B L O G !

Reflections on life under quarantine...

friday, jun 5, 2020

Something interesting happened today. My dad, who I've never known to be an expressly "political" person, asked if I wanted to go to a protest with him. We made signs and everything. It was a very cool experience and I'm glad I went - it's an incredibly important cause and I think it has the capability to bring real change if people just keep pushing for it. The countless examples of police violence, not just with regards to George Floyd's murder or other infamous examples of police brutality, but at these protests, have been really disturbing to me.

I'm convinced that the very idea of the police force and the presence it has in our culture is just something that attracts, to be blunt, murderous psychopaths with power fetishes. We've seen time and time again that not only are these people not effectively weeded out or trained during the hiring process, but they are rarely held accountable for their actions. The police, as an institution, are not a friend of the community. They're fucking scary. They are a group of people with the ability to sentence anyone to their death, and yet they are held to lower standards than the citizens they are sworn to protect. That's not even mentioning the fact that so many of the laws police are meant to enforce are actively harmful to communities - I find it very difficult to morally justify throwing people in jail for something like marijuana possession, knowing full well it could ruin their life.

Hell, have you seen a police officer lately? They look like they're dressed to survive a nuclear apocalypse. Imagine how much money is used for police forces' toys, and how much that money could contribute to things that actually improve peoples' lives.

thursday, jun 4, 2020

Gave up on writing that personal statement. Not turning anything in.

I tried to do it, but I kept writing something and then deleting it after looking over it. Doesn't bode well for when I actually start my applications, but oh well. The assignment is optional, anyway.

It just seems to me like my life is kind of short on "meaningful experiences", at least ones some college admissions officer would care about. I don't think my life is very interesting on paper.

wednesday, jun 3, 2020

I'm trying to use the social features of this site more. I've been browsing through other Neocities sites all day and I've found a lot of cool blogs.

I have to write a personal statement for English class, as part of my college application process. I really should do it, but God, I am fucking terrified of the idea. The way I see it, my life hasn't been all that interesting so far.

tuesday, jun 2, 2020

Never mind. I'm not going nocturnal again after school is out. I've been staying up and hardly getting any sleep this past week, and that's already awful enough as it is.

Counting down the online meetings I have to go. Right now, there are 10. It's really strange to think we've been doing this since March. I remember hearing my chemistry teacher suggest that we might be off school until the end of the semester, and it just didn't seem like a possibility. Surely things would never get that odd in my life. I'm used to the more normal things happening, you know? But here we are.

monday, jun 1, 2020

It's almost 3:00 AM. I spent a while talking with friends and I'm glad I did. It's good to have some sort of connection to reality in these times.

I don't really have much else to say today. Stay safe.

sunday, may 31, 2020

I've just spent the past couple of days in total awe at how much is going on right now. It's the perfect storm.

It's all made me feel very hopeless. Just as things are getting better, a new thing gets added to the pile.

saturday, may 30, 2020

Christ, it really is the end times, isn't it?

I don't even know what to say. I've been so saddened by what the situation has come to in the US. I hope that the demonstrations lead to some kind of change, but the cynic in me says that they won't.

friday, may 29, 2020

Two weeks left of "school", if you can call it that. This is either going to be the best or worst summer break ever, depending on how the whole quarantine situation pans out.

I had a pretty agreeable day. Played some games. Talked with friends. Listened to some music. Made some red beans and rice that turned out really well. Boredom hasn't quite set in yet - at the moment, I'm just enjoying near-complete freedom from academic responsibilities at the moment.

thursday, may 28, 2020

It's 2:00 AM. I have an online class meeting at 9:00 AM tomorrow. I don't know why I'm like this.

I talked about this a little a few days ago, but it's crazy to me how quickly time has been passing throughout this whole pandemic. That "time flies when you're having fun" thing is a load of shit. It still feels like it's March.

wednesday, may 27, 2020

Today, I finished a marathon of the Harry Potter movies with my brother and dad, and so cosmic law dictates that I must write about it today.

I do not like Harry Potter. This is going to be somewhat rant-y.

The 3rd movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban, is the best one because it's the only one that is legitimately entertaining, effective, and complete as a movie. That's not to say it's some masterpiece, but compared to the others, which feel more like hollow vessels for delivering plot development and backstory, it might as well be.

