Archive for September, 2013

Social challenges with memory/recollection

2013-09-29 13:43:52 PST

I probably mentioned it at least some bits before, but, quite comes to my attention again. So, yeah, my memory is mostly pretty good, even relatively excellent, … certainly not superb nor some genius or anything like that, but for the most part pretty darn good, if not excellent. But …

My memory is also relatively selective and also not good at remembering some things. And some of those things are or can be rather to quite challenging socially. E.g. …

Names, … I rather/quite suck at remembering names. As far as I’m aware, I think that’s always been the case with me. E.g. someone will introduce themselves or I’ll be introduced to someone, and … 2, 3 minutes later (if not some mere tens of seconds or less), I can’t remember their name – at all. I particularly suck at remembering common first names. I’m typically much better at remembering last names. I’m more likely to remember the person’s name, if I’m introduced with or get their first and last names. Often in recalling their name, if I’m able to, I recall their last name first then from there I will generally be able to recall their first name. (Yeah, remember serial numbers of locks from over 35 years ago, but forget a common first name within seconds, yet regularly memorize complex random strings or series of digits, without much difficulty). Ah well, forgetting names like that rather to quite sucks for social interaction. Ugh. I’ll remember what we talked about, typically in great detail, and typically even where, and approximately when. But remember their name? Yeah, typically not, and especially if it was just first name, and a common first name – almost always I won’t remember that – at all. I suppose I could put a whole lot ‘o effort on remembering their name, repeating it over and over to myself, etc., and otherwise working to remember it, as they’re talking to me, and, … might stand a fair chance of remembering it that way, … but, … that tends to go over quite poorly, as, if/when I’m doing that, I’m hardly paying attention to them, so I might remember their name, but the conversation/talk generally bombs out pretty quickly, as it becomes quite apparent I’m not paying attention. So, … either way, social fail. Ugh.

Remembering what “we” talked about. Another really hard part. I do quite well remember the conversations – what was said to me, or what I said. But I highly suck at the whom. I don’t remember who said it to me, or who I said it too. So, … that can have major downsides. E.g. awkwardly recalling – yes, sure, I recall the what was said to me and the conversation had, but I can’t, e.g. tell the person who it was that told me that – I mostly just won’t remember at all – though sometimes logically I can reduce it to one possible source – but not most of the time. Usually I just don’t remember who said it to me, and that can be quite awkward, as person might ask, or may be rather glaring omission as I can’t fill in at all the who told me that or who I heard it from. And, worse yet, sometimes it’s even the person I’m talking with or relating it to, that told me, and I don’t even remember that it was they who told me. Ugh. More social fail. Likewise, my telling someone else. I’ll remember that I told someone, what I related, etc. But, I won’t remember who I did (and didn’t) tell that particular whatever too. So, … that also creates lots of odd awkwardness. As in repeating myself. Deal with more than exactly one person, I don’t remember who I did and didn’t say something to, so, … I say that something again, and … oops, same person again – fail. Or, likewise, should say to someone, said to someone else, but erroneously guess that I already told the person, so I completely fail to mention that particular something – and can end up being rather to quite significant, or problematic, that I didn’t mention it to them, when I very much ought to have or that would’ve been highly appropriate, if not very much expected – but I don’t mention it because I already did talk about it … but to someone else, but I mistakenly presume/guess that it was that person in front of me that I told it to before. Ugh.

Damn near never more than one “friend” (or relationship) ever, at a time. Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons, of perhaps many, that I’ve pretty much never had more than one friend (or relationship, where that essentially took place of any friendship) at any given time. With only and exactly one, I don’t have to remember who I told, or who told me – as there’s only one possibility. That seems to work quite well … except for the limitation of there being only and exactly one. Two or more – and even among casual friends, or fairly good friends that may not be all that close, heck, even acquaintances, … and, … buggers, I fail to remember who I did and didn’t say something to, and who told me whatever. Ugh. Don’t know that there’s any way I can “fix” that, or even more-or-less reasonably compensate for it. Seems my head has always worked like that. Pretty much just takes in and organizes the information itself – not so much source, nor target – and likewise puts out the information. Does negligible tracking of where the information came from or went to. Yes, does access and correlate credibility of sources, and likewise trustworthiness of person(s) told, but doesn’t cross-correlate that with particularly what was heard from a particular someone, or said to a particular someone.

So, … yeah, among other things, it’s socially problematic. E.g. quite recent conversation … I really can’t remember what I had and had not told that person. I can remember whether or not I’d related such … and maybe sometimes even remember if I might have related such relatively recently or not, but whether or not I’d ever told them before, or not – even if I’ve only known them a relatively short while … I really cannot recall if I’d told them before, or not. Ugh.

Lack of eye contact? Yeah, not sure how much mostly lacking in eye contact contributes to not associating what was said/heard with who to/from. But I’ve got major challenges with eye contact, especially as I’m talking or attempting to, but also quite significantly as I listen to someone – though not as severely so on the listening side. Yep, look at someone as I talk or attempt to, and I mostly completely and totally lose my train of thought … even mid-sentence. And it’s not like some kind of anxiety thing or anything like that. Not like I feel anxious about it – though do tend to feel increasingly awkward as that happens repeatedly in conversation or attempts thereof. But, no, much more like they react or move in the slightest, and some big chunk of my brain goes, “Huh?”, and attempts to determine what the hell that motion or reaction indicates (not that it necessarily gets it right, or even close, but it’s like it at least is interested, grabs the attention, and it attempts to figure/puzzle it out). And, well, it’s quite like, whatever chunk of my brain jumps to that task, is also highly responsible for me managing to talk or attempt to think and talk about what I’m attempting to say or relate, so, … yeah, train of though gets totally derailed, and my talking stops. Oops. I’m definitely not finding any easy solutions. Okay, not really any solutions I’ve found for all that … not even hard solutions, or effective work-arounds … other than the bit of only and exactly one friend or relationship at a time, … ever, … and forever. That kind’a sucks and is quite limiting. But seems it’s mostly been the “practical” consequence of much of all that. Really don’t seem to effectively navigate and handle/manage more than one. Really don’t think I ever have, … my entire life. Don’t see a “fix” for that. Oh well, … I more-or-less muddle my way through it, … or attempt to do so, and … well, … guess it goes how it goes.

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semi-random / select personal stats – or lies, damn lies, and statistics … except they’re all true

2013-09-26 21:36:58 PST

So, I thought it would be interesting/informative to post a bunch of personal statistics. All true stuff. Not exactly a representative sample though, and certainly not a random sampling, but more so to illustrate some general, and key points.

Some general and key points. I’ll state at least a bit of that up-front, so it might emerge a bit more clearly as “theme”, as one reads/skims through this stuff. I won’t highlight all the possible points and themes though … one might also draw one’s own conclusions … and perhaps some more interesting and informative than I could think up, and especially also since I’m inherently not the most objective observer with the subject being myself, though I might happen to know the subject better than anyone else.

General bits. As I’ve more-or-less stated before, lots of different ways of slicing, dicing, measuring and testing me. In/on many such test/measures/statistics, I come out pretty much right around average. Also, on quite a number of such, I come out at relatively extreme ends of the scale – typically in the 15% or less end of either extreme end of the scale/range, often 10% or less, many times 5% or less, and not to uncommonly 2% or less, sometimes even much less than that.

More specific bits. Won’t enumerate or (fully) list them here, but see if one can pick out some patterns – maybe even some I fail to see/recognize myself. But look for patterns in such things as friendships, relationships, academic performance/grades, correlations(?), communication, “connecting”, social stuff, interest/boredom, likes/dislikes, general personality characteristics, thought/analytic patterns, things missing/absent, shortcomings, blindspots, things/capabilities I just don’t have, things I haven’t done, things I have done and do quite well and/or thoroughly or am particularly adept at, etc., etc., and in not necessarily any particular order. Probably a lot more, and doesn’t necessarily include all of those, but that set might be at least a starting “hint” of things to possibly watch for. And, without further introduction …

Age: 50 years old (at least as I’m writing/drafting this)

Oldest age at which I worked, or again worked, a minimum wage job: 21 (at only and exactly minimum wage, not talking something that was pennies or nickles above that).
Most years ever worked for the same employer: 11 and contiguously: 8
Income: none of your damn business, but it’s “decent”, or “enough”, or something like that, not exactly a major concern of mine, anyway, though more is generally better – if it doesn’t also have downsides with it.

Religion: Atheist. For many many many years, I was agnostic – though much of that, highly devoutly so. I became agnostic right around the same time I called the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus into question – yeah, from a quite young age. Though it was simple, easy, and soon that I became a non-believer in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus, that “God” question (and “Jesus”? – WTF – how did that get into the picture?), well, the “God” question was a bit tricker (much easier to disprove the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus), so, … mostly tabled figuring that out ’till I was about 14 or so – when I had enough mental horsepower to much more properly address and figure out the answer to that question … and I more-or-less mostly did, short version being – definitely agnostic – question inherently unanswerable and answer unknowable, thus question almost entirely moot, and … me, at least then, what I later termed myself as – “devoutly agnostic”. Thoroughly reexamined that in early 20s, and reached same conclusion again, and, additionally and even more so, that it didn’t matter – either way there was no determinable or measurable difference of any significance whatsoever, so the question was completely and totally moot – at least for most all intents and purposes as far as I was concerned. And, … a few years ago … updated slightly. Reclassified myself as Atheist. Why? Really the more fitting descriptor and classification, as, in examining it, I was really firmly planted in the “Teapot agnostic” category anyway. So, really ought call it what it more properly is and is the more apt descriptor – Atheist. And, … am I “militantly atheist”? Naw, I don’t go around hammering folks over the head with my (dis)beliefs. People are gonna believe what they’re gonna believe – facts be damned. When people want/need to believe something badly enough, … they will, and do, … doesn’t have to have anything to do with reality. And I’ve seen this in people, … both in others, and even sometimes in myself. I think I mentioned a wee bit of that somewhere in my blog posting stuff – essentially part of psychological survival mechanism … but can have its downsides, too.
But I say stuff like “damn”, and “hell”, and maybe even sometimes, “god”, how could I be an atheist? I also say stuff like sh*t and f*ck, and likewise generally use them as expressionals, not in their literal meaning. Relatively ingrained in the culture, language, and my experience of it, so, … those words – and their expressional usage, also get mixed into my use of language/words – again, not general use of their literal meaning, for f*ck’s sake.

