Monthly Archives: December 2009

Deeper Thinking

I said I wanted to commit to deeper thinking and write more substantial weblog entries, but I haven’t done any of that. Life has been rather hectic and the house has been full — my brother’s family is over, including two young (noisy!) children. All of this impedes on the solitude necessary for deeper thinking. Ah well, soon enough the house will be empty again and life will slow down. For now, I’ll go along with the ride. To every thing there is a season.

Expected Value and Meeting New People

Another poker and life analogy coming your way: It is stupid to expect to win every hand. When I play poker, I know that I will lose hands. I will fold and lose money, or I will call and sometimes lose money. I won’t have the right cards; I won’t get the right flop; I won’t make my draw; My opponent will make his draw (whether he was getting correct value or not). Losses will happen. However, if I have enough skill, then I’ll be playing with positive expected value. It makes sense to play because I should make money in the long run. I don’t let the bad hands bother me because they’re an inevitable part of the game.

I think the same thing applies to meeting people. I can’t expect to make fast friends with every person I meet. There will be people with whom I don’t get along, or people with whom I have nothing in common. It’s inevitable that there will be failures. However, if I have good social skills, if I am an interesting person, and if I have genuine interest in people, then I’ll be playing with positive expected value, so to speak. I can expect to make friends despite the failures.

Not that I’ve had any failures yet, but I’m in a new environment. I need to remind myself of this fact to quell fears I have when I meet people and to not let disappointment rattle me when it inevitably occurs.

When I was busy meeting people that first year of college, I had very little fear. I knew that there were so many people that if I failed to charm one person, I could move on and charm other persons. In fact, I could console myself with the fact that I had already charmed several people (probably from earlier that day). Even though I won’t face that same open first-year college environment, the world is big — the pool of people is even bigger than my old college.

I want to be the type of person who is good at meeting people. A good poker player will lose hands. Someone good at meeting people will fail to charm some. It’s just part of the game.

Easily Distracted

Situation #1: I brought my friend Richard to my rafting trip. There were about 40 people there, and the only person he knew was me. When we went rafting, I started out on his boat, promptly got drunk, and hopped into another raft at the first opportunity. The whole trip turned out great, but I had left him on his own for a while.

Situation #2: One of my close friends was invited to the 90s party I was hosting. She brought along a few of her friends. I was distracted for some reason and never ended up introducing them to anyone. And Sarah was on Skype so it was a long while before I mingled with them. I left them on their own in a situation where they didn’t know anyone.

Situation #3: I invited a few people I had just met to a Halloween party. When one girl shows up, I say hello and then return to my beer pong game. Once again, I don’t take the time to make sure someone is comfortable and acclimated.

I guess this means that if you just met me, and I have invited you to some event, do not expect me to hold your hand. You’ll be in a situation where you may not know anyone, and it will be your responsibility to make yourself feel comfortable. I will get distracted by other people and leave you alone for long amounts of time.

Situation #4: I met a lot of people in college. I remember one time walking with a few people, and then seeing some people I had just met. I wanted to say hello to them, so I told the original people to wait for a few moments while I said hello. I ended up starting up a conversation and forgetting about the original people for a long time.

In fact, I did this quite often. I would stop people walking by, engage them in conversation, and just ditch who I was previously talking to. I was very easily distracted by new conversation. I would never leave to just say hi; I was always gone for a relatively long period of time.

I’m not sure if there’s any overall point to what I’m writing. I guess I can conclude that my personality is the kind that is easily enticed by new people.

I’ve also wondered if people ever thought I was fake. I can be fairly promiscuous with the word friend when I just meet people. In my first year at college, I also had a lot of acquaintances — very shallow relationships with people. And like I said, I’d ditch them easily. I can’t help but wonder if anyone thought I was feigning friendship.

… Nah, everyone loves me.

Shallow Thinking

Looking at the length of my posts lately, I’d say it confirms my suspicion that I’ve been guilty of rather shallow thinking lately. This is unsurprising. The future is scary. I’ve been living at home, avoiding any hard decisions. I need to take the time to think things through.

