Whats on my mind…

August 30th, 2007

In the past few weeks, I’ve been doing alot of soul-searching and attempting to figure out the cause of my stomach issues. In doing so, I’ve been looking at things that bother me as well as things that I dwell on. For reasons unknown, lately I’ve had passing thoughts of my ex-girlfriend. None of them desire, just reflecting back upon the relationship and looking at the root cause of my anguish.

I realized something that didn’t make me happy, but I need to be honest with myself so that I can become a better person and deal with whatever issues I may have. What I realized was that I was, for the most part, with her under the guise that I’d have someone until someone better came along. I guess thats why I never worried about my relationship with her, if she broke up with me, I could just go out and find someone else… Its probably why I looked past the fact that we weren’t meant for eachother and that there were behaviors of mine that bothered her that I didn’t care about changing. Its wrong to be in a relationship for those reason, and I realize that now and would never do that again, but there is one major side effect from having 6 years worth of relationship (where at least 3 of which was spent like above) thinking/feeling that way.

I find myself getting scared when I think about my flaws and the things that bother Melissa because I fear that these flaws/issues may lead her to leave me (something I’ve never learned to deal with in the past as I never felt like this). I also worry more when she gets upset because I actually care. With my ex, if she got upset, I would tell her it’ll be ok, re-assure her and do my best to get out of the conversation until she cooled down, in which case she’d realize the issue was dumb and small and get over it. With Melissa – even if the issue is small and dumb, or even if its just a misunderstanding and isn’t an issue to begin with, I feel the fear that she may leave.

I’ve always been a person who has prided himself on being able to stand on his own two feet. In fact, I feel like I’ve been a strong unmoving pillar for many of my friends and for my family. While that is a heavy responsibilty, I played it well and enjoyed it. With a true relationship though, you have to give up some of that wall and in truly loving someone and trusting someone, you open yourself and begin to lean on them. For the first time in my life, I feel as if without someone my life would be imbalanced – that scares me. I’m an obsessive planner, I always have to have a contingency plan for when things go wrong and I have to have all my bases covered – yet in life thats not always possible, and with love there is a constant struggle between planning the rest of your life with another person and the contingency that that person may leave you.

I’ve become much more relaxed about things as I know that no matter what happens, I can always make my plans then. I’m all about modifying your plans when things change, and there’s nothing wrong imrpov’ing a bit.

I think the biggest thing consciously that is bothering me is that I feel like I’m worthless. This may come as a shock to some people reading this, but let me explain. Most of this stems from work (in fact about 95% of this is work related in some way). There is one thing that is completely true in the world of business, what people say with their mouths are lies, what people say with their wallet is truth. To show this best, people bitch and moan about how much they hate microsoft, yet windows is the #1 most bought operating system, microsoft office is the #1 office software, etc. While at work, I KNOW I compete my tasks, and people constantly tell me how much they appreciate the work I’m doing, and how the project would be dead without me, when it comes to trying to get a promotion, I get smoke blown up my tush and sent in circles. Also, I get yelled at for being “over-ambitious.” I can justify in my head that people feel threatened by my potential and that I may in some way interfere with their plans, but its hard not to think people truly think I’m just a disaster and are trying to keep me in my cube quiet…

This is not the first job things like this have happened. When I worked for the Commodities Trading Advisor in NYC, I worked on an accounting system for them, built the accounting system, built them a trading system, and was working on tons of other projects for them at LESS THAN MINIMUM Wage. When I went to the owners asking for a raise (5 times what I was making, but that would only put me at about $25 an hour, which is still something I consider cheap) they laughed and told me to get out of their office. I stayed one more day then quit.

I created an online game, and when it was free, I had 3000 people with registered accounts and nearly 200 people playing daily. I turned it into a pay service, I believe it was $10 for a year to play. I had 10, yes, TEN players, thats it. I ran the game as paid for a month then opened it up for free again and gave those who paid some cool stuff in game to make up for it… People spoke – What I made was good enough to play for free, but not truly worth anything to them.

