I really got a lot out of Bible study last night. We did James 2:1-13. It’s about not showing favoritism to the rich and poor. It turned out to be very applicable, especially to me. Once we realize that it’s not just money, but anything that’s not a proper standard that’s a bad determinant of how we treat people. I for one have found that I have tended to value people for intellect. Anyway, there were a lot of interesting ideas that came up that were good, but I’m not gonna talk about it at all because I don’t feel like typing about it.
Anyway, I just want to elaborate on why I enjoy Dave Hong’s pages so much. Well there’s a couple reasons. One is because, well in the old ones, I was there when things happened, especially in his favorite moments and I totally understand. Like the bold claim moment. You cannot understand how hilarious that was. I mean, I was in physical pain. I remember one moment in particular, somebody said something, and all I had to do was make this face, and only Val and Dave know what I mean, but I did it and then died laughing. It was that kind of moment.
Also with the “All I Needed To Say” moment. You can read Dave’s page for the description, but the crucial line was “And you’re standing here with me / And more than anything it’s you I need.” But he says, “And more than anything I need…” And the way the music goes, there’s a pause of 3 beats. Which is long, but not that long, you know? So I was playing guitar, and I seriously remember time standing still. And I went through all the possibilities in my mind. I distinctly remember thinking, “Interesting. I wonder what he is going to say. Now, he could just say ‘you’ but how awkward would that be? And I thought about it endlessly. And the amazing thing is how this occurred in the span of 3 beats. Then finally he spits out “… you in me” which is an amazing save, but as soon as he said it, I swiveled my head as far to the left as possible, because if we made any eye contact, even peripherally, it would have been game over.
At any rate, I enjoy his pages because they bring out a strong reaction in me. Like the funny stuff I think is absolutely hilarious, the observational stuff profound. Anyway, his last mymind broke my heart. That probably wasn’t the intention, but it did.
And to me that’s a gift, when you are able to communicate emotion like that. It’s not emotionalism, it’s emotions. Each note represents the healing touch of God. No one understand what I just wrote.
Anyway, last night I read every single thought that Dave Hong has written. I know, it’s pretty sad but I did. And what I noticed is how the tone of his thoughts change. I like the tone of his thoughts from Korea a lot better than his late Stanford thoughts. Just a whole lot less bitter and cynical. It’s like he likes being where he is, and it’s refreshing in the thoughts. Anyway, I almost don’t want him to come back, and be all cynical and not wanting to be here anymore.
I just came back from dinner with my cousin Susan Cho Van Riesen and I’m in a really good mood. By the way, I hate Christian phrases that people use mindlessly. I hate any phrases actually where that happens. Here are some phrases I hate. “Paradigm shift.” “Touch base.” “DTR” You will never hear me utter these words. Except in contempt. Christians have these catch phrases also. I think the biggest one is “encouraging.” That’s thrown around all over the place, and often mindlessly, I think. But I honestly came away from dinner encouraged. Convicted of my sin, but encouraged. The thing is, she probably has no idea that she did all this or that I felt this way but yeah. Now one of you from IV is gonna read this and then tell her. Don’t.
Gosh I have so many thoughts from dinner going around in my head that I’ll probably end up just writing about none of it.
It’s tough being a grad student, I think. For different reasons for different people. For people going to new places, like Eddie or Ben and Andy, it’s because you’re just in a new place but you’re not an undergrad anymore so meeting people is a different experience. I can’t really relate to that but I can relate to being from Stanford and then still being here. Here’s why it’s been tough for me. It’s just you feel out of place. I mean, you go around, and somewhere in the back of your mind, you get this feeling like the undergrads are all thinking, why are you still here? Actually, more accurately, they’re thinking, “Loser.” OK, maybe this is all in my head, but it’s the feeling I get. It’s just weird, because honestly, you know, the people who know you are glad you’re around, but still, the general feeling is loser. It’s a strange combo.
I can give an example. Is this tense? This actually came up in conversation with someone. But like Ann Ku, for those of you who know her, stuck around for an extra year, and the people who knew her, everyone actually, were glad she was there. At the same time, everyone at least at some point felt like why is she sticking around. And if you go to the blunt core of it all, they were thinking “loser.” Even though at the same time they were glad she was there. So like I said, it’s a strange phenomenon.
