Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creativity Moments

When do you get your best ideas for anything?  I've noticed that sometimes, actually most of the time, the best ideas for new posts come right before I go to bed - just before I nod off.  It's a little annoying because most of the time, I tend to forget in the morning what that idea was but I remember that whatever it was, it was good.
I had a good idea for a post last night - and like the usual I forgot.  Oops :)  So I thought anyway I'd do a little research on how people generate ideas.
Occasionally, I am competent enough that I remember these late night ideas; when it happens (which is extremely rare) I write them down in the morning.  I even have a friend who actually keeps a notebook next to her bed so that she can write them down.  I fear that if I did the same, I would probably end up not going to bed at all and peruse the ideas all night long.  Once I get started, it's hard for me to stop.  But it's interesting to see that I never get this fountain of ideas in the daytime - so I did a little research.
According to an UK AOL My Daily article ( it turns out that the brain reorganizes and reconfigures memory while you sleep.  Interesting because a computer actually acts in a similar way.  You know that defragmentation program you can run manually?  Did you know on most modern computers it runs in the middle of the night?  Kinda cute comparison.  Not sure which came first, though... the computer or the human mind???
Another interesting article I read was on CBS (  This article had an interesting paragraph on how Dmitri Mendeleev came up with the periodic table of elements that scientists still use today.  Apparently, he had gotten frustrated for many days and suddenly he woke up to this new idea.  Lucky guy!
As crazy as it sounds, it strikes a familiar chord with what I have experienced.  I don't think of physical things when I sleep - it's just new ideas and not just limited to posts and things.  Very frequently, the things I think of are problems that I had been solving for an entire day.  For example, I did some programming the other day and couldn't debug the program.  In my sleep (or perhaps right before) I thought of the error.  Maybe I am just imagining it, but it turned out that error did cause the problem.  So basically, all I did was think in a different way outside of the box.  According to both articles, this seems plausible.  A little daunting though when it happens in real life.  Almost like an out of body experience.
Oh well... what is the message to take away from this post?  I guess it is to go and get a good night sleep!  And I think I'll do mine just now :)  Night!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Facebook Abstinence

I read a post recently (sorry, I forget whose it was) that talked about the appropriateness of "friending" various types of people on facebook and how that line is sometimes a bit shady.
I don't have a Facebook.  Occasionally, I have had doubts about staying away from Facebook.  Many of my friends have Facebook pages and have tried to convince me to join.  I have never actually faced peer pressure that much before and my god, it is one of the hardest things to not succumb to especially if it is not something too dangerous that they are pressuring.  But after reading innumerable accounts of haywire posts on Facebook and this last post that I mentioned I am certain that I have made the right decision.  I'd like to share.
My number one point that I dislike about Facebook is what bugs a lot of people - privacy.  I don't care about what the company says about improving security settings and all that.  Unfortunately I can google peoples' names and find posts of theirs on Facebook even though I cannot access their account.  On more than one instance that I tried this, I found a post that potential employers probably would not like to read.  It is very difficult to make Facebook like email where only people you trust can see what you so openly and casually write.  Many people consider Facebook as their primary means of communication between close friends and family.  It's great, but it's dangerous.  Not everything that you share with your family should be shared with your friends and vice versa.  Sometimes what you want to share is to a very nit-picky set of people and Facebook doesn't allow that.  It is way too easy to just post something and realize later the consequences of it, even though it had no value.
From what I have heard about Facebook, many people use it to share photos.  Why not use some other tool for that?  Picasa or Jalbum or the sort?  For writing, I just simply disagree that Facebook is the proper form.  Not only does it break down lines of privacy, but it also breaks down any intimacy.  I remember even when email came out, people thought that was totally emotionless writing.  It is why that when I thank people for anything, I handwrite my notes.  Now Facebook is overpowering email.  Email has more intimacy than Facebook.  When I email a friend about something that has happened in my life that has caused a certain amount of emotional turbulence, the stuff I write is most definitely something cringe-worthy.  However, I have that sense of relationship with that friend and I know that it will not be forwarded to the rest of the world.  What we wrote stays between us forever.  Not so with Facebook.  If I were to do the same, who knows who will read that post?  And by the time you realize, it may be too late.
So, I guess that last point stresses first impressions.  Jumping to conclusions is something Facebook stresses because of its open nature.  To those who use Facebook, I wish I could tell you to be careful, but you will not heed my advice.  It leads me into my next point which is how it allows youngsters to register even though they are at an age that they know nothing about the cruelty of the world.  They do not know or understand these intimate emotions and I personally think it is detrimental to their mental learning.  Brevity is not always the best for writing.  Good writing is eloquent and engaging.  Good writing incite emotions in people while brevity kills them.  Youngsters do not realize what impact writing can have and by allowing them input it to the world at such a young age, we are being careless.  Protect them a little while longer.  We should teach them how to write before we allow them to join the ultimate social network.
My last point about Facebook is one that a lot of people don't understand.  I like having a few, close friends not tons of impersonal ones.  To me, having one hundred people friend you on Facebook is more of a way to increase your self esteem.  It makes you feel popular.  Temporarily.  What I enjoy from my friends is respect for being me.  I can be me and they like it that way.  My nuances and glitches are apparent to my friends and they accept me for that.  To me, friends are the greatest gift.  I can honestly contact them anytime when I need help.  They are there to support me because they believe in me.  And I only have a few.  If a friend is worth keeping, then it shouldn't have to be kept over Facebook.  Someone who randomly contacts you 20 years later on Facebook isn't one worth keeping in my opinion.  I would like my friends to stand by me the whole time - even if it means that we do not have constant contact.  A friendship bond should be bigger than contact - it is about giving something up for that person and being there when he/she needs it the most.  Other than that, friends are more of acquaintances.  People that I say hi to if I see them.
Perhaps I am bit harsh on what I expect from friends but I do not hesitate to say that I would do the same for them.  For these reasons, I am extremely proud and happy that I have been obstinate about not getting a Facebook page.  And guess what?  I never have to complain about how addicting it is!  I can put my time into something more meaningful... perhaps another post on this blog :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's Really Really Rude

