The Domain of Steven Pinnacle of Paperless Perfection

16Jun/080

I once had a blog called Dreamer

In the dream, I'm late for my internship with an Asian film director. They're shooting on top of a large cliff overlooking the sea. The sun is bright, sky is blue, and there's plenty of lush grass beneath our feet. Our, being myself, the director, his assistant, and the hundred actors comprising two armies of rival nations, decked out in blue and red.

As I run up the hill to meet them, I find the director standing smack dab in the middle, with armies in formation in front and behind him ready to charge. He yells "Action!" and my mind fast forwards. He is preparing an actor for a scene involving him being pushed off the cliff by an enemy. The assistant irritatedly walks up to the director and starts haranguing him, complaining about safety and expenses and difficulty, how we could easily do this on a blue screen back at the studio. It's getting late, he says, and the actors are tired. If we film this shot digitally, we can call it a day and not go back to this wretched place.

Wretched? This oceanside cliff is beautiful, a sharp contrast to the bloody feud that is taking place. I want to make my case to the director, but it's not my place. I'm just an intern. And when the director looks into the tired eyes of his employees, he too lets out a weary sigh. Very well, we'll call it a day, he says.

I don't bother pleading, or helping them pack up, I just walk back the way I came. This place has a certain majesty about it, something that couldn't be recreated by a second-rate computer geek who has spent his life indoors, who has never felt this wonderful ocean breeze.

At the bottom of the hill is a wall-less tent adorned with a sign that says WI-FI INTERNET. Several tables have been strewn about, packed with people on their laptops. A few people are sitting on the fat, pillow-sized stone slabs that serve as a railing for the small ramp that leads down the cliffside to the water below. There's one poor shmuck who is standing in line, apparently not content to sit on the grass or sit in the sun.

Curious as to why they'd make a rail that leads downwards, I hop onto one and start to make my way down. My balance wavers a bit, and I decide that it's best if I sit down and scoot instead of walk. The ramp alternates between slanted and straight, and it would be a fun slide if the friction of the granite wasn't such a killjoy.

I reach the bottom and find that the water is actually pretty shallow. It would probably just reach past my feet, if I stepped in, nothing like the ocean I saw from on top of the cliff. It's inconsistent. But life is consistent. The only place something like this could happen is...a dream? Is this a dream?

As rebellious thoughts fill my mind, I remember that I'm in bed after having taken a nap. I give a gentle mental push, and suddenly my hands feel the smooth sheets of my bed instead of the rough rock.

I immediately pull my mind back, my head spinning with the realization about where I am and what I can do while here. I have had a lucid dream only one other time, where I was on top of a large building. I wanted to jump off but I was too afraid, worried that I might be sleepwalking and would wake up moments before my death.

But this time I was too curious. I stood up on the stone railing and looked back the way I came. Another inconsistency, the railing was not part of a ramp that led up the cliffside, it was now simply a long curved railing that led back to an island. There was no cliff behind me anymore, just the expanse of the sea. The water was still foot-deep.

The best stories are made when you're bold, curious, and just a little bit stupid. I dove head-first into the shallow water.

My head entered, then my body, then my legs. I was fully immersed, and there was plenty of room beneath me in the cool water. I wanted to come up and take a look around and found it effortless to rise to the surface. The island was still in the distance, but the railing was gone and the water was now a proper ocean. I started swimming, not caring which way, and it was the easiest thing in the world. I was totally uncoordinated but it was as if I had on a miniature life jacket that had that helped me float.

It was amazing, liberating, and in a flash it was over. I was on my bed, eager to go back into the water but too certain that I was awake and would not be able to return. And so instead of reliving it in my dreams, I sat down at my computer and relived it through my memories and my words. Hopefully I'll have more lucid dreams, because I'm sure as hell not diving into water outside of one.

12May/082

(mr)understood

Apologies in advance for obscurity.

