.

my glasses have been really tied to my identity as a certified nerd. if you didn't need glasses growing up, that probably meant you either had enhanced genetics, or never wasted them on nerdy things like that involved lots of text based activities where the text was small and hard to read (such as marvel cards, magic cards, long nerdy fantasy novel series, computers, RPG video games, comic books, etc.).

but even at the ripe age of 6, i knew that being a nerd was not a good thing in society. i dreaded getting glasses, and my first grade teacher was like, "even clark kent wore glasses!" well, i couldn't exactly tell her as a little kid that:

a) superman sucks
b) he's a loser as clark kent, that's why he takes those glasses off when he pwns n00bs, wtf

as time went on, i suffered through having these laborious glasses as a young fellow, and my eyesight became worse and worse. sometimes i'd squeeze them underneath my eyes at an angle so i could see better with them when they weren't powerful enough. i'd also remember times when they'd fall apart and i'd have to find those infinitely hard to find screwdrivers that are small enough to screw in the screws for glasses.

not to give over too much to such a trivial thing, but i think glasses had the self fulfilling prophesy of my transformation into a nerd. it was like they trapped me into a category and pigeonholed me into a role that i was only doomed to accept. i couldn't help it, people were glassesist.

fittingly enough, it was only when i acquired contact lenses that i started to become less socially awkward than i was back then. (yes, it was possible for me to be more socially awkward, if you can imagine that).

but even that wasn't a perfect solution, contacts weren't to be worn for more than a day, had to be cleaned daily, and were somewhat uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time.

my roommate had gotten PRK surgery done by this doctor, Ken Moadel. apparently he worked on the eyes of bernie williams and jason giambi, so he seemed to be pretty legit. so two wednesdays ago, i hopped in the offices to make an appointment. after getting my eyes checked out by staring at laser beams for like a billion times, they scheduled me for surgery the following tuesday. at the rate he pops out these surgeries, i'd say Dr. Moadel is not going to be needing a pension plan for his retirement.

before i went in for surgery, they told me to get a prescription filled. i bought a 3 ml container of eye drops that cost 95 dollars...wtf. that's literally like more than one dollar a drop. when i went in, i didn't have to change or anything, but i waited for like 3 nerve racking hours or so until they finally got me in the surgery room.

so apparently i'm super hyper, because they thought i was jittery enough to warrant 3 dosages of valium. so after i was sufficiently sedated, they took me to this room where there were two machines and a table to lay on. there were around 3-4 ppl in the surgery room including the main doc, one who was holding my arm as the surgery happened. the first thing they do is put this suction thingy on your eye to prevent it from closing i suppose, which is kind of uncomfortable. then they spray like infinity drops of random things in your eye which rolled down to the side of your head, and i'm thinking, "well thanks for letting random chemicals roll down the side of my head."

the next part is a bit freaky. i THINK a metal thing scraped against the front of my cornea, which is supposed to create the flap thingy so the laser can do it's work and stuff. it blurred my vision and you kind of are panicking a bit at this point cause you're not exactly sure what's supposed to be "normal" or if things are going gak. anyhow, they put you under some machine right afterwards that goes RIGHT over your eye, and this is where i think the flap is secured? not entirely sure what happens but everything kind of really went dark after this.

then you're like OMG WTF. then they flip you over to the other machine where you see a red/orange light. they tell you to look at the orange light, which you do because you think, "omg if i don't look at the light i am going to be blind." as you look at it, you hear a sound that sounds like you're being tazed, and you start smelling burning plastic. except...it's not burning plastic. IT'S BURNING FLESH. ZOMG.

then they go to work on putting the flap back on, and it's like little by little your vision starts coming back. it was like the dude in the Bible getting Jesus spit on his eyes and getting it healed in slow motion and stuff.

afterwards they put a patch over it and do the same process with the other eye.

having the second eye done was still freaky. you're like oh wait maybe i shouldn't have agreed to have both done BECAUSE IT COULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE?! but you're already in the chair so too late, gg no re. after it was all over, they gave me these funky sunglasses to wear, and i sat in a darkish room for like 10 minutes by myself with them on.

i was thinking, "am i healed? am i bionically enhanced? do i have x-ray vision or the ability to shoot laser beams out of my head?" ok maybe not exactly, but i do remember thinking, "ok it's kind of messed up to have your patient all by himself after surgery wondering wtf just happened."

