Archive for the ‘ Just fun ’ Category

Spring 2012 in review.

Graduate reception prep on memorial glade.

A college semester is an interesting period. It sort of defines the experience of time for most college students. What classes are you taking this semester? What classes are you taking next semester? How has your semester been? I’m so glad this semester is over! Next semester is going to be awesome. And so on and so forth. I suppose for some they would be quarters instead of semesters, but similar logic applies.

I think that I will write a review of each semester. A semester is a good chunk of time to review, not only because I can look at the classes I’ve taken, but also because it’s just a very nice time scale for personal analysis and critique. Too short of a time scale and there is not much to look at. Too long of a scale and you forget a lot of things by the end of it. So I think I will keep up a tradition of writing one of these at the close of each semester. I only have a couple left, anyways!

This semester was a great one for me in many ways. I’ve also failed in a lot of ways, and hopefully I can look back and learn from it. All the better if I can document my failure here! I won’t bore you with the details of my failure, but I will tell you the things I learned.

THE THINGS ALEX LEARNED:

1) Do not rely on people who are unreliable. This one seems obvious, but it’s a hard one for me to accept. I like to believe that people can change easily, that if I observe someone failing, the next time they might not. However I realize that people do not change so easily. There were multiple times this past semester that I relied upon someone, that I linked my success to their ability to stick to a plan, and in the end I fail because of it. I need to learn to take matters into my own hands when necessary, or to find new people to work with when necessary. I don’t blame those that I’ve worked with, I blame myself for not learning quickly enough. I can’t get mad at others for not changing if I don’t myself.

2) Do not turn assignments in late. Again this seems like a no-brainer, but this keeps biting me in the ass. I don’t have a powerful sense of urgency when working on assignments. Somehow I need to fix this.

3) Commitment often has more advantages and fewer disadvantages than it might seem. I often fear commitment, not just in relationships, but in all my decisions. I don’t like the idea of being “tied down”, the idea that in the future, I won’t have as many possible choices that I do now. This is partially an illusion. I waste so much time thinking about what I might do, or waiting to make a decision or commitment, that I end up squandering so many resources that it would have been more efficient to make a poor decision right away, suffer the consequences, and learn from it. A friend gave me this advice: “fail early, fail often”. Making a bad decision quickly is often better than taking a long time to make a good decision. Sometimes it is worth it to think long and hard about something, but often it is actually not. Indecision can be a silent killer.

4) Fear idleness more than busyness. I don’t mind being busy all of the time. I mind being idle. Being idle means I will be even more busy in the future, but with a smaller output than if I was just busy the entire time. I need to not be afraid of putting responsibility on myself; of eliminating idleness.

5) Exercise is not a waste of time. I can’t overstate this. It’s easy to say things like “but I have homework due tomorrow” or “I need to study” or “I want to hang out with my friends” as excuses to not exercise. None of them are valid. There is always an hour or two each day to exercise, and I never use it. Somehow I need to get myself to do this. It is not a waste of time.

Apart from the things I sucked at and need to learn from, a lot of very good things happened this semester. I got better grades than I was expecting. I made a lot of new and wonderful friends. I completed my Dominion set. I worked through some personal emotional issues. I have a more clearly defined goal for self-improvement than I’ve ever had before. Right now my work is cut out for me. I know what I need to do to get good grades and to make the most out of my classes. I know what I need to do and what to eat in order to stay healthy. I know how to make friends and keep them. I know how to love someone as a friend and as a girlfriend, and how to tell the difference between the two.

I’m still working on learning not to be an asshole.

On a side note, I’ve recently become obsessed with a certain show…

Drowning.

It’s that time of year again. School is over in a matter of weeks, and I’m fairly screwed in most of my classes.

A typical pattern, to be sure, although unfortunately this semester has been harsher on me than past ones. My performance is going down, while averages are going up. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s not good. At the end of this semester I’ll need to take some time to think about the decisions I’ve made and where I might have done better. This is all academically speaking, of course – my friends here at Berkeley continue to be awesome and I’m so grateful that I have them.

It is true crunch time now. Extreme catch up work is necessary if I’d like to escape my classes with halfway decent grades. This has the potential to be my worst semester at Cal – hopefully I can keep my head above the water.

On a lighter note, here’s my new favorite song. What can I say. It’s just so damn catchy.

Funerals and socks.

I have a big and important blog post coming up, but I didn’t want to write it tonight because I’m tired and not thinking well. So, in the meantime, I’m going to discuss some lighter topics.

