Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy 2 days after my birthday

Well, I wanted to do a massive post for my birthday, and I'd like to do some rambling now, but got tons and tons of work, so sorry folks! Be back soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Feeling Stupid? I know I am!

Damn it you're right Mr. Homer Simpson, sometimes you got to take stupid risks (Lost Our Lisa), either that or smart risks, whichever floats your boat.

Least that's how I felt about Friday-ish. (Four days of the week, she thinks I'm the enemy... (Days of the Week by Stone Temple Pilots, an under-appreciated gem.)) (For those of you who may have noticed the stark change in tone between Friday's post and Monday's post, this explains things somewhat but there's also the matter of the random and eclectic nature of this blog.) And so I took a risk which I was assured was reasonable, though I thought it would be stupid, and as it turned out... well, the results don't actual tell whether or not the risk itself is stupid, that has more to do with the probability. But in the end, the risk ended in failure and violent emotional stirrings, etc. It was a painful moment.

Here's a nice song that part-matches how I feel. The ambiguity of the narrator and the addressed makes it a bit difficult to align with my feelings, but anyways: One Headlight by the Wallflowers.

Now that line: "So long ago I don't remember when/that's when they say I lost my only friend."

That always gets to me.

But another lines that particularly resounded with me Friday were:

Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
Theres got to be something better than
In the middle

(Here are the full lyrics for the song)

Little flashback (I'm always ambivalent about getting particular with times on this blog, because on the one hand it makes things easier to explain, more accurate, and more personal, on the other hand it might lead people to certain wrong conclusions about events and it may be too self-centered/diary-ish. Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained). Last week, I invented a new phrase to capture how I was feeling (because I'm just that awesome): half-blooded. And if I could give a try to explicate why, perhaps it was because I was in a sort of middlish-place. I was looking at the prospects of very little risk calculated or otherwise, and I found myself envisioning a future somewhat like that.

It's hard to say for sure, since all memories of the past are tainted in hindsight, but I think I had sort of focused myself on a certain course for the future. Essentially it was a simple step-by-step process for my life:

  • graduate with a decent though not immensely great grade point average (my assumption was around 3.6 which may still be the case, but now I'm a little bit more worried grade-wise).

  • find a job with decent pay, non-high stress, moderate hours, any job really fitting those criteria (I'm still pretty open in my job search which is kind of bugging me and perhaps I should focus things more).

  • get involved with whichever community and church I settle in and join hobby groups and make friends and such

  • get a wife and kids

  • the rest should probably take care of itself from there...

That's not a bad plan for life. It covers security, family, and some fun (of course it is an immensely vague plan which may explain how much it covers). Yet it is a plan that I was looking at because it essentially gave no risk. Basically after the ups and downs of recent years, a part of me wanted to just fall into some rut, nestle into there and never emerge, and that's why I liked this path. That's not to say it's a bad path or that others shouldn't choose it or that even I might not end up on it. I may end up on this path. But if that's the case I'd like it to be because I find the family+friends+community+church+ok job life and I've become enamored with it, not because I went to it through inertia or through fleeing from risk.

So when Friday I took a stupid (or maybe reasonable) risk that was only tangentially related to the whole "what's my future going to be?" question and it filled me with such full and vibrant emotions, even if they were savagely sad ones (here's a song for that: Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots), it made me feel alive again. Really alive.

The thing with feeling half-blooded as I defined it, is it's a lot of emotion with no direction, but after taking that risk I felt alive again, and the emotions now had directions, they went up, down, sideways, etc., but they were real and full.

And suddenly I felt like I was part of the real world again, an active person, a dynamic, changing person once again, whose future is not set in stone and may end in disaster but might end in glory. Maybe I do need to keep fail-safes and checks and safety-nets, etc. for my life, but that doesn't mean I can't take risks. Indeed, I do all that so that I can take risks. So that I can aim for the stars, in my own little ways. All and always though, in the service of the Lord.

My problems aren't gone. Indeed some are worse now that I've taken once more this active (and thus time-consuming) attitude toward life. But it's better than in the middle.

And I think I can make it home, with one headlight.

So anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Buzzing with the Comp. Sci.

I remember for one birthday a friend gave me a custom-made chocolate from Thomas Sweet (for those of you not in the know, Thomas Sweet is a Princeton-based (it has 2 stores in Princeton, 1 in New Brunswick, and 1 in Washington, DC (as a kid I thought it was a giant conglomerate, and I admit that biased me somewhat, but I've come to recognize its moderate size and in a more objective analysis say awesome, P-town-style awesome (very objective, non?) Ice Cream/Chocolate store that pretty much rocks (ROCKS THE HOUSE (As in Rock the House by Gorillaz (GORILAZZZ!!!))