Amazing Super Zeroes was the same. While I was not alone in that project, it was just as much mine as it was Jasons. We sold 1 copy of our comic book to a non family member/friend. ONE. We auctioned up on e-bay a signed copy of our book, STARTING PRICE was list price for the comic book – surely one of our 1000 or so weekly readers would feel its worth $5 or more. Not ONE bid. It went unsold and is sitting in my basement…

Collegeboredom netted nearly 3.5 million visits in my 3 years running it. Total revenue I made via advertising: ~$700, I won’t mention how much I sold it for, but it really wasn’t high at all. I’m almost embarrased to think about it.

So I find myself with a bunch of “failures” behind me, or in the business world “learning experiences” – nearly 10 years of them – still the lowest on the frikkan totem pole at Merrill Lynch. No amount of compliments can fill the void of being at the same salary, title, and job description as some average coder who has 0 (zero) real-world experience and is fresh out of school. I now understand what it must feel like for an immagrant doctor who was top of their field in their home country to come to america and be told the education only allows them to work as an EMT.

The worst part of all this is that because of it, I feel like I have a truly warped and incorrect view of myself. I’d like to think I’m smart – but since I feel like I’m so wrong with my abilities in the workplace, I must be wrong about that. Every time I say something stupid and bother someone (a normal human activity that happens often and to all), I feel like I’m a screwup and incapable of human interaction. Its a nasty downward spiral…

Now – From my many years of dealing with my own craziness and my emotional cycles, I’ve learned to have “checkpoints” to stop, look at a situation rationally and prevent myself from getting too happy or too depressed about something. These check points have worked fine in the past and continue to work fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m having to use these checkpoints more frequently.

Maybe I have too high expectations for myself. A person my age is considered to be doing “well” if there are where I am. But – I propose this question, although it involves a made-up person, if Dougey Houser, MD, moved to a new hospital at the age of 26 (after having been a doctor for 5+ years at that point) were told: “Well, you’re 26, and we require a bit of training, so since you’re fresh out of the training, we’re going to pay you what the other new trainees and residents are making and you’ll only get to do what they can do” you can only imagine he’d be a bit annoyed and feel belittled.

Maybe my expectations are unbounded? How do I know – at this moment, I have no idea if the view I have for myself is anywhere near reality. I feel so disjointed that I can only truly know I exist because I see myself and feel myself and I control my actions. Beyond that, I have no idea what I’m capable of. And here, I write words that I feel can only come from someone who has a high level of intelligence and self awareness, but how do I know its not the ramblings of an insane man?

My father once raised something, completely in jest, but which raised a good point – How do we know crazy people aren’t just people who see things we can’t? What if that crazy man who is talking to voices “in his head” isn’t talking to spirits. Or that crazy man who sees patterns in everything isn’t truly working out the worlds mysteries? The truth of it all is that we DON’T know, but along those lines, how can one person know if he is truly sane and aware or if he is insane and aware of a self that isn’t real?

These types of things scare me. Now, I should credit this article by saying that I’m not depressed, and, despite my stomache issues, I’ve been fairly stress free and sleep well at night. I don’t cry myself to sleep and laugh and smile often. All that said, I still have little if any self worth due to all I’ve said above.

Its late, and I need to sleep, I could probably talk more about this, but I do need to sleep…

Goodnight my dear reader,
-Nick

A Breakdown of Inner Universe

August 29th, 2007

Ok – I’ve talked about this song and referenced it many times, but I have decided to mention it again. First off – this will be a long post but I promise my reader it should be interesting.

The song is “Inner Universe” by Yoko Cano, Origa and Shanti Snyder. It is the theme song for Ghost In The Shell SAC (Stand Alone Complex) the first season of th TV Series. The song is written in Russian with a few lines of english, and part of the chorus in latin. If you wish to view the lyrics (and translation) not broken up with my rant inbetween you can visit the lyrics site.

— Song Begins —
Actual Lyrics:
Angely i demony kruzhili nado mnoj
Rassekali ternii i mlechnye puti
Ne znaet schast’ya tol’ko tot,
Kto ego zova ponyat’ ne smog…

Translation:
Angels and demons were circling above me
Swishing through the hardships and milky ways
The only one who doesn’t know happiness
is the one who couldn’t understand its call

My Comments:
The saying that only a boring person can be bored is widely used but very much correct. When it comes to happiness, only one who is willing to accept happiness and see it for what it is will actually be happy. There is a concept in Taoism that relates to the ideas of optimism and pessimism. The concept in the Tao states that optimists and pessimists are two views that are not in touch with reality and who look only to interpret life. According to Taoism, the glass is neither half empty nor half full, the glass just is and the fluid just is – there is no debate. That truth relates to all situations in life, there is no good nor bad without recognizing it. The first line (which can be translated as Angels and Demons surrounding my soul) demonstrates that struggle but acceptance of both view points. This is often how I look at situations in life, and which is something that I believe enables me to be a better problem solver.

