Feelings - An Analogy

I have trouble with feelings. Most notably my own. Sure they are there, and they are important, but sometimes I feel like I need to be a very attentive scientist keeping a watchful eye over a very sensitive detector to ensure I get an accurate reading of what I am feeling. I have to keep a record and than plot out charts to determine my findings.

It’s like detecting earthquakes from halfway around the world. Like the Hubble Telescope taking the Deep Field image. It is like detecting dark matter.

It is both exceedingly easy and exceedingly difficult to live with such feelings. My feelings don’t help me, but they don’t hinder me.

I think this analogy is pretty important because it is something I can work on to improve.


Learning To Program

Learning to program has been something that has taken an extremely long time for me to do. It has happened in starts and stops, in tiny bits over an extremely long time.

It started probably around grade eight 6 or 7 when I read a book called "Bits and Bytes to C and Beyond". It was a book that described in great detail how a computer actually worked at the level of transistor and how that built up into actual programs. When the book got to the C programming part, I lost interest because I didn't have access or the knowledge of how to get a C program to compile on my computer. I didn't have a project to figure out, the whole thing just settle deep in my brain.

Later, my exploration into 3d computer graphics rekindled the prospect of programming. I started with a 3d program called Pov-Ray that is actually quite similar to C programming code, except entirely design to create computer generated images. With Pov-Ray I actually had projects, and objectives and a goal to reach when I was making images. In that time I learned a lot about syntax, debugging, loops, variables, functions and all sorts of other things. It was a great way to learn because I would just fumble around in the documentation and figure things out.

Once I got further into 3d I ended up moving into more complex computer graphic software packages that don't require programming, so again, the programming knowledge crept back into the depths of my brain.

The next time programming came up was when I student taught a videogame making camp. I learned a version of Basic and for the first time actually made some video games. It was a lot of fun, but once I left the camp, I no longer had anything to code in. I didn't know what language to learn, or what software to work in, and other things distracted me.

Last year I decided that I would get back into it in a more official sense and signed up for object oriented programming in university which will start in a few weeks. I have however been learning a lot of programming in the past few months in two very successful ways.

The first is thanks to Reddit. A man name Carl H. has taken it upon himself to create an online programming course entirely within the context of Reddit.


This is the best introduction to programming that I have ever learned from. It is in depth, correctly paced and allows for a lot of interaction. It is probably one of the best learning experiences I have ever had. The focus is on complete understanding of the topic, not some goal of simple passing a test at the end of the term.

The second thing that has been helping me is Project Euler. It is an online programming challenge. They have hundreds of problems which can be solved using programming. I'm online on about the 10th question. This website has provided me with challenges that I couldn't make up for myself. It is very difficult to learn programming when the objective is not clear. It is also a very interesting website as after completing each problem, other solutions are available to view. It offers a lot of insight into how other people work and what other solutions are available.

The last problem I completed was to add up all of the prime numbers under two million. This isn't particularly hard, except the program is supposed to be able to complete the task in under a minute. This restriction force me to learn more and to analyze my solution to a greater depth.

Hopefully by the end of the year I will have a much great grasp on programming as a whole and will be able to really implement it into my work to a greater extent.


Reliable and Responsible

The continued examination of myself has revealed a profound imperfection in who I am. I thought I was clear or almost clear of ego. The ego being the thing inside me that thought over and over and over and over again “I am me. I am me. I am what makes you me!” I think I have finally caught it.

I will attempt to list the ingredients of this recognition to make sense of where it comes from.

The post from a few days ago, about why I work so hard leads to this new thought process. I work for the plan. To make sure it happens. But that post didn’t get to the root of the issue, it was just the phenotype. It didn’t tell me why. It only showed what my underlying constituent parts resulted in. A man who does his work perfectly, on time, with good results and never fails. The plan goes perfectly, every time, without fail. Reliably.

I am never late. I never swear. I never get angry. I work hard. I never try to hurt people. I listen to authority. I drive at the speed limit. I have perfect credit. I have great marks. I do all my homework. I’m polite and well spoken. I’m quiet. I answer questions when asked. I take action when required. I follow rules.

I am, for all intensive purposes, perfect in my outwards appearance.

Now we get to what tipped me off. What got me to show my cards to myself? What is the chink in this armor of oddly perfect behavior?

I watch the show Dexter. It is about a character who is a blood analyst for a crime scene investigations unit in Miami. He is however, a serial killer who kills the people who get away from the police and are guilty of heinous crimes. Much of the show deals with him keeping up multiple facades to prevent the truth from ever being revealed.

