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Penny for your thoughts?

Hm, spent some time discussing my problems with people.

Answer? It's partially cultural.

A visitor (who I can consider my friend, I guess?) asked me a question, summed up as "If I need to borrow a couple thousand dollars from you in the future, would that be okay?"

In China, that seems pretty common. This whole notion of "You help me; I'll help you" goes a long way, and it's apparently not that uncommon for friends to loan each other boatloads of money. Cultural honor code, if you will.

Here? Even getting something like tax advice is un-allowed, because there's this notion of personal liability. Symbiosis isn't expected, nor is it frankly encouraged.

It's like... me trusting a supposed friend with an idea I had, and then getting backstabbed as said ex-friend submitted my idea to an idea competition with a bunch of his friends, and without even giving me the courtesy of knowing he did it.

I trusted someone, and my trust was completely broken.

You then apply that principle to general work-goals. People are much more willing to help you when you guys are closer than just "work/lab mates." Even though I'm willing to spend a week helping to rewrite a friend's journal paper (said friend got review comments saying his English needed lots of improvement LOL), there's no way that most people would go out of their way to do that, friend or vague "colleague." Another one of my friends recently complained about being tasked with improving another labmate's slides. And he was like "no way am I going to spend 5 hours doing this." That's funny. This friend is also the same friend that said "I'll only spend 24 hours helping you, because that's how much time you spent helping us." That explains it. I took that as a personal insult, because I would have never told someone asking me for help that. (In the end, I didn't even get so much as an acknowledgement in his slides that he used my code to test his chip LOL).

Basically, the difference is this: I did not, up until this point, have some "strings attached" condition to how much I was willing to help people. If someone asks me for advice/help and I think I'm capable of giving it, I usually spend time on it. I just expect that people will do the same for me. But culturally, people are more likely to prioritize themselves over others, so really, it's not a personal insult... it's just that people here don't like working for some greater good/goal. I personally think it's bad, but whatever. They only work for some some greater goal = say, improving research center infrastructure, if they are forced to by higher ups (legit repercussions if they don't), or they themselves can immediately benefit. Short sighted, selfish, what have you. The funny part? It takes a lot to get them to admit it = hypocritical?

Which leads me to some off-topic anecdotes:

This kind of reminds me of Catholic school. They teach you to love your brothers as you would yourself or whatever = treat people the way you want to be treated. = I was "brainwashed" to behave well, trust people, what have you... only to have some of my said Catholic school classmates 1) steal money from my lunchbox, 2) steal my vocabulary workbook the day before it was due and dump it into a trailer, 3) steal my homework out of a turn-in box and replace my name with his. Yeah... I really should've learned from this experience early on that being a "nice girl" = letting other people step on you. --> You need to be selfish and protect yourself.

Today, I noticed that there was a leak above my bathroom ceiling. I called the landlord, who didn't really want to deal with it this weekend (both of us were unsure about what would be the repercussions of holding out until Monday), because it would cost him 2x to have workers come in during the weekend. Sadly, this is a better outcome than previous landlord/me experiences. I think said people are short-sighted, because even if they can save money up front, long-term repair costs will probably be high, not that I'm in any position to give advice. Whatever, I shouldn't care. I did my due diligence. I will, however, be pissed off, if waiting until Monday causes repairs to take longer (if I won't have access to the shower, or if damage spreads elsewhere).

In such a sense, I think I had both my and my landlord's best interests in mind when I reported it immediately after having heard it. Too bad he doesn't feel that way.

Expectations.

1) Learn to reject helping people, because if it's not worth your time, then it really isn't.
2) People generally don't have your back, even if you think you have theirs.

3) In general, lower my expectations of other people.

I was complaining about lack of team work + communication and getting blamed for stuff in my last post, and then my friend proceeded to send me an article about effective leadership, which amounted to... essentially... being willing to delegate work and not hog all of the responsibilities.

I read it. In an ideal team situation, that would work well. You want to make motivated team members feel like their work is impactful. As projects become larger, you can't expect to do everything yourself.

The problem? The article pre-supposes you have responsible, motivated team members who actually care about the success of the project. You think that'd be true in grad school, but when you're working with masters students who just want their degree and peace out right as the project is ramping up to something... or you work with people who spin around and around and can't deliver on simple tasks, because they get stuck in a loop and are really stubborn about listening to advice for the sake of the team...

(You'd be surprised -- even if people mean well/work hard, they don't always do what's best for the team. It's fine to prioritize learning x,y,z skill as long as you don't miss deadlines that are critical for team success. It's not fine to pout and complain if your inability to produce things during milestones [and lack of communication regarding difficulties] leads other people to come up with contingency plans.)

Then the advice the article gives you is kind of meaningless...

Anyways, slight change of topic. Essentially, I took offense to this idea of me not being able to delegate work, because, in all cases, I tried. I don't like feeling trivialized. I don't like feeling left out of meetings. I like getting important stuff to work on. The problem? I think that other people feel the same way. Therefore, rather than not delegating, I give people hard problems to solve. But maybe other people don't like taking such a big leap. I need to rearrange expectations to match theirs... And try to get people to communicate better. It's not good to give unmotivated people hard problems, have them fail to solve them, and then give them trivial problems. Then they feel even less motivated. @_@

The way I work is different from the way they work. The way I go about solving problems is different from the way they go about solving problems.

When I was struggling with research a year ago and no one would listen to my questions -- instead, they were shutting me down with "you're wrong" or "go away"... I again, took that personally.

Unfortunately, the problem is, the way they think (which I don't think is necessarily the right way, and definitely not for me) is just different from the way I think. Sometimes, I just like talking to/at people. I might even come up with the answer to a question in the middle of my question... but just give me a chance to articulate it verbally. If you don't give me that chance, then I feel like I've been shut down and I get really sad. Also, seriously, I take it very personally, because I had an !@#$% English teacher once tell me that I shouldn't ask him any questions for the rest of the school year (this was back in middle school). But people have different circumstances, and don't really give a shit when other people learn differently, and it's too much to expect that other people will adapt to you. In his case, I really think he did something not quite cool, especially because he was the teacher, and he was supposed to be a good example to follow... But I can understand when people are busy and don't have time to deal with you...

Okay, back to my point. We need to be clear on each others' expectations. That really means better communication. If you think you'll ramp up faster by taking on small tasks first, tell me. I won't pre-suppose you're like me and give you something too overwhelming. That also means that you need to communicate with me and the rest of the team that you're struggling. Some people might feel bad about communicating when they need help, but that's your responsibility to the team. If you keep making it seem like things are great when they ask you for progress updates and can't deliver... you're letting your whole team down. No more egos please. If we had known, we could have put more resources towards your problem and that would help everyone.

If your ego does get in the way of things, then maybe, in a real environment, it's necessary to let you go. If you really can't find it in yourself to be motivated by this project, then maybe it's best for you and the team to find some other thing you'd jive better with.

Teamwork can't succeed with the mentality of most people I encounter here. You really need to have each other's backs. If I need help, please don't ignore me. If you need help, please let us all know.

As we go into a project, we need to know where we all stand and don't pre-suppose anything. Then we can actually maybe do a reasonable job calibrating our expectations... Even if that, in most cases, means lowering mine, because as I keep seeing over and over again, people just don't operate the way I think they will or should. >_> <_<

An addendum

Research retreats haven't been going too terribly... but a conversation with a friend did bring me back to darker times. Basically, grad school has consisted of:

1) Getting (the wrong kind of) attention when you don't want it. aka... sometimes I feel *certain* people oversell what I do... Which leads to me having to try significantly harder to defend myself when people talk to me and then start (overtly or not) criticizing what I do.

A) "Your stuff was supposed to work in x,y,z way, but it didn't." Well, if you listened to what I said, then maybe things would've turned out better. If you sent me the error messages you were seeing rather than just telling the world that what I gave you didn't work, then maybe we could've worked together to resolve stuff... I care more than probably most grad students about making things usable... I just don't understand why people can't wrap their heads around the thought that good execution for usability takes a ridiculous amount of time. @_@

B) "I don't understand why *important person* thinks your work is so great. This was done in my group 10 years ago." Except said person doesn't actually *get* what I'm doing, because the sales pitch wasn't clear. But way to discourage me my first 2-3 months on a project...

C) "You are just copying my work. There's nothing good about your work." *shakes head*... uhh... well... maybe by coincidence, I was doing the same thing as you, but I only ever read papers that were *not* by you... (heck, I didn't even know who you were... = some random postdoc in a different lab) Plus, this was a class project. Was I really expected to make some groundbreaking shit as a first year?

D) *Passive-aggressive* "How much of your design was influenced by person x's work?" Except the tone was essentially implying that I was stealing this guy's research... or at the very least not crediting him for his work. My reply? Well, uhh... we came to similar conclusions independently of each other... I don't get it. It's highly likely that people will reach similar conclusions... it's not like I knew any specifics of his work until I had already made considerable progress in mine, and I had already done a lot of research on previously published works (that possibly the guy that was being commented on didn't even notice). Due to politics or whatever, maybe people thought I stole his work, b/c I came out of nowhere the same time that the other guy left (without having published anything)... But seriously... one of the things I care most about is giving credit where credit is due (and I did have his name in my acknowledgements, just out of courtesy for the brief rant sessions we had together), so to be accused of something like that (even if it wasn't direct) just felt insulting to my gut. And you know, I'm a paranoid person, so ok... I got that feeling after the person asked me that question, but apparently my intuition was correct. The person whose research was similar to mine told me about it and said he clarified things on my behalf. Oh and I was told I should've acknowledged the work of a different person today. Well... again, I was unaware of this person's work until after I had given my presentation... but maybe the reason I was unaware was because there was no finished work to begin with. Based off of my conversation with said person, it was always just an idea that didn't get implemented (basically, this is good, but I don't want to be the person actually writing it --- was that person's take, so not sure if anything actually existed), or was implemented terribly that no one made use of it and therefore it got lost in the sea of code...

If I didn't derive any benefit from said work, didn't know it existed, and did my due diligence researching more prominent papers on the subject matter, is it really that terrible that I didn't specifically cite unpublished "work" that I didn't know about? If that were the case, I'm sure everyone would be in violation of each other, because, seriously, who comes up with a truly novel idea that has never been attempted before? Maybe the guy who tried it before had a something that was a tiny bit off that resulted in failure and 0 publicity... and maybe you just happened to get it to work... are you supposed to cite every failed attempt that wasn't published so you derived 0 benefit?

2) Not getting attention when you need it. Part of the reason I think certain people had a harder time was because, like me, they weren't getting the help they really needed to progress their own research. You know, I feel like I'm doing everything possible to make sure other people's research succeeds, but when it comes to my own research, no matter how much I plead, I just get very little support. That is, until some group of bigshots band together and agree with me... and then suddenly it's like wtf my work becomes higher priority... but until then, your pleads for help fall on deaf ears. That's been another one of my struggles for the last year. Basically, it's like... I wanted feature x,y,z that would be useful for everyone... but while everyone was in some general agreement that it'd be useful, no one wanted to implement it or find out a right way to implement it. Given my limited resources, and based off of people's suggestions, I implemented it one way. Turns out this way cannot be supported in new versions of the base code. Great. Thanks for wasting my time! And the sad part? Now it gains some traction, courtesy of me giving presentations... But come on, you're wasting my time by being stubborn...

I just feel very upset... and that conversation kind of killed my mood.

:\

I should really be working on slides for a presentation, but I'm not...

I've kind of given up on grad school. I feel like so far, it's been...

First/second year: Hey, you're good at FPGA stuff; help this project out. Several months later... I'm the only one that seems to care that people have a usable test setup, even though it's not like it's my chip... and it's not like I really expect I'd get as much as an acknowledgement for getting shit that no one wants to do done. The worst part? It's not like I really need the training... I thought that, supposedly, the point of working under older grad students is you'd be learning something from them, not doing bitch work that still takes time, but that you otherwise have the experience to already be able to do (unlike some of the people I worked with...). Oh, and when things weren't working, (certain) people gave me this angry "you should've made it actually work" face, rather than being grateful that I took time out of my own research to help them.

Second/third year: Yay, I have my own project? Maybe? Oh no... I'm stuck. I don't know who to go to for help. I keep getting redirected to other people, who supposedly know a thing or two from experience, but they cut me off because, well... I get it; they're busy with their own shit. They don't have the patience to help someone get started... That and... worst internship experience ever. omg. I finally found a problem worth looking into for more legit research, but I was derailed b/c there were some contractual obligations that I hadn't been made aware of, to tapeout. Tapeout my design. Tapeout the broken design of the intern who came before me. What have you... just tape some shit out. But wait. Halt. Even though I was still struggling to understand some fundamental issues with my design, forget about wasting time on that. Just put some transistors down to provide certain higher entities with a picture of a chip. That was 3-4 months of my life drawing rectangles and shit that amounted to nothing. I got no design review (how was I supposed to know if I was doing a good job? -- missing out on key learning right there), and when I was struggling through the horrors of layout, was I actually getting any real support? Any support from the people who wanted me to waste my time on this shit? Any support from other grad students who had gone through the process? Instead, I had people tell me to "go away" because they were busy... or stuff like "yeah, don't do what you're doing, because it's bad"... when I was handed down some bad design files so extracted results made no sense. I think, if you're a seasoned veteran and you saw the same things I saw, you'd maybe know what to do, but when you're just starting out and things you expect should work fail (which I think is a really horrible problem with this industry and the mentality of the people in it), you're just kind of out to sink by yourself. Hah. We recently had this group retreat where we detailed wishlists of documentation, etc. we would've liked to have getting started... Well, my problem with the concept of this whole retreat is... we spent SO MUCH time talking about supposedly wanting to help others who are getting started (b/c we struggled when we started -- there's just so much knowledge that NEEDS to be passed down for things to work smoothly), but seriously, who is selfless enough to actually do this shit? No one. The worst part? Everyone has tricked themselves to thinking they actually care to help people... HAHAHAHA. When I was struggling with bad design files, I asked a guy why there wasn't some centralized repository of known good files... and his response was, "Yeah... I wish there was, but I'm not going to be the one doing it." Wrong attitude... The irony of it all is, you know, just this year, he and some others FINALLY decided to compile a working set of design files (to the best of their knowledge), but because they were involved in a large project and getting a system done otherwise was not going to work. So, in the end, they had to do it, if nothing but out of desperation for the success of their own project. But apparently, that's the only way to get things done when you don't have some better sense of hierarchy forcing people to be a little more giving. Of course, there's also having interacted with other people who immediately shut your ideas down as being illegitimate without having really thought through things... Which makes you feel really insecure about yourself. When you're trying to do stuff that's not conventional (which is what research is supposed to be, right?), people just say "no"... which kind of sucks. Sometimes, you need someone to bounce ideas with... other times, you just need to talk at someone to work through your own problems. (like I know I'm the kind of person who just needs to say stuff out loud, and once in a while, I'll come to my own conclusion about a problem I'm having... but if someone just shuts me down without even giving me the chance... then idk... I'm just lost, dejected, blah blah).

