Monday, February 8, 2016

Levels of small talk and deep conversations

I've noticed there are the following types of small talk and conversations. From easiest to hardest to do. It's hard because it's most likely to offend the person you're talking to and most likely for it to cause you to lose a friend, but also most likely to deepen a friendship.

1) Third person - Talking about others
There are three categories to this:
-People - e.g. the Kardashians
-Events - e.g. US Invasion of Iraq
-Ideas - e.g. Christianity vs Islam

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.

2) First person - Talking about me, and my values
E.g. About my porn addiction, about what I want out of a relationship, about what I want in the future

3) Second person - Talking about my feelings towards you
E.g My feelings about your porn addiction and why it bothers me, about what I want from you out of our relationship

Good article about skipping the small talk:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fuck the GOP

Gathering a list of reasons:

  • Quick to launch a war, slow to support veterans. Republicans vote down a bill for supporting veterans:
    • "...whether we're gonna commit to a promise that's bigger than what our kids can fulfill... my colleague pointed out that most of the veterans organizations support this bill, he is correct"
    • 41 of 45 republicans voted against bill.
    • "If you think it's too expensive to take care of veterans, don't send them to war." -Bernie Sanders

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 Resolutions

1. Make and launch an app, website, or some company, and publicize it.

2. Finish a Kaggle challenge

3. Draft a short story, 25,000 words

4. Get rejected 365 times

5. Leave my day job and have at least 2 full months of not working. Get barreled in a tube while surfing in SE Asia.

6. Guitar: be able to play Pachelbel's Canon in D on guitar

7. No Porn

2016 Resolution: Leave my day job

Below is a record of my days of not working. Not every day has an entry because some days just don't have much worth posting.

Day16, 2016/2/9, Tuesday:
It's another one of those days where I stare at my vacuum cleaner awkwardly bump around my mom's house as I ask myself wtf am I doing with my life. 

I've discovered some hard-to-fix bugs in the website I've been trying to build (, and it keeps pushing back my imaginary post-it-on-facebook-spam-my-friends-to-use-it launch date. I told myself that I need to quit this project and move on soon if I don't get traction.
Also, of all things that can happen, the stock market goes to shit. I shouldn't have invested played with a size-able chunk of my savings in the stock market right before I stopped working with little knowledge of what I was doing. Because The market went down 7% in the past 4 days. And one of the stocks I had a lot of shares of (LNCO, an oil/gas stock), is going bankrupt. This article Linn Energy and the 5 Stages of Grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance describes it well. I was in the denial stage only a few weeks ago when I doubled down.

Day14, 2016/2/6, Sunday:
Chinese new year, superbowl day. 
Somedays can feel so hopeless. Today is one of them. Despite being with family, which should be (and was) an overall very joyous time, I felt very hopeless, namely because I was making very little progress on my website and losing hope that it'll ever get users. It's as if all the worries and concerns about my future while I had a job has been amplified now that there is no longer the distraction of a job. When I had a job, I was uncertain about what I really wanted to do with my future, and that uncertainty bothered me enough to leave my job go searching. Now that I don't have a job, that uncertainty is just amplified.
When I left my day job, people were saying "congrats', or "what you're doing is very admirable and brave", and I wondered why they said that, because I was just going from having a job to not-having-a-job, from being a producer/contributor to the economy to just "chilling". Now I understand why it was a brave thing to do, because some days are lonely, dark, and hopeless as hell.

Day13, 2016/2/5, Saturday:
Went out with friends to a bar/club. A lot of alcohol and foolishness. Best part of the night in my opinion was on the drive home, we were getting one drunk, heterosexual friend to admit that he likes the dick. He did admit it, and sang about it.

Day10, 2016/2/1, Monday:
Observed my grandpa fold plastic grocery bags for future reuse. Then played chess against him. He whooped my ass, but just before I was about to give up, he suggested we switch sides (so I take his winning side, and he plays my side that was just about to lose), because he said that's how you learn. He was so wise and so right. And then... he came back and still kicked my ass! 