There used to be a time when people would crowd into my room to watch Ninja Warrior and The Colbert Report. It was a time when Papa Johns was frequent and delightful, when we had to schedule hangouts on the weekends to accomodate my work schedule, when it was predicted and feared that seawater and the searing sun would cause my skin to have fits. A time of firsts: sleepovers, karaoke, banter, bunnies.

Those were not the most notable features of the time, though. It is more distinctly remembered as a time when memory foam was thoroughly appreciated, when strong tones were not, when steam was constantly recirculated in a futile attempt to make sense of it. It was when the borders of your mom expanded to gleeful smiles and rolled eyes, when you were young was fussed over and grown to be loved, and when Catan was played cooperatively. When talks would be long, frequent, and grandiose.

But that time is best remembered through the moments that caused me to lose more of them. Can I really say that I've gotten better if I often replay them in my mind? That I'm no longer affected by something I look back on with such nostalgia?

I moved off the reservation solely because of the hope that maybe I could relive some of those times. But it's never that easy to forget. You never need to tell someone what you think of them, and so you don't. It is always their intent to hurt you. They are always trying, but they're not the ones who end up hurt.

Some people miss the good ol' Calvin and Hobbes days. I just miss Hobbes.

29Mar/082

Chunk of hay + an indefinite article – Mirror 3 + AD replacement

The Sims is a series of award-winning games that let you control simulated people, each with their own needs, desires, relationships and futures. Some players choose to build elaborate houses, giving their characters a dream home and letting them roam free to do as they pleased.

I, on the other hand, played The Sims very efficiently. I built rooms only as large as they needed to be, with items strategically placed to minimize the space they took up and the time to travel between them. I did not decorate the interior of the house, because pretty scenery really only mattered when they left the house to go to work, and indoor decorations would not help that. I did not buy a full-length mirror because a square hanging mirror served the same purpose at a fraction of the cost while not taking up any space.

I built bachelor houses that were essentially very large cubicles, with no extra money spent on walls for the bathroom because no one would ever see him and it would never be an issue. I did not buy a lounge chair or sofa because it would not double as an eating chair, and which I would then have to purchase separately. The house had one chair. It was the chair in which my Sim ate, watched television and learned skills from. I spent money making it extremely comfortable, because that chair and the bed were the only sources of rest I provided my Sim. When he needed comfort, I did not let him simply sit down, I would top off his fun need by also making him watch TV. If he was already at full fun, I would discontinue TV watching and make him read a book to learn a skill.

But hermit Sims have stunted job progression because later promotions require you to befriend your neighbors. To accomplish this, I had a systematic way of rapidly maximizing a relationship level. I did not bother with most of the interaction options like backrubs and pranks, I did what I needed to do in order to get where I wanted to be, and then I sent them along their way.

I would talk to them until our relationship level rose a bit and then mixed in jokes, all the way until when a hug became the best option to increase relationship points. I chose these because they were efficient and reliable, but also because they raised fun points as well.

Talking, joking, and hugging were fun. With just those three, my Sim no longer felt the desire to watch TV. As long as he could keep talking, he never wanted to read a book, or play games on his computer. To keep the game understandable and not needlessly complex, the developers generalized a Sim's need for recreation into a single quantity that rose whenever something that could be construed as fun was accomplished.

It doesn't work that way in real life, sadly. Given constant exposure to something, we grow tired of it, and we are not as affected by it. Conversely and notably, the absence of something can make us profoundly affected by its reappearance.

For the past year I have been in the presence of amazing friends and socialization. I love being with them and have made shockingly large changes to my plans for next year in order to keep being with them, but they are not everything that I am. They don't do everything that I like to do. And so sometimes, as much as I want to spend every moment with them, I also want to spend moments relishing the comforts that I enjoyed so dearly before I met them.

Yet even with the best of both worlds at my fingertips, each having done nothing to dilute each other, I can't have everything I want. I am always missing something, missing someone, neglecting someone.

But given the choice to be everywhere and do everything with everyone, would I take it? Would it only make me tire of everything faster? Maybe it would. But at least I would never have to apologize.

