Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Not Enough Time

I seriously do not have enough time in the day.

Let me list off all the things I have to do, both for personal hobby and for school.

For School:
Re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (309 pages)
Re-read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (352 pages)
Re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (448 pages)
Finish reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (752 pages)
Read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (870 pages)
Read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (652 pages)
Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (784 pages)
Re-read Huckleberry Finn (384 pages)
Read a ton more random stuff that I haven't looked at yet

For hobby:
Edit a pre-recorded Harry Potter podcast (1 hour long)
Edit a Smallville podcast (1.5 hours long)
Finish writing an epic 50-part story
Read The Hunger Games (384 pages)
Finish watching Star Trek: The Next Generation (approximately 120 44-minute episodes to go)
Start watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (176 episodes in total)
Start watching Star Trek: Voyager (176 episodes)
Start watching Star Trek: Enterprise
Read Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (300-something pages)
Read Halo: Glasslands (300-something pages)

It's entirely too much. Bleh.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Only Facebook Friends

You ever have an awkward moment where you run into an old friend and realize that they don't really think of you as a friend anymore? Maybe you make a joke and they respond flatly as though they really don't care at all? You're happy to see them, but they don't seem to care one way or the other about you?
Yeah. That happens to me every now and then.

Facebook doesn't help. It keeps me in contact with people who I otherwise wouldn't see, but for all I know it's one-sided. I'm seeing other peoples' posts, but what if they have me removed from their news feed? Or what if they just don't care?
I try to make a funny comment or say hi, and often times all I get are flat responses or nothing at all. Usually (always) this happens with girls. Guys don't do this; I'm not sure why. I like to think it's because us males are less emotionally wishy-washy, but I have no idea.

There comes a point in most of my friendships with girls where I realize that we're no longer friends; we're only "Facebook friends." Acquaintances, really, who are only friends on Facebook because we met each other once. We're Facebook friends more out of politeness than anything else, and because it might be nice to know when someone is getting married or turning 21, not because we're actually supposed to communicate.

I'm not really sure why it happens. As near I can figure, it's because people move on with their lives. I don't really associate people with points in my life, exactly, but I understand that other people do. For other people, I'm part of their "high school" life or their "college freshman year" life, and have no purpose in the present. Thus all previous emotional ties are cut—from one end, at least.

It's hard not to feel a bit inadequate when this happens. Was I not good enough to keep as a friend? Not fun enough? Not sensitive enough? Not attractive enough?

It feels sort of embarrassing, too. Like I'm accidentally being rude and overemotional, when I didn't really do anything out of place. I just didn't get the memo.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Inferiority Complex

A little over three years ago (November 2008), I wrote up a random not-in-any-order list of 25 things I wanted to do before dying.

1. Bungee jump
2. Get a sport motorcycle
3. Finish my book trilogy
4. Publish my book trilogy
5. Be a consultant on the films that will be based on my book trilogy
6. Use the money from my books/movies to build a house with its own secret cave, skylit tower, and moat.
7. Kick someone's boyfriend in the face (I'm not picky; anyone will do)
8. Figure out how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop. (the world will soon know!)
9. Figure out what String Theory and Quantum Theory actually mean.
10. Chart theoretical 6th-dimensional continuum on a 2-dimensional graph.
11. Send a terminator back in time to assassinate the person who created "Survivor."
12. Dig Captain America out of the glaciers of the North Pole.
13. Learn Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.
14. Actually start watching Lost.
15. Quit watching Heroes.
16. Sky dive.
17. Catch someone trying to steal a lady's purse
18. Rescue a kitten from a tree
19. Invent a viscous, elastic molecular adhesive.
20. Put someone's stapler in Jello.
21. Jump off a railway on a three-story building. (and not die)
22. Tape someone's cellphone to the ceiling so that they run around the room trying to find where the ringing is coming from.
23. Get a Great Pyrenees dog. (those guys are awesome.)
24. Get invited to Skywalker Ranch.
25. namin meleth (wouldn't you like to know! :P)

A lot of that is still true, actually. Anyway, after I'd posted that on facebook, one of my blunter female friends commented: "Really Aaron, you have an inferiority complex." Knowing her, it wasn't sarcasm.
Thing is, she wasn't wrong.

I'd imagine she was looking at these specifically:

6. Use the money from my books/movies to build a house with its own secret cave, skylit tower, and moat.
7. Kick someone's boyfriend in the face (I'm not picky; anyone will do)

13. Learn Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.
17. Catch someone trying to steal a lady's purse

Lemme see if I can rewrite those with less clever covering.
6. I want to achieve more.
7. I wish someone wanted me to be her boyfriend instead of someone else as usual.
13. I wish I were more special in some way.
17. I want to do something worthy of being called heroic, mostly so I could feel better about myself.

