The Anger

I’m calm, sad, happy, and angry all at the same time.

I’m calm because I’ve stopped crying. I’m sad because I broke up with the love of my life. I’m happy because I got to have a great time with the love of my life.

And I’m angry; I’m so fucking angry at myself.

I’m constantly trying to improve myself. I never want to stop maturing as a person, and yet I’ve overlooked the most important part of life: sharing.

I broke up with Valerie because of the pain I was in. WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T I SHARE IT WITH HER?!?! WHY DIDN’T I TRY TO TELL HER THAT I WAS IN PAIN? WHY COULDN’T I HAVE TOLD HER INSTEAD OF BREAKING UP WITH HER?!?! I’m just… mad.

To My Best Friend

Valerie,

I know for a fact that when we talk next and we break up, I’ll be a complete mess; my mind will be foggy and muddled with sadness. So I type this to you during a break in between crying in order to help you understand exactly where I’m coming from. I know I’ll be too hurt to think clearly and tell you all of this. So here it is:

The moment I saw you, I knew I was smitten. When we made eye contact my stomach sank, my heart beat, and I thought to myself “there is no way she’s this beautiful”. As the dates passed and you told me more about yourself it was like the rug was tugged out from underneath me… but it was nothing compared to when I saw you dance for the first time. To be honest, that was the moment when I started falling in love with you. I felt like you were perfect in every regards. God I fell hard.

As time passed and the difficulties of life came, we both experienced a profound shift in life: you fell into your depression and I began my resurrection from mine. We both didn’t see these changes at first since they were so small. Only as a lot of time went by do I think we both realized something had changed in both of us. I think the defining moment was when I started working full-time at my job. For me, it was like the beginning of the second act of life: I had fully come out of my depression / anxiety issues and was beginning my journey of accomplishing my dreams. For the first time, I was absolutely and blissfully happy in my life and in large part because you were also by my side.

A year ago is when I think I first started noticing significant emotional changes in myself towards our relationship. It was when I first started to understand the depths of the depression (which I think may have started earlier but went unnoticed). One of my strengths and weaknesses is that when something isn’t right, I try to fix it with my utmost power. If I view a problem, I tackle it head-on with ferocity. So when I started to notice the depths of your unhappiness the depression was causing, I wanted to change it. I wanted to help. I wanted to fix it. I tried to be your guiding hand, the unseen force that would help you out of it. While this was your journey, I would fucking be damned if you were going to go through it alone.

As time went by, I brought up your depression with you. At first, I thought it had to do with Disney so I tried to help you by asking you questions that’d get you to think of a life beyond parades. Finally, months later, I asked you questions to help show you that you were depressed. I actually remember the conversation we had in the shower and I tried to get you to see it. I didn’t tell you anything but started asking you questions. Finally, you came to the answer that you were both depressed and needed to find professional help. But even then, I felt like I was pulling you certain way… and it was exhausting. I was trying to take care of you and show you a life of what we could form together but the depression started to take hold in me. Sometimes the caretakers need care taking too.

Finally, I decided to let my hands off the steering wheel. To accept you for exactly how you were and while I would help you get rid of the depression and mine. Then maybe we could travel the world. But that wasn’t healing the pain and despair I already had. As you started coming out of yours, I noticed I was starting to fall into mine again. Maybe I’m absolutely selfish in this regard but when I’m facing depression, I run away. I don’t let people in and I try to figure it out myself. As I sensed myself falling into one for the past few months, I felt like I needed to break up with you so both of us can be happy. I’m wondering if this was a mistake. I’ll wonder this for a long time before I can forgive myself. I do know I tried my absolute best to keep going though and to keep pulling you out of it.

I want to spend my life with you. I want to see the world with you. All those things I told you about like the helicopter in the background are all still true. I still love you, and while my despair may have clouded how much I’m in love with you, it’s still there. But so is my sadness & pain. And so is yours. Maybe my great weakness is in not showing you my sadness before.

Time will tell if this was the best move for both of us, or if I really fucked up. I hope you understand where I’m coming from though.

I hope I do hear from my best friend again.

Love,
Jacob

Learning New Things

I’m young, but I’ve had to learn a lot of new things quickly for either work or life. This should be a quick post, but I really wanted to describe what I think is an incredibly important, yet sorely overlooked, part of learning: being able to critique your own work.

This all started when my music teacher, a Juliard Alum, told a joke: the difference between Juliard and the local community college’s music department is that Juliard sounds F’ing horrible when they practice.

The punchline is that Juliard practices their mistakes (thus sounds horrible), but the local community college doesn’t understand what their mistakes are and thus never practices them.

If you’re practicing but cannot tell if you sound good or bad, then you need to take a big damn step back and listen to what is good and listen to what is bad. Before all else, understand that difference and do so until you can specifically understand each attribute of your performance and tell whether each attribute is good or needs work.

Then you practice the crappy parts over and over again until it becomes indistinguishable from the good you’ve listened to. Once you can’t hear the difference between the good and yourself, it’s then back to step one: train more to hear the differences. And then practice more.

Hopefully, once you’re able to critique yourself properly, you won’t actually audition

Donating gives a new heuristic on money

When I was 14 I started working at a mobile gaming company.  I was paid a grand total of $8 / hour and I was RICH!  Well, I was rich because 14 year olds don’t have to buy much & everything I did want was pretty cheap anyways (plus there was always christmas & birthdays).

The odd thing at the time was my heuristic on money started changing: I began pricing things not in dollars but in hours.  That chipotle burrito was fucking one and a half hours of my life!  The new tennis racquet?  25 hours!  That’s more than a day of constant working!  It gave me a certain appreciation for money that I had never had before that moment & gave me a certain respect to working.

