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Captain's Log - JSmith


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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.22.2016 | Day 82

Important tasks for tomorrow:

- 2 hrs. studying (6 pomodoros)


Hey, how long is your pomodoro?

Because if 25 minutes, then 6 of them is 150 minutes (2,5hours)

I'm curious cause I work in golden hours. Have you ever heard about this idea?

Greetings, Mad Pharmacist

My pomodoros are 20 minutes. What are these golden hours you speak of? O.o

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.23.2016 | Day 83

Highlight. Copy-paste. Change the second two to a three. Change the third two to a three. I feel like a robot.

I arrived at a strange sort of semi-conclusion this morning while doing my 750 words. It was in regards to roleplaying. I've been writing time and time again about them (here and there) because, well, I just can't get them out of my head. They feel like memories. If I could describe just how deeply this stuff is ingrained into my mind, I would probably make a comparison to Cobb from Inception. If you've seen it you will understand instantly.


Elevator of memories - each floor is a different but related memory

Except in my case they would be roleplays, not memories. And each would be vastly different, but similar in theme. And you wouldn't actually see me in any of them.

As I might have mentioned before (too lazy to flip back the pages for now) I stopped doing that because it wasn't real; I was just distracting myself by chasing instant gratification, instead of going after what it is I really wanted, a real world relationship. But after thinking and writing for many days on the subject now, I don't feel like I really can find that, not right now. I don't want to get too sappy or into details, but basically most of my attention right now is largely spent on studying and hobbies, which are very important, and I don't really have the energy to get into the whole "dating" niche thing on campus.


If I'm delusional and it's not at this point yet then I feel it soon will be. My next semester classes are tough, and if things work out well with my plan of study, the semester after that will be even tougher. Priorities, right? Also I must admit my faith in the whole finding a fulfilling relationship things is pretty much zero, at least right now, on this campus. For various reasons. All of them are probably dumb, but I'm no psychologist.

The point is, for the amount of mental energy I expend on the subject, I don't actually take any action to make changes. So if I've given up on the cause for now, then what does it matter if I roleplay? I am still aware of the possible negatives of the activity based on what I've experienced in the past, but I can't say that roleplaying is inhibiting my ability to have real relationships, because I'm not doing shit either way. What if I just roleplayed, and if something happens in real life, then it happens. Just an interesting thought I had today.

Other than that, just another day of classes and studying. Didn't complete a full task as I wanted, but I made decent progress on one, which is good enough for me. Decided to go to a professor's office hours as part of my studying, wow what a help that was. Feeling good about that homework assignment now. Didn't go to karate tonight. It was just a special self defense class so not much actual exercise, and I wasn't going to the party after, so it didn't seem worth it for two hours lost. Hung out with some friends instead, had a good time. Tomorrow is no messing around. Gonna get up early as usual, meditate a little, get cleaned up, have a good breakfast, then hit the books and finish that task. Then maybe I'll work on my novel a little bit; haven't touched it in weeks...

Have a good night everyone.

Edited by JSmith
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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.25.2016 | Day 85

Decent day by normal standards. Woke up a little late but I got my studying done, painful as it was. Spent most of my pomodoros memorizing Japanese vocabulary flashcards for the upcoming quiz tomorrow morning. I hate memorizing things, not fun at all. Another reason I chose engineering.

Was glad when it ended though. It feels really good to know when you've completed the important work for the day; it's uplifting. Took care of some errands afterwards, then hung out with friends for a little bit. Solid day. I completed that task I wrote about yesterday, and it took much longer than I thought it would. Didn't work at all on my novel this weekend. I feel like I lost an opportunity with this; I doubt I'll have much time throughout the week to work on it. Maybe I should actually schedule it in my day, but I don't want to get overwhelmed again. I guess I'll just have to see.

Will be returning to karate tomorrow after a week off. At first I was just waiting for my cold to pass over, but then I decided why not take a couple days off; I've been training nonstop since August, and constantly enough since January. I didn't stop exercising completely; I went to the gym a couple times, just to get some cardio in on the spinning bikes for 20 minutes. Much quicker. But I am going back to training. Big tournament next month, need to be ready B|.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.26.2016 | Day 86

Quick recap for today.

Got SHREKT in that Japanese quiz. I feel like I was just really unlucky. The instructor tells us "memorize vocab from these two pages in the textbook", which was like 50 TERMS. I tried my best to memorize them as well as I could, but I was still rusty on about 7 or 8. And I feel like they were all on that quiz today :(.