Third/fourth year: Oh hey, you're pretty good at digital stuff. Why not polish an interesting block you made, while helping a bunch of other people out on their research (b/c said block is useful for them)? The problem with this? You need to write a dissertation about some innovative thing you did... and do I really want to be lumped into doing the painful implementation part of some other person's research? ... Because, well, when people found out I was working on said block, I got such comments as: "It's just fucking Verilog" or "I don't understand why you're working on this. It's been done before..." Well, 1) IMO, no one's really done it well/thoroughly. 2) There are certain aspects (at least in way of thinking) that are at least somewhat non-conventional. But that's the problem... Because it's non-conventional, no one gets you (maybe this is where I need to improve my advertising front), and people think you're wasting you're time doing something that's not quite research. Well, if you're just ramping up on a project and that's the first comment you get, then... let me ask you... would you really want to continue with the project? If you got some mixed feedback, you'd think that, okay, maybe someone out there would appreciate what you do... but if it's all negative from the start, do you really want to do this?!?! And so things continue... Except I've been sidetracked from working on said block to work on other things: i.e. updating tools! Because it was a requirement from higher ups, I designed said block using "gradware" a.k.a. code that leaves a lot to be desired (bugs, missing features, what have you). The problem was... when I tried to highlight some of these issues, I'd get a reply of "yeah, you're not the first one who's requested these things, but we don't have time to do this." ... ... ... The funny thing about this piece of "gradware" is... the people who actually code this thing up aren't the ones actually exercising it in any real capacity. If you really want it to catch on, you really need to listen to the needs of your users. **important note on design methodology** The problem is, these features aren't sufficient for helping them get papers, so it's uber low on their prioritized list of things to do. Anyways, I was frustrated... and there was another guy (the one whose research I'm supposed to be helping with) who decided it'd be worth trying to address some of my concerns... Fastforward n months, and there's no tangible progress... I can't keep waiting on other people to get their shit resolve, so ok... I decide to work on some alternative, because... other people can't get shit done. A couple of months later, people get it. I've highlighted legit issues, and I think my "hacked together" solution made enough of a splash where people want to look into it more. Battle won? But what happens to the n months I've spent writing an alternative? Turns out, it's not compatible with the new version of gradware... b/c they privatized a lot of the classes I had to modify to get things working. Great... wasted effort? Idk. All this time, I feel like I just haven't had a chance to work for *me*.

Present: Soo... while all of this was going on, higher ups also through at me some younger students to look after. You spend many months trying to get them up to speed on a setup that's constantly in fluctuation, since we're just starting out (so it's not like everything will just work)... They grumble a lot, but you're doing your best to accommodate them. They're busy with their other work too. Fair. You give them advice, but only half of them actually take it to heart. The other people just come back later and ask you why stuff still doesn't work, despite your attempt to warn them about good design... And then... they finish up, and peace out... The original intention of working with new students was to have them learn and potentially contribute to your project... But when you spend a lot of your time teaching them and they leave... and you realize you can't salvage that much of their work (even if you don't talk about quality, but instead talk about lack of any documentation to make the bring-up easier)... then what?! You just constantly feel like a reluctant team player that only gives but never receives... while everyone else just talks the talk.

And then there's this fundamental other problem of... working on a project that's supposed to enable other people... but feeling like you care more about progress than they do. I'd like to say I really care about finishing things I commit to. I used to feel like I was forced to overcommit in certain situations (like, you know, being told to do things, but not having a strong enough voice to say "I don't want to" or "I really don't have time"). But now, I'm a lot more assertive about saying timelines are unrealistic or whatever...

But other people have a serious issue. If they have other obligations, there are people who keep mum / string higher ups on... If they are stuck on debugging, probably out of pride, they don't communicate they're having problems. In both cases, they'd much rather say something like "(We) have all the pieces," and give people unreasonable expectations as to the likelihood of something getting done on time. I get it. Sometimes, unexpected things happen, and things just don't work out... But rather than saying you have a problem or you don't have time, you pretend things are going well... That's like... terribly counter-productive to the team. If you had just swallowed your ego and said things weren't working out to begin with, we could get more resources to try to help you along, and maybe things will work out in the end. What's even worse? I'd prod and ask about progress, and I'd get the same response. I'd even offer help. Or at least... you know... I'd say, if something isn't working, and you think it's my block, "please let me know so I can help debug." But I wouldn't get anything like that out of said person. Instead? I go to a meeting, and I strongly believe that said person spent all of an hour or two before it actually doing any work... and then.......... "(The block that I was working on) might be incorrect, because system simulations don't make sense." WHOA WHOA. Way to run me over. I did as much due diligence as I could think to do. I gave you at least a week's notice on being able to debug. And then, what? Instead of saying that you just started and were having problems, you immediately direct the blame at me?!?!?! A day later, he realized it was something in his code that was wrong...

You realize in that instance that you should be doing a better job documenting what you've done to the higher ups, so that if such a situation happened again, it'd be more apparent that it wasn't you...

Then there's this crunch time. I had a pretty big obligation to take care of prior to the last 2 weeks, and I gave everyone notice of it. I said explicitly that I could help out after things wrapped up, which I've been doing. But the other guy was supposed to be working on things... and for many weeks straight, when higher ups asked for an update, again, he gave the response "we have all the pieces." I didn't want to be caught in the same situation again, so I told one of the higher ups that I was pessimistic about things actually working out. I kind of felt there was no point voicing my concerns with the other higher up, because I felt like, for whatever reason, my work wasn't really being acknowledged, while any little statement from the other person would make him exclaim "you're doing great!" blah blah blah. Wow. Even though I don't know of any tangible output. I wonder if this is some inherent bias against girls... >_> <_< But yea, we're lumped together to try to get this demo + presentation up... One higher up thinks that we're "staying up all night" getting stuff working. Well, up until yesterday, I was staying up VERY late to try to get my part working. The other guy? "I'm hungry." "My brain is mush." ... But that's because you started working on this so late? I offer debug advice, and my god, why are you so stubborn to not try any of these things? And now? 3 and some days from the deadline? No response. I get that you like your you-time during weekends, but man, you need to step up. I think I got my part up. I asked you for a means to test my part at least 2 weeks ago. I outline my concerns about testing bare minimum functionality ASAP, so we know sooner rather than later if we'll have any shot of making anything. But no. Advice not taken. Dump everything in first. Nothing works. Too stubborn to simplify. As I'm not all that useful on this aspect of the project, because it's his setup, aside from offering debug suggestions... I work on the presentation... Really, it's to offload some responsibilities from him, so he can focus on getting stuff to work... But while I'm spending all night getting this presentation done (b/c we're cutting it VERY close), he's asleep... Actually, that's one thing I've learned to dislike. I'm not really big on giving presentations... but when it's your work being presented, I've learned that I *have* to be the one giving the presentation... because 1) I know what I'm talking about; 2) I've had many instances where the end result was the audience was giving some other person credit for my work. Not cool. The main problem is... I got my shit done, and I didn't overpromise anything... so I'm really bothered by the fact that I'm lumped together... and I feel like I get some credit for failing at this demo (which I did my best on), and he gets credit for some of my work, just by nature of us having to give the same presentation. Oh, and, I just got past a big milestone as far as grad school is concerned, but the main feedback is: I should keep doing what I'm doing instead of finding something to work on that isn't just working on someone else's project. I think that maybe people like that I'm detail oriented and can implement things (supposedly) well... which helps to further other people's work... But I'm just tired of this... That and another guy told me my project was boring (yes, to my face)... which adds to my reluctance... :( Oh, and one more thing. Around 2nd year, I was super optimistic about startups... except everyone else dismissed it and most of my ideas. :( And ironically, now, they're a lot more gung-ho about it, but people aren't dissing them. Oh, and one more thing... to the asshole who took my startup idea and entered it without my permission into an idea competition (not an implementation competition, just an idea competition -- after telling me my idea would not float) and won $1k, fuck you. Big fucking liar. "Oh, we entered it as a joke." Well, bullshit. Basically, moral of this story is... people suck. :D Don't trust anyone. They steal your ideas and put you down and take advantage of your willingness to work hard, while they sit back and chill.

You know what I find annoying?

Everyone has different ways to learn/pick up debugging skills, but some people are SO dismissive about the way other people learn... They just can't relate to people who are just getting started, and come off as total !@#$... Look, there are some things I pick up quickly and others that I just freeze on... And why don't you get that? :\ Is it that bad that I'm asking for a little nudge to help me get started? Must you really reply with a tone of voice that's implying I'm stupid or I'm not trying hard enough?

You have no idea how hard it is to get started after you've lost confidence in yourself. :\ And it doesn't help when you then imply that I'm not trying hard enough...

At least it'd be nice to hope for some infrastructure that can serve as some temporary replacement to live-person-help if that does happen.

>_> <_< And if there isn't some centralized FAQ, etc., then I might as well be fucked. Woop. Anyways, pandora's box. Don't get me started. Everyone works/thinks differently. Just b/c you're a genius doesn't mean everyone else is. !@#$% Even something as stupid as saying "that's a hard problem; I don't know" is better than sounding like you're implying I just suck. :< Confidence boosters are so useful... Also, just FYI, I'm in a better state of mind now... it's just that when people bring up anything related to my struggles up until around last year this time, I just... ugh... never had I ever felt so down about life/discouraged as I was the first half of last year... and that's when so-called support network failed me miserably. Sure, I shouldn't count on other people to help me, but then at least don't make me feel worse plzkthx.

Shocking!

For the first time since I started this new project, I got some legitimately positive feedback about my work. You know, not the superficial kind... feedback from people who did similar things, who had some idea how not easy this problem is (despite being fairly well explored).

I finally feel vindicated. :o

And this was immediately after a prof made a yawny face when I told him what I was working on. :(

But... gotta stick to the positives? Or something...

It really annoys me when...

I seed someone with a good idea, although I don't know the best way to implement it... and suddenly the person claims it's what he/she wanted to do all along...

I "thought"..., where I = other person.

When I was the one that had the idea originally. Hence all this talk about JSON, etc., since I do a lot of web stuff... WHAT HAPPENED TO ME?!?!

It'd not even that, man. I feel half of what I do no one pays attention to... except maybe like 2 people. One of the people incorporates a lot of my stuff into his stuff... and suddenly it's his. And everyone's like zomg this is soooo amazing; we gotta incorporate this shit.

And I'm like... really?! WTF.

It's more subtle than that, but I feel frustrated...

Is it because I just don't seem confident when I'm talking to people of importance? At least on this subject, I think I can get reasonably argumentative (in a good way).

Or maybe it's because I'm a girl?!?!?!

:D

First time I've ever published! *soexcite* :D Too bad I'm already in my 4th year :x

Hmmm... >.>

So I've had a semi-stressful last week, what with having to give a presentation and all. It culminated in me feeling kind of shitty b/c I felt like people didn't care what I was doing (possibly just me thinking too much about it). But I had a private conversation later with my advisor (and another prof happened to walk by and chime in on our conversation) and... well.. some select sentences triggered tears... and then the profs' attempts to console me just made it all worse.

But, after holding stuff in for so long, it actually felt a little relieving to let it all out...

So I updated my roommate on my life, for whatever reason, and she basically told me "sorry, but crying is unprofessional."

You know, this notion of professionalism is stupid. I don't think there's anything wrong with letting out your emotions when they just like... explode in your face. It just... happened. And part of my reason for being under so much stress is because I feel like everyone is judging me and it's overwhelming.

I disagree with everyone's reactions to the whole Tim Hunt thing, because I legitimately don't think there's anything wrong with being a little raw on the outside. Okay, fine, you shouldn't be manipulative and use crying to get what you want. I wasn't being criticized by my advisor. I just had a lot of built-up stress/pressure/frustration accumulated over... well.. you can probably tell from all of my super downer LJ posts...

Society sucks, man.