On the plus side, it’s not as if I’ve lost my capacity for deep thinking; it’s just that I’m currently devoting all of that talent to fantasy football.

So I’ll have to cast aside the aphoristic style in favor of more long-term posts. Hopefully. It may mean less posts, but I hope it means better ones. I suppose, then, that college wasn’t all a waste. Writing a paper for college requires depth of thought and intense concentration. That’s something I need to work on re-cultivating.

The short style wasn’t all a waste. There’s a cycle to these things. The pendulum now needs to shift in the direction of deeper thinking.

In other news, I’m taking a much needed week-long break from The Chalkboard Manifesto. Updating has been stressful lately, and I don’t feel like I’ve been putting forth the best product. Again, this is the whole cycle thing. A fallow period will be good before the next planting and harvest.

More Fantasy Nonsense

I swear, there’s only one week after this where you’ll hear my fantasy football nonsense. I really want to talk about this because I don’t get any chances to talk about it in real life.

I’m down 11 points with Desean Jackson and Vernon Davis to play in an epic playoff showdown. If I win it, I go to the championship. (Yeah, it’s kind of weird that playoffs started in Week 14, and Week 15 is the last game.) As much as I’d love for my playoff hopes to ride on Vernon Davis (go 49ers!), I’d rather sleep easier knowing the Djax had a big day. If I had started Miles Austin, I’d already be ahead. Ah well.

I started Ryan Grant over DeAngelo Williams. I did this because I didn’t wake up early enough to change it, and earlier in the week I was unsure if he would play or not. If I had waken up earlier, I might’ve rolled with it anyway because I thought Carolina would get into a big hole and have to abandon the run. Or, I might’ve started DeAngelo over Djax, which would not have been a terrible play. It’d leave me in a small hole, waiting for VD to dig me out on MNF. Ryan Grant had a huge game, which I really needed. Both my running backs had awesome games, but this was countered by huge games from Brandon Marshall (who set an NFL record for receptions in a game, had 200 yards, and scored two TDs) and Thomas Jones. Looks like Thomas Jones was not the bust I thought he’d be.

I agonized over which defense to play this week. I had my pick between the Packers, Titans, and Ravens. Baltimore had Detroit, who was starting Culpepper at QB and ESPN had them ranked #1. The Packers were hot and got Chicago, with Jay Cutler throwing picks galore lately. Finally, the Titans had the Rams, who are not only rebuilding but also injury-plagued, starting their backup QB and not-so-great WRs. I decided to go with the Titans and was heavily rewarded. Any of them, would’ve been a good play. I was lucky that I picked the highest scoring defense of the bunch, and I can’t really attribute my pick to some particular prowess on my part. If I hadn’t started the Titans, I’d be in a bigger hole, but it’d still be surmountable considering the play-makers I have left. I’m glad I picked up the Titans a couple weeks ago. I’ve been using this strategy of picking up defenses two weeks before I need them; it’s worked out fairly well.

Go Banana Grabbers! I still believe!

Out on a Limb Follow-up

2/3 on my predictions. Won my fantasy game and Favre threw two picks. (The reasoning behind this was that Arizona tends to show up for big games.)

My fantasy football team was 1-4 and is now close to being 8-5 (not official, but I don’t expect Mason Crosby to outscore Ray Rice and Ryan Grant by 40 points). There also have been some upsets lately, and I’m about to become the #2 seed in a four-team playoff. I’d rather have been the #4 seed because I really, really don’t want to have to go up against Drew Brees again.

Waking up early helped me this week. I benched DeAngelo Williams and started Roddy White, and then switched the Saints kicker. Injuries are worrying me. Hopefully I haven’t lost Williams and DeSean Jackson for the rest of the season. Especially with Roddy White going up against Revis week 15. I’m benching him that week.

Getting Tired of Farmville

After being a ribbon whore, I’m starting to grow tired of Farmville. I’m reaching the point where it’s going to take a ridiculous amount of time to achieve a ribbon. While I could stick with it, I grow weary of clicking hundreds of times in one sitting. Work already demands a ridiculous amount of time in front of the computer. I may just quit after a few more ribbons. (Just a few more, just a few more…)