Anyway, graduates are just so separated from undergrads that it’s a really interesting thing. A friend was talking about how weird it is; like we went here, you’d think we have frends here and we do, but there’s still this barrier there, that’s kind of hard to explain. I’m still trying to understand it but I think it’s the background loser thinking.
Anyway, it’s a struggle for me, because, you may not know this, but it’s gonna take me 2 years to get my master’s, so I’ll be here even one year after this, and I’m not totally looking forward to it. But I love it at Stanford. Love it love it love it. I love my life here, everything about it. But that loser phenomenon will only get bigger next year, and I don’t know if I can deal. Oh by the way, the reason it’s taking me 2 years is twofold: I was Symbolic Systems undergrad, and pre-med for a while to boot, so I have quite a few CS prereqs to fill. That’s another thing. I’m stuck in classes with idiot undergrads. I mean not all of them are idiots. But like, I’ve been in these 200 level classes where people are unbelievably quick. Like they ask questions that are so intelligent; it’s the type of question that displays an instant understanding of the material, so much so that you can focus on an intelligent elaboration. I mean, they are just smart. Then I go to my 100 level classes and these people ask the most stupid questions. Argh it’s frustrating. But anyway. Anyway, yeah, I had a rich and varied coursework as an undergrad and I am truly thankful; it’s made me the Rennaisance thinker I am and honestly I think has rounded me as a person. And that really is what education should be about. But I digress. The second reason is because I’m only taking 9 units a quarter; I’m RAing, which pays for half-time tuition. This is not the primary reason but still. And it is such a great deal. I’m at Stanford for free!
So yeah, I even considered getting the heck out of here without my master’s to avoid sticking around here too long. But then I had a good talk with my friend Naomi Lee in Houston and we just analyzed it and basically we came to the realization that this is the ideal situation for me, getting a master’s in CS and getting funded, regardless of how long it takes, so screw what other people think. So I know this is best for me, but, you know, other people think I’m a loser.
So here’s the thing I’ve been struggling with. It’s because honestly, I don’t need to hang out with undergrads; it’s not like it’s that important to me. Especially after this break, I’ve been much less into the college social scene and more into just the deliberate seeing certain friends thing. So it’s like, I don’t even want to see undergrads anymore. I mean, if I had my way, I would just do my research thing, study, see my girlfriend and hang out with grad students / graduates. That’s basically been what I’ve done this quarter. And I’m totally happy with that, and I totally can do that, like it’s not a problem. I think this just comes from my confrontational and kind of proud side. It’s like hey if you think I’m a loser I don’t need you, I don’t even need to see you ever. So I’ve kind of been avoiding undergrads. Even though, like I said, there’s this strange duality. While there’s this loser sensation, they’re still glad you’re around. It’s strange. Maybe this is all in my mind. Oh well.
But I think that sucks. I was reading an old mymind and I said last year how I wanted to be really involved and take ownership of my fellowship and stuff. Whoops! I totally haven’t been doing that. And I just feel bad. I admire John Yoon so much. OK, he’s among the more judgmental people I know, but he’s judgmental on himself most of the time too and this guy is just cool. But he doesn’t struggle with lame things like I do, and he’s just totally in the life of certain undergrads and doesn’t like fret the way I do. I wish I could do that, but you know, my nature makes the process harder for me. In almost all things.
So the problem that makes it hard is just the structure is so separating for grad students. It’s very separated and I don’t think people recognize this. But I don’t know what the solution is. Ack, it’s just strange. The reason John can do that is because the structure in CCC puts grads and undergrads together, but it’s not that way with us. Hmm. I have so many thoughts on this but I’m not gonna talk about it.
I’m sure though that a lot of it is just in my mind. But I mean, it’s there. I guess what it is is that I don’t like it when I feel like people are thinking why are you still sticking around you loser (by the way have you seen Happy Gilmore? Remember that guy that keeps harrassing Adam Sandler? He killed me, I don’t know why. When he kept asking if he wanted to eat at Red Lobster or something. I just found that very funny and I don’t know why. Random thought.) when really, I feel like hey, I don’t need to stick around at all. I don’t need to see any undergrads and I’m totally happy hanging out with other people. Going to YAG friday nights. Like I said, a lot of this is in my mind, and I’m sure you can sense the pride involved but whatever. I guess I just want to know what the right thing is to do. I should talk to John Yoon about it.
