The "Productive"

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Getting Better At Faking It

I've been opening a lot of doors recently (both literally and metaphorically speaking) especially ever since my last post. I guess I've been trying to prove to everyone, including myself, that I am capable of bringing out and expressing my softer side. The thing about putting your thoughts on display for the whole public to see is that you start holding yourself more accountable to your own words. It's honestly a good disciplining process since no one likes admitting their own wrongdoings. It's like telling your ego to go fuck off and no one likes treating their ego like that. It's not nice. But sometimes a little self-intervention is necessary in order to keep everything in check and make sure we're not getting ahead of ourselves. I guess Louis would agree with me in that we're all moral hypocrites to some extent:
“I have a lot of beliefs, and I live by none of ’em. That’s just the way I am. They’re just my beliefs. I just like believing them. I like that part. They’re my little believies; they make me feel good about who I am.” - Louis CK
While he is exaggerating for comedic purposes, Louis does make a good point about how we're not always morally in sync with ourselves. Battling our inner demons is something we do on a daily basis. We can't always be that super nice guy/gal that we think we should be. It's just impossible to leave perfect impressions and make everyone happy all the time. This is why I've begun to embrace my darker side a lot more recently. As much as I would love to cuss my boss out and throw him out of the window from time to time, I've learned to fake a smile instead while keeping my imagination active. And yes, I know, I went on a rant about people faking their smiles just last week and here I am acting like one of those people. But see, I feel like this kind of hypocrisy is justified. I've had to change my attitude and behavior as a result of living in a new environment. While my opinions haven't undergone a full 180°they are certainly less radical. This, however, does not suggest that I've become any more content with "work" if I even choose to call it that. I'm constantly testing to see how far I can push past my limitations while remaining out of trouble. I'm sorry but that is a part of my nature that I simply can't let go. I would rather die than be forced to work for the man. This is why I've begun to direct my energy on writing blogs. I thought that it would be a good entrepreneurial skill to have if I want to at least begin to steer away from that 9-5 lifestyle. What I didn't realize was the added benefits that naturally comes with writing on a consistent basis. Speaking from my measly 2-week experience, I'm noticing that my conversations are a lot more articulate, I'm more focused in general, and that my vocabulary has significantly improved. It feels like I'm at least being somewhat rewarded for all those hours spent trying to squeeze as many SAT words as I could in my head for that stupid reading section. So ya, sorry for the ramblings. After just taking a one-week break from writing, I'm feeling a little rusty again so sorry if it didn't meet your expectations. I'm still getting used to this new routine so the least I can do is continue writing on a consistent basis. Hopefully, when I look back at these earlier blogs in the future, I'll get a good sense of progress and chuckle at some of these lame writing attempts.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Two Similar Souls: My Tribute to Max Chambers and Kyle Bowersox

I broke down crying last night and woke up with wet tears, unable to let go memories of the contagious laughs Max Chambers and Kyle Bowersox bestowed upon us. It’s tragic how we hold on to these unexpressed feelings and thoughts until it’s too late. All that we can do now is tenaciously hold on to those beautiful memories that only seem to shine brighter with everyday that goes by without them. Thank you for reminding us not to take this precious life of ours for granted, and how we need to make it our personal mission to soothe the aching hearts that surround us. Your timeless energy and impalpable passion for life will not only echo through the halls of Simpson and Lassiter long after you've been gone, but also resonate in the hearts of everyone that you’ve touched. I'm fighting back these tears so desperately with every sentence that I write only to be overwhelmed by feelings of bliss and my sudden new outlook on life. Your unconditional love towards humanity has enabled me, and many others to finally break loose and express these bottled-up emotions that we have kept inside us for so long. Max, you were an artistic genius in the making. Thank you for bringing so much life to to Spanish class by turning it into an improv comedy club starring you. I don't know how that crazy brain of yours was able to seesaw through so many different characters so consistently. You gave us a talent that gave us all something beautiful to look forward to everyday, as we could never get enough of you buddy. Kyle, I should have known you were a Marine all along. I think everyone can agree that you were just an old man trapped in a skinny, teenage body. There was always an air of profound wisdom that accompanied your bright smile, almost as if you had already been through all of life's highs and lows and was trying to show us the bigger purpose of life. And now, I suddenly can't help but express how my heart goes out to all those families who have had such precious souls taken away from them so prematurely. All I can do is relate and think of how my parents would feel to have a son, who they've sacrificed their entire lives for, be taken away from them in a blink of a second. It just melts my heart even more every time I think about it. I am faithful, however, that we as a community of mothers & fathers, sons & daughters, sisters & brothers, and lovers & friends will be able to come closer together now more than ever. We will learn from the life lessons that Max and Kyle gave us so naturally through their pure love for life. We will learn to take pleasure in the simpler things that life has to offer us. We will learn to complain less about what this life has offered us and make sure to give more than we get. If you pay close attention, you will be able to find love at every corner in your day-to-day life, and it's a shame that we're often so preoccupied by our own selfish motives to truly see it. If only I could write forever about the tremendous impact you two have had on people, even to those that you weren't aware of, I would. But I know that no words will do justice in the end. So I will end with three words that I have begun to say more often in recent days: I love you.

