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Happiest Memory

July 15th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     The happiest memory in my life is not one I could ever share with anyone else.  Because it isn't a moment from within my real life but instead one from within a dream, a dream that occurred almost ten years ago.

     In that dream, I spent my childhood alongside someone who I seemingly knew all my life.  We would race neck-to-neck as we leapt from rooftop to rooftop, laughing maniacally as we tried to one-up each other, reaching higher and higher into the skies before eventually just taking flight altogether.  If it seemed we flew too high and one of us began to fall, we would catch each other and throw ourselves even higher than before, until we finally made it above the clouds.  At the end of it all, we'd sit atop the remains of an old wooden post so high up that we could watch the sun set, not against the land or water but against the sky itself, the ocean of clouds below reflecting its descent like a mirror facing up against the...[More]
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The Lies We Tell Ourselves

June 2nd, 2016 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     Most people struggle to see past their own actions.  The world is dark, the light at the end of the tunnel dim.  I spent my life being told to doubt my intuition, to be more modest, humble, more open-minded, less naïve, to let go of what I think I know, only to realize later that was always the opposite of what I needed to do.  Others lie to themselves to grapple with what they don't know.  They convince themselves they are more knowledgeable than they really are and seek structure to shield themselves from the unexpected, to give themselves a false sense of control and certainty in their lives.  But my lie is to myself when I do know.  I close my eyes, purposely forget things, throw myself into the wind, whatever it takes in hopes that something might surprise me for once, to give myself a false sense of hope, the false hope that there might be more to the world than what I see before me, the mystery and excitement, the possibility of...[More]
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Hear the Pictures and Not the Words

July 5th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     "What do you see when you hear this music?" I once asked someone.
     To my surprise, he said, "Nothing."
     "Really?" I asked.  "Not even a story or anything?"
     "Nope.  I just like how it sounds.  Why? What do you see?"
     It still surprises me whenever I come across others who can be appreciating the same work before us but seeing nothing at all.  It never really occurred to me until after college that others might only hear the sound or see the word, the notes, or the colors.
     I still remember a conversation several years back where several coworkers were debating whether thought was organized based on what language one spoke.  "Of course not," I wanted to say, "Otherwise what would you be thinking as a child before you knew any language?" But the debate simply moved towards whether children had any real thoughts...[More]
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Threaded Thinking

May 25th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     One thing I've come to notice is my thinking style tends to be much different than most when it comes to planning or managing how to pursue multiple tasks.  Some have suggested I think very linearly when much of the world is moving towards nonlinear or multitasking, but I'm not exactly the person one would consider tunnel visioned or laser focused nor is it accurate to say I only do one thing at a time.  Instead, it's more like I plant the seeds of each of my tasks in a way that allows me to shift my focus to other things while each continues in the background.  If you're familiar with business terms, it's like balancing lead time, where one does the things that just need to be started but not tended to for a while so they can be returned to later.  If you're more familiar with engineering terms, it is like pipelining to have multiple things done at the same time, not by having multiple processes but by having one process...[More]
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Breaking People to Their Core

March 29th, 2015 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     Where do I find people like myself? That question has consumed me for as long as I can remember.  Over the past few years after college, I've managed to only come across maybe a handful of people out of the thousands I met who I can really relate to or consider like-minded.  In the eighteen years of school before that, there were maybe three, each at different times of my life.  What do I consider as being like-minded or similar to myself? For me, understanding a person is all about understanding the person's motivations - seeing through their actions, breaking them down and figuring out what really drives them deep within, what would cause them to crumble if they lost it but what would also make them truly happy.  While I have never considered this a formal skill or talent, I have gotten quite good at seeing into the motivations of those I meet.  This is a hard topic to discuss simply because it can easily be misconstrued as arrogance or...[More]
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Some Inspiration From the Past

July 8th, 2013 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     These days I don't know what I'm doing anymore.  It seems completely illogical that I'd be on the path I am now given my history.  What am I doing just making songs or chasing stocks when I used to make games, movies, entire websites, etc?

