Quote for the day: "Honey, I'm home!"
Leave me aloneTue, 21st Nov '06, 8:15 am::
I was reading an NY Times article on being alone on reddit and following the comments when it got yanked off the front page. I'm not sure what happened but here's my reply to the article, which will make a lot more sense once you read the original article.
I think the bigger picture is not that some people are introverted or some other people desperately crave attention. The truth is that while genetically we are all 99.999% equals, our minds, emotions, and thus desires are completely unique. Our social structure isn't; it is extremely stratified. There are minor variations in social structures from country to country but over all, we have well-defined hierarchies in place almost throughout the entire civilized world.
From maternal and familial bonding to friendship and marriage, we all "know" how things should be. A person must find a mate and have a monogamous relationship with them. A person must form non-sexual bonds with others that they shall deem "friends," who may be called upon from time to time to help them lift a couch when primary domiciles change. This is how the young of the species must act in training environments and once they have been skilled in the fine art of survival, this is how they must seek a single mate.
All of this makes sense too if we want some form of just, stable society. None of this makes sense we find ourselves restricted and bound by these imaginary chains that do nothing but make us feel worse for being ourselves. Society doesn't take kindly to those that choose not to conform to these norms. You want a mate that is your own gender? Tough luck. You want two mates? Tramp! No mates? Loser. You want friends that are also physical partners? You want love interests without physical intimacy? You wish to dress up like the opposite gender while engaging in physical acts with multiple partners of both genders, under and over some hypothetical age? FREAK! There's a tragedy written on each of these subjects every generation and there's a good reason for it.
The human condition is not one of task-designated ants. We don't have one queen, a few thousand nurturers, and a few million soldiers. Every person is a unique blend of all these characteristics and have the birth-right to be who they truly are as long as they pose no threat to others. It is our ancestral notion that strictly adhering to the prescribed social guidelines is the only way to sustain the propagation of our species. While that is indeed true and I would find it hard to believe arguments against that, I think we have arrived at a stage when propagation of our species is not the biggest challenge we face. The challenge we face is to prevent the destruction of our species. That has for centuries and will indeed forever henceforth, be brought upon by individuals that feel ostracized by the society for thinking different, feeling different, and not "fitting in" regardless of the fact that they may be tyrants or eerily quiet neighbors.
Our goal as humans should no longer to be to beat out the dinosaurs and tigers in the wild. Our goal should be to ensure every person indeed feels human, accepted, and part of the human community. And if that means leaving the person alone, then so be it.
So let goMon, 20th Nov '06, 7:15 pm::
Casually talking to a friend today I realized how one of the personality traits that I've acquired over time has changed my life so drastically and mostly for the better - the ability to let go. Letting go of someone or something is different than forgiving or giving up. I mean let go in the same sense as Chuck Palahniuk's Narrator in Fight Club remarked, "The ability to let, that which does not matter, truly slide."
For a species that is free to move around, we are remarkably predisposed to hanging on. As toddlers, we hold on to our blankets and teddy bears. As kids we latch on to our toys and mommies. In youth, we hold on to our music and friends. And as we grow older, we cling to our families, jobs, cars, houses, and every person that we've ever cared for. We just can't seem to let go of anything. Hanging on is what we do!
It is not a secret that people change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. The friend that cared about you so much last year doesn't even think about you anymore. The little boy down the street you liked saying hello to, doesn't seem all that respectful anymore. When a person changes, we all notice it. You knew it the moment your cousin got married that she turned into a whole new person. When a person changes, we also know if they changed for the better or worse. Your friend for the worse and your cousin for the better.
The problem is that we ourselves aren't willing to incorporate this change into our world view. We don't want to admit that now that this person has changed and is suddenly treating us like crap, that we should just let go of them. We keep trying to get their attention, to show them that we are still worthy of their affection. We need to let go. You need to let go. The relationship is over. The friendship is over. Just let go.
Letting go doesn't mean you stop talking to family or friends when they're in trouble and are more work for you to put up with. Letting go means when someone clearly no longer wants to include you in the next episode of their life, you gracefully accept that your character was killed off and go back to starring in the remaining forty-seven other shows. If that's not enough, find new people and become a guest star in their lives.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that many people no longer want me to be an active part of their life; some very close friends in the years bygone. Often I blamed myself for the turn of events, thinking I must have done something to push them away. Turns out, it wasn't me or anyone else. It wasn't even them sometimes. Life changed them. They moved on and were hoping I would too; the sooner the better.
