Archive for March, 2011

the lonely hypocrite

March 27th, 2011

This post will be an incoherent conglomeration of various, possibly-related-but-more-likely-not thoughts.

Today some of my relatives from China came over. It was so fun when we visited them in China, and I hope they had fun visiting us in the United States.

I just reversed the i and the t in United States. Untied States. To the contrary…

Oh yeah, the rest of the day I spent trying to get SongBird to sync with my Samsung Captivate. The iTunes sync is perfect. Excellent work, SB team. However, the device sync needs work. Besides taking forever, it crashed every single time I tried to sync. Also, for some reason the only conversion options were Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media Audio (!!). Not that I mind as my phone supports both, but for some reason Vorbis caused SongBird to crash instantly every time it began trying to convert. After messing with a lot of stuff (I didn’t know it was Vorbis that was messing things up), I can now sync my iTunes with my SGS through SongBird… in WMA ^^”.

At least it’s better than DoubleTwist/iSyncr/iTunesAgent, which suck/don’t work/lag/can’t do anything for shit, and MediaMonkey which lags slightly more than SongBird (which by the way takes up 500MB of RAM for some crappy reason) and can’t seem to figure out how to sync with anything (both iTunes and my phone).

I lost my blue earphones. Those were the ones that Eric’s parents brought back with them as a souvenir when they went to Japan and put Eric under our care. Geniune Japanese earphones. The stuff REAL Japanese people use to listen to their J-Pop and anime music. I do remember having them (on) while I was opening the front door on Friday… where could they be?

I seem to be getting a lot of emails. My sudden popularity or something annoys me. I’m busy. Go away. Unless you have something interesting to say.

Messing with SongBird got me to reorganizing my iTunes library; something I haven’t done in a LONG TIME. It’s very relaxing organizing your music, setting everything up just the way you like it. Of course, it’s very time-consuming to go through all 7330 songs of mine, but somehow I went through halfway.

Or well, to the “M” mark. Currently listening to the Mabinogi music I have in my iTunes. Sweet. Especially since I never have music on while playing — it makes me appreciate the music more for some reason.

All my instrumental music is rated too high now. This is because I have (not that recently) adopted a new, MUCH stricter rating system for instrumental tracks due to the awesome influx of amazing Touhou music. I simply can’t categorize all Touhou music as five stars, after all, and I end up having no music rated 1 to 3 stars. So “average” has become 2 stars… meaning most of the 4-5 star instrumental tracks in my library need to become 2-3 star tracks. That’s basically everything.

By the way, my vocal music system still hasn’t changed… ehehe. ~90% of vocal music I add is four or five stars. And I basically never use 1 or 2 stars.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to switch (completely) to MediaMonkey — half-star ratings. I wish iTunes would support that.

Now that I think about it, does SongBird support half-star ratings? Probably not, because then it wouldn’t be able to sync back to iTunes. Meh.

MIUI player on Android is pretty awesome, by the way. You really can’t beat that simple yet ingenious interface… and lyrics support! Scrolling lyrics! Wow. That wows me to no lesser extent than the interface, albeit the feature is pretty useless.

Oh yeah, last episode of Beelzebub was awesome. It’s awesomeness is quickly approaching Hayate levels (my favorite anime when someone asks me, I guess… although not really). Other stuff have been sucking. Don’t get me started on IS or KoreZom, but even Index… blame the earthquake?

I played Touhou (Imperishable Night) yesterday. I suck, obviously, but it was fun. I think it was at like 3am, and I was pissed at Mabinogi for having such a sucky cooking dungeon mini-game. More Americans should get into danmaku games. It’s thrilling, grazing bullets and laughing at the horrible art.

I want to play a Touhou fantasy RPG. It wouldn’t make a good fantasy MMORPG, but it would make a really good JRPG. I’m thinking along the lines of Tales of the Abyss since that’s the JRPG I’ve been exposed to recently.

I bet you were wondering about the post title.

Me too.

thinly veiled apathy

March 21st, 2011

This is part one of a three-part series of posts on the month of March 2011, in all its fantasy and fragrance.

I was in a misanthropic mood this morning. The morbid cloudiness and bone-soaking chill probably contributed. Oh, and I had Opera Fantasia stuck in my head. I’ll admit that last sentence is non-sequitur.

