Friday, December 18, 2009

24 things not to do..

..when you are on tight schedule during your studies.

24) Start watching a new TV series you just downloaded, called 24.
23)..I guess I'll work with the rest another time :)

Ah man, what a tight schedule! We had to finish 4 courseworks in a week (actually I'd have more days if I wasn't too lazy to start earlier). It's finally done, most things went very well except from a total failure to organize a presentation of our nonexistent project with our group and now I am ready to head back to Greece for the christmas holidays. Can't wait to meet my friends and taste that gyros food again.

Seriously, I haven't watched 24 before and some rumors about it's awesomeness got me started (especially from Stormrider's blog). I am SOOOO hooked up. It's more favorite now than my most favorite series and to show you how addicted I am to it (oh and there are already 7 seasons for me!), I definitelly have to sleep, I haven't sleep for two entire days because of my schedule, and I DON'T WANT TO. Because I was just watching 24 and I have to stop. I think I will try to sleep and wake up as early as possible to continue with the rest of the series. That's what I call awesomeness!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The strange cycle of suffering.

I bumped upon an old website I was searching lately, one that is a good and interesting read especially for people suffering from Pure-O OCD, although kinda long (but not too much). The primary piece of information from the OCD truth website that still intrigues me is actually one thing that I suspected and is the primary idea most people suggest on how to cope with it. The author has written it at least three times in capitals, it's the universal truth of OCD like he calls it and it makes me shiver thinking in what nasty way it brings sadness and suffering out of actual air (nothing).

The primary way to cope with it and avoid the cycle of bad thoughts is to try to have a different perspective than before. That's an interesting thing because I find even me, after so many years when it suddenly hits, to forget the basic rules and understanding of it. I forget it because then emotions talk to me and logic comes second. And when you tend to suffer, you tend to hear your emotions more than everything.

Pure-OCD suffering is about people having nasty dreadful bad thoughts that they never intended to have and feeling guilty about it. This is a very short description that doesn't cover up the whole phenomenon but it's just so to move to the point. So, what is the root of OCD? Is it the bad nasty thoughts? No. It's having guilt about it.

The basic rule says that in order to get rid of the repetitive cycle of unwanted thoughts in your mind, you have to accept keeping those unwanted thoughts in your mind.

And that's the point where it makes you wonder. You will say, all those years I tried to move away from them by creating rituals or trying to shut down my brain or other ways and you tell me that the only solution is to have them? I had reached to that conclusion years before reading this opinion and even finding out that what I have is actually called Pure-O OCD and more people are having it. That was the point that I reached, the fact that this thing was feeding by my fear and disgust about it. Like a twisted recursive cycle. The only point was that I couldn't believe it would work at the time, also it wasn't easy to persuade yourself to actually let your mind follow those disgusting thoughts you avoided like the plague. So, when it was just a suggestion that it was also hard (avoidable) to test I lost my faith on it, till I found that there is a psychological reality on what bugged me, described by others exactly the same way I figured out myself.

Another way to see it (and helps getting away with guilt sometimes) is to question yourself: What's the difference between people having Pure-O OCD and those who don't? Both can have any category of thoughts, from the nicest to the most gruesome, even if they are random unwanted thoughts. The difference is that Pure-O OCD people feel too guilty about some of the thoughts. Regular people just don't care. And that is one different perspective. You feel guilty because you think it's only you having these thoughts, because if regular people ever had these thoughts then someone would finally speak about it. But they also do, it's just that nobody cares or wants to share! Another thing that you might think is that perhaps you have the bad gruesome thoughts in a greater percentage than most people. One reason for this is that by feeling guilty about them your mind brings them in higher priority and the more you detest them the more they pop up like crazy. People not feeling guilty about their kind of thinking as you do, might still have some of the random bad thoughts among the good ones but they don't even scratch the surface. One very bad thought in fifty random thoughts just pass away in ignorance and fades away since it's unimportant.

So, your mind is not the place where thoughts are restricted. It is supposed to be an endless source of creativity, the place where anything can be imagined no matter how good or bad. So, why do we want to restrict our thinking? Personality? Ethics? Being too perfect about what is even inside our mind? Should our inner thought that mirrors our personality be the best ever, like we are some kind of saints? While I understand when people similar to me come and tell me "But I want to think good stuff, not making those thoughts that make me feel like I have an evil soul. Isn't it natural to want my thoughts to be pure?", the matter here is that things might get very helpful, revealing and actually interesting if we try to see things under a different perspective. I ask myself today, why do I bother with these thoughts anyway? I can't give a proper answer just yet..

Another interesting analogy of the perspective that people with Pure-O OCD might have is to think of someone who is in constant Weltschmertz (Just a word that I like, it means something like, pain about what happens in the world, sadness about constant injustice). He never gets peace. He wishes that one day all suffering, all hunger, all wars, all pain will come to an end. What he asks for is for all the bad things to vanish (in our analogy, we ask for the ugly thoughts to never happen again). Consider though, is our world ever going to be perfect? Are the bad happenings something that should be cast away in an eternal dimension like it's a demon or something that doesn't belong here? The alternative perspective would be to see the world as something that is made out of the good AND the bad things. To accept that there is a reason for even the bad things to exist. It's not like wishing for the bad things, it's like accepting that the world is not perfect and there is a reason for it. One can still aim for the betterment of the world while trying to find peace with it's current state. Now, how similar is this approach with the one of accepting any of your thoughts no matter how bad they are? In comparison with the initial perspective where you wanted to cast away nasty thoughts like they were some outer place demons?

That is the point of understanding. It's the easier part. The harder is to apply it. When you still can't allow yourself having these thoughts. When your logic tells you how nasty OCD works and how you should play clever, yet your emotions tell you it hurts your soul to allow these thoughts. How can you ever find harmony even with this new perspective?

I have to admit that I haven't found that harmony yet. Even if I am more confident about how it works and under which perspective I should cope with it. I partially try to not care about my thoughts and partially I somehow cloud them by trying to stop thinking or push every thought away and that would be not a good idea because it's like fogging my brain. It's not so bad as in the past though. Although it came back after a very long time recently (years?) and I am wondering whether my everyday life contributes in that too (recent deadlines with university assignments, too much anxiety and frustration). I am saying "contributing" btw, not being the root of it. When I am more anxious with everyday stuff, OCD finds a more sensitive emotive world to kick in. When I have a very good and confident mood, I have noticed that even the worse thoughts can't touch my feelings. Although usually it's not the second that is frequent.

It's just disturbingly amazing how that mechanism in your brain causes all this chronic burden. It's so ingenious that I hate it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Two rules for my two weeks rule.

My two weeks rule: No matter what, if I decide to start working on any project or try to follow a strict plan, in about two weeks I will have already lost all my motivation and probably forget about it.

Two rules for my two weeks rule:

  • When there is an optimistic feeling during the first days I start working on something that it will go well, it is always accompanied by another ironic feeling that the two weeks rule will probably prove to be true once again. My inner cynic wakes up and laughs at me as he knows the future.

  • When the point is reached where my glorious plans are scrutinized by the two weeks rule of motivation, it's usually the end. I have that fear at the time that this point is not just a break. It is the point of no return. It is when your project stays on the shelves for a year or two.

Recently I have just noticed how true and precise my personal rule is! (Of course it's a rule applying to me, others might have the one month or even three days rule :)

Case one, when I started studying the first days were very enthusiastic and I was highly motivated but now things are boring. Of course, there is no different way here rather than working on my assignments for the time being, then being demotivated and doing anything else, then back working on them for another one or two weeks. Here, deadlines and obligations fight rule number two and the best worse thing that happens is to work for a week, then do nothing for another week and then repeat the cycle. Usually you start working when the deadline is near and you end up finishing your assignments the very last morning you have to hand in :P

Case two, diet plans. I have started some recently but those where scrutinized yesterday after eleven days of keeping an ok plan (two weeks is the most, usually a week and a half is enough time to break things apart). I suddenly felt the need to go into the supermarket and buy tons of stuff and... chocolate. My only hope here is to not continue the habit for the next days but start a new schedule for one more week. Because usually on diets I was either frustrated or kept the bad habit for a month or even a year after the two weeks.

And those two cases are the things that you are obliged to do. You have to hand in assignments no matter what and you have to take care of your health before it is too late. Even if the deadline is always far away for the second case :P. What about the things that you want to do but you don't have to do? I kept thinking on my demomaking hobby. It's crazy but it's still two weeks ruling here. I remember the biggest cases when I wanted to work on a big demo and thought that if I work hard for a month or two I could have something good. I even thought that if I worked only two hours per day for three months or a little more I could still reach that plan. There are some of my demos that theoritically they might have taken six months or a year (like led blur on the GP32) but the reality is that all those months I was experimenting with new effects or hardware and it was usually sparse like one evening of work per week and only when the deadline was near I started working intensively one or two weeks near the end. In my latest demo (Quantum Retrofuture), I decided to break the rule and work one and a half month before the deadline, not intensively but steadily. I started working for maybe one week, then lost the motivation for two weeks, then worked for two three days, then I had less than a week near the deadline. It's funny how precisely the rule works and you can never work steadily (even not so intensively but only at a stable pace) for a period more than two weeks!

