Ugh, my lack of writing has been in an attempt to come up with something the slightest bit interesting to talk about other than just having a little bit of a rant-fest. I’ve gone two or three weeks though with nothing: no ideas, no cool projects, no energy, just nothing. Honestly I’ve felt exhausted for days now. I still haven’t gotten back into the swing of things really since Defcon. So what will ensue is just pent up angst of the last few weeks of getting nothing truly significant done, boredom, and LA heat.
Let me be super clear: this is a rant. It’s kinda irrational and, well, ranty. I love what I do, I’m enjoying where I live, but I’m feeling frustrated and this is the venting of it. You are under no obligation to read this. It’s full of what many have referred to as “white people” or “first world” problems. I know this. If you don’t want to read that, don’t read it. Can’t say I didn’t warn you.
First of all, I’m definitely complaining about the heat. The motherfucking heat. The motherfucking, unrelenting, dry, LA desert heat (I know LA isn’t technically in a desert…) that just won’t fucking quit for a fucking day or two. Coupled with that is my angst for my old, uninsulated apartment that spends 2/3 of every day in direct sunlight and not-powerful-enough wall unit that, at best, cools off the bedroom to about 80 degrees. Honestly, much of all of the frustration I’ve been feeling these days can be chalked up to this. By about noon, it’s too hot in my apartment to comfortably do much of anything other than lay around, sleep, or watch Netflix. Even if you’re doing those things, you’re hot and sweaty and uncomfortable. BUT, I have the unique luxury of working from home two or three days each week, which is truly a luxury when it’s not a million degrees, but it’s damn near impossible to get anything worthwhile done on these summer days.
Just about the only time that I feel lucid on days that I’m stuck here is from about 7:00 am through 11:00 am. After that, it’s all downhill. You know, I haven’t even slept under a blanket in the last three weeks. I’m tired all of the time, I can’t think worth a damn about any of the projects I’d like to work on, I sweat through all of my clothes in about an hour (and believe you me, I don’t need any extra help with sweating), and cooking sucks because it just adds heat to this already baking little apartment. I’m really really really over the heat. It’s no wonder that back in the day the only thing to do during the summer was go swimming and/or sit on the porch and fan yourself.
I so desperately want to have that energy for projects and drawings and writing that I had in the winter and spring but shit: it’s just gone right now. I stopped drinking out of my Brita because my fridge isn’t big enough to hold it and the water would just be hot when I went to drink from it. The tap water was significantly cooler. That’s how hot it has been.
Regardless of whether you’ve lived in LA, you’ve probably heard stories about how the weather never changes and it’s always 75 degrees and sunny. Well, half of that is true. The weather has been the exact same since the beginning of June, with the occasional shift of a few degrees. Every day it’s been sunny and hot. Hey, what’s the forecast for tomorrow? Oh, sunny and hot? You don’t say! Never could’ve guess that! What’s it for the rest of the month? Sunny and hot?
We’re lucky if within the next month we shave five degrees off of what it has been so far for this entire month. The prospect of never having to cancel plans because of rain is great until you’ve gotta live it. Geez. Can you tell I’m ready for some different weather? It’s 6:53 PM as I write this and my eyelids have felt heavy since 1:00 PM. The hope of getting anything done ever in this heat is minimal at best. I guess there’s always next month.
The second thing I want to rant about is boredom. I’ve discovered that boredom is perhaps the single most unhealthy thing for me to experience. Since the heat has been so unforgiving lately I haven’t been able to get much done, which has perhaps been both a blessing and a curse for my Toshiba work. I won’t go into detail because I’m really not supposed to talk much about my work to my friends and colleagues much less the internet, but let’s just say that it hasn’t been quite as thrilling in the last couple of weeks as it has always been.
I love my job with Toshiba and frankly, it’s the best job I’ve ever had. I completely get that every once in a while you’ve just gotta buckle down and do stuff that you don’t want to do, but wow has the tedium lately been exhausting. It’d be one thing if I had the energy to work on other stuff while the various long tedious processes took their course, but because it’s so hot in my apartment, it’s all I can do (while sitting literally directly in front of the A/C unit) to queue things up and let them run and get a couple of other small things done while it runs (sorry about the vagaries… but I really can’t say more). It doesn’t help that I have to do everything on a remote machine based in an entirely different city in the US so everything takes about twice as long to run as it could if I were running it locally. I guess there’s really no way around it, but damn it’s tedious.