As long as you get done what you're supposed to do, that should be all that matters. >_< Everyone tells you not to worry about what other people think... only to be told by the same people x,y,z is not "professional." Well, there's a lot of hypocrisy in that statement. Poop.
:( when i ask about how to do x,y,z, in chisel (i.e. is this functionality built into it or not? if not, what's the best way to get something similar going?), i get a lot of unsatisfactory replies. sometimes, people end with "you're not supposed to do it that way," but at those times, they generally don't give me a good reason for why i shouldn't do things the way i proposed... some vague notion of "that seems bad" just leaves me with a sour feeling and doesn't actually help me understand how i can code shit better.

ok, so, actually, i've had a handful of good experiences lately... where people, who were super busy with tapeout, i might add, helped me figure out some noob scala problems (it's actually surprisingly annoying to google and stackoverflow shit when you're not familiar enough with terms used in functional/object-oriented programming)...

asking people shit about chisel has been a significantly improved experience over... well... that last n years of grad school... at least the responses i get are better than being told "there's no point doing what you're doing," "it's just **** verilog," or "just do it yourself."

grad school makes you feel empty inside... it's like you're stuck, alone, in an clear, airtight container and (almost) no one on the sidelines gives a shit to try to help you out. you know there are people out there who are maybe? looking out for your best interests... but they're just not... really there... an illusion??? instead, you get swallowed by a sea of indirection, blah blah blah.

the only time (some) people care is when you do grunt work for them. !@#$% and even then, it's "i'll only help you for the same amount of time you helped me"

the worst part is having people with big egos telling you from the get-go that "you're wrong" and then you go into a perpetual cycle of self-doubt... even when... maybe you're not wrong or it's not so clear-cut...

you know, they say phd is supposed to help you focus your interests, yadda yadda. i think it just makes you narrow-minded and sucks all empathy for people who are struggling out of you.

//ok, i've vented my frustrations publicly.

Ughh...

I'm frustrated by the fact that a lot of what I do depends on other people... and waiting for stuff to magically appear is really eating at my patience... x_x Either they don't deliver or they deliver on something so late that it's not even worth using... and in the meantime, you're wasting your time with things you know are suboptimal... you'd hope that giving people time to work on stuff in parallel would enable them to make a certain amount of progress that would be somewhat sufficient to work with when you decided it was time to revisit and re-implement stuff?...

I guess I'm just annoyed b/c I feel like I expected people to get shit done this time around, and people are not... which puts me in bad light b/c my work is slowed down... -_- and it looks like I'm not productive... but if everyone actually stuck to what they were good at, why is this such a slow process?!?!?!

At least give me some pointers while I try to make a temporary solution to this problem? x_x Don't have as much background in this as you people... :x

Well, it's an improvement over getting stuck with doing 90% of the work *cough class projects* and getting only 30% credit for it (or doing 99.999% of the work and getting 50% credit for it) !@#$%^

I feel like such a door mat. I get stepped on left and right b/c I'm not pushy enough about shit. :x

Plz do x. Reminder 1: plz do x. Reminder 2: plz do x. (should have continued with the reminders, but I stopped). And then, because x is not done, someone else proposes an alternative... b/c I didn't deliver on getting person a to do x... even though I explicitly (in writing) tasked it to said person... it still appeared as if I failed... I hate that.

Someone please tell me how to improve.

Meep.

Happy, but slightly (?) annoyed post?

Soooooo the last month and a half has been pretty insane. Up until I went down to LA two weeks ago, I'd been stressed out for an extended period of time... Even back in undergrad, when I was scrambling to finish class projects, this never lasted more than 2 weeks (right? 2 weeks of going crazy to get things done before the end of term; then you get at least a week to cool off and relax)... Anywhos, I managed to lose something like 6 lbs in that period (which I seemed to have gained back after pigging out at home... uhhh....)

But yeah... I've been stressed out... I ended up camping out in a sleeping bag multiple times per week (bad idea) in lab, because I'm stubborn and like working until things get resolved, which for whatever reason, always seems to occur ~3AM. >.> Plus, my apartment situation was semi-miserable for the last month... because they were doing on-off repair work starting at 9AM (and they're still not done D:) -- when I'm usually asleep. QQ

Ok, I did go gold panning (it was kind of silly ahaha) during Labor Day weekend, which ended up being pretty amusing/relaxing. Played around with water and all that jazz... xP

And then it was workworkwork. I planned a trip to LA several months ago for: 1) BigBang 2) Rurouni Kenshin movie 3 premiere (I can't find the ticket stub :( ) 3) Disneyland. BUT I was too cheap to fly and wanted to make sure I'd get there with ample time, so I left Thursday afternoon, via BoltBus... The bus was pretty good. I actually got some Wifi. BUT.... OMFG 8 hours to get there is way too much, when Megabus only takes ~6? And there was this girl who was talking to people on the phone in her native language pretty much 80% of the ride. D: And here I was, trying to write my paper and feeling miserable... :( Dizzy, what have you :(. Okay, knowing me and how I always submit things last minute, you can expect that I'd be feeling miserable, but to my credit, I didn't think I'd try to submit to this (and who knows what chance I'll have to get in :(... was planning on doing something a few months later, but my advisor was meh about it ~_~)

Anywhos, I get there, and the next day I'm supposed to pickup my roommate from back when I interned at Apple.... I would've felt SOOOOOO guilty if I couldn't entertain her, because I asked her to come that weekend to go to Disneyland T_T (this was before I decided to go for this paper deadline...)... but yeah... I had my dad do the driving because 1) I don't feel comfortable to drive on 3 hours of sleep and 2) I needed to use the time to work...

And then it was the Kenshin premiere. The movie itself was good, but Eigafest premiere was a huge letdown compared to 3 years ago :(. Last time, we got to participate in the red carpet event; this time, we just waited outside for 2 hours D: (well, closer to 1.5 b/c I was late... due to LA traffic).... while the "celebs" -- mostly people who paid $$$ to fund the event + a handful of Japanese GoH -- walked in... Then it was more waiting... and more waiting... (inside the venue instead of outside! and then seated instead of standing!) before the movie began... except the subtitles were kind of bleh and they even announced that they couldn't get the "highest quality" version of the film for the premiere. WTF. How hard is that?! I wonder if Torrenting would've produced better results, because you could see the pixelation during scenes w/ lots of action. D:

But besides that, I was super skeptical when they chose Satou Takeru to play Kenshin for the first movie, and even the first movie I was pleasantly surprised at how great he was at Kenshin... haha... Also, the sword fighting scenes were excellent :) And... even though I haven't seen the 2nd movie, watching Soujirou with his hophophop brought back a lot of Kenshin feels xP... I haven't read the reworked manga (that's supposed to go with the movie), but they focused a lot more on fighting together on the black ship... before, it felt like a group fighting each boss stage one person at a time before Kenshin got to Shishio, but I think this worked out quite well...

And uhh.. afterparty? Well, I was disappointed. In the past, they gave out free Pocky/alcohol, etc. samples, and it was right outside the theatre. We got to talk to the director and Munetaka Aoki for the first movie (my friend even got the director's business card :o), but this time... what with the club setting, you really couldn't expect to do any of that... and no free food/alcohol... so we left :(. Felt like I paid $45 for a $15 experience, at most... probably less, because of all of the wait time and crappy movie quality... and I guess it didn't help that I had already met the two before... Derp.

But yea, I felt so bad about wasting time not being able to write, so I had some difficulty concentrating during the movie... and then I worked... until 5AM... I'm not very happy with my last bit of editing (I really did just run out of time.......), but it was due... and I freaked out b/c the PDF file I made was >8MB, and there was a limit of 5... It took something like 5 minutes to be accepted by the system, and the clock was ticking down. @_@

I ended up going to sleep sometime after 5:22... and was woken up by my dad slightly before 7, because my friends and I had agreed to go to Disneyland that day... I was seriously worried I'd pass out mid-ride, since I had basically gotten 1.5 hours of sleep and roughly 2-5 hours of sleep each night before that for the last week.

Anyways, point of that was Disneyland worked out, quite well I might add. We had some issues with getting caught in line as Space Mountain broke down... but we managed to ride it twice... We also went on Tower of Terror and California Screamin'.... which really aren't my cup of tea... Last time I went on those rides was when I went with some fangirls/fanboys I met... b/c *cough* EXO *cough* was @ California Adventure (we didn't really stalk them tho... 'cause we ended up doing the big rides in the exact opposite order they did them LOL oops? but some creepy fangirls followed them everywhere...)...

More later... gotta get into lab. ~_~




la
roommate/subletter
credit; internship too
Also, maybe I should start charging fellow grad students for my FPGA code. It's not worth their time to figure out because it's "just fuckin' Verilog", and I don't even get as much as a measely little acknowledgement for my help. Instead, I feel berated and cast aside as a cheap commodity. At least if I get paid, I actually get something out of my effort...

When shit doesn't work, they blame me. When shit works, "it's just fuckin' Verilog."

End of summer... :(

It sucks, but not for your usual reasons. I'm not taking classes or anything...

It sucks because people who I don't want to talk to are back. People who are dismissive about my research... and constantly making the lacking-in-self-confidence Angie feel bad. :( Apparently, if you switch from RF to a more DSP-related hardware project, you're not doing anything innovative, and it's "just fuckin' Verilog." Design space exploration means nothing. Well, how is that any bit different from tweak x,y,z to making your oh-so-cool RF block slightly better with respect to noise figure, efficiency, etc. etc.?! Just because we have more mature tools to use than fuckin' ghetto 1970s-like CAD tools... Isn't it completely analogous?! If you think that way, then you can say (which I don't disagree with) that pretty much 99.9999% of all engineering "research" isn't really research. Unless you're the new Gilbert mixer guy, you're just barely affecting change anyways...

Fuckin' haters. I include myself in this generalization, but I just need to say this. Academics are such hypocrites. Just b/c what people are working on != your cup of tea, doesn't mean you can outright "just fuckin' Verilog" their n months/years, etc. of effort. Before you say it yourself, why don't you try a project in their sub-area that is on the same level of complexity, etc. as what they've done? Just 'cause you can type x = a & b doesn't mean you "really" know how to write good HDL...

One of many reasons why I've been hating on grad school here.

Also, back in high school, when people berated me or made fun of me, etc. I felt consoled in knowing that I'd probably be more successful in life than them 10 yrs down the line... Unfortunately, I can't really get my "personal revenge" with people here, because in order to do that, I'd basically have to win the equivalent of a Nobel prize or something... LOL... I'm at my limits and obviously there are people out there who are more capable than me... I just wish they could acknowledge the little people more.

This whole Tim Hunt thing...

Has blown completely out of proportion. (Warning: long-winded, poorly written, stream of consciousness rant to follow)

I'm a girl in a STEM field. I've cried and broken down from stress. I'll admit to having crushes on TA's before (something about smart role models that you can look up to or trusted older brother type figures that provide you with encouragement along the line = oddly attractive). While I disagree with his saying that women are the root cause of inefficiencies in a lab environment, the way that he has been vilified by the Internet and by his own academic institution is, in my opinion, uncalled for. Especially if such sentiments have not been reflected in his actions towards women in the scientific community (and I haven't seen any evidence online that they have, although I guess that's more of a who knows thing...).

I'm not necessarily saying this because I feel bad for him (and I do), but rather, I think it's such a pity for a field to lose such an important mind. I am by no means an outspoken feminist, but I could imagine such a thought: what if women had, from the get go, been more actively involved in STEM fields? I'm not referring to what would generally be considered outlier cases like Marie Curie (gifted beyond exception!), etc. that people have been referencing... But what if, because of a generally different attitude in STEM within the last 100 years, there were more women participating in groundbreaking scientific research (or given credit for such participation)? Do you think the greater "diversity" (I do think women and men think differently; and it's quite possible that just having a different second opinion would lead to better/faster results) would have enabled more/greater scientific achievements? "What if" questions are scary. Who knows? But under the assumption that having more great minds engaged in science would lead to greater scientific progress, wouldn't it be considered hypocrisy to deny someone who has an amazing track record for scientific contribution participation in the academic community? By forcing Hunt to resign, you're doing a great disservice to the field and hindering scientific progress.

Pointing out "overt sexism" is a great way to get a discussion about lack of women representation in the STEM fields. Heck, taking a picture of conference bathroom lines or women's bathroom signs being temporarily converted to men's bathroom signs is a great way to get a conversation going... But let's be civil about this all and not crucify someone for what the guy recognizes (even in retrospect) was a mistake on his part.

If you think that I'm a girl who hasn't had to deal with sexism in the tech sector, I'll let you know that I have. Last year, at a major conference, an industry bigshot (older generation) came up to me, some friends, and our (male) PhD advisors. He made some extremely uncalled for comments about being "surprised" by the fact that there were women "capable enough" to be graduate students in our field nowadays (insult, much?). In this day and age, detecting overt sexism is trivial. Our advisors got him to back off quickly, and I kind of laughed his remarks off as being sadly archaic. But if anything, that ignited a strong desire in me to prove the guy's generalizations about women wrong. As an individual, girl or guy, I want to succeed and surpass people's expectations of me. Sexism or not, I think it's up to me to overcome such challenges. In doing so, I think I'd become a stronger person.

In my opinion, a greater problem in the STEM field is covert sexism or something that might not even be considered "sexism" at all. It's not something that's easy to point out, and it's something that people might be doing completely unintentionally. It might even be something as simple as forming your own girl/guy cliques within a large research center. When you have various cliques in a research center that isolate themselves from other groups, progress is impeded. Dissemination of information (information that is useful to everyone) between groups is slowed or becomes non-existent... and problems that would have been quickly solved collectively become much larger problems than they ever needed to be. That is a problem. That's a problem I, in particular, am very bothered by. Cliques can form because of common interests (outside of research interests too -- sports, board games, etc.), and people within one group of friends are more willing to work with others in said group to solve problems. Unfortunately, if you're not part of the majority clique or other satellite cliques, tough luck :(. There's a higher chance that you feel isolated and inadequate, not necessarily because of lack in abilities on your end, but because you simply don't have a strong support network when you really need one, and the worst part is, people who belong to said cliques lack any empathy regarding your predicament simply because they don't have to deal with it themselves, and it shows in how they treat you...