I’m putting myself under a bit of pressure to write the best post I’ve ever written. That’s because, the weeks I’m covering in this series of posts is probably going to be the most important week in my life for quite a while. Important spans of time deserve important amounts of focus — and copious concentration is required to produce my best writing. As lately I’ve been watching a lot of anime to de-stress from the to-be-described events, I hope my cerebral tissue has not deteriorated enough to cause a reduction in the quality of my penmanship.


I’m a fast learner. No, strike that. I would like to claim that I am a fast learner. Memorably, I completed all of  introductory college level E&M in one weekend. However, like all of my flawed kinsmen, boredom sets in.

If I were to put out my own edition of the Bible, I would add Boredom as a Cardinal Sin. It is the one deterrent to human progress, both as an individual and as a society. France got bored of absolute monarchy, so Robespierre pulled out the guillotines. Dudes got bored of work and invented slavery. Totally against human progress. Steve Ballamer got bored of Google and invented Bing. God got bored of being omnipotent and omniscient, so he created mankind, its own biggest threat. (I told you I was misanthropic today.)

I got bored of physics. So I stopped studying, the Friday before the competition. I think the last practice exam I did was 2003 or something; I had started from 2009 and worked my way towards the past. Now don’t worry, this isn’t running towards any sort of tragic conclusion, so just listen. I was enraptured that Friday night in a web of feeling and meaningfulness that can only be attributed to art of Japanese nature.

(See how good I am at excuses?)


I like stories. The preceding line is likely to show up again in another post. That is simply because it is so true. I like stories. There isn’t really anything particular about anime sometimes. I simply like stories: beautiful, tragic, soothing, and thrilling adventures of the soul.

I’ll admit, I am very much a sucker for many of the stereotypical characteristics of anime sometimes. I choose anime and manga largely based on the art. No works are produced in any other country that can rival the art and production quality of Japan.

But, fact is, I like stories. I read because I like stories. I watch anime because, again, I like stories. Unfortunately, I have become too genre-savvy in my quest for new, original adventures to embark on through the mirror of my monitor.

Some plots never die. But most need to. Really need to. Some phrases and plot devices need to perish from the face of the planet. Really need to.

One of the plots that never dies for me is the idea of the Journey of the Hero. I hated 9th grade Honors English, but that is irrelevant. I like stories where the protagonist begins the story flawed, is called upon to embark on an adventure he’d never even dream of, make friends and sacrifices along the way, and return with a “foundation”, a sort of personal understanding of the reasoning behind society, of the cogworks that drive the world.

Why do a lot of children’s shows employ plots that often revolve around a neverending journey, besides the continuous status quo, maintaining its differentiability over all real numbers? Children often represent our pure, primal desires (or so I would like to believe but am led to see otherwise due to my rowdy siblings). The fact that this pure, untainted type of adventure appeals the most to kids must mean that the desire is present in all of us.

Personally, I would decline (I especially like the example on that page; it’s from Samidare, totally the best manga ever) a call to adventure. On the scale of male protagonists, with 1 being moralfag, and 10 being moron, I’d transcend the boundaries of the real number line as the lamest main character ever.

Anyways, I spent that time (the time I should have been spending reviewing for this really important national competition) searching high, far, and wide for a breathtaking story that matched my expectations. I wanted a protagonist that could score “just right” on the scale — not an insensitive bastard, and not a moral-obsessed catchphrase-spewing preacher. I wanted traveling companions that had depth and dimension. Something lighthearted on the surface, with a nostalgic or longing tone that belied great meaning and significance.

Closest I got, it seems, was Tales of the Abyss, which gets the journey and character development parts down, but is a bit lacking in general plotline and side character appeal. Most of all, the biggest gripe I have about Tales (I haven’t finished it, I still have about 5 episodes to go) is that the protagonist scores 10 out of 10 on the moron scale. I haven’t seen such a moronic MC since… I just haven’t. Which I guess was the point, in order to get his character development going, but… no.