It works so perfectly that I love it! Even if it always manages to scrutinize my plans :P

p.s. Solution? Maybe minimize the burn out period (it shouldn't be two weeks off after one week of work but maybe 1-3 days of break would be ok) yet let yourself take some rest without thinking about. Also don't be disappointed and never quit. Especially when it's a very important projects (like studies or personal health, demos can go screw themselves at the moment ;).

p.p.s. I was also going to write about the single day miraculous yet fading idea rule and then the near deadline rule which is obvious yet bugging me right now :P

Friday, October 30, 2009

Your dream companion.

Few days ago, in the metro newspaper, I have noticed a weird article about some man that everybody keeps seeing in his/her dream. It seemed a weird thing of the kinds that are interesting to me, somehow related to paranormal phenomena also to collective unconscious or it could also be a psychological experiment to see how this spreads and if actually everybody is going to start seeing him in their dreams or even imagining him in their realities. It's kinda scary actually and I like scary and weird stuff like that. I was already reading the contents on a website dedicated to the phenomenon and I thought that I would probably see him because of self-suggestion but it didn't happened yet (if this things goes on the internet like a meme then be sure everybody will be seeing him and it won't be unexplained anymore :).

Actually I had no sleep yesterday. The last time I stay awake till I can see the rise of the sun outside my window was when I was playing civilization in my 386 :). But I think it will be finally a more frequent thing from now on. When I was studying mathematics in Greece, we almost never had assignments and they didn't count anyways. Ok,. mathematics was the only department I think that also didn't required a final project. And you could also fail epically and still take the diploma after 8 years. But now I just got introduced into what means having to finish written assignments (with code too of course, but that's my favorite part anyway :) once per one or two weeks and also go to the lessons (because you want to go to the lessons of an MSc that interests you and you have payed too) and maybe find a timeframe to read what you were actually taught. The funny thing is that I find the assignments doable. I thought they would be harder. Maybe it's because I am already familiar with graphics, programming and maths. But I manage to only do it in haste in the last time because of procrastination. I don't like this :/

Anyway, going back to the thing, yesterday we were doing the math assignment (which was big and required also a lot of matlab code, I haven't used matlab before actually so that's a nice opportunity to get used to it) and it was a bit funny because I was connected with two other people on MSN and all of us didn't sleep and had some chat about the assignment or other non related stuff. This is going to be a regular occurrence in the future for sure :)

Ok,. and going back to the primary idea (because I was lost in other stuff :). Now I was sleeping and maybe I will go back to sleep more because I need sleep. The reason I woke up and started reading this, is because I had a revelation.

First of all, things related to dreams are interesting to me for some reasons I am not sure exactly. It's just the weirdness or strangeness of it (Btw,. I recently watched this movie and I'd like to watch it again). One aspect that I recently defined and is very interesting to me is the idea that someone has a personal dream companion. That thing (person, creature, whatever) is someone you keep seeing frequently in your dreams, yet he is not someone you know in real life, he only exists in your dreams, he is like maybe a friend or a foe or a mysterious being which although you keep seeing in dreams and when you encounter him in another dream that you have seen even years after you instantly identify him and that lucid feeling bumps in that, you know, I have seen him in my past dreams and he is like a living entity in a dreamworld or something. I don't want to put any metaphysics in here, just define a kind of special dream encounter that you know who he is and what are his characteristic like he was a regular resident in a place you frequently visit in your dreams.

Of course, that scary face in the website Ever Dream this Man that people go crazy about is only a dream companion few people have seen. The kinda funny or interesting part is to try to remember on very characteristic dream companion you kept seeing in your dreams. Which one is your personal dream companion? Which are his properties, attitudes or relation to you? Was there maybe a special place that you also kept seeing in your dreams where that companion appeared more frequently? I would like to describe mine in the next paragraph but before doing that I'll just like to point a funny thing. The first two persons the man in the website reminded me are Alfred E. Neuman and then The man from another place (from twin peaks). Funny coincidence. Or maybe people are just watching strange caricatures on their dreams of things they watched on tv or seen in illustrations :)

I also discovered today that my dream companion when I was a kid was actually something I had seen in a video game once in my life (then) and later left it in my unconscious. Although applying my own additional properties to it. I remember a dwarf blonde girl, very tiny in size (maybe in the size of chucky) that I loved and had to care about it's safety. That little creature had a negative property. When for some reasons it got wet, it grew up a little in size (but still being too small), had more scary hair like nails and scary teeth and face, like a monster and created havoc around. Then I had to find her, take her with me and go to a place with very bright sun so that she finally returned to it's regular size because of the light or the heat. Preety charecteristic thing. Most of the times I encountered her in the home at the village of my grandparents, Arnea of Xalchidiki (somewhere in northern Greece) but the place was slightly different (bigger and more interesting) than in reality (this is another thing I like in dreams, that you see a place you know in reality but now it's a more interesting alternative version of it). So there was a special place where I could meet my special friend.

I only got the funny revelation today by refreshing my memories on the formation of this encounter that this dwarf girl was actually two versions of a sprite from a computer game, actually Gianna Sisters on C64. The very "exited" version of it was when you get the bonus to grow stronger in the game. But I hadn't thought then that she was just created in my dreams from my memories of the game. The thing is that during that time I had only seen Gianna Sisters once in a party of some schoolmate who had a C64 and it was the first time I had seen one (Oh,,. it took awfully long to load compared to my CPC experience then!). I played Gianna Sisters much later through emulators but that was years after the frequent dreams. Just one time of watching someone playing this new game was enough though for keeping this in my unconscious and letting it surface in my dreams. On the original game of course you wouldn't transform into the scary version by touching water. That was my imaginary additional construction that I made up on my dreams for reasons I can't think right now :)

So, I just woke up from my sleep (that I really need now!) to tell you this strange, funny or boring story. I am wondering if you ever had a dream companion or a reoccurring dream or characteristic place on your dreams. Of course this question is for anyone bothering thinking about and discussing his/her dreams because the last time I discussed my dreams with some guy and wanted to hear his own weird stuff he probably thought I was weird and avoided the conversation. (and that was so early in elementary school :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Success / Honor

Yet another piece of information to help me solve the puzzle of myself. Yet another moment of getting the feeling that it fits, that it explains everything I do and I everything I strive for. And another factor that can also make a sense of my frustration in life and might help me see where I should focus on to be happier.

It's like another one of these selfviews, not unique, not better than the rest, just derived from a different focus (interesting word I just thought of, think of the term worldview but now applied on self, it's like different kinds of perspective on yourself, different math trying to fit in the selfmodel (like worldmodel :))

It's nothing new I haven't thought before. I just focused more deeply into the idea and tried to view things under this perspective. Actually it occured to me after my first few weeks here at UCL, thinking about my hopes, the original reasons I wanted to do this, what percentage of it did I got till now, how some things doesn't fit with myself or some things lacking from me to match well with my aspirations. And then that reflected back at every little moment of success or failure I had in real life or the demoscene or even in the most tiny things and I have noticed more how this thing totally affects the little happiness or sorrows I get from life.

For example, I always had this feeling of failure when I was in my previous degree on mathematics. Of course then I wasn't doing something that I entirely wanted, I was just under pressure and all I wanted then was to join the scene and make a good demo which was also another needed source of the personal success feeling. It took me 8 years to finish the degree and it generally was more than the average. Anybody will jump in my monologue and say that I shouldn't be so negative of myself. But I am just realistic and even if I am failing on this, depressive realism is what I think describes me. Or just the exact opposite of this effect.

So, to go on with the story, one of the little aspects that made me happier with the idea of studying the computer graphics module at UCL is the fact that I am already experienced with the subject and so I would feel like home. I wouldn't feel like an average student who doesn't understand a thing and stares in the lectures like a fool. I would feel like knowing what's going on and that feedback effect, an inner feedback effect where I assure myself that my cognition on things is going fine and I feel like a conscious part of the process and not an outsider (Hmm,. now I am thinking it, the lack of it is what pisses off people who are like external observers to our geeky tech talks). Till now it's working fine here of course. There are though some interesting new lessons like machine vision which I understand that I am not supposed to understand everything at first sight because it's genuinly more complex than graphics and that keeps me away from feeling like a fool.