Gender: male
Sexual orientation: heterosexual (perhaps boringly so, but probably somewhere around “average” in that camp/categorization)
Marital/relationship status: single, never married, was once engaged.
Was engaged? Yes, over 8 years, after still not even living in the same country and having not even seen each other in years, and the last couple years or so of that things drifting much more apart than together, I (technically I, anyway) broke it off.
Ever engaged before: No
Ever close to engaged before? No, not really. One woman wanted me to propose, but I never did, she eventually broke it off with me – and that was a damn good thing – I should have broken it off much, much earlier – but I didn’t know better way back then (first “serious” relationship).
Sexual drive/interest?: As best I’ve been able to tell (can’t say I’ve thoroughly researched it), seems to be approximately “average” for my age and gender, and as far as I know always pretty much has been for me.

Number of women I’ve ever had intercourse with in my entire life: 4
Durations, longest to shortest, of sexual phase of said relationships:
on-and-off over a span of several years or so (but was a rather messed up not good relationship)
a few months or less (maybe only a couple months, if that)
about 6 weeks
about 3 days (not that we weren’t compatible, but she lived thousands of miles away, was only out for a short visit, was considering a possible move to the area, and decided not to move to the area)
Total number of women, in my entire life, that I’ve ever had intercourse with that were under 35 years of age: 1
How young was she? she was 21, I was 28, it lasted about 6 weeks … not that we weren’t compatible, but … life happens – it was broken off)
Greatest age span other direction: I was 24, she was 37 … she was my first
My entire life, grand total of women I’ve ever kissed where I was romantically/sexually interested in them: 7 (not 100% sure of that number, but that’s probably the correct number). Hmmmm, and given that the average length of any relationship I’ve ever been in has been much less than 7 years, that’s the vast majority of the time not even making it so far as kissing. :-/ Okay, so the vast majority of the time I don’t make it so far as holding hands, let alone a hug, and there’s nobody there that I’m anywhere close to that being a real possibility to even do that with.
My entire life, grand total number of women I’ve ever gotten so close with, to have at least more-or-less crawled into bed naked with (or something close to that) and at least gotten significantly touchy-feely or something like that, and also including those that I ever had sexual intercourse with, grand total count: 7
Isn’t that damn frustrating, relatively average heterosexual male, relatively average sex drive and such, having spent so little of one’s life involved in a sexual relationship or having sex with any woman or women? Yeah, pretty damn/darn frustrating, but not chief/highest among my frustrations/concerns (ranked higher, if not much, much higher, would at least include good close connection(s) and lack thereof – e.g. (general) lack of good close friend(s), and near total lack of almost any meaningful physical contact whatsoever (random handshakes don’t count and random brief hugs from near total strangers also hardly counts; and perhaps some other things rank comparably high among chief frustrations/challenges).

Immediate family? Yes
Siblings? Yes, one, about 3 years younger, female.
Parents? Yes, they separated when I was 8, divorced when I was 9, they’re still both living.
Custody: Mother
Visitations?: Yes, but fairly quickly tapered from frequent, through infrequent, to non-existent.
Last time my dad made any effort whatsoever (like picking up phone and dialing or mailing or sending something) to contact me: 1983
Close with … dad? No, see above
Close with … sister? No. Were once-upon-a-time, probably only back before I was a teen. I actually get to speak with her on the phone maybe about once or twice a year. Generally I call, get voicemail / answering machine, leave message, don’t hear back – lather, rinse, repeat.
Close with … mom? No, not really. She’s a radically different (and relatively weird) person. We haven’t been that close since sometime back when I was a teen, or perhaps even earlier than that.
Kids? Nope, and not having any. I wouldn’t do that at my age in any case, even if I’d felt much different about that otherwise – I think having kid(s) at such (relatively) advanced age is quite unfair to the kid(s). Dad ought not be a senior citizen long before offspring even graduate from high school. That’s more like the age a grandpa ought be. Two of my grandparents were at my high school graduation. They were in their later 60s (or very early 70s?) when I graduated high school. I invited my dad, but he didn’t come or even so much as respond (and that was no surprise to me) – yeah, that’s unfair too, but life ain’t fair.
Born in? Locally – in the San Francisco Bay Area
Parents Born in? Both born in California
Grandparents Born in? USA, and if I’m not mistaken, half of them were born within the greater San Francisco Bay Area

Favorite color: Blue
Eyes: Blue
Myers-Brigs: INTJ
IQ: none of your damn business, I may not have specific number(s) handy anyway, and different tests/scales tend to measure rather differently. I’m pretty smart, but probably more notably generally rather consistently hardworking (or that combination thereof). I’m no genius. Those that think making Mensa level consider that to be genius have no idea what genius is. In my very limited exposure to genius, it’s pretty damn friggin’ mind-blowingly impressive. Have a peek looking for the string “genius” for a mere partial hint of that, on beaten down at … for …
Shy?: Yes, rather, but I rather/quite warm up to those I know rather to quite well, and who know me fairly well, and whom I’m comfortable with
Introverted? Yeah, quite, see the INTJ above
What are you like when you get angry? Essentially, I don’t do anger. Have a look, search for the string “angry” on: (some) “Rules” to Live by (or personal philosophy, or redundant stuff (most) everybody may have already thought of and said/done before)
Prone to boredom? Yeah, probably quite a lot so. See, e.g.:
Boredom Proneness Scale (BPS)
and on beaten down at … for … look for the string “could read the same page 10 times”
and on Autistic? Autism spectrum? Asperger syndrome? Neurotypical (not)? And other testing, etc. search for the string “extra round of hearing tests”
Am I on the autistic spectrum, or autistic, or have Aspergers or something like that? Possibly, but best guestimate, likely close – within striking distance – many traits, but probably just (barely) short of the diagnostic criteria … but that’s just a semi-educated best guestimate, and is not at all a professional diagnosis. Plausible deniability can also be a good thing. :-) What diagnosis?

