The Domain of Steven Pinnacle of Paperless Perfection

14Oct/084

Where everybody knows my name

The French intern at my summer job learned English through British schools, and while he could passably converse with the rest of the Brits in the office, he found our American accents to be a rather big hindrance to comprehension. This amused me to no end.

I miss England sometimes. The company, too.

Perhaps it was the attention I received, not only as an American-accented Chinese (actually a minority for once) but also as an intern from abroad (of which I was the first). People were curious about me, about where I came from. They wanted to know whether everything they'd heard about New York City was true, and though I barely know the other side of my block, I had plenty of things to tell them about it. God, I had conversation topics. And each conversation, delightful in itself, was made all the better by hot British accents.

I was talking with Chris about my time there, since he is interested in studying abroad, and conveyed this sense of celebrity status. I would be singled out for being Asian, and pegged for an American once I opened my mouth. They'd ask almost immediately, "are you American?"

To the disappointment of some, I did not come back with a British accent, but Chris noticed that I was imitating a British accent when I quoted them. I hadn't done it on purpose, I was simply relaying what was ingrained in my mind. The "are" was pronounced more like a gentle "ah," and American used a "meh" in place of the "mare" sound.

When we imitate the British we make ourselves sound haughty, but when the British imitate us they make themselves sound like redneck retards. No joke. I also found this endlessly amusing. In fact, endlessly amusing would be a recurring theme while there, provoked by places like Poundland (as in currency, not weight) and conflicting concepts like suspenders. Everything there was different, and yet familiar enough to keep me insulated from the worst of culture shock.

Best of all? Net profit. Also, apparently I am the British definition of Filipino, as evidenced by their consistency in guessing my nationality.

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.

22Feb/083

Top-level for Saint Helena + Atomic County source material + Voiceless velar plosive in IPA

I was entering contests when I saw one limited to ages 13-18. I got excited until I remembered I AM TWENTY WHAT THE FUCK?!

Filed under: General, Life, Riddle 3 Comments
30Jan/084

A trophy -> rle,lzw,lzo,7z

I will admit that this is the first time my ass has been sore. Still, going 8-2 against the other fencing students was worth it.

Also, thankfully, rock climbing only seems to destroywork out my forearms and hands, leaving the glutes and lower free for fencing to mangle.

Filed under: General, Life, Riddle, School 4 Comments
26Jan/086

In Spanish + Burnett’s secret – 303 DirecTV

I went into this semester resolved to take a gym class of some sort. Not because there was some requirement, not to get extra credits, but just because the opportunity was there.

I had always had an interest in fencing, but never joined the fencing club that started up the end of my last year of high school. Maybe I liked the idea of poking someone with a blade, or I thought that fencers just looked really cool.

I'm taking fencing this term as an hourly class twice a week for one credit over at FitRec, and it's definitely as cool I imagined it. I enjoy the mind games that you have to play with your opponent to psych him out, to make him miscalculate, to make him become overconfident and set himself up for disappointment. I like the rising tension during the approach, and how time slows down as your mind speeds up during an attack. You're always thinking, always alert, judging your opponent's distance and reach in comparison to your own.

Which, I will admit, is usually an unfair balance for me. I'm rather short, and with short height comes short legs and short limbs. Compared to taller guys, I have little in the way of reach, and can cover less distance when retreating, advancing, or lunging.

Reach matters quite a bit in our first exercise. Before we're allowed to hold a blade one class from now, we're practicing everything else: footwork, right of way, and tactics. Instead of using a blade, we're using a glove. This is saber fencing, which normally allows any kind of hit above the waist. For this exercise, we loosely wield a glove and have to try to hit each other in the chest or back.

To exemplify right of way, a fencing concept in which an attacker's hit has scoring priority over a defender's hit, we take turns attacking and defending. The attacker is allowed an advance and a lunge, during which the defender can make up to two retreats. Once the advance and lunge are taken, the roles are switched.

There is no blocking allowed, and actions can be of any length, so you do not have to take a full advance or a full retreat. This turns the exercise into one primarily about tactics and distance. The two fencers start out a good distance from each other, and advance closer while taking their turns. The object is to get your opponent to misjudge the distance at which he can hit you, so that he lunges and barely misses as you are retreating, ending up right next to you. Once that happens, he's practically giving you the point, since you are now on the attack and can easily hit him.

In practice it rarely works out that way for me. Being rather short, I have a rather significant disadvantage in terms of reach and movement in this exercise. Since the attacker is only allowed a single advance, with their lunge not advancing them very far (only extending their reach), a defender with two retreats should actually be able to increase the distance between himself and the attacker, resulting in fencers drifting apart from each other if they take full retreats.

