The cold wind

The Chicago trip was terrific. We had an awesome time exploring the city (so many beautiful buildings!), enjoying the great weather on the beach, eating lots of Chicago-style pizza, and even checking out the aquarium. And Ray was the perfect host. I think we went there during the best weather of the year — mid 70s all weekend — but I’m going to pretend that that’s what it’s always like there :).

Some pictures:
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It’s concert season again: Paris Combo and Vienna Teng this past week, and then next weekend is the Pixies and Richard Shindell. On a related note, yesterday was horrible: I went all the way to the Fillmore to get tickets for three upcoming shows (The Tragically Hip, Gillian Welch, and Martin Sexton) since the Ticketmaster surcharge came out to a ridiculous $10 for each $25 ticket. The Fillmore’s box office is hardly ever open… just a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon, and then only when a show is actually going on. Anyway, traffic was bad and I made a wrong turn, and I finally got there in 45 minutes, at 4:02. Of course, the box office closed at 4pm. So the whole trip was worthless, and now I’m debating whether to suck up the TM charge, or try to go back next Sunday (and risk having one of the shows sell out).

Anyway, so then I came back home and found out that my laptop’s Linux partition was totally hosed. This is where I do all my research and stuff. So I freaked out for a while, and I’m still trying to fix it. On the plus side, it’s made me boot into Windows a lot more, so I’ve started recording this song I wrote this summer. It sounds pretty decent so far… definitely better than my last effort. Also on the plus side, it’s made me feel slightly less guilty about socializing and playing sports all weekend.

I better stop rambling.

I think a fundamental conflict that a shy or introverted person (I’m too lazy to figure out which I mean) has is between the feeling that other people don’t really appreciate what he is worth (and, oh, if only they would!), and the feeling that maybe instead he just isn’t worth much at all. It would be pretty amazing and educational if we could all see how other people perceive us. It would be a great tool to illustrate our real faults (rather than our perceived ones), and also to dispel unfounded insecurities. This could be done, of course — all you’d have to do is get someone to anonymously poll all your friends and acquaintances about you. (I feel like I’ve talked about this already…)

The current social networks (Friendster, Orkut, etc.), really only allow people to leave named, positive comments. I think I would equally prefer if people could also leave anonymous comments about things that I do wrong or that I could do better.

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5 Responses to The cold wind

  1. snafuuu says:

    Your Chicago pictures are making me nostalgic. Can’t wait to get out of Boston…

  2. Anonymous says:

    hopefully this stays anonymous

    On the plus side, AJ is a great guy.

    On the down side, he uses the “on the plus side” phrase a lot. I think this is a large part due to his quantifying nature: everything has a good and a bad side about it, and weights need to be assigned to evaluate everything. Things can’t just “be”. Knowing myself, when I do that kind of evaluation to essentially uncontrollable actions (eg your computer going kaput), I tend to get more stressed out; I still frequently do it, though. I think it’s a way for myself to come to grips with the random walk that is life. Part of me wants to eradicate these random annoyances, but doing so will lead to a real dull existence. Variance, good AND bad, is essential and averaging it away is a surefire recipe for boredom.

    The alternative, though, acccepting that things just happen without reason isn’t too appealing either; being unable to control things and just accept them often results in a more fatalistic philosophy on life that I’m not sure I’m willing to accept. I’ll stop as I’m rambling.

    This isn’t meant to point out something you could do better; just an observation I’ve made knowing you for a while. (I know you can track me down with my IP address. I’ll be waitin’ for ya.).

    • aj says:

      Re: hopefully this stays anonymous

      Hm, so I have to admit that I don’t know who you are. And your writing style is unfamiliar to me, so I’m guessing that you don’t have a blog that I know about (or that you wrote this message in a different style, or, more likely, that I’m just really dumb). Rather than obsess about this unknowable and uncontrollable fact, I’ll proceed to the content of your message :).

      Of course, you’re right that I’m super-quantifying. I’m not sure it’s a matter of control, though — more like a matter of optimization. I guess I’m pretty obsessive about optimizing: shortest walking distances, best deals, my happiness. (I wonder how this meta-process affects my happiness itself, as you point out.)

      I’ve recently, in the last two years, really been thinking about rationality and consistency, and I’ve pretty much convinced myself that they’re useless by themselves — they’re only good for what they’ll get you. (I’ve been meaning to write an LJ about this for a year now, actually.) So hopefully as this sinks in more I’ll be able to be more happy and possibly less rational :).