Academics/school (and traces of career bits), and highs and lows of it.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Earliest I can remember goes back to 3rd or 4th grade, not going to detail it here, but picked up a certain pair of technical books, read ’em, was quite interested and fascinated – and that’s what I wanted to be (career specifically related to the subject of that pair of books)
Later, around mid-junior high or so, that significantly changed, based on two key factors. B) – career research – the path to get to what I wanted to be was unsuitably not to my liking and not economically feasible for me to obtain, and A) I’d found and developed (more-or-less stumbled onto) another technical interest, which not only had much of my focus and attention, and I not only quite liked it, but it kept growing, and I kept developing that technical interest/skill, and it was in line with viable career option – so that became my what I want to be when I grow up – and has more-or-less remained that to this day, though it’s somewhat morphed and evolved/transformed along the way, but still relatively similar/related, and much overlap.
Academic lows, highs, and perhaps select random (or not so random) bits
More-or-less flunked out of college – it’s (much!) more complicated than that, but not going to detail it here
College degree(s): none whatsoever
Highest level of education achieved: About mid Jr level at a quite top-ranked college in a quite top ranked program – not going to precisely detail, but within the University of California, and in a program that was quite competitive to get in, and also very well ranked at the time – and in the “competitive to get in”, getting in required academic achievement / test scores well above the admission requirements of the University of California – which are themselves rather high – that was notably due to demand vs. available openings, so it was highly competitive to even be able to get into that program at that school.
totally random: why do emotions sometimes make my typing feel very different … physically … keys feel very different as I’m going through typing this document … but seems to have been a relatively steady build/progression in the change of the feel. Odd, but very much there presently.
Other notable academic lows – there was the Teacher from Hell – She very much coerced me to fit her (counter)example role model of the “bad” kid with the really sucky poor performance, and I more-or-less molded to fit her coercion rather effectively … poor performance, poor grades, faux poor behavior (repeatedly getting blamed for and accused of having done things I didn’t do, and being coerced to confess to having “done” those things I was accused of – though I’d not done such things at all). I remember in that class, that a particular regular test, that getting 3 wrong on it was an F – and I remember getting at or near that a lot – perhaps even sometimes more than 3 wrong. I also got sick a whole lot that school year. Psychosomatic. Can you say little kid under extreme and repeated regular stress? Yeah, that’d do that.
Academic highs and other bits.
First time I ever got straight As. If I’m not mistaken, it was 5th grade. Had a particularly excellent and very encouraging and supportive teacher. I think she well realized what I was capable of, and exceedingly well worked on encouraging and building and fostering that in me. Had a quite good teacher in (half of) 4th grade, and quite possibly also (half of) 3rd grade (some family moves were involved, … parents separated and divorced, etc. … later there was a remarriage for my mom … and a redivorce – my dad has never remarried … though somehow he seems to manage to get into significant relationships a helluva lot more easily and quickly than I manage to, … but darned if I know how. It’s not like he’s ever been around for me to observe (other than when I was quite young – and parents were not having a good relationship – at all) and/or to give me relationship/dating advice).
Of those 3rd/4th grade teachers, if I recall correctly it was 4th grade, but one was particularly effective at figuring out that I wasn’t performing anywhere near up to my capabilities, and managed to put the pressure on, in a useful way, that got me performing much more up to what I was capable of. Perhaps I was quite bored – and mostly used to it, and not trying very hard at all. Well, she put the screws to that … in a useful way. Don’t know that the boredom went away, but at least I was working hard and effectively, and up towards and to the performance levels I could achieve.
Where have I always, or generally or almost always sucked on the academics/school stuff?
Handwriting – it’s always been poor (and only gets worse over the years). I think my best handwriting ever was when I first learned to handwrite – and it was pretty piss poor – not very good and only got me probably about a C grade – certainly not B or A, and … it never got better, … ever, … I think it only slowly got worse and worse over time. Now it’s so damn bad most/much of the time I can’t even read my own handwriting anymore. But I got straight As in 5th grade, and that (probably) included a grade on handwriting? I think that teacher was also slightly generous – in that if I was doing the absolute best I possibly could at something and working damn hard at it … I’d eventually get an A, … I think she figuered out my handwriting wasn’t getting any better … no matter how damn long and hard I worked and practiced at it.
Random aside. Scholarship interview from hell. One particular scholarship interview I went on. At the time, my grades were all straight As – possibly excepting some Bs in English. Definitely one of the top students. And the person interviewing the scholarship candidates – individually, and including me, was really only dealing with such top-notch students. And how’d that interview go? He spent essentially all the whole damn interview berating my handwriting, and telling me were he my teacher, or parent, or something like that – or maybe even me, that he’d have me doing nothing but working on the handwriting, continuously, over and over, hour after hour, day after day, for however long it took, until it was quite excellent, if not perfect, “A” quality handwriting. What a friggin’ *sshole – that was not a nice interview. And the next candidate came in. And, … should’ve interviewed us separately, but what does he do … starts interviewing the next candidate, and, does same thing – take the one less than perfect strength of that candidate, and rips ’em to shreds on it – totally devastating that candidate and ripping ’em to shreds … and even worse, that candidate came in with their parental unit, who was there to witness the whole thing in front of ’em. What a piece ‘o work. Yeah, I remember exchanging some WTF looks between myself and the other candidate. And then this interviewer goes on to say how he just loves interviewing the scholarship candidates every year, and he’s been doing it many years, and intends to do it for many more. What a sadistic bastard. Maybe if I’d told him that, I’d ‘a got the scholarship. Who the hell knows.
PE – as in Physical Education (no, not other stuff people think of under the term PE these days). I always hated PE, but I got straight As in it, at least Jr. high onward. Why/how? Yeah, sure, I sucked at it, didn’t like it, etc., etc. But getting an A was fairly straight-forward. Mostly just a matter of consistently showing up, on time, prepared, not breaking the rules, following instructions/directions … that was about it – a relatively easy A – other than the bit about it sucked and I hated it and I was never any good at it. But, much as I despised it, it was still probably (well, at least physically) relatively good for me. Socially and all that, eh, not exactly a nightmare, but mostly pretty darn unpleasant. Yeah, picking teams, … I’d generally get picked dead last, or close to it, for most anything and everything, … yeah, that’s how not good I was athletically. It’s not like I didn’t develop the general health and physical strength, etc. (at least relative to body frame and such), but … anything like good/better coordination, aim, throwing distance, speed, etc., … yeah, I was towards the bottom on most all of those, so pretty much generally rather sucked for me. I was almost always the smallest and lightest in my class – or at least nearly so – including PE classes – not a good or enviable position to be in in PE classes.
English – I friggin’ hated it. I more-or-less learned enough to do “okay” – as in like actually write “relatively well” – when “relatively well” is compared against typical K-12 students and corresponding grade levels anyway. As far as college or college graduate English skills level comparisons, or better business English skill sets … yeah, I’m still pretty sucky on such comparison scales. Interesting odd bit – foreign language – had bit ‘o that in the K-12 … and, … I often think I learned more about English in my foreign language class than I did in English. Well, not totally and strictly true, but, e.g. “conjugate the verb” – I never had any friggin’ clue what that was or meant or how to do it, … until I had to learn how to do it in another language. A whole lot of the stuff in English that I learned how to do properly – e.g. subject verb agreement – was not by learning the rules, per se. It was mostly learned through analogy/methodology – figuring out how to put together similar sentences and phrases – often simplified versions thereof – such that it became quite clear which way was correct vs. incorrect – then I could back-track that to the more complex construction. Never really learned what all the damn parts were called and what they were. Just learned how to figure out how to put ’em together properly. That was generally “enough” … through high school, and even through college. Yes, college. Sure, my English writing and such was never great. But, it was enough to somehow manage to squeak by passing the University of California (minimum) requirements on English for graduation – so I did manage to (probably barely) cover that. I quite remember very specifically on the test they gave us. They gave us 3 possible topics to write about, and told us to pick one and write about it. That was the test. I couldn’t spell worth sh*t, so the more interesting/challenging part of the test was coming up with analogous words or phrases that I was fairly confident I knew the correct spellings of, and use those in the construction of what I was writing, as opposed to whatever else otherwise came to mind. And write out the test paper that way. And, … quite to my surprise, I passed. No idea how close I was to flunking it though – it was a pass-fail test, and we only got those results – passed, or failed, nothing more detailed than that. I also remember one kind professor in college, in giving me feedback one one of my papers, said that it has some, “Ehm, … typographical errors” … the implication and manner in which he said it, implying that college students – University of California at that, no less, wouldn’t make spelling errors on their college papers, so it must have been typographical errors. Well, those were papers I typed on manual typewriter (I didn’t have access to nor could I afford an electric typewriter). And, … spell check, word processing? Yeah, not then, not for me – at least not something I had any reasonable access to yet – that came some years later. My Misspeller’s Dictionary was one of my most heavily used references … but it didn’t do me much good when I had no clue whatsoever that I’d misspelled the word. And I was on a starving student budget, so it wasn’t like I could pay someone to proofread my papers for me, or type them up, when it was time to turn my handwritten draft into a finished paper. Wasn’t until later years, with computerized spell checking available, that very slowly my spelling started to slowly improve (though it still to this day, quite sucks). But alas, auto-correct (and, egad, auto-mangle – I hate auto-mangle, but that could be a whole ‘nother post) slowed that progression – don’t learn the correct spellings nearly as well when something else corrects them, rather than me having to retype them with the correct spelling.
So, I hated English, though in my compulsory learning of it, some teachers, etc., were much better at it, than others, … and some highly sucked at it.
So, … PE, easy A … why not in English? I did manage to make it to straight As in English in junior high … I don’t even remember exactly how … at this point I really don’t. Yeah, I think I just blocked that crud out … or sufficiently redundant it’s not worth remembering – and replaced with better more relevant information in the brain :-) … or one can hope. Anyway, high school, was more challenging on English. Not in a useful way, but more of what it did and didn’t take to get an A, and in which English classes (not like I had much choice about that … if even any). So, some teachers, and grading/scoring systems, I could get an A, … others it was completely and totally impossible for me. And the last two teachers I had in English, it was completely and totally impossible for me to get an A in English. The first of those two – Jr. year of high school, not only did we have to read books that bored the sh*t out of me, and I couldn’t remember worth beans if my life depended upon it. Heck, to this day – _The Great Gatsby_ – if someone pointed a gun at my head and told me to write a paragraph summarizing the book, I probably couldn’t even produce a paragraph about the book, … and even at the time, I don’t think I remember very much at all about it – even as and right after I read it. So, … gun to my head on that one – and I’d be a dead man.
Random stat: number of times someone’s put a gun to my head: twice (and no, they didn’t ask me about _The Great Gatsby_, or I’d be a dead man and wouldn’t be writing this).
Number of times I’ve been shot: once – okay, that was a BB gun, and no, didn’t count that in times someone put a gun to my head (that was a distance away, and had no idea there was anything pointed at me, until after I’d been shot).
Anyway, one of the key tests the teacher would do, was essentially a memory retention test of this sh*t we were required to read. She’d do stuff like give a short quote, and ask us what character said it, to whom, in what context, what they meant by that or its significance, etc., and much as I wanted to get an A in the class, and read all the material – even reading it many many times, I really couldn’t give a f*ck about the material itself – not to mention I didn’t remember the material worth beans (yeah, probably being totally disinterested in it would do that). Yes I read the damn thing – might’ve read every page up to 10 times, but it didn’t interest me, and I couldn’t remember it worth beans, … so, … I’d get Cs on those key tests (probably would’ve gotten Ds or Fs, were it not for the teacher telling us some fair bits in class about the book … not that listening to her tell about it was at all interesting … more like torture – listening to how she was so interested in it was not at all interesting, but more like some kind of twisted bizarre torture), … and also working my ass of on everything else in the class, best I could hope for was something in the B range … and that was what I got and was stuck with. Anyway, Sr. year in high school, a much better English teacher, but … alas, no way in hell I could break out above a B in that class. Yes, the reading was boring as hell, and, as even older English, it was even more difficult to understand (words, context/history, whatever). So, yeah, the reading bored the hell out of me. But, fortunately, the teacher was damn good and effective and explaining the material. Were it not for that, I never would’ve known sh*t about what I was reading in that class. “Of course” we had to read the stuff first (that was homework), then he’d explain it, so, … pretty futile when I read it, but, whatever, at least later I’d have some clue of what I’d read – at least after he’d explained it anyway. Can’t really say I learned much about English at all in that class, but it was quite bearable, and, probably learned a lot more about other random useful stuff in that class (oh, like life – and no, not from the reading materials) – which is generally a good thing. Anyway, once the teacher got rather familiar with the student’s writing, it was damn near impossible to break out of what he thought of that particular student’s writing. Fairly early on, my writings and homeworks and such were getting graded as “B”. I’d work my friggin’ *ss off trying to get an A, and… I’d still get a B, maybe a B+ if I was really lucky. I’d also slack off and do a half-*ssed job. And, … I’d get a B, … or maybe sometimes a B-. Essentially anything and everything I could do in that class was going to get a B, as long as I didn’t horribly screw up, … so I pretty much resigned myself to a B (and the + and – made zero difference on how GPAs were done at that school), and applied more of my focus and energy to things where I had to work hard(er) to get and maintain As, and/or for interest and/or other reasons I just wanted to perform better and/or to my utmost (e.g. ’cause I actually liked and found quite interesting some of the other stuff).
Things I generally excelled at: math, science, electronics/computers.
Top grades/awards/honors, and notable achievements? I won’t enumerate them here, and did also mention some of them earlier. But, to name some:
About the top 2% or so of high school graduating class (of about 600), various awards/honors up through at least high school (mostly from jr high onward), not going to enumerate them or even mention them all.
high school: the top student in math, science, and electronics – across the board, every class, every year, and most every single test and in some cases all of them.
Calculus and college chemistry – the top student – but that was jr. college, and smaller classes – roughly 30 or so students in the calculus class. Yes, I got all As in that class and all those tests, but, much to my surprise, when the instructor told me specifically how I was doing/scoring, I was not only total A, but the highest in the class. Chemistry started with about 35 students at the beginning of the year, and ended the year with only 3 students finishing the class. I was the only A.
On to University of California. First class in my particular interest/”major”, about 150 students, I got the highest score in the entire class of those about 150 students. Next class in my particular interest/”major” – about 80 students – first midterm – I not only got the highest score, but my score was also about 10% above the 2nd highest score in the class.
One math class in college, well, I generally learn quite well from (science/technical) books, but … the book sucked, and … the teacher sucked too – just didn’t get it. So, … I never learned the stuff, yet, … much to my surprise, I passed. Yeah, … that instructor should’ve flunked 90% of the class, as most of us did not learn the material worth beans. I think that would be another example of how one shouldn’t use a curve for grading.
Time as I write/draft this: 1:12 A.M. (what, me, sleep?), and no, I’m not tired “yet” … though I did get in an about 20 or 30 minute nap much earlier this evening (guess I was tired and/or bored then … yeah, … more bored, … was watching moderately short video (under 20 minutes long) that just wasn’t interesting enough to retain my attention …zzzZZZ – for a bit, anyway). Yeah, … mandatory compulsory training videos that are too slow and I can’t speed up will often likewise also do that to me. Like rereading the same page over and over ’cause it doesn’t interest me and I fail to retain it, well, video like that I can drift off repeatedly – and watching it again and again doesn’t particularly help, as it’s less and less interesting on each consecutive pass. And yes, I passed the required test on that mandatory training. Required to get 80% to pass, and I (“of course”) got 100%. So, … I retained (at least for the short term memory test exercise), at least any bits that weren’t common sense (e.g. random bits highly specific to that exact company) – even if I repeatedly micronapped through the video (hey, they do say sleep helps cement memories in place … and … if the recall is needed shortly theafter, rather than next day … insert micronaps? Who knows, maybe that’s part of how I got 100%). Okay, so I took good notes too (cryptic and nearly illegible, and only the non-common sense bits), but was also open notes test (and I later typed them up, so I might be able to actually read them after my short term memory would no longer have the context to help decipher what I’d written).