Day9, 2016/1/31, Sunday:
Moved, packed all of my stuff, drove it back to my mom's place. 
Helped volunteer at a friend's amazing event. Got tasked with driving and parallel parking a truck in an alley way!! When we arrived, my friend asked "who's willing to drive a big ass truck?" I raised my handed because I wanted to be out of my comfort zone (because that's the kind of person I want to develop myself into, because I want to be more confident, I want to be a leader, etc.), and I drove super slow, and had a lot of help from another friend who was directing me and walking behind or in front, every step of the way (without him, I really would not have been able to do it). All in all, awesome experience. And my friendss event went really well. I have amazing friends.

Day8, 2016/01/30, Saturday:
Last day surfing as a resident of this neighborhood. I went out, and conditions sucked, and I couldn't catch any waves, and the waterproof bandage on a cut I already had on my feet feel off. I went back inside. I kept monitoring the conditions and was wondering if it'd get better, but I needed to do laundry and pack. I decided not to go back out. And it saddened me because tomorrow morning, it will rain, and I will not be able to surf again. If I had known in my head that that was the last time I was going to surf in this neighborhood as a resident, I think I would have toughed it out longer out there, to finish on a better note. But perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on myself, and give myself credit for going out there in the first place. Because conditions sucked, and there weren't many people out there at all.
Also, I went on date :)
First date of the year.

Day7, 2016/01/29, Friday:
Surfed with roommate!

Day6, 2016/01/28:
My Neighbors had a small going away party for me. I'm very thankful for that. I didn't really want one because of my insecurities maybe (that people wouldn't show up, or I didn't want to trouble people to stay out late on a work night, or people wouldn't have fun, etc.) but my neighbors and roommates said we should have one, in the end, and it turned out great. About 8 people showed up. Some people had work the next morning and I was telling them they didn't need to show up if they didn't want to. But that sounds so stupid. Like: "hey come celebrate with me, but don't come if you don't want to". I wish i was more confident and just didn't care or worry. I mean, on other people's birthdays or going away parties, I showed up even though I had work the next morning too. And some times, I left early when i wanted to, and when I was sort of on the fence, people urged me to go and show up, and that did not offend me. The funny thing was, I was the earliest to take a taxi back and go home. They were playing a drinking game at a bar, and I drank a little, but didn't like the game nor the activity. Heh, that's life.

Also, yesterday afternoon, as I went out to go surfing:
I saw a life guard come out and wave and point towards south, telling a swimmer to swill southward. I was about to get into the water, and I asked why were you pointing south? He puts his walkie talkie into the sand, and starts taking off his jacket as he says to me, oh it's because there's a rip tide there and we have a swimmer that's in trouble, throws his jacket into the sand, and starts heading into the water. He wasn't wearing a wetsuit, and water temp was around 60 degrees. As he hit the water, he didn't flinch or squeeze his muscles, or even shake the water off his head, he just kept focused, staring into the ocean at the swimmer he was going to rescue, and went for it. The swimmer got rescued.
Then I got into the water and there was one wave that i bailed on at the last minute that pulled on my board and broke the leash, during low tide, windy conditions, and a few minutes after sunset, so it was getting dark fast. What happened was I wussed out on a wave and started paddling for it, but then didn't fully commit and tried to bail at the last minute- I dove off my board into the wave, but the wave had already caught the board. So the board goes flying towards shore and time slows down for that one second as I bob up and down a bit and watch and realize what just happened. It feel like i was 100 yards from shore. I start swimming, and waves come and tumble the heck out of me. I realize if i keep trying to do freestyle, I will tire out, and when a wave comes, I won't have to energy to stay afloat. So i started doing breaststroke, slowly, steadily, calmly. Another lifeguard saw me from his truck and drove to get as close to me on the sand, turned the truck towards me in the ocean, and turned on his hibeam lights. I was ok so I didn't wave or anything. And kept slowly swimming. Eventually I finally made it back, and thanked the lifeguard for looking out for me. These guys are amazing.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

2016 Resolution: Get Rejected 365 times

Last year I had a goal of going on 12 dates but only went on one. I don't think I was talking to enough girls, so this year one of my resolutions is to get 365 rejections.I don't want to be paralyzed by my fear of rejections so I decided to make a game out of it. Fear was paralyzing me from making attempts, because an attempt was either a big win or a big painful loss. Now, every rejection will come with a small win of inching towards achieving a new years resolution (just don't tell the girls this).