-Chorus- (I’ll get to this later

Actual Lryics:
I am Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…

Translation:
I am Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
To stay myself longer…

My Comments:
To stay myself longer… Put another way – to hold onto who I am. Its odd, these lyrics hold an interesting image in my head, formed mainly after watching the series and looking at the life of the main character – Major Kusanagi. Whether on purpose (which I believe it is, as the writing staff for GITS is amazing) or completely on accident, the character of Kusanagi is amazingly alluring yet saddening. —Spoiler alert – I’m about to explain much of the back history on Major Kusanagi as well as reveal some major plot from the TV series, if you wish not to see, please skip to the next section — The story as I recall it about Kusanagi is that as a child she was in a terrible accident in which her parents were killed and her body was left completely paralyzed. At the time, there were experimental procedures to transfer a human brain to a metal casing creating a “cyber-brain” in which it could be implanted into a cyborg body. At a very young age (12?) she was given an experimental cybernetic body (as the company creating the body felt since she had no family she was the perfect test subject should something go wrong). Without parents and under government/big business supervision, she grew up alone and without friends. At one point, while learning to control her cyber body, she crushed a toy doll that she viewed as her best friend. That incident spurred her desire to master the control of her cyber body which is how she ended up doing special operations. At the age of 18 (drafting age) she was enrolled in the armed forces and gained great skill as a strategist and fighter. The interesting duality of the character is that there is something amazingly human about her – she has great compassion and an amazing sense of justice, yet on the other hand, she was raised as a weapon and contains a completely man-made body.

To stay myself longer… To hold on to who I am… One of the interesting things the Ghost in the Shell writers touch upon often is the concept of a soul. All natural born humans contain a soul, which lives within the mind (which is attached to the brain). If you take your cyber brain and emplant it in another body, you still have the same soul, whereas a completely autonomous AI may be able to completely fit in with humans but will never possess a soul. The movies touch upon this concept more, but the tv series does it fairly well too. Kusanagi goes through a constant definition of who she is, a dance between form and function. Given her circumstances, it is much clearer and easier to see, but there is a similar issue with many individuals living within current day society. We constantly struggle between defining ourselves as either form or function. People say things like: “I am a programmer” or “I am a nurse” which are functional roles. People also say: “I’m Nick” or “I am who I am” which are form. There can be a marriage between form and function, but the argument is – is our function part of our soul or is it our form? If we play a very different function in life and cease to play our original function, is our soul different? We cannot change our form, so is our form our soul – or can we change form? If we change form – does that change who we are and therefore change our soul? If we could completely change our behaviors to the point where people would say: “its like you’re a totally different person” – are we? What keeps us – well – us?

Calling, Calling – in the depths of longing…

Actual Lyrics:
Stand alone… Where was life when it had a meaning…
Stand alone… Nothing’s real anymore and…

My Comments:
These lyrics are in english. One of the amazing things about Yoko Kano is her use of language as an art form. The russian lyrics really are poetic. For the same reason people use bold, italics, and underline, different languages are used for different reasons. I have no idea her original intentions, but it seems that she would use english as a means of saying: “this is the common grounds” and a way to put emphasis upon what she’s saying.
Where was life when it had a meaning… These lyrics are sung slower – a true emphasis of the struggle that we all face. The meaning of life is something that people strive for. One of human kinds greatest flaw as well as greatest asset is its desire to classify everything by its functional role. We exist for a reason – or better yet a purpose. Religious people believe that a god gave them their purpose and they look to figure it out and scientists believe that if we didn’t have a function we would be eliminated through some sort of natural selection. But, the only reason one would ask this question is while they are dancing between defining themselves by form or function. If a person completely defined themselves by function, they would have their answer – their function is their purpose for being. A person who defines themselves by form, would have no reason for an answer – they just exist and have no purpose (they may have desires in life, but don’t believe they were put here on this earth for any specific reason).