To get to Tales, I was looking along the lines of Tears to Tiara. It’s probably the closest anime I have found to this ideal journey story. We have the best side characters ever, the awesomest MC ever (Arawn-sama!), and a very satisfying plot until the end, which was still OK by my memory. The fights were brilliant, and the animation and music were gorgeous. Tales… it’s a long shot.

In manga, though, I can name a couple. Negima comes to mind; the Magic World arc specifically. Samidare has the “interesting main characters” down pat — Yuuhi+Samidare brings me inexplicable joy, and I’m saving the remaining unread chapters of a manga like a dog buries his favorite toys. Then there’s Beelzebub, which does partially incorporate a journey into Hell, but mainly on the humor and general interest part. I realize most of these aren’t “journeys” per say — they’re not person-departing-on-journey-to-save-the-princess journeys, but more at-home journeys. I wish I could find more, but perhaps it’s just that the traditional journey is too cliched to use on a regular basis anymore.

I am and will continue to be incessantly on the lookout for new adventures.


Thus went my weekend, plus Pi Day. It intrigues me that the school has scheduled a holiday on Pi Day. Despite the fact that pi is wrong and should die, I think Pi Day should be a national bank holiday, and there should be celebrations around the world. We should hold an Arcadia Pi Day Competition… Arcadia Invitational Mathematical Olympiad. That actually sounds nice. The AIMO. It’ll totally be prestigious.

(There was not much to say about the first week of March. The only event of consequence listed on my calendar that week was the Orchestra Vertical Concert, and that’s not of very much consequence really.)

I also had an English project conveniently due on Tuesday, the all-important Day. I do my best to keep up with schoolwork, I swear, but there is still an order of things to my life. Really. There is.

First comes anim— I mean, first comes the physics competition. Then comes the math competition. After that is anime. The next thing is ACS, the chemistry competition, then Skyping, then Mabi, then cleaning my room and doing what my mom tells me, then listening to music, and finally, schoolwork.

I’m not dissing school or anything. It’s just that it serves relatively no use, neither as entertainment or mental-stimulation, as anime can do with its thought-provoking movements, nor as college-application page-filler (as long as you get an A, nobody cares how much you learned). It’s the truth of the matter, and I am free to complain about it as much as I would like to on my personal blog with an audience of about 5.

So Tuesday was United States Physics Olympiad semifinals.

Continue ≫

The March 2011 Trilogy:
thinly veiled apathy
coming soon!


March 21st, 2011

Yeah, so there’s a lot of stupidity in the world. So much that it’s probably not even worth it to write a post criticizing it. But yeah, whatever. The first part of this consists of stupidity on facebook, which there is way too much of to write about, but there are a few specific cases that I guess are stupid in a way that have some more meaning than just random stupidity, and thus can be analyzed. All the parts after that are whatever random crap I remember I wanted to rant about, but that probably won’t be much because I forgot all of it.

So starting off, one of my fb friends posted a story on his blog (the same one I quoted last time, actually), which then got posted on his facebook. It was about how he had an encounter with a random racist as he was pulling out of McDonalds, and described the yelling confrontation that occured between random racist and the guy’s dad. So, yeah, clearly, that guy is an idiot, both for being a racist, and for being a racist that lives in Arcadia. That’s like, I don’t know, a vegetarian entering a steakhouse. Or an epileptic going into a disco nightclub that also happens to be showing that episode of Pokemon. Or George W. Bush attending Harvard (Oh wait, that last one actually happened, stupid education system).

Well, that isn’t the main part I was talking about, it was actually one of the comments on it.

”  These are the time when people clash, but almost 100% of the time, those Whites are the problem. drivers are mostly legal, pulling up is included. those guys cursing at you doesn’t have particular reason to say those stuff. It just that the…y want to satisfy their needs of raging to others to satisfy themselves, even though it makes others to rage. Chinese aren’t the only one. Japanese Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese,………. there are too many people who are affected by these unforgiving words. But you have to remember, that you are proud to be Taiwanese, because once you lose that mind set, you won’t survive in this country. This country was said to be free, but when you look back at the history, you know the truth.”