then i was ushered out and told to put drops in four times a day. i took the subway home because i forgot that it'd prob be a smart idea to take someone with me to make sure i got home ok, and i just spent the time wondering how ridiculous the sunglasses i was wearing looked on me, and if it was obvious to onlookers that i had just gotten eye surgery. when i got home though, i looked at the sunglasses and they weren't that bad actually kind of ok style-wise. my sister took them for herself.

after waking up from a 4 hour nap, i felt a bit disoriented still and it was hard to look at things for more than 5 seconds even with the glasses on. now, however, i feel pretty decent although there is still a SLIGHT bit of discomfort, and it doesn't feel like my vision is 100% perfect at the moment (both apparently normal and self-correcting in a few weeks).

i still sometimes think i'm wearing contacts and need to take them out before i go to sleep, or push on my nose where i think my glasses are, but they're not. i guess it's akin to amputees feeling phantom sensations where there are none or what not, having something you're used to for so long change like that can be really weird.

but i wonder if i'll be a different person when the final after effects of the surgery wear off, and i realize that i don't need glasses anymore. i wrote once that my dream was to "be able to wake up in the morning and be excited about the day ahead, everyday." i hope this is going to be part of it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

tom wang to the rescue

*edit*

Tom: like how
i'm your poker playing friend
and not soulmate :(

*end edit*


so my poker playing friend tom shared with me a story of great mirth and enjoyment. a bit of background info before you read the convo for some clarification.

i went to atlantic city with tom and his friends danny and perry because tom's friend jeff had a room comped at the borgata water club. now danny, tom and i played the same kind of games and stakes, but perry was a younger kid who was also a busto newb who wasn't very good at poker and kind of just tagged along for the ride. in fact, i felt kind of bad because it was more like me danny and tom were living it up talking to each other while he was kind of in the background. i mean he was the annoying guy that you didn't really want around but tom felt bad for the kid so he let him come. i was not very happy about that, as i understood it to be a degen bro's weekend out, and he would really cramp our style.

anywho, there was a funny moment when i got out of the car to go home, perry said, "nice to meet you!" and i slammed the door in his face. i didn't hear him of course (i'm not that mean), but it was funny nonetheless.

so as i mentioned, perry isn't really that good at poker, so we sometimes have some fun at his expense (juvenile i know, but apparently i'm a 26 year old kid). we call him perryfan, perryville, perryellis, all sorts of gak and sometimes watch him play to see the ridiculous plays he makes. i mean, tom tries to help him of course, but the kid just doesn't have the stuff.

so, knowing this i present to you the story that made my day. it's probably not going to be .1% as funny as i found it to the average person, but i wanted to etch it into a blog so i have a memory of it forever.



Tom: like how
did i tell u

Me: like how
what

Tom: me and dannyboy

Me: did you tell me

Tom: were at cg's

[cg is Tom's friend, Jeff. cg means cool guy. something they sarcastically call each other]

Me: ?

Tom: railing your boy
perryfan
and randomly

[railing means, watching someone play poker. your boy is an expression we use to just indicate that that person has a connection with you, whether positive or negative. perryfan is a nickname that originates from another poker player we poke fun at who's name is terry fan.]

Me: LOLOLOOOO

Tom: we pulled up a few of his tables

[they were watching online]

Me: lol

Tom: insta-losing stacks like it's going out of style

Me: HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHHHAAHAH
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA

Tom: and then this hand happened

Me: OMG
I AM
ACTUALLY
LOLLING

Tom: lol lt
wait till i get
to the punchline
lt
so as usual
perry 3b some donk's open

[open means entering a hand by raising the bet]

from 3 to 13
donk opened utg, perry was bb

[bad player was first to act, perry was in the big blind]

Me: hahahahahhaahahhaah
k

Tom: they were 170bb deep or so
100NL

[this means they were playing .5/1 no limit hold em, with stacks $170 deep]

Me: k

Tom: flop AQ8ss
perryville c-bets like 17

Me: O
LOL
k

Tom: donk raises to 45 or some gak
perryfan tanks
and we were all speculating
like oh boy

