Sanity Points

First of all, sorry for the lack of updates, especially coming on the heels of me saying “oh yeah, I’m going to update like every week or so” about six times a day. Right, I’m going to deem that sufficient and move on to the meat of this post.

Sometimes I am presented with choices. Sometimes they’re easy. More often they’re excruciatingly painful. I will frequently be provided with a choice where I can do something that is, from a purely logical and objective standpoint, the superior option. For example, an option that requires me to do a little more work in exchange for saving money. Seems simple, am I right? Work is a much more renewable resource than money – this despite me being, for a college student, relatively well-off financially.

Unfortunately, like seemingly everything, it isn’t quite so simple. Oftentimes the option that requires more work ends up translating to more time and more of my mental processes being dedicated to its completion – all told, it has a “sanity cost.” While I have quite a lot of cash on hand (relatively speaking), if I had a sanity bank it would be a piggy bank with essentially nothing in it. Maybe it’s even broken, I dunno.

As an example of what I’m talking about, I will outline my living situation, so hop into the time machine of your choice briefly. The year was 2014 and I had just graduated from high school (barely). Because I spent…I dunno, a whole heck of a lot of time on the computer, my parents were rather frustrated with me outright ignoring their restrictions pertaining to it. So they gave me the following choice:

  1. I continue to live rent-free at their house. In doing so, I agree to submit to their (draconian (not even editorial for once, one hour a day isn’t good enough for anyone anymore, much less a PC gamer)) computer rules – surrender the administrator privileges to them and let them police what I can do and when.
  2. I move out, find an apartment or other residence somewhere else where I’m free to do as I like computer-wise.
  3. I move in; essentially a hybridization of the above two options in that I’m now living at home, but I’m paying rent to do so and am therefore technically a tenant. As such I’m free to do as I choose within certain guidelines in my lease.

Now, the financially sound move is obviously the first one. Both of my parents expressed their support for that option numerous times. Thing is, as I stated above, their rules were simply incompatible with how I spent my free time. Therefore, the decision I went with was the third – the stress cost for it was far less, as all I had to do was learn to do laundry and buy groceries. Oh, and cook.

Writing that all up actually brought to mind another example. Just prior to that I had been in a bit of a bind with regards to high school in my senior year – stress running super high, grades not so good, et cetera. Specifically, my AP Chemistry course was going awful. The logically sound decision would be to claw my way back to a passing grade, study hard, pass the AP Test and get college credit from it. Thing is, the hole I was in would have taken a Herculean effort to pull myself out of. Accordingly, I did a quick cost-benefit analysis. Did I need to pass Chemistry to graduate? As it turns out, no. Accordingly, I turned the class into a study hall and used it as an opportunity to either relax a little bit or catch up on another class.

You know what, concluding paragraphs are awful, I declare this post done with. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope it helps.

Stream Of Consciousness Rambling

So this is my new plan for writing posts on here, given it’s been twenty-five days since my last update which in my opinion is thoroughly unacceptable. It’s not actually going to be completely random rambling, of course – more like updates and my thoughts, but still. The idea is that there will be helpful information somewhere in here, so stay tuned.

Of late I have been having some awful problems with motivation. I know what I want to get done and in most cases I have a pretty good idea how to get started, but I end up throwing time into the soul-sucking nexus of futility that is the Internet’s peripheral functions – YouTube videos, Reddit posts, fan fiction, voice chatting with friends…It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t even been able to summon up the energy to update my own bloody YouTube channel.

Complicating matters is the fact that for some reason, the instant I get into my car and head off to my job (which is at least pretty dang good for what it is) my mind is abuzz with ideas and motivation – which I then cannot act on for anywhere between three and twenty hours depending on the shift’s length. No, I don’t actually work twenty hour shifts – I work the Friday closing shift starting at five, so we close at three-thirty, are done and home by an hour later and then I sleep for eight hours or so. But I digress as usual.

It’s all very frustrating, though at least the past few days have been relatively okay. Friday was my most productive day all month – I put new oil in my car, deposited two months’ worth of paychecks and tip money, bought groceries and discovered to my chagrin that no store in town sells pineapple-flavored soda. I need that soda in my life. Oh, and all this BEFORE eleven hours of work. Booyah.

Saturday was useless – I woke up at one, had like three and a half hours to myself, then three hours at work. New guy there who has my name, bringing us up to a total of four of them. Three people and the store itself, all with the same name. I get the feeling it’s what my brother feels like. Back to my schedule, I got nothing done but whatever, the day was shot from the get-go because of work scheduling, so I’m good as far as I’m concerned.

