Chicago Luck

I have great luck in Chicago. Tonight, I came downstairs from my friend’s place, at the corner of a busy intersection and right in front of apartment and business doors, to see a single wheel attached to the sidewalk bike rack with a U-lock. Yes, that was where my bike was parked. I purchased that single-speed bike new two months ago and absolutely love it. I have been using it like crazy while being unemployed / being a student. Thank you, idiot, for stealing my bike. Stupid moron.

I have to admit, the people here are really good at what they do. To be able to pull that off in front of endless people walking by, other bikers, cars stopping and going, etc. is pretty impressive. Also, are there any whistleblowers out there?? Someone had to see at least part of this happen, or the aftermath: someone carrying a bike frame with a wheel missing. Chicago is notorious for its bike thieves, and this is one of the few times I parked mine outside for more than a couple hours. Of course, I pay for it.Yes, mine could have been locked more securely, but come on, what are the chances?

This is not my first brush with bad luck Chicago things happening to me in a short period of time. Not too long ago, I drove to see my friend, the same one as today, at his old apartment. I arrived at dinner time and parallel parked right in front of a busy four-way stop and some nice restaurants and bars, with big windows. With people sitting there, looking out at the cars. I made the mistake of leaving my GPS on the windshield. I realized it while we were playing a game upstairs, and if I looked out the huge window, I could easily see my car parked right in front of his place a floor below. “Curtis, you know this city is notorious for GPS thieves, right?” “Ehh I know, I should have put it away, but what are the chances? I will go down a little later and put it in the glove compartment. Or with my luck, it will probably be stolen already. Ha ha.” And we both agreed it would be perfectly fine to get after finishing dinner and the stupid game. Long story short, we went downstairs later in the evening, and my passenger window glass was all over the sidewalk, and my GPS was gone. Folks, this is in less than two hours, at the end of rush hour, in partial daylight, on a well-lit street, in a car with an alarm. As I was checking out the damage, many people walked by on the sidewalk, and about seven cars were stopped at the stop sign literally right next to my car. Where were these people when my car was getting broken into, and where was my alarm? Well the thief bypassed the alarm system, but how he/she avoided suspicion and was able to pull this off is a mystery to me.

So is there anything else that Chicago is notorious for that I should know about (besides gang violence)? Because I will probably experience it, as quickly as possible. The laws of probability don’t work for me, and this is true in many facets of my life. Yes, I was a little negligent in these circumstances, but it’s like I didn’t even get time to learn my lesson. I had previously only left my GPS out once or twice. I have locked my bike up better almost every single time. Thank you, Lady Luck, for teaching me such abrupt lessons, without cutting any slack. I guess you hold me to a higher standard.

This is the second bicycle I have ever had stolen. The first one was back in grade school and meant the world to me, as is common at that age. And I had that one a long period of time and took it all over the city and to Utah and Colorado and Wyoming, etc. with my dad. So this is not as important of a loss. Plus, I got this for a pretty cheap price, since it is a basic model. Life could be worse. But this was a very depressing end to the night.

I got mugged in Las Vegas before. That sucked. Not really mugged, but just threatened and had my money stolen. That is another story, but it was one of the worst nights of my life. Anyway, I can say I experienced the Big Three: I have been mugged, I have had my car broken into, and I have had my bike stolen. Even though these suck, if they are the worst things to happen to me, I can’t complain about my life. I am alive and healthy, and someone in the world has a decent bike, a nice navigation system, and 80 dollars they otherwise wouldn’t. I am doing Robin Hood a favor.

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The TI-83 Taboo

The Texas Instruments TI-83 scientific graphing calculator is an object of both affection and hatred for me. That was the calculator to have, back in high school. Especially the clear one (the TI-83 Plus silver edition) because it looked cool. Playing games during class was the hip thing to do: my favorite was dodgeball and whatever the icicle one was called. And, of course, Tetris.

Once college and finance classes came around, I found myself having to deal with other calculators. Finance professors like when students use financial calculators, and their reasoning for not allowing the TI-83 is because students can easily program them to assist in cheating. So students like me, who had no intentions whatsoever of even dreaming of programming the calculator to cheat, nor did I know how, were punished for the tiny number of people who actually did this. And if someone is smart enough to program a calculator, they probably don’t need it to cheat. The people who cheat most likely got the programs from the internet. The people who actually knew what they were doing in finance classes had no reason to cheat, and I can’t think of many ways you could cheat any finance calculations anyway.