Me: LOL

Tom: he [Perry] doesn't like to fold

Me: HAAHAHAHHAAHHAAHHAHA

Tom: he's about to ship it in there

Me: LOOOOOLLOOOOOL
OMG I WISH IWAS THERE

Tom: and get snapped by donk's AQ/AA/QQ

[snapped means get called really quickly]

Me: hahhahaahahhaahhaha

Tom: anyway

Me: I AM
ROLLING
ON MY BED
LAHGING
IN ANTICIPATION
HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

Tom: sure enough after a like 30 seconds in the fishtank

[Perry does not act for 30 seconds, "thinking"]

he rips it in there
fish predictably
snap calls
and the cards are hidden
until showdown
so we have no idea
what either of htese gaks have
we just think it's perry with AK or some gak
and donk has AQ or the like
turn comes a Ks
we were oohhhing and ahhhhing
at the possibilities
river was a 4s
so final board was
AsQs8xKs4s



Me: OL
LOL
man
this
could
be
hilarious

[the reason i was in anticipation after this board was because there were four spades on board, meaning any one with the highest spade would win the pot, resulting in what was a probable crappy hand beating a good made hand]

Tom: and perry is to th eleft
so we're all kind of quiet in anticipation
of what is going on

Me: HAHAHHAHAH
like quiet gaks

Tom: i look at perry's hand first
AA
wowowow

[Perry had the best possible hand on the flop]

Me:
HAHHAAHHAAHAHHAAHHA
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAAHAHHA

Tom: and then i look over at donk's hand
and ur not going to believe it
7s8h

[the fish put in a lot of money with a terrible hand when it was extremely obvious he would be probably drawing close to dead, but won the hand because of a miraculous outcome]

ASD;FLKAJS;FLKASJSLAKJ

Me: HAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHHAAHHAHAH
AHHAAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHHAHA

Tom: we literally

Me: HAHHAAHAHLAOOHAOHAOHAOHAOHAOHOHAOOLOOAHOL

Tom: could not
breathe
for 10 minutes
i was for real

Me: IA
AM

Tom: rofling'

Me: AM
OMG

Tom: in cg's room

Me: OMG\
OMFG
SADOGKASFOAKSDFOASDGKOASBKASDFOKf

Tom: danny snap jumped onto cg's bed

Me: HAHAHAHHAHHAAHAHHAHAHAHA

Tom: and coudln't breathe

Me: HAHAHHAAHAHAHAHHAAHHAAH
I CAN't
OGM

Tom: we coined the term

Me: OMG
OMG
IC An'T'

Tom: "ROBL"

Me: I CAN'T
I CAN'TAWEG[ADSFKA

Tom:
andrew robling

Me: LOOLLOOOOOOOOOOOOL
HAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHA
IMAGINE
THE TIT

Tom: =rolling on bed laughing

Me: TILT
TILT
OAWEHKAORGKASPDFKASDOFPKAS
LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
OMGO
OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG
HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: seirosly

Me: DID HE TAKE HIS MRI

Tom: i wish you were there

Me: EXAMINATION
HAHHAHAHHAHAA

Tom: it was so epic

Me: OMG IF I WAS THERE
SOMEONE'S HOUSE
WOULD'VE ASPLODED
HAHAHHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: and then we basically did not stop laughing about it for 20 minutes
nonstop

Me: HAHHAHAHAOOOOHAOHLLLLLLLLLL
20 MINUTES

Tom: like WTF ZOMG

Me: MORE LIKE ETERNITY
HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: in between wheezes

Me: DID PERRYVILLE CHAT

Tom: danny was like spurting out

Me: HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: RAISE/CALL 170 BB WITH BOTTOM PAIR
WTF HAHAHAHA

Me: HAHHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: IS HE FUCKING MRI

Me: HAHAHHAAHHAHAAHHHAHAHAHAAHHAHA
LLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Tom: oh my god
and then cg for some reason types in the chat
and outs us for being heckling railbirds

Me: HAHHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA
LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Tom: like, danny and tom were just now literally laughing on my floor

Tom: oh believe me
it was fucking epic

Me: HAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA
FRODO BAGGINS EPIC
FBE

Tom: ahahhaha

Me: HAHHAAHHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

Tom: it was funnier because
we were just randomly pulling up his tables
and we happeend to catch that gem






ah, scheudenfreude.