Friday, November 21, 2008

upgrade or downgrade?

Watch out. I can post from my phone now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

book panic

I was never an avid reader. I played video games when I was younger. A lot. I hid in my room all day and my parents thought I was studying or reading. They'd check up on me and the Game Boy/GBC/GBA/DS (though I never had a DS at home) was probably paused under my pillow.

But I love the concept of reading a book. Even though I don't love reading, there are days when all I want is to turn off the TV and set aside the laptop and curl up and read a book. I like this "curl up and read" feeling.

And I do read sometimes. Usually it'll have to be addictive enough (Harry Potter) or a short read so I actually manage to finish it and keep interest (Marley and Me, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time). Otherwise it will go the way of most books I manage to even pick up: admittedly very good and interesting but if I don't finish it within a week, I lose interest. I also often flat out don't read the last 30 pages of novels for whatever if I don't care how it ends (many times I don't).

But I think reading makes you a better person. So I'm trying now, as I have many times before. The problem is though...what do I read? There just seem to be so many things I've missed out on reading when growing up, books I hear about, books about topics I'm interested in...
It feels as if it's an insurmountable task, so why bother starting it?

I don't know why this is so much of a problem for me. It's almost a mental block, or a sort of loop. [I say I want to read, I should go to the library...but what do I get?...I don't know...I have some books I never finished on my bookshelf...okay I'll read those...but I think I'd do better with a fresh new book...from the library...but...] I'm not asking for recommendations (though they are welcome =P) because I think I have enough in mind given that amount of time it takes me to finish a book.

Oh well. But here goes attempt # who knows what, to read more. Tickle mah brain!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

pizza and drugs, 30 minutes or less

Pharmacies were always a bit of a mystery for me.
For some reason I loved the grocery store so I'd always go with my mom, and to the attached pharmacy as well. I guess my mom always did things with time to spare, or was just a very "we're not waiting for this" person, so the medicine always got picked up a few days later on our next shopping trip.

So I always assumed the pharmacies had to order the medicine we asked them for.

Though I guess this might be the case for some cases, the few times I've either filled one for someone who was sick or for myself, it's within 15 minutes to an hour. How to pharmacies have all of this stuff in such a little space? What madness must go on in there? And I overheard them talking...they fill about 120-300 prescriptions a day? Sounds busy. With a lot of room for error.

Monday, November 17, 2008

merging mind and technology

Today, I offer two disjointed thoughts loosely having to do with the brain and technology.

On the way to the doctor's office today I was reading a Scientific American I had in my bag from my last trip to Boston. For some reason traveling means I can spend as much money as I want, including on newsstand price magazines.

Jacking into the Brain--Is the Brain the Ultimate Computer Interface?

The article is a survey of all of the amazing things done interfacing computers and the brain. The chimp brain controlling the robotic arm to get a banana...the best of cochlear implants turning sounds into impulses that create a sensation of sound in the brains of deaf people, etc...


So my doctor uses a tablet PC and her palm pilot for everything. Instead of charts, she has a file on her tablet pc and she types things up after. The topic of doctor handwriting or just handwriting in general came up and I mentioned a high school classmate of mine whose handwriting was so bad due to a lack of spatial reasoning that he had to take notes on a palm pilot with a keyboard attachment, and his in class essay exams were printed out. Special APs, everything.
And she said how one of her sons has good handwriting but the other's is terrible. And that she "doesn't know why printing is so important anyway. They make such a big deal when there's not really a time he can't get around it."

And then I almost said something to the effect of "but we must stay HUMAN!" But really, it does feel weird. What if someone couldn't write? I mean, yes, right now there are still uses of handwriting a note, but I can definitely forsee a time, in a classroom rich enough to have keyboards...where everyone has a Blackberry...when the art of writing in the calligraphy sense is completely gone. Not lost, but simply very easily gotten around. I mean, my classmate did everything on his palm pilot and that seemed wouldn't take much for it not to seem weird.