Back to my anecdote, anyways a friend gave me a birthday a custom-made chocolate (actually 2 but essentially one in its united concept and singular gift-y-ness), which was shaped as a computer and a mouse. She felt it fit my character and likely it was one of the pre-made custom-made options (yeah that's an oxymoron but you get the point). In actuality, people have been assuming for a looong time that I'm super-good with computers. Now this is often done by my friends and is based on my occasional computer-jargon mentions, my sometimes-serious membership in the computer club, my number of computer classes, my moderate computer-news knowledge, and now in college my computer-minor-ness. It is also done by near strangers and while I emphasize the slightness of this and the unconsciousness of this and the speculativeness of this, but there might be a little bit of stereotype-ness (I'd hesitate to say racism because of the unavoidable strength of that charge and also because Indian as a race is a kind of iffy concept (especially when you group North (Indo-European Languages and in NW often white/Iranian looking) and South (Dravidian Languages (although C. India has mostly Indo-Eur. lang. and is a mixed and/or separate cultural zone) and dark skin (although some of the NE, like Bengal and Bangladesh has dark skin) Indians) there since I'm an Indian of decent intelligence (of course the common assumption that I'm smart also might have a little bit of stereotype-ness to it).

But now let me deal with the truth. Let me first establish in terms of nowadays I have a wide-range of moderate computer skills (such as HTML, Java, C++, and some XML and PHP) (if this seems a bit odd to mention, I'm a little aware that a persistently background-searching potential employer might stumble here and I just want to set the record straight (I'd like to point out that my awareness of this doesn't mean I'm not being honest here)), but here with this truth I'm dealing with the overview of my life. Again, let's deal with the truth of the situation. And the truth is while skilled with computers, I'm really not the mad-programmer-master that people occasionally assume I am (again, little bit of stereotyping there).

I can pretty confidently say I was exposed to computers relatively early in my life (relative that is to people in my cohort (ie people of my birth-year)). See (I'm always nervous about using see at the beginning of a sentence, but it does have an attractive activeness and energy, even if it does sound a bit underly-formal) around the beginning of the age of home computers (mid-1980's-ish), my father was given a computer to work with, and being only semi-capable with it and also wanting to expose his kids to new knowledge, he got my oldest brother to help out with his comput-inating. This started my oldest brother's love affair with the computer which made him an absolute computer master by the time I was capable of wielding a mouse. Thusly me and my siblings have had since earliest youth a decent competence of technology, however this wasn't the same as becoming as competent as my oldest brother.

In fact, because of my oldest brother's competence, computer-wise I was always in his shadow. From time-to-time I've made a sudden burst of interest into computers, partly assisted by my brother, but on the other hand whenever there was a need for important computer-ness, my brother was there, so I didn't really need to develop that and my personal interest didn't expand enough to overcome the lack of need. There were avenues which could have led me to becoming computer interested, my mild youthful interest in gaming (although not online games (although yes for free/shareware games)), my mild interest in electronic presentation and media tech, my desire to maximize my computer's performance, etc. But none of those really took off and were usually interrupted by new interests or new stuff on TV.

But one thing that did intrigue me was the possibilities given by programming, to a degree job-wise, but more importantly the possibilities of creation in programming. The powers of programming can in theory create anything, and even if the possibilities are limited by current knowledge and tech, that never stopped me from pondering (for example, despite the insane ambition of it I attempted to create a self-sufficient artificial intelligence in high school). Yet even this avenue of computer-ness was slowed by my distaste for memorization and the foreignness of the computer world and strangeness-to-foreignness of that world (this is in part the fault of computer-savy people who often fall into the category of techno-bigots (people who belittle those without tech knowledge and rank themselves based on tech knowledge) (although I admit sometimes I even act the techno-bigot every now and then). It was in college that the job-wise possibilities of programming really appealed to me, and I started Rutgers with the vision of being a computer science-major, however this failed under the stress of pretending I was more tech-savy then I actually was.

And then a funny thing happened, under the influence of new job-worries, I took on a comp. sci. minor, which was more my speed computer knowledge wise. But the occasional, more paradigm oriented computer classes + my logic-based math classes (where math and comp-sci. start to mix) + my desire for increasing my computer's performance (a different computer but one which slowed and weirded with time) + once more, the possibilities of the computer world tricked me into believing. And suddenly, having studied the basics of computer science for a good while, and having lost my fear of it, the more intermediate comp. sci. concepts no longer seemed so difficult. And now...