Ever since I was twelve or so, part of me has always felt a little inferior or inadequate. In a few things, I was always the best. Writing. Knowing things about Star Trek. Playing Super Smash Bros.
...Okay, so I was good at writing.

Thing is, I always kind of felt like I was less important or less wanted than everyone else.
When I was fourteen, my best friend and I both liked the same girl. I think she (kind of) liked him, but she deliberately didn't reciprocate his affections because she didn't want me to feel bad. (and because she didn't want a boyfriend at that age, but that's another thing)

Later, when I was seventeen, a similar thing happened, only it ended up way worse. I came pretty close to being heartbroken. Suffice it to say that I definitely felt like the pathetic boy that no one wanted but everyone felt bad for.

When I took one-night dance lessons for my Senior Prom, my friends and I were in an odd-numbered group, and I think the entire crowd of students there was odd-numbered as well. I managed to quickly grab one of my female friends so I'd have a dance partner, but after a while it was time to let her dance with someone else, so I was left with... no one. Literally, no one. Out of maybe 300 kids, I ended up as the only person leaning against a wall and trying not to look like I wasn't totally dejected.

Once I got into college, most of my friends stopped talking to me for no reason other than they were just moving on with their lives and didn't have much interest in me anymore. And the more I tried to keep in touch, the more they got annoyed, until finally I became a blubbering mess of twisted emotion (rejection, mostly) and they ended up basically writing me off as an over-emotional crazy person.

And all the while, since my teen years, I've gradually gained more and more weight. Fortunately, because I have pretty broad shoulders, I don't look AS overweight as I actually am. But that doesn't make as much of a difference as you'd think.

I used to spend a ton of my time fantasizing about swordfighting, to the point where I'd imagine ridiculous battles where I'd epically defeat some random jerkface, and the girl he'd been dating would suddenly realize how great I was. My iPod was filled specifically with songs that had epic dramatic rock moments that I could mentally choreograph with those fantasies.

Things are better now. I don't listen to a lot of the same music that I used to because it just seems too dark and angry now. I generally prefer to listen to music that makes me happy. I can't really force my brain to fantasize about those epic battles the same way it used to; I'm a little too rooted in reality now and there's no girl I'm swooning over. I have friends now. Not a lot, per ce, but enough. Thing is, I still have little hints of that stupid inferior feeling. If I see this one girl on facebook, it's sometimes hard not to still feel bad because I know there's probably nothing I could do to make her ever think of me as something special. I kind of feel a bit ashamed of the fact that I was in such a bad state a couple years ago that I actually flunked out of two college semesters in a row, and most of my friends (even the ones younger than me) are already graduating while I'm still a couple years away.

So yeah. Inferiority complex. It's something I deal with.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sleepy brain

So, funny thing about me:
My brain works really, really fast. Like, ridiculously fast. I'm pretty sure that by technical standards, I'm literally brilliant. I don't say that out of ego; I say it because I've had people (one of whom being a psychology professor) tell me this. And in any case, it's not all that great.

I have immense trouble focusing on doing a task that isn't engaging enough to occupy my entire brain at once. If I'm watching a TV show or a movie at home, it's pretty much a requirement that I also be doing something else like surfing the net on my macbook or playing a game with my iPhone. Otherwise I get really fidgety and feel like my brain is going to crawl out of my skull. Over the last several years, it's gotten worse.

I love reading with all my heart and soul, but I can't focus down on a book and actually finish it. I've been buying books left and right and not finishing them. It's kind of a little heartbreaking.

It goes beyond just consuming media, though. I overthink things to a ridiculous extent. Sometimes solutions that should be easy evade me because I'm too busy making things mentally complicated.

Since I was eleven, I've had something nearly approximating a mental problem with the way I talk. No matter how well I carefully plan out my sentences ahead of time, sometimes when I speak I blurt things out in a confused rapid-fire burst of ill-pronounced words. Over the years I've realized that it's because I'm always thinking just slightly ahead of where my mouth is. If I need to pronounce "The Hitchhiker's Guide," by the time I've begun saying "the," I'm already mentally at "ker's," thus making my mouth force all the syllables in-between into one blurry jumble of consonants. Most of the time, I can make myself calm down enough to let my speech work properly, but sometimes it takes two or three attempts before I can pronounce something understandably.