Anything can result in a rejection - from asking for a number, a date, a chat, etc. As long as she knows what my intentions are. Asking "do you know what time it is" and she telling me "no" does not count. I set the resolution as specifically having to be a rejection because a goal like "get 365 conversations with girls with the intention of asking them out" is hard to measure. Rejections via text and online messages only count if I have already met the girl in person. Being ignored after I ask a girl a question counts.

Ask Number, Date Occurred, Outcome, Acceptance/Rejection Count

1, 2015/01/04, Rejection, 1
Location: Online
I said: I think you're really cute and it's awesome we have common interests in tech and changing the world
she said: You're really awesome, but i'm actually dating girls right now
Shit, well I hope I didn't cause that.

2, 2016/01/15, Rejection, 2
Location: bar. tapped her arm from behind, she turned around and I said you were really attractive. 
I said: hey, I think you're really cute, do you have a boyfriend
she said: no... but I'm seeing someone... but thank you though, no one has ever done that before! (smiles)

3, 2016/01/22, Rejection, 3
Location: Friend's house, after hanging out for about 3 hrs
I said: hey, let's go on a date. I like you
She said: but I like someone else. You should have asked me about 6 months ago
Damn, indeed, i should have asked her 6 months sooner
Because even though it's been a year since we last hung out,
These past 3 hours made me fall for her,
Now it's gonna take a few days to recover.
I have liked her and been confused about her for a while, and at one point I liked her and I think she liked me too, but I hesitated. She's a good girl though, and she is a friend. I think in general, getting asked out is a confidence booster to women. Getting rejected hurts, but hey, I was able to "confidence boost" a female friend, and when your new year's resolution is to get 365 rejections... it's a win win!

Update on 2016/1/29:
This later turned into a Yes! She texted me and asked me to go out, we went out. See 8 below. (Still counting this as a rejection because it was at the time)

4, 2016/01/26, Rejection, 4
Location: Beach, I was stumbling out of the ocean after a failed attempt at surfing where I caught 0 waves and got thrashed instead. She was standing there. Just standing here, holding the universe together. With her shoes in her hand and her toes in the stand.
I said: Hey I think you're really cute.
She said: thanks (coldly)
I said: It's pretty cold today huh? (it actually wasn't)
She said: Not, not really (she was right)
She said: I have a boyfriend (coldly)
I said: sorry to bother you (and continue stumbling)
This one was rough because she didn't smile or laugh at all, and i felt like crap. (She wasn't really holding the universe together)

5, 2016/01/27, Rejection, 5
Location: Beach, I was stumbling out of the ocean again.
I said: hey
She said: hey
I said: You look really chill. can i chill with you?
She said: (laughs) umm, i guess, but I'm actually watching my boyfriend surf
I said: ahh damn, ok, sorry for bothering you
I think to myself: 
Damn, your boyfriend can surf? I wish i could surf instead of only getting pummeled by the waves.

6, 2016/01/28, Rejection, 6
Location: Beach, I was stumbling out of the ocean again.
I said: Hey do you know what time it is
She said: 12:29
I said: Actually I just thought you were really cute, do you have a boyfriend?
She said: Yeah I do actually (smiles, or something)
I said: ah darn, ok sorry to bother you
She said: (says something i couldn't hear), can you take a picture of me?
I said: sure

I take a few pictures, she then takes off her cardigan and does some cute poses
We talk about the ocean and the neighborhood, and her job, shake hands and walk away

7, 2016/01/29, Rejection, 7
Location: Along the sidewalk, after I came out of a surf shop after buying surf wax. She was walking.
I said: Hi, excuse me, sorry to bother you, but I think you're really cute and I just wanted to say hi.
She said: (she laughed). Ohhh thank you
I said: so where are you walking to along this sidewalk
She said: to my house and my husband.
lol, then we talk about where I lived (down the block near her), about how she was a yoga instructor, and about meditation.
Cool, met a neighbor!