It's only on some of the practicals where I felt a bit the frustration that I am not good, not worth or not successful but that feeling could be avoided by the same logic. Although, when I felt I wasn't successful on one, I thought it wouldn't be the same on the graphics practical. At least there I should do nicely easily. The subject was to change the code of a raytracer and for once I had almost coded one in the past and knew the logic. But spending some time to review the java code and it's classes, half an hour configuring the compiler of a chinese girl, more minutes to get used to the compiler and for some reason more time because I had to use "instance of" to check the type of a class (and I totally understood object oriented programming in java, I just hadn't used one and I think something was wrong with the compiler too or I was doing something wrong), somehow two hours passed and I didn't rendered a single thing!!! I mean, not even normalized a simple vector! When you have that constant feeling "Oh, I suck, I suck, I suck,. at least on the graphics practical it will prove different" and it doesn't, it's the worst feeling ever. You know,. before coming here I was telling this little 'tantrum' and eternal fear to myself: "Ok. I code graphics for a hobby. If I even fail on a master that has totally something to do with graphics which is my main thing, then what can I say? I am for NOTHING!"

Pretty hard stuff to say to oneself. But somehow I feel like I am constantly chased by the ghost of not being good enough or of even be very lame. Of course the more I know it the more prepared I am to fight with it. The thing is not to exclusively seek success but to try to face those emotions because it's easy to fail and I should be prepared for it. It's like when someone tells me that maybe I should do a really really good demo to prove to myself that I can do it and break the negative spell of my eternal demoscene sucking. But then I think, would it prove anything? I know now that if I work hard my ass on anything I can even fly to the moon. So, is there something to prove?

One important thing is that me, myself and people who read my rants might confuse three similar words.

  • Fame. A word that everyone hates. Even more than money. It's not exactly the basic thing that I am seeking. Even if it can usually interfere with the rest and at little glimpses of it you might even start liking it. Or hating it.

  • Success. More like it. But what is success? What do people mean by this word and how each one understands it through a different perspective? I will split it into two categories.

    • Social Success or generally/socially defined success or what most people understand as commonly accepted success. Getting good grades at school, university, having a job career, a respected family. It's the tantra that elderly people might sometimes bust your balls with yet you won't be able to understand what's the fuzz about.

    • Inner Success, the feeling that you are successful on something that you totally understand, you totally honor, you totally find important or interesting. Someone might be a dropout from college but create neat stuff in his free time in any discipline. That's the thing I was seeking, that's why I wasted time in the demoscene instead of taking my degree in time and others couldn't grasp the importance.

  • Honor. It must be very close to inner success. It could be the same actually. It's the feeling of achieving something that you personally feel it's important. Difference from fame? You are not doing it for the people (that can only come as a bonus), you are doing it for yourself.

Each time I am working on something that I feel it's important and the process flows all nicely, I receive a positive feedback from my brain that makes me happy for a while.

In the graphics practical I was expecting that and didn't got it. Because of unforeseen misfortunes and maybe a lack of clear mind too. But what was the motive? It was just an exercise that wasn't going to be graded. I wasn't going to show the results to my professor to prove something (that I am a graphics god or something :). I could just fail and not care. But I did! Because I had the false view that I was going to finish this easily. It wasn't a fault on my understanding, being not experienced with Java or Eclipse wasn't a reason. There was nothing that I have to ask the lecturers to explain. It was simply my thing and yet I failed. What I was seeking? A reassuring from myself that I am functioning well, that I am successful on doing something well and fast. It just didn't worked because of bad luck. It just happened. Maybe tomorrow I will have a clear mind and it will work. And get my little positive feeling of functioning. I actually need a lot of these little glimpses of happiness at times. I just have to accept it when I bump into a failure. It doesn't prove that I am bad or not. I just need to remember that it makes me feel alive. I should seek for more of these and in different disciplines.

This is definitely going for Part II. Sometime..

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Hellos from London!

After finishing with the things that made me anxious (finding a student house, enrolling in the university, paying the fees and other minor stuff) and settling down, I think it's time to start. This is the last weekend before the lessons programme begins. I am really really curious and happy to get started with and I am wondering whether it will be interesting (I think it will be) and whether there will be any pressure or strict deadlines (Well there might be work to do. I have to stop playing Scribblenauts or any other addictive game :).

I haven't visited anything special in London or UK yet. I'd really like to visit the british museum and especially stonehenge oneday. There might be quite more siteseeings that are worth. I just need to find out and plan something (or join some of the clubs that organize tours). What I liked and find interesting here in London is that it's extremely multicultural. I haven't seen such a variety of different kinds of people before. Well, I was in Germany once (in Karlsruhe) but I don't remember such variation, even though it still looked more varied in different nationalities than what I am used in Greece. That's all I can say at the moment. I haven't seen much yet.

I also opened a twitter. Well, that's a lie. I already had the twitter account before but just never used it. It occured when someone asked me why I post a lot of stuff at Pouet and not in my blog (which is also a lie because I post far more text in my blog, only less frequently) and one reason I think I am more easilly tempted to post at Pouet is because I sometimes don't post serious stuff there and the oneliner is for small text. When I plan to post something in this blog it's several times that I cancel it because I need time and I am more obsessed writting with my own pace and also need to plan it more carefully. But in Pouet I sometimes write something that comes in my mind and fits in less than 255 characters. So I thought, it would be fun to write small thoughts, quotes or news in twitter. Now I know why they ironically say it's for ADHD people who are in a hurry or too lazy to write something more than 140 characters. But 140 characters? That's a bit too little. I still had struggle to fit something specific I wanted to post there. I wish there is an option to maybe make it 255 characters or something..

Scribblenauts. It's the best thing since lemmings. I originally read about it from an xkcd strip :). It's so clever and so addictive because you can finish levels with a big variety of different ways and you actually have a big dictionary of things you can use, even the most unimaginable. If you search scribblenauts in youtube you might get an idea. It's only funny when you can summon Cthulhu or LHC and crazy stuff like that. It's crazy summoning god and handing him a bazooka and having him fight with a pterodactylus or something. Who the hell has thought of such an idea for a game?

I think I will write a review about scribblenauts in my Plasmafun blog where stuff like that belongs more. If I don't get busy with my masters programm at least..

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I've heard there is a fuzz about today's date. Of course those special numbers where something is supposed to happen, have to be something symmetrical like 09/09/09, 666, 999, 2222, 10:10. I wonder, why not 17/09/09, 256, 9797 or 2321? Does the universe like those specific kinds of numbers? What if we had a different type of calender and 09/09/09 was something boring and random like A4/F2/FF :P

Although it's a slightly important day in my life because today I officially quit my job (Finally, no more picking up the phone!!! Arghh.. I was supposed to be a programmer here but all I do is watching youtube videos and constantly picking up the phone. They frickin work three at a minute! :P) and start preparing for my trip in England. Also, a brand new laptop is about to arrive at home today (I hope). More about it later..

I think that's the most important things that will happen from my side during this funny symmetric date. Except if I get abducted by aliens or stuck in an elevator or something :P

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Firing neurons of hapiness.

Unhapiness can be a bad messenger to someone who is trying to escape from all those negative thoughts about his quality of life and the constant criticism from anyone who begs him to be normal. While sadness plays a peculiar role in my life, where it's not always negative but in a strange way reviving (it fills me with anger and sorrow but that makes me feel stronger towards a cause to fight normality), sometimes when it's accompanied by doubt about some aspects of my life and those thoughts of people criticising me and the fear and disgust of them being right, it turns into real sadness where I loose the meaning of my focus yet I can't think of changing and be like them because this would be even more depressing.

Yet, hapiness can be a quite complicated thing (if not for you, then for some) and you can't just base on the idea that someone is not happy to point out that his life is wrong. It's not black and white. There is no single path of hapiness. It doesn't work the same way for anyone. Also, a feeling of being soberly sad comes after moments of hapiness. One can't be shinny happy for ever and not return back into a lower state. And maybe not always feeling content is a primary motive in our evolution.

It's also logical to seek for ideas that can make me feel better. Especially for those who can be established and wipe out the old irrational sadness of feeling guilty for not being normal like the rest or my fear that I am to blamed for finding excuses for my current kind of life. Right away someone who wanted to refute my attempt would jump and say that I am just trying to find excuses to cover my faults and hinder my view where it doesn't suit my arguments. It's logical that I am more focused by the ideas that make me feel better and thus I am more able to see the pleasing points and have a cognitive bias about anything that doesn't make me feel good. Someone would even say that it's not fair. Fair for whom? Whose life is it anyways?

But isn't this what everyone does? And I will tell you something that it's important here. I fit extremely much this state of mind. Many people can be much worse and feel much more confident. I have a more negative view about myself and it's hard to put me into the illusion that I am all great and I should ignore the rest (See also the Downing Effect, similar witht the Dunning-Kruger effect). A lot of people tell me that I underestimate myself and what I have achieved so far, someone even told me I am a strange phenomenon where everyone believes in me except myself :P. I should say here from my side that it's unfair with my kind of negative bias to claim that something is wrong with my life compared to a more "normal" life because I don't seem to be happy. Because I am too honest with myself and can't easilly let things go compared to others who live hapilly in ignorance. I may look like dividing people to sides, I may be misunderstood as someone who is too fanatic to support his own view on life but on the back there is someone who still encounters your arguments and instead of ignoring them he is puzzled and gives them a second thought. While people have already great confidence that they are right and I am wrong. This game is unfair.