As much as I worked like I said I would for the weekend, I might have messed up somewhere. Now I have a katakana quiz Wednesday, right after my Thermo exam. And I have a Dynamics exam on Friday, which I forgot about D'X. And today sucked. I had to take a nap after Japanese because I was completely exhausted, even though I thought I slept pretty well. So that was some time wasted. Oh well. Maybe I should have just worked more instead of going to karate tonight...ehhhh. At least I feel pretty good about the exams; I certainly won't need to cram study or anything crazy. And that's my life.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.27.2016 | Day 87

Geez, really coming down to the wire, eh?

Did a lot of decent work today, despite having another rough start. Haven't been sleeping all that well recently; going to try making a slight change to my nightly routine, hopefully that helps. Just checked out Tim Ferriss' website @Cam Adair, looks like a lot of interesting content. Will certainly have to dive into it later. But today I just studied for tomorrow's katakana quiz the old fashioned way...


@Reno F How's it look? xD (this is just one page)

Feeling not as bad about the quiz now; I plan on reviewing it some more tomorrow morning, but of course I have to get through Thermo first, which I am less worried about. Ironically so...because it's an exam. I'm actually more worried about this Japanese quiz than my Thermo exam...

Looks like we're on our way to Mars folks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qo78R_yYFA. I CANNOT believe I forgot about the IAC happening right now. I had today's date marked in my brain...like four weeks ago. My how time flies. I knew I should have actually put it on my calendar. But obviously I've been very busy today anyways.

I actually can't think of anything else to mention right now. So I guess that's it for tonight. Stay awesome.

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Hey J, it looks great! Make sure you don't forget the ヤ、ユ and ヨ. Also, have in mind that writing and reading are two different skills (it will be clear to you, if it isn't yet, when you start with kanji), so don't forget to practice them both!

And yea, the new Conquistadores era is drawing near! I wish I could take part on that!

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 9.30.2016 | Day 90

Day 90 boys and girls. AKA two and a half hours until this thing is done. Will do a complete reflection tomorrow, once it's officially finished.

So yeah, I've been in a funk for the last few days, for various reasons. The biggest reason is that I felt a HUGE loss in motivation around Day 87, ironically around right after I watched the IAC. The work SpaceX is currently doing is so amazing...but how the hell am I going to get there and beyond? I don't have the gpa or experience to get into a top aerospace comapny like SpaceX, even if I did improve for the rest of my college career (it's mathematically impossible...they want 4.0's from Ivy Leagues and all that bullshit). I don't want to do all of this work to end up in some lame 9-5 engineering job in a field I don't even care about. I need to get into the big space companies and figure out what the hell is going on. And what if it's all futile? What if I dive in and realize I can't accomplish what I want to accomplish, because it's just too damn difficult. I guess my biggest fear is just wasting time.

I also feel like my life isn't really optimized right now. Engineering, Karate, Writing, they're all such vastly different activities, and it feels like they're pulling me in different directions. Why do I want to do all of these different things? Should I just focus on one? Ah but they're all so interesting! (something intriguing I read in an article recently: apparently Japan is eager to hire foreign engineers...can you confirm this @Reno F?)

My exams have also been pretty difficult. Had Thermo on Wednesday, Dynamics today. What a mess. Literally my Thermo exam had ONE engineering problem to solve...and I had no idea what I was doing. At least the Katakana quiz was easy...

So yeah all of this kinda just hit me at once, and...sadness. I also learned today that I'm probably not studying nearly as much as I should be. A tutor told me I should be studying two hours per credit per week. That's 28 hours, on top of classes, basically a full time job. My advisor told me 20-40 hours...you can't Slight Edge that! I feel like such a fool for thinking that was going to work.

Okay I'm done ranting. At least I'm feeling a tiny bit better now. More exams next week. Goodnight.

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@JSmith I can confirm, but it doesn't mean Japan is looking for foreigners. Companies are just open to them. One thing is for sure: You gotta have to have your Japanese in business level to work in Japan. Most of the companies that hire foreigners on that kind of job expect you to have your japanese certified by the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at N2 level.

I can also confirm what your tutor said. You must be a full time student to be able to do well and graduate from an engineering course (unless it is something like environment engineering or production engineering. but we are talking about REAL engineering, right?). It costed me two years to realize that. It was only after I finished my english course, quit my music classes and left my punk rock band that things started to go well for me at the university (I also forgot completely about games and dragonball, my favorite tv show at that time). Another crucial thing was to make friends and join study groups. I have seen some people that had good enough brains and strong enough discipline to do everything by themselves, only counting on their books and teachers for help (One of my classmates worked for NASA, I still can't believe it). But for me, it was after I started a study group with some classmates that I found motivation and was able to build momentum to get through the toughest disciplines.