Sunday is as always reserved for me and my friends’ weekly Dungeons & Dragons meet – this week we just watched Netflix due to half of the group being on vacation though. Again, nothing done all day. No problem. Sunday is my designated “I-am-doing-nothing” day and keeping to that routine is fine. I actually one-upped myself by recording three and a half hours of footage for my YouTube channel, although the computer deleted two of those hours. Which set me off something fierce.

Now, though, we come to today. Monday. The worst day. Now I have to be productive again and I don’t want to be – none of the stuff I set out to do so far has gotten done anyway. As before, it’s just me sitting in my chair, magically unable to summon energy. I’m beginning to think that’s the problem, that I should grab my laptop and move up and out of my seat. Maybe even go for a bike ride. I liked bike rides, it was like the sole reason outside was as good as it was. Get the blood flowing, change of scenery, get out of the “do-nothing” mindset hovering over my swivel chair.

I dunno. We’ll see if that works out.

The Year In Review

One of my readers suggested on Facebook that I write a post detailing my experience with my first year of college. I approve of this idea, so here we are.

Going into college my immediate thoughts were that this is terrible. In my mind, college was school (read: hell) except you had to pay thousands of dollars to attend. Which was, and still is, absurd. But at the same time it seemed unavoidable. I had and to some extent still have the mindset that college is absolutely necessary for getting a job that will get me enough money to, you know, survive. Which made me generally annoyed at the whole thing.

That said, once it actually started it was quite a bit easier than high school. All of my professors were far more personable and willing to actually work with me, plus the fact that I didn’t have to be there for eight hours a day and then do homework. It was generally a lot easier to understand what was required of me and why and that meant it was something I could actually do.

First semester was pretty good. I came out of that on the dean’s list and all. It was essentially high school with all the problems removed, and that made it infinitely more bearable. Second semester…not so much. I live forty minutes away from campus, in my parents’ basement. In other words, living the nerd dream. This is because of a couple of factors, chief among them cost. I already think the whole “go massively into debt” thing is overrated and as such I want to avoid dumping more money into this gaping sinkhole of a scam, so I’ll live where I’m charged essentially no rent, thanks very much.

Additionally it means I don’t have to tolerate roommates in the conventional sense – my family and I are already more or less acclimated to each others’ quirks and I’ve two friends who both lived on-campus and the experience has been less than desirable. One of them had a roommate who was generally a terrible person and noisy neighbors who banged on the walls if he made any noise in return, the other had a phenomenally intrusive fraternity who didn’t seem to grasp basic scheduling common sense.

So, living forty minutes away, I realized my college offered a very nice selection of courses to be taken online. Classes I don’t even have to leave my little Batcave-slash-apartment for? Where do I sign up? The convenience was unbelievable, plus the amount of money I’d save on gas and general auto maintenance (since I’m already running my car near-constantly as a pizza delivery guy)…it was, at the time, a perfectly reasonable decision.

Unfortunately it didn’t pan out. Partly due to the ever-present problems with math courses but also because of problems inherent to both my schoolwork techniques as well as the online classes. I hate busywork – I’ve ranted at length on the subject, so I won’t go into details here if I can help it. But in an online class environment, the instructors have no way of gauging participation and your grasp of the material other than swamping you in quizzes, worksheets and other meaningless wastes of your time. This, by the way, directly from a counselor who teaches some classes online and some in person. It’s simply how things are done and that combined with asking me to schedule my own work periods…yeah. I’m not on the dean’s list anymore, let’s just leave it there.

So I’ve at least learned something. Gone massively into debt in the process, which is asinine, but there you go. I’m not taking summer classes currently – I need that time to get some other things settled and generally prepare myself for the oncoming fall semester – that plus only one of my friends is taking these classes and with friends in short supply I’d like to maximize my time with them. Anyway, cheers readers. Feel free to ask questions or suggest things you’d like to hear my perspective on – I run short on ideas sometimes so I welcome the assistance.

Enemy In The Mirror

Wow. Been a while. Sorry, had to finish up a frankly abysmal college semester, then took a week and a half or so to just blob around in my chair and watch YouTube videos for hours on end. Decompressing, you know?

Anyhow, me and my dad recently talked about a subject we both felt was worth a write-up. One thing that has always gotten on my nerves is whenever someone else tells me about something I need to improve on – now, I know that sounds like I think I’m all that and a bag of chips (that goes without saying) but hear me out. Well, read me out. Whatever.