     Sometimes I forget my frustrations, but every once in a while something like this shows up and just really tests my patience with myself:
     http://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/02/10/crash-bandicoot-as-a-startup/

     Besides the fact I use to play those games when I was younger, being able to form a team and produce something on that scale was something I've always dreamed of doing.  It's tough finding finding people of equal or better calibur though and even tougher to find those who share similar ambitions and drive.  Like the author, I also learned most of my programming myself (home-brewed), so it's really hard to relate to colleagues who otherwise...[More]
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Void

May 10th, 2011 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     I fear boredom.  I don't know why.  It's just the way it is.  I should be happy that my two hardest classes are now over, but I instead feel empty.  I should look forward to a fun trip I've been planning this month, but I realize that once it passes (or even in the midst of it), there will be nothing but a void.

     I can't help feeling similar to Jonathan Shields in "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952).  It has haunted me ever since I watched it two years ago for a film class.  Of course, I will never betray anyone for any means, but like Shields, once a project or goal is finished, I don't feel satisfied at all.  Instead, I feel anguish and longing - like I have just lost purpose and have suddenly been reduced to nothing.  I can be anything and do anything, but once I stop, I sink away into the shadows.

     It is not as if I pursue a goal or task because I enjoy it either.  It...[More]
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Juggling Dreams

March 10th, 2009 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #

  Sometimes you feel unstoppable, great, as if the world is only beginning, and you are at the center of it all.  You get ideas, schemes that you never dared consider before, and now that you have, you feel obligated to pursue them, to drive them as far as you possibly can.  At first you're not sure if you're up to the task; the first step looks hard and difficult.  Then you toss in the first challenge, the first dream, and then the second, and then the third.

  Pretty soon, you're not only tossing and catching all three, you are actually juggling.  You can juggle two at a time, worry about the third later.  Or you can juggle all three at once, perhaps without even breaking a sweat.  Over time, you get better; you've gone far beyond anything you ever hoped to do, juggling three when at first you dared not even juggle one.  You're ready for more; you want a challenge.

  And so you throw in the…[More]

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Why Not to Concentrate

February 6th, 2009 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
   I was walking home from school one day.  It was a bright and sunny afternoon.  The birds were chirping; the air smelled crisp and clean.  And then I stubbed my toe.  It was a painful stub.  The agony of my tiny toe scrubbing against the abrasive concrete, the concentration of all that pain in such a tiny insignificant stub on my foot, was more than I could bear.  I never wore sandals again.

   Yet that moment sparked a curious interest in me.  It made me realize that concentration, such as the concentration of all that pain in my toe, was not a good thing.  When one is trapped in a cell, concentrated in a small space, he is not happy.  When one is told how and what to think, to concentrate and narrow his mind, he is not happy.  Even in politics, concentration is not a good thing; Americans don’t like concentration of power.  Concentration means communism, dictatorship - all the things we fought to eliminate in past wars.  Just...[More]
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Open Doors

December 29th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
   They say one doesn’t realize what he has until it’s gone.  When I broke my wrist two years ago, I not only realized that I had almost lost my hand completely, I realized how little I’d done, how much more I wanted to do, how close I came to losing the opportunity altogether.  As I spent the following summer bound to my chair with the injury, I taught myself web design and learned to program in six different languages.  The following year, as my friends and I began making videos but could find no outlet for our new hobby, we founded our own club, within months finishing three movies, hosting monthly Theater Days, and starting a VHS-DVD conversion service.  When I later reflected upon the events, after having made twelve websites for schools and organizations, after having had classmates join my club and become paid to teach our video editing to an afterschool class, I realized that opportunities are not sought but created, that it is not the opportunity that is...[More]
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Ambitious Perfection

October 9th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     People say I am ambitious. I seek objectives; I hunger for accomplishment. But to simply call me ambitious is an understatement. I am not hungry; I am starved, ravenous. I do not seek objectives; I make them. I cannot remain satisfied without a goal, a purpose, cannot remain satisfied even if I did have a goal or purpose. I must always have results, excitement, change. I must see the world blaze about me, hear the thunder of progress roar past me. I must smell achievement at every corner. I must taste the power of drive and anxiety.

     Yet I am also a perfectionist. I attain to every niche and detail of all that I do. If it holds but a single flaw, it must be fixed, redone, or scrapped from existence. My tolerance for the world is high, just not for myself. Everything I do must meet my expectations. No. Everything I do must exceed my expectations, must breathe and echo success.