Percentage of time my blog posts are too long: Hmmm, what, 90%? 95%? 98.75%? …

Social/friendships/relationships
Number of good friends I had, up through age 10 (10 years): About 5 to 7 or so? Any of them concurrently? Possibly some modest overlap. Bit harder to qualify “good friend” for such younger ages, so quite debatable.
Number of good friends I had, from my age 11 through 23 (12 years): 4. Any of them concurrently?: No
Number of good friends I’ve had/have, including those that are/were good relationships, from age 24 through current (50) (26 years): 3 Any of them concurrently?: No
Grand total number of relationships that I’ve ever had that ever began from a dating context: zero
Percentage of all relationships that I’ve ever had that started from friendship (or acquaintanceship then to friendship) context rather than starting from a dating context: 100%
Total number of good friends and/or relationships from my age of 23 on up, that ever started from context of first meeting in person (as opposed to via phone, on-line, BBS systems (back in the day) or personal ads in printed newspapers (way back in the day): zero
Not including the last 7 days, number of times someone has touched me, or I’ve touched someone, for more than 30 seconds, within the last 6 months: zero
What about if the last 7 days are included? 2 or 3, but a rather unusual and kind’a contrived circumstance.
Since college, number of people I’ve lived with (as in someone moved in, not just some visit): zero
What about visits or extended visits?: Longest thus far was a stretch of 5 months staying in the same place. And yeah, we got along wonderfully, and even in relatively tiny bit of space (pretty much couldn’t get apart from each other, even if we wanted to). And yeah she still lives in another country – far too long too far apart … that didn’t work out :-(
Preferred living state, alone, or with someone, or ???: With someone, at or above “good friend” level. I had my fill of roommate stuff in college – don’t particularly care for it. Random college roommate bits: was annoying to get locked out of my room, zero advance notice, ’cause the roommate was bonking some chick again. Number of times I had sex in college: zero. Number of times I locked a roommate out: zero. Had a roommate that was sleeping with other women in the room, while I was in the room! Yeah, that took a little getting used to – but not much, … about 3 days (or less) and I was quite used to it, and hardly (if at all) distracted me. Had a roommate that would type his papers, overnight, in the room … loud electric typewriter, with a loud crisp “bang” with every keystroke as it hammered the paper. And he’d do this with the bright overhead light on. Yeah, … that took me about three days(/nights) to get used to – and after that I quite slept through that too.
Longest vacation I’ve ever had/taken: about a week and a half, or so, at least in my entire adult life (And extended periods of unemployment don’t count – as then I was generally working to rectify that – never really counted as a “vacation”, though I might’ve rarely gone briefly on a vacation within – thought that was never more than an extended weekend – never a week or more). As a kid, longest vacation (not counting Summer vacation from school itself) was 3 weeks.
Why are you still single?: Probably mostly because A) I quite suck at social (especially that getting stuff going and getting acquainted and such – especially making it to beyond the idle chit-chat … though I do fairly well once I manage to make it that far), and B) nobody knows me (well, damn close to nobody at all). I’d say, of the 5 “significant” relationships I’ve had – regardless of quality, 3 of those 5 do or would want me or want me back, if I’d be with them, or if they were here. Actually, perhaps that ought be counted more like 3 out of 4 – as one was very short (more like a 3 day fling) … or … maybe 4 out of 5, as, if she were still here or had stayed here … who knows – quite possibly.
But wouldn’t one have to be crazy to not want me? ;-) Well maybe one is. Insanity is allowed as a valid excuse. 8-O
Toughest things I’ve ever done for a (good) friend or “partner” (relationship): Put myself at substantial risk (multiple occurrences) and/or make substantial sacrifices to keep them safe/well.
Pets?: None presently, mostly had some as a kid. I tend to much prefer cats.
Too good to be true? Naw, I’m good, but I’m nowhere near perfect. But true, yes.
And, then I worked on this draft until sometime around 2:30 or 3:something A.M., and … stopped, not because I was tired, but because it was quite sufficiently late(/early), and I needed to be getting up fairly early, so – I worked on putting myself to sleep – as I sometimes do. Tire myself out and/or bore myself to sleep. So, I switched to some utterly unengaging task, and … bored myself to sleep in fairly short order. And, continued writing (and first bits of “real” editing) when? Next evening/night? No, skipped one – to sort’a take a break from it. Next evening after that? Almost. Early morning. I got bored a bit in the early evening, and fell asleep, … then woke up around midnight … not tired at all – well, far too early to get/stay up, so, … after a while, went to sleep again, … then woke up around 3 A.M., … again far too early to get/stay up, so, … went to sleep again, … then work up around 5 A.M., … at that point I’m like f*ck it, I got enough sleep, … whatever, … stay up, … so, … here I am at it (this writing) again (for lack of anything better to do? Whatever). And did I polish it off that morning? No, too much yet to do (mostly read the damn thing and make a lot of edit corrections, and round out some bits here and there) … anyway, that evening, I’ll likely finally get it wrapped up and posted (“polished” is probably overly optimistic – “done” being a more apt descriptor).
Of all the particularly good friends I’ve ever had, or even fairly good friends, how many of them are or have ever been married and/or have or have had kids? Let’s see … at least for those I know about (e.g. not counting friends I only had when I was a kid that dear knows what they’ve done since I last knew or was in contact with them – and, as far as I know, never got married or had kids, … but may have and I might not know). Let’s see, … 2? I think that’s it. One very good friend, when I was in my late teens / early 20s (from about 16 to 23) … he was about 20 years older than me, married (remarried at that) and kids (from both marriages). He died. :-( Still miss him. One much more casual friend – some occasional contact outside of work context, but pretty darn infrequent, and that’s about the only time when there’s any communication there … anyway, that friend is married, has one kid. All the rest, never married, though some quite wanted to, and never were, and one was engaged … but that didn’t work out either. Yeah, not too long ago, a coworker was attempting to explain something, and was like, “Do you have kids?” … and … so much for that attempt at explanation, and, went on to attempt to explain in manner that I just really couldn’t relate to. So, yeah, last time I’ve at all been around a good friend that had family/kids … I was still in my teens or so. Oh, wait, … 3, … forgot, one fairly good friend (well, don’t have that much contact/communication … never have, whatever) is married – never had kids though, and that friend is moderate bit older than I am.
Most I’ve ever bicycled within a single day or 24 hr. period: 200K
Most I’ve ever bicycled in a year: over 5,000 miles.
Longest period I’ve ever gone without bicycling at all: about a dozen years.
Any known allergies? Mostly just the basic hay fever kind of stuff, but have pretty close to zero problem with that in the Bay Area when I’m on the West Side of the Berkeley-Oakland hills – which is where I’ve lived essentially about the last 30 or so years, and fairly rare I venture East of those hills. Also got allergy shots in my late teens, which may have also done some long-term good on that – but didn’t 100% “cure” me of all those allergies, though – at least for the long-term. Before the allergy shots had a fair while to work (which I didn’t start until I was 17 or nearly so, and didn’t continue past 17 due to a move and not being able to afford them after having moved), for essentially all my teen years before that, and going back to age 11, I had really bad hay fever allergies. Basically from about March or so through about September or so, my nose was running a lot, and all the time – constantly running/dripping, blowing the nose – typically couldn’t go more than about 5 to 20 minutes without blowing the nose, lest it drip down my face. Yeah, that probably didn’t help with social connections. About only exception I can think of was PE class. Egad, allergies active, and mandatory suit-up, and … no handkerchief or pocket for such? Well, I guess when much more physically active – blood pumping fair bit to quite a bit, breathing a lot, mostly rather to quite dry air, etc. – not a sustainable state, for – about 40 minutes duration … my nose wouldn’t run so much under that shortish bit of circumstances. So, yeah, hotly and heavily engaging in physical activity holds that off … at least while it’s going on that intensely – but again, we’re not talking a sustainable rate or state.
Any other allergies? Hives. Had that moderate number of times, I think entirely as a kid. And, caused by what? Don’t think we ever definitively figured that out. Whatever it is, seems something I exceedingly rarely encounter, and the reaction not all that bad – other than a bit annoying, so, doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal.
What do you wanna be when you grow up? Heh. Bit late for that question, but what remains? For work? More interesting and challenging – in a good way and that I like (not as in frustrating or beating-the-head-against-the-wall kind of “challenging”) would be rather to quite good. I don’t much cared to be bored – and that includes work, and, … for many of the past years (probably about 8 or so now), much of the work has been pretty boring for me – probably mostly because I know it dang well, and it doesn’t particularly push or challenge my capabilities – at least for the most part – and on the technical stuff (and the non-technical stuff doesn’t interest me). And, what about the non-work stuff? Connecting. That’d be good, … dang friggin’ good. Ideally, some great relationship that would last “forever” … married ‘n all that. Ah well, ain’t even made it so far as cohabitation yet, though was engaged once (and living well over 1,000 miles apart – buggers that). Sometimes I very much feel like I ought give up. Odds certainly aren’t good. :-/ Already 50, and … only ever really came fairly close on that front – only that one most excellent relationship, … goes downhill pretty fast from there. 2nd best relationship only lasted 6 weeks. The remaining relationships, much briefer, and/or just really not good relationships. So, yeah, if it took me about 40 years to find and have one great relationship – and at that, we were over 1,000 miles apart, well, if it takes me another 40 years to, … yeah, … not particularly encouraging odds. Crud. But, … whatever, I haven’t given up hope, … but ’tis pretty discouraging. Yeah, so far this year only had one date and that didn’t even last an hour. Then again, I’ve never had a relationship that came from starting with “dating”, so, maybe I ought mostly forget about the “dating” approach entirely. On the other hand, have had very few friends (or relationships) in my lifetime, whereas, at least overall, I’ve been on quite a number of dates – guestimating I’ve probably been out on dates with maybe like 100 or so different people, … though, the vast vast majority of those were only one date, rarely two, and the number that were three or more … probably under ten of those. And no, that doesn’t mean we had sex on the third date – have gone well past 6 or 12 dates, no sex, not even a kiss or holding hands, … not that it always goes that way (okay, so exceedingly rarely to make it to that many “dates” or repeat meetings with (potential) friend or whatever).
What do I want to do when I retire? Hell if I know. Would be nice to actually have a good relationship. Okay, would be good to have friend(s). Ah, well, I don’t know, futz with some technical goop to keep me occupied? Can’t say I find even that all that enjoyable when there’s zero connection for so long. Not like I need someone else to appreciate it, but geez, … maybe at least once in a great while someone to appreciate that I like it and am interested, and maybe even did something interesting or cool or noteworthy? Ah well, whatever.