Ok, uh, where to start…well, first off, “Chinese aren’t the only one…Chinese also!”. But yeah, beyond that, I see a bunch of flaws. First, clearly, that he seems to blame racism exclusively on white people. Even if “almost 100%” of racial conflicts in America are sparked by whites (highly doubtful, just look at how much violence resulted from Black vs. Hispanic conflicts, in addition to other cases), the reason for this is only because whites are the only group in America that can be so blatantly racist, because they are the majority. But they are by no means the sole proprieters of racism; lots of other groups express this racism as well, even if it isn’t as apparent. I know for sure that a lot of it exists within our Asian community. In fact, to blame racism purely on whites is, it seems like, a form of racism itself.

Quick kind-of-related sidetrack story. Kinda, not really related, but I want to tell it because it’s a great story. I heard this from my dad, who heard it from my grandma, who was told this from one of the people involved, so I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy, but it’s true to my knowledge.

So, this person my grandma was talking to, she’s a first generation immigrant, but speaks some English, I guess just from being here a while. She’s trying to help her mother-in-law get American citizenship. To do this, people have to pass a test, consisting of questions like, “Who was president during WWII.” The mother-in-law doesn’t speak English, but she is allowed a translator, in this case, the daughter-in-law. She had already failed the test twice before, but wants to try it again. They enter the place (Idk where these tests are, lol) and enter the room for the test. They see that the test-giver is an African-American man, and then the mother-in-law tells her daughter-in-law, in Cantonese “It’s this [derogatory Cantonese term for blacks] again”. The test-giver, I’m not sure if he speaks Chinese, or just knew that phrase, somehow understands, and immediately fails her, putting a note to not allow her to take the test again, as she displayed behavior not appropriate for a  citizen.

Wow, that was kinda long. Anyway, back to the facebook comment…the other part of his post says that you “must remember to be proud of being Taiwanese to survive in the country.” Maybe this is just my belief on heritage (Tim knows what I’m talking about), but I argue again that this comment seems to consist of the same seeds of racism that it attempts to condemn. I don’t know exactly what the guy meant, if he just wanted to say that you should be proud of who you are, then that’s a good belief to have, but if he meant what I thought he meant at first glance, isn’t this kind of cultural/ethnic superiority the kind of thinking that causes the racial conflicts in the first place? There’s a difference between being comfortable with who you are, and feeling like you are better than others because of your descent. Maybe that specific post was not quite there yet, but the whole “I’m really proud that I’m Taiwanese!” thinking seems to be an origin of racism.

I guess racism is an issue that may never truly die down. We’ve definitley made a lot of progress over the years, and I hope I live to see even more, but I guess it’s still always a natural instinct of humans to reject those that are different. At least now, very few actually discrmininate or act out on their prejudices, and, like I said, I hope this one day is gone entirely, but I doubt we can ever be totally free of any prejudice within our thinking.

Ok…uh…still on facebook…

The earthquake in Japan was a terrible tragedy, and I could mourn the victims here, but much of that has been done already, and this blog isn’t really the appropriate forum for it. What I want to discuss is the facebook response to it.

Apparently there were some group(s) where people apparently joined to “support Japan.” I don’t know how these worked, because upon slightly closer inspection, the group seemed to have no actual point, other than getting people to join. I didn’t see how it in any way actually supported the victims in Japan. Maybe the only point of it was to allow people to feel like they were doing something. This kind of thing seems to be quite common now, in this connected technology age, with people all joining up to apparently demonstrate something, whether it actually supports that thing or not.  I guess our school “wear pink” thing could be an example, though it is already on the better side, since the teaches/administration could actually see the demonstration.

A more concerning response to the disasters on facebook, however, came through a comment thread on a post from one of my religious fb friends. He usually is pretty cool and not preachy in real life, but about half the posts he comments on or likes involve some religious comment by his friends/family. I would just block it, but it’s not that space consuming, and he has some interesting non-religious posts.  Well, anyway, some friend of his, on some post about the earthquake in Japan said, “All you can do is pray.”

And yeah, I would think that even religious people agreee that that statement doesn’t make much sense. You could also, you know, donate money to relief efforts. I don’t have too much of a problem with religion in cases where the person keeps it to themselves and doesn’t allow it to lead them to stupid beliefs actions. What I am against is when people use religion as justification for atrocities (KKK, Al Qaeda, pedophile Catholic priests)  or to press forward their stupid ideas (“America’s government should be based around Christianity”,  “global warming isn’t real because it isn’t in the bible”, Westboro Baptist Church [look it up if you feel like getting angry]), or in this case, leading them to not do anything except “pray”.