Man and Machine. Destined to be married.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Big fat uninteresting update: Obama won the American Cup of Soul Stirring

Firstly, like all unfocused blogs, this one too must fizzle out. I think it was because I read an article 3 weeks ago which basically said...If you're thinking of starting a blog, don't. If you already have one, consider not having one. Something about how blogs used to be an amazing thing...anyone could write their opinions and anyone could read them. The blogosphere, the blogosphere!!! But unfortunately, big sites and “real” news sites have started their own blogs...and who can compete with reputable institutions?
Anyway, I think that was the gist. I don't remember and I can't look it up, because I'm in Dulles airport with no wi-fi! And hence, the big fat uninteresting update.

(*got the article!)

Things that have happened recently: duh.

DC, voting 93% blue for the presidential race, was a crazy place to be that night. Screaming, dancing, jumping, honking, hugging, drinking and more all in the streets. I'm glad I got to experience that. It was a strange feeling though.

I definitely did not feel the raw emotion that others were experiencing; I merely fed off of their exuberance. At first I thought there was something wrong with being a democrat and not weeping, but it really just had to do with the company you keep. Or maybe I am different.

Talking to Beck last night, I was reassured that someone (namely, close high school friends and their friends) felt exactly the same way I did: Okay, Obama was the better candidate. That's cool. Damn, it got called early. I guess I'll go now. I had no desire to change my away message, facebook status, or to drive in the streets cheering. The only other time I had experienced such madness was in Germany during the World Cup. (Or perhaps when Yale finally won The Game after a drought?) Which then led me into a critical downward spiral in which I was mad at everything, and felt the need to become a rabid irrational ranting devil's advocate. Good intentions, but I may have come off a bit strong. To those in my warpath, I'm sorry. I get like this every election, and since my friends seem to all be democrats, I come off as touting conservative propaganda. I still believe that the most important Obama has done is stir interest in our generation in the power of democracy and voting, and also for gathering supporters in a manner like religion.

But that was sooooo yesterday.

Today: the US Presidential Election as sport.

Since the election is called a contest, there is no challenge in drawing this comparison with a sporting event. But as long as I'm ranting, here's why I came to this thought. I'm jealous of how deeply people are moved by his election to power, and I don't... “get” it.

My coworkers were chatting and brought up how they don't “get” sports. This does not bother me at all. I also don't get sports in that I don't get being a die hard fan. I am a general fan, and I do like watching them when they're on TV if I remotely like a team. I like sports because all you have to do is learn the rules...and then all of a sudden, all events of that type are open to your enjoyment and engrossment.

The election, to some, must've been the greatest, most easiest to understand sporting event there was. No, the issues to be dealt with were not easy to understand...but rather (for the purposes of only the presidential election after the primaries) the rules. Once the Dem and Republican nominees are set. there are no divisions, leagues, and wild card positions to keep track of, no cross referencing of teams whose offense will do great against this team's defense, and win even if they are far lower ranked. The election is a gigantic, drawn out, final championship game. A single several month-long dance off between two main competitors (and Perot, perhaps) in which you are the judge. Omgiosh. Yes. You. You know how subjective figure skating judging is? Technical score, artistic choose whatever you care about (Did they stumble? Was it fluid? Was it an engaging performance? Did they do the right moves at the right times?) and you vote. There are debates to showcase some skills, but overall, it's just a feeling. Those are the rules. Go with your gut.

Once I realized that much, I realized that maybe the election just wasn't the sport for me. I like baseball and football since they're reasonably slow to multitask to without missing too many plays, basketball and hockey are good with beer. Golf is good, well, never, and tennis is good when I'm in the mood.

The presidential election wasn't it for me. And it is for other people. I guess I'll just have to remember that even the slight happiness I get when I randomly watch the underdog of any given baseball game win (so basically the Washington Nationals) is infinitely higher than those who don't enjoy it at all. And that maybe next time, I'll just chill with a beer with a few friends. Just like how I spend my favorite sporting events.