About how long is this blog posting? Yeah, about 8,400 words. Yep, too long.

beaten down at … for …

2013-09-22 00:36:08 PST

Don’t you hate it when …

Okay, so I’m not some incredible socialite, and I’m definitely not the best at office politics. Okay, so, socially maybe I damn near don’t have a clue.

But, … really. So, … quite recently … doesn’t happen very often, but does come up once in a while, … yeah, repeatedly, more-or-less same kind’a thing.

So, recent example – production problem, at work, impacting multiple systems, it gets handed to me to work to resolve it. So, yes, I did down, rather quickly and efficiently, and find the source of the problem. Some buggy code – I even find and isolate exactly where the flaw is – something flawed in its writing so it would never act as apparently intended – a loop that was clearly intended to (eventually) exit, but as written, never would exit under the conditions it was intended to exit – nor would it ever even exit at all And, “of course”, this code was executed quite repeatedly, so, yeah, the problems literally piled on. Anyway, this was causing problems, in production, and enough that folks noticed and reported it, and it got assigned to me to work on. So, I find the problem in the code. I also find that it’s been recently installed, and who installed it … different group – group I’m not in nor responsible for that code nor fixing it, nor should the group I’m in alter that other group’s code. And I’ve no idea if the person who installed it wrote it or not – not especially relevant, but quite appropriate to work back towards upstream to have it corrected, lest the problem repeat on these and/or many additional systems. So I pass the issue to that person, with the relevant information – and include in it a quite open invitation to contact me if they have any questions or need assistance on the issue. They relay it to person responsible for (author of?) the code – and I also pass to that person a bit more additional information on potentially even better way to address the flaw in the code (it was horribly inefficient, much more resource intensive than it needed to be, and not nearly as robust as it could easily be made with some quite minor changes – though that’s definitely not how I worded it to them). Anyway, pass that to them too – just directly to the one responsible for the code, mentioning, literally, as a P.S., that that section of code could also be made significantly more efficient and robust, and providing with that, example code that would accomplish such – and again, open invitation to contact me if they have any questions or whatever. And, what happens? They contact my supervisor, and I get reamed out. Geez. WTF? Not like I was calling someone stupid or anything like that – harshest word I used was “flaw”, I think I phrased it as “appears to be a flaw here”, and specifically referring to the few lines of code within which the problem existed. Bloody heck. So, I get beaten down at work for good, factual, relevant, helpful, assistance and information. Not the first time that’s more-or-less happened, and even in this particular assignment. Ugh. E.g. got beaten down for telling customer potentially relevant technologies that might be used to solve a particular problem. My gosh, I gave them information that might be useful. Friggin’ politics. Another case, same assignment. A rather serious long-running issue – I put out proposal on what’s needed to bring the relevant resources together to dig down to the bottom of it. And … I get beaten up for that – oh my gosh, I actually (also) sent it to relevant person who could do something about it (relevant stakeholder at the relevant level, and already rather intimately involved with the issue and much of the communications). Yeah, I get … beaten up for it (oh my gosh, shared too much truth and reality or somethin’ like that … I dunno, too damn much politics or whatever, or oh my gosh we don’t want to make any team in the mix possibly look bad – I was not pointing fingers at all, merely pointing out that we needed to get the relevant teams working together to effectively dig to the bottom of the problem and get if fixed). So, yeah, … oddly on that one, got beaten up on it, … and praised … almost at the same time. That key stakeholder in fact, and not facetiously at all, referred to my particular communication on that as “beautiful” – and did in fact get the relevant teams to in fact coordinate together, such that we did in fact, in fairly short order, get to the bottom of the problem (it had been going on a very long time before that). Yeah, results – problem solved, but I get beat up for being key cog that moved the machinery to get the problem fixed. Yeah, I get the “possible disciplinary action up to and including termination” rap for that. What a bunch ‘o sh*t. Ugh. I just don’t get it. Maybe I never will.

Rather reminds me a lot of, stuff like, oh …

OMG, I used red. Yeah, errors in someone’s technical configuration, I highlighted it in the email – so it’s be much easier to see which specific bits I was referring to, and, OMG, I committed the sin of picking red to highlight the errors in. Geez, I get chastised for using red. I dunno, maybe someone got traumatized from the red pen of a school teacher or somethin’ like that, but some folks get horribly upset and hurt if you use red. I see folks usin’ red all the time – even in that same environment – to pick out flaws, errors, failures, etc., but, oh my gosh, I use it, I get called on the carpet for it – and the “don’t use red” lecture.

Of course there’s the “my writing sucks” bit – though, e.g. managers, say it in more politically correct ways. So, yep, hard facts, evidence, information, relevant detail. But, that’s “too much” for a whole lot ‘o folks, too long, blah blah, … end up getting that fair bit over the years – in one form or another (first award I was given at one company was for longest email). Well, one thing my emails tend not to lack, is the needed relevant information … though probably longer than most would like, and not the best organized.

Well, yeah, so English was my worst subject in school (and I also generally hated it – probably mostly ’cause a lot of the compulsory reading bored the sh*t out of me (some of it was so boring I could read the same page 10 times and retain zero of it … eventually I just give up and go on to the next page, … through whole darn books like that … what, me, prone to be bored?) – and the other part I especially hated, was not only were all the rules so damn complex with so many damn exceptions, they’d friggin’ change the rules – e.g. rule I was taught in 1st or 3rd grade, by 7th or 8th grade that English rule had been changed! Bloody heck. It’s not like it was based upon some scientific fact or new discovery, … just some damn convention or another changed.). That’s one of many reasons why I didn’t pursue a career as a writer or something like that, and rather went off in much more technical direction. But, alas, still end up having to write some fair bit. Ugh. And folks get quite picky about it. Maybe I should’a trained/educated myself to be a plumber. Pro’lly would’a bored the sh*t out’a me, but probably nobody’s quite so concerned about one’s English writing skills when one has sh*t (literally) on one’s hands … and … not much risk of being outsourced if one is a plumber … and it actually pays fairly well.

Some work after college, … technical support, (mostly) via phone. Yeah, … more politics – mostly with the customers. Have to “dumb it down” … a lot. Most notably, with a whole lot ‘o the customers, giving ’em facts, information, answers, solving their problem for them, indicating exactly what their problem/issue was, did not go over well, … often did not go over well at all. So, … with a whole hell’a lot of ’em, … had to sort’a play dumb, while, … at the same time, just “accidentally”/coincidentally leading them to discover the answer “themselves”, so that they thought that they found the answer, and “you” (me) on technical support, is just some low level slob that can hardly, if at all help them, and they really never needed my help anyway, ’cause they found the problem “all by themselves” and without my help. Yeah, right. Then why the f*ck did they keep calling back and “coincidentally” discovering the solution “all by themselves” when they had us on the phone with them? Uh huh.