12Mar/084

Becoming the earlier and forever kind

Spring break isn't anything remarkable to blog about this year. I didn't decide to to go some island with wonderful weather or abroad to some place with lax alcohol or drug use laws. Despite this, this spring break needs to be one of the most remarkable. The past few weeks have seen me at my most unproductive and most unmotivated, behavior that would only lead me back down a well-beaten and much-hated path, and I need to elicit change in order to keep me on a more desirable one.

Becoming a morning person would be exactly the change I need. Or at least, stop being a night person. It just isn't working out. Many nights recently have illustrated that very point. I love the worker's high that I get from being productive, from coding and seeing things work, from poring over and finally understanding concepts. I used to associate these moments of heightened concentration with late nights illuminated by my monitor and my desk lamp, but recent experiences have proven contrary. They've left me at the wee hours of the morning with little to show but a pile of fatigue on my eyes.

But I randomly decided to rest my eyes a couple weeks ago, and as with almost all instances of me resting my eyes during the school year, I didn't wake up for some time. This particular nap was particularly lengthy, and some would even call it sleeping. Yes, I think there's an unfamiliar but more fitting term for it, sleeping early. I slept at 8 and woke up at 4.

Now even for a normal person, waking up at 4 is like what the fuck are you doing you crazy bastard. I surprisingly didn't feel that way at all. I felt...energized. Refreshed. Better than I had ever felt even with 10 or 12 hours of sleep. I worked and coded in perfect contentment. It was a sight to see, and it is a sight I want to see again.

It will mean I will have to abandon all those late night friends, forsake all those late night conversations. They were what perhaps cemented me in my role as a night owl. I enjoyed the company, the support, the mutual understanding of our situations and the comraderie forged because of our similarities. Does this mean that I'm trading friends for sleep? If so, here's to the nights we felt alive, and here's to goodbye, because if all works well, tomorrow is not going to come too soon. It's finally going to come right when I want it to.

4Feb/082

Fan sand ninja – Jeremy Piven’s Gold + Thousand nation descent – Xi’an romanization

She once told me that if we were to be together, she would probably have an argument with me and break up with me after only a few months. She had told me more than a few times that I couldn't handle her temper, that no one could, that I was only inviting disaster by asking for full disclosure.

I am reluctant to admit that she was right, but she was.

Yet things were completely different for me when I was instead just a friend. I was able to bear the brunt of an attack the likes of which I'd only seen once before, one that had been a giant blow to my sensibilities. I was able to push past thoughts of her being with other guys, to embrace her as eagerly and passionately as I had done hundreds of times in years past. I was able to learn of things that I would not have thought I could tolerate. I was able to put myself and my own needs above those of other people.

That last note is the one that gives me pause, for that selfishness is exactly what was enabling me to function so well in the presence of difficulties. I have sometimes said that unlike those who treasured independence, I loved being dependent. I loved having someone to whom I could dote on, who would appreciate the details I paid attention to and fuss over.

But I was not always able to meet expectations, and my need for their approval ensured that I always felt it. It is in the dissolution of this dependence that I became more resilient. Perhaps only ever so slightly, but noticeably.

Is the improved defense worth staying single, worth putting myself before other people? Is this, in contrast to how I have lived my life all these years until now, perhaps the better life for me after all? I can already see Cristen telling me that to lead such a life would cause me to miss out on life itself.

Or perhaps I have simply underestimated myself. Perhaps my being unscathed should be attributed not to being selfish, but to simply knowing when I need to back down. Perhaps my tolerance is owed to an understanding of new rules.

The one thing I do know is that being godlike is not all it's cracked up to be.

10Dec/074

Seriously, silversmithing?

It's still hard to imagine my parents as people who once had lives like the one I'm leading right now. To me, their lives had always started with...well, me.