Sometimes I think about the world that I live in and wish that it were different, such that certain things would be socially acceptable that currently are not. I will discuss two cases where I’ve thought about this.

The first was inspired by my dear sister Erin, and a conversation that sparked between her and the rest of my family at dinner during winter break. My mother asked her if she was wearing mismatched socks that day – Erin confirmed that she was. Mom presumed that this was because the laundry had not been done, or else that Erin had simply lost some socks. In reality, Erin was just too lazy to match socks, and often paired two random socks together, with the provision that “they both have the same texture.”

This seemed strange to the rest of my family, but it got me thinking. After a few minutes I thoroughly convinced myself that almost all socks should be sold individually. I thought to myself, In a world where socks are sold individually, everything is much more interesting and efficient. When a sock goes missing, there is no unmatched sock that also goes to waste. When putting away laundry, there is no need to map each sock to its counterpart. When choosing an outfit, one can choose any combination of socks, and this can make the look much more interesting. You have more flexibility in the quantity and characteristics of socks you buy at any given time. Socks can tell twice as many stories as they are able to do in a world where all socks come in pairs. Socks can still be sold in pairs – notably socks with special properties, like athletic socks or business socks. However, most socks that I wear are just random socks to keep my feet protected, and I see no problem with having different looking socks on both feet as long as they are comfortable. Overall I believe that this would streamline many activities such as doing laundry and buying clothing, as well as open up new possibilities for interesting socks which can lead to cool stories and gift ideas. Think about it.

This next idea was completely random and I’m not sure why I was thinking about it in the first place. Here goes. There comes a time in all of our lives when it pleases us to imagine how others would react if we died. Perhaps you think about it in the shower, or as you lie in bed at night – you’ll picture yourself having died in some freak accident, say a car accident, and the imaginary ghost of yourself observes your friends and family to see who really cared about you. You would go and visit your own funeral to see who would show up and what they would say. You would hope that everyone would finally appreciate you and acknowledge all of the good things about you, the things that they loved, that they didn’t care to say while you were alive because they took it for granted. Some people want to know what would happen so badly that they entertain the idea of faking their own death, just to see how people would react to it. I doubt anyone I know would really go that far, but it’s nonetheless interesting that anyone would even consider this. It is clear that we as humans, generally speaking, care very much about what other people truly think of us, and we yearn to match what we believe about how we are perceived by others with their actual perceptions, which are ideally revealed in some way once we die.

So, now for the crazy social experiment idea of the day: Mock funerals. Take your standard group of friends, and pretend that one of them has died. Lay them down and make them close their eyes, and put them under a table that’s masquerading as a casket or something. Then have everyone else make believe as though it were a funeral, and each person can recall fond memories they experienced with the “deceased” friend, discuss the friend’s enjoyable personality quirks, talk about how the friend touched their lives, and¬†everything of that sort. I imagine despite its apparent silliness that it would be rather touching, and especially interesting if everyone were a bit buzzed and could manage to be sincere about it all. The idea of staging something like this seems pretty morbid and weird, but really, wouldn’t you want your friends to know how you really feel about them? It seems even stranger to me that you should only say something important about a person once that person is dead and can no longer hear it. It’s much more useful to tell them while they are still alive, so that they can appreciate it and maybe have a little more self worth.

This mock funeral idea is probably a bit too weird for many people to actually go through with, but I honestly think it’s a decent idea. It certainly has the potential to strengthen friendships. And (this is probably the most important thing I have to say on this topic), even if you never do something like this with any of your friends, strongly consider telling them what they mean to you anyway. Doesn’t really matter when you do it. Maybe when you’re drunk at a party and you feel like texting someone. Or when it’s 3 AM and you can’t sleep and you just want to feel like you’re doing something with your life. Contact a close friend and tell them what you love about them and why it would suck for you if they died. Why not?

My favorite game.

This is my favorite game. In fact, I’m playing it right now.

A++; would play again. For all you readers who are currently approaching finals, I highly recommend this game!

Stressed.

Me.

Sorry I haven’t been posting very recently. As I approach dead week (the week before finals), the work that has piled up on me for the past few weeks finally needs to be addressed. I will be completing a few all-nighters leading up to and possibly during finals week. Therefore I will not post very often, although I will try to maintain at least one meaningful post every week.

I will work hard and try to retain my sanity. I hope everyone else is doing well in school. The hard work is worth it. I’m learning a lot, meeting new people, and growing as a person. I’m expecting good grades, and a good work ethic for next semester.

Remember folks. Always look on the bright side.