Well, I can't say I'm a mega-expert, but I'm pretty knowledgeable, and more over I'm enjoying computer science again. Every concept carries new possibilities, new cross-uses, new abilities for my grand ambitions, and now, comp. sci. carries a little bit of a buzz for me. Maybe I'll never get into that mega-expert slot, but I now have some good hope for learning how to do interesting and highly useful stuff with computer science and never stopping in that learning. Maybe my war with computer science is finally over, and the dividends of peace are starting to come in. Perhaps... but only God knows what the future holds...

(Quick possible news flash: Because of my growing interest in computer science, I just might start a comp. sci. blog (under my legitimate name), similar to my history blog and math blog. It's still only a possibility and contingent on me not getting buried in work, but stay tuned.)

Anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless.

Friday, April 11, 2008

And if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with

So my life hasn't really worked out quite exactly how I wished it would, and I don't have exactly everything I want, but my life isn't so bad. I've got good friends, good family, good job prospects, and I'm going be graduating soon, most likely with around a 3.6 GPA.

And God is at my side so what need I want?

For some reason the maybe better suiting Can't Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones (the link's for the House version (because House is awesome), but here's a video with an old showing of the Rolling Stones on TV) doesn't actually exactly come to mind. Perhaps its because I'm being a little fatalistic right now and feeling a little bit of a loss of certain dreams and maybe I'm just feeling a little sad, but if I can't be with the life I love, I can still love the life I'm with...

It's a bad transition to the song that's actually in my head, because right now I feel like I can't be with the one I love, but I can still love my life, so anyways...

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with by Crosby, Stills and Nash and maybe...

there's a saying (perhaps just mine) that you never get over a love until you fall in love again, but then again...

Ah here's the Real Folk Blues by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts.

So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight folks.

God Bless.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Songs still burn

So everyone, just so you don't here any wild rumors, I'm being indited for fraud in Australia. (Well it was either me or Bart (Bart vs. Australia))

But even as that takes up my time, there are still some songs burning in my head and so I needed to eat cheese.

But I'm going to share the songs with you anyways.

Here's a nice one from the indescribably talented Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts.

Call me, Call me from Cowboy Bebop - Episode 23 - Hard Luck Woman (Here's the complete song, but I like sequence from the show immensely).

It goes out to a girl who I really wish would call me, despite the fact that I don't dare call her.

But there is one love I do have, and that's God's love, and one of the best songs that expresses this is this one.

Alive - POD

But what's been bugging me for a while is why. Why does God love me? What is his purpose for me?

Why do you love me? - Garbage

But whatever the mysterious plans of God, I know He is at my side, thus I need not fear, and thus the world ought watch out for the might and glory of Rand, even if I seem to be an underdog right now.

The Underdog - Spoon

Ah, but I can't pretend I don't got troubles, though with God's help I'll overcome them, I just got to keep pushing on and light up in my brain whenever my brain threatens to turn dark (Okay that transition made no sense, but perhaps a little nonsense was necessary to break up the pretentiousness. Oh the pretentiousness!), or maybe I'll keep moving along (Okay that's just a horrible transition, but sometimes transitions need to just transist, and that still makes no sense).

Run - Snow Patrol
Move Along - All-American Rejects

And while that's not all the music in my soul, that's a good amount to tide you over, my dear, dear readers, so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

History = Awesome

The most perfect equation in history, History = Awesome.

To cite proof:

A History of the Spanish Inquisition

A History of the French Revolution

A History of Alexander Hamilton

A History of Dance

And for you real history buffs, a piece of history that's mostly accurate:

A History of Macross

I realize I have been lax in my posting duties, and I don't see that changing, but the web is wide, and history is out there. Go Forth I Command Thee!

Tiding over the Tides

So again I must profess myself to be negligent in posting, but as a succor to all my math-starved public, I give you:

Vaguely math related youTube clips.

Because I'm lazy but still love my math.

Here's some funny math problems

Here's Ma and Pa Kettle tackling division

Here's Abbot and Costello showing how it's done right

And here are two songs with math in their titles. They're only about math about the same amount music is about math inherently (which is considerably) and perhaps they're about math in a metaphorical sense, but they're by cool bands so anyways:

The Never-Ending Math Equation by Modest Mouse

Black Math by The White Stripes

Ah, I regret that this is not as much Mathimoto as you deserve, but I must be going, stay strong, math-lovers, stay strong!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Far from home; Always home

A couple days ago I mentioned feeling half-blooded. I explained the term there, but essentially I've been feeling that way for a week or two while slipping into out-and-out depression occasionally and occasionally into half-excited hopefulness.

And at the core of things, I've been feeling quite lonely.

There's many reasons for this and I've gotten into them before and I'll probably rehash them in a more coherent form soon, but key to this feeling is a sense I don't belong anywhere or with anyone.