The reason why it irritates me is because nine times out of ten, I’ve already caught on to that exact thing I need to work on and I’m already harping on myself about it. And take it from a pathological perfectionist, I’m very, very good at giving myself grief over these things. So hearing it from someone else once is effectively hearing it for the millionth time, and occasionally that’s just one time too many and I snap at the person. They’re well-meaning and all and of course can’t read my mind, so it’s undeserved and totally unfair but it happens.

It all comes down (again) to perfectionism. It’s a great thing sometimes – striving for perfection or at least as good as you can get something is on the face of it a very admirable ideal, but in practice…it’s, ah, not so great. I tend to hold myself to impossible standards, which I then obviously fail to meet, and as a result I get salty and retreat to my room to wallow in Mountain Dew and Minecraft.

And it doesn’t just affect practical things. Recently, a game I’m super excited for ran a beta test which let me play it for a week. And for most of that week, I didn’t play it. I was very much looking forward to it, sure, and it looked fun, but I didn’t want to jump in. Why? Because I’m a horribly dysfunctional perfectionist. If I played a game I’d never played before, I wouldn’t automatically be amazing at it and I’d play badly. I didn’t want to play badly, so therefore I didn’t play. It’s logical, in a self-destructive and shortsighted way, but in hindsight it was the wrong move.

Since I brought it up earlier, Minecraft has the same problem. I like to have everything just so (perfectionism, yaaaay) so usually I play with mods – that’s short for modifications, someone out there with way too much skill with computers as well as free time thinks “Hey, Minecraft is pretty cool but I think it would be cooler with elephants in it!” So they make a mod, which I can then download and put into my game. Because elephants, dude. Come on.

So I tend to mod all the games I can into oblivion – resulting in them becoming cobbled-together monstrosities that crash every twelve seconds and are generally unplayable. Yet I persist in trying. Why? Because I need those elephants, by Jove, and I’ll have them and the twelve million other things I added because that’s the game I want to play in an ideal world.

Then I finally get into the game. Best part about Minecraft for me is building cool things, castles and cities and such. Bar none. Then I get an idea into my head, try and plan it all out – and never start, because I’m constantly adjusting the mental image to get it just right and perfect and by the end of it I’ve either ADHDed off to something else or just realized I can’t actually do that and so why bother playing?

Essentially, perfection is a nice ideal but it’s that. An ideal. Which means it doesn’t happen, isn’t going to happen, period. Full stop. Now, I hate writing coherent, MLA-formatted conclusions so this is the last paragraph. I’ll be working on updating a heck of a lot more often over the summer; no telling on what the fall semester will bring but hey, that’s months off, plenty of time.

I Am A Triangle

Or a pentagram.

 

Look, the point is I’m not well-rounded. And sticking triangular pegs in rounded holes is…well, it’s really painful.

School, I know you mean well. I really do. I’ve come a long way from believing that my parents and teachers were all conspiring against me and my interests. But for the love of all that is holy, cool it with the well-rounded crap. I absolutely detest being made to study things like math (it always does come back to math, doesn’t it?) that have nothing to do with whatever it is I might actually want to do with my life.

No, I do not give a fig about being a well-rounded individual. I do not want or need to know how to write chemical formulas. I have precisely zero intention of ever going into a career where I might need that information. If I did, I would study the heck out of it, but I don’t. Therefore, forcing me to do it is only going to cause problems. Triangular peg. Round hole. I learned this in kindergarten and taking geometry only reinforced what I figured out.

Speaking of geometry, that would probably be my favorite math class of all time. Not that there wasn’t a fair bit of completely unnecessary homework bogging down my grade, brain and free time but it was useful, darn it! I could take anything I learned in that class and think up half a dozen situations where I’d need to know how to calculate the length of a hypotenuse of a right triangle using basic trigonometry.

Fast forward a year. Algebra II. Conic-God-forsaken-sections. When in my life am I ever going to need to graph a hyperbola? Then again, the actual trigonometry class itself. Sine over cosine over cosecant of the square root of why the actual, bouncing, top-hat-wearing heck am I ever going to need this equation!? It’s all just numbers – no, I take that back. They wouldn’t even give us numbers, just letters, and ill-defined letters at that. So they just spout a bunch of ambiguous values and sine this and cosine that and the whole thing is all very abstract and nice, I’m sure some ancient fossil of a Greek mathmatician is very proud of his work but what. Is. The. POINT!?