Anyway, I need to love people more but I don’t totally know how to do it. I’ve never been particularly good at loving, but I’m giving it a shot. It’s just, honestly, I have no time. I work 20 hours a week, and take 3 fairly difficult classes. This totally sucks. It means my entire day is taken up by either work or classes, like until 6. So the only time I have to hang out is after. I try to eat dinner with people, and that always lasts long, till like 8 or (like tonight) longer. Then I absolutely must study or I will die and I have to get up early so there’s just a brief window of time. Anyway, there’s little time for people so what I feel like I do is hit and run. I meet with someone I haven’t talked to in a while and it’s good but then I don’t talk to them for a long time after. But what can I do. It would just kill me academically if I had to meet consistently with multiple people. Yeah, so I don’t know what to do, and how to be loving with just a little bit of time.
Gosh, I really love Susan. She’s great. I mean, I don’t even know her that well at all. But her life and those few times when we do talk just encourages me. I feel like the past few weeks I’ve just seen a lot of people that I just like a lot. Being who I am, I see none of them consistently but I do love them. Anyway, life has been really good for me this year. I just need to learn to love people and not jack them.
Another highlight of my break was our family had this little worship time on Christmas Eve but the best part was we sang some hymns to start off and we busted out in 4 part harmony. The 4 of us, I mean. It was a little off, but it was kind of dope, you know? That’s my family.
For the Christmas service my dad gave this little sermon but it stuck with me. The jist of it was that Jesus has entered in an age of miracles that we can experience. And usually we lack the faith or just don’t think about it. But really, as believers, the experience of miracles, of answered prayer, should be the norm, not the exception. So he said, let’s pray for this new year that we will experience one or two miracles. You know, real miracles, not like little things we say oh it’s a miracle like IV worship team is in tune. But real miracles. That really stuck with me.
This entry is so random. But I am also totally glad to know that people don’t know me at Stanford anymore. It’s so refreshing. All it took was one class leaving! But like, when people I know refer to me, other people say I don’t know him. And like, none of the freshmen in FiCS know me at all. I responded to this general query on fics-chat, and the girl thanked me and referred to me as “Daniel.” As in, “Thanks, Daniel.” I love it.
Another thing that’s been on my mind is reconciliation. I’m a big believer in it now. Before I just thought it was one of those Christian buzzwords that I hated. But I definitely see the place for it. And I’m trying to do that with parts of my life, just kind of resolve unsaid, unsettled things. I’m still not good at it at all, but it’s something I’m trying to do. Susan said some interesting things about it. But I just decided I don’t feel like writing about it.
Ah so many thoughts! The thing is it’s all a big jumbled incoherent mess. Gosh I have so many thoughts about FiCS KCPC right now. But I think I should save them for myself.
Some people have been getting into the job search and it’s been really depressing for me. Because money is so there. For every single one of my friends, money is not important to them, they honestly just want to follow Jesus. It’s just that now, it’s there. Does this make any sense? Anyway, most of my friends are all either doing well financially now or will be in the very immediate future. I mean, straight out of college, they’ll all be doing well. Not because they sought money; it was just there.
This makes me so sad. Because it always happens to me; they talk about it, and then you know, I can’t help but thinking about it. I just struggle with different things than other people but money is just a huge huge deal to me. I’ve already decided like certain things, like I don’t ever want to drive a really really nice car. Like I think my cap on comfortability is an Accord. But I’d prefer a Civic. The thing is, I know I need a nice sound system. Is that hypocritical? I guess if I’m gonna go so far, I should go all the way. But I just need a good stereo. Yeah, I’m a hypocrite, you can blast me. People do all time.
Anyway, I hate thinking about money because it makes me want it. Ugh, it’s driving me crazy. I hate how most of my friends are either consultants or engineers. Because there’s this tacit knowledge that they are doing financially well and that drives me crazy. Ack. It just makes me think all these thoughts, like forming a startup or whatever. And my motivation is not because it would be fun, but because it’s potentially lucrative. Money money money. Yeah so I hate thinking about making money. I don’t want to. Ever.
And it’s like, it’s tough being in the Master’s program for CS because so many others in it do it to increase their own marketability and potential salary. It’s just very money driven in many cases. Anyway, just the knowledge that I currently have the potential to make a lot of money just scares the daylights out of me. I just know myself and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.