Space technology will soon become comercial. There are big names investing in it already (Jeff Bezos, from Amazon for example, check out his project), and I think space tourism is just around the corner. From what I can see, you seem to be passionate enough to have your place in the industry. Or, you could also die trying (Casey Neistat video, thank Cam for the link)

As a side note, don't stop taking care of your health. You will need it to succeed.

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Space technology will soon become comercial. There are big names investing in it already (Jeff Bezos, from Amazon for example, check out his project), and I think space tourism is just around the corner. From what I can see, you seem to be passionate enough to have your place in the industry. Or, you could also die trying (Casey Neistat video, thank Cam for the link)

THAT'S the biggest problem I have...I don't want to die still trying to achieve my dreams. That sounds like failure. Even if my efforts ultimately contributed even 1% to humanity one day achieving interstellar travel, would it even matter? I'd be dead, unable to see the fruits of my own labor. I did watch the video.

(this is my reflection post btw...had to add this once I saw how long it was getting)

Even though I've done the detox...I feel so far from any measure of victory. I'm sorry to sound so negative when I see people virtually jumping for joy on this site after such an achievement (which is why I'm hesitant to post on the thread you linked @Cam Adair), but it really doesn't seem like I've made a dramatic life change or anything. I must be in a depressed mood or something. Which is confirmation that my Bupropion is legitimately not working anymore...it hasn't been for the last week. About an hour actually went by between that first paragraph and this one, all because I was just spiraling in my own thoughts for a while. I hate it when that happens. Yeah I did exactly what you told me not to do... 

Since I hadn't really planned on doing much today anyways, I figured why not go back and see some of the games I was playing right before I started the detox. Primarily those mobile games I used to put a TON of time into on my phone. It was fun at first, seeing all of the new content I hadn't been around for, but after a few hours I realized it was basically the same crap as before. Once the new feeling wears away it's just grind mode, chasing that next "big" goal (and they never stop) until either you get it after several months or pay money, which I'm absolutely never doing again, so I just deleted them. I even tried playing a game on my laptop, one of those small indie strategy games it can actually run, and it was the same thing. Fun at first, but after a while it just felt so draining...like back when I used to play those one time strategy games (Game Dev Tycoon, Banished, XCOM...) for DAYS at a time trying some "ultimate" strategy I've concocted, iterating over and over again with a sickening obsession until I eventually burned myself out...not the best feeling in the end.

So I should be all set then, right? Clearly I don't want to play games anymore. Well, not exactly. It's been a very long time since I've played the games I was REALLY into. The MMO's/MOBA's/RTS/Sim games I needed my desktop for. Like it's been about 10 months since I played SWTOR, one of my favorite games of all time (despite it's many many design flaws...damn good storytelling though). Or War Thunder, pretty much the best flight combat sim ever made (it took me two years to unlock my first jet aircraft...also flawed but so beautiful). And don't even get me started on Kerbal Space Program...

What I felt over time happening was that raw urge to play games in general was decreasing, but it never quite went away. Like a neutron star, a tiny fraction of what it once was, but never burning out completely. I thought I had finally found another source of intense excitement and stimulation when I learned about the aerospace design competitions, but we haven't even started them yet. And now I'm just neck deep in classwork...and I'm just realizing I have to work even harder than I've been working, and I still have these moments of fleeting confidence in my own pursuits. If I had to think of another cringeworthy scientific analogy, it would be combustion instability...

I think it's my fault though, to be honest. I've been looking for a new laptop to replace this old thing, and I just haven't been able to keep my eyes off the new gaming laptops that are popping up. This is where it gets dangerous. The line between gaming desktop machine and high performance laptop is getting so unbelievably thin now...most of the laptops that have what I DO want in a fast machine (lots of ram, ssd, core i7, etc.) also have what makes me nervous (desktop grade gpu...), and the standard commercial laptops seem way overpriced now in comparison. Yeah I suppose it would be simple to just get an okay machine with integrated graphics...if I was okay with stuttering while trying to do something as basic as watch high quality video, or possibly being unable to run Solidworks (the student edition is surprisingly cheap), which to be honest I'm not. Yeah it's risky, but I also hate being limited.

Maybe it would be the same thing as with today, maybe I would get bored of those other games too. Maybe I wouldn't. But the point is I can't just say "oh I'm so done with gaming forever now..." because that's just not the truth. It just isn't. Maybe the best thing I can do right now is to just not buy anything, and wait until the semester ends AT LEAST. I can't afford to go haywire in the middle of the things...that would be very bad. Plus I'm not entirely sure what my living arrangements are going to be for Winter Break; all I know is that I have no intention of returning to where I came from, but that's a completely different story.

For what it's worth, I did the detox, so at least I can say I tried things the other way. Thank you to anyone who has been following along, and thank you Cam for setting up such a supportive community. Maybe I'll keep things going with some sort of post-detox journal or something, we'll see.

