Runs In Transit

Month: July, 2016

Starcraft Story

Dropped on a new planet are six loyal workers and their commander. Life is hard on the land and it is accepted. They arrive to embark on a new journey, and the workers follow the commanders orders dutifully. The first step is to salvage resources. The commander knows that to survive means to plan ahead. A month passes and things are going well. Resources are plenty and a few warehouses are built to hold them. Two workers are expecting, and the colony is planning to grow. Morale is high, and productivity is increasing. Soon even a processing plant is added, and plans are in place to explore the land.

One day a worker was on a stroll when he encountered a foreign species. He reports back with the news and the camp is frightened. It is decided that a barracks is needed to train workers. Soon, a handful of workers find weapons and act as soldiers to defend the base. A feeling of safety passes through the camp. Talks begin of upgrading their lowly weapons and establishing another camp nearby. Debates are fierce over these decisions, as resources are scarce. The camp decides to keep the status quo and keep training soldiers and managing the existing camp.

Life is tough but happy. Increased productivity has allowed workers to take leisure time. Children are beginning to be educated and families are able to move to larger homes. One day a foreigner arrives on the outskirts of the camp. He walks around the perimeter and leaves. The soldiers are cautious not to provoke him in order to not incite a war. The town meetings express worry but not much can be done at the moment. Plans are set on the future, and education and exploring the lands are number one priorities.

One day, a group of children did not return from the school grounds. A group of parents and soldiers go searching for them. Suddenly, out of the dark, a group of six roguish animals appear at lightning speed. They ferociously began mauling the humans. The workers and soldiers tried to put up a resistance, but could not handle the creatures and ran in haste. Everyone rushed to the safety of the camp, but it was in vain. The animals were too quick. They rushed into the homes, ripped apart the bodies of everyone they encountered. Not even the women and children were spared. The weapons that were available stood no chance against the thick skin of the attackers. That night, not one person escaped. The next morning, the camp lay empty and bloody and not one soul was present. Victory Zerg.

The Duality of Looking Forward

Some days I wake up and I wonder how I got into this position. You know, sitting on the side of my bed at 7:50am, having to be somewhere soon.

And then I remember I’m here because everything I’ve ever done led me to this position, and it’s precisely where I was trying to get to.

Being able to imagine yourself in the future is a virtue and a curse. I imagine myself in the future vividly. In most of my conceptions, I haven’t changed at all. The only thing that changes is the world around me. Because the world is out of my control, I plan for the worst.

This attitude can be beneficial. A kid who thinks about the future studies a lot. A kid who studies a lot gets into a good school. A kid who gets into a good school gets a good job. A kid who gets a good job buys a house, starts a family, and so on.

Doing these things are great. They allow you to prepare for the future. When the future comes, you’re in a great spot. I’m ready to save for retirement. I probably won’t need a percentage of what I end up with, but who knows what could happen.

I’m terrified of being powerless. When I receive a task, I do it instantly because tomorrow I might not be able to. You know how some days you’re hit with a pang of uselessness, like your brain doesn’t work, and the only thing you can do is go to sleep? Those days are my biggest fear, and I prepare for those days like the plague.

I’m constantly scared I’ll be hungry, so I eat a bunch when food is available. I’m scared I won’t be able to get along with people if I’m in a low mood, so I socialize whole-heartedly when I’m happy.

And so I overeat, overcompensate, and forget to live in the moment. But life doesn’t work that way. Life is finite, and if you’re forward-looking forever you’ll be dead with no life to live. That is where the curse comes in. I’ve always failed at being able to experience moments as they pass. Living in the moment is the thing I could never catch.

If you could only have one ___ for the rest of your life

I love these questions. They’re like asking what your favorite things are but are easier and more practical because you can imagine it realistically.

If you could only have…

  1. One drink, besides water.
    • Coffee. The caffeine and taste combination is the best way to start a morning.
  2. One food.
    • Stir fry, veggies and beef. Variety of tastes and healthy too.
  3. One outfit.
    • Black t-shirt and jeans. Comfy and you can’t beat it.
  4. One video game.
    • Halo 3. I don’t play it but I need to go back for the memories.
  5. One website.
    • Reddit. The information though… and entertainment.
  6. One fast food restaurant.
    • Mcdonald’s. It’s not the best but it’s everywhere and has everything.
  7. One alcohol.
    • A dark and strong beer. Okay, it’s a category, but I’m not picky. Just needs to taste good and have high abv.
  8. One word.
    • Yes. I need to get by, and I can’t be a no-man.
  9. One song.
    • Guernica. For getting pumped. Hope it doesn’t bore me after a thousand plays.
  10. One book.
    • Anna Karenina. Because I haven’t read it and it’s long and well recommended.

Scarcity drives fascination!

 

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

I thought I’d write you a letter. I want you to know I’m doing okay.

The past year has been very formative. I‘ve lived in three places, traveled to new countries, met a lot of different people, seen old friends, finished school, and learned more about myself.

I’m eager to prove myself. I’ve adapted and grown. I’m ready to strap up for the next challenge. I have a good opportunity. I made a big move; new coast, new state, new environment. I feel like I’ve been put to the test. I feel good.

