Bad principles and mediocrity

#1 Do whatever you feel like doing and whenever you feel like it.

#2 Don’t care about what others think about you.

The second principle protects the first. And both of them lead to mediocrity.

I was doing laundry the other day and realized that I haven’t bought any new clothes in the last 3-4 years, except for underwear and shoes. That sounds weird, even to myself. That doesn’t sound like “I don’t care what others think”. It’s very much in the “I don’t take care of myself” territory.

I don’t use social media. I don’t even post half the things I do here, in this anonymous blog. Do I really not seek validation because I think I’m better than everyone? Nope, just checked, I feel like a piece of shit.

I religiously give half a month’s paycheck (~4.17%)  to charity every year. But I would never mention a word of that to anyone in real life or participate in any social charity events at workplace. All that matters is that I know that I did some good. But I bet you, people at my workplace think I’m a stingy heartless guy for not participating in their charity events.

I go to work at 12 PM almost everyday. Some days, I work for three hours and leave home. My job is pretty easy and always gets done on time. My manager doesn’t mind. I have taken 29 “work from home” days this year alone. Could I put in my actual 8 hours a day and climb the ladder faster? maybe. Is it worth it? absolutely not.

Being dirt poor, all I wanted ten years ago was to finally relax and have some money to splurge on food and gadgets. I worked hard for that and I have it now. Why should I not take the time to enjoy what I wanted in the first place? Why do I need to always run this race, this never ending quest to get to a better place?. I’m 27 and watch anime while stuffing my face. That’s what this man-baby currently equates to “living in the moment”. And that’s Ok.

After putting in few hundred hours, I’m now a mediocre guitar player. I can play a dozen fingerstyle songs from the top of my mind, but with mistakes. I occasionally spend ten hours learning a new song and just when I get to playing it properly, I quit the song and move on to the next one. I’ve been thinking, maybe if I just posted guitar videos online and craved for validation, I may have put in the extra effort and become a better guitar player.

Being mediocre sucks. I really need to start kicking ass.

Goodbye old friend and hello, anxiety!

My last flatmate just left and he’s moving to a different country. Incidentally, he will be my last friend in the city. I just realized that I’m probably never going to see him again. Man! after staying together for 6 years… I am all alone now, in an empty three bedroom apartment with so many memories, while hunting for a different apartment.

There’s a thought that’s been bothering me for sometime. I’ve lived in a few cities but never could consider any one of them a “home”. A home would be a city that I knew inside out. A home would be a place where I could count on seeing familiar people everyday – the same flatmates, friends, the friendly barber who recognizes you, the old man and his dog across the street. Have you seen those tv shows where characters regularly show up at the local coffee shop or pub and everybody there knows them?

Maybe I should get the heck out of this city and search for a place which is “home” for me. Maybe I did not do enough to make that happen for me here. Where do I go from here?

Being alone is a strange thing. I’ve given up on the fantasy that anyone is going to fall head over heels for me. I have few really good friends though, but none nearby. I really can’t socialize, plus I’m an introvert. That’s a really great combo sometimes. I’m really lost aren’t I? Why don’t they teach socializing in school? Seems like the only thing that you would remember or actually apply in adult life.

What the fitness?

Hi, I am 27 and I sprained my shoulder lifting up a bucket of water. And recently, I couldn’t climb twelve floors of stairs without stopping once. I fucked up.

Twelve years ago, I was doing karate three times a week, sometimes playing soccer, was in the national cadet corps and was cycling kilometers to and from school. These days, I am wiped out after 5 PM even though my entire work involves just sitting and coding.

To my body’s credit, I haven’t put up a lot of weight. And all the weight I have gained is in my belly. Just a skinny dude with a paunch. I am against body shaming, but I see all these people at work having a blast working out everyday and can’t help but feel a little ashamed. I don’t really care about looking good or getting buff or being able to run 20 kilometers (like WTF coworkers?). I just want to be able to climb stairs and lift buckets of water.

