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Hi imaginary friends. Long time no talk.

I started this blog in May 2005, ten years ago; and now I'm feeling pensive.

It is said, not entirely unreasonably, that Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. Ten years ago, I'd lug around a copy of the New York Review of Books with me and post ponderous posts on livejournal. I don't really do that so much anymore. It's probably not a change for the better.

But I just want to talk about myself and people now.

I was living in a lovely basement apartment (my first time living alone in an apartment by myself) I rented from a woman we nicknamed Auntie Lilly (in Russian; she is Indian, and at the time I didn't know that maybe that's how I would address her if I were Indian too) (Mom and D. actually found the apartment) and just starting a job about which at the time I was super-excited, about which I'm still excited in retrospect, and to which now I probably wouldn't go back, although sometimes I'm tempted to try to bring back a bit of that magic.

I walked around North York talking to dad on the cell phone until 3AM. In June, I racked up a $800 bill. On weekends, I'd sometimes go downtown and buy a slice at Cora's. Cora's felt nostalgic even then -- I first went there when I would bike downtown (did I bike downtown? I think so) to visit M. when I was in high school. The Annex, which turned more and more leafy, felt magical.

High school memories were still vivid. When not talking to dad, in my head I'd sometimes be having arguments with my homeroom teacher from Grade 11.

It was my first job, and the first time that I was really trying to fit it (mostly unsuccessfully). I bought chopsticks (not really chopsticks I think -- but some kind of sticks), cooked a pot of rice, and tried learning to use the chopsticks. That didn't stick -- J. taught me how to use chopsticks 4 years later. In the Chinese restaurants uptown, they'd usually bring a fork for me without my having to ask.

I fondly remember I. and I. and N. and H. from the office.

I wasn't really *friends* with H. -- never really had a good conversation, and we both found it slightly difficult to understand each other's diction, -- but somehow we worked so well together, him giving me projects and time to work on them and me turning out things that worked. If not for H., I'm not sure if I'd be able to have the career that I've had. Probably not.

I. and N. are somewhat of a mystery -- how can people create such a nice atmosphere in the office by just being there? Somehow they managed. I. in particular I just envy -- here's a guy who actually created and managed an office of several dozen people where people were mostly happy to come in to work.

The other I. was my first work-best-friend. (The way people have work-spouses. I googled, and apparently it's a thing). I don't seem to keep work BFFs as friends when switching jobs. Maybe that's natural, but it's kind of a shame.

I still remember the coffee places there. A gas station Tim Hortons on the way to work, where I had coffee after the on-site interview; a Coffee Time that was a bit out of the way, but near some apartment buildings (I like apartment buildings; they remind me of Moscow); a gas station Country Style where me and Mom stopped after buying some stuff at the Food Basic on the day that I moved in -- a nice spring day that I liked to reminisce about. And the non-chain coffee shop near the mall where I'd go on Saturday with a hiking backpack to stock up for the week. It was slightly untidy, and clearly in need of renovation. Like a throwback to a time when coffee shops were independent and untidy. I don't think I was the only one who liked that -- there would be truck drivers stopping there instead of in the tonier places in the mall. I'd go there as well and think, hey, this is so old-timey. (A ridiculous thought -- did those old times even ever exist? But anyway.) That place closed down maybe 8 years ago.

I did have it better than now at work, but really only because I was given the freedom and had the ignorance to reinvent the wheel. Inventing wheels is so much fun. I didn't particularly have any hope or expectations (I didn't even think I'd get into grad school), and maybe that's why I was happy.

Before going off to work, I'd list to Enormous Penis or Осенний романс (but a better cover, which I've since lost). Which maybe says I didn't feel that happy. And yet I think I did feel happy.

If I was happy (and I think I was), it's because I felt I had time and I didn't have very many expectations of life. It felt like I somehow, by luck, reached the top of the mountain and can just enjoy the view. It was a nice feeling. (And I did get this job by luck -- someone declined it and I was next in line.)

I don't know that the magic is gone. The magic of how things used to be recently seems to be slipping away despite my clumsy and seemingly not very successful efforts, but probably in ten years' time I'll be nostalgic again.

Or possibly I'll be reading that and cringing (hi future-me from next month.)


Me in lecture: "so when you get down to the axioms it's hairy. and hard. hard and hairy. yeah." Totally unintentional, but they prolly don't believe it is, because of all the intentional dirty jokes.

Oh tee oh eitch, met a student I taught years ago on the subway, going somewhere with his dad. He remembers how I dressed up as King Leonidas for Hallowe'en, and asked him to say, when I told the class that the assignment due date was being moved to tomorrow, "this is madness." To which I replied, "THIS. IS. [PROGRAM WHERE I TAUGHT]." As it happens, he's Iranian (like I'm supposed to keep track of who's Iranian?). I still cringe at the memory, but he continues to think it's hilarious.

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A query on Yahoo! Answers: What exactly does "you're not in love with me, you're in love with the idea of me" mean?

(Disclaimer: this was never directed at me.)

The answer, obviously, is that it means, exactly, "I'm not into you, go away."

But, really, of course, any kind of infatuation is based in part on fantasy. But don't be dealing in absolutes! The key to happiness is for the fantasy to have enough of a basis in reality for reality not to interfere with your enjoying the fantasy.


Until the year 2012, I was more or less preoccupied with trying to please various supervisors.

In 2013, for more or less the first time, I more or less figured out my own personal, professional, and creative aspirations, and tried reasonably hard to do something about them.

I suppose you can't say that none of it worked out (though more or less none of it did), but I think the lesson to be learned is don't have aspirations.

My friends, never learn.

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* Board games = recreational combinatorial optimization
* Taking the bus to NYC is like an adventure, taking the train is like being in a Scandinavian prison
* Despite what I implied on the midterm, the reciprocal of the expectation is not the expectation of the reciprocal; so that was embarrassing.


I liked Fraaahncemy unsustainable lifestyle in Fraaahnce (which in no way was sustainable past 2012) so much better than here. Damn.

On the other hand, this time of the year two years ago I was unhappy and uncertain too, and look how that turned out.

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It's very much not the album I would be picking for this if I were to consider my vanity, but the songs which move me the most in the primal (as opposed to intellectual/emotional/aesthetic/etc) sense are from Metric's Fantasies

Some people have described Metric as dude indie rock (but Time maintains it's chick rock), and then there's also this:
I have guy friends who have straight up said women just don’t make as good music as dudes (except, for whatever reason, Emily Haines of Metric – which, on the one hand, Metric is great, on the other hand they also like her solo stuff which is… exactly like a zillion things they roll their eyes at me for liking, except slower).

So there's obviously some weird gender thing* going on with Metric's music, but I dunno what it is.

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Went to the Stats department today. The Stats people are I guess in a sense my people. Of course the problem is I hate myself. (j/k, you losers).

*Arguably there's some weird gender thing going on with everything, but you see what I mean.