It gets worse than just a speech impediment, though. Just in life in general, I constantly second-guess myself to the point where I seriously just feel bad and lose confidence. I've ended up making bad decisions and looked like an idiot sometimes because of it.

I don't know if it's ADD or what, but there is one thing that helps:
Being tired.

When I'm tired, my brain feels like it just works. And I don't mean just-woke-up tired or I-just-ran-a-mile tired; I mean the kind of tired where you can practically feel your body pulling you towards the floor and pushing you to sleep; where it's hard to keep your eyes open and you feel drugged. That's when my brain slows down enough that I feel fine. I can think about things correctly, I'm not constantly distracted, and I'm even a little more aware of my emotions than normal. I do a lot of my best writing when I'm really, really tired. I can read books perfectly. I can talk without stuttering or repeating myself. I'm a little more confident. It's like all the things I couldn't focus on during the day become clear.
Heck, the only reason I'm writing this is because I'm currently drugged on Benadryl and can actually get this written on virtual paper after months of failed attempts in the past while fully awake.

I just wish I didn't only get this mental clarity right as I'm about to fall asleep. It's really inconvenient.

And I don't really know what to do about it. After writing out all this stuff, it seems like it might actually be something that could be helped with medication or something. But would that be a good idea? Maybe my normally-hyperactive brain is the way I'm supposed to be? It doesn't feel like it. It sort of feels like driving a Corvette through a forest; it just doesn't work like it should. Maybe I need to find a freeway for it instead? I don't know. I should probably just go to bed now.


Monday, January 9, 2012


"Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

Tolerance is a word we hear thrown about a lot in today's world. It's synonymous with morality and goodness, to an extent. Being intolerant is basically the same thing as being racist, sexist, or discriminatory in any way.

According to Google's define function, tolerance is defined as such:
"1. The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with."

Now, think about this. How many times have you ever heard someone or something accused of being intolerant? Probably a lot.
That's the paradox. By choosing to be "tolerant," you are, in effect, adopting a moral code, specifically the idea that everyone and their beliefs should be accepted in society. However, it's notable that the people who most vehemently preach tolerance generally are the ones who are quickest to label others "intolerant" and demonize them, thereby contradicting the idea of tolerance.
Let's look at that definition again:
"The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with."

Let's say that we're dealing with the stereotypical "religious bigot;" someone who hates gay people and thinks all Muslims are plotting to destroy the Washington Monument with bombs they hide inside their burkas. Should this man be tolerated any less than a Mormon, a Muslim, or a gay or lesbian person? Although most would vehemently disagree with his views, does tolerance not teach that we should be accepting of him and his beliefs, despite our personal dissent?

I once had someone explain it to me like this:
"There's no reason to be tolerant of an intolerant viewpoint."
That doesn't even make sense. If you're being intolerant of an intolerant view, then there's no reason for anyone to tolerate your view either. But, consciously or not, I think that's the way most people approach tolerance. It's not that we're actually tolerant, it's that we're simply tolerant of the views we agree with. But, as I said before, pure tolerance should mean that we even tolerate others who we deem to be in the wrong.

There's another aspect here that's kind of a slippery notion: the idea that tolerance is the preferable philosophy because absolute truth cannot be known, therefore everyone's beliefs are equally arbitrary. There's a simple flaw in this logic, however. If absolute truth cannot exist, then it cannot be true that absolute truth does not exist. Some people will readily admit this, yet still follow in their idea of relative truth. Or so they say, anyway.

Does anyone actually believe that truth does not exist? Belief itself is an assumption of truth, therefore this type of belief disqualifies itself. No matter which way you cut it, if you actually believe anything, at all, you do believe in the existence of some kind of singular, absolute truth.
If you're reading this and disagreeing with me, think about the fact that you are, right now, believing that I am wrong.

There are a lot of people out there who simply will not accept this idea because the practically-religious doctrine of tolerance teaches otherwise. But perhaps tolerance is not an entirely correct philosophy. After all, its definition is focused upon others' beliefs and actions. Maybe instead we should focus on the people themselves.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

According to the New Testament, the actions and characteristics listed above are the ways that we should treat all others: with kindness, with respect, with patience, and without the influence of our own personal ego. It does not say that we should be tolerant of immoral beliefs; it instead says that although we can disagree with people's actions and opinions, we should still treat them with unwavering kindness.

Love the person, not the action or belief. Argue with conviction against bigotry; fight (with words) against hate.

Do not be tolerant. Be intolerant of evil.

But above all, love one another.