This is not so in my case; in fact, the taller people in the class can actually still hit me even if I make two full retreats, and I'm hard-pressed to hit them if they take two or even one full retreat.

I therefore have to be sneaky to win. I have to take my attack immediately after they finish theirs, to get them off-balance and to get them to make mistakes. I have to keep our distances under my control.

I want them to back off more than they should thinking that I'll advance, putting him out of reach. I want them to not advance as far as they should to hit me, thinking that I'll retreat.

Feinting to achieve those results is difficult, to say the least. It's absolutely thrilling and absolutely tiring. You're moving all the time, and if you're not moving, all your muscles are tensed, and if your muscles aren't tensed, you're probably going to lose the point. After a dozen bouts, you're caught up in a exhausted but focused trance where you forget about the half dozen matches around you and only see your opponent. All you see are his movements, his reactions, his responses to you toying with him and his frenzied attempts to try and outmaneuver you.

And just like that, it's over. The world rushes back to me and I'm smiling, being a good sport and laughing with my opponent about how he just barely caught me. We walk back to our sides of the room, take a slow breath, turn around, assume a ready stance, and the world slowly dissolves once more as we begin our approaches.

I'm not sure how I'll do with a blade in my hand, but I can't wait to find out.

Filed under: General, Life, Riddle, School 6 Comments
22Dec/073

Sorcerer primary attribute + Most popular maschinenpistole, for the innumerate + S’aint chastity or engaged couples, it’s the second word, singular!

(10:14:49 PM) kninetales1988: Did you get married to a firebreathing ninja llama pony?
(10:14:58 PM) SarcasticSteven: hmm
(10:15:08 PM) SarcasticSteven: as far as i know, i was married to the sea
(10:15:17 PM) SarcasticSteven: but she might very well have been holding out on me
(10:16:45 PM) kninetales1988: are you married to just one thing?
(10:16:53 PM) SarcasticSteven: the sea is pretty big
(10:17:00 PM) SarcasticSteven: though don't let her know i told you that
(10:17:11 PM) kninetales1988: YOU CALLED HER FAT
(10:17:35 PM) SarcasticSteven: it's all water weight
(10:18:04 PM) kninetales1988: that's not nice. if you think she's fat, you should say something.
(10:18:36 PM) SarcasticSteven: hey i don't go around asking her why she's so obsessed with capsizing ships and consuming sailors
(10:18:43 PM) SarcasticSteven: and she doesn't ask why i never visit her anymore
(10:18:58 PM) SarcasticSteven: it's a delicate truce
(10:19:23 PM) kninetales1988: maybe she's missing you. and capsizing ships because she's lonely
(10:19:43 PM) SarcasticSteven: a likely story
(10:20:09 PM) SarcasticSteven: if she really loved me she wouldn't be taking so many men into her folds
(10:20:15 PM) SarcasticSteven: she knows how jealous i get
(10:21:01 PM) kninetales1988: well if you never visit maybe she forgot
(10:21:52 PM) SarcasticSteven: AND MAYBE IF SHE STOPPED PLAYING WITH OTHER BOYS VISITING HER WOULD BE LESS PAINFUL
(10:21:56 PM) SarcasticSteven: but what do i know
(10:22:27 PM) SarcasticSteven: i don't have poets spinning words about me all day
(10:23:05 PM) SarcasticSteven: i don't have full-grown men pining to travel along my expanses for the rest of their lives
(10:23:46 PM) SarcasticSteven: maybe it's just a natural consequence for someone in that position to turn into a traitorous harlot
(10:24:21 PM) kninetales1988: you and her should see a marriage counselor
(10:24:48 PM) SarcasticSteven: it's kinda hard to find one who will see both of us
(10:25:07 PM) SarcasticSteven: or rather, to have a proper meeting
(10:25:53 PM) SarcasticSteven: i hate going to the beach, and when she comes to see me, weather emergencies blather about and everyone starts evacuating the city
(10:26:03 PM) SarcasticSteven: the counselors included

And a riddle because Shelly had been complaining.

Filed under: Amusing, Riddle 3 Comments
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.

1Nov/072

Fireman’s hatchet variation + Penny

Unconsciously giving a Southern drawl to a West Indies plantation owner during a play reading in Writing 150 was totally unexpected but surprisingly fun once I realized what I was doing.

Filed under: Amusing, Riddle, School 2 Comments
5Oct/074

Mass. + Lexan bottle – Elle – ね

The good part about college? You can literally have no homework due for two weeks.

The bad part about college? All four of your classes have large homeworks due that day, two weeks from now. It's awfully hard to not start assignments the day before, but I'll find a way.

Filed under: Musings, Riddle, School 4 Comments