8, 2016/1/30, Rejection, 8
Location: While on date with girl from Rejection#3, somewhere on the sidewalk in hollywood, just after leaving a bar with live music
I said: hey are your hands cold
She said: no
I said: can i hold them
She said: haha, no, but thanks for asking, most guys don't ask!

9, 2016/02/02, Acceptance, 1
Location: over text
Texted the girl from Rejection#3 for a 2nd date, and she said yes!

10, 2016/02/03, Rejection, 9
Location: In a mall, on way to meet my friends.
Situation: I did the usual "hey I think you're really cute, what's your name", and she did the usual "not interested, have a good night", "i have a boyfriend".

11, 2016/02/03, Rejection, 10
Same as 9, another girl, still in mall.

12, 2016/02/03, Rejection, 11
Location: bar
Situation: A guy had 2 girls next to him and I asked him if it was ok to talk to them. We all talked. At the end, the girls said "nice meeting you guys, bye", and did not show any sign of interest for future contact.

I ended up more talking to the guy more, and he said he was an electrical engineer doing power transmission stuff, and that he didn't believe in Elon Musk's PowerWall because he thinks there isn't enough Lithium in the world. Interesting, I'll have to look into this more.

13, 2016/02/03, Rejection, 12
Location: bar
Situation: I asked out the waiter who was an actress, she said she had a boyfriend already (of course she'd be an actress). 

14, 2016/02/03, Rejection, 13
Location: bar
Situation: Asked out another girl at the same bar. We joked around a lot actually, but I told her about this New Year's Resolution I had, which I think was a mistake. She bluntly just said "no" when I asked her out. No reason, no excuses, no boyfriend. It kind of hurt. Actually, it hurt a shit-ton.

15, 2016/02/05, Rejection, 14
Location: The end of a second date that included visiting an aquarium and dinner on a waterfront
Situation: This was the girl from rejection #3, acceptance #1
As I dropped her off she said, "i had a lovely night, but this will be our last date". That kinda hurt. In fact I stalled the car when that happened.

She was really an amazing girl, and we were really open with each other, and we had a lot of commonalities. I might have been more open with her than any other girl before. And maybe that's where I goofed up, and revealed all of my cards and secrets. Or, maybe I didn't reveal enough. We talked about ambitions, goals, desires, families, struggles, past relationships, etc. etc. One thing that's interesting was that most of her ex's all ended up going to Harvard, to which we both agreed "fuck Harvard", but that made me think... if we went out and then broke up... I should definitely then apply to Harvard.

I came home and drifted asleep in slight pain and sadness. Maybe that's why I'm now awake at 5am and can't sleep. I told myself not to think about it, but I can't really figure out why she didn't want to see me any more. But then again I can think of a lot of reasons. Did she not want to lead me on and hurt me? Or did she not want to get led on and hurt? Part of me is thinking, "hrm, I should've asked why, even just for future experience", another part of me thought, "fuck it, her loss".

It's maybe in large part because I was also confused about what I wanted - I was at a take-whatever-I-can-get anywhere from a winter fling to dating-towards-marriage kind of mindset. Part of me was also expecting this, because even from the first date, there were moments where I could tell she wasn't that into me. So, props to her for not leading me on. I guess it's really more like, " fuck it, my loss."
But damnit, I wish this didn't hurt so much from just two damn dates. Now I'm wondering if I'll ever find some one as similar. Sometimes these rejections are slowly starting to chip away at me. Feels like the only sensible thing to do right now is to listen to this song and do pushups until my triceps explode or rage code.

Oh, and dreams of Harvard, shattered. Fuck Harvard.