Speaking of plot development, it seems as though J.K. Rowling's idea of it is a new side character coming out of the woodwork and revealing a new plot device, which then becomes the very most important thing in the world for approximately half a movie before the story moves onto the next haphazardly thrown-together scavenger hunt of a plotline. Watching the movies, one thing I kept noticing was how obviously the story seems to have been made up as it went along (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as shown by Breaking Bad, which essentially had the same writing process); the story arc of Harry Potter has no consistent overarching themes and ideas, except for "Harry Potter is the chosen one'" and maybe "prejudice is a bad thing". Entirely new things are introduced whenever. Nothing builds in a satisfying way, just fizzles out unceremoniously - except for the plotlines introduced towards the end of the series, which are sold as the real point of Harry's story. The best movies in the series are, generally, the ones that are able to overpower the quality of Rowling's writing and storytelling in the books.

Since I've made it this far, here's my ranking of the movies, from best to worst:

  1. The Prisoner of Azkaban
  2. The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  3. The Goblet of Fire
  4. The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  5. The Order of the Phoenix
  6. The Sorcerer's Stone
  7. The Half-Blood Prince
  8. The Chamber of Secrets

Sorry. I promise I don't usually hate fun.

Oh, and to Mara from my contact form, who asks:

how did you get music on your page!! i've been trying to do that for ages!!
It's annoying on Google Chrome! Chrome blocks autoplayed music by default until you interact with it in some way, so for me it only starts playing once I return to my homepage through a back button from another page - and, occasionally, when I click a link from another site, although I'm still not sure why it works then. I gave up on trying to make it work consistently on all browsers. But, if you want music on your site in the same way I have it on mine, it's pretty simple. Just add this code to the top of your page body, on each page you want the music on:

<audio autoplay loop>
<source src="[song file path]">

tuesday, may 26, 2020

Don't have much to say today.

It's surreal to think that it's almost June. Time has gone by so quickly. A quarter of the year has slipped by and it's felt like one indistinct mass of nothing.

I started reading American Psycho. It's very funny so far.

monday, may 25, 2020

I turned in my last big assignment of the year, so if I wasn't almost entirely done with school before, I am now. My teacher really liked it, and left a very nice comment on it, which was a little bit of a surprise considering I waited until the last minute to come up with something, and I wasn't really proud of the end product. But, like I've talked about before here, you are your own worst critic.

Speaking of nice comments: thanks, lontra, for the really nice comment you left in the guestbook. Made my day.

sunday, may 24, 2020

I should get a hobby.

Not a hobby like reading books, or taking walks, or watching movies. Something with an end result, one that I can look at and that I can say I made. I guess this blog technically counts as that. I'd like to try my hand at long-form writing someday, but I have zero confidence in my abilities to write something like that I'd actually like.

saturday, may 23, 2020

I have all the free time in the world now. I wonder how long it'll be until the boredom starts to set in. Usually it takes a couple weeks for a normal summer break, but this isn't a normal summer break.

My last big assignment is probably this final project for film class. I recorded all my footage for it today, and it kind of sucks, but I don't really have any motivation to make anything better.

Other than that, my day was uneventful. I watched Ed Wood (the movie), and it was good. I cut my finger while peeling a potato.

friday, may 22, 2020

English class is optional for the rest of the year. It seems school really is over.

Apparently the new date for reopening is July 4th. I think I'll be able to get by until then. Having a somewhat concrete date helps a LOT with my mental state - half of the stress of quarantine is the uncertainty.

All in all, it's been a good day.

thursday, may 21, 2020

Following up yesterday's posts, the idea of having to prepare for college is utterly terrifying. It's a little over a year until I graduate. I don't know where I want to go or what I want to do. The UCs just announced that standardized tests aren't required anymore, and I feel like the standards that the public school system has essentially trained us for these past 6 or so years are rapidly becoming useless.

wednesday, may 20, 2020

And now it's done. I took my last AP today - English Language and Composition. It went surprisingly well; I'm beginning to suspect that they intentionally made the APs much easier this year, because all of my tests gave me significantly less trouble than their old example problems.

As far as I'm concerned, school is 75% over now. Considering the circumstances, any further instruction we do is basically a formality. So, that's definitely lifted a big weight off my shoulders. I appreciate being able to breathe again.