College, … did damn frigin’ fine in some stuff … definitely not so well with some other bits, … at least later, but, well, whatever – lot ‘o stuff was goin’ on – rather complex, not gonna get into it – certainly not at least here & now. So, anyway, University of California – nothin’ to sneeze at. Was I qualified to get in? Yeah, … and then some – pretty darn well qualified, anyway. Some classes/tests/finals/midterms … Anyway, an example that comes to mind – about 150 students in the class – technical, in my field. How well did I do? Final for the class, I got the highest score in the entire class. Okay, whatever, no biggie. Another class. Again, technical / my field / specialization. About 80 or so students in the class. First midterm. What score did I get? Well, it was the highest score in the class. Not only was it the highest score in the class, but, it was also substantially above – like by 10% or more – the 2nd highest score on that mid-term. Huston, we have a problem. How did the instructor grade exams? 90% or better of the highest test score on the exam, was an A, 80%, B, etc. Yeah, I f***ed up the whole class average on that mid term I did, by scoring so well. Yep, I’m screwed. Well, not quite. Fortunately, the instructor, seeing the huge spread between top and 2nd highest score (and what that would do to the class average grades on the exam), instead, made an exception that one time, and pegged the curve, instead, to the 2nd highest score, rather than the top score. Friggin’ close call. But no way in hell, after that, that I would ever again hit a top score on any of those exams in that class. Definitely would not be the way to win friends and influence people. So, after that first mid-term, I aimed significantly lower – that was a class in which I absolutely did not need or want the attention of getting the top score on any of the exams in that class – so for the remainder I made sure I didn’t achieve such a high score. Hindsight? Yeah, my friggin’ social life sucked anyway. I pro’lly should’a just kept going for the damn best performance I could do in that class – and probably would’ve got the top score on all the exams in that class, and highest overall score in the class. But for the long-haul, what I did and didn’t do on that class didn’t make all that much difference … but more broadly applying same, and doing my best performance (or at least learn the stuff exceedingly well – well beyond what it took to get an A) probably would’ve generally served me fair bit better … at least for the school/academic stuff.

Earlier, … junior college – a bit ‘o that before UC (not gonna cover details … whatever). Anyway, Calculus and Chemistry. Yeah, got As on all that. But, to my surprise, in the Calculus class – about 30 or so students, instructor told me how I was doing … not only A, but the top overall score/points in the class – I knew I was doing well, but I didn’t know I was doing that well. Chemistry … started out with about 35 students. By end of the year, only 3 finished the class for the year. I was not only A, but top score. I really missed it when the only other student in the class that was near/around my level on there needed to withdrawal from the class. That quite sucked – only real “peer” I had there. The other students that remained by then I think only barely passed the class – if they even made it through to the end.

High school … graduating class of ’bout 600. Was I straight A’s? Almost. Some B’s in English. Everything else straight A’s. GPA put me in about the top 2% or so of the graduating class, and I was the top in math, science, and electronics out of all 600.

Elementary school … forget if I mentioned it or not, whatever. IQ testing, for an “extra” class they put the particularly smart/bright kids in … some changes about in moving schools, changing teachers, etc., … had to be “recommended by the teacher” for the testing to happen, so, … it did happen, … but … later. I don’t know what the qualification criteria was on that test, but I took the test, and I qualified for that “extra” class. And, teacher I had earlier subsequently remarked something like, “Oh, doesn’t suprise me. If I’d had him longer in my class, I might’ve recommended that testing”. And, … yet another change in schools, so, … never got to that class at all – didn’t exist at all in the school where we moved to. To this day, I still remember two of the questions on that test. I seem to generally remember all of the questions seeming relatively easy to me. Whatever.

And the moral of the story is … yeah, I’m rambling, sorry.

I guess one of my key points is often having to “play it down”. Do that a fair bit. Most of the time I don’t want the attention for doing especially or particularly well. An occasional “nice job” or “gee thanks” will generally suffice. Many folks often get upset or jealous, or whatever the hell it is that many humans do, when one of their peers, e.g. me, is quite a top performer – they don’t like being out-performed by others. So, yeah, for the most part, I really do not want the attention of focus or to be singled out in that way – tends to highly suck being singled out like that – I prefer to be closer to “blending in” … to the extent feasible. But, also, at the same time, I friggin’ like to – often quite essentially insist upon – mostly through my actions, of doing darn good quality work (or whatever the task is at hand). I do do not like doing things half-*ssed, or anything like that. I do damn fine, e.g., technical work, … quite top class stuff. Okay, so I suck at social, and not so good at office politics and that B.S. Yeah, there’s a reason I didn’t go into sales or something like that. I’m not a schmoozer. Sure, nice, friendly, blah, blah, … though may still manage to rub some folks the wrong way – so, yeah, I don’t understand them, they don’t understand me, it’s gonna happen. Okay, most of the whole friggin’ world doesn’t at all well understand me – oh well – guess I just gotta live with that – I’m in no position to change the whole friggin’ world. I take pride in doing quality work (or whatever the task at hand is – may not be work at all). Not to boast – hell no, nothin’ like that. I just think it ought be done damn well. Really, I think that quite about everything – ought be done as well as feasible. Why the hell not? And, yeah, at least within my area(s) of expertise, I am darn good at what I do (most all the work environments I’ve been in, I’m typically in the top 15 to 10% of the most technically skilled for the relevant technical work skills they have me/us there for). Maybe I ought seek out more challenging work environments (one I’m in presently is not very challenging). One friend ‘o mine, some years back, quite suggested I ought be making about thrice what I do, stating that I’m quite smart and skilled enough to do so, … but I don’t care that much about the money – do quite well enough on that as it is … though more technically challenging would be good/interesting. But too, maybe that friend’s estimates are a bit overly optimistic … and may overlook that I suck at social, don’t do office politics very well, suck at schmoozing, and really am not good at self-marketing either.

“Play it down” – and too, a lot of that is to avoid/escape negative attention/feedback/consequences. Not gonna f*ck up the quality of the work, or whatever, but … try to stay below the radar. Heck, that software bug bit I mentioned – bit I passed to the person responsible for the code – that person could’a dropped in the bit I suggested, and come off lookin’ like relatively brilliant hero … I didn’t want any credit, nor was I asking for any. And if that code I suggested were at all less than perfect, why that person could turn around and blame me for it and point the fingers at me – I got no problem with that, I wrote that example snippet, I stand behind it, at least insofar as providing it for example and suggestion. Ah, but no, instead I get raked over the coals. Similar example bit recently – again – I don’t want the attention, or generally even the credit – fairly complex problem at work, I assisted coworker on getting down to bottom of problem. I fed that information only to that one person. That one person could take what I provided and run with it – no need to give me any credit for it. I don’t care. That one person knows, it gets done and solved well, that’s quite well enough. As long as the person doesn’t misrepresent or lie about it, I don’t care, but unlikely any would even question how the information and solution came about – if someone did it and fixed it, that’s all that most are interested in anyway. They can praise that other person, I don’t friggin’ care – all perfectly fine by me.

Definitely not to boast, but, like anyone, have my strengths and weaknesses. Damn good at some stuff (kind’a limited scope(s) … whatever), about “average” on some fair bit ‘o stuff. And, … quite suck at some other stuff (Social skills? What the hell are those?).

And, maybe there was some other point I had in mind to make, but damned if I can remember – yes can even highly distract myself.

And, maybe, in some ways, I’ve been darn lucky. Not gonna mention anything too specific, but … I remember a classmate. Absolute damn friggin’ genius. Probably the only genius I’ve ever known at all in person … well, at least where I knew, learned, or figured out, that the person was in fact very much a genius. And we’re not talkin’ like Mensa top 2% of IQ or somethin’ like that. No, we’re talking top 0.02% or higher – kind of level that would make an average Mensan look like quite the dullard. Anyway, said classmate, … whole lot ‘o flyin’ below the radar. A few teachers knew – or suspected … but never said as much. But I did learn, through a few incidents and encounters. Learned how absurdly well said classmate had done, on test teacher had given for decades – that had a range of material going from pretty average, up to stuff that would be challenging for most Ph.D. graduates … yeah, said student got perfect score, and was only slightly uncertain of one of their answers on the whole test. Teacher had given that test, for decades, to the top students (about the top 25% of students from each graduating class) at that school … probably testing 2,000 or more students in total – none had ever gotten a perfect score before, and very rare that any student even ever came fairly close to that. I won’t detail, but subsequently I learned – both indirectly, and directly, of many amazing extremely impressive intellectual/cognitive/etc. talents, skills, and capabilities, this student had. And, I’m pretty smart, so, … someone blowing my socks away like that, … takes a helluva lot. Never encountered that, ever, before, or since, … quite rare. But, … under the radar. Said student kept a quite quiet low profile. Most never knew or would have suspected. Yeah, sure all straight As ‘n all that, but damn friggin’ quietly, and without drawing attention to self at all – pretty much, as feasible, disappearing/blending into the background. Anyway, just makes me think, much as that’s an issue on similar for me, and I try to “blend in” … person at that genius level, otherwise having similar issues, … yeah, probably about two decimal orders of magnitude more difficult and harder to bridge (or mostly conceal) that gap, and … fly under the radar. And probably a lot of geniuses don’t want the attention, and have learned to fly under the radar, and avoid that attention – mostly due to all the problems it can cause – mostly for them, to get that kind of and level of attention, and be in the spotlight like that. As if things weren’t socially challenging enough for me as it is, I certainly don’t envy being in the position that student must’ve been in (though can’t say I’d mind having those phenomenal smarts … were it not otherwise an issue).

Anyway, all those skills/talents, and specific knowledge I do have, (generally) good job/income, blah, blah, nice guy, etc., etc., still can’t hardly friggin’ manage to make a good friend, let alone get a date or have a relationship. Hell, maybe “date”s are way overrated. All the (very few) damn best relationships I ever had in my life, never started out with dating someone – always started out somewhere in the friendship realm. But then again, talkin’ very small number statistics on those particularly good relationships I’ve had, so, … who the hell knows. Oh well. Life. And so it goes.