Anyways, boredom. Boredom is bad for me. I thrive when I work on things, have ideas. Honestly, in the last few months I’ve hit more “flow states” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)) than I have in a long time which is amazing and such a wonderful luxury that they have also been earning me money. For those who don’t want to click over a flow state, briefly, is
“the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”
and that, to me, is the best feeling in the whole world. I can comfortably say that I prefer it to sex. That probably says a lot about my character, so take it however you will. (Unrelated, but I feel very liberated writing that out to the world… which probably says more than the previous statement. Hah! I love it.) Now that I’ve been able to consistently experience it, whenever I have the lack of it, it’s grueling. When all I feel like I have the energy to do is eat, get all my clothes off, and get in bed, I feel awful (perhaps not necessarily in that order… ;-) ). So this heat is hitting me two-fold: on the one hand, it sucks to be uncomfortable, on the other, and much worse, hand, it’s keeping me from thinking about the things I want to think about. Like this:
Bonus points if you can tell me what I’m (poorly) deriving. Don’t worry: I figured it out eventually and it didn’t involve any of the math written here. Haha. Perhaps it’s also worth noting that all of that math (and eventual solution) was done before 10 AM because did I mention that it gets fucking hot during the day here?
When I get bored, as I have been lately, I get frustrated and angsty, as perhaps you’ve noticed in this little blog post. It’s a really shitty feedback loop that, in the end, just sucks energy straight out of me and makes me less likely to do anything, much less the things I actually like. Couple that with absurd heat (just glanced at the thermometer INSIDE my apartment: 7:30 PM and 83 degrees. Bullshit.) and it’s a perfect recipe for me getting nothing done.
Sundays are my grocery shopping day. They mostly look the same: sleep in until 7:30 or 8:00 (wild, I know) get up and have a few cups of coffee while I make a grocery list. I walk up to Trader Joe’s and then come home and spend the rest of the day doing whatever and I talk to my parents on the phone at some point. Today I diverted from my usual routine and sat in a coffee shop for about an hour and half read a friend’s blog and half just kinda stared and thought. It’d kind of what inspired me to write anything tonight rather than just write nothing and spend another night watching crappy movies.
Charlie is a friend that I worked with while I was back in Carrboro most recently and is a really great and unique guy. I honestly haven’t even known him for very long, but I really like him. Anyways, I was reading his stuff today and I realized that he seems to manage to create whether he’s in the mood or not to, and not only that, he also manages to share it. It’s really wonderful, and while not, perhaps, as good as sharing a two or three hour late night personal conversation over coffee, connects. It’s a window into someone and that means something. It probably doesn’t mean something to everyone on the internet, or even everyone who come across his writing, but it means something to me and I’m sure it means something to many many others that he knows. I really love that he’s willing to share so many things.
He inspired me to write something today, even if it was just a shitty rant about all of the things that are frustrating me right now because sometimes sharing, even the not so exciting things are better than sharing nothing at all. If nothing else it feels better than to keep it all pent up. I won’t share a link to Charlie’s blog here, because I feel like he’d appreciate it more if I suggest that you go have a conversation with him and ask him for his URL in said conversation if you really want to read his blog. I’ll post it here in the future though if you really want to read his stuff and don’t exactly have the wherewithal to go talk to him in person. If you’re meant to read his stuff, you’ll happen across it one way or another.
I also find it deeply ironic that the stuff I consider worthwhile to post about is typically only tangentially related to the emotions I experience on a daily basis, while the stuff that people who might consistently read this blog would prefer to read about what I’m feeling and experiencing. For instance, while I was learning OpenCL I would spend a day or two fighting with an error or trying to solve a problem and once I finally got it, I find the solution most valuable, but with maybe exactly one exception, none of my friends and family care about the actual solution and care more about my story with that problem. Isn’t that funny? I’ll try and be more conscious and maybe do posts on both from now on.
I also find it hilarious that the most visited blog post on this site is my blog post about Patagonia’s Return Policy. While that is one of the posts that touches on both my emotions and experience as well as something I consider important to write about, I feel like most people are coming here to learn about how to get the stank out of their 20 year old jacket or how to return some product that they have and in those cases I can’t say that I’m really giving them what they want. Well, maybe I’ve swayed one person into supporting a solid company instead of just returning something that’s really had a solid life and just needs an honest to goodness replacement, not from the company, but from the consumer. That’d make me feel good.
I really am feeling at my wits end with the heat here. I’ve never in my life felt like I couldn’t work because of the temperature, but honestly, and this is nerdy, I feel like the resistance in my body is preventing any legit work from getting done. I’d love to be able to say what bender says in “Bender’s Big Score” of futurama “It’s so cold, my processor is running at peak efficiency!” It’s been a while since my processor has been running at peak efficiency and could use a chance to get back up to speed.
There’s more stuff I could fume about, but I’m actually feeling a little bit better about things, both because of writing and because it’s finally cooling off a bit here. I’ll try and check back in a little more regularly.
P.S. Obligatory cat photo (since there aren't enough cats on the internet):