When it takes more effort to maintain a connection with someone than the mutual benefit and support we obtain, it is not worth trying to make things work anymore. While we shared some good times in the past, if you don't have enough time for me anymore, it is in my best interest to let go and find someone else. The longer we hang on to after the bond's broken, the more it hurts when we finally let go.
Letting go doesn't have to be painful or sad. It can be a wonderful culmination of good times had. I let go of my angel after she helped me finish my first marathon. I said bye, smiled, and never looked back. I still think fondly about her and I'm certain it's because I let go of her before she started ignoring my phone calls and emails. If someone is meant to come back to your life, they will. Otherwise, just let go.
Girls don't have cootiesFri, 17th Nov '06, 6:15 pm::
Common sense would dictate that when one is heavily medicated on pain-relief drugs, making public statements is the last thing they should do. Since I've been known to lack common sense, I'm gonna go ahead and say what I truly feel right now. Bear in mind that while my fingers are able to correctly hit the keyboard, I'm still overwhelmed by and under the control of the emotions welled up by 10mg of Hydrocodone tablets taken every four hours as prescribed by my doctor. Don't worry, it's nothing to worry about. So I'll make the best of this blissful state by shamelessly showing my heartfelt gratitude to the ones that truly deserve it the most - the beautiful members of the fairer sex who have made my life so much more meaningful.
Weird as it sounds, at this moment I want to thank every girl and woman that I've ever encountered. Starting of course with my dear mother and then my loving sister. Equally loving are my grandma, my aunts, and my sweet little cousins. I would be but a heartless machine without the lessons in humanity, kindness, and morality that they've inculcated into my personality. I cannot even begin to thank my wonderful pretty female friends that have helped me overcome some of the most difficult decisions I've had to make in my personal and social life. While most of the time, my guy friends - the buddies are all I need for company and adventure, I cannot deny how much of a difference my friends like Megan, Tamara, Teresa, Becky, Lanie, Jen, Avani, Michele, Laura, Halley, Amy, Heather, Elyse, Kelly, Kellie, and so many others have made in my life.
I would never say that my social life has been a bed of roses with only happy, wonderful memories. I've faced more rejections and heartbreaks than most people can survive without complete psychological breakdowns. Throughout the good days and especially the bad, the wonderful girls in my life supported me with encouraging words and lots of hugs. Without them, I might have ended up a jaded despicable male-chauvinistic misogynist. But because of them, I love, respect, and value the wonderment that is the human female.
If you're wondering what made me say all this, it's probably the pain killers. Or rather, the loss of inhibition brought about by them that's giving me the strength to let the world know how much I love each and every woman that I've met. This 'blog entry isn't about women's liberation or praise of their physical beauty. It is my deepest thank you to them for being the wonderful neurotic yet emotionally intelligent persons they are. I love you, girl. All of you. No matter where you are.
I just got invited to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Taylor's family :)
Today is a weird, weird day.
- My car got splashed with white paint somehow. Thankfully it was water-based and came off easily without any permanent damage after a $12 car-wash.
- I was looking out of my office window when two birds flew straight into the glass with a bang, then instantly turned around and flew away.
- I woke up before my cats did. That has never happened, ever. The cats are fine but I'm spooked.
Say something newSat, 11th Nov '06, 6:40 pm::
On an average day, I read about 10-12 personal blogs of people I know and read news, articles, and journals on anywhere from 50 to 200 websites I find linked online. While there is much to be said about online news media outlets and commercial blogs, my gripe is with personal blogs. Regardless of how easy it is to start a free online journal and how many people sign up for new ones everyday, the problem lies not with the technology or the low barrier to entry, but rather with the utter lack of fresh content.
While this would be a good opportunity for me to make a list of the "Top 10 things I don't want to read on your blog," I'd rather spend the time elaborating on what I DO want to read. Admittedly, I'm not above my own criticism either as I've written many a word in the last five years that nobody including me wants to read anymore. However, with time, I've learnt what people do want to read and what they usually skip over.
All I want you to do is to say something new. Tell me something that I didn't know about - you, your life, your friends, your job, your love, your passion, your dirty secrets, and most importantly, your thoughts. I've already read everything newsworthy on all the meta news sites. So you don't have to tell me that some new movie is in the theaters now. What you do have to tell me is that you have started playing the violin or are practicing public speaking. Tell me why you think people should be married before age 23 or how one should go about organizing their personal schedules. I don't care if you're right or wrong, convincing or contriving, I just want to read something I couldn't have on any other website except yours. Be fresh!