But going to mass today, with the sermon, and the profession of faith, and the Eucharist most importantly, reminded me that I belong to the kingdom of God and to God, Himself. It's something essential I need to remember.

Thus while I am far from home, I shall reach it someday, and yet in fact I am always at home, for Jesus is in my soul and He is always with me. No matter what happens, the Lord remains, and He is always with me and thus I need not fear.

Now I can't say that knowing this and remembering this will take away all my pain or solve all my problems, things aren't that simple. My feelings of anxiety, depression, umbness and half-blooded-ness still remain and in fact I may find that this phase of half-blood-ness isn't really over yet, but in the end that doesn't matter. For the Lord still remains, and He is with me, and with Him I belong.

And if I can't remember that always, I will try, always.

Thanks be to the holy Lord.

God Bless!

Zebras eat Fruit

Here's a revamp of my poem Zebras eat Fruit:

Zebras eat fruit too

Don't they? I think they do,

That's probably true

But I'm not sure to whom the to refers to

Still fruit is very yummy in my tummy,

So I imagine Zebras like it too,

But whether Zebras like fruit or not is not the matter...

The matter is...

Well I forget the matter,

And I can't remember why I starting this to begin with.

But if you smile at my poem,

Ah, that's the sunshine.

And that's enough for me


Poetry, oh sweet poetry

So for some time now I have been pretty shy about using my poems for posts. There are a couple reasons for this.

  • Firstly, I haven't been spending too much effort on perfecting my poems lately and I like to only put out finish products of my writings outside of blog posts (which I feel to some degree are finished in the posting).

  • Secondly, I've been worried that if I put my stuff out there people might steal bits, ie. copyright issues and such.

  • Thirdly, I've been concerned that magazines and such might frown on me putting my stuff online.

  • Fourthly, I've been trying to keep this essentially a blog (although for a long time I tried to argue the term webpost was better) and so I didn't want it to just become a poetry collection or for me to use poetry posting as a crutch.

Well all of those concerns now seem like unfounded and relatively silly fears, so I've decided to start putting some poetry online again and if it comes to be a problem, I can always take it off.

So it has been said, so let it be done!

Shoutout to the other Rand Show

For some time I've been a little worried about legal action from a festival that's actually called the Rand Show. I only found out about it after I started the Rand Show and it doesn't seem to be that famous in the US. I emphasize that I'm only a little worried, and mostly due to my freakish paranoia about legal threats. But since I've come to accept my low view count and low notability I think chances of me being sued are very, very low. But I decided to actually check out the Rand Show and it seems like a pretty cool festival. I'd love to go there sometime but it is in South Africa and I am not, nor do I have enough disposable income to travel to South Africa.

But basically it is a festival of all things Africa + some things international. Basically, pretty damn cool.

I really don't think me getting sued will ever come, especially since I'm the Rand Show in the US and they're the Rand Show in South Africa, but I suppose some friction could come if I ever buy


Anyways, here's a shoutout to you Rand Show. I hope to attend you someday.

Anywho, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

And God Bless!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Looks like my fortune's faded

I guess this song sort of fits me right now: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Fortune Faded

I'm not really sad, just a bit melancholy. I'm even a little glad, but not hugely, but I'm not apathetic, I'm not numb, I'm just filled with emotions with no direction. There's not even the general tearing of profound ambivalence. I used to think the word sanguine described this sensation, but sanguine refers to a sort of enthusiastic happiness, and that's really absolutely not how I'm feeling.

Of course this gives me an opportunity to define a new word: "half-blooded" let it be called. Filled with sensation, but not happy, not sad, just full and drifting, but not to the extent it endangers me in it of itself. It's a feeling that's just not right. I supposed all and all its bad, but not very bad, it's just... well, I invented a new word for it for a reason (other than the fact I just enjoy making new words).

Actually one danger of this feeling is how easily it slips into a full depressive sense with no motivation and antagonism towards life. But with a little work and a little resistance that can be overcome... hopefully.

Usually in such a situation of such a feeling I'd either think about how to radically change my life or panic. The natural instinct is do nothing, but doing nothing just gets you deeper into this emotional quicksand. And yet...

And yet, for the most part that is what I intend to do. I'm not intending any radical changes to fix my life right now, because things are going to change even if I didn't want them to. Because I'm graduating.

If I change everything now and throw things off balance, a crash is possible and some good degree of distraction from work is almost certain, and I just don't have time for that.

6 classes. 1 month. + some jobage stuff. Just in a little bit, and then all up, all out, and I'm out.

So perhaps I can wait through whatever's keeping me down right now. Whatever configurations in my life I make before grad will be thrown into disarray anyways so...

Well for now I just got to keep on pressing on.

God willing, that'll be enough.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!