Whenever my life gets too busy, the first thing I always neglect is this blog. Blog posts can easily be delayed a few weeks without much impact, but turning in a school assignment or studying for a test a few days too late can make the difference between passing and failing a class.
But just because I don’t have the time to write long-format posts doesn’t mean I don’t get hit with non-epiphanies throughout the day. I’ve been looking for a way to keep track and remember them, and Google save the day with Google Keep, an service that creates an attractive pin-board with all my (colored!) notes, perfect for recording fringe thoughts.
I had been using Twitter as a link/outburst dump, but Google Keep was better for private thoughts, and I wasn’t restricted 140 characters.It’s been a little over a month since I first started using Google Keep, and I’ve already created more than 100 notes. What was life ever like without all these colorful stickies.
Among this board of pretty letters I’ve recorded some blog-worthy ideas, but most of them were quickly typed out in a burst of inspiration and aren’t long enough to justify an entire post. Which is why I’m dumping them below.
In reverse chronological order:
For some reason, HISD thinks the best way to reward students for taking challenging courses is by spending 30k on a celebration that basically tells us that luck and reality-TV show esque games are the ways to get rich. That your ability to guess heads and tails correctly is more important than passing an AP test, because, oh, simply being EXPOSED and TAKING AP classes should prepare you to college so much better. The results don’t matter, simply the input does.
“HISD students took over 23,000 AP tests this year. Over 8,000 of them received a 3 or higher.”
That’s worse than the national average. Why are we proud of this.
Related: Amanda Ripley’s book The Smartest Kids in the World states that the two major physical differences between schools around the world, even the successful ones, were the non-glamorous school buildings and the lack of technology in the classroom.. Guess what HISD’s promoting the most right now? That’s right, new school buildings and laptops. What. The. Actual. Heck.
Sometime before the World History AP exam
I can explain pretty well the laws of science and figure out idealistic math problems that have little real-world applicability, but ask me to explain the messy world of history and the patterns of rise and fall, and I fail miserably.
Talking to people I don’t know well
When given the chance to talk with a new group of people or people I know, I almost go for the new group. Even if I’m only able to build shallow relationships with these people, I still feel the need to connect with more people and talk to them..
[insert private details of day]
Maybe I’m so deprived of social interaction that any conversation seems magical to me, but I feel more…alive after talking to these people.
OH MY GOSH THIS ARTICLE.
My Inner Perfectionist
Back in elementary add middle school, my friends were perfectionists in everything they did. Flawless handwriting that could pass for typography, projects that looked like they were designed by computers, fussing about every detail simply because they could. I was the more awkward and messy one, so I didn’t quite relate with them and rather sat back and laughed at their OCD tendencies.
I think I’ve figured it out now. Although I may just be less refined than them, I just didn’t see the point in trying so hard for something that had little meaning after the teacher graded it. Give me a challenging assignment that actually has some impact, make me write a blog post, and I’ll work just as hard to perfect it as anyone else.
Even if we found the best method of learning, would we use it? Breaking down learning into a science seems to dehumanize the process of learning, and in a society where we’re trying to cherish the meaning of living, I can’t picture this happening.
Living Life “Right”
I used to think that other people were “living life right,” that they were the ones who knew how to be popular, that they had some fundamental truth of living that I had missed out on. However, as I grew up, I realized that I knew more than most people realized, and most people knew less than I thought. I had to be careful with this type of thinking though, as it could quickly become dangerous.
I came from a middle school that even I knew was renowned for its nerdiness, and I loved it. (It’s not like I had known any other place). I entered high school with the perception that I’d be less popular than everyone else. That wasn’t a problem for me, and it still isn’t. However, now I’ve realized that they were less popular than I thought they were and that they weren’t actually living life better than me. I just thought they were because of the high school myth of popularity. We’re as lost as the others.
Just because I don’t profess my love for my friends doesn’t mean that I don’t have any. Just because I …yeah I should stop.
If anything, sophomore year has made me more detached from life. I’ve started talking in more of a monotone, and I have to make an active effort to interact with people.
I’m still confused as to whether I’m an introvert or extrovert. I like talking to people, but organized social events aren’t that appealing to me, and I don’t have any natural charisma. However, according to music an piano, I definitely get all my energy from the crazier, faster-paced songs. And whenever I try to impress someone around me, I get obnoxiously loud in hopes that they’ll noticed me.
I could possibly be an extrovert who’s hidden by all my awkwardness, or maybe I’m just an ambivert.
People generally don’t listen to authority because they respect what people have to say, they shut up because that’s what they’ve been told to do. We’ve never really been taught how to listen, more on how to obey authority.
Some things are only funny in the context of a conversation–that type of funny is relatively easy to create (but hard to think up in the midst of a conversation) That’s why inside jokes with friends are funny at the time, but don’t make sense to anyone not there.
Comedians have it more difficult because they have to make funny stuff without a common connection with the audience. That’s why they resort to using the news or other things that draw national attention.
Why monotonic people are the best writers
The generic writing advice is that people should write how they speak. However, the problem with this is that with speaking, most people can get away with saying stuff without much substance because their emotion can cover up. Another improvement is saying “write an idealized form of how you speak.” But even with that, there’s still the problem of using inflection to cover up. This is where monotonic people come in. Their entire life, they have not had to rely on body language to convey their message, which could be seen as a disadvantage, but when it comes to writing, it allows their message to come across through their words. [Insert relevant Paul Graham quote] [here]
At the higher levels of competition, everyone has put in an astronomical amount of effort and everyone is trying their hardest. There’s no points for “doing your best” and everything is dependent on your results
Moar rejecting the system
I used to be under the impression that the reason to try hard in school was because school allowed one to be able to learn more efficiently. However, as I went more and more into the system, this seemed to be less true, as completion grades replaced actual grades and grades seemed to be equated with learning. Now, I’ve come to the conclusion that learning something by intrinsic motivation is the most efficient and the best way to learn.
Attempting to be objective
Heck I don’t learn about the importance of triangles in circles because I have a passion for Stewart’s Theorem. I learn about it so I can solve more geometry problem. I don’t want to learn how to draw or write better because I have an important deep philosophical message to convey to the world. I want to learn to draw and write because art and writing reveals the spatial and ideological misperceptions that we have, and it’s important to recognize them. (While I’m making the comparisons here, math reveals all the logical fallacies we make.)
Sometimes actually doing anything gets lost in the bureaucracies. Instead of doing work, it’s all reporting and paperwork
(cough Stuco) When there’s not much work to do, delegating all the work to other people just makes the system more complicated
I like to think of debate as a bureaucracy, because people have created such a huge circuit and had people devote their entire lives and travel across the nation. To do what? Talk about a couple of topics that have no real world impacts.
When creating a new system, a bureaucracy often seems like the only way because there’s just so much to be done, but more modern designs are often more efficient.
…I think I’ve just had bad experiences with complicated systems.
I used to marvel at the beautiful calligraphy that the founding fathers used to write in, the tall majestic cursive that contained words that would still be reveled by a nation for over 2 centuries. Then I realized that their handwriting was how they got the respect of others. Sure, it wasn’t indicative of their leadership skills, but people were at least impressed by their penmanship.
This is why I’m wary of typed papers. They look all professional and formatted, making it hard to detect how much the presentation affects the role of it. (See Paul Graham’s Copy What You Like)
Somehow this adds up to be 1500+ words. Guess I haven’t been not writing for this past month. Goodnight.