I don’t really get the whole point of prayer, and how it’s supposed to somehow influence God or whatever. Well,  I guess I don’t really get religion. I could go on a whole rant right now about religion/prayer, but let’s not. I’ll just say that the even more stupid religious idea related to the earthquakes was that somehow this is part of God’s plan and Japan deserved it and is getting punished. Yeah…I know there are reasonable religious people out there, but I’m starting to get really sick of the idiotic ones. Enough said. For now.

So, onto local news…it’s a bit late, but the big topic in Arcadia has been the pink slips and teacher lay-offs. Now, I’m sure I’ve been quite vocal on here about the incompetency and stupidity of many Arcadia teachers, so it might seem to you that I would support teacher lay-offs (Actually, it probably won’t seem to you that way, but assuming a stupid audience allows me to use sentences like that to set up the argument). However, I, like everyone else, oppose the layoffs, because these teachers being given the pink slips are in most cases the good ones. They are competent, and more importantly, they actually try and do their job. As much as I hate the bad teachers, it makes me appreciate the good ones more.

However, I cannot completely take the teacher’s side on this, that everything is fine, and they should continue to be paid the same, and education should not be messed with. As I said before, and as we all know, and I think even the teaches all know, there are many that are incompetent and don’t do their job. They must be eliminated. Some sort of performance review must be put into place, at the very least, and not just the “let’s look at how your students do on this stupid standerized test!” performance review. You could put a dead walrus as a teacher, and AHS students would still do well on anyone tests thrown at them.

Of course, that isn’t going to solve all the education problems. As we’ve mentioned many times on here, education is a complex issue. I would like to mention one point though, that a city council member at the Gov Team meeting made (Also mentioned by Obama in the State of the Union, and I’m sure many others). He said that there is no better, no more honorable and helpful  profession teaching. This is true-if the teacher is a good teacher. But, if like many, the teacher chooses to abuse this position of such great power and responsibility, nobody deserves more shame. With that much influence over the future, teachers have a duty to do their job, and those that do so, or beyond, should be rewarded. Those that don’t, shouldn’t.

Hm, I’m sure I had a lot more stuff to rant on…I can’t really remember though. And this is starting to get close to 2000 words. I really should learn to write more concisely.


General Obsevations

March 12th, 2011

Everyone wants to be in a band- I think Ben touched upon this in one of his 5238902 comments on that other post, but yeah, I think I can confirm that pretty much everybody under the age of 30 has aspirations of being in a rock band. I knew that one of my assistant golf coaches was in a band (bass/backup vocals), and I recently found out that the other one was in a band of his own (guitar, sound recording and mixing). I found this out during team pictures, when he was talking to one of my teamates. About his band (lead singer, lol). Yeah, I didn’t mention ours, because I didn’t want any of them assuming I had musical talent, but yeah, we’re going to be totally better than the million other ones. Yeah.

Everyone is condescending- In Arcadia, at least. Ben, I know you were worrying about how you always seem to sound condescending, but I think I can pretty much say that pretty much everyone in Arcadia is like that. Some people do it more than others, and some are more annoying doing so (and there are those who do it very often and very annoyingly, not mentioning any names, but I think we might all have someone in mind). But pretty much, it seems like everyone at AHS acts like this, and not just once every few weeks. 

This arrogance seems pretty much ingrained into AHS culture.  I guess that it’s almost like a developed instinct, an adaptation that everyone has developed in order to help them survive in this place. It probably has to do with a lot of the academic competition, and the Asian habit of being compared to others. Maybe a lot of it stemmed from just acting in order to fit in, but after a certain point, this acting pretty much becomes a part of everyone, and thus a common and accepted part of how things work. It isn’t healthy, but not much around here is anyway. Or maybe none of this is true, and my sleep deprivation is just making me very easily annoyed at people.