16, 2016/02/06, Rejection, 15
Location: Bar/club/lounge
Situation: asked a girl to dance, she said she had a boyfriend

17 to 26, 2016/02/12, All Rejections, 25
Situation: Went out with friends. I was thinking about tuning this resolution to 180, because 365 is a little too high of a number. But after getting 10 rejections in one night, I think 365 is do-able, even if I just go out once a week. The rejections ranged from me asking someone to dance, to get a number, to go on a date, to buy me a drink.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

What's the use of a hobby? What happens when a hobby dies

What's the use of a hobby?
Is it just to give myself confidence when I look back at how much I have improved myself over time? The slow and consistent improvement gives me joy when I look back, even if there's no one else in the world to validate it.

Hobbies make my life feel more meaningful and valuable, and then that internalizes and manifests outwardly as pride, joy, and confidence (e.g. being able to look someone in the eye and smile), EVEN if I never tell anyone else about my accomplishments in that hobby. That's probably what hobbies are useful for.

I wonder if a animals have hobbies. Maybe they don't because they're too busy getting better at fighting/hunting/surviving/attracting a mate.

Maybe that's what hobbies are really for too - attracting a mate. Because as explained above, it'll make us happy and confident about what we can accomplish in our lives, and we are all attracted to confidence.

So.... hobby on.

Death of a hobby:
I want to be able to do cutbacks and get into barrels for surfing, but I'm not sure what's the whole point of it is after I stop the hobby. I know i'm going to move away from the beach soon. And I've noticed for myself that I need to surf about twice a week in order to maintain my shoulder muscles, or else I can't paddle for shit. So then that just means I will sooner or later give up this hobby

When I partake in it now, it's just for the current fun and joy I get out of it, which is totally fine. I guess the future joy in it comes from being able to look back and say "yeah i did that." Just like "yeah, I've been to Europe", or "yeah I have 5 years of engineering experience, I did that", and that gives us a sense of joy/confidence. 

hrm.. I'd need to think more about "death of a hobby" and how that'll impact me. Professional athletes sometimes retire early even when they're still young and healthy because they feel accomplished enough. Or rich people retire early because they've earned enough.

So retiring or stopping early in a pursuit doesn't mean that pursuit was a worthless ambition - because they've already met their goal and when they look back, they feel happy about it. I guess same thing goes for my hobbies that I eventually quit.

Didn't do the jump

I looked at the jump as I was sliding towards it.
And thought, "it's not worth it."
I feared it. I didn't want to get hurt and break a wrist.
"It's not worth it."

Immediately after I said that to myself, another voice asked:
Is this what it feels like to get old?
To not be excited about the things that used to excite me?
To not task risks that I would have taken before?
To not crave that adrenaline?

What will this mean in terms of creating a startup? Would it relate?
Is that why some crazy amazingly successful startups are started by people in their 20s, because people in their 20s are too young, in-experienced, cocky, and foolish to know what's impossible, so they attempt it... and succeed?

I hope that I will still chase the impossible.

Luckily, a few hundred yards down the mountain, I found a box, tried to ride it, ate shit really hard, and told myself I'm done with boxes for today, maybe forever. And then on the next run. I rode the box again. And again, and again, I rode that dumbass box 8 more times that day, falling 6 of the 8 times. Success, even if trivial success from hobbies, still felt good.

Maybe those small failures over trying to ride down a slippery ass, icy, hard plastic and metal box are not forecasts of my ability to take risks and overcome adversity in my career and life. Or maybe they are. Maybe the ability to take risks and overcome adversity is like a muscle. And pushing myself out of my comfort zone works that muscle- from snowboarding boxes and jumps that scare me,  to paddling for waves that will pound my ass into the sea floor if I'm a second late on the takeoff, to cold showers that make me scream like a banshee when I first jump in.... to quitting my comfortable day-job in exchange for days and nights stayed-up working on my own project, to registering a company, to taking out a loan... to going to vegas with the last few dollars in your company's bank account and gambling with it to turn it into payroll for your employees so your company can last just a few more weeks... and turn into the Fedex it is today?

One tip I heard was that while on a box, look at the end of the box where you'll ride/jump off. That'll get you through it.