So then what? Is this solely your problem? Or is the environment just toxic and should a change be proposed? And if so, what? No one's being overtly sexist here, but a feeling that you're "left outside of the loop" makes one potentially feel more hopeless than being explicitly told that you "suck because you're a girl"... The more hopeless you feel, the less likely you'll be able to make progress (unless you snap yourself out of this extremely negative positive feedback cycle), and the more people are likely to pass negative judgment and make generalizations and be even less willing to help you.

The unfortunate reality is though, that, most of the tech sector is a "boy's club" just due to sheer numbers. And unless you're a girl who shares common outside-of-research interests (which is quite probable, but highly dependent on the individual), I do believe there is a wall for you to overcome. That, in this day and age, is a bigger problem that needs to be remedied.

(Anecdotally, what with basketball finals going on, for a brief period of time, the only people in lab were girls who were generally less interested in basketball and people rushing to meet a deadline...)

On somewhat of a tangent, and to address a comment I read somewhere, I do think girls who apply for certain fellowships, jobs, etc. have it easier than men, because of the government and industry push to equalize the numbers... And I don't think it's fair. It seems to be true that, for example, if you play up the fact that you're a girl in STEM = underrepresented minority, you'll be more likely to win prestigious awards. But I'd rather win such awards based on my own academic/intellectual merit... that does loads better for my own ego.

While I think it might be easier for girls to "get in the door" due to their minority status, I also think it's true that girls have a harder time advancing up the career ladder. People say that strong men in leadership positions are to be admired; however, people misconstrue strong women to be "bitches." They might not say it outright, but I do believe there is a difference in attitude, and that does become a problem (again, IMO, not overt sexism). Also, it's easier to advance your career if you have more chances to interact with people who are important (= socializing in the business world). Let's just say that's a lot easier if you have common interests both at work and outside, and as a girl in an already male-dominated field, that is somewhat harder. It's hard to "force yourself" to like something just to socialize better, but if you succeed, then more kudos to you.

Anyways, it should be evident in your work whether you're capable or not/how important you are. The guy made a generalization that is untrue. Just don't go rebutting his generalization with your own generalizations. Maybe you haven't cried out due to stress before. I have..., and I'm sure other people (women and men) have too... but I really don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. It's part of your growing experience, and if you can rise past that, then you're not a bad person/bad researcher, etc. at all.

As a last note, I don't think that women support groups always serve their intended purpose. The thought's great, but I sometimes feel that they have the potential to further isolate themselves from the root cause of problems. You know, going back to cliques and all... I think you'd have a stronger support network if it involved people on the other side of the "problem" as well, lest things degenerate into a pity party (not that they necessarily do).

Admittedly, sometimes sharing common grievances does make me feel better about life...

Life lessons...

Learned some life lessons since starting grad school. Don't get bogged down by details (because they'll most likely work themselves out if you have a solid big picture idea). Don't let people's negative opinions of your ideas/your way of living get the best of you (= don't give up too soon, you never know, right?). Don't just "suck it up" when people are obviously treating you unfairly (granted, it's not worth escalating situations where you're obviously in a disadvantageous position, lest you want to shoot yourself in the foot). And finally and most importantly, if you look for people to work with who are capable of making up for your inadequacies or who are supposed to be your mentors, make sure that they have (as reasonably as possible) your best interests in mind too (or is that too tall an order to fulfill? A mentor who has you do things because it'll be beneficial to you as well).

== Don't let yourself get screwed (by your own inner demons too) because of sub-par interactions with other people. One needs self-confidence to be successful. No matter how hard it is, if you lose your self-confidence, you need to fight to get it back (= where I'm stuck in life).

Oh and two more things. If you have high expectations (of both yourself and others), you just need to realize other people's expectations are probably something like yours/10. Maybe that'll help you feel more confident...

And it's (extremely) important to build a healthy support network (of people you can actually trust) that doesn't involve one side giving and not receiving anything in return all the time... We need more symbiosis here.

Also, even if people are your friends, apparently NDAs are important.

:D

First happy post in ages!

Sort of.

A couple of weeks ago, I closed one really horrible chapter of my life. :x I'm still in grad school, but I hope things can only get better from here on out. I think I understand myself a bit better -- I aim too high, which makes it extremely difficult to feel like I've succeeded at anything without getting positive feedback from others. Positive feedback = getting good grades, winning awards, etc., rather than the feeling of nonchalance (about my research) that I've been getting from everyone around me. Up until grad school, everything was so much more straightforward. To feel good about myself, I just needed to finish projects well, and I have to admit, the last minute rush to get something working before a final project demo REALLY drives me. Yes, it's stressful, but the accomplishment just feels that much better after the fact. o_o Am I weird?

The problem with research is twofold. Up until now, I've been given problems that I haven't been particularly interested in myself; it doesn't help that the only person who shows any interest in the topic I'm working on has been my advisor. This mostly stems from the fact that this isn't really his area of expertise... But when I ask other grad students to discuss things with me, since they don't have any investment in the project, I just feel somewhat stifled? I'm not necessarily asking you to give me the answers to all of my problems. Sometimes, I just need to think out loud, and maybe in the middle of my question, I'll come to some realization that X works or Y doesn't. Instead, I feel like no one thinks what I'm working on is useful (de-motivation, much?) or tunes me out with the immediate "that's wrong" kind of reply without even fully understanding what I'm trying to ask. :( It's so frustrating when you have such a poor support network... and I'm sure some grad students have it better, but I don't. :( Of course, the other problem with research is that there isn't necessarily a very clear solution for a given problem (that's research, right?). That's not to say that class projects are always black and white easy/hard -- I've been talking to one visiting researcher who, at least based off of her own experience, thought that there was very little to gain in terms of creativity with class projects, but I beg to differ. It really depends on the person. When I was given the freedom to choose my own projects, I never chose to do something because it was easy (okay, it happened once, but I ended up not getting chosen for that project and got stuck with the hardest one of the possibilities -- to my betterment). There was always some application I wanted to target or some circuit/function I had read about in app notes or textbooks or research papers that I wanted to try. And I could be creative because I came up with my own project. I feel like that largely hasn't been the case while I've been in grad school. Rather than get encouraged by things I read in paper, because I was working at such a low level (low = block level), everything I read in papers just showed me what didn't work well enough or that all of the low hanging fruit had already been picked...

Anyways, I'm much more suited for systems design, I think. And even if I was completely pissed off at the fact that I got stuck with the brunt of the CS work for the interactive device design class I took last term, I got a surprisingly large amount out of it. Technological innovation can and should be driven by user needs, and that's where I think the old-school circuit designer mentality has failed the industry somewhat. It NEEDS to change to keep its edge; we're at a point where block level innovations are far too hard to come by, but there's still SO MUCH to do at the systems/applications level...

Anyways, that's the direction I want to head in. There are various obstacles (= wrapping up my current projects and getting people on board) to heading there... But at least I have a better vision of what makes a good PhD for me. Irrespective of whether that's a good PhD for other people... I'm highly opinionated, but eh, I'll try harder to emphasize that what I say only applies to my own goals...

That being said, we lost the end of term competition for our final project... In my opinion, it was the most technologically advanced project out of all of the ones in the class, but where we failed was at the project ideation stage. We all just wanted to play with cool tech and tried to mold a use case (although relevant, just not "product" worthy) around the tech. So we lost. And the people who won? Well, the idea itself didn't even come out of the student team... but people bought into its purpose, because it was commercializable or the judges clearly could see various industries making use of the technology, no matter how simple it was...

So I learned... There's no way people will buy into whatever cool tech (= cool game demo or w/e) if you can't demonstrate that it's useful...

OK, so that wasn't quite true, but it still sort of worked...

I participated in a hackathon recently, and although I wasn't really thrilled about the technology we were using, while other people were focused on things like games, I wanted to find some kind of medical application (a bit farfetched, but eh...)... And one of my teammates came up with an idea that could possibly sell well, although we really didn't have enough of the background in the area to see if it was useful (but I guess for a half-day hackathon, you just need to show that it might be relevant and hope for the best?)...

And we got 3rd? :D Some potentially cool prize should be coming with it... hopefully? Well, unfortunately, the folks who got "most innovative" kind of weren't very real-world applications focused (it was more like the game I made in the IDD class...), but 3d graphics are shiny, right? It wasn't innovative, but it was a fun demo... and, man... iPhone 6 would be really nice :(. Eh, whatever... HAHAHAHA....

We were supposed to get 2 minutes to pitch or project, but the teams before us went on for a really long time until they finally started warning teams that they'd be cut off at 2 minutes. Unfortunately, I ran into some technical difficulties with my laptop that ate into our allotted time... and we were the only group that the judges had 0 questions for... D: *owl hoots in the background* ... So I was pretty disheartened... but I guess we got our point across without the need for Q&A, and that's why things worked out as they did?

Anyways, I'd probably do another hackathon. In my opinion, this one was very "chill." The dedication wasn't quite there and by 5PM, a lot of the teams had left... o_O Also, originally I only wanted to do a hackathon with friends, but frankly, I get a little nasty during crunch time when people aren't pulling through and I'm left to do all of the last minute bug fixes and hacks to get things up and running... So maybe friends aren't the best to work with... I'm liable to ruin friendships... and rather than just finding any person to work with, I'd hope their skillsets and dedication would complement my own? I do have to admit though, that having a mascot-like teammate who does mostly support (not necessarily any technical work, but instead can look up stuff for you or who's eager to make Powerpoints and give you encouragement and feedback -- Should I just do this because we don't have time? Should I scratch that idea? -- high level stuff, you know) is fantastic.

Hmm... hopefully people think that I'm dependable. That's a trait I care about both in myself and in others...

What else? I went to a Tech reunion some 2 weeks ago. It was fantastic seeing people I hadn't seen since graduation or even before then. I also went to a friend's housewarming party after the hackathon. It was equally fun. :D I will admit to having a little too much to drink :( Not that I got drunk (3 shots are too much for me)... but my stomach is just really god awful at handling alcohol... and I felt really really sick afterwards...

It was fun, and I randomly ran into a high school friend I hadn't seen in almost 7 years... because he was a friend of one of my friend's new roommates... Small world, ain't it? When everyone is in Tech, that is...

It's lonely up here. :( I thought it would be a crutch to rely too much on old friends in a new environment... But when you don't have any old friends around, surviving is much more painful... :( Especially when it's hard to click with new people. There's a certain kind of person that I get along well with, and unfortunately, my interests/personality just don't overlap well enough with the people here. It's not to say I don't have many friends... but there's a difference between knowing someone and being very close with him/her, and it's hard when these people have more "adult" lives -- i.e. are married, have been out working for a while, etc. :x

People probably think I have a serious issue re: "grass is greener...", but I legitimately think that I'd be happier elsewhere. @_@.... I guess I need to make due with what I have and hopefully become a stronger person as a result of this "ordeal"... Maybe go outside of people in my field and find people who are more interested in hackathons and other activities that I'd enjoy...

I hate interacting with you people.

Who feel the need to correct every little thing as if you're mocking me. :( It's like the stupid facade thing an ex-friend pointed out. Gosh, well, sorry if my pronunciation was incorrect. I didn't have friends with an extensive-enough vocabulary to use such a word in a conversation prior to talking to you people (this was ages ago, but I hold grudges?) to realize I was mispronouncing the word... At least I was able to interpret the meaning correctly from random books I used to read as a kid. (BTW, thanks to my high school education, I've learned to dislike reading... So much for reading for enjoyment when you're stuck memorizing stupid facts about shit b/c your fellow classmates can't be held responsible for doing the reading w/o quizzes to incentivize them...)...

Anyways, blah blah blah probability 1 blah blah. I don't need that bullshit. There's a right way to point out mistakes w/o coming off like you're trying to make fun of me, okay? Not that I made any kind of mistake to cause such a statement. And maybe online friends aren't real friends to you, but the people I talk to online are a 1000x better friends than the people I see every day here. And sucks for you that you don't have any long-term online friends who you've been able to meet in real life. You're missing out.

KThx. Bai.

I hate gimmicks.

I generally liked the concept of the class I took last term. HOWEVER, the one thing that got me frustrated was... the lack of thought people put into the robustness of their projects... Why did you not consider x, y, and z cases? How come you didn't handle blah? Why did everything fall apart when you did a and b? ...

I'm not sure if this stems from my perfectionism or my inability to accept as sufficient so-called solutions that aren't robust or clearly scoped out...

It's kind of why I'm sort of disillusioned with research. People pass off so-so things as THE MOST AMAZING SHIT EVER, when in reality... will people actually adopt the block that is so revered despite having significant issues that keep it from being practical?

Anyways, point of academic research is just to stick a bunch of stuff together, notice little tricks, and bam!

The end.

I guess I'm just the kind of person that sees more merit in tackling the more pressing problems... I've been telling everyone... if x can get resolved, then you can do a bunch of *insert trick from bag* things to show off... But everyone's focused on low-hanging fruit at the moment, and I have this task that feels next to impossible... And only a handful of people credit the problem as being difficult or at least worthwhile to solve.

This pisses me off. It's not worthwhile to solve, because it's not in any given standard... Anyways, I think standards-based research is bleh.

The end.

*slaps self*

Gotta lose some of the self pity and replace it with more optimism about life, lest I get stuck in this bottomless pit of OH SHIT MY LIFE SUCKS forEVER. x_x Dramatic reduction in productivity when I'm doing stuff I don't enjoy... But I don't want to give up on idealism... QQ MUST.TAKE.THINGS.INTO.OWN.HANDS. AHHHH.