Struggles

2013-09-17 01:06:20 PST

[This is something I finished writing around 2013-07-29, first posted 2013-08-31 as a “guest posting” here on It’s Not Okay. Fairly likely I’ll add some comments later, but at least for now, that submission as I’d originally submitted it – and I’ll probably not alter that original text at all – even despite a couple typos which I finally only see *now*.]

And so I try, … dang hard, … over and over and over. Much of the
time feels like I’m just beating my head against a wall. Far too alone
and isolated. Not that I don’t try, and try a whole helluva lot, but,
quite regardless, way too damn alone and disconnected. And it hurts
like hell.

Friends? Relationships? Barely. At present, I’ve got one good
friend. Really nobody else on the planet knows me particularly well at
all – certainly at least not at all currently. And even that one
friend doesn’t know me *that* well – though knows me better than anyone
else presently, and quite likely as well or better than anyone has ever
known me, with perhaps at most an exception or two – if even that.

And even that one good friend – not like we can sit down and have a
long conversation – much as I’d love to. That friend finds it rather
to quite difficult to communicate – and quite especially with me. Most
of the time, very hard for that friend to even be around me for very
long.

So, how do that friend and I mostly communicate? By blog. Yeah, I
write, friend reads blog, occasionally provides feedback/comments, etc.
Communication means of last resort … yeah, … about that. ‘Bout a
step above international pen pal … and … have done that too.

Hard for me to write, … inefficient, time consuming, and … I’m
*not* very good at it. Really rather quite sucks, to a large extent.
Oh, sure, the *content* is there … but the delivery? Yeah, leaves
*much* to be desired. Like this entry … started it *well* over a
month ago. Got way too damn long. Over 7,500 words, and … it wasn’t
even 1/3 done … only sort’a barely started. And that was like the
2nd or 3rd major nearly total rewrite of same. Many many hours into
it. And the writing highly sucked, so … I essentially scrap it, and
try yet again, starting again from about zero. And maybe this time
much more limited in scope – though same “theme”. Painfully hard to
write, even. And, too, like communication restrained down to …
sucking chilled molasses through a cocktail straw. Ah, but oh so
*very* much better than absolutely nothing … ’cause, well, without it
it, … that’s about what it would be. But I digress. It ain’t about
the writing.

Friends? Relationships? Fail to connect. Over, and over, and over.
Not for lack of effort or trying. Try *so* damn hard, over, and over,
and over again. Just doesn’t happen for me … well, … almost never.
I do manage to gain a good friend or relationship, … about once per
dozen years. I don’t lose good friends easily – very loyal and
supportive would be quite the understatement. But, stuff happens, e.g.
they die, or otherwise are or become highly unavailable. So, yeah,
lose ’em at about the same rate or more; so much of the time I’ve got
no friend, no relationship, nobody, nothing. Highly sucks – especially
when it goes on for a *long* time. Gets to be very painful.

Therapy, communication training classes, etc. Been there, done that.
Has it helped? Barely. Apply all I know and have learned as best I
possibly can and … results? So damn near the same, if there’s any
difference, it’s so slight, I really can’t tell there’s any difference
at all. So, kind’a hard to know what’s working better, or worse, or
what ought be adjusted how … if the results are all still very highly
the same.

So, … why does it so miserably fail for me, and so consistently? I
wish I knew. I’m already over 50 years old. It’s not like I haven’t
tried, .. .for many decades. But I guess in more recent years, I’ve
come to realize that this just has *not* been working for me. And more
of the *why* – though I still barely know particularly why and how – or
more importantly, how I could even possibly “fix” it. But some
patterns emerge and some things can be determined.

Is it the words? Probably not so much that, though, sure, room for
improvement there too. But, of all the (few) good friendships that
I’ve ever made in the last … well, 33+ years … and any decent
relationships too, they’ve *never* started from having first met the
person in person. *Never*. Not that I haven’t tried, lots, … over
and over. Just hasn’t happened. Ever. Well, not since like once when
I was … not even 16 years old yet. Pretty rare even back when I was
a kid. In any case, where/how have I met/found good friends or
relationships in the last 33+ years? It’s *only* happened when we
first met some way other than face-to-face. Most notably on-line, …
and way back in the day, via personal ads in newspapers – yeah, when
newspapers actually came out in print on paper. Or occasionally when
having met over telephone. But *never* from having fist met in person.

I guess in first meeting *not* in person, … I have a fighting chance.
Sure, still rare, but the person might get to know me rather to fairly
well, before meeting in person. And, seems then I have a chance. But
is it the words? No, seems rather unlikely. In person, on-line,
phone, whatever – initial meeting, the words are about the same –
really not much difference there. Ah, then am I that scary looking or
something like that? No, not at all. Yeah, not some buff gorgeous
hunk, but quite good enough – probably at least “average” or so, or a
bit better. The one friend I do have said, fairly recently of me,
“great guy with a warm heart and the best of intentions”. Then what?
Well, among other things, in essentially that same breath same friend
said, “makes any conversation with you feel grating. This and a few
other communication things make it really hard to share time with you”.
So, too, a lot of the time I say nothing, … or very little. Seems
to often go much better that way – not that it goes well that way, but
most typically goes much better than if I talk or try to talk or
particularly interact. And yeah, even more so in group settings –
especially group social settings – I’m the quiet one, rarely say
anything. So I suck at group social. By the time I think of what I
want to say, it’s typically highly untimely – the conversation has long
since moved past that point or item, and would no longer be appropriate
or fitting … not to mention I have a hard time interjecting – groups
tend to talk non-stop – can’t really say anything without interrupting,
and I’m not good at that. And then, when there rarely is that more bit
of a break – it doesn’t happen at the same time I’ve thought of
something to say – or something to say that’s at all fitting at that
point. But much of it’s also the non-verbal.

Non-verbal. That’s a big part of it. Best I’ve been able to
determine, I typically screw it up royally on the non-verbal. But
without even knowing how, or what I do that messes it up. Wish I knew.
I don’t. It’s not like anyone points it out or calls it to my
attention. It’s not like I’ve got friends that can watch and tell me
or that would. Some bits I know, but helluva lot I don’t. Eye
contact. I tend to rather to quite suck at that. Biggest problem for
me with that, is when I’m talking or trying to, if I see or notice
someone move or react at all, it’s exceedingly distracting for me – I
tend to totally forget what I was saying or attempting to say – even
mid-sentence. So, yeah, that’s a hard one to work with or recover
from. Not making eye contact tends to set a very bad impression.
Completely and totally losing one’s train of thought, especially quite
repeatedly, also tends to make for a very poor impression. First
impressions matter. Yeah, … face-to-face, … may start out “fine”
at first initial instants, but by typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes
into it, I’m essentially dead. Person’s reaction goes from initially
quite to fairly positive, to … a pretty darn negative reaction by
shortly into it. Really, that’s almost always how it goes with meeting
first, in person, face-to-face. And, even if it *seems* to go fine,
… well, it most likely never does. ‘Cause I never hear back from the
person … *ever*. Unless they’re trying to sell me something. I just
don’t hear. Given out my contact information thousands of times – do I
ever hear back? No. Do I get the other person’s contact information?
Rare that they give it to me. And if I contact them, do I hear back?
No. Sure, too, there’s verbal that can be improved. But seems most
likely I’m screwed on the non-verbal.

How to fix it? Hell if I know. I keep trying to work on it, learn
more, practice. Results thus far have continued to be quite abysmal.
Yup, already past 50 years old. Never married. Had relationships, but
… really, never has quite worked out … yet, …but then again, have
had *very* few relationships. Like, geez, 50 years old, … how many
women in my entire life have I ever slept with? Four. And some of
those “relationships” have been as short as about 3 days or less.
Yeah, … most of my life *very* alone. Barely have one good friend,
and often even that seems/feels quite tenuous to me – though perhaps it
ought not. Whole life, never really had more than one friend – or
relationship – at any given time, … and much of the time, not even
that.

Cause? And how come I don’t just “know” how to do all that? It’s not
like most people have to be taught how to make friends or have a
conversation and “connect”. How/why am I “like that”? I dunno.
Autism or Aspergers or something like that? Debatable, but very
possibly. Whatever, needs “fixing”. Or, … well, not everything can
be “fixed” – some things just can’t. Well, … work around it
compensate, whatever. Need to learn *something* that works there.
50+, and still trying to learn how to make friends/connections. Maybe
I’ll never manage to. I don’t know, but sure massively sucks. Majorly
sucks for me. Sucks too for those that might be my friends or more –
their loss too. They never even get to know me. Haven’t had much in
the way of friends/relationships, but of those I’ve had, they’ve at
least highly liked – if not loved – me. Not a whole helluva lot of
complaints. But just about nobody really knows me, … and seems most
never will. Sometimes I feel like maybe I ought get a T-shirt printed
up. On one side, “Those that know me, love me.” And on the other
side, “Nobody knows me.”

And some people have it a helluva lot worse. I guess I’m relatively
lucky … yet it very much sucks. Yeah, I struggle with fair bit – but
(lack of) connection, and attempts thereof probably tops my list.

Well, enough on this for now, … lest I turn it into something more
than thrice as long that barely manages to come anywhere close to
getting the point across or even hardly scratching the surface.