I need to get more into that idea now (which has also to do with the title and main theme) which made me more confident about some things and gave me hope that oneday I won't be revolving around too oposing ideas but hold back into the one that fits me and be more confident about myself in specific subjects just like the rest. I will get fast into it because only with some introductory thoughts this post has become too big without yet getting into the main subject..

A specific evening and the very good feelings I had about it had lighten up something I couldn't see well before. What I have learned that night is that someone should try to observe what makes him happier in various occasions in everyday life instead of getting lost into more abstract ideas about hapiness. And someone could also see why these specific events makes him more happy and get a deeper insight of how to prefer living his life.

Ideas injected into your brain from childhood and common opinions of our times can confuse you especially if you are not confident like me. Even if I disagree, I can get stuck into ideas like "I am not very social so I must be sad", "I have no life so I must be sad" ,"I am too focused on computer programming so I must be sad". And now I would like to tell you what I have observed that day, combined also with various thoughts and conclusions on specific things. I will start with the second one.

I like programming. I like the geeky activity of computer programming. It's one of the things where I have grown a very good ability. As you improve your abilities in a subject neurons in the brain fire up more frequently and a larger part of your brain is dedicated into these activities. Everytime you do this you get some feedback of how well you perform in your activities and that makes you happier. I am not talking about an external feedback from other people but an inner understanding that you are very talented in something and each time you exercise more into firing these neurons the more happy you become and the more evolved your abilities become. It follow a possitive vicious circle where you are good at A, you exercise A more and the more you do this thing the more you like to be involved in A which makes you better at it and returns more positive feedback about it which makes you involved more. Also, to reach that point where it has become a talent, it takes years and usually starts in a very early age.

Based on this idea I can now explain what happened on that night. I simply met with people with whom I could exchange thoughts having to do with the programming hobby. First of all I could discuss my ideas and let these neurons fire excessively for hours. Then the other guy could totally relate with my hobby and I supposed fired hapilly his own good neurons by responding back and getting us into a happy conversation. Then we discussed about our studies in UCL and I felt very happy I will be studying together with these people with whom we can greatly relate. I was happy I would be studying a subject that is actually very close to the same hobby and as more I am involved into it the more happy I can get. One part of hapiness was the endless engagement into our things that makes our brain happy, the other ones was that we could relate as people very well based on our common interests. It sounds like a trivial thing coming right from the clue shoppe (but of course if you do things you like and you talk about things you like then it makes you happy, no news) but it gets more interesting from the firing neuron theory.

Another interesting example. I am deadly bored in common social situations. And they make me unhappy. For various reasons. When I sit three hours in a cafeteria with people I can't relate or find boring then it seems to much to me. But one day an interesting observation came in my mind: I find three hours in a cafeteria with boring uninteresting people too much but how the hell can I survive three days at a demoparty event with no sleep and bad noise and even enjoy the hell out of it? Wouldn't they look at my affection for the demoscene event with pitty the same way I see their kind of entertainment dull and I can't stand even an hour of it?.

What happens here? It's all about how your life came into a point where specific events lighten up positively specific neurons of your brain and so you enjoy repeating these activities to fire up the same neurons. An interesting thing is that if your brain really gets the possitive kicks from these activities then you can stand doing them even in the most awful conditions that may accompany them (dark and noisy demoparties, crowdy and noizy clubs, smelly disgusting cigarettes, drinking bitter and tasteless coffee (that's how I see especially the last ones :)). Another questions is how it become to be so? To like programming I had to initially get into it without those motivating neurons to be already there. If it evolved in an early age then why my brain didn't got into the more common things first? Like getting good at playing the social game? If this one happened then I assure you I would now truly enjoy casual social situations and this like an endless cycle would make me ask for more of those situations which would then make my neurons on this activity evolve and thus make me more happy as I constantly repeat the practice of doing this. But how did I not get into this endless circle and choose(?) the programming one instead. A matter of brain difference or psychology?

But even if I still can't answer the last question with certainity the fact remains that either way my life came forward to a point where I evolved enjoying my kind of activities and never getting the kicks (or getting the negative vicious circles, yes there are those bad firing neurons too) for other ones. Someone would say that if I insisted repeating the casual social activity then it would make a good set of neurons grow up and finally get a possitive feeling from this. But in my opinion that would take ages (it should even start on an early age when the mind evolved easier) and I think it isn't worth the try. From another perspective also, the idea that I am not social is not really true. The fact is that I am not 'casually' social. I can be very social with the right kind of people. So, I should find more of those people with whom I can really and have a really interesting conversation.

Why bothering with those dead cells? Why not bet on those well doing talented ones? Of course occasionally I am really touching the dead ones too because I am not 100% asocial (in very rare cases, even with the boring group I can have that inspiration of humour which makes me feel good for a while (and the rest of the group too)). People would just beg me to be more social? But aren't things evolving alone? Preaching that something is not normal or criticising someone is like pushing him into a direction that hits a wall. One cannot evolve like this. Does it mean that we should just stop discussing it and try to live our lifes the best way that fits? Why do we even have this arguments? (I can assure you though that thinking about these things and arguing sometimes fires a bunch of positive neurons among with negatives or else I wouldn't be here writting this blog :P)

With these things in mind I find all the notion of normality wrong. Condemning strange talents and activities is also something that makes no sense to me now. With the same neuron theory in my mind and how I feel that it might be working in my case, I can also speculate on why some people like things that I hate or cannot understand and why it comes the same from their side, and conclude that there is no point pushing each other towards activities that our cells have not evolved to enjoy.

The trip to London will be very possitive for me. I will be studying with people who will possible relate to things my brain like. I will be even working on a job involving those people (it hasn't happened yet). I should seek for the things that make me happy. I should observe what I was evolved to like.

p.s. Someone would say that I have many negative feelings from my hobby. Especially the part that has to do with the demoscene. But it's not the demoscene blame. Also I can purely carry on programming graphics without having anything to do with the demoscene or the things I learned to hate inside. The primary hobby remains to have the possitive effect. The aftereffects have to do with other connections that had to do with my personality. It's like when you had several faulty experiences with girls and you start hating girls. But there is something else behind. This thing is something I am searching. In UCL I will be studying and doing fun stuff with computer graphics, so it will be like my hobby but detatched from the demoscene (still not the demoscene's fault but some of my personality traits that somehow got mixed badly with some ideas and misconceptions). So, programming and computer graphics alone remain a very possitive feedback loop in my brain.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A happy night!

I had a very good time today when I met my friends nuclear and hikiko to discuss about finding a house in London, having also our typical graphics programming discussions and then went to the netcafe to watch the same demo in three screens simultaneously. Somehow I had a rare positive feeling today, maybe it's the fact that we will most probably spent a great time studying together from late September in England.

Maybe it's time to give you my news about this since the time is near and I am in a great mood to speak about it. Me and hikiko applied for an MSc in Computer Graphics, Vision and Imaging at UCL and we are certainly in. Now the only step remaining is to find a good cheap home (university houses might not make it) or anything to have somewhere to stay and the good times start. I hope that nuclear gets his phd offer too and we can stay together. For me it's a positive thing from many views, first of all it will be great to be studying what I like to do in my free time, then it's actually a nice opportunity (or transition way) to stay in England and search for a related job there and I am hoping for many good changes in my life from that point on. I need that transition and I need to see new places and make a new start.

Maybe that happy feeling will fade away tomorrow and for the next three weeks but it's all natural to drop down from a highly positive feeling and when the time comes near it will be all positive for the better again. I can't await for the moment to come, that we settle down in a home and all good things are about to come. Yey!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The roots of normality.

Ever wondered how and when has the concept of normality arisen? How things came to be the way they are?

Although the concepts of normal and weird, that of the average joe and the eccentric might have existed even in ancient years (I imagine some ancient greek philosopher looking too weird to the common person of his times, I think there are examples of strangeness and reactions to this in history), maybe the first time that it was applied in a political basis in our history is described in the 2nd episode of the documentary "the century of the self".

Anna Freud believed that if children strictly followed the rules of accepted social contract then as they grow up, the conscious mind will be greatly strengthen in the struggle to control the unconscious.

I leave you to discover more in the documentary video.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Blogs again

I somehow need to organize all these blogs and it's a hard work. Right now I exported most old posts from Kodeus Delirius and imported them to the Otinanism blog. When I started the kodeus delirius blog (gates to delirium) it was just a blog of random stupid posts that had to do with just being crazy and writting funny strange posts. But later I transformed this blog into a news blog about my coding projects (from which I am absent the recent days anyway). It wasn't very nice to have kept the insane old posts with the coding news at the same blog. And since I was used to open various different blog with insanities, I will just keep one (otinanism) and put everything there. At first I thought about deleting it but later I said, let's make it as a blog of garbage posts :P

I also tried to add some links, blog archive, label lists, etc in some of my recent ones. There is work to be done.

There is only one more blog I am thinking about opening.