Went to the Computer History Museum today

It was interesting? One of the things that irked me was how they just had to specifically mention "woman engineer?!?!?" in one of their exhibits. Really? IMO, calling out the fact that the tech industry lacked tech diversity back then was unnecessary. :\ Would've been more interesting to see an exhibit on famous people (including women) that helped to shape tech from blah until present.

Hmm... I think I'll try posting here more frequently... and cut down my ranting unnecessarily to other people. Maybe it'll help boost my morale... (not sure how).

Moral of the story

Gotta get rich fast. :\

I had a conversation w/ one of my friends over the summer... about old age/retirement/savings, etc. He was of the opinion that you couldn't be so easily replaced... contrary to my parents' belief --> better be safe than sorry and save save save, because you knows when you can get laid off... especially as you age. Most people's mental acuity decreases with age after some kind of threshold (maybe 55?)... It's... almost unavoidable? Unless you were gifted w/ an incredible brain/body so that you could be just as sharp at age 90 as you are at age 25. But... unlikely... no matter how much you hope for that. Why was I in such a hurry to make it big? I'm not even at a quarter of a century yet...

Anyways, you make substantially more money in the tech industry than you do in other industries, but more so than in other areas... you'll likely be forced into early retirement. Even if you wanted to keep learning, it's just SO HARD to keep pace with the younger generation once you hid a certain age... That plus constant stress takes a toll. Frankly, I think this is worse for CS than EE, because, especially in the Internet age, unless you have some extremely deep insights on machine learning or the likes, your skills as a Javascript coder or whatnot = highly replaceable. By the time you hit maybe 50, how can you possibly keep up with those fresh out of college? Sure, you gain wisdom with age, but after a certain point, added wisdom does not account for decrease in sharpness... :\ Then you're out of luck and will be made to retire earlier than you'd like. And before then, you'll just feel the pain of feeling somewhat helpless at work... I'm not sure if people heading into CS careers realize this or not... It's one thing to retire early after you've made enough money to sustain yourself for forever = win at the startup game... but... if you don't have the foresight to see the longevity of your career... Well, I guess it's also somewhat hard because the "Internet age" is still relatively new, and the people who started it all (okay, I'm not talking about ARPANET or anything -- say beginning at the inception of Yahoo/Google) are still RELATIVELY YOUNG (40's at best), so there isn't a large enough sample size to affirm my beliefs... YET.

So yeah, big pay in tech, but your working lifespan is 20-30 years at best.... whereas in other areas, you might make less yearly, but it's less of an issue of having "sharp" young minds take over your spot...

Ramble ramble.

GOTTA MAKE MONEY WHILE YOU'RE YOUNG.

The other thing is... my parents always tried to feed the notion of "it's better having kids before you turn 30" into my mind. It's good b/c it's less of a risk just in terms of being young; also, you'll have a higher chance of seeing grand-kids LOL... and well... it affords some financial freedom to you if you're financially sound when you have kids and are able to graduate them off before you retire (or are forced into retirement)... Of course, as a girl, it sucks, because with the current state of the maternity leave system, it means you're really giving up a lot of potential for career advancement to do this...

Also, this PhD had better be worth it. I'm losing many years doing this :(

Gundam Wing

Gundam Wing feels. :< Oh, the anime of yore. So much awesome. ;_; It feels like I'm watching one of those old black and white war movies... Some questionable scene transitions, but otherwise 素晴らしい〜!!Newfound appreciation for the dialog and themes that I only half understood as a 3rd?4th grader... Back when I'd run around playing anime superhero instead of house :O 懐かしいな.. I wonder what kids do these days... iPad?

The themes do a surprising job of hitting home, partially due to current events... More so than the same themes in SEED. I guess SEED was more eye candy and drooling over angsty effeminate men... whereas Wing is less polished, but... just wow. wow. wow. Back in the day, I don't think I liked Heero so much for his looks (not exactly your characteristic bishounen), but more for his character?

Rewatching the whole series for the first time ever = major win!

White Reflection

I chose the name of my original website way back when "shiroi kaisou" as a (hopefully correct?) translation to the ENGLISH name of a Japanese song by the group TWO-MIX called "White Reflection" from the Endless Waltz OVA of one of my favorite anime back in the day -- Gundam Wing. :D Because I've been on somewhat of a Gundam binge lately, I decided to rematch it. Funny how it awkwardly kind of parallels real world events, in a "I wish this weren't so" way. :\ When you're younger, you don't really comprehend or are somewhat shielded from all of the events that occur in the real world. Somehow, despite a lot of bloodshed and whatever else have you, the good guys generally come out on top in these series... :\ But man, so much effort @_@.

That moment when Heero self-detonated. :O Probably one of the few scenes I remember clearly from the first time I watched it roughly 15 (WHOA) years ago. I rematch Endless Waltz every so often, but this is a first for the original series. >.< Brings back so many memories. I feel like a lot of this war stuff never quite registered in my head back then -- too much shiny mecha as a kid... + some angsty guy who seemed super KAKKOI, although really, didn't start understanding the whole angst thing until much later in life. LOL.

This + clam chowder + Mountain Dew keep me going. :\ Gotta figure out this research business.

Digging holes and coming up with nothing. So, when do you think it's appropriate to dig holes elsewhere? Advice plzkthx?

Hmm...

Do you ever feel that being a girl results in being objectified more? How about specifically as an Asian girl? ...

Anyways, shitty week. Nail in tire and businesses who don't place customer safety over earnings... and car break in's resulting in broken windows. Rather unhappy....

Oh, also

People say/think I complain too much. I think the increase in conversational complaints has gone up proportionally with the decrease in my Livejournal activity. :D

Joy to the world!

Anyways, that was my rant about group projects. Conversely, it also epically sucks not having a partner at all (well, obviously you want a reliable one who doesn't freaking take credit for your work *cough ahem cough*) when it comes to research. Stuck. No guidance. Sadface.

People keep telling me grass is greener on the other side, but I'm 99% sure I made the wrong decision to do a PhD on this particular topic.

I don't want to be a drone that has given up on some degree of "ultimate happiness." I don't think I'd be satisfied just doing something because I'm okay at it or something. I REALLY still hope to do something that at least feels rewarding to myself, if not to other people. And I haven't found that yet. :(

But no one here is any bit encouraging about that. Maybe because everyone's just wallowing in their own lack of exuberance over X topic. But frankly, that's the line that separates the winners from the rest of the pack. Is it that unbelievable or difficult to fathom that I'd rather be on the winners' side of things? Can someone please tell me that what I want isn't impossible to achieve?

Maybe I read too deeply into things, but I feel really put down here. Why can't we all just encourage each other to pursue our dreams instead of being satisfied with some mediocre state of being?

Is it that hard?

So yeah, when I'm not pulling all nighters picking up shit for other people on group projects, I'm generally completely burnt out (need a MAJOR break) or otherwise wondering about how confused I am in life instead of making serious progress towards X (whether it be my degree, one of many startup ideas I've been thinking through, etc. etc.).

I need to find me. I need to learn how to care about only pleasing myself first and foremost. Then maybe I'll learn to be happy with my present state.

You are the master of your destiny.

I call bullshit. Why? You are master of 90% of your destiny. The remainining 10% is wholly dependent on if other people are willing to cooperate with you (and in this case, I did try VERY hard to get people to cooperate, but some people just aren't the "let's do it for the group" type). I'd say I put in 110% effort on this silly little class project, and frankly, in terms of ideation and just getting shit done, I feel that I rightfully deserve 110% of the grade. But reality is, nothing works that way. The one unique aspect of the project (IMO) we poorly showcased -- the part I spent the most effort coming up with, unfortunately, in addition to picking up after other people due to their inability to accomplish things. -_- But yeah, I feel cheated.

Everyone's telling me I go overboard, but based off of feedback we've received all term, I'm almost positive it's by my going overboard we've actually managed to pull out of this in somewhat decent shape. Heck, because people left out details here and there on the first assignment, we were penalized. Then I made it my job to fill in all of the blanks. But really, should that be only left to me? Does no one realize that my "going overboard" is the reason we were able to achieve anything?

Next to having people who are incapable of meeting any kind of simple deadline. Seriously, you have no idea how simplified certain tasks became, and even then, I was debugging shit for people. That's not right. Not right at all.

Group projects in class contexts suck. They're so polarizing because no one is penalized above others for lack of responsibility. HOWEVER, the person who has to make up for lazy ass people is, IMO, stuck with AN EXTREMELY UNFAIR task.

What the eff is this "sorry" "sorry" "sorry" bullshit? I'm SO FREAKING SICK AND TIRED of having people tell me "SORRY" x infinity for not getting their parts done. Okay, fine. I give you an important responsibility. You can't do that. We simplify it down to something supposedly you think you can handle. You keep saying "oh it's hard" without really trying (like seriously how many freaking hours did you actually dedicate to this shit outside of OMG SHOWING HOW HARD IT IS WHILE YOU'RE IN A FREAKING GROUP SETTING?!?!?!). Okay, stuff is hard. IF STUFF IS ACTUALLY HARD, I SHOULD NOT FREAKING BE ABLE TO IMPLEMENT WHAT YOU TOOK 3-4 WEEKS TO DO IN ROUGHLY 1 DAY. I waited for you to get shit done, because I can "empathize" over the fact that it SUCKS to have responsibilities get taken away from you (hey, people tell me I should empathize more with people). BUT GIVE ME A BREAK. YOU'RE THE SUPPOSED EXPERT.

But you know the worst part? It's not even this god damn project that has me riled up. My whole life, I feel constantly like I've been completely SHAT ON by people who can't get shit done. Maybe I should've just let both of us drown. Or just tattle-taled on people. Because, what? Realistically, am I always going to be on this sinking ship when it comes to working with other people?

I thought there were just some lazy asses in high school who had nothing better to do with their time than make fun of me while I gave presentations ON THEIR FREAKING BEHALVES. And you know, you think by going to a prestigious undergrad, there would maybe be some change? But no, I got stuck with a freaking partner who turned in her half of the assignment 3 weeks late. At least my prof understood? In the end, it's always SUCK IT UP. But.... that's not the solution I want to hear, unless I plan to be shackled to this problem for the rest of my freaking life.

Then you have grad school. Hey, grad school's supposed to be better, right? WRONG. Unreliable partners persist in every stage of my academic career. If only I had some authority to fire them. I can't stand people who don't put in effort when they obviously have a lot of things to catch up on. And I doubly can't stand people who go on vacations before finishing stuff up, while leaving their partners to do their work for them. I also hate people who promise stuff they have no intention of trying hard to achieve.

Tell me, is this what it's like in real life? Is there no other way to deal with incompetent lazy fools than to just sacrifice your own precious time to pick up their shit?

Maybe I need to become more like them. Smooth talk their way out of things. Constantly say SORRY SORRY SORRY (*insert Super Junior song*) for not getting enough shit done.

Okay. I feel like shit. Thanks to all of this and more, I feel like I haven't been able to take much of a step forward. And it's driving me crazy.

4 kinds of people that exist.

1) Hard working + smart
2) Hard working + not as smart
3) Not hardworking + smart
4) Not hardworking + doesn't want to think/can't think logically

I think I'm 2). I don't think anyone will deny my saying that I'm hard working... But I'm pretty slow... But #4's really frustrate me. At least #3's potentially can be good mentors.

Barbies...

There's been a failsauce Barbie as a Computer Engineer thing circulating around :(

When I was a kid, I don't really recall ever wanting a Barbie doll for the sake of having a Barbie... I do recall asking my parents to buy it once, because I saw some ad on TV saying you could get some Barbie Tamagotchi equivalent (back in the days when Tamagotchi's and their knock-offs were sold out everywhere) with purchase. But it didn't work, and I was sad. :(

Ugh.

Circuits people. Or maybe circuits people here... They scoff at the fact that I want to do systems stuff, because things aren't "deep" enough. You aren't learning about the core of some circuit. Well, I guess people working on your so-called "hard-core" circuits have that opinion, but people who work on BMI or similar have a different perspective (application first, then build circuits around specific problems -- but the focus on application is what makes it exciting IMO). I think I chose the wrong people to talk to, because they always make me feel like shit... rather than people who inspire me. >.> I think the guys at Stanford have the right idea... It's better to not be a circuit design/Cadence designer factory... I mean, for heaven's sake, people's first designs are usually just copies of other people's designs anyways, maybe with some minor tweaks here and there. Why don't I have that opportunity?!?!? And even for final PhD thesis stuff, it's really just building off of older students' works, so I don't really consider this cutting edge either.

Well, admittedly, I blew one chance by not helping out with the first tapeout (because I was swamped with classwork, because other people I was working with DID have a tapeout deadline to meet). And then I got stuck doing FPGA work for people (about the only thing I feel like I'm decent at).

I would like to say I usually don't give up on things, but ehhh... I've never felt like giving up more than at this point. Mostly, I just don't like what I'm doing, so I have 0 motivation to pull through. I don't really feel like expending any extra effort on it, which causes me to further lose motivation, due to lack of progress. Well, that and all of my ideas for potential solutions don't work. :( I don't even know how to approach this any more. Is this how it's supposed to be? I thought this is where I should be talking to people and getting feedback to push me forward. But nothing's working. I don't have some buddy to bounce ideas off of. I really don't know what's going on...

Major frustration...

A friend made a good point. I should talk to people outside of my general research center, because everyone here is too like-minded, and everyone looks down on stuff that isn't "hard-core" enough -- i.e. HCI is a joke, etc. But frankly, I think those guys in HCI have more of that visionary vibe.

