Category → self-analysis

Fiction

“I like fantasy books! I used to read a lot of Eoin Colfer.”

“What does that mean, used to? You don’t read anymore? That’s so sa-a-a-ad…”

Our teacher and I had this conversation during our first English class, and I realized I agreed with her. Well, no, of course I still read: news articles, r/AskReddit threads, and the books we get assigned in class. But not fiction, almost. As I later mentioned to my teacher, I followed Sam Hughes’ Ra avidly (something I highly recommend). That was it.

What does my present self still think of Eoin Colfer? Although I adored the Artemis Fowl books when I was younger, my interest faded, but not before I had recommended it to my sister. The conversation spurred me to get out the seventh Artemis Fowl book, which I had stopped reading halfway through a year ago, and finish it. It was still true that I didn’t like it as much, because I couldn’t feel the high stakes strongly in the book and I found that the joking asides compounded the problem. But a few days later, when we took a trip to the Taipei library, I found the eighth book and borrowed it, plowing through nine-tenths of the book before we left. The ending seemed to be happy but still felt counterintuitively poignant for me. In any case, I had closure.

So what’s the lesson? Authors vary in output too. I was naïve to suppose that because I found this book boring, I had outgrown all books that were even vaguely similar. In the same trip, I also borrowed a bunch of other random fantasy books, plus a realistic fiction book about a teenage pregnancy, just for kicks. It turned out to be surprisingly good. In a week, I read four books, cover to cover, despite a typical load of homework and chemo.

Any excuses I made before about not having enough time simply don’t hold water. Still, I have yet to figure out if this sort of reading is sustainable, because not every book is so engrossing. Far from it…

There’s a flip side, of course — writing.

Music

Isn’t it weird to suddenly talk about this topic?

I don’t think that I have ever talked about music any more than briefly in passing. It might be confusing to my finger quotes audience, and I worry I’ll seem inconsistent.

Well, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. If you wonder, “I didn’t know that you sang and played the piano, or you liked music in that way — or, at all…” please note that I didn’t know either.

For most of my life, I was just a shower singer to myself.

Comments

Note: My 2012 self wrote this. It is a little dated and does not entirely capture my current beliefs and attitudes, although I have to say it’s not too far off either. As of 2018, Me and Facebook is more relevant.

Here’s a guilty secret: I like getting feedback.

I’m not restricting myself to painstakingly thoughtful comments that attempt to build upon and transform the post to form an interesting conversation, the kind English teachers are hellbent on promoting. Sure, I get the most kicks out of those, but I’m not picky. Even single-digit pageview bars or a handful of Facebook “like”s give me buzzes of excitement.

It’s a guilty feeling, because I also think that that these are unimaginably cheap internet currencies and should not qualify as “meaningful” under a rational mindset. I strongly suspect visitors accidentally click on my blog and leave after five seconds without taking in anything, because I do that all the time to other people’s blogs and sites. Sometimes it is out of boredom, sometimes it is because I actually have something of higher priority to do than indiscriminate reading, sometimes it is simply because I cannot read the language. I’ve seen plenty of people like posts on Facebook based on the poster, only occasionally taking into consideration the first word of the post in question, before actually reading them.

Scheduled Blogging

Some bloggers have a regular schedule for posting and forcing themselves to meet the deadlines. In essence, something like “updates every Thursday.”

For me, I think this is a bad idea, because it forces me to write. If my day is boring and uneventful as it quite often is and I still have to crank out a post, it would not be a post that readers would enjoy. Better once-a-month enthusiastic, interesting posts then an ugly stream of tedious drudgery for the visitor to wade through every time, stuff like (quoting one random ancient post):

Bilingualism

So, as triggered by my confrontation with the Chinese book report (remember? whatever the answer is, it’s okay): a reflection on my incompetence at dealing with two languages, and why this matters, or not.

I can think in both languages. It’s a natural product of our school environment. The two languages often have to complement each other; most of the nerdy terms or globally relevant allusions are English-exclusive (I couldn’t talk coherently about SOPA in any language other than English!), but a lot of cultural and geographical staples around here are Chinese only. And sometimes there are unexpected holes where an innocuous-looking phrase simply has a few too many connotations to translate perfectly (the example I always get stuck on, and have yet to solve satisfactorily with anything short of a full sentence recasting, is “appreciate”.)

Fairy Tale

Note: My 2011 self wrote this. It is selectively preserved for historical interest and amusement from a lot of similar, chronologically nearby posts. I am not as angsty any more.

I don’t know where to start.

First there was a headache. No biggie, sleep it off. But it’s easy to lose yourself

The pain, the random gusts of nausea, confusion, irritation… it’s another person in this body, speaking a foreign language I can’t even begin to fathom

playing by his own rules, won’t let you figure them out. his kingdom, and there’s not even a way to surrender or take the path of least resistance. Every path looks the same from here

blackness, vagueness, shadows, defying all interpretations

Normality

Note: My 2011 self wrote this. It is selectively preserved for historical interest and amusement from a lot of similar, chronologically nearby posts. That’s all. I am not as angsty any more.

So. I was hoping I could blog for once without predictably explaining something about how this doesn’t mean anything about future posts or activity or anything, but apparently I can’t get started without a lame start like this.

Eight months have passed since I started my fight with leukemia. Yes it has been a rough eight months, full of unpredictable pain, nausea, diet restrictions, and freakishly-sized needles.

I’ve been waiting for I don’t know how long for everything to go back to “normal”, but now that I look back I can no longer imagine the idea. The world, outside, still seems to be rushing at its insane pace towards maximum chaos. Economic and natural crises still seem to be always around the corner. But in here, in the hospital ward, or at home, it’s a really different feeling. I feel completely disconnected. Nothing changes; every day is waiting, waiting, waiting for the future, for a better moment or feeling or achievement.

For what, really?

Lost

Note: My 2008 self wrote this. It is selectively preserved for historical interest and amusement from a lot of similar, chronologically nearby posts. That’s all.

I have a life and I still don’t know what to do with it. I like making powerpoints, programming, typing tests, made-up hyperbolic IQ tests, Gmail, and odd things.

All that animation has gone to my nerves. And Bookworm Adventures pining. Best word so far: VORACIOUS, which earned me a blue gem tile, which froze somebody. I want to design games for PopCap too, because then I get to play the ones they already have for free.

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