You might wonder why all these blogs? Isn't it more work to have seven of them? Actually no. The different blogs bear with subjects that would be posts on the primary blog. I am just splitting these subjects in different blog. I was write posts about demoscene, normality, hackers, programming, ufos, news, random thoughts, stupid posts, etc in the same blog for a long. Subjects that don't match with each other and don't fit in the same atmosphere of the blog. I have already used labels too but I needed to separate the posts in different blogs.

But if I separate the subjects then what I will be writting in the main Optimus blog? In the past most of the posts here had to do with the normality/personal struggle subject. These are going to the normality blog. Few of them with the demoscene. Plasmafun is about games/demos/various stuff, recently I am writting a lot of demo reviews there. Kodeus Delirius about my coding projects (although I don't think I am in enough mood to work with this blog). Computer Hermit again with computers but with a different perspective (although I am getting too obsessed with the "hackers" subject there, I am still skeptical why I opened this blog but I like the feeling of it right now). I might open one about UFO and paranormal things and my skepticism. I think the main Optimus blog will remain as a center for things, news, not related exactly.

Nah. It needs a lot of work to put it in a satisfactory way that I like. There are some blogs I am tempted to delete or merge with others. But maybe I shouldn't. Too much work and I can't decide..

Monday, August 03, 2009

The nature of socialization

I went with some friends to a beach bar. My mood was looking quite serious and somebody noticed it. He thought I was sad. Then fact was, my thoughts were racing through my head. They weren't thoughts about personal problems. They were thoughts about subjects I sometimes analyze with great passion and interest, yet not necessarily affecting me. I mean, there wasn't any burden with real life at that time, only positive things ahead. It was just that my brain decided to overload me with various ideas for me to analyze. And I was actually in the moods to do so. I just was in the wrong place and time.

I couldn't have fun. I couldn't take part in the social situations, I couldn't enjoy looking at girls, I couldn't relax. It just wasn't my time. Because trying to do so required at first to defocus, switch off my brain and join another state of mind. I couldn't enjoy the time but I knew it wasn't wrong. I knew that my brain wanted me to grab a subject and analyze it, stay in solidarity and talk to myself, sit in front of my computer and write a programm, sit in a chair and read a book or anything else that didn't fit the particular moment and time.

Later I went into the sea. I like the sea. Most people get into the sea for fifteen minutes and then stay out in the beach for hours. I like to be in the sea and go deeper where there are is a distance from people. I like to relax there for hours (of course I know the after effects) and stare at the horizon, floating over the waves, being alone and thinking. Actually talking to myself..

I don't exactly know why I am doing it. Maybe because it's more passionate and gets you focused when you are speaking it loud than thinking it. I always do the same thing in my lonely walks or at home. I try to be careful to do it when people are not around because I feel a bit weird. Some people have asked me why am I doing it? One has speculated that I am doing this because I feel lonely and I don't have anyone to talk and so I should find more friends. I recently found a very interesting explanation that defy this logic and is also based on my insights on the nature of regular socialization.

The big difference is:

  • Most people have a primary focus to socialize with other people and only use "objects" as means of socialization (social interest).

  • Few of us are passionate and focused on "objects" and want to talk with people who share the same interest about "objects" (actual interest).

Where "object" means hobby, science, philosophy, actual knowledge, understanding and will to get involved into the discussion upon the subject, not short reference of common opinions and ideas that are necessary pleasing to people or just used to present yourself or open a random discussion.

When I am talking to myself, it is because I am of the second kind. Speaking loudly and with passion has to do with my strong focus and interest on the subject. It's not about my need to speak to other people because then I wouldn't need to do this alone since people are everywhere and I could just start a casual talk if I wanted.

The interesting part here is to think of the elements of socialization. Socialization as we know it from the majority (because socialization could be any form of communication, even those weird ones that are not considered particularly "social"). The most common form is the one which I recently called casual socialization. What is there? Predictable talks. Casual chat. Jokes. And when the thing reaches the "object" it's just brief mentions of ideas and opinions just for the sake of socialization. The important here is that there is an easy and relaxing flow of words and ideas just to have a nice casual feeling of being with people and belonging somewhere. The belonging part is why there is a trend to mention well accepted, common, predictable ideas so that everyone else is noding his head and there is a feeling of safety that we are all similar in ideas (belonging) and have a good time. Of course some disagreements arise but then the ideas change from one subject to another and all process is going lightly (not obsessively).

When I join a social situation, I sometimes may get dragged into a certain talk because it happens to speak of a certain matter that interests me. Usually I am just a pure listener but if I manage to get into the discussion I may speak like crazy, not being necessary a fanatic (I may agree with the opinion and there may be no arguments) but sounding like so because I switch into a furious state that surely looks kinda weird, even... not considered "social". Social for them might mean to say something small, not get too focused on subject, like making a dribble and then throwing the ball to another person and not playing with the ball in the corner. There are actually some sceners in Breakpoint who told me that. They thought that I monopolize the discussion because I am an attention seeker. But I think the answer is another one.

I am getting too obsessed with the subject of the discussion that my thoughts are racing and I am getting in a furious state. Just like these blogs. I certainly believe it's a brain difference and it's getting really obvious from my various observations of myself or other people during social situations, it's also obvious from the size and analysis of my texts and my obsessive nature. It can't be like this because of bad personality or psychology. You don't avoid a social way of communicating that works because you are stubborn. It can't be a naive choice to be something that is not me. It is me!

It seems weird. It's because of my focus on the subject that makes the process of socialization entirely different for myself than what others expect. Sometimes I open a subject because I am truly obsessed with it. Someone responds, he just finds my subject useful as a bridge to communicate. But he later changes the subject. I thought he did that because he found the subject boring. But no. This is how the game is played. Later (if we are at a party) he leaves the discussions and moves to other people. I thought he found me boring. I was wrong. He has to go from one person to another one. It's logical. He wants to meet people, as many as he can. I want to find one person who is really obsessed with the same object I am to spend the hours discussing this together. A different kind of mentality.

There is nothing wrong with each of these different mentalities. Some people meet together for the sake of socialization (socialization as an end in itself) while others are in need to communicate their passion about a specific "object". The first group might have to do something with the "object" because it's their job and then forget it, while the second group is involved into the exploration and understanding of the "object" because they are obsessed with it (the "object" as an end in itself).

I think it all has to do with a different nature of the brain. The cases of people in the autistic spectrum who are focused or obsessed with specific hobbies while they don't fit very well socially might be a key to that difference. I am not sure yet if my case has to do anything with it but there seem to be some strong indications that I am not into this condition just because I was lazy or stubborn. At least I am certain that my thoughts are racing through my brain.

What's your problem?

It sometimes pisses me off and then I wonder. Why do these people get into trouble to annoy us? Why do they need to tell me with a hectic passion that I am doing something wrong with my life? Why do they get fanatic or angry about me not changing? Why their rants are not simple suggestions but screams that something is very bad with this world and that's us?

I mean, there are a lot of other stupid trends that are considered normal yet they are harmful to the people around and yet most of them wouldn't even react about (e.g. bullying). But things like being different, following your own path or having weird hobbies steer the anger in many. While it's just a quiet life that hardly harms anyone. Of course someone could give me counter-examples but those won't be more harmful than many harmful things that are accepted as common and nobody mentions.

One thing that is common in me and makes me passive to situations is that I try my best to avoid conflict. There are even acts that annoy me and yet I try to be patient enough and not get into fight. You'd again tell me that the right thing is to become more aggressive to those who deserve it but everyone has a different attitude and there isn't such a thing as a perfect attitude. The interesting though is that there are some people who seem to naturally have a tendency to seek for fights. They want to piss off people, they get ecstatic by bullying, blaming, criticizing people, they do this all day because their self-esteem needs it.

I can't explain it in a different way. Why someone would get angry over my lifestyle when it doesn't affect his own? He wants a target to blame, one to show his superiority by degrading him, under the excuse that he just wants to help. Why an anonymous reader of my blog would come here and blame me as hard as he can claiming that he is waiting for me to change and that I am an asshole literally if I haven't changed yet?

The message they give is that you are a lazy bum, a stubborn asshole, someone who just has it wrong and everyone else around is right. They'd again say that this is how I perceive their message and so in my defense I'd like to answer that the way some of the people are formulating this message only shows arrogance, degradation and leads to further feelings of victimization and alienation of self. Simply, I get more angry on such reactions and have a "fuck the normal world" attitude. Then they alienate me from the rest of the world and I am having an anti-normal distinctive worldview. This is not helping.

Actually the mistake of the message is to consider one way of life as something so bad that it shouldn't exist. I am more towards the idea that there are social savants and social inept people. Some have a primary need to belong and constantly think about people while others have a natural tendency to wish to explore the world. The mistake we (from our side) do is to feel negative about our own image (that doesn't resemble normality) and try desperately to fit in. I am still fighting with it and that's because those self proclaimed messiah's came to me and wanted to preach with anger and fear that something is very wrong with me and that I have to make a rapid 180 degrees change as fast as I can or else I will be sad all my life. Does anyone change to the better (his good, not yours) with accusations and constant fear or does he loose more of his limited self-esteem and develops anti-social attitudes?