Actual Lyrics:
…Beskonechnyj beg…
Poka zhiva ya mogu starat’sya na letu ne upast’,
Ne razuchit’sya mechtat’…lyubit’…
…Beskonechnyj beg…

Translation:
…Endless run…
While I’m alive, I can try not to fall while flying,
Not to forget how to dream… how to love
…Endless run…

My Comments:
If you are in constant search for yourself and for meaning – life can be an endless run. I like the saying (and have been doing my best to remind myself of it) “Stop and smell the roses.” My girlfriend Melissa has helped me alot to realize the beauty of life along the journey of life. I have great ambition and have always wanted to change the world – to make it a better place. Not to say I’m never satisfied, but I used to have high expectations. For example, I got a great sense of accomplishment when I had answered my 100th advice question through CollegeBoredom. I finally got a sense that I was helping people on a grand scale. But, I was losing the trees and only seeing the forest… Since then I’ve learned to smile when I hear my friend call me his best friend – and realize how nice it is to truly have a best friend that is always there for you if you need him – something I’ve only had in rare scattered times during my life.

The next line is literally translated and so much beauty is lost. Poetically reworded: As long as I live, I will try to continue to soar. Never give up…

Not to forget how to dream… How to love…

Actual Lyrics:
Calling Calling, For the place of knowing
There’s more than what can be linked
Calling Calling, Never will I look away
For what life has left for me
Yearning Yearning, for what’s left of loving

My Comments:
Searching for an answer – “There’s more than what can be linked” – there is more to the soul and mind than the body.
Yearning, Yearning – for whats left of loving – form over function.
Amazing lyrics that need not be discussed, just enjoyed and thought about

Actual Lyrics:
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
Soboj ostat’sya dol’she…

Translation:
To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling now, Spirits rise and falling
To stay myself longer…
Calling Calling, in the depth of longing
To stay myself longer…

My Comments:
Same as above.

Chorus: (Latin)
Mana du vortes
Aeria Gloris

Translation and Roots:
Mana – I could go on for hours. This word along with Gaia (aka Gaea) have insanely long roots. Mana at its base means flow. But, it also means energy. It was used to describe the flows of a river – so the current and force is also part of the meaning of the word. Philosophers made the parallel to the flow of a river – mana – to life. In recent times, the word is used to name magical flow, the essence of life, as well as power. Since I mentioned it Gaia is earth (not dirt but the entity of earth) and was believed to be alive.
Du – of
Vortes – The best way to explain the meaning of this word is imagine the power of a vortex. Its sweeping and pulling you in. Some translations say “Mana du vortes” means “the flow will catch you” some say that the line is really “nalybuites” which means “watch in awe” in russian.

Aeria Gloris – This is actually butchered latin. The proper words (and translations) are below:
aerius -a -um [belonging to the air, airy]; hence [high in the air, lofty]
gloria -ae f. [fame, renown, glory]. Transf., of a member of a group, [the pride, the glory; desire of glory, ambition, boastfulness]; plur. [glorious deeds]

Many translation sites and lyric sheets say this should be translated as “heavenly glory” but as you will see with my proposed translation, I don’t agree.

So, we have two interpretations of the chorus:
The flow will catch you
Heavenly Glory

or

Watch in Awe
Heavenly Glory

I propose a slightly different translation for the latin to get a third translation option:
The flow will carry you
Flying in Glory

Well, its nearing midnight and I’ve said quite a bit. It is time for me to sleep as well as end this.

Thank you for listening. If you have the chance, I highly recommend you watch any of the Ghost in the Shell movies or TV series. They truly are well written and have amazing sound tracks (but keep in mind they can be quite depressing at times, so you shouldn’t watch them if you’re already in a sad mood).

-Nick

Bringing back the journal…

August 27th, 2007

Ok, so I’ve done this quite often – left my journal for an extended period of time and then started writing again. The reason that I’m starting to write again is that Melissa was talking about her journal and how much it helps her to write about things. Her journal is a bit different than mine as it is secret and mine is public. With my journal, I have to really think about my words because while I might be angry at one moment, I need to make sure my words are sincere and not hurtful. Also, I have to realize that if its on the net, I assume people know about it – therefore future employers, or anything else can be read from this site. BUT, I think all those things are GOOD for me. To explain – by having myself in “check” it forces me to really think about what I’m saying and how I’m feeling. This is something that I don’t often do – one of the biggest things I want to work on is thinking before I speak and not having to defend/explain my words afterwards.