Everyone is taking 3-5 AP’s next year- This is only capped at 5 because the school won’t allow 6. But of course, there probably is someone out there taking 6 (7?) APs next year, this being Arcadia. Well, I guess not literally everyone is part of this, since there are some who are rational enough to to jeopardize their lives and sleep unecessarily. But I’m surprised at how many people are planning on doing this next year. It’s crazy. It seems like we all kind of assumed that senior year would be very relaxing for all of us, with everybody just kind of hanging out and just barely exerting enough effort to pass our Sheltered Intro to Office Technology class. But that’s going to be hard to do, since everyone is taking an equal number, or in most cases, more AP’s than previous years, and will at the same time be doing college apps. I wonder how much of this is because everyone looks at everyone else, and feels compelled to take more AP’s. Peer pressure sucks. The system sucks. Life sucks.

Senior Summer Road Trip

March 7th, 2011

So yeah, after we graduate from AHS and are ready to go to whatever college we get into, (probably not the one we wanted) we’ll have about 3 months. As we’ve discussed before, we’re going to go on a road trip across the country, visiting all 48 contigous states. Tim and I recently calculated some of the logistics of this.

First off, yes, it is possible to go through all 48 states reasonably. We might only touch upon a few, but it is possible. Here is an estimate, with my epic MS Paint skills. Obviously, we’ll make some adjustments if we want to go to some landmarks or something.

We’re estimating that the trip will take about 2 months, and we’re making the assumption that there’s 5 people going.

An RV is too inconvenient, driving and parking and stuff throughout the whole country, so we’ll have to stay in motels. A motel room will cost about $40 a night, so we’ll cram all of us in one. That’s about $2400 for the trip.

Driving in our car, we’ll need lots of gas. The route is appoximately 11000 miles, and with about 20 mpg and 4 dollars per gallon. We also added a bunch of money, just in case, so we’ll say about $4000 for gas.

Food is also a major cost. We’re planning to eat at a bunch of cheap restuarants and diners and stuff. We’ll have cheap fast food too, but 60 days of it doesn’t sound very healthy. So about $10 a meal, with tax an tip, means $40 a day, and another 2400. But this is per person, so 12000 to the total cost.

Adding everything up, it’s 18400. But there’s always random crap, so we’ll just say an even 20000. That makes 4000 per person. But I’m sure it’ll be worth it. We need this to relieve all the cumulative stress we will have had over 4 years of hell.

We’re killing little girls because we need to prevent the heat death of the universe.

March 6th, 2011

I still have objections to some of the art in Madoka Magica, but it’s been a brilliant ride so far.

Just wanted to use a cool title for once.

And don’t you love it when anime invokes physics? Even better, thermodynamics?

If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. — Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Anime Recommendations for Hanchan

March 5th, 2011

In order of recommendationness:

* Denpa Teki na Kanojo [2] (serious and contemplative)
* Haruhi movie, The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi (I have heard NOTHING but praise for this movie, even though I still haven’t watched it yet)
* Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann [27 OR 2 movies] (you must have heard about this. come on now)
* Tears to Tiara [26] (fantasy/magic/adventure <3)
* Kyouran Kazoku Nikki [26] (hilarious)
* Nyan Koi! [12] (cats!)
* Toradora! [25] (interesting couple)
* Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei [3+ seasons] (i’ve only just watched season 1)
* Seto no Hanayome [26] (brilliantly random comedy)
* NHK ni Youkoso! [24] (may be tedious)
* Nagasarete Airantou [26] (ecchi though I think)
* Polyphonica / Polyphonica Crimson S [12/12] (it’s about music)
* Elemental Gelade [26] (fantasy/magic/adventure and romance; unspectacular ending however imo)
* To Aru Majutsu no Index / To Aru Kagaku no Railgun / To Aru Majutsu no Index II [24/24/24] (Index and Railgun are actually quite different)
* Asura Cryin’ / Asura Cryin’ 2 [26/26] (it’s either love or hate. it’s awesome in its own way.)
* Ueki no Housoku aka The Law of Ueki [51] (i know it’s long)

We need more creative titles

March 5th, 2011

I’m not really in a writing mood; I’m only doing this because I can’t think of anything else to do. So excuse the poor writing.

Recently I’ve noticed a common problem in Arcadia. Well, I guess I had noticed it before, because I deal with it frequently, but I thought it was just me. However, through random discussions as well as reading stuff from people on facebook and stuff, it seems that many people in Arcadia suffer from it. Perhaps I am pessmisticly exxagerating, but I think it is possible that this is a major problem in this school.