     But how is this possible? How can one seek perfection but also be...[More]
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Life is Like a Mountain Climb

April 22nd, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
     Life is like a mountain climb, a quest to reach the mountain peak.  Each stopping point represents the goal one sets for himself while each climb represents the journey to achieve it.  In the beginning, life may be long and difficult, but with each successful climb comes a fulfilling rest, the satisfaction of achievement, and of course, the grand view of the world below.  Aim too high and one may be in for a hectic climb, but aim too low and one may never reach the summit, the ultimate achievement which can only be as fruitful as the quest to attain it.

     In my climb towards the summit, my goals have often centered about fields of which I am familiar, with my satisfaction being the chance to prove myself and fully exercise my potential.  By focusing my goals and opportunities, I build on what I do best, expanding my base of skills and allowing each consecutive goal to lead to the success of the next.  While I may not always reach the...[More]
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The World At Hand

February 18th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  Day after day, millions of Americans worry over the most miniscule of problems.  From children to fully-grown adults, the average citizen just fails to concern themselves with significant tasks, fails to put more time where time is needed, fails to see the meaning of life.  As toddlers, they worry over troubling matters such as loss of candy or the horrors of having to share with fellow peers.  As children, they fight over the ownership of poorly-crafted plastics and cheat each other over debts of up to a quarter.  As teenagers, they stress for days over the look of their hair, cause the biggest fuss over the color of their shirt, debate with all their might over the quality of their socks, which they promptly toss aside after a day's wear.

  Upon reaching adulthood, these same individuals only double their attitudes; their issues remain more or less of the same importance.  Ownership can no longer be resolved in small quarrels;...[More]
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Passing of Times

February 17th, 2008 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  I remember ever so sharply the more distant moments of my past.  I can remember far back to my first years of consciousness, perhaps 3 or 4 years old.  I could not comprehend even what age was at the time, but I could remember the finest details of our somewhat old and rundown, yet ever so familiar home.  I could recall the dreamlike sharpness of the silver faucet in our kitchen sink, the brownish tinge of the soft carpet beneath my feet, and the flare of the bleeding-blue sky outside my window.  There was the greatest satisfaction in the simplest of things, from the mere planting of a cornstalk to the feeding of ducks and fishes.  I cared less for the future and more for the moment.  Each day held a new surprise.  Baby birds would occasionally fall from the tree in the front lawn.  Frogs and crickets could be found in the backyard if one searched hard enough.  The world was unbounded.  One day I found myself finally able to ride...[More]
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Five Fingers

December 31st, 2007 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
  "How many fingers am I holding?" he asked peevishly. He waved his hand madly in the air as if doing so would make his hand more visible.

  In broad daylight, it was easy to see that he held up all five fingers; whether he held them intentionally or he simply waved his entire hand carelessly, it was not clear. It did not matter what answer was given or if any was given to him at all. If I suggested five, he would merely insist the thumb was not a finger; if I suggested four, he would say otherwise. If I did not answer or I answered wrong, I'd just be blind.

  Sometimes people forget that I was once able to see just as well as any of them. When much younger and not ruined by misadvice and overwork, not being able to see was unheard of; it was inconceivable. Warned as we were, told to be on the watch for any signs of blur or fatigue, none of us could imagine the seemingly distant notion actually becoming reality. Seeing was a divine right, an...[More]
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Pining Over Apples

December 19th, 2007 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
   Fearless it was.  Covered on all ends with a stubbly patched but thorn-riddled coat, intricately yet thickly woven, it was protected, shielded, nothing could harm it.  Its smooth, lumpy coat, designed with elaborate earthly brown patches and forest-green rings, provided its camouflage to hide it amidst the wilderness.  Scattered about its coat, finely embroidered, leaf-like blades stood dangerously perked, ready to defend and retaliate.  Tall and proud it stood, towering over the fellow fruits, a frizzy batch of foliage attached sleazily about its top to further boost its height.  How strong it must have felt, ready to face the harshest of treatment, the worst of cruelty.

   How wrong it was.  With a heavy thud, it crashed and rolled about the tabletop, helpless on its side, rolling hopelessly without an end.  With a simple plunge of the knife, blade delving deep, the coat was split.  Restrained by nothing more than my bare hands, the leafy blades...[More]
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