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Do you even lift bro? I am getting tired lifting my own body weight, mate!

2018

This is it folks! This is MY year, right here.

Not even kidding, I GOT THIS.

Have you ever woken up one day feeling that everything is possible again?

That you can clench your fists tightly again and feel a rush of strength in your body?

I have always thought that a better version of oneself silently exists within, constantly guiding and teaching right from wrong. I feel that I have to become that person now. Is this part of growing up? Am I just another snowflake spewing his own bullshit views over the internet. I don’t give a shit!

I must be growing up.

Truth according to the internet, a real-life horror story.

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” ~Abraham Lincoln, 1927

So, imagine for a moment that you are in a quiz show. There is a buzzer in front of you and you are competing with one other person who is standing in the dark. The anchor points right at you and says, “Question 1, What’s his favorite food?”. Before you even begin to think, the other person hits the buzzer and says “It’s spaghetti, he had it eight days back while binge watching Game of thrones. But his selection of porn later that night… now that’s what I would call Stranger things!”. The crowd laughs. The following questions continue to be all about you – what’s in your bank account, your favorite band when you were nineteen… And you always lose and the other person always has the right answer, each time delving into more embarrassing, excruciating personal details.

I was lying. There is no such person in existence, not yet… But there are entities that know more about you than you do – entities that live inside hundreds of thousands of computers owned by different corporations, on large datacenters spread across several continents and some even under water.

There is a data model of you that can accurately define not only your daily life, but also your mind – your passions, religious, political and ideological beliefs.

So, man created Artificial Intelligence (AI) in his own image. And it passes judgement on others, just like people – you and me, who judge others’ lives based on their Instagram or Facebook. But the difference is that the AI has no envy, fear of missing out (FOMO) or subsequent depression.

An AI out there can determine that you suck at grammar, based on your Facebook comments. Another AI out there can predict you that you will gain seven pounds of fat in the next three months and may have a heart attack in the next fifteen years, based on the history of foods that you ordered. There can be an AI out there that can confirm that you cheated on your spouse on “that date and this time”, with your ex boyfriend number three, based on your GPS and heartbeat data. An AI can tell you that someone fancies you, based on the number of seconds they paused on your Instagram photo.

The AIs that I am describing are possible. In fact, not rocket-science and easy to code, if the data is accessible. There are corporations that have this data. Make no mistake, the information collected about you right now, can be worth thousands of dollars over time and costs only a couple of dollars to store it in a hard-disk. It’s never going to be deleted and your grandchildren and their grandchildren will find the models of you on the internet, long after you are gone.

It’s frightening how much of human history is being written by machines.

Some suicide bomber killed hundreds of people in Afghanistan? Oh, it’s not on the first two pages of a Google search? There is no such guy and it didn’t happen, so let’s not talk about it, ever!

But, but, we know what is happening around us. It’s in our memory goddammit! and no AI can rewrite the history in our memory, right?

Wrong. You hate someone, say Donald Trump. You will be bombarded with articles and tweets which claim that he is evil and videos that criticize his every second of existence. The more you read them, you will be offered more of the same, effectively putting you in an echo chamber of people and their thoughts that all seem to agree with you. You subconsciously conclude that everyone in the world share the same view and the history right now matches with what is happening in your mind. Now think about the people who like Donald Trump and imagine the content that is put in front of them by the internet and the echo chambers that their minds live in.

As someone who works in the software industry, I’m sorry to tell you that this is the new normal and we cannot escape it. A part of the world economy depends on our personal data and the time that we spend inside these echo chambers. We are here to feed and be fed by the machines.

My bread and butter is my cup of coffee

My bread and butter is my cup of coffee

Disclaimer: Dear reader, please don’t take this post literally. Trying to sip and swallow your toast can lead to choking and even death. To those who did it anyway: please don’t haunt me.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
– William James

Somebody told me that I am good with computers. Yeah, I was young, twelve maybe.  Continue reading “My bread and butter is my cup of coffee”