P.S. Jeff and Elon would totally be working together right now if Elon hadn't ignored him...now they're competing. How sad is that?

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Congratulations on your completed detox, J!

First step was made, where is gonna be the next? :).

It would be nice to read your updates maybe every week or so. But then again, if you've heard your calling, go for it!

PS: I like how Elon described SpaceX in the careers section: SpaceX is like Special Forces… we do the missions that others think are impossible. We have goals that are absurdly ambitious by any reasonable standard, but we’re going to make them happen. We have the potential here at SpaceX to have an incredible effect on the future of humanity and life itself. — Elon Musk

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 10.4.2016 | Post-Detox Day 1

Technically this is day 4, but the last few days have been kind of a mess. The numbers don't really matter all that much now anyways.

I have to be honest, I never saw myself at this point. A post detox journal? Holy heck. I guess I'm doing this because I could still use the support of this community during this semester; I've made a lot of progress compared to earlier semesters but I've by no means figured it all out or anything. The same goes for gaming. I really just don't know where I am with this...THING yet. As I mentioned in my not-so-extravagant final reflection post, I've been struggling internally with wanting to get a new computer, one that could let me play games, even though I'm still dealing with school. And after "experimenting" over the last couple days, I've come to the conclusion that gaming now would be an absolutely terrible idea.

So I'm not going to. For the rest of the semester. My current thinking is, if I do well at the end of the year grade-wise, then perhaps I can mess around during winter break without feeling guilty. I'll have earned that at least. So, my target gpa is 3.2 or higher, which seems more than reasonable given where I am currently. I could probably shoot for higher, but given my tendency to be overly hard on myself, probably not the best idea. If I reach that mark, then I'll reward myself with a laptop purchase of whatever kind I want (granted I can afford it...). Best resolution for now I think.

I've also decided, while I've made decent progress on destroying negative gaming habits, why not pick up a new challenge. So now I'm attacking porn usage. This one I actually want to kill outright, so I guess that would literally mean no more porn...ever, but I'll try not to think that far ahead for now. Let's just see where I am by the end of the semester.

This should be fun!

Had a deep conversation with a mentor I'm seeing on campus, related to some doubts I was having about engineering lately. Basically I told him the same stuff I've been saying here, to which he responded pretty much in the same way I've alluded to in this post. Basically it seems I've just been thinking way too far ahead, and being too hard on myself. It's great to have long term ambitions, but I can't focus on them in the expense of the moment. I need to make sure I get this foundation, this degree, before moving on to anything else. It's actually kind of comforting to think about that way; now I feel less pressured to do so many things at once, like I was trying to do during the summer. Although it was suggested that I certainly stick to writing and karate, since they both seem to benefit me pretty well.

Ran into a girl I worked with over the summer (actually she was my boss haha). She suggested catching up over lunch one day, which surprised me, because nobody's ever said that to me...I'm sure it's not a big deal, and I wonder how serious she actually was about it. Buuuut I removed her number from my phone weeks ago, so I guess I'm leaving it to Infinite Intelligence (that means whatever you want it to mean).

Based on the recent quantitative studying advice I recieved, I was supposed to crank out 13 pomodoros today, to be on track for 26 hours a week. But I only did 8. But that's more than 6, so I consider it progress.

Shit, not 13. 16. No comment. Tomorrow's target is 7, but I also have more scheduled classes, so I'll need to make sure I'm using my time wisely. Y'all are awesome.

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Captain's Log - JSmith | 10.5.2016 | Post-Detox Day 2

Physics exam tomorrow. I should be more prepared...but I'm not. Did a little bit of work in the afternoon, but crashed after Dynamics. That class is really hard...

At least I did pretty well on my Japanese Oral Exam today. Forgot a couple vocabulary terms (casa, shinbun...so basic haha) but overall it wasn't really all that challenging. Hopefully I'll get better at speaking faster though. I probably sound like a 5 year old. xD

My roleplays are all dead. Yes, I got back into a couple just for shits and giggles, but they literally all stopped responding. It's almost as if people think they can just hide behind some massive wall of anonymity and just abandon the people they're involved with at whim without any repercussions...oh wait. Seriously though, it amazes me. Oh well, less distractions. I just hope I can keep my sanity...or just find a real person to be with. I feel like between this and my no porn challenge, things may get volatile in the future. Guess we'll just have to see.


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Captain's Log - JSmith | 10.5.2016 | Post-Detox Day 2

It's almost as if people think they can just hide behind some massive wall of anonymity and just abandon the people they're involved with at whim without any repercussions...oh wait.


In the roleplay I started, I had 3 other authors, 6 posts and 5 were written by me. fml

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