Zits and Zips

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 12:09 am
flwyd: (Trevor glowing grad macky auditorium)
A recent This American Life is all about that awkward period known as middle school. Near the beginning of the show, they state that middle-school-aged kids have more neuron development than at any other time after infancy. That period of our lives is thus, in large part, us becoming the us we will be in life.

Given that, I think my priorities worked out pretty well. Unsurprisingly, I was a nerdy middle schooler. While some of my classmates were learning how to flirt and switching their dating status every other passing period, I was learning how to use Unix and spending Friday afternoons at Computer Club (which is still happening, even though Scott Dixon retired). I also managed to get elected vice president of student council (probably because I was the only boy running) and competed twice in the state geography bee ('cause I'm a map nerd).

I didn't have anything resembling a date or a girlfriend until I was a senior in high school (summer 1997), but by the end of middle school (June 1994), I'd helped organize an international email pen-pal program via elm, found ASCII kanji instructions via gopher, had multi-way interactive discussions on ytalk before the term "instant message" had been coined, read erotic fiction on Usenet with trn, been confused by vi, and used two web browsers in an age when the computer teacher could still cut out and post every local newspaper article about the Internet. ("Whoa, check out this NCSA Mosaic thing! Unlike lynx, you can see pictures!")

I think it worked out pretty well. I got to put off awkward romantic fumbling until I'd learned what sort of person I'm attracted to. I got to use the Internet when it was still a text adventure. And while I helped the Unix-understanding neurons win the battle against the girl-flirting neurons, today my girlfriend gets excited by the fact that I work at Google. Oh, and in third grade when I gave up on cursive and penmanship and started typing all my school assignments? I totally have no regrets.
flwyd: (Trevor baby stare)
Cleaning out my inbox, I remembered [livejournal.com profile] clarsa had asked me five questions a couple months ago. In case you're new, the shower meme involves answering questions. Readers can then leave a comment and ask for five questions from me, which you'll answer in your journal with an equivalent offer for interviews.
1) If it were possible to make a tv show of your inner life, what would the target demographic be for your advertising sponsors?
A TV show about my inner life would be made possible by viewers like you.
2) If you could swap any fictional character for any real person (at any point in history), who would it be and why?
I'm trying to come up with a good replacement for Joseph Stalin. It's a shame that the biggest experiment in wide-scale capitalism alternatives was run for a long time by a paranoid schizophrenic mass murderer. Most of the rulers I can think of from literature are either antagonists (Emperor Palpatine), don't seem well-fitted to governing Russia (your basic king of a Greek island) or are ordained to rule, which is antithetical to the communist program (Aragorn, King Arthur). I guess a ruler who always does everything right and a nation where everyone's doing well doesn't usually make a good story. Taran Wanderer, maybe? Though we don't really get a chance to see him in action as a king.
3) What would you like strangers to think when they look at you?
I've noted before that I don't really have a third-person perspective of myself. I don't look in the mirror very often and when I get dressed I think "These pants are comfortable, this shirt looks cool, and I feel like wearing that hat" without really considering what they all look like together. This probably means there are days when I look ridiculous, but since I don't realize it, I don't mind. Since I don't usually think about what I look like from someone else's perspective, I don't usually care what they think. I hope that my bright colors and funny hats make people smile. Ideally they'd think about dressing colorfully too. But if they think I look stupid, I don't really care. Score one for the autism spectrum.
4) Please describe the ideal Trevor-friendly world.
All the every-day places (work, game store, interesting movies, good restaurants) are all within bicycle distance. The the air is clear and the sun shines warmly even when it's cold at night. People hug in greeting and parting. There are semi-natural places to walk (creeks, hills, random trails between neighborhoods...). There's public WiFi and people use it as an excuse to work outside. There are lots of students and intellectuals around. People do what they enjoy -- playing music, making art, being weird, playing games, run small businesses with awesome goals. People are free to be themselves and who they are is diverse, funky, and fabulous.
5) When you go out socially (to a party, etc.), what do you hope will happen?
Usually I hope some group of people get involved in a long conversation about topics they have some expertise in. Alternatively, I hope everyone will get involved in a big game of Fluxx or Apples to Apples or Titan ;-) Oh, and there's very tasty snacks and good beer.
flwyd: (Trevor baby stare)
It seems like most people thought less of AI: Artificial Intelligence than I did. I wonder if it appeals to me so much because the lead performance feels a lot like a kid with Asperger syndrome and I identify with that sort of kid*. Folks without that identity wouldn't have felt such a strong resonance and their opinions of the film would be less personal. I also wonder how people's opinions would differ if the movie stopped at the first ending point.


* I've never been diagnosed with (nor, to my knowledge, evaluated for) Asperger's or highly-functional autism in general, and I don't think a diagnosis would change anything for me. As a kid I displayed a lot of Asperger traits: language acuity, introversion, empathy challenges, dairy allergy. When I hear descriptions of aspie kids I think "Hey, that sounds like me." Many of the traits are less pronounced for me now than they used to be. Some of that difference may be due to growth and some may be due to practice.
flwyd: (Trevor cartoon abi-station.com/illustmak)


I kept the piñata hat on all day, including shopping at Borders, Target, and the mall food court.
flwyd: (Default)
... if only we knew what mationality was.

I found the following list, written in colored pencil alternating color every three lines, while listening to a Pimsleur Mandarin instruction tape. It's from a ritual I did with Green Sabbat at some point, probably a new moon in the Weltys' living room.

I am adamantly creative and playful.
I am not scared of the opinions of others.
I am willing to give unreciprocated assistance.
I stick with it until the end.
I pursue esoteric knowledge and share it.
I try to realistically assess my abilities.
I find nuances in hot topics.
I can be entertaining just by walking around.
I can listen, analyze, and reflect all at once.
I find beauty in forsaken places.
I can change course midstream.
I can be entirely anal or entirely nonchalant.
I can derive pleasure just from sitting in the sun.
I follow the Tao nonpretentiously.
I am hairy and proud.
I am a resident advisor.
I am a student leader.
I am a role model for personal expression.
I enjoy being naked.


What's awesome about you? Tell me why you're a swell person.
flwyd: (Trevor baby stare)
I visited my family this weekend in part because my birthday is on Wednesday. My mom gave me a natal chart made by a friend back before you could do astrology on a computer. I don't know anything substantive about astrology, nor do I take any guidance from it. But there's something aesthetically pleasing about the layout of my chart. If you dig astrology, let me know if this provides any insights into my personality.

There was also a page (unrelated) with a few lines typewritten in all capitals.
AFTER TREADING TRIUMPHANTLY THROUGH
TRAFALGAR,
TRICKY TROUBADOUR TREVOR
TRIED TRESPASSING  INTO TROUBLED
TRIPOLI.

TRA-LA TRA-LA TRA-LA


I'm pretty sure I didn't write that; even with my gifts as a youthful geographer, I didn't know where Trafalgar is until I switched from playing on typewriters to playing on computers. My dad could have written it. Maybe Paul wrote it...
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