As we all know, AHS is considered a really high-achieving school. Copy and paste from wikipedia:

  • Newsweek ranks Arcadia High School 521 on its 2008 list of the United States’ 1300 best public high schools
  • 250 students compete on 8 state and national award-winning academic teams
  • The 1993 and 2010 national champions, the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Team
  • A national-placing Speech and Debate Team
  • A national-placing Quiz Bowl Team
  • A national-placing Ocean Sciences Bowl Team
  • A national-placing Science Bowl Team (4th place in 2010).
  • A state-placing Science Olympiad Team
  • Nationally recognized 386-member Apache Marching Band and Colorguard
  • 350-student Symphony Orchestra program
  • About 90 students involved in 3 groups of Percussion.
  • The Arcadia World Percussion, nationally recognized as a six-time finalist in Winter Guard International
  • A national-placing Colorguard team
  • Dance and theater production groups
  • 250-student Choral Department Program
  • Nationally acclaimed show choirs: Chanteurs and New Spirit
  • Arcadian Yearbook and Apache Pow Wow Newspaper Staff of over 115 students
  • Video Production and Apache News Team
  • One-fourth of the 4,000 students participate in the athletics teams and program
  • 48-member Pep Squad
  • #1 ranked Cross Country team in the nation.
  • 2010 Boys Cross Country national champions.

    But we don’t need wikipedia to tell us this, we can see it everyday. It seems that anywhere you go in the school, you can hear of some person or some group accomplishing some amazing feat of academics or extracurricular activity, whether it’s doing really well on some national physics test, or winning some athletic award, or getting a 4.0 GPA while taking 23 APs.  Maybe there’s a sense of school pride at this, or maybe you genuinely feel happy for them. I’m sure we’ve been somewhat dulled to amazement from all these accomplishments, just because they are so common around here, but I’m sure we still do feel at least some sense of awe it. But at the same time, somebody else doing something remarkable means that we are not the ones doing it.

    In Arcadia, as you look at all the great accomplishments around you, it seems very easy to feel inferior. It seems that everyone is doing many things, doing them very well, and still getting twice the amount of sleep as you. This is quote from a AHS student, on his tumblr (which is apparently some blog thingy):

    “I always blamed a lack of time as my inability to participate in sports, even for leisure, and yet I have seen quite a few people taking more AP’s than me, engaged in Band or Orchestra activities, dedicated to numerous extracurricular activities, have time for sports and actually enjoying themselves, and still sleep before midnight.  I don’t know, I can’t even say I have the right to envy that…but that really strikes a blow across myself.  What is wrong with me, with how I manage my life, that I would drive myself into such a mess and failure that I am right now?”

    This is not just an isolated rant from a random depressed guy, though, not only because the person who wrote this seems quite sane to me, but also because I often feel very much the same, and I can’t guarantee it, but I think that others at the school feel the same way. With all the talk that goes on about the achievment of others, it just seems nearly impossible to not feel envious of others. With the culture of this school, values are focused on achievement, whether academically or otherwise, and with so much of it going around, it seems natural to wonder why you aren’t doing a larger part of  it.

    And of course, Asian parenting does not help whatsoever. I think we all know of our parents making comparisons to other students at the school. They are able to somehow pick up information about the accomplishments of your peers, whether it’s through something you told them, or through their discussions with other parents. They then list off these things others do, and point out that you have done none of this. If you weren’t already brewing in misery of inferiority before, it is very difficult to not do so after this Asian parenting tactic.

    So basically, the whole Arcadia atmosphere contributes to this feeling, both through our standards and the infamous Asian parenting that we so often discuss on here. And what is the effect of this feeling? I’m going to go back to the previously referenced post, because somehow his writing is able to describe my feelings better than anything I can write right now.