I’ve decided I’m going to have a new motto that I repeat every morning and will have up in my stall: Talk Less, Think More, Act More. Actions speak louder than words and even if you are smart and good at what you do, talking about it will get you nowhere – acting on it will be much better…

Second of all – I’m trying to battle my unorganized nature. I’ve started with buying a calendar. I’m going to make sure all important dates are in it and check it every morning and when I get home BEFORE I EVEN CHECK MY E-MAIL.

I’ve also decided to set up a new phrase that I would repeat – a mantra if you will. The mantra is: Talk LESS – THINK More – DO More.

So far it’s working, but thats because its fresh in my mind. the test of time will prove if it actually works. I’ve also decided to see a therapist. I still need to get over that hump of finding one, but I will. It is on my list of things to do for tomorrow and I will do it.

Its been a long journey getting to where I am. I owe a great deal to my parents who were there for me to encourage me to try everything once, and to persue education. I owe something to my friends who helped to steer me in the right direction when I seemed to be wandering aimlessly. But, beyond all that, I did much of it on my own… I blame no one but myself for that, which is what makes things a double edged sword…

I used to call myself a perfectionist, but in reality thats not true. But best by a teacher of mine, there are two types of people in this world, 80 people and 20 people. What this means is there are people who can do 80% of the work and there are people who can do 20% of the work… But, the key and important thing to know is that BOTH AMOUNTS OF WORK ARE EQUAL… Yes, that may seem really odd and confusing but let me explain. First of all, the 80% of of the “total idea” not the total work… To explain in terms of building a house, an 80 person is one who can lay the foundation, put up the walls, the drywall, the plumbing, all the big stuff… The 20 person is the one who can paint the walls, put up trimming, find decorations, and make the house a home… The 80 person may have more to show for his/her work, but really both are important…

In business, an 80% is one who shapes an idea and begins its creation then leaves it to the 20 person to do the detail work, do the finishing, and make it perfect… A perfectionist is 99% of the time a 20 person… Now, in rare cases there are 100 people, but again, rare cases, and I am not one of them…

Now, here is where the self-conflict comes… While I’m not a perfectionist, I desire to be good at everything I do… If I’m ever hesitant to do something, it usually isn’t fear (there is very little I fear in life, not even death), it is probably because I think I’m going to be bad at it – such as singing (something I’ve been told previously I’m bad at). When I was younger, I would close the door to my room and practice whatever it was I wanted to be good at – be it computers, guitar, oration, etc. That way I could always make whatever I did look effortless to others while secretly I worked my tush off practicing… Being the over-ambitious (and yes, you can be TOO ambitious) person I am, I found myself pulled in many directions. While I was able to learn many things, I never focused nor really learned to be great at anything. I became emersed and even obsessed with success. I didn’t measure myself based off my peers, I measured myself amongst the greats. When I was playing guitar, I never learned to read music because I became obsessed with learning to play more difficult and difficult songs that by the time I went back to learn to read music, it was at such a lower level than my playing level that it bored me. Now that I’ve lost a great deal of my ability to play, I don’t have a ability to read to make up for it…

This happened with other fields. I would excel and push hard in one area and ignore the basics and fundamentals. This made me really good at some specific things but had me lacking on the important basics. Thankfully my education at the academy and at Stevens helped me build a solid groundwork for computer fundamentals and business fundamentals. Lately my newfound desire to read has also helped me fill in the gaps of my fundamentals for other technical subjects as well as social subjects. So – where am I going with all this. Well, I’m sorry my dear reader, but I am kind of just dumping at this point. Giving a bit of insight into my soul, my mind, and the reasons behind my actions. I don’t have any great message to be had with this rant – just that once you recognize if you are an 80 or 20 person, your life will get alot easier. I realize that the 20% stuff is the stuff that is most difficult for me, so, I try to find ways to manage my weakness as easily as possible. The only way in life to truly succeed is to harness your strenghts. If you spend your whole life managing your weaknesses, you are dooming yourself to be average. Although, if you spend all your time on your strenghts, your weaknesses will drag you down and get you in trouble…

So, Change is in the wind. Change takes time, but I’m making it one step at a time. I’m working on my storytelling – doing my best to tone it down, not stretch the truth, and try to listen more. Listening is good, and I know I’ve done alot of talking. I am going to use this journal as a place for me to do alot of the talking I hold back. I always feel like I have alot to say, and I do, but it doesn’t mean its all useful nor does it mean people want to hear. SO, by having this, I give the reader the option to read, the option not to read, and the option to do whatever the heck they want. Its a win win situation for all.