So like the way I would want to live is exactly the way I live now. I mean, I survive. I get plenty to eat, I’ve got a nice place, and I’m comfortable. I don’t ever buy new clothes (my wardrobe consists almost entirely of what my mom and sister buy, in addition to church and job-fair T-shirts). I don’t buy stuff like computers, TVs, other junk. (I take them from other people. But actually I want to buy a TV. Hmm. I’m just a hypocrite. I’ll probably get one soon.) I don’t even really buy CDs anymore. What the heck am I saying now. I shouldn’t be bragging. The truth is, if I had the money I would spend it. That’s what usually happens. The amazing thing is that the past 4 years, the balance in my checking account has been totally steady. No matter how much I have and haven’t been making. It’s weird. So yeah, it just turns out that right now I’m not making much, just enough to survive. But I like that existence. I really like it a lot. It just makes life so much simpler. Like I am constantly wanting to buy things. Here is my current need list. I need a computer. I’m a CS grad student, my roommate is EE, and between us we don’t have a computer. It’s bizarre. But yeah, that would be nice. I need a decent TV. I actually have 2 right now, but one (the 13′) is a friend’s and needs to be returned and the other I took from my friend’s garage but I realized it doesn’t work too well. I need a VCR. I have Jimmy Ahn’s old one but the tracking is totally messed up. It basically plays tapes at random speeds. I need a stereo. Me and Dave took I think Chi-Hua’s old stereo. It doesn’t have a CD player so we connected Dave’s portable CD player to it. You know, this is all things that many college people have and it would be nice to have it also. I just can’t afford it. Which is cool. I’m totally fine with everything. And I still have some left over for little things. Anyway, it’s cool.
I forgot my point. I don’t think I had one. I’m very much into I want to do things because it betters me as a person and no other reason. I even flirted briefly with the idea of dropping out of school one class short of graduation. That way, I personally would know that I have the knowledge to graduate, but don’t suffer from the monetary awards a degree might bring. I mean, I know for certain that I studied what I did solely for the betterment of myself. But my mom would have had a heart attack. By the way, this is related to a Doogie Howser episode, where he’s on this game show, it comes down to the last question, and he knows the answer but purposely says the wrong thing. So he knows he’s the winner, and that’s all that matters. It was one of the better episodes.
At any rate, I know that I will be poor. No, I won’t be poor. But I won’t be rich. At least I hope not. And here’s the reason why. I’m lazy. My philosophy on getting a job has always been just take whatever I can get. I have seen that the best jobs, like consulting jobs and good engineering jobs and whatnot, require all this effort, like multiple interviews and all this stuff. I’m just too lazy for all of that. This is actually terrible. Because maybe there will be a job out there for me that’s really good for me, not monetarily but just I’d like it, but it would require effort, like finding out about it or whatever. And I’m just lazy so I won’t look for it. I’ll probably end up just taking some random job off of su.jobs or the Daily. Oh another thing also that hinders me is that I am absolutely clueless about most things in life. I wouldn’t even begin to know where to begin a job search. Primarily because I don’t know anything about jobs. It’s only this year, after my friends have gotten jobs, that I’ve realized like what consulting and I-banking and such are. I mean, I had no idea last year. It’s pretty pathetic. So since I didn’t know, I mean, how could I search for it? I’m just always a year behind about knowing about stuff. I wouldn’t have known anything about colleges if I hadn’t gone to a College Preparatory. So yeah, I’m just generally clueless about practical stuff in life. I just know about stuff no one cares about, like quantum computers, the owner of the JFK assassination tape (Abraham Zapruder), Zola Budd, Eddie Arcaro, Zane Gray, Rudolf Nureyev. These are all classic answers to Trivial Pursuit questions. They come up a lot. OK random.
So yeah, I’ll never get a good job, because I’m lazy and clueless. And like I said, I’m not proud about it, because it might preclude me from getting a job that would be good for me. Hopefully I’ll change. But that’s the thing; I don’t really care if I don’t have a good job. I’m really into that verse where Paul says we should seek to live just a simple life. I’m really into that. I’m really into things where the people are just simple people influencing their little spheres. That’s why I really like It’s a Wonderful Life. He’s got such a simple existence and he always wanted more, but in the end he found that this simple existence made such a difference. I also love the Michael W. Smith song Kentucky Rose for the same reason. Just an example of a man living a simple but faithful life. I really like that.
Of course, I’m the biggest hypocrite in the world, so in the end I’ll probably end up being a consultant, getting an MBA, and forming a start-up that makes me a multi-millionaire. I’m a phony. But if I do, the first thing I’m buying is a decent computer, a TV, VCR, and stereo.