I feel the need to bring this up for a reason related to why this blog has lain fallow for so long: I’m behind in my schoolwork. Shocking, I know. The better part of this is of course math work, because with all the various problems I have with it (pointless, repetitive, the teacher can’t even be bothered to explain things properly) make it an experience that I wouldn’t choose over having my toes amputated with blunt scissors. And each week that pile just gets bigger. It’s unholy.

I’d best get back to it, though. I believe this is a little bit shorter than my average post, but it will have to do. Just letting everyone know I’m not dead, not abandoning the blog (again) just trying to keep up on schoolwork that is borderline intolerable.

 

I’ve Been On The Radio

As the title says. Last Friday, on March 11, I was invited to take part in a talk show on a local radio station on the subject of Asperger’s, the autistic spectrum, and this blog. Pretty exciting stuff, all in all.

And you know, it was actually kind of fun. The broadcast was recorded for viewing via webcams as well and can be found here. Fair warning, it’s nearly an hour long, although I suppose you can listen to it in the background while doing something else – Lord knows you don’t want to be staring at me and my dad’s ugly mugs for that long.

At first I was kind of intimidated by the idea of being on the radio. I mean, it’s the second best thing to being on television, and one does not easily get used to the idea that a whole bunch of people will be watching one’s performance. But even so I found it to be an ultimately highly rewarding experience, particularly because I was helping to educate people on autism and the challenges associated with it. I wasn’t able to be quite as comprehensive as I liked, but that’s understandable given the format, the sort of improvised discussion and the necessity for commercial breaks.

One of the high points was definitely the sense that I was actively making an impression on people. The host of the show personally thanked me after it ended for appearing on the show, and it’s very nice to feel appreciated in such a way. Certainly better than most of my spring break, during which I’ve managed to accomplish precisely nothing (although it is spring break we’re talking about, so that’s not a terrible thing)

Anyway I must apologize for the relatively late and short post. It’s relatively late where I am, after all, and I can’t spare a whole lot of time at the moment. I sincerely hope my blog is helping decrease frustration. Thank you and good night. Literally. Although probably not by the time you read this.

 

Homework

I really, really do not care for homework.

Now, it’s not that I’m lazy. My track record at my actual jobs speaks for itself in that regard. The issues I have with homework are many and varied, but it’s really less about laziness than it is about everything else.

The biggest problem I had with homework was the fact that it was piled on top of everything else I already had to do. If I’ve just spent eight hours in high school, I do not come home and go “gee, now I think I’ll spend hours on homework, what a great use of my time!” After dealing with all the issues that school presents I want to come home and recharge from that and not have to worry about it constantly until the next day because my math teacher is allergic to not giving us homework (it was always math for some reason). As far as I was concerned, my time outside of school was mine and if the teachers didn’t care for that they could take a flying leap, by preference off some large building or another.

That’s still a problem that I face, although markedly reduced, now that I’m in college. I spend vastly less time in class than I used to, and the classes are far smaller and just less stressful to deal with. As such, I feel like I have more time to deal with things outside of class and by extension homework is less of an intrusion.

Then we have the fact that by and large homework is almost entirely pointless. My school district’s math classes were all apparently obligated to give homework daily. Daily. Alright, fine, let’s be charitable and say they’re only about ten problems each. Oh, and to do question 3 you need to do subquestions 3a, 3b, 3c…you can see where I’m going. Plus it’s all mind-obliteratingly boring, it’s always just “repeat the same problems over and over again, just with slight differences!”

Why!?

I don’t actually mind math, when it’s not of the academic memorize-and-regurgitate formula that teachers are in love with. My dad asked me to figure out how many more pages of a magazine he’d need to sell ad space for before it was profitable to bump the page number up and I helped him write an algebra equation for it. It took an hour. It was actually somewhat fun. What’s the deal here?

And this problem hasn’t gone away with college, no sir. My homework is dragging my grade down unnecessarily because I would rather pry my fingernails off with a crowbar than do the same problems over and over again while I feel my brain turn into low-calorie gluten-free oatmeal substitute from the sheer boredom of it. Both tests I’ve had so far I’ve gotten an A on. I aced one of them. I know the bloody material, now if I didn’t have to pulp my own head against a brick wall to prove it, that’d be highly appreciated, professor!

Thus concludes my rant for the week, hope you all find it helpful!