I like things that have more concrete goals or are spec-ed out more, and for this reason, people tell me I shouldn't do a PhD (i.e. maybe I'm not qualified to do it?), but frankly, I think some of this so-called PhD work is so... meh? It's not really cutting edge (where it makes sense to have 0 guidance) and it's just painful pushing of a few knobs.

Ironically, this statement rings very true to what someone of importance (respect?) once told me. Certain institutions have specific foci. And it sucks to be in the middle of cutting edge and industry. I feel like then you get the negatives of both worlds -- not really super out there creative/half-assed directions --> very dissatisfying, even when you are able to solve your problems.

Grad school...

I feel so frustrated. I feel like I don't get any support, and I'm failing because of it. There are certain people you go to for help who are completely clueless and make you run around in circles or make you take N steps back for every M steps forward, where N is > M. Then there are the know-it-all's who either come off as extremely overconfident in their knowledge (regardless of whether or not they're actually right) or the actual geniuses of the world who... really don't know how to guide people who aren't quite to their level (by trivializing everything). Anyways, as a result, you feel like shit, you feel stupid, or you feel like OMG is this guy an idiot?! But regardless, you never make progress. Oh, and I guess you do start wondering if people don't take you seriously because you're a girl. And people keep pushing crappy responsibilities on you (note taking, revising ENGLISH in a thesis when the requester has spent almost no effort on it, other stuff that doesn't help me graduate). Or maybe that's because I just have such difficulty saying no. Give me a break. Why am I presenting stuff to people? Do I really want to show the world that I'm an idiot? I don't want to present something I'm not proud of, or, heck, other people's works. And I'm sick and tired of people coming to me and saying "I already did this" or "our lab did this 5 years ago" when all I'm explaining is that I did something for a freaking CLASS project.

Taiyou no Ie

Super cute manga. Makes you feel are warm and fuzzy inside. :) Hahaha... I'm really into romance stories with girls and somewhat older guys (not quite creeper level but +5? +7?)... Maybe it's because I've always wanted an older brother figure in my life. :< Wish my favorite cousin lived around here :< Then I would maybe have an older brother like person to hang out with. :)

I've been super bummed about grad school and work/life balance recently. I don't particularly like my project, and unlike other people, I feel like I haven't much support, and struggling by myself has made me feel very depressed. x_x Thankfully, it seems like something's happening in the right direction, even though it's kind of slow. People are taking me a little more seriously and giving slightly more thought about stuff... (As far as actually helping me, I feel like so-called mentors/bosses aren't really very effective in that sense--sometimes, it's like it's all anti-effective? For every step forward I take, I end up taking 2 steps back to do x for people...)...

I don't really feel like many people understand me. They just think I complain too much and shit. Well, fine. Slowly, I stop talking to them about important things, and even though I still complain a lot, I just figure there's no point opening up to people. Oh well.

Group project-ing was kind of a nightmare. Our group was rather dysfunctional, and unfortunately, because this legitimately was a multi-disciplinary project, unlike with previous group projects, I couldn't just do everything myself. So I freaked out, tried to take on a more project manager like role and had people give me attitude b/c I tried to (gently, if I might add) tell them they weren't putting enough effort into X. Well, I didn't appreciate the attitude. I didn't appreciate the fact that people kept saying "sorry, I was busy" instead of getting X done. Ugh. So I kind of broke down and had my monthly cry!fest (too much pressure lately and it sucks not feeling like you're succeeding in life) and hmm... the guy apologized, and heck, maybe crying is the way to go, because people feel sorry for you and now everyone's on the same page. D:

I need to think hard about future directions. I told someone I didn't have a project I wanted to work on for PhD yet (want to wrap this current thing up ASAP and move on so badly), and she seemed surprised. Third year, man. Everything I was afraid of happening is happening at 2x speed right now. x_x I'll admit. I'm jealous of all of the people coming in my year that had wrapped up classes already b/c they were undergrads here. I'm jealous of all of the people who were given more well-defined projects. 'Cause it's one thing just to "DO" (i.e. put other people's shit in some nice package or have a mentor tell you x y and z steps that actually work) and another to actually do something that hasn't realistically been done before.

Many levels of frustration, I say.

I want to conduct a social experiment and see if it's possible to acquire a reasonable number of Twitter followers within a small time period. Hopefully, I'll get around to pet projects over winter break (that + website revamp, etc.), but seems like I might be swamped with other work. x_x Kind of freaked out...

Oh well, I should call this progress?

Me. Myself. & ???

Once upon a time, I thought of myself as being, well, a social recluse. Well, I think I'm still kind of like that but several orders of magnitude less so. But I was more productive then than I am now... So how about it?

Should stop giving a shit about what other people think of me and just hole up in my apartment and get stuff done. Yep yep. Bye peoplez.

Dare to dream

I've been feeling crappy all day... because 1) I think I might've caught whatever's been going around... 2) I've been tied down with frustration from last night's conversation.

But, I had a team meeting with people in my new group for that design class... and.. well... it did wonders to lift up my spirits. Those people still have dreams; they haven't given up!

Everyone should aspire to be like them. Heck, being surrounded by those kinds of people is never a bad thing.

Second post of the day!

Shocking!

Just had a long talk with a friend I've been "complaining to" about stuff... so now I feel very depressed.

How does one measure success/satisfaction? I've been unhappy. I feel like nothing has happened the way I've wanted things to since leaving Tech. I haven't done much research wise. I don't enjoy the project I'm on. The people I hang out with are so different from my friends in the past. I'm not used to this environment. Blah blah blah.

It's annoying. I get frustrated seeing people being content with finishing their PhD in an area they chose simply because they "thought they were good at it" rather than because they were 100% omg I'm so enjoying this shit interested in it... Or heck, a bunch of people seem kind of... aimless? I don't know... Some people are crazy smart, but I'm not. I'm good at messing around w/ shit, but the more I look at it, the more I realize I'm afraid to touch stuff I don't think I'm good at. :\ And since coming here, I seem to have built a wall around myself that prevents me from going forward. It all kind of started with that one class... Or maybe it didn't. I don't know. I don't have confidence in myself, so these days, when I reach a roadblock, I just... can't...

It's different from when I'm taking certain classes or working on certain projects. Sure, I might not know something to begin with, but at least I don't give up trying, and I've almost always been able to pull through. Now, I'm just... stuck. without motivation. I don't know. I want to many things. I want to make a big impact at a research level. I want to have fun with what I'm doing. I want to please people and have people recognize I'm decent at something. But it's been a pain.

I give off the vibe that I don't like my current position, but recently, I've been trying hard to change the way things are heading. That's why it's more upsetting to have my friend tell me he thinks it was a bad move for me to be doing this PhD. I get it. I don't like it. Is it worth salvaging? I'm 2 years in; I've been almost avoiding getting this project done and focusing on classes and stuff... But I don't know... despite telling him I don't like this for x, y, and z, and telling him about my struggles and negative outlooks on things, when he tells me he thinks I shouldn't be doing this, I get SO FRUSTRATED. Maybe it's superficial to be given encouragement about stuff like this, but rather than saying you shouldn't be doing this, how about giving me advice about how to turn this around? Ironically, I've managed to instill enough negativity about stuff to other people that, when in actuality I'm looking for encouragement, instead, I just get quite the opposite.

HAHAHAHAHA. Wrong reaction. Now I feel like shit.

I know people's expectations are different. I'm annoyed that people are happy with where they are, because they don't care to become a CEO or amazing prof or whatever and are fine working under bosses and swimming in an ocean of politics or whatever... And here I am with unrealistic aspirations and getting overly worked up at the prospect of not being able to achieve things...

UGH.

I just feel like I've been shot down so hard. Maybe it's because people here are too grounded in reality, and, unlike people at the school across the street, they don't "dare to dream." Sure, I speak a lot about wanting to do a startup, and sure, I'm slow to act... (it's hard to push forward when you have obligations yet to be met)... so it makes me almost angry when other people dismiss my aspirations as silly... Okay, they're not silly to me. People think I'm silly for taking the class that requires too much effort... and when I say that this class has provided me with opportunities to meet people who have similar aspirations as myself, my friends in lab tell me that I'm being silly, and that I could meet the same people at a bar or w/e. Really?! If only it were so easy! Do you say all of this because you've already given up on the idea yourself?

Maybe that's the difference. At one place, everyone's crazy about startups and encouraging each other to do stuff. At another, you have a small group of people who are like that, but the rest of them just think you're being delusional... And now that I think about it, it's the wrong environment to foster creativity. Go be create in your 0.1% optimization if that's what makes you happy...

There is a difference. You say you're the world's premiere institute in doing X, but heck, is X even all that great? If anything, I think you're falling behind by focusing so narrowly on X (just because you're good at it) while all the other places, while maybe not as great as doing X, have compensated by really broadening things in an application domain. And while you look down on other places for having to branch out to "compete..." aren't you the one who's slowly going to be overtaken?

You think you're so great at doing X. Other people laugh at you, and make jokes about farming off X to you to do, just b/c you're so "great at it," when they feel like there's no impact in the work you do...

I'm a pretty negative person. I do have high expectations for myself. I am the kind of person to give up if I feel like I can never achieve certain lofty goals... But I'm trying. So I really don't need other people to tell me that I'm totally wrong. There is some way that should work out. I've been thinking it over.

Maybe you think I'm immature to hope that I'll make a difference somehow; 'cause heck, 99.99999999% of the population don't make any large scale impact, and I will likely end up being just one of those kinds of people. But you know, I'm living and seeing things from my own perspective. I can't see myself as just one of many, because I don't view things from a 3rd person POV. And maybe it's silly to use that notion to push forward, but w/e.

There's nothing wrong with feeling like you can do better.

Strange new world.

I've been taking this interactive design class at Berkeley, and hmm... the personalities in that class (well, maybe 40% or so) are quite different from the personalities I've been used to interacting with since I came to Berkeley. I think some people are more similar to Techers... It's kind of interesting... I miss Tech :< I miss the anime posse and the kpop/kdrama posse and everyone else (well, minus junior year drama...)... >.>

A bit more eccentric? Hahaha... I feel like the people I've been hanging out with in Berkeley are... too... normal? LOL is that even a thing? I'm a little weird and eccentric... and hmm.. I think that since Tech started, I've more or less melded my Internet persona with my real personality... so... seems like I'm easy to remember? hahahaha... oh, eccentricities... :D :D

The end.

Random

Was writing E and had the urge to post this:

Anyone ever changed the way they wrote letters to make writing Greek letters in equations faster? Definitely changed the way I wrote my E's to make writing epsilons faster... And started crossing my Z's to distinguish them from 2's...

And so life continues...

Recently, I've been neglecting to post here... for a number of reasons.

It seems more efficient to post about everyday activities on Facebook, and, for fear that what I say will be construed negatively, I've withheld various statements that I probably would've been fine making a few years ago. Blame the fact that the Internet's changed, and anonymity has been completely lost (for better or for worse).

Have you ever had that feeling that you're precariously teetering between, well, I don't know, failure from nonchalance (or maybe some overwhelming feeling of obligation pulling at you from all sides) and potential for success brought on by some burning ambition to ____ (change the world, live the so-called "American dream"), etc.?

Lately, I've been feeling very troubled. I'm unsettled by the fact that I seem incapable of carrying myself well in front of others. I have difficulty saying "no" when I'm asked to do things, despite having other obligations, which leads to lack of progress, lack of success... If you can't tell, I really need a morale boost. :\

I've been also recently contemplating... Why am I such an easy target for bullying? Or why is it so easy for others to take advantage of me? I believe it does have a lot to do with upbringing. You're taught, both implicitly and explicitly, about what is the "right thing to do" or the "decent way to act" when you're young, but are those principles the key to a good life? I think not. Of course, in the ideal world, if everyone thought about treating each other like friends before businessmen, etc., considering the desires/circumstances of both sides, things would be... well... ideal? But the person coming into such an exchange with the desire to appease others is really just a moron. Unless, by some stroke of luck, you encounter someone who actually has some ounce of decency in his body, you'll be put in a disadvantageous position. And for what?! Or maybe you just need to learn to be a better judge of character. Apparently, learning some game theory right about now would probably be a good thing. Or I guess you could try the Chinese "custom" of doing favors for other people. Funny how something like bribery could also be thought of as putting on some front for "decency," while one only truly considers his own selfish interests.

I might've brought this up here; I have in many conversations recently... So I've been unhappy. Unhappy that I feel like I'm wandering around aimlessly. I was brought up with certain goals: I have to get A's in school to get into a good college, I have to learn piano to keep up with all of my family friends, I should go to grad school to ensure security. But then what? Since undergrad finished, I've been struggling. I've been trying to grasp the "real world."

Asian parents are funny. They raise you to study well, keep you mostly isolated from your friends so you don't build up valuable life skills, and then just expect that you'll succeed as adults (not recommended, by the way). But people who study well don't necessarily become successful. Obviously, I'd wish that could be the case. Going on a tangent, but if that could always be reality, then it would be self-fulfilling. When you're young and live your life like a stereotypical Asian child, you're bullied, harassed. And depending on the person, you may or may not develop some kind of desire for "revenge." Of course, that revenge can take on many forms. Some people break down, go crazy. As for me, I just want to see my hard work pay off. My sense of justice? I hope one day, I can ensure that I'm better off than the people who didn't bother working hard and instead spent their spare time making fun of me or otherwise bullying me as a child. It's not like my parents ever did anything about it when I was younger, so this "success" would be my own kind of retribution.

But how do I go about achieving this? When obligations come at me from all angles these days, I feel at a loss. Instead of prioritizing goals, I feel like I retreat back into activities that I find to be "comfortable," but that really amount to nothing. Or maybe I shouldn't say that. I can understand why entertainment can be such a vital industry. Despite wasting so much of people's time, it does keep people sane, and probably leads to higher productivity when consumed in moderation.