    “I won’t even get into my inferiority lapse over higher education…that’s probably the worst part.  I will just leave it at that all the competition and lack of proper motivation on my own part has established a deteriorating cycle.  I don’t know…it seems that I have lost my faith and dedication in striving for the best after regarding myself as increasingly inferior among the masses of students with far more brilliant minds and a whole lot more commitment and outlook.  And what do I do?  I bawl over increasing standards, procrastinate, never learn from my own lessons, exchange sleep time for useless tasks completely irrelevant to my goals, and lose more confidence at the outcome of failure.  And the cycle repeats itself.  “

    Some people are motivated by seeing the success of others. Michael Jordan is often used as an example. Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team his freshman year, but rather than give up, he became motivated by seeing the others on the team and not him, and worked hard until he not only made the team, but  became the greatest basketball player ever. But there’s a reason why he is Michael Jordan, and others aren’t.

    Maybe people like that are just naturally more competitive, or strong-willed. Maybe they just do naturally have more talent. But whatever the reason, the fact is that the average high school student in Arcadia, to the dismay of their Asian parents, is not going to look around, see all the success around them, and become extremely motivated to achieve something even greater than that. Instead, the natural response is to feel incompetent, and want to give up. Yes, it’s not the “right” thing to do, and I’m sure there are plenty of motivational talks out there to try and stop people from doing so, but many times for us, I guess there just doesn’t seem to be any other option.

    Interestingly, when I discussed this post with the author of it, he could not understand why I felt the same way as him, citing my SAT score. At the same time, I felt that he should not feel this way, in fact, he is someone I often feel jealous of, as he has a clear passion in something, and also happens to be very good at it. He also happens to be very successful romantically, something that I, of course, have no experience with.

    I’m not totally sure what this says. I guess maybe it shows that nobody here is really immune from this feeling of inferiority, no matter how accomplished someone may look to others. Whether it’s our honest observations, or a distortion of reality, we see the world around us, and do not like it. The competitive enviroment that we’ve grown up in has been largely responsible for our successes (even if we feel others have many more, we all have some), but at the same time, this enviroment is a key cause of our depression. This post is of course, nothing scientific, and mostly just scattered rambling, but I do feel that this is one of the biggest problems among our student body. I don’t know what exactly the effects of it are, in the present or the future. Maybe it’s just typical teenage angst, or maybe it is indeed something that plagues Arcadia High School.

    Either way, this feeling of inferiority doesn’t seem healthy for anybody. Maybe in the short term, or in the past, this would work in motivating students, to try and match or surpass the accomplishments of their peers. Maybe this is why Asian parents so often decided to compare their kids to others, because it seemed to bring results. But by this point, it seems to just cause much emotional distress. It results in a jaded view of the world, where there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for success, and where one can never live up to the standards set by others.  

    From an IM convo with somebody else, I’m not sure if he wants me to divulge his identity…

     ” idk its like i also feel like im not gonna achieve anything in life
        and i have no purpose

        it gets depressing though
        maybe thats why i’m failing
        cuz i’ve lost my motivation”

    Not all the blame belongs to the Asian parents. It seems like that we have always tried to compete with each other, from elementary school, through middle school, and now. Maybe many of us had no real goal other than the vague one of  “doing well”, and surpassing everybody else along the way, rather than having any true motivation for something. Anyway, enough speculating. Whatever the reason, our motivation and hope seems to be being drained. I don’t know what will become of this. Perhaps it is just a phase, and we’ll be fine. Or maybe not.

    To again quote the blog post rather than writing something myself:

    “Maybe it’s just a lapse…maybe these feelings just come and go…maybe this will soon pass and I can continue on with my life…but I am really just exhausted of hope and confidence as of now.”

    I guess we’ll just have to see what becomes of this. Maybe I shouldn’t generalize the whole student body. I don’t know exactly how many people share these feelings of inferiority and depression, and how many are fine with everything.

    Well, anway, one of the frequent things I’ve heard about the Arcadian atmosphere, one that is said by adults, perhaps former Arcadia High students themselves, is that this enviroment, if nothing else will at least prepare you for college. After dealing with all the competitivness early on, it is much easier to deal with an enviroment outside of this one.

    I agree. This atmosphere will prepare you for college. Unfortunately, it is likely this is going to be college at UC Riverside, because your college application just doesn’t compare with everyone else’s.

    Yeah, I almost went for the optmistic ending, but that just wasn’t going to happen. And again, yeah, this is probably the most poorly written post I’ve done in a while.