The show resonates with me. I watch it and see a character who has a similar motivation to myself. Not that I kill people, but that I have a plan that requires perfection. Things have to be done. He has to do all sorts of ridiculous things to make sure that all of the elements of the major plan fall into place. And it isn’t just a small single pronged plan. He has to tend to all aspects of his life to make it all work. And it works because he has gotten very good at it.

And like no other show that I watch, I watch Dexter and feel a kinship for how he moves through life. He is protecting his life from complete and utter destruction of discovery. In his plan he assumes no failures or errors, because any would be disastrous. But now the question is what am I protecting with such ferocity? I am not some sort of serial killer, there is no grand secret which must not be revealed.

Thankfully I already knew the answer. I’ve known the words that describes it for a few years, but I’ve never been able to find it in myself with any conviction. It hid elusively behind layers of importance. I am protecting my ego. I’m protecting my own image of myself. My own conception of who I am. I am protecting the “me” that isn’t actually me. My ego wants to project to the world the image that I am a responsible and reliable person. My ego doesn’t want to be cool or liked. It doesn’t want to have power. It doesn’t simply want to be better than other people. It doesn’t want to be right.

My ego wants to portray itself as reliable and responsible. But the concept of reliability and responsibility is unrelenting to my ego, it requires perfection. My ego believes that to appear reliable and responsible, the facade must never be taken down. By its very definition reliability means consistency. My ego doesn’t allow for exceptions in reliability. It is a 100% game and is always played as such. And that is the reason for the plan. My ego built up over my lifetime a person who could make a plan that was as close to completely fool proof as possible.

I am not reliable or responsible. I appear to be. I appear so reliable and responsible that from all angles of observation, I am. Except of course from the inside. I don’t feel any motivation deeper than my ego for wanting to be responsible and reliable.

And now I am a little bit confused about what this means. I’ve again found myself at a point where I don’t know why I do what I do.

Thankfully I have read enough, thought enough and talked enough about these things that I know that everything will be okay. There is a reason that I say that science is my religion.


Why do I work so hard?

The question has arose in my apartment, between myself and my roommate why I work so hard. I am unsure if I have figured it yet, but here is my best reasoning.

The evidence for my hard work generally comes in marks. To brag for a moment, I currently have a 3.92 GPA. All through school I have had good marks. There are very few times that I have ever felt let down by my marks.

One basic reasoning would be that I work so hard for the marks; that I am driven to do well because of the marks at the end. This reasoning doesn’t resonate with me. I don’t feel it when I work. I don’t really think about it when I work. I feel good about good marks when I receive them, and I feel bad about bad marks when I get them.

But I don’t work for the marks.

I think the reason I do things can be explained by a different reason. I have a plan. I always have a plan in mind. There aren’t lots of plans. There is a single, giant plan which exist for my life at many different scales. The overarching part of the plan relating to my career is to become an animator/director/technical director. University is the current step of that plan. And in university there are all of my current courses, and each of those courses contains the projects and lectures. Now the big enormous plan of my career requires me to complete all of the smaller pieces of the plan for it to be accomplished.

Right now, I can see the plan roughly two weeks in front of me. All of my homework, deadlines and projects fit into it. It is doable. A fundamental precept of my plan is that it always remains doable. The moment that it isn’t feasible anymore, the plan will need to reshape itself. And it does. My plan will generally reshape itself to accommodate the most important tasks first, like finishing projects and going to class.

So the plan which I am always following is critical to determining what I do. So now the question is why do I do things well? The simple answer is that the question is wrong. I either do things, or I don’t do things. There isn’t anything in the middle. Either it is part of the plan, or it is not part of the plan. The quality of the outcome is affected by the quality of the plan.

If I want to do something well, and it needs to be done well, the only response is to fit it into the plan in a larger way. For most of my animation projects, I feel they are important, so I plan them in an important way. I start them early. I work on them often and I get them done on time. They push less important things around in the plan.

The good marks that I get are only a result of how I work. I don’t strive for fantastic marks, I am simply following the ever changing plan that I have made for myself. It is both flexible and inevitable. I have rarely had it break down because I am good at keeping it organized and well functioning. The last few weeks have really put a strain on it though. I have reached the point where few other things can be put into the plan before it simply can’t sustain the process anymore, and it could fall apart.

But I doubt that will happen.

Appendix: I wrote this post roughly a week before posting it. Since then I feel that just understanding how I work has made me more relaxed. And the plan has been going pretty much as planned, as it always does.



This is an animation from my Animation II course. The medium was the main restriction, along with the theme of "Slice of Life".