So yes, how do I change? How can I work to publish papers and graduate sooner without losing the motivation to learn and try new things? How can I tinker with things and accumulate resources to work on these "start up" ideas that are slowly slipping away from me? How do I find this motivation? How?

How do I stop wallowing in self pity? Improve relations with people? Learn to take more risks? How?

On a side note, I find it frustrating to read about affirmative action and the likes in the news. It's true that many Asian children have a particular work ethic beaten into them. But where does being a "model student" really take you? You have parts of your childhood taken away from you by your parents, who assume bragging rights over family friends when you get into some elite college, and then what? And if you don't get into an elite college? Your childhood is taken away from you, while someone considered "less privileged with opportunities" gets a spot (okay, I won't address whether that's good or bad; I'll leave that up to "research"...), and you're cast aside as a failure. Then what have you? It's true that people aren't given the same opportunities growing up. But is there some better way to leverage the playing field? If the system makes it more difficult for people of some ethnicity to succeed to overcompensate for strong work ethics then... what is anything even worth?

Somewhat related, but it's funny being a "minority" in engineering. In undergrad, I never really even thought about it... But it's strange how once there is enough of a minority, I feel like people start forming "self-pity clubs." Rather than relying on one's own strength to succeed, people start to rely on each other... but in a way that negatively impacts everyone's well-being. Don't get me wrong. It's great to encourage girls to go into engineering, but sometimes, forming groups of minorities just leads to further self isolation. You go from thinking you need to try harder to catch up with people to suddenly thinking you're not good enough because you're _____. You now have a scapegoat which prevents you from further trying to improve yourself, and then you get stuck.

It's kind of weird. I probably wouldn't have posted here if I didn't read through 27 volumes of a manga called Basara despite it's not too eye-catchy art. Hahaha... As strange as it may sound, heroic tales with strong female leads and a touch of romance always hit the right spot. Sure, some can come off as superficial, shallow, what have you, but there's always something to be said about overcoming adversity and succeeding in life. It doesn't hurt to have some exciting romance in your life too. ^_~ Well, maybe that really just is for people who have luck with fairy tale lives...

And thus continues my ______-ly stream of consciousness. Maybe I'll make a breakthrough before the next time I post. Here's to it!

Hmm...

Kind of stopped posting on LJ because I thought FB status updates were sufficient, but in times like these, they're not... especially if there are some people on your FB feed you don't want to read your posts... lol....

There's a lot of freaky shit going on in the world today. Like the airplane that just vanished without a trace. Seriously? x_x It makes me rethink flying... What could have possibly happened to it? There was a fairly plausible scenario of some kind of electrical systems failure/fire that some commercial pilot proposed on some random blog... Then you have this whole notion of piracy, but everything just seems so weird. Also, is the civilian population not getting all the facts from governments that want to hide their technical capabilities?

I've been reading some random articles about bullying and people who are upset at those in the tech sector for making much more compared to other people. On the bullying note, the world is filled with a bunch of hypocrites. You teach kids not to bully in school, but the people who actually listen to your teachings are the people that end up getting taken advantage of. I spent years taking religion classes and being taught to treat others as I want to be treated and other bullshit, only to have the same people in those classes make fun of me, steal money from me, erase my name from homework, throw away my textbooks, etc. HAHAHAHA. And on the topic of whether people like that should feel like people in the tech sector are overly privileged? We worked hard to reach the point we're currently at... We made a choice to go into a high-demand field... Market economics makes sense. >.> If you're so fed up that you're not making $100k/yr, why don't you try to do something about it and learn how to code.

Recently, I've been kind of lost and confused about grad school. I haven't really found something I wanted to do. I hate the notion of just doing something without a goal... I'd like to say I'm reasonably ambitious and don't like to just settle... Heck, even if I'm annoyed that I'm having such a hard time to find my identity, at least I'm trying and not OK with just blending in with the rest of the sheeple. I don't understand people who are just content as is or who seem to be so nonchalant about things... It's one thing if you're 100% happy with your life, but gosh, sometimes, the bare minimum is just so.... BORING. If all you care about is work or just lounge around all day when you're not working... my gosh, is there anything to look forward to in life? Are you okay not striving for more? At least get some hobbies...

Anyways, I hope I start feeling more motivation with this grad school thing... actually get some stuff accomplished, find a project I really want to work on, feel more "important" etc. I'm more grounded in what's real these days. It's next to impossible to drastically improve some technology over the course of your PhD. Most likely what you do won't be startup-able, but ehh... doesn't mean you can't keep trying... Just don't think of it as an end goal...

Yeah, well, one step at a time... >.>

Recently, I've also been mad brainstorming startup ideas. I think there's one that's legitimately worth a shot... but then I've been super busy in these past two weeks... Kind of worn out (classes, etc. -- group projects are so painful; in large groups, you feel like you might lose your voice; in small groups with partners who aren't the most on top of things, you're kind of left to do all the work... I have a hard time saying NO...)....

This past weekend was visit day. Hahahaha... I wonder if anyone will come here next year; otherwise, I still get this sinking feeling about making the wrong decision...

Especially with the apartment situations I've had to deal with... SO MUCH UNNECESSARY STRESS. But it's the taste of the real world I wanted to get, right?! Sometimes, I wonder if this is all worth it. I've basically hit rock bottom... And yeah, there's only a way up... But man... if you continue to stay in a bubble, it's possible with the way the tech sector is that you'll never actually have to face "reality." And if that's the case, why am I putting myself through this?!

That being said, these last couple of days have been pretty okay on a doing stuff kind of basis. I went to a friend's party with other IC people and it was a lot of really awkward fun. Hahahaha... Strange, I went to another party with mostly EE's but more girls, and let's just say I fit in way more with the guys... >.> I'm not really into these IC girl lunches my friends put together. I really don't think girls need a support network. Actually, it irritates me more to think that girls do need that. To be on equal level with the guys, you have to hang around them and talk to them without differentiating yourself just because you're a girl. Anyways, it felt a little more like Tech. And it's nice to know I finally feel like I have a set of close friends here. :) That's the kind of atmosphere I didn't expect to be so difficult to find...

Also, recently, I've been conflicted about going home... I don't particularly like going home, unless there'a a kpop concert or the likes... mostly because I've basically felt trapped in my house whenever I'm around since something like middle school... when all the other kids would go out with their close friends and their parents would take them to school functions, etc., I just felt like my parents sheltered me so much that I never got to do anything. And I'm filled with a lot of regret about how my childhood panned out... Plus, there's just not much to do at home. I'm not really very close with anyone from high school who might still be around. Most people from Tech have graduated... the others I've seen recently enough... My brother's been using the car I used to use, so it makes it more difficult to get around... Stuff like that...

It's just that I know my parents miss me, and recent events make me feel somewhat of an obligation to visit them.

Also, I hate myself for not being more assertive about things. Obviously, things have not ended up well because I'm too much of a sucker to be upfront about shit.

Instead of passively stating what my maybe-planned schedule is, I should've just been like I'm gonna do this and either you agree or disagree, but ehh... at least plans will have been made. I'm tired of always waiting until last minute and having nothing pan out. I'm sure you've heard/read this statement many times from me.

But seriously... here I am detailing all the options I'm considering... expecting to get some kind of concrete response from you, but nothing.

I feel like I expect too much from you, and I'm let down in the end. Sure, it's trivial things like planning a vacation or how you decide to handle stuff like my birthday or our anniversary, etc. Meh. okay, I'll match you and get free cheesecakes for Valentines and not waste a full weekend and pull an all-nighter to get presents ready.

Need to learn to go with the flow and not care so much about certain things and redirect energy into more productive things like startups or finding some other research topics... or heck, just trying to have more fun...

I keep saying I want to organize a karaoke night with people... need to actually get on it. lol.

1) You can't depend on other people to make you happy, because most of the time they won't.
2) Quit trying to please other people, because most likely, that won't make you all that happy. At best, you'll end up mostly indifferent. At worst, everything explodes on you and you hit rock bottom.
3) You've gotta be more upfront about communicating your problems with people, but be tactful!
4) Don't expect others to play nice just because you're trying to be a good citizen.

None of this was coherent. Harhar.

:

OH HAI THAR LJ. .... ...

Lately, I've been super confused about life. I really don't know what I want to do anymore. This is kind of like mid-grad school crisis, but happening probably a solid 1.5 years too early... Without a goal it's really hard to be motivated, and jeez, am I struggling to find my way these days... T_T I feel like there are so few people to lean on and I just... don't know... T_T

Note to self

Next time I go to Japan, don't go with a huge group of people. x_x I should just go by myself during a less romantic-y season, so I have more freedom to be crazy and run around the country without having to worry about there only being beds for 2 people in our party... Unless you empower me to spend your money at my leisure when it comes to booking hotels, complacency before a trip does not work. OMG. I would consider myself a fairly selfish person (hah! bad personality trait), so you have no idea how bummed I am that I can't go somewhere, because I bought the last 2 tickets available for other people... And my only other route just shut down. :\

Oh well. The only thing I really wanted was the ticket. :< And to be able to purchase some stuff from the Ghibli Museum store... and take some better photographs outside the property than I was able to last time...

Oh, the irony

You know, this is the first time I've had a boyfriend on my birthday. And this is the first time I'd even have a chance to celebrate a so-called one year anniversary. Only problem? This boyfriend of mine has no time for me on those respective days. I know I shouldn't be bummed... It's just... bad timing, right? Circumstances just not being right... what have you. But a girl is expected to be able to look forward to something, right? Maybe less so the 2nd or 3rd or 4th time around or the 2nd or 3rd or 4th year... but... for someone who's never really experienced it before, is it wrong to hope that it would've been something like a big deal? hahahaha.... To have a guy nervously plan out all the details of some super romantic dinner date and wonder if the girl will like it? Bad timing. Of course, the more down-to-earth side of me says, eh, I've just got to get over that whole wishing for a fairytale kind of thing, because heh, dream on girl, you're expecting too much. Oh well. I don't really think there's been a single significant "event" since maybe when we started dating where the timing has actually worked out. HAHAHAHA.

I wonder how much I bother you by being there when you're busy... Because I sometimes feel like the only time you have available is when I'm kind of booked... But whenever I'm free, you're MIA.

It's frustrating... And I told myself I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it, but eh, delay, and more delay, and more delay. And you might as well just not come. I hate getting my hopes up and then being let down.

Sigh...

I've been frustrated these days. Gosh darn it, if I keep crying, the funny rash-like thing that keeps appearing at the side of my face/eye is never going to go away. It keeps starting to get better, and then I cry, and then it gets 1000x worse. @_@ Stress and shit do that to you, I guess. Been doing too much crying lately, but here, I feel like I don't quite have the same support network as I finally managed to make senior year at Tech. And my boyfriend sucks at being good support. Thinking about that in combination with everything else just makes me all the more frustrated.

I'm frustrated with where work is going. I want to stop feeling so super inconsequential. I can't stand it when people look down on me. It drives me insane. I can't tell if the "don't worry about it" comment was really because he meant it in that sense, or if he just thinks I'm incapable of doing shit. OH MY GOD this is so frustrating. I just want to move on from this project. I'm frustrated that he won't talk to me about stuff I'm working on, and instead talks to other people... alskdjfalksdjf

I never believed that being a girl or a guy made that much of a difference in this field... Maybe because I never felt like I was treated differently back at Tech, but these days, I do feel it. I feel it a lot. It's a combination of not being used to not getting any kind of the positive feedback you're used to being given, and just the environment here. And maybe girls just care more when they get that feeling that they're not relevant enough. Maybe guys just don't care and take everything for face value. Or maybe they have thicker skin... You'd think that I'm just trying to generalize about experiences that have been only associated with my own time here, but seriously... There's just something not cool about this.

And then you have the boyfriend. He's great, don't get me wrong, but he's like a diamond in the rough? Hahaha... He fails at typical boyfriend things... And I know he'll end up reading this, so maybe I should just get this out of the way. I'm tired of having random expectations that end up falling short, anyways. It's one thing to be comfortable around a guy, but these days, I just feel somewhat... neglected? Hahaha... Well, neglected as a girlfriend, not necessarily neglected as a person...

It's not like we've gone out on dates in a long time, and seriously, whenever you'd think you'd really want him here because of stuff like this that's been going on, he either doesn't know how to react, or I feel like he doesn't have time for me. He goes to Taiwan right when I need the most support from people closest to me. Even though he said he'd help me move at the end of July, it was on a weekday, so I ended up asking a friend to. Also, is it too much to expect a slightly more normal boyfriend/girlfriend present?! Hahahaha... Pies on Valentine's... Necomimi's for no reason... and even that random monkey music box... Cute as hell, but... I dunno. Hahahaha... I don't think I'm the most typical girl, but go take a few hints from kdramas and romantic comedies and the likes, plz k thx. Maybe Totoro with the broken eye was the most normal/typical. LOL. At least I could attempt to keep Totoro on my bed and huggle it. Well, until his eye fell out.

Stuff like going on fancy dinner dates... I'm all for splitting the bil equally on most occasions, but come onnnnnnnn... If none of those ever happen, then in that context, there's no difference from just going out as friends.

And you know... despite pulling the all nighter, I would've still gone down to see you this weekend, if you hadn't told me about bailing on coming up with me. You know how much I hate driving, on top of driving back by myself late at night. Maybe you didn't realize... Part of my reason for staying up all night was so I could finish with my work and not have to come into lab on the weekend. And then you tell me you have plans you don't want to miss on Monday, because your friend is leaving. FINE. THANKS FOR LETTING ME TAKE SECOND PLACE TO YOUR PLANS. Am I supposed to be that thankful you changed your flight to be one day early so you could come and see me for less than 24 hours, when you planned in advance to leave me right after prelims and come back just so you could spend a week eating free food?!