This heuristic continued when I was working at in-n-out just things started getting a little bit cheaper.  That burrito became less than an hour, the tennis racquet started to seem like a good trade-off, and the xbox obtainable.  Cars, homes, and the “expensive” things in life didn’t seem feasible, but at least surviving didn’t look so grim.

Then I became a big boy… I became a software engineer.  It’s no lie that we’re paid exceptionally well to sit around & type some characters on the screen (and that’s in between joking with pod-mates).  Something changed in me as well: I started to absolutely disregard money.  I had no appreciation to its power.  Now, I’ve been investing in the stock market since I was 13 so I know the power of compound growth and I’ve been buying a lot of investments in spite of my disregard to money, but I still nonetheless sort of disregarded it.

Sure I thought about things in terms of “this would take me X hours to obtain” perspective, but it was on a much grander scale: that house across the street from my grandparents?  I could buy that in one year’s time (they live in the the middle of nowhere WI).  I could literally own a house in a year AFTER taxes.  I can get a nice car.  I can buy an xbox a day and still have some left over!  So all the sudden it just doesn’t fucking matter so why should I keep track of it?

One night I figured “I should probably donate some of this money otherwise I’m going to piss it away anyways”.  The next day, I sponsored a 16 year old kid named Emmanuel.  That was the day my heuristic started changing.

For $30 / month, you can give a kid in Africa a chance at a better life.  Thirty dollars.  That’s it.  To be honest, I sponsored him semi-apathetically; it’s not that I don’t care about him but it’s hard to care about the situation since I don’t care about what I’m giving away and I’m removed from the situation so I can’t see the impact the money is having.  I just shrugged and thought that I did my good deed for the day.

And then I went to lunch.

It clicked in me like that fateful day as a 14 year old: I didn’t price that burrito in terms of money, I priced it in terms of Emmanuels.  Once I did that, I had to brace myself… because here comes the big-ass fucking tsunami of regret.  The FitBit I bought I had just received a few hours prior? 5 months of giving a kid a chance.  That server I bought literally after an hour of debate?  more than a year of giving a kid a chance. The laptop I type this on? 12 and a half years of giving a kid a chance.  I SPENT ALMOST AN ENTIRE CHILDHOOD ON THIS!  Hooo Leee Fuck.

Dear younger Jacob: you fucked up.

I have two promises I’ve made to myself in life: 1) donate all my money after I die to a good cause 2) work like hell to push technology forward in an effort to improve everyone’s life.  I never really had a good barometer to see how I was objectively doing for #1.  Well, I do now.

Thanks Emmanuel.

Happy Kids

 

 

Clarification: I do not mean to say I cannot let myself live (I have the right to make myself happy first) but all those spur of the moment purchases now are subject to this new heuristic… and I know I’ll be spending a lot less here on out.

Hard vs Impossible

In Zero to One, Peter Thiel talks about the three different types of problems humans seek out: easy problems where the solution is quick, hard problems where it takes a lot of time & energy to solve, and impossible problems where no matter how much work is put in you’ll still leave unsatisfied & without an answer.  The goal of this post is to find a system where we can determine if a problem is hard or if it is impossible.

My first thought is in making sure we know what we want to do (to have a definite future, as per Zero to One).  In understanding exactly where we want to go, we can create questions in a tree-like fashion and answer in first principles.  Let’s say we want to build a 200 story tall skyscraper, our first question would be “how do we build a 200 story building?”.  Our answer may look something like “we need to build a building that has a large enough support for 200 stories, handle the immense wind-sheer, and build it economically”.  The questions then become “how do we build a large enough support for 200 stories”, “how do we handle the wind force”, and “how can we make this with a profit”.  Going with the first question, maybe we calculate the base needs to support 100 trillion tons.  From first-order principles, maybe we deduce that we would need something stronger than diamonds  or larger than the pyramid.  That means we are fucked and this problem is impossible.

This works when the final questions on the outskirt of the tree are easy questions but unfortunately sometimes they seem to be hard questions.  Going back to the question of “how do we build a large enough support for 200 stories”, what if there is no current way of supporting all that weight but, and this is important, it doesn’t seem to go against the laws of physics that there couldn’t be that large of a support.  Maybe it requires a whole new way of looking at supporting 200 stories, but physics doesn’t say it can’t be done (it’s important to distinguish “doesn’t say it can’t be done” rather than “it can be done”).  How do we come to the conclusion then?

The good news is that it seems all technology that make huge breakthroughs come from this sort of problem.  The bad news?  Sometimes it’s impossible to prove something can’t be done, even if it can’t be (P=NP is the famous example: no one has proven it can or cannot be done, but it’s assumed it can’t be).

So, we’ve come all this way and I think I have a pretty abysmal suggestion: let the problem peculate in your mind.  Every time a new suggestion comes up, try the new idea and if it doesn’t work then put it back in your mind.  Maybe after a few years if you can’t actually figure it out should you stop thinking about it altogether.  What a let down of a post; I tried thinking about how to prove something can or cannot be solved, but everywhere I have counter examples and thus I’m not sure I can prove or cannot prove how to actually find a solution to a hard problem.

Fuck.

Creating a limited number of routines in Go

Pretty self-explanatory code to create 30 goroutines that’ll upload files as they come in.

Since channels are blocking, the goroutines will not stop until we finally call close(tasks).  I’m a little confused as to why the channels will not send the file to all the goroutines rather than just the one but it must be that internally it’s simply doing a round robin or something.  Not sure; I’ll have to look into that.

SO question here

 

First

I think I’m going to make this site more for myself; I have an absolutely horrendous memory & I’ll probably just make more of mental notes about programming principles that I can archive.  As time goes on, I’ll probably blog more about my life but this is for me and only me as of right now.