What's rude?  Texting.

Haha.... I just noticed that the word "texting" has a red underline in it.  Seems kind of ironic that a word we use so frequently and execute so many times as to cause me to vent about it, isn't even a valid word.

I just came back from a friend's debut performance very vexed with what I saw.  No, not the performance itself - it was with the way that the younger members of the audience conducted themselves throughout the performance.  Texting texting texting.  God, they were texting more than probably the top CEOs in the nation do.  I was upset by the fact that the friend had spent a good amount of time working her ass off to make this performance a successful one and these inconsiderate young girls spent the entire time glued to their phones and not even bothering to look at what was going on on stage.  The entire time.  I am not kidding.  At least they sat up in the balcony of the performance hall, but there were people (like me) behind them because they sat in the first row.  It was extremely rude of them to have their smart phones constantly lit up and do the whole flying fingers thing which was extremely distracting for me.  I really wanted to thwack their heads with my program flyer!

So I guess the key thing is that there are no etiquette rules to texting and there should be.  I never got a phone until I really needed one and even then, I was not allowed to text.  I got texting, again, when I truly needed it - when I was actually leading projects in college and for other reasonable and practical reasons.  Looking back,  I am ridiculously glad that I did that.  I cannot believe the girls' ignorance when it comes down to phones.  Scratch that - I cannot believe all teens' addiction to phones.  What need is there to be texting that frequently?  What need is there, at that age, that they need smart phones with unlimited texting and unlimited data plans to access the internet every where they go?  Honestly, I believe it is all a distraction to what they should be concentrating about at that point of their life.  Don't mistake me, I am not saying that having a phone is a bad thing - in fact I believe that cellular phones are truly one of the smartest inventions of all times.  But like any good thing, too much is just well, too much.  I like to compare it to wine - a little is excellent for the heart, but too much caused addiction and poor health.

A normal teen should be having some of the best social life of their lifetimes and should be gearing up to be successful in life by concentrating on excelling at school.  They should be in their prime of communication.  Texting is not a form of communication.  When someone communicates, there should be emotions involved.  Words should have meaning and should impact the listener.  This even includes one girls physically talking to another girls about a hot new guy at school.  With this example, there are emotions involved, hand gestures, and tones.  All of which make a memorable conversation.  This is communication.  You may say that then I characterize blogs and newspapers and magazines as not being communication.  No, I say that they are.  Why?  Because they impact the reader.  When bloggers blog and writers write, they do it with some meaning in mind.  There is a reason and they wish to impact someone with their writing.  So it is good.  What impact does it have if someone picks a dozen contacts out of their contact list and texts them "dont have nething 2 do"?  Exactly nothing.  No impact no nothing.  This is useless writing and will get them no where.

I admire parents who limit the amount of texting their children are allowed to do and wish that this rule was universal.  There are certain cases where unlimited would be OK but for the majority as far as I have seen, it should be completely and utterly banned.  Teens have not yet learned what is considered too much and clearly have not been taught yet on the basic rules of etiquette in life.  I was extremely displeased with what I saw today and wish that it did not happen.  Perhaps it is time go backwards a little in technology to see the benefits of life without cell phones.  But perhaps we have already gone too far.