Maybe your undergrad wasn't like this. Maybe you actually had time on weekends. Do you think you'll have time to hang out and the likes after school has started for you? Sure, cancelling on me is understandable when you have work, but it just pisses me off that you're not making an effort on your last real week of summer.

And that's the reason I'm not driving down to see you. Oh and maybe also the fact that I already felt like too much of a moving truck even when you said you'd come up with me.

And I guess other people go on movie dates, dinner dates, zoo dates, etc. etc. But I guess we can't really do that unless I initiate, because, oh yeah, I'm the only one with a car.

Heh you talk about video chats and the likes, but the one time I tried this week, you didn't even respond. LOL.

:\

I feel kind of lost. Prelims are over, my apartment battle of sorts is finally over... but really? I feel like I have so little to show for how hard I've worked... And I'm getting so frustrated. Ugh. Wasted summer. Wasted year. I just wanted some confirmation that I'm at least just a little bit capable of doing this... And for a couple of days, I kind of felt like prelim results, despite being pretty gosh darn awful, could serve to make me feel a little more confident in my abilities...

But where am I going? I really don't know. I'm frustrated that I've been working on a menial task for the last month instead of getting started on "real" research... 1) Be more proactive and get on a project I actually like doing now that I don't have to worry as much about classes, etc... 2) ... Errr... I dunno...

And even this menial task... is it because that guy thinks I'm stupid that he won't even speak to me about it and goes to the other guy to ask for demos etc.?! It's not like the other guy has really spent much time on this. Why is he being asked to demo stuff I've been working on?!?!

Insecurities. Inferiority complexes.

UGHHHH.

Ehh...

You know, I really want to stay annoyed for some reason, annndddd I've been semi-keeping myself from IMing you for that reason (lolol wow), but it's weird... I had to ask about the hard drive, because I'd be freaking out even more thinking that I lost a screw... And then after that, it was kind of like D: As much as I try to stay :x, I can't.

Well... I still won't IM you unless you IM me, at least for tonight. :P And I still am annoyed that you were not happy about Monday. I don't need to care when you go to Taiwan, but that was just the wrong time to mention it... because I don't know... I have work, and you're not happy... But when you're gone to Stanford or Taiwan, even being happy or not doesn't really matter. It's not like whatever my feelings are will keep you from going. At least when I'm working and you leave, I still have the ability to chase after you, but you just kept going... -__-

Not fair...

I haven't been able to concentrate for the last two days. I'm a little frustrated and more than a little annoyed. I feel like I need to go into a bubble and hide for a while, so I don't have any distractions from studying... Otherwise, I'm not going to survive. :< And then after studying, since I'll only have a week of summer "vacation" left, I might as well go somewhere fun, and live a little. lol. And then during winter, go to Japan, even if I do fail. Clearly I want to go, and I'm just superb at missing opportunities to do so. Strangely enough, flights around winter break seem to be more costly than flights in June... a solid $200-300 more expensive... and this is booking 4 months in advance vs. something like two weeks in advance. wtf. :<

I'm annoyed that you got sad/mad what have you when I asked you to go home to help me, while I had a pile of work to take care of here. It's not like you're even here on the day I need to actually move stuff myself. Thank goodness I have friends like Chris around to help me do that (mostly to park... lol). :< And now you say you're going to Taiwan the day of my prelims. Whatever. Why should I care when you go? It's not like I have to tell you in the future when I want to go somewhere, just so I can schedule stuff more suitable for your timeline or just end up not going YET AGAIN. I guess you were just trying to be considerate, but I already knew you wanted to go back in August, and for some reason, telling me NOW, after I've been thinking way too much about your reaction to going home without me on Monday, just makes me feel really pissed off.

I kind of want to scream fuck you right now. haahahahaha... >.>

OK. I'm done complaining. Need a little space right now. AFKing.

I don't know what to do.

I've gotten mad at you a few times. But there was only one time that really stood out to me when you got mad at me. :< Saying how I didn't care blahblahblah, because I wasn't paying enough attention to you when I had a lot of work to do. Tell me what I should be doing in that case. >.< If I happened to be the most capable person in the world, I wouldn't be struggling this much with work. And I'd be able to get a lot of stuff done without sacrificing something...

So it really bothers me that you get sad when I get too occupied with work. And I could tell that you were sad, enough so that I decided to run after you... only for you to tell me that it was okay, and that I had to buy dinner anyways... So I walked back and felt a little dejected, but hey, the work that kept me from going back with you at least helped me to not think about it.

I feel bad that you've been the one to come here... instead of the other way around. I hope I spent enough time with you to make you feel like your trip was worth it.

But anyways, for some reason I feel a little hurt when you're not happy.
Animate started selling merchandise in the US! Found out about it at Anime Expo, but it left my mind for a while. Wow! And I had been hoping for the absolute longest time (say 11 years?) for a chance to shop at an Animate in the US (ok, I've been to various Japanese ones ahem Ikebukuro) many times now... BUT :O!!

Life...

These days, I've been relatively happy (surprise!). It's nice to know that my apartment situation has been 90% resolved, although I'm still questioning what'll happen at the end of the month, when I need to clean everything up out of my old apartment for good. D:

So yeah. Unfortunately, I've enjoyed maybe a month of semi-calm and happiness; or should I say I somewhat wasted it. I wish I did bigger things--say, going to Japan for example. I had a dream that I went to Japan :(. It made me sad to be woken up by my alarm clock and face reality again. Sigh... And now, stress is coming back, and I'm gearing up for a potential meltdown come week of prelims. :< I'm pretty gosh darn worried about not passing and having to endure more tortuous study. Hah. I haven't read a novel completely since what? High school? And now I'm reading the driest analog integrated circuits book imaginable like a novel at some ridiculous snail's pace, and I only have a month left! Major crunch time! So I guess after prelims, I need to develop a healthier lifestyle, lest I ruin myself under stress and bad living habits. @_@ Actually, this whole grad school process has been a great detriment to my health. Sure, I don't particularly like working in the corporate environment, but despite having a lot to say about it, at least I was able to maintain some semblance of a normal lifestyle, if only for less than three months... And I still have classes to worry about :< I think after this term, I'll just try to finish up classes without exams, and then I can focus more on research. Research is stressful, but I can't imagine it being as crazy as end of term classes, even if it means I'm pulling daily all-nighters for deadlines. It just doesn't resonate with me that same way...

And if I pass, maybe I'll go to Japan in time for Christmas/New Year's/Comiket... Or if I fail (the more likely outcome), I'll end up spending all of winter break studying...

Ah, so this post was supposed to let me take a little break from reading, but ehh, it was going to be more a random comment about relationships? smells? Hahaha...

Weirdest thing. The boyfriend I had sophomore year had a distinct smell. You know how the scent of the body wash/shampoo/deodorant/laundry detergent you use somehow all combine to make up some fairly distinct smell (I guess it's that with some amount of body odor AHAHA derp...)? Well, somehow his scent was engraved in my mind for the longest time; I could remember it even at the beginning of this past school year... Then I met a certain someone, and huh, I completely forgot my old boyfriend's scent. o_O Quite funny. Sooo... recently, I did my laundry (or rather, he stuck my load in an unused machine) in his university-affiliated building, because I'm really stingy, and laundry is free there, but I didn't bring detergent, so I used him. And hrmm... so these days, when I wear the clothing I had laundered (?) there, I notice a little bit of his scent? (Technically, it wouldn't really be his, since I'm sure that particular brand of detergent + softener is pretty commonly used), and even though he's not here these days, there's still a bit of his presence lingering. xD;

Kind of funny. I think at this point, he knows pretty much everything about me, including all of my bad habits. :o Nothing to hide with someone you're comfortable with, right? xD; Despite never talking to him on the phone or video chat, I feel quite satisfied with what our relationship has become. I'm still a little sad that he isn't here every day now, but well, hopefully, it won't make too much of a difference, and rather, ensure that we both can graduate a little faster. xDD;;

Okies. Back to studying, yo!

Fandom is weird.

I feel like the best fan level is closet fan. @_@ I used to enjoy making friends at anime cons and kpop concerts, but these days, it feels like it's harder and harder to make good friends. With the exception of a few, I find most kpop fangirls to be rather bitchy and obnoxious. Seriously, most of them are high school students. How spoiled are they to be allowed to fly across the country for every single event possible? And they're absolutely relentless when it comes to getting what they want and screwing other people over in the process. @_@ What happened to camaraderie? The TVXQ concert felt kind of empty to me. :\ Maybe I'd prefer to align myself with Bigeast instead of Cassies, because ehh, Japanese fans are generally better... -_- And on the note for camaraderie, fanboys are way better at it... Only problem is, most fanboys are super creepy. :x I'm fine talking with them, but omg, some of the people at AX creep the hell out of me... or are... I don't know... maybe I'm being too judgmental... But the sweaty, kinda not really in shape nerdy guys with the necomimi and the likes.... >.>; Heck, even though I have one, I didn't want to wear it, just because I didn't want that association. @_@

Fandom is weird. @_@ omg. x_x

You know....

Hana to Akuma had a better ending than Vampire Knight.

Life's been really weird these days. I guess I'm feeling happier... I need to get used to a new norm soon. Sigh....

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About Me

Some people know me as Mi-kitty or Sa-chan. I'm a 17 18 19-year-old college freshman (wow it's been that long?), aspiring to obtain a degree in electrical engineering at a certain Institute of Technology. Unlike your typical American teenager, I don’t have a driver’s license. Well, now I do, but I'm not sure you'd want to me to drive you to places. Therefore, I am a n00b, but I like to consider myself at least somewhat 1337. You might say I’m a perfectionist, and while I might display a few symptoms of OCD, I have never been able to maintain a clean room for longer than a week. Most often, the floor is covered so thoroughly in books, papers, and other junk that I have difficulty walking around.

Sometimes, I think of myself as a computer hermit. If I’m not at school or out of town, I’m usually sitting in front of my computer chatting, coding, reading manga, or watching Youtube videos. To someone who doesn’t know me (or doesn’t know my Internet persona), I appear to be quiet and shy. However, I also love to rant and ramble about the most random of things, so try not to catch me in one of my rants if you don’t like to be bothered. I use this journal to post my feelings about fandom, classes, and the more than occasional personal issues with which I find myself. My entries are mostly public, but if you would like to friend me, please comment.

Yes, well, I’m just your average obsessive fangirl. I love collecting a wide variety of things, from trading cards, coins, stamps, and minerals to autographs, ticket stubs, and other memorabilia. I’m a Livejournal addict, but I absolutely detest MySpace (and I’ve grown out of Facebook somewhat as well). I think science and technology are two very fascinating fields. Physics and chemistry have always been my favorite high school classes, and I hope to take some astronomy classes in college. In high school, I participated in FIRST Robotics. I think the experience is life changing. I like to code (mostly for my websites, but I’ve dabbled in a few other programming languages), and I like to make graphics.

Although I’m quite sports-challenged, that has not prevented me from obsessing about tennis and the greatness that is Roger Federer (oh and I have somewhat of an obsession with the Korean speed skater Ahn Hyun Soo - he's quite good looking). I also like music. Besides your typical Asian pop (Wang Lee Hom, Guang Liang, TVXQ, Super Junior, and JE groups like Takki & Tsubasa and Ya-Ya-yah come to mind), I also enjoy listening to pre-contemporary music. My favorite composers are Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Debussy, Bach, and Chopin. This is probably because I’ve been playing the piano since I was 5. I sing, and I love Broadway musicals and classic American films (think Roman Holiday and Fred Astaire). I grew up watching old sitcoms.

In terms of fandom, I’ve been obsessed with Asian dramas lately. I start watching a series at night and finish at dawn. My favorites include Last Christmas, Nodame Cantabile, My Lovely Sam Soon, and Huan Zhu Ge Ge. I think Lee Junki is gorgeous. The first anime I watched was Sailor Moon (or Speed Racer), and ever since, I’ve been interested in Asian culture (Yes, I’m Asian). Recently, I've been obsessing over Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. Yes, I know I'm 10 years too late. 私は,日本語を勉強します。I visited Japan for the first time this year, and I hope to be back soon! I will be interning with NTT in Japan next summer. Maybe I'll be able to meet some of you there. I like milk tea boba (bubble tea) more than the average American likes coffee. I also like soup, but I’m open to soups from different cuisines.

Although I can’t say I’m an avid reader, I do like to read books that portray strong female characters. I loved Nancy Drew as a child. Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a particular biography of Audrey Hepburn are among my current favorites. I like reading autobiographies and even the occasional history book, when they’re written well, of course. In middle school, I spent hours at a time reading books from the Dear America series. I typically enjoy mystery novels, fantasy stories (once upon a time, I fell in love with Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time), and romance comedies the most, although my taste is more varied when it comes to manga (I like reading josei, shounen, and shoujo manga with a hint of shounen-ai).

I used to love watching Madeline, and I still enjoy watching the occasional Sabrina reruns. However, lately, I’ve become addicted to reality TV shows.

All in all, I'm pretty old school, I think hanging out with guys and playing Smash Brothers and Legend of Zelda (if only I had a Playstation, so I could play Final Fantasy!) is fun, and if all else fails, I think I’ll find a job as a tea taster or a sushi chef.

White Reflections
Rhapsody
Cherish
DeviantArt
MyAnimeList
MyMangaList (Incomplete)
Last.fm

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