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's Okay, No One's Forcing You to Smile

The next time you catch yourself forcing your cheek bones to produce a haphazard smile, just please ask yourself this one question: Was the person on the receiving end of this interaction going to spontaneously combust if you didn’t smile?

This topic has been a particular interest of mine ever since I’ve stepped foot in America, so please keep in mind that I’m not trying to be an asshole as I will be giving the PC police the bird throughout this post. I’m humbly trying to give my two cents regarding the bullshits, as I see it, I’ve had to become accustomed to and accept. (At this time, all those with an I Get Offended By Nearly Everything Syndrome can politely close this tab)

So what instigated this post?

A co-worker who walks past my desk everyday and seriously makes me question his sanity/motives due to the combination of his permagrin and his thousand-yard stare.

Please tell me that that’s just not normal. Only in the states would you be able to witness such a phenomena.

Oh you’re telling me he’s just a really happy guy. Yes, happiness is an emotional state, but laughing or smiling requires a strong stimulus and unless he’s peaking on molly or just really high every time he passes by my desk, I honestly can’t wrap my head around how a mortal being could behave so deliriously.

While I understand that this is an extreme case, I want to now focus my attention on the general population and point out that there are a lot of bad actors out there. Let’s face it, we’ve all witnessed both genuine smiles and fake smiles and whenever I see the latter, I just can’t help but ask myself:


Now I’m not talking about bad smiles that arise during first impressions. I’m strictly referring to those that occur during mid-conversations, the ones that are forcibly slipped in and consequently give off an “awkward” vibe. The reason I say “awkward” with quotations is because that word did not mean anything to me for 10 years because there’s literally no formal definition/ cultural understanding of the word in Persian. Whenever a conversation does not go in the direction the participants intended for it to go, rather than perceiving the situation as “awkward” and freak out about it, most foreign people dismiss it and remain apathetic towards it.

So what’s the reasoning behind these cultural differences?

I have no idea. All I do know is that this has led me to a stereotype:

People from the states are generally soft people (Especially now more than ever with the emergence of the diseased ridden PC culture)

Please note that I’m not saying everyone is this way, I’m just stating my opinion in the form of a stereotype to help with my generalization.
There have been too many times where I’ve attempted to engage in more real conversations by bringing controversial topics to the table only to be misunderstood and dismissed as being insensitive and causing offence. My biggest sympathy goes to South Park’s last aired episode (S9 e03) and its take on PC culture. I must warn you, however, that this episode is one of the dullest episodes ever aired and I hope you can discern the message they’re trying to convey. It’s truly ironic how censored we’re becoming in a nation that was founded on the foundation of free speech.
This is one of the reasons why I love travelling back to my motherland every once in a while. It gives me a good sense of all the imperfections that exists in both cultures and is honestly a good detox and change of atmosphere.
Anyone observing the general American population for the first time immediately sees how fragile some people’s emotions are and it’s kind of adorable at first to be honest.
I’ve witnessed too many people easily lose their footing mid-conversation over the most insignificant things. I’m not saying that I don’t recognize/create awkward situations. I do; however, I just handle it like how I was programmed to handle it growing up: dismiss it and move on.

I hope this gives you all a little bit of my perspective and understanding of some of the things I see “wrong” with our current generation especially in the last couple of months. I would really appreciate hearing the viewpoints of all you readers out there and so I’ll conclude with a few final questions:

How Politically Correct are you in your day-to-day life?

Why do people stress "awkward" feelings here more than any other nation?

Saturday, October 3, 2015


So I just finished reading 4 blog posts on how to find blog topics to write about and every single post just messed with my head even more than the previous one. I get the feeling that all these do's and don'ts that websites like these fill you up with leaves you feeling even more clueless. The fact that the web has gotten bombarded by these Buzzfeed-styled websites is quite disheartening to be honest. People's need for a TL;DR version of everything they read due to having the attention span of a goldfish makes finding good reads a taxing process. Additionally, I can't really hate on the content creators that mass produce these dull, "feel-good" websites. To find the catalyst behind such shameless output of mediocre content, all it takes is one look at your Facebook News Feed and counting the number of people that have shared Elite daily, Thought Catalog, and other brain-melting sites akin to these that make you want to stab a sorority girl who takes her "best big ever" motto too seriously. Sorry if that seems unnecessarily violent but that's what I think about doing every time I witness a person doing this kind of systematic damage to modern journalism.