Thank you for reading. And I’m back.

I know my readers are few, so I will say this with honesty – I love you. Those of you who care enough to read this and want to know me, you are dear to me and are important to me.
-Nick

A book idea that will never happen :/

January 24th, 2007

As always, I was thinking about book ideas (oh i wish I had no job and could just write and start businesses… But, money is necessary)…

The latest idea I had was for a novel taking place in the near future, 5 to 10 years from now. Here’s the premise: A young technologist starts a company that sells automatic trading systems – after all the major trading floors go electronic, this application allows the common user to input mathematical formulas and a few other attributes and the system will trade for you. The application sells extremely well, and after a year of success stories, a “foolproof” formula gets developed and distributed over the internet and 90% of users come to use it. After a few weeks of the market going into voilent swings as the formula makes and loses people small fortunes, a big crash comes. The trade-freeze becomes imposed on all markets yet the “post market” trading continues as all large brokerage firms offer this service to remain competitive. People’s savings, 401Ks, and company values plummet in what results in a near 800Billion dollar loss of value.

That would be the first half of the book. The second half would be the suits that follow and how the original programmer of the system defends his right and defends that this was not of his design. It would go through the american culture and their desire to see someone punished for all wrongdoings, as well as the many outraged who lost their life savings. The more I thought about this, the more I thought it was possible… As we become a paperless and people-less society, we can really lose touch…

-Nick

I’m back…

December 9th, 2006

I haven’t posted in quite some time (besides my last post about saying goodbye), but I figure it is still a good time to post. I have things I want to get out, and sometimes its easier to get them out here…

While its understood that people will rarely thank you for things you’ve done for them, its even more rare that people will appologize for the pain they have caused. For most things in life, people will say: “I made a mistake, I’m sorry.” But the truth is, mistakes are rarely made. A mistake is cutting 13 inches from a board of wood when you were meant to cut 12, or incorrectly recalling a math formula. In life, any choice you make (or lack of thought you put into a choice) is in no way shape or form a mistake.

The same goes for alcohol. While alcohol may change your thought process and one may be caught up in whatever moment they are enjoying, their choices and decisions are fully their responsibilities and in no way a mistake… Lets take cheating for example. If a girl will cheat on you drunk, then that just means she wants to sober, but she may think to herself: “this is wrong.” and not do it. So, the intention is there, but the action does not happen. Is that not almost as bad as the act itself? In the past, I have overlooked the faults of others, even those that have hurt me – but I’ve realized I should do that no more. I’ve respected and treated people well who did not deserve my respect. Although, it is hard to damn someone for just one personallity flaw/imperfection, but in some cases just one trait can reflect greatly on a person’s character.

Lately I’ve gone back to people watching and back to re-vamping my theories on social interaction. I’m once again reminded of the inherent selfishness of the human race. It isn’t wrong to be selfish, but when an optimist such as myself wishes that it isn’t true, it can be painful. At times I question why I still hold my ideals the way I have.

I had a talk with my pupil recently (I tutor a girl in academics and took a day off from studies to just talk with her and provide life guidance), and while talking with her we discussed life, and how it really can be easy. I portrayed my life views and why I believe the things I believe, and while life as a completely honest person who strives to make all those in his life happy seems like a noble goal, it is not one that is very fruitful.

I don’t believe in a god, but if I did, I could say to myself, “Nick, when you die, you will be granted entrance into some paradise for all your hard work.” but the truth of it is, life is not like that. There is an interesting axium that was proposed to me last year. An old man was laying in his death bed, and he was asked if he had any regrets. His response was: “Some people may say I had a wild and possibly unchristian lifestyle, but you find me one person who as they are dying will say ‘I wish I had loved less’ in either the physical or emotional way.”