You made me sad since childhood. You never helped me at all. If you just didn't opened your mouth then things would be better for me. What's your damn problem anyway?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

No more food!

Right now I am getting pissed off with myself. Of course I couldn't avoid a taverna visit with my friends for another night and this time I was so full of food that it became so hard to digest and I have trouble breathing. Of course this incident doesn't happen frequently (I remember only one more time when I was thirteen and I was paniced when I instantly couldn't breath) but it got me pissed. Not that it might change anything (because tomorrow I will be fine and forget it) but I am making thoughts to stop with the food again.

A little problem now is that there are some trips I am making in Crete because of my new job, the only source of food in the evening is a Taverna and when I sit for three hours there then I am getting bored and eat everything. Even if I order nothing, the first dishes (for all) are coming and since the rest of my colleagues don't eat that much, it's all open to my choice. I was two weeks in Crete and now I am thinking it, I was eating in a Taverna every evening. It's preety fucked up! Of course it's all my fault (and we have discussed it) and the next time maybe I should stay in the hotel or something. It's not atm possible to sit in the table with tons of food we order but nobody eats and not be tempted or prompted to empty the tables.

Most people don't understand the problem. They think that fat people like me are lazy assholes who always find excuses to eat. To say that it's not healthy is not enough. We know it. It's like you are saying the smoker is an asshole because he doesn't understand that smoking kills and that it's a silly thing. Of course he does. I am not a smoker (I am even annoyed by smoking in public places) but I wouldn't say to a smoker that it's wrong that he is smoking because the logic says that it's bad. It is an addiction. There are psychological factors. It's the same with food addiction. You don't blame the fat person. He knows something is wrong. You are not helping him by blaming him for the obvious.

The remaining problem is what am I doing now? I know that my focus is to return to my normal weight. I know that it doesn't make sense to loose and then gain weight at the end because it will only make the process longer. But I continue to loose focus from the main plan. Also another think is that we like food. We maybe have to persuade ourselves that we don't like food. This is the point where meaning is lost. Because food does taste good. And I am not the person who can blindly close his eyes and believe something that is a lie. But maybe that's the only way. You can't start losing weight by continuing eating food. I have to drop my old habits. I am trying for a lot of years. I've discussed it with some work colleague and he told me that he managed to quit smoking but not food. Such a great addiction it is.

Another thing is diets. They need a plan. I can't follow a plan. Also they look quite simplistic. Of course if you don't follow my overeating plan but the plan of every diet by rule, you are going to loose weight and follow a different habit. Till you forget it and return to you own regular habits. Also it's not that with the diet I will be hungry and become nervous. Hunger doesn't bother me much. It is the fact that I am not allowed to eat (and overeat) my favorite foods. There are cases where I am eating even if I am not hungry.

Maybe I can't follow the alternative. To just not eat. And I am searching for a more convenient path which favours my addiction, although this isn't possible. It's complicated. Whatever you say it is. But there must be a solution. I always believed that every problem has a solution if you think it hard enough. But this is getting too complicated and maybe I secretly don't want to stop my habit..

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Life and the stars

There is an eternal dileema. The writer of this blog is confused. Even if he knows where the road leads.

This blog is dedicated to those who suffer. Those who are afraid to speak for themselves, yet they sometimes do and then regret it. Those who are stuck between life and the stars. Those who can see the desert of reality yet they have to play the game but inside them they cry. Those who are different yet not exactly confident about it and fight between the sense of normality and their need to be honest.

I know that I am still not making sense. For another time I don't try to have a plan in my writting, I just write whatever comes although in a poetical style. I just like to make atmosphere. I just like to inspire myself. I don't think whether anyone will read it or what people will say about it. The be me, don't care about the world mentality.

Sometimes I'd like to make a sense. Some of my posts will. Although it doesn't matter since people understand what they want to understand. This blog is for persons like me, lost between their need for individuality and their shame for being weird. And it's for similar persons who have made similar thoughts and sometimes they feel lost. I'd like them to read something and feel joy in the same way I'd bump into another blog putting my thoughts into words. Someone else feels just like me, has a similar passion and similar worries as me, and he hasn't succumbed into normality and forgotten who he is..

I listen to people who are a bit fanatic at first. But their ideas and feelings are close to mine. They say that they are geeks, different than the rest, prefer programming than beers and girls, wish to achieve something big instead of following what most others do, are hapilly lost into strange worlds while they are getting bored of real life. Most of them come to me years later and they tell me that they changed their mind entirely, they despise their old life style and that girls and booze is the meaning of life. Such a sudden change that saddens me.

Of course I can't ask from them to stay being like me, if they really discovered something greater in a more "normal" lifestyle. I wonder though what their real self is and what's their difference from my own state of mind? I feel like there aren't many people very similar to me, being in that middle state where I am more close to the stars than life, yet I resist total conversion but still being worried and unsure about it. I mean, there are geeks who are robotically sending fuckings to real life preachers and seems to not even be worried, being confident of their different lifestyle. There are also geeks who suddenly moved from the weird to the normal side and some even preach hard about it. I don't blame them though although I'd like to know what's on their mind that forced that sudden switch. But not enough geeks ruminating about these matter and not being able to decide even though they clearly are more close to the stars than life. At least nobody is writting a blog about it. I think.. (The exception is few posts from blogs of the autistic community where there is a declaration of difference based on neurodiversity. Although most posts are discussing autism rather than the humanistic/social factors of normality)

Life and the stars. It's an analogy. It should be beer and the stars as it started but it might not sound so poetic that way. Yet it's something I thought at a party. I was drunken and had great fun socializing (even though I notice that my way of "socializing" differs and has the geeky sides) when I nodded my head and looked up into the sky. I was lost for a while. People were sucked into the vacuum of socialization, predictable memes and jokes and casual chat were through the air while I was lost in my world. The social voices (where social sometimes plasmatic and memetic) in my background and the real world above my head. I could feel the two worlds between of them I was lost.

Someone told me (for a good cause) that one shouldn't cancel the other. You can have both the stars and the real life. Even the distinction between real and imaginary life is a lie. You are still alive if you ponder about the universe. Socialization asks for a different state of mind that is incompatible with minds similar to mine. Even though we are all social in our own way. But there is a big difference. Can life and the stars be combined when they belong to different states of mind? At least they can somehow coexist.

Cosmos is another name for the universe. Although except from 'world' it also means 'people' in greek. If I visit a cafeteria they ask me if there were any people(cosmos) in it. It is good that many people are there because it's considered social. Some people don't like to visit certain stores at moments where there are very few people there. I like it because it's quiet.

Cosmos was a word about the universe (cosmonaut, cosmodrome, etc). It later succubed to meaning the world (the earth). Now it even means people, a crowd of them, humanity. When you look at the stars and dream on they tell you to stay grounded on earth. They tell you to stay into world matters, meaning the matters that have to do with human affairs. See how things succumbed into lower states. See how fixated we are about other humans. It's not normal to be driven away from the stars and ignore the other people living in their social delusion.

Another word is 'reality'. Reality is everything that exists. When you look at the stars it's reality. But they tell you to get back to reality and they mean to be fixated with the human affairs and forget the stars. (Read about The Human Evasion, this analysis reminds me of the similar thoughts on the meaning of Cosmos)

But let's stick back to reality. The reality is that there are people like us and the rest of the world. There are reasons why I didn't evolved into a kind of human that enjoys their lifestyle. I am very interested into finding more about them. Why I am here? Why most people blame the geeky lifestyle? How can I live hapilly with this contradiction and how can I succeed giving the message to other people who have suffered because of that?

There are several answers. It can be neurodiversity. It can be psychology. It can be both. It's actually a mix of all, brain functioning, environment, family, evolution of personality. The fact is that we are here and we have a tension to look more to the stars than beer. We need to explore reality not just to be casually social. It's a pain to struggle being something different than yourself. Even if personality is evolved 100% because of psychology, it doesn't mean that it has to change into an entirely diferrent state of mind that normality dictates. You can't be happy by changing who you are. Maybe it slowly evolves into something that tries to be at peace with itself and the world (if it's possible at the same time) but don't expect to see someone always making this rapid switch. Some of the people say that they accept us but they want us to rapidly change into something that is not us. Not every person can be 'normal'.

I still don't like how big this text became and how confusing it might be (although I enjoy writting such texts) because it might not deliver my message. But I believe that people very close to me might be reading it and finding out that they are not alone..

p.s. I say beer in the last paragraph because the stars can be life too and so called real life can be delusional. Still not very nicely sounding (for the sake of being poetic) but I just felt angry at the last part, why isn't something life I said?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Inner conflict.

I said to myself. Something has gone wrong.
Then I stand corrected. Something has taken a different road.
Various scenarios of things that could have happened quite different.
And then the doubt that maybe some difference in the brain would grow a similar self no matter if we changed the variables.