You don't necessarily have to write about your personal life a la "What-I-had-for-lunch-today." In fact, writing about your personal life without being severely sleep-inducing is one of the most difficult things. While I started with writing about my cool programming scripts, I've slowly moved away from day-to-day activity logs (that I'm sure my family still cares more about) to more persistent topics that might be somewhat interesting four years after the weather has changed. Event descriptions are momentary, ideas are timeless.
Creating new content requires time and effort, thankfully rarely any money. It is very easy to say "Movie X sucked" or "OMG! Check out this site!" It is not so easy to spend an hour putting your ideas in words and telling the world how you think you can make something better, faster, smaller, bigger, easier, cheaper, funnier. You don't have to be a fantastic writer but it helps. And once you stop saying "I hate event X, object Y, and person Z" and instead write about how the little children that you talk to everyday finally have come to terms with the truth about Santa Claus, you'll notice your writing skills improve. Tell me something I don't know.
I'm pretty neutral about personal blogs that consist solely of links to other interesting sites. To me, that says nothing really about you. So you found a cool link that you want to share with anyone that might end up on your blog. Big deal. Sometimes the links are interesting and sometimes they're crap. Thanks but I want more.
Tell me about the new project you're working on or your retirement plans. What are you going to do next month? How can first-time homeowners get equity loans? Why do you think people should drop out of college and start your own companies? I don't care if what you're thinking of is smart or stupid, spill the beans already.
I hope next time you click 'New Entry', you'll say something I couldn't find on CNN.com, Google News, or Fark.com.
Things not to do when you're in India: List of faux pas. I'm smiling while reading the list because it never occurred to me how much of this is so embedded in me that I do it without realizing. Nobody's allowed to enter my house with their shoes on. If my feet ever touch books or money, I stop for a second as if apologizing to the gods above. I still open all the gifts I get in private. I feel VERY odd opening them up in front of the person that just gave it to me. However, since I'm left-hand I usually don't think twice about any of the left-handed faux pas. Here's two I can think of:
- The appropriate response to "Thank You" is not "You're welcome" but rather "Mention Not." Similarly, it is perfectly normal to respond to "How are you?" with "I'm fine" unlike in the Western Countries where "I'm fine" is usually said sarcastically.
- Use of subtle sarcasm should be avoided initially since the barriers of language and cultural differences often make the humor harder to detect and your host may end up interpreting the words as displeasure or even insult.
I recommend that if you're going to visit India anytime soon and have never been there before, you read the entire list.
I never thought I'd be watching college football on a Thursday night but oh man... this was an awesome game :)
Almost all of the chocolate and two-third of the candy is gone!
I just brought some chocolates and assorted candies to work. I like it when others bring donuts and bagels. The beautiful Florida winter is here. Soon it'll be the holiday season and even more fattening foods. I want to kayak down to Caladesi Island for a sunset again. Maybe camp out there for a night.
Oh another really fun project at work. So I couldn't be more excited!
I can't even begin to express how tired I am from the looooong day of kayaking today. I went down to Pine Island near Fort Myers and kayaked over 13 miles in EXTREMELY windy weather to Cape Haze. The waves started at two and three feet but after about four hours, they rose to nearly five feet! My kayak floats 8 inches above the water and my head stands barely three feet high when I'm paddling. I had to look UP two feet as the crazy waves crashed into me one after another. This wasn't a typical ocean kayaking trip - this was as close to whitewater kayaking as I can experience in Florida. I had to continuously negotiate the waves in order to stay afloat and not be drenched.
All in all, one of the best kayaking days ever. I don't think I can take this much physical stress regularly but once in a while, I'd love to be in waters this rough. Hopefully not for six-seven hours non-stop like today. Oh and here are the Pine Island - Cape Haze kayaking pictures.
My friend Megan is leaving her big-shot corporate consulting job today and is going to work as a pet-sitter. That's right. She no longer wants to be the widget that traces outlines in geographical information systems or consults database for $25/stressful-hour. She is going to be the person that you pay $12/cuddly-hour to take care of your pets while you go vacationing in Hawaii. It's not easy taking almost a 50% pay-cut and giving up everything you studied/prepared/trained for just to try out something that you truly love. Never Calm Down!
Looks like my presidential tag cloud is getting some props. It kinda coincides with the Big 5 for me. It's been exactly five years and 1138 posts since my first post on this 'blog. A little popularity on the web can't hurt today :)
Actually, 1138 posts is a bit of an understatement. It's 1138 days that I've blogged on. Many times I actually post multiple entries on the same day. Thus 1138 days in 5 years mean that the probability of me 'blogging on a given day is 62%. Not bad if you ask me.