I don’t have any desire to go out and cheat, but while in a long distance relationship, I’m faced with constantly missing my partner. Thoughts of her may only be fantasy besides a few short moments ever other week or so. It is also hard to get over fears that I have as the 2 lenghty relationships I’ve had in my life were long distance and all had painful results (cheating, lies, other unmentionable things…) Knowing what I know, seeing what I see, it is so hard to trust anyone farther than I can throw them. Being the dreamer and idealist I am, I often believe that perfection exists, but I know it does not. Comparing anyone to perfection leads only to disappointment. I constantly hold myself to a perfect ideal and strive for perfection, but when I do it to others I find it is a cruel and bad thing to do…

Well, I’m dreadfully tired and have a great many chores that need to be done tomorrow, so I am going to sleep. As always, thank you to my readers, and the only reason I share my soul with you is because I trust you. As of now, google has yet to find/index this site so the only ones coming here are those who know about it, or care enought o see what “nickruffilo.com” is and read this, so thank you for taking interest…

Goodnight.
-Nick

How to say goodbye…

December 5th, 2006

How do you say goodbye to someone who was in your life for so long? Someone who, for better and worse, helped to shape who you are today? Closure is the only way that I will be able to really start to accept certain things in my life. There is always so much one wants to say, they want revenge for all the pain, want to give thanks for all the joy, but, in the end, whats important is that you leave with no regrets… Moving on can be a difficult thing to do, but in many cases, it must be done…

-Nick

A few minutes to breath

October 3rd, 2006

So, I finally have a moment or two to breath and I’ve decided to use them to post here. It has been quite some time since I’ve posted and a great deal has happened to me. While I usually use this space to draw parallels with what is currently happening in my life to bigger lessons, I’ll use this as just an update to whats going on in my life…

While I’m still in shock, I am in love, and it is returned. I am no longer single. Why I’m in shock is because it is with the girl I thought I would never have and have been chasing for years…

I’m tutoring, and I really like my pupil. I’m working on a new website and its actually making some progress, I’ll have the site up soon.
-Nick

Trust, Love, and Life

September 11th, 2006

I could easily write a disseratation on each of the above topics, but tonight I will just touch a bit upon how I believe the three relate. It is human nature to try to put everything in categories and make everything black and white (isn’t that what I did in my last post?), but the truth of life is that very few things are actually black/white.

People rely on “commitment” promises such as being asked out. But, the truth about the human spirit is the second that you feel confined – you want to break out. This is why so many people cheat. They feel trapt and don’t want to break the promise but are unhappy and inadvertantly do things to hurt the other person. So why do we make these promises? Love… But, as I’ve explained (either here or in my last journal) there is a huge difference between being in love and loving someone. Life is about falling in love constantly and how you deal with those loves.

I like to look at life as a set of decisions. Every day – the only thing I can control are the decisions that I make given the situations that are dealt to me. So, since the only thing I really have that defines me are my decisions, why would I want to give those up? I ask you, what is more meaningful – telling your girlfriend that you met someone new but didn’t take her number because even though she was cool your girlfriend is better, or saying (or worse keeping inside) that you met some girl who seems interesting and possibly even better suited for you than your girlfriend but you didn’t do anything because you made a commitment?

The truth of it is, life is about the persuit of happiness. Self sacrifice, as I’ve learned, does NOT bring happiness in a healthy relationship. A good relationship between two people, based on trust, is good when both parties are happy. If one is sacrificing their own happiness for the other person, in the long run, both should become unhappy by this (unless the one not sacrificing is self-centered). So really, the second you start compromising on your ability to make decisions that affect your happiness is the second that your relationship will have problems. Not to say that people won’t have differences and shouldn’t try to meet half-way, there are people who just don’t mesh well.

How do we prevent this? Trust and honesty. While it may hurt to hear that someone you love is happier with someone else – isn’t it better to hear it from them before anything happens than to have that person sneak behind your back, cheat on you, and have it slowly eat away at your relationship until things are at the point where they cannot be repaired and there is no chance of friendship?

I’ve touched on love, i’ve touched on trust, and a bit on life – so I will leave you with this parting thought:

A person’s actions and decisions shape who they are. Most will take you at face value – so who you say you are and who you exude becomes who you actually are. Stand up, be strong, love who you are and your decisions and no matter what you think, it will be right and OK. But, if you pause, second guess, or lack confidence in what you feel you will only end up hurting yourself and those around you. Live life, love life, and love whenever possible.