And then the blame. That all these thoughts are excuses. And the confusion.
Excuses for what? What do they mean when they say it's excuses? Am I just making excuses about the excuses? Huh..

But it's not that bad now. I can accept things. I can admit facts. I am not that scared. And the inner conflict is not that painful. It's even cleansing. And it helps to admit facts that I was scared to do in the past. Because I want to know the truth, not to hide behind my finger. Although I like to admit things to myself but not to people who will use it to ensure their already predefined view on their holy right and my eternal wrong. It's like that these people always have the need to feel that their view of what's right and wrong in life is superior and that they even enforced that to people that differ from this view.

For example I can accept now that I could have followed a different path in a precious moment in my life. A path that it feels like not matching my current personality. In an early age, maybe around sixteen, it was a crucial moment that could mark the point of a great shift in my personality. I could either follow what was in my mind and my interests (being sucked into science, computers, programming, etc..), which I did and brought me to the point here and right now, or making a shift in my plans, not wishing to become a great geek but become a great dude. If that worked well maybe I wouldn't have a blog writing about these things today.

This is just a speculation of what would happen if I had followed a different route. I don't try to define the right path and the wrong path. I see these paths equally. Maybe something positive would have happened, some good friends who would be in the casual side of things not geeky side, yet be more friendly and supporting, could help me see the positive side of it. Maybe an experience with that girl in school which seemed to be interested to know more about me or supportive would drastically change who I became, but nothing happened from my side. Would a set of different variables bring different experiences in my early life that could bring the change or was it bound to never fit?

And so I became reactive to normality. Although it seems that I always didn't fit. If I did, I wouldn't be oppressed to act and look like the rest. It's not the certain point in history that mattered of what I became now, it was every point in history. The ideals of normality were oppressive to me because people were always oppressive to the way I was.

I am not unhappy of who I am. I am unhappy of the psychological oppression that bothers me. I am unhappy that I have an inner impulse to do something and then there is conflict. Emotionally I feel bad about certain things but thinking it more logically I figure out that I shouldn't. And all I get is this stupid feeling that there is an incompatibility between my desires and what seems accepted. And the blatant feeling is internal. It's like the people preaching that I should be normal but their voices living inside my mind. Sometimes I battle with my inner thoughts of blame.

Another interesting thing is that it seems like I am having a natural feeling of what may seem not normal and what is accepted. It's like nobody taught me what is normal and what is not and yet I can feel uneasy with some of my actions or thinking about acting in a certain way, nobody have told me before that the particular action or thought is not normal or a taboo, yet it's like I have a sixth-sense and in most cases it's proven that what I predicted to be not accepted it really gets the blame or makes people looking strange at me. No it's not a sixth-sense, it's meta-knowledge. Somehow I know from past experiences of people preaching normality or messages passed through the media or everyday life, what is safe and accepted and what could look peculiar and make me looking odd. Even about the things I have never seen any person doing, never being blamed, but I am just about to do. It's like I already know what "feels" abnormal and what "feels" accepted. So much conditioned I was in an age I can't remember. Not by a specific group of people but by the world around me.

Hopefully the more I learn about myself and the world, the more I construct a bigger and better image of the whole things that matter me. The more easy is it then for me to accept some facts I was afraid to do so that I can make my vision of things more clear and help me take things more easily. What I see now is that I have followed a path that led in my current personality with all the burden that comes with it, speculated whether I could have followed a different path, although I still found a high possibility that I was bound to become this or something drastically different in my environment should have happened for me to change. There are still things bothering me, there is anxiety, there are stupid inner conflicts, there are things that I might want but I don't follow all the standards to be successful in them (a job or hobby that makes me happy, courage and motivation to meet and talk to girls (actually this one was the cause for my recent inner conflict and this post)). But as I have the bigger image I can see what is missing, I can accept that I don't have some of these things because I am stuck somewhere, I can see the problem for each of them and possible loop holes I could follow that even with my current incompatibility as a personality with the norms I can still get what I want.

And yet the inner thoughts in my head say that it's all a big excuse to be lazy. The alternative would be what? To not think and just do? Sorry, I can't stop the rush of my thoughts. At least now I think I am moving somewhere.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Monty Fail

I wrote this thing on another blog and I thought it would be nice to write my findings here. For those who don't know it has to do with a twisted variation of the Monty Fall problem that bugged me for days. I first wrote about it in my previous blog entry. I am not the guy who spends a lot of time in endless discussions on twisted quizzes or counter-intuitive problems cause usually I am more practical, like who solves sudoku or IQ tests when I actually manage to write a new algorithm that is both clever and usefull? But this one for some reasons hit me and I became a little obsessed with it. I still don't know if it's 1/2 (I'd say, inspired by PHd comics that it's pi/2 :) but the simulation with my own rules does it even if the mathematicians prooved the problem differently (they didn't even defined if something happens when the host accidentally reveal the car,.. oh well just read at the end ps or just get familiarized with the monty hall/fall problems, except if you don't want to waste your time :)

For the Monty Fall problem (the second variation) there is too much controversy and that is I think because the description is kinda weird and I can't think of a way I could possibly simulate that in reality nor can I have a good insight (yet) of what is the difference or what hard math or a very deep perception of statistics or probability that I could possibly lack. Till now I thought this was also 2/3 and tried to find out why they say (Marilyn, the PDF with the probability math I still haven't read, etc) it's 1/2.

One think that is not explained is what happens if the host accidentally opened the car. This is not defined. It says that he slips in a banana and randomly happens to get the goat. So, does he always randomly slips and gets the goat (so that the game show makes sense) or is revealing the goat just a specific run (and what happens in this case) and in the other runs the host would possibly reveal the car too. Yet we are asked if in the specific run that a goat is revealed (but a car could be revealed in other runs too) what would happen?

Although to be able to check it in a simulation a rule must be set for what happens if the host chooses the car. So I invented my own two different rules for my simulation:

1) The unfair rule: The game goes on and the player switches from a goat to a goat and looses anyways. So, the host can accidentally reveal the car and make the player instantly loose. In a C programm the simulation really gets us the proposed 1/2. That's easy.

2) The rerun rule: If the host randomly reveals the car then that run is simply discarded (and not counted in the total runs) and we setup a new one and try again. Now in this one I initially made a 2/3 but when I explained the monty hall/fall problem to my brother he surprisingly came with nice ideas to use in my simulation. My mistake was that when I had a new run with the 3 doors, getting the car I started the simulation again but with the same contents in 3 doors. That means, if I had GOAT CAR GOAT and the host opened the 2nd door with the car, I reran with the same GOAT CAR GOAT (didn't randomized again a new set of doors) and randomly the host would select the 3rd door and let the run continue. But this was like canceling the mistake of the host and selecting always the goat, bringing it back to the old monty fall (not hall) problem, thus 2/3.

He actually told me:


"In the occasion of the second or third row the host has a 50% probability to fuck up and select CAR. In the 1st row the mistake will never happen. So if you change your simulation programm so that a wrong choice actually reruns the game by shuffling the car/goats order in the doors, you will get twice times the first row than the others. In the first row if you switch you certainly loose. So you have two cases that switching makes you loose (two times the 1st row) and two other rows (2nd and 3rd) that switch makes you win. This is 2/4 aka 50%."

And so it actually worked in simulation for both rules getting 50%.

p.s. Although I don't think that the people who originally invented the Monty Fall version of the problem thought of these rules for the solution. If they had they would be more precise. Somehow I feel that the Monty Fall is a slight variant of the Monty Hall deliberately made to get a 1/2 effect maybe to justify the several PHDs who did it wrong on the first problem and say that, they understood the Monty Fall variation from the description, not the Monty Hall description. They say that Marilyn had an unclear description of the initial problem. But Marilyn's description is just plain right. It's the Monty Fall variation that has an unclear or misleading or not complete (needs more data) description for me. It's just a counter-intuitive problem that most of us reply 1/2 at first sight. Did all of us thought of the Monty Fall problem? No. We just didn't see the whole image, just hide the revealed car and worked independently of the initial choice. A common pitfall. I don't believe that all those PHDs and especially other non-mathematical people just got it different. They got it wrong with a first guess as I initially and my brother and my friends did.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I am normal!

Today I woke up and realized a big thing that nobody wants to discuss. The fact that I am normal! Who, me? Who despises normal? Who would not possess this title as a complement or honor but as an insult? Me, normal? Huh..

But I am. And that's the irony. Sometimes it comes as an enlightenment and I get a little excited about it till I forget it. Sometimes I think it harder and I arrive at very interesting conclusions that help me brighten my self-esteem because according to the facts I should have a higher self-esteem right now. And as time passes I will be becoming more engaged into the specific idea and that will help me embrace what I am and move on for the better.

Another irony is that most people who look like or pretend to be "normal" aren't really. Those are the weirdos, those are the most abnormal, unnatural beings on the planet. There is a lack of symphony between their inner wishes and the persona they decided to play and they don't address it. They never discuss it. They think that it wouldn't look normal, it would look silly, stupid if they revealed their true feelings, their true intentions, their true self that might not exactly look like the perfect model of "normal". These all sound wicked but I will try to explain just right now.