Unfortunately, we're expected to start worrying about college applications soon. I think I'm going to try, to the best of my ability, to wait until society is reopened a little more to do that. I'm just not in the right mindset to write an essay. I don't want to do anything important for my life until life has returned to some type of semi-normal.

tuesday, may 19, 2020

Finished my rewatch of Breaking Bad. I don't know what else to say other than that it's perfect television. Season 5 remains one of the most crushing, tragic things I've ever watched.

I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And... I was really... I was alive.

monday, may 18, 2020

It rained today.

I finished Siddhartha. I enjoyed it overall, but can't help but think it was a tad disappointing. I like how Hesse describes the divinity of the natural world, and I think the message of finding meaning in everything you experience is an important one, but I guess I just didn't connect with it as much as I should have. Maybe I just feel like I've heard it all before. Still, I appreciated the spirituality of it all. In that respect, it reminded me of Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist, except for the part where that book was complete dogshit. Good to see a better take on that concept.

sunday, may 17, 2020

I'm thinking of going nocturnal again once school ends. I love the night.

Supposedly, it's going to rain tomorrow. I love the rain, too. Last time it rained, I spent a lot of time just listening to music and staring at drops hitting the pavement. Quarantine has made me a lot more perceptive of my surroundings. There's a surprising amount to get out of the sight of an ordinary city street, rain or not.

saturday, may 16, 2020

I can't believe quarantine is still happening. I knew it was a possibility that we'd be out until the end of the school year when we were originally sent home, but I suppose I never considered it.

I can't believe I'm still updating this blog. This is probably the most effort I've ever put into a school assignment.

I can't believe people I don't know are finding this blog. According to my website stats, this site just hit 5 thousand views. It's strange to think about.

friday, may 15, 2020

I think I had the worst night's sleep that I've ever had last night. I went to sleep at 9:00, woke up at midnight, and was totally unable to fall asleep again until 5 hours later. I'm convinced that insomnia is one of the most frustrating things one can experience.

Despite that, though, I feel pretty good about my history AP today. I got a really nice prompt and sources, and all in all I feel confident I did well. Only one AP left.

thursday, may 14, 2020

Two APs down, two to go. I spent the hour before my chemistry test this morning sitting outside and listening to music, and honestly I think it was probably just as effective as getting in some last-minute studying would have been. Peace of mind goes a long way.

I started reading Siddhartha. Should be able to finish it in a couple days, considering how short it is. So far it's just decent, but it seems like the first part is just setup anyway. You can obviously tell it was written by some Swiss dude who didn't really know the first thing about Buddhism, but that doesn't really matter, does it? As far as I'm concerned, this book is just going to be a cool philosophical novel that happens to reference Buddhism. I'll report back with my thoughts in a few days, or whenever I finish it.

wednesday, may 13, 2020

Another AP tomorrow. I should probably sleep soon, but I guess I prioritize writing this blog post over my AP scores.

Breaking Bad is really good. I'm halfway through the last season, and it's just something else. The rest of the show is great too, but towards the end it's not just good, it's transcendent. There's such a depressing emptiness and sense of finality to it all.

tuesday, may 12, 2020

Today was pretty eventful. My first AP was this morning, and honestly, it went pretty well! I had a little trouble finishing on time, but aside from that I'm pretty confident in most of my answers. Still, the worst is yet to come. I think the essay-based tests will be much more difficult.

But, more importantly, today was the first time I spoke to someone outside my immediate household or street in 2 months. It was great, and I miss socialization even more now. It really is crazy how big a difference being with someone in person makes. I rarely even do video calls with people, because it just feels unsatisfying in some way - like it's almost a real conversation, but not quite there.

Also, I finished this collection of short stories my history teacher wanted me to read, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, and it wasn't very good. It's unfortunate, because there are a lot of genuinely cool ideas there buried underneath some awful prose. It's the very definition of a good concept with poor execution. As I read more and more often, I think I've really begun to value a good writing style more than anything else. A book could have the greatest story ever, and it wouldn't matter if it was conveyed through prose that was bland or dry - but I think an uninteresting story could definitely be salvaged by memorable, rewarding writing. I think that because of that, I actually like reading "classics" more than anything else. At the risk of sounding pretentious, I can't really relate to when people characterize reading classics as some kind of chore you have to do in between reading "fun" stuff, because a lot of classics represent exactly the kind of rewarding writing that draws me to reading, and a lot of "fun" stuff (e.g. fantasy/science fiction) is just a slog.