It's when tidbits about their past are fed to me that I start to get curious about what their lives were like before they settled down. My father offhandedly mentioned that he actually entered Polytechnic University as a chemical engineer major, only to discover that he didn't like chemistry. It was then that he turned to silversmithing, and finally deciding on mechanical engineering.

My father, the man who loved his job so much that he set up a drafting table and work environment in his basement, actually thought he wanted to do something else? I can't imagine him as a chemical engineer, and I didn't even know silversmithing was a major!

My parents actually bought a house in Brooklyn, on 70th street and 20th avenue. They had intended to move out from our 1-bedroom apartment in Queens, away from all the relatives that lived above us or within a few minutes drive of us, away from the routes and venues and nuances that I know so intimately. I wouldn't have gone to Montessori, Renaissance, and maybe not even Mega Academy. I would have lived a mere three blocks from my friend Sally, who currently lives two hours away by train.

But for whatever reason, they didn't move out. My dad drove there during the fall to sweep the leaves in front of the property and in the winter to shovel the snow. Eventually my parents realized that they weren't going to move there, that taking care of it was too much of a hassle, and that they weren't strict enough as landlords to make money off of it. They sold the house at a loss just to be rid of it.

When I hear about my parents' pasts, when I learn about how they stumbled, when I realize that they might be perfect parents but were not always perfect people...through learning about their failures I find the courage to face my own. Not everything fell into place the way they wanted, but I can't imagine them falling any other way.

21Nov/077

Reply: + Sauer P220 + Jennifer Government – MAWAFLNY…

Even the naive get tired when the only progress to be made is negative. Luckily nothing ever breaks; instead, incompatibilities are discovered. The ideal was worthwhile, but ultimately it belongs solely to the mellow.

15Nov/073

Hot dog champ – .russian – Japanese small forest + altleft

Strangely, the closest I came to crying over her was when she was being cursed out. As with all instances of tearing, I was split between wanting to embrace it and suppress it.

It all came about from a thought that had been stubbornly persistent: if I could go back one year, would the knowledge of one outcome change my behavior? Would I work harder towards keeping us together, or would I be resigned and bitter? Would I do nothing and simply appreciate our time more? If so, what would happen when the last day passes uneventfully? Would I assume that the same events happened and call her a liar?

No, I never assume the worst of people; instead, I fear it. Every action would be laced with hesitation and restraint, every hug less heartfelt, every kiss reminding me of the things she did and might still do. The changes in my behavior would be the same reasons why I couldn't take her back.

Change is what everything boils down to. What would I change? What has changed? Could I change? Could she?

I have always honestly believed that people can be anything they want to be. That they could change themselves to be whoever they wanted to be. I do not, however, believe that you can change someone else; it has to be purely of your own volition and desire. At the end of the day, you are the only person there who can tell you to keep trying.

So no, I don't think I would try to change what happened, because I did nothing wrong. I did not give the relationship my all, but I gave the relationship everything I was willing to give. I did not always put her over everyone else because I needed to have a life apart from her, and the presence of that life was kept a particular rift from closing. What happened was not something we had any control over; it was simply a result of how we were.

Given the chance to relive that year, I would do everything the same way I did it, up to the day where it was done, and would once again be done. Would I be able to say all this while in the comfort of her arms? No, but that's exactly why I wasn't.

21Oct/073

Not that I was going to sleep anyway

Bostonians,

I realize that the Red Sox entering the World Series fills your understandably dull lives with rich meaning and incomparable delight, but please, refrain from having a car horn orgy. We can all see that you are fully capable of tapping your car horn multiple times in succession, but might I suggest you instead apply that skill elsewhere, like video games or channel surfing? Or maybe while in bed with your wife? (Tip: neither the texture nor the corresponding sound will be the same.) (If either are, seek medical attention immediately.)

Thank you.

Filed under: Amusing, Musings 3 Comments
12Oct/072

En + K’nex rival – Letterafturcay + Satiate – Essay

Defiantly, exasperatingly, but resolutely choosing friends once again. For once, I'm going to douse a bridge.