They are the weirdos. I am the normal. That's the best irony in years!

Does it matter if I don't resemble the common norm? Is it a problem if I am getting obsessed with specialized hobbies? Does it harm you if I like solitude or if I sometimes talk to myself? Do I have to look and act like the way you want me? Would it be natural to not act freely based on my true motivations and emotions but instead hide my true self and nervously trying to resemble some kind of a "standard" human being? Isn't it the most natural thing in the world that all of these years I stayed true to my original self and was honest enough even to you? This is normal in it's truest sense.

What is a normal person, a common joe, a model for imitation? Who would say they match perfectly that model? Even not perfectly? Who will or have defined it? It's ill defined! You can't just set some interpretation of the "normal" and expect all people to be just like it. Are we some kind of soldiers that have to all look alike? What about individuality?

Yet a lot of people try to look the way most people accept as "normal" and I bet they are in constant fear that someone will reveal their true identity. I guess that several people are doing this. As long as I meet and observe people I see masks. Most of them just keep their masks and are friendly. Few of them go even further and try to criticize or harass you for being different than the norm. I think that all those people are geeks in disguise. They keep their true self, present another accepted and praised one and even come to you and preach that you should be like them. It's like having split personalities. Really, is there something more unnatural, more abnormal than living a double life and beg the other ones around you that differ from this scheme to do the same?

Really, normal does not have to be focused on some kind of activities or specific life style. Most people have it really wrong here. There can be normal geeks and scientists as there can be normal people that are good at socializing and regular activities. It just have to come naturally. I remember an old friend who in the sense of the misguided definition of "normal" he was perfect. Ubersocializing, very good with girls, funny, nice, talkable also with a light interest in our hobbies (D&D or computers for him). I instantly felt that this guy is a rare occasion because all these things on him came so naturally. You know what he told me when he saw me worrying about things? First he acknowledged my specialized interests and focus, he told me all the positive words, he persuaded me that it's just me and it's natural to be me and wished me good luck. He never had the need or motivation to blame me instead of support me. That guy happened to follow some of the current standards of normality so well but just because it came naturally from inside him. And he was much nicer and accepting than all those preachers of normality who only blame while they aren't the best examples of the truly natural normality.

The next time someone comes near you and starts blaming you for not being "normal", you just need to tell him that he is asking you to try to be unnatural. Or even better tick him off by noticing his vices. Everybody has some of them. Nobody is perfect in the image of a norm. But the most severely deluded and ill-fated are the ones who fearfully try to stay in the norm and beg you to follow the same root.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Mind twisting

It's been three days since I started obsessively analyzing a simple probability problem and different versions of it. Several years ago a friend told me the story of a woman who baffled several mathematicians by insisting in her extreme sounding solution which proved at the end to be true, and her case made an impression on me yet my friend couldn't remember her name or I didn't googled it enough then. And just few days ago I was ecstatic to find the story at Coding Horror.

I won't explain the problem since it's very nicely written in the link above and many people might be familiar already with it (please visit the link first if you aren't). It's just funny that after you read the problem you initially say 1/2 and it sounds so logical, you read 2/3 and you are certain that she is wrong, even though her explanations are quite simple and they are truly making sense (even to the math illiterate), while even famous mathematicians say this can't be right, till a call for trying to simulate a probability experiment proves them wrong. I tried the same thing in a C program and it really shows after few runs. There are even java applets that let you play the game of the problem for several runs and report the probabilities. Wow! (It's funny to read the story on the site of Marilyn and grin at the reactions regardless the simple mathematical or empirical explanations.

Of course I didn't described the problem but sent you into external links because it's not the one I want to discuss (it's already resolved) but the extension of it.

Say that you have the three doors again, you start with your choice and later the host opens one of the two remaining doors but randomly this time (not deliberately revealing the one with the goat). This means that he could also mistakenly open the door with the winning car. Although because in that case the show would be disaster it assumes that he gets lucky and randomly chooses a door with a goat. What's the possibility of switching from your initial choice to the alternative remaining one?

I would assume at first that since the host selected the goat, whether he did it deliberately or not this occurrence returns us back to the first version of the problem. You have taken one door and the host reveals a goat, your probability of switching is still 2/3. But both Marilyn, the wikipedia article and some mathematical pdf explanation states it's 1/2. And that's where the baffle begins.

First of all the example is quite imaginary and I could not easily think of a practical way to do the many runs and find out the experimental results. In the classic problem the host would deliberately select the door with the goat. So if he knew that one of the two doors contained the car he wouldn't chose it at all to not ruin the show. In the description of the extended problem the host forgets which door has the car and randomly chooses one of the two remaining doors, although it assumes that he luckily avoids choosing the door with the car. One could mistake that by thinking that even in several runs he always gets uberlucky to always not hit a car. But if I understood the description well you could assume that in that particular run he gets lucky and selects the goat yet the rules of the game is that he could even have chosen the car (someone would say that we don't care what would happen then since we only analyze this run). Yet I still have some good arguments why switching might not be 1/2.

First of all somebody should give an insight of what would happen if in a specific run the car is revealed. Because it matters if some of us wish to run a hundred of runs in experiment or computer simulation to be convinced. In that case, would the host say "ooops", pause the show to create a new arrangement of goat/car placements and start from scratch? This is like discarding the cases where he accidentally chooses the car so he always chooses the goat bringing us back to the initial problem with the 2/3 solution.

The second alternative would be that there is a special rule that says, if the host randomly reveals the car the competition goes on normally and then the player looses anyways. In my simulation program I removed the code that denies the host from revealing a door if it's a car. And then I don't care what would happen in real life if such a thing occurred and just run the simulation. A switch between the unrevealed doors will move from a goat to a goat and the player will loose anyways. Say that it's unfair rules of the show. This simulation gives a 1/2 after several runs. The problem though is that it doesn't suppose that a host slips in a banana and randomly reveals a door that happens to be a goat, etc, etc. It takes as valid that he reveals a car too.

There is something seriously wrong with the description of the second problem. It assumes that the host randomly chooses a door yet again it claims that it has to be a goat, yet it's still could be a car but it never is, while it doesn't claim what it would happen in the case it ways which isn't necessary seems we assume that it randomly is always (or in one run) a goat. I mean,.. it's as crazy as Schroedinger's cat!

A way it would make sense is to split it into four categories. Two of them happens before the game starts, the other two take place just after the host reveals a door.

I say to a friend that I want to go to a game show where at the end there are the three doors and the host always randomly reveals one after my initial choice. He speculates:

Case 1: If accidentally revealing a car forces the host to cancel this run and do it again from the beginning (and the next one accidental car choice, recursively forces him to discard the next run again) then the only valid run that finally happens is the one where he reveals a goat. This goes back to the original problem with the solution of 2/3.

Case 2: Accidentally revealing the car by the host results in the unfair rule of the player loosing. Either he switches or stays he gets the goat. Remember, I am not in the middle of the game, my friend speculates what are the possibilities either I switch or not based on the unfair rule. I don't know yet if he will select a goat or a car in the future. It tells me that if I play such a game in the future and given the possibility to switch, I have a probability of 1/2 to win either way.

I am already in the last part of the show, I have already chosen a door that I don't open yet and the host is about to reveal another one of the two. In the situation that the rule of case 1 was valid (discarding the revealing of the car mistake and doing it again) it would still fit in the old problem with the 2/3 solution. We only discuss now the situation when the unfair rule is at work.

Case 3: The host accidentally reveals the car. Either switch or stay gets a probability of zero.

Case 4: And now for the most important case. This is the one that is described in the problem in my opinion. The answer for this matters the most. The host randomly revealed the goat. He actually gave you an advantage! There was a possibility that he would hit case 3 but he didn't and your turn comes after that fact. He eliminated some negative odds of choosing the car concerning the unfair rules are at play. I can't think but the fact that it brings us to the old goat problem with 2/3 probability. While scientists, wikipedia and Marilyn says 1/2. This is where I am still baffled what am I thinking wrong!

It's hard to think that all those people have made a mistake again, so maybe I should have a look at this article (at the monty fall problem) and decide. I hope the theoritical math of this one can also give me a practical view of how this solution could apply and be explained using your perception in the real world. I'd like to see the theoritical proof and then see if somehow it also makes sense in reality. And how could someone create a probability experiment on this one? How to make the host randomly open the door yet he always chooses the goat? Doesn't this eliminate the other case of taking the car? Doesn't this converge our simulation to have several runs that look like the ones in the old problem bringing us the 2/3 result again?

If I am really wrong on this one then I would like to hear some proper explanations of why the 1/2 persists? The old problem sounded baffling but wasn't at all when you thought of the explanation. But the new one, if I get a proper answer it will either be something that changes my perception to something ever more crazy or the not so interesting yet revealing answer that the description of this problem and the way it's solution is suggested suffers from bad logic.

It will surely occupy my brain for more days. What a mind twister!
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