And if you can stand to read my writing, you can read much more of it
here:
https://michaelberkeley.wordpress.com/

above crud, and other bits

2013-09-09 03:31:52 PST

OMG!!! Yet another horribly long ramble? Maybe, … maybe not. Sure, some meandering topics … semi-related, … or not. Horribly long? We shall see. In not necessarily any particular order …

Food, eating, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been doing a bit better on that. Far from great, but … okayish? Mostly still, at least for the most part, no appetite (generally a symptom of mood being flat/down, but … whatever) and … likwise, eat, even stuffed to the gills, and … really never feel full, either. That still seems quite the case – and is generally atypical for me – but been the case oh … probably about a year and a half or so now. Anyway, doing a bit better on it … the eating part of it anyway. Mostly just trying to, and “forcing” myself, to eat a bit more regularly and better. That’s mostly it. Sometimes the appetite even puts in a slight appearance … but … mostly not. Whatever. So, … I deal with it, … and … try to eat more reasonably and consistently. Much more like a chore than a joy or a thing enjoyed at all, but, whatever, … needs be done, … and, … mostly doing it, … at least semi-/kind’a okayish, anyway. Sure, not great, but … at least a bit better. I dunno, mostly just don’t seem to care about or be interested in food, or hungry anymore – at least for the most part. Whatever, … just make it happen (the eating) anyway.

Mood in general? Eh, more recently, … general trend/average … a hair better, anyway. I think mostly above “crud” anyway – though that might also occasionally sneak (back) in. Good? Yeah, if only. More like okay/okayish, or … well, something above crud anyway, and between there and okay/okayish, … and … sometimes even at/around okay. Better than okay? Eh, maybe some slight rare bits above that for very short durations – if at all. Anyway, mostly above crud, anyway, and perhaps at least flirting/brushing with okay/okayish. Improvement, anyway, compared to, oh, I dunno, a few months or so ago I guess.

Stress, connection, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I’ll first mention interesting video: YouTube: TED: Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend watch from the start of the video or jump straight to the 2nd point I touch upon. Interesting video, and for the most part I won’t cover what it says or touches upon … except for two bits. First of all – stress. Not all stress is bad. E.g. exercise is a form of stress. And, I more-or-less – at least approximately, know, at least some key differences between “good” stress, and “bad” stress – but I wouldn’t differentiate in same manner the video does, but suffice it to say I can typically tell ’em apart – at least for me, anyway. E.g. “instant” stress headache – yeah, that’d be from bad stress. Stressful, but challenging, interesting, exciting, the kind of thing one typically enjoys and throws oneself into – that would generally be good stress. But I digress. That’s one point the video touches upon (though with rather different take on it). Other key bit is between stress (and oxytocin) and social connection/interaction. Most notably (and my paraphrasing from the video), that stress increases production of oxytocin, which makes us more social – more inclined to reach out and connect for support. Though I can’t say I generally support that hypothesis, I can say, that, under exceedingly high stress, it is definitely true – highly more inclined to and much more capable of making those social connections. And I don’t even mean from, or just from existing relationships/connections, but pretty much making and forming ’em almost out of the blue – from almost nothing to meaningful supportive/reassuring connections, and damn fast and efficiently at it too! Yep, have seen that in myself. Pretty darn rare that I’m that intensely stressed, but when I am – “poof” – almost like magic – when I really pretty much have to make those connections, almost, if not, as matter of survival … boom – they happen … and fast – and without me even having to think about how to do it or that I did it. Maybe it’s oxytocin to credit? I’ve no idea, but in any case, it works! And, damn good that it does – ’cause it pretty much has to then … and … it does. Unfortunately, however, it mostly just doesn’t last. Acute stress gone, then just can’t make those connections anymore, and those made under the acute stress? – typically fade out pretty quickly. Buggers. Now, if only there were some way to just “turn on” that capability – without needing to be under massive/acute stress for it to become “active”. Drats. But it can happen. Biochemistry? And/or very atypical psychological state of mind? Whatever, … it works. Well, … at least for that brief duration anyway. Then we’re basically back to nothin’ again … well, ’tis pretty much the case for me anyway. Friends, meaningful connections – establishing/making that … yeah, still a friggin’ helluva time managing to get any of that to happen. Hmmmm, shouldn’t need major stresses like someone pointing a gun at my head or the like to induce enough stress to make some social bonding possible, and certainly shouldn’t have stresses like that multiple times per day to be able to keep up such social bonding capabilities. Dang, so, … how do I get it to work better, … much better. Is it so dang difficult for everyone else? Well, no, … the evidence clearly points that I’m quite the minority on that one. About one new good friend per dozen years? Even less frequent for anything approaching the possibility of a decent relationship? Yeah, I need to do a lot better at that. Already 50 years old, still alone, … way too damn painfully alone, and, … at that rate, I’ll be dead long before I’m anything close to married.

So, … connections, friendship (or more) and attempts thereof, how goes all that for me, and more recently? Bleh. I think I’d have to give that a rating of about crud – and “of course”, mostly put that upon myself. It’s not like I don’t try – certainly do, but results? About zilch, … still. And, sometimes too, I try less, or don’t try. The highly constant stream of nothing but disappointments, never any real connection, … not even a decent bit of “traction”, well, that just really friggin’ hurts a whole bloody hell of a lot. Damn painful. So, … sometimes I try a lot less. E.g. commuter train – BART – why the f*ck even try? Did the stats before, but really – add up all the time over the decades, commuting on BART, and all the trying, and, really quite zero results with … well, hundreds, if not thousands of contacts, whole helluva lot of attempts, I think it literally adds up to months or more of contiguous time if it was stretched out end to end, and … nothin’ … really quite absolutely nothing. So, … why even try there? So, … yeah, don’t think I’ve even tried there, in the slightest, … in months or more. Find someone I might be interested in talking to or approaching? I just don’t bother. Why try, just to be disappointed yet a friggin’ ‘gain. So I don’t. Ignore the possibility. Or try and turn it into a nice fantasy – “ah, yes, could be wondeful connection, … if I actually approached the person or said ‘hi’ or responded” – yep, can hang onto that fantasy if I don’t actually try, … if I actually try – end of fantasy, and it ain’t happenin’ anyway – no connection, no nothin’, no real possibility, … and … much less painful without the disappointment yet again. And, who the hell am I kidding. Pretty much anything anywhere else is about the same. Okay, so maybe I haven’t given up trying entirely, but geez, really, what’s the point? I mean there is supposed to be a point, right? F*ck.

And, as humans, we get to also be a set of walking inconsistent contradictions. A lot of the time I wish I didn’t need or want anyone at all – any people, any humans whatsoever, and that I felt absolutely nothing at all. Really, I do. Would be a lot less painful. Sometimes I even try and do that … but doesn’t work … at least not for long, anyway. Buggers. I’m a friggin’ human after all. Cr*p. So, yeah, I kind’a … well, not exactly “bounce”, but more like move and sway between those relative extremes … though not really all that much motion – not all that big a range. Going from not trying at all on the social connections and attempting to ignore and feel nothing – and sure as hell wishing I felt exactly and only nothing … to … well, at least trying somewhat here ‘n there – sometimes even trying a whole heck of a lot, and even being and trying to be quite positive and optimistic about it. And, … yeah, failing each and every time, over and over again. F*ck. Yeah it sucks. Ugh. So, yeah, on the “connection” stuff, that’s still around the crud range – maybe that’s all it’ll ever be … hell, … probably that’s what it’s generally been most all my life, with sometimes some exceptions here ‘n there, but mostly crud … and the exceptions only being after I somehow managed to make that connection, … don’t know that I’ve ever been better (or will ever be better?) at managing to make those connections – most notably getting them well started in the first place. Seem to do fairly well at it once they’re well established, … but alas, far far far too rare that I ever manage to make it to that point. <sigh>

Economics of scarcity? Things are more sought after and perceived as more valuable when they’re harder to get or there’s fewer of them. Uhm, yeah, weird, but that’s how it tends to work. It’s cr*p, but it’s also reality. Somehow, though, I don’t think (further) burying myself in my “cave” and being yet more of a hermit would cause a bunch of potential dates of interest to me to come beating a path to my door. And I refuse to be the jerk that one has to “win over” to gain the attentions of and/or respect of. Just not me, and I refuse to play that “game”. I’m a nice guy, I’m not a jerk – and not gonna play one or act like one, and certainly not gonna be one. I dunno. Maybe I try too hard? Things are often not appreciated/valued so much if they’re easy or readily available. For friends and those I care about – heck, even somewhat more generally than that – I’m willing to do a lot, I offer a lot, do a lot, etc. Maybe that comes off as “desperate” or “suspicious” or something like that. I don’t know. I’ve really about zero clue on most all this. I’m certainly not a mind reader. And, even, for the most part, not good at reading people, so, to large extent, no idea whatsoever what they’re thinking or feeling – so I’ve quite no idea, and really quite can’t tell what works, what doesn’t, what works, better or worse, or makes really much of any difference whatsoever. Maybe that’s huge chunk of why I’m so horribly lost on this social stuff. I’ve got no friggin’ clue, and can’t figure it out. Yeah, and nobody’s exactly telling me, either. Yep, I’m screwed … figuratively.

Another random bit. Venue. Large TV screens. Mostly sports stuff (and the inevitable commercials) on the screens, TVs blaring loud. Pizza, beer, stuff like that, crowd even louder than the blaring TVs. I really just don’t get it. Most – if not all – folks there, quite seemed to be having a good time. Absolutely definitely not my scene. Zilch interest in watching sports (with quite negligible exceptions), zero interest in hanging around with crowds and people cheering and whooping and hollering about stuff I just don’t care about at all, zero interest in beer, damn friggin’ loud environment, about impossible to have a conversation – almost have to holler just to be heard. Yet folks seem to be enjoying it. Egad. I don’t get it. Not for me, not enjoyable at all – mostly just a big nuisance. Yeck. How many more days ’till football season is over? Crud.

And, to attempt to end on slightly more positive note? Yeah, (mostly) above crud, maybe even approaching okay(ish). Been doing more of filling time. For the most part not a damn thing I enjoy nor anything to look forward to … at all really. Just been doing some more of keepin’ busy, doing “stuff” – mostly nothing I care about – really don’t have much of anything I care about. So, anyway, with more busy, the time passes a bit less painfully. So, … a step (or half-step … quarter step at least?) above crud.

Buggers, all that typing, and I’ve not said much new, huh? Rats. Oh well, hey, above crud – that’s somethin’, anyway.