-Nick

The Philosophy of Physics

September 10th, 2006

Originally I was going to call it the Tao of Physics (as would be a more appropriate name) but I wanted to use alliteration. But now onto my post:

The most basic physics equations are the DVAT equations (Distance, Velocity, Acceleration, Time)

For those who either didn’t do well in physics or have forgotten it by now, I will go through definitions of the above terms while paralleling them with the philisophical definitions.

Distance:
Physical Definition: the absolute difference between two objects. Also, the difference between the starting and ending position of one object.
Philisophical Defintion: the absolute emotional difference between two people coupled with the amount of time the two people spend in contact with each other.

Velocity:
Physical Definition: Change in distance over time. Can be positive or negative as it is a reference to a given point. Not to be mistaken with speed which has no direction.
Philisophical Definition: The change in situation between two people. Such examples would be moving in with someone, seeing them more, talking to them less, any change in the time people devote to each other.

Acceleration:
Physical Defintions: Change in velocity over time.
Philisophical Definition: Change in emotional state between two people. Falling in and out of love is acceleration.

Time:
Physical Definition: Time is the temporal change.
Philisophical Definition: The amount of time that exists between when people are physically together.

With that layed down, I will try to explain how human interaction and physics have similarities. My research for the past better part of a decade has been to create a way of turning human interaction into an equation. While I refuse to ever share my real equation, I believe that I can draw a fair parallel to the DVAT equations and their relations.
The main equation is Distance = (starting distance) + (velocity*time) + (1/2 * acceleration * timeĀ²)
Like in physics there is a balance in the equation. If all the variables are set, there is only one set of values that will actually work. As distance changes, so must time, or velocity, or acceleration. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, each person has their set equation. A relationship can only work when people’s expectations equations balance or are similar enough…

What does this mean though? How can we use this in our lives? Well, first you must determine what it is your own equation balance is. From there you can adjust personal relationships with people as not to have them be overbearing or underbearing. Lets analize what happens when you change variables.

As distance increases – people spend less time talking to each other on the phone while away, or people begin to emotionally distance themselves from one another. To balance the equation you must either increase velocity alot, acceleration a bit less, or time only slightly. Many times these factors are out of our hands – such as velocity and acceleration, but time and distance are always something we can control.

In any given situation, if you want to change any variable, you must make gradual changes to the other variables. To increase velocity, slowly change time and/or distance. As you watch the situation you will be able to see how the factors are changing. By monitoring how the person reacts to the change in distance/time you can then surmise their balanced equation. If you want to accelerate the emotions between you and that person, just vary time and distance appropriately. You cannot create a sense of love if the person does not want to love, but if the person is interested in you, this is the surefire way to control the accelearation/velocity of that relationship.

As it is late, I will

Ghost of a Rose

September 1st, 2006

I’ve recently found a band – Blackmore’s Night – that writes renaissance type music. One song they have is called “Ghost of A Rose” about lovers who when they part the woman says: “Promise me, when you see, a white rose you’ll think of me, I love you so, never let go, I will be, your ghost of a rose”

I really enjoyed that metaphor, especially with the deeper meaning of a white rose – purity. And really, isn’t that what love should be? While researching my book I was surprised at how many people lost faith in unconditional love. As a culture we have a very jaded view of love – especially in the tri-state area.

So how, in this jaded society, can one remain positive and “pure” when it comes to love. The answer lies in the metaphor “Ghost of a Rose.” While it was probably not thought of on this level when the song was written, not only is a ghost white, but it is something that is ethereal and fleeting. Despite all that, many still believe in ghosts as a way to hold on to someone even when they are gone. With love, we need to learn that pain from a person and love are separate things. If we are hurt by someone we love, we must view that act and associate it with the person and not the love. If the love did not provide us with true happiness – with some sort of hope – then it was never love to begin with.

As I’ve always said – any amount of pain in the world is worth a few moments of pure love. Love is a cycle – and some cycles of love are shorter than others. When a cycle of love passes, we must accept the glory that it held and then move on, or we will be forced to settle with unhappiness. The world needs to learn to be a little more light hearted, to smile a bit more, and love a great deal more.

Have yourself a great weekend all.

Goodnight.
-Nick