But I can’t get ahead of myself. I’m still kind of scared. I’m worried I won’t succeed. I’m worried my mind will let me down. I’m worried I won’t find true joy.

But please, don’t worry about me. You’ve done that enough for a few lifetimes. I’ll be fine. Promise to relax more.

I can’t wait til I’m home and have big news to share with you. I hope I make you proud, because you’re the reason I’m here. Everything you and dad have done has made everything I do possible. Even on days I don’t feel so great I have to remember that, and I‘m grateful.

Today I learned that people are more generous to you when you’re off, which is when you least need it. You’ve been generous to me through everything.

Love you.

Coming to terms with writing. Bleh!

They say you can only write about what you know. I’d agree with that. Unfortunately, I don’t know much. They also say to write to give yourself discipline. So should I spout out random ideas until I become Kafka? Or do I need to go out, live life, and then come back with some interesting thoughts?

Writing is funny. It’s like that one thing everyone wants to get into, but is only willing to give up money but not time for. Why do I want to do things like read and write but end up watching Youtube videos of Starcraft instead? I have one theory – I’m stupid.

Us millennials. We love bookstores, but only buy books and leave them out on our desk. The idea of reading and writing is great, but spending time doing them is another thing. That’s why blogging challenges are popular.

But the benefits of writing might only accrue later on. People over 70 read 60+ minutes a day. My age group reads less than 10 minutes. Grandpa must be on to something right? Maybe writing lets you express your thoughts better.

Another theory. We spend our days texting, writing emails, reading random articles, and when we come home our brains are worded out. God, my mind’s all over the place right now. Writing can be my anchor, if I let it.

But as I spout out random thoughts, I wonder if I’m really progressing at anything. For all I know, it’s a waste of time and I’m loitering my evening away. Is it possible that technology has given us enough options that writing can be counter-productive?

It’s hard to say. Writing is romantic, and that won’t change. History has been bound by writing, from cave walls to Gutenberg. Societies have flourished and perished by the pen. Books are in constant danger and that makes them all the more appealing.

But I don’t want to do something just because it’s romantic. That’s another euphemism for posing. I want to do something because it’s useful and makes me happy. So does it do that… that’s the real question. Short answer-sometimes.

Okay, I think I know what to do – read more, gain experience, and write a bit, if not to give myself discipline, to record my thoughts like a journal. At the very least it’s nice to travel to different places every once in a while through words.

Okay, Starcraft is fun. My attention can be short. Let’s read over 10 minutes a day, keep writing consistently, and see where it gets me. No expectations. 26102.jpg

Childish Dreams

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Once when I was a kid I made up mind my mind to design a mall in Oklahoma. The next grade, I invented a tool called the Pusher 3000. Almost instantly, I realized these things were stupid.

Bounded rationality is a dangerous thing. I got it from my parents. They’ve instilled in me to always take the safe route. It’s what worked for them when many of their friends and family never made it out of their hometown. But safety can kill, albeit slowly and painfully. My outlandish thoughts as a kid have been replaced with a conservative life that was not of my own design.

I’m in a box, but not to say it’s a bad box. It offers many things – a comfortable life, stability, opportunities I’ve never had. Many people want to be in this box. But witnessing the opposite route is soul sucking. There’s plenty of people who do what they love every day. Some wait until they find their calling and go forward full throttle. The big things we care about – money, success, pride, seem small when one goal dominates your psyche. I’m envious of those who knew what their passion was at a young age. I’m empathetic with those who think you never find it.

I feel like I’ve obscured my dreams in a vanilla folder. My kid self might be upset at me. “You never designed that mall in Oklahoma? You bum.” Yeah, you’re right, I took the straight and narrow, not out of a lack of desire but a lack of information. In a world this wide, what can my one passion be? I need to find it, to be sure. It’s up to me to do that, or remain a generalist working in an office. Ok, tell you what kid, I’ll do something crazy for you, soon.

Sadderday

There’s nothing worse than a Sadderday. You wake up late, and you just want it to go away.

Some people look forward to weekends, but to some it brings dread. The emptiness is strong, because there’s nothing ahead.

Today I tried to find meaning, so I biked to get lost. But it didn’t fill the void, and nothing was crossed.

I do things in vain, but it’s better than nothing at all. To occupy the soul… is a task too tall.

I won’t give up, that’s something I swear. Because I’ll wake up tomorrow, and today will pass through the air.

Making a place in this life, so short yet so deep. Sometimes finding happiness begins with going to sleep.

When was your last moment of passion?

For me, it was in Amsterdam, on psychedelics, and with a longing for life.

Everyone is constantly searching for something. Many are trying to relive the moments when they felt truly alive, because that is what life is about, living so fully that you lose yourself. The artist draws until he loses track of time. The athlete pushes himself beyond the bounds of his body. The average person just wants to relive the joys of their childhood.

But doing the same things never feels the same. Picture the last time you got together with old friends and tried to do things you used to love, and the emptiness you felt as you went through the motions.

The feeling is so ingrained that I get nostalgic about the times I was nostalgic. It’s a symptom of a classic weakness, holding the roles of who we were yesterday. We have the potential to be anything, but we have to shatter those roles and be open to experiences.

Happiness does not come singly. It requires finding new moments of passion.