I rediscovered a previous notebook I used to write stuff. It turns out I have a lot of scattered writing that never made it here. Not even drafts of stuff I want to write, just random sentences from my thoughts. This was the feeling that triggered me to start blogging again.
For example, I actually imagined writing an essay to discuss my thoughts on gaming. There’s still a draft of it somewhere, dated 2012/05/04. But then it was stuck as a draft and I realized that although I could discuss a lot of things, none of it meant anything. The whole point could fit in a tweet: A majority of people play complicated strategy games — StarCraft, DotA, LoL, whatever; I play too much Anti-Idle: The Game. Everything else is boring rambling facts that are less interesting than the digits in the decimal expansion of 1/3.
Then there are some thoughts about public speaking. I decided to stop alluding to things I did in my past as if my audience only consisted of myself, so: I went to the Gathering 4 Gardner 9 in Atlanta three years ago, a massive conference on recreational mathematics and puzzles and magic and stuff honoring Martin Gardner, the great Scientific American Mathematical Games columnist. Somehow I gave a talk about triangles of absolute differences: when can one arrange the first n(n-1)/2 positive integers in an inverted triangle so that each positive integer is the absolute difference of the two above it? As I remember it, my presentation just consisted of me rushing mechanically through a minimalistic plain white slideshow of all the cases and proofs. People came up to me afterwards and said I spoke well, but I don’t know how much of that was out of sympathy for being so young at a conference full of established adults with years of experience. In any case, it was a significant experience in speaking publicly for me.
Hey, I just told a story. But that wasn’t even what the thoughts were about; I was writing stuff about what my expectations for myself were and how I compared with my classmates who were all doing Model United Nations. Now it reads like something written to fill an assigned word count.
There are some thoughts about people who memorized the answers to multiple-choice test questions and then got them wrong when the teacher changed the numbers — I was surprised that I actually knew people who did that. Some thoughts about growing up and making “choices that matter” such as which AP classes to take — I have to admit societal pressure was a big factor in deciding to take AP Biology, even though it is interesting, and I don’t like that. Some thoughts about procrastination — how typical. Some thoughts about how hot it is — I ranted about the feeling last time, and it’s probably confirmation bias but the temperature here really seems to only jump between “too hot” and “too cold”. Some thoughts about all the paperwork from school and how I feel like I forgot everything. Some thoughts about Twitter locking down its API… how long ago was that?
Blah blah blah. I was trying to produce content, instead of consuming boatloads of it like I did for the whole Friday night on Reddit. I do think it’s a better way to spend time, but the content that I produced for the sake of producing content is pretty meaningless. There’s just no room for any discussion that anybody would care about. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure there are things I could write about in an interesting way, but they don’t seem to be the things that give me a spontaneous urge to write.
I don’t really know if this makes any sense, but I don’t care now because I don’t want those thoughts of my former self to vanish without a trace.