Alright... let me take a step back as to not fully engage rant mode. With this only being my 3rd post, however, I must confess it feels good to be flushing out the toxins from my system. I strongly encourage you all y'all to try this medium of letting yourself loose. The good news is that the daunting writing process is especially easy in the beginning stage. I say this because I know that a lot of you sexy generation-y kids out there have cultivated strong opinions about various topics by now but have never had the opportunity to truly express them. Well, this is one good way of doing just that and I assure you that it only gets easier! I'm finding this outlet much more satisfying than endlessly browsing for that one post that "gets" you. I will admit that at times, I find it hard to resist the urge of becoming a zombie and chain-reading those "Top 15 ways to XYZ" sites for 3 hours straight. Eventually, however, especially if you're constantly reading those existential "what is life" posts (Yes, I'm sadly speaking from experience), you start losing grasp of your own beliefs and qualities that make you unique. You slowly begin to get filled up with the theories of these soul-sucking monsters that write such atrocities for a living.

Having only been 3 days since the day I started writing this blog, however, I've began to feel more in tune and at ease with myself than ever before. I also keep finding myself carefully taking notes of my immediate thoughts and actions (for blogging purposes) and realizing that I had been oblivious to certain character flaws that still need a lot of tweaking. However, since I'm still a newborn blogger, I'm going to greedily attempt to gain the appeal of the mass by doing this just once, I swear:

Top 10 reasons lists like these are stupid:


Actually I'll stop right here since I think you already know what I'm thinking (Someone out there has probably already posted this exact list).

Working 9-5 for the Rest of Your Life?

I'm just now realizing that this (blogging) is something I had wanted to do for a really long time. It's allowing me to experience that childhood energy that I had so long forgotten. Looking back at it, and by that I mean yesterday, I guess I hit the pinnacle of boredom and something in me just snapped. The flame of my passion had just died and I had to find a torch to heat that bad boy back up (No that's not a reference to smoking dabs). While I do admit that I cannot be holding high expectations with regard to my workload, there's just something about a 9-5 that gives you a bitter taste of mortality. I cringe at the thought of being content with working in a modernized prison. But when it comes to college and living independently, money has the ability to transform you into a walking hypocrite and is the reason for why I've chosen to stick along thus far. And speaking of money, I'm learning the hard way that it is an education in itself and mastering it is no easy task. So what have I learned so far?

You don't have to give Uncle Sam an interest free loan!

For an internship or Co-op that usually lasts half a year or less, your salary most likely puts you on the lower spectrum of the tax bracket. This means that you're probably not going to end up owing the government too much in taxes. Use the IRS withholding calculator to find out the number of allowances you should claim when filling out your W-4. You can expect this number to be as high as 5, but in the end it ultimately comes down to your own personal preference. If you're the kind of student that's living on a check by check basis and could use some extra green in your bank account, then you can claim a higher allowance and increase your paycheck. This comes with the only downside being that you won't get that much money back in tax returns.

Unfortunately for me and many other fresh meats, money is currently the elephant in the room. While it's hard to ignore it at the time, there is a silver lining that comes with it. And that's getting to know yourself better. While there are cases of people hitting the jackpot and working at their dream job right out of the gate, that is rarely the case. As you survive another day at work, you start inquiring about your future and all sorts of hypotheticals. For me, being payed by the hour makes time feel a little bit more surreal. Yesterday, after completing my normal 8 hour shift, I reflected back and wondered how many of those hours I had spent simply killing time. Upon revelation, I reacted by impulsively writing my first legitimate blog and now this one a day after. Anyway, I feel like that's enough writing for my second post. For some reason, I was beginning to force myself to keep writing near the end there. Oh wait that's right, I was confusing it with work and forgot that I don't have a gun pointed at my head. Until my next post, keep it sexy!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Don't Read This Boss

I've recently started working at lololololol as a Software Engineer Co-op, and here's the thing: I HAVE A LOT OF FREE TIME! To be completely honest, I find this to be both a blessing and a curse. Everyday, I feign productivity by having an ungodly amount of tabs opened on my browser while maintaining the ratio of work related tabs to non-work related tabs 1:1 for continuity purposes. I must admit, it felt liberating at first to be able to browse Reddit, watch work-related Youtube videos when actually listening to Mac Miller's new album, embellish my LinkedIn profile, and read the Wikipedia page of almost every musician in the 27 club. To be clear, this is not to say that I'm a slacker or that my boss is apathetic. In fact, we're both complete opposites of those descriptions. It ultimately boils down to working at a large plant and the red tape that comes with it. Getting projects approved and gaining access to company technologies is not as easy as 1, 2, 3 unfortunately. Let's just say the process takes longer than the time it takes for most bills to be passed by Congress. And although my boss strives to find as many mini projects/tasks for me to work on, it simply does not fully satisfy my hunger. Even aimlessly browsing the web in the hopes of making the clock tick faster doesn't really work anymore. That is why today, I want to start doing something with longevity and purpose. Heck, I haven't even written a paragraph this long in three years, and right now I'm suddenly reminded of the therapeutic effect it had always had on me! I guess engineering schools have a knack for sucking the souls of innocent young minds. Anyway, I plan on writing consistent blogs about my work experience to not only sustain my sanity, but to hopefully provide some pointers to those that are planning out their future careers, or (inclusive (sorry but I'm a CS major)) to simply sympathize with those who can relate.