It only bothered me a little that teachers were taking this precaution, until I realized how visual I am. Imagine typing a long research paper. Let’s pretend you can only see one word at a time, then it goes away once you start typing another word. No matter how sure you are of your good typing skills and vision, you still have the thought in the back of your mind that you could have made a mistake. How annoying would it be to have to write a paper like that? Well, that is how I feel when I use calculators. I am so obsessed with accuracy and seeing exactly what I input. Only after being sure of what I have entered can I trust the output. And with some functions such as present value and future value of money, you need to input multiple things, like years or months, payments, interest rates, etc. You’re telling me I am supposed to enter in a long array of separate things and just hope the computed result is right, without seeing exactly what went into it??

Screw the teachers. With the TI-83, the keys are big and spread out and the screen is huge. The screen holds so many numbers. No need for memory functions. No need to remember what you pressed last and hope it is right. Everything is on the screen for you. Everything you typed, easy to read. You can trust your answer when you see everything you put into the calculator. I have missed test problems before because of  a stupid calculator. One of the inputs, which is somewhere hidden in the calculator’s memory, was wrong, and if I could see it, I would probably have corrected the error. In my mind, it is not fair to just rely on something so loosely to come up with such important answers. And double checking is not exactly the easiest thing in the world in finance. In fact, sometimes you just have to hope you did it right the first time. That’s so stupid. In real life, computers do this work and, in the rare instances someone does use a calculator, more power to them if it is a TI-83 programmed to cheat, or to speed things up and come up with the right answer.

With the thought of actually missing test or homework problems because of not being able to see everything I put into a freaking calculator, and blindly relying on less than optimal technology only because of a few other idiots who cheated, I started losing my mind. In such an art, with the need for accuracy so imperative, it is not fair to use a dumb financial calculator. Naturally, I started sneaking in my TI-83. Teachers would come around and check our calculators, and I would put out my financial calculator for them to see. When they passed by, I would reach under my desk and pull out a hidden TI-83, the love of my life. I essentially cheated, even though I only used the calculator for its intended purpose. It felt even better because it was so wrong. But I also was making a stand for what was fair in my mind. I did get caught a couple times, but played the innocent, unaware card, which is so easy in classes with stupid business majors who are horribly inattentive.

Yes, because of a select few who cheated with their TI-83 calculators, I became a criminal every time I did financial calculations. It’s ridiculous that one of the most useful calculators in the world, especially advantageous to finance, cannot be used in any freaking finance class. I like to consider myself a patriot, though. I will defend my inalienable right to use a TI-83 and to be sure of the computed solution. Keep your heads up, fellow TI-83 supporters.

“Me”

Hello there.  Here is some necessary information about myself.

I seem to be a mix of things:  Extremely lucky yet horribly unlucky. Moralistic and sometimes too nice yet borderline evil. Clever yet dumb. Gifted at everything yet not very good at anything. Careless yet safe. Mature yet a six-year old. I am more distant from the world around me than anyone has ever been able to put into words. I am not part of the world. I am an onlooker of myself and care about next to nothing, and the things I care about are forced. I have a much different awareness than the rest of you. I see things as someone sees a character in a movie and, for some reason, I do not have much control over the outcome even though I am me.  Basically, I do not know myself at all. I know myself through whatever I have heard from friends who have tried to get to know me. My family does not know me at all. I am past the point of being indecisive. I do not make decisions. I try to “make a list of the positives and negatives” like you normal people do, but the degree of positive and negative changes in a matter of minutes, or the positives become negatives, so I just   make “decisions” to force myself into feeling conviction about something later, but it never works. An example of that on a large scale is the college I “chose” to attend. I have yet to “decide on” a career, or any path whatsoever at this point.

That’s me in a nutshell. It would be an interesting nutshell to crack open, you might think. This is what I hope to do.

I have a passion for many different things but I cannot find one, at all, in the world, to start pursuing.

I read a lot. I tend to gravitate toward existential works, mainly in the form of fiction; I understand better indirectly (as opposed to philosophical existential texts) and in a story format with real-life scenarios and thoughts and musings and dialogues of characters I relate to. I love Dostoevsky. He thinks rationally and logically. Our minds are extremely similar, but he has a better way of expressing himself.

I’ve traveled a lot. Driving is the way to go, and I like getting away from the big cities and touristy things, but sometimes finding a niche in the big city is just as fulfilling as finding myself alone watching the sun hit the waves and the trees beautifully along the Pacific Coast. I often am more anxious than happy to see nature at its finest because I do not know what to do with it. How do I capture it? Sometimes fulfillment only comes from looking at pictures after the fact, but in the moment, I cannot seem to find it.

Sometimes I have insomnia, and sometimes I sleep like a baby. It is 4 am, so you can probably guess what I am not doing. My posts will lack much organization at all, much like my mind, so I don’t really care. It might even get annoying at times. The mind of someone with ADHD, obsessive anxiety, social anxiety, and God knows what other neuroses (my new doctor is testing me next week for manic depression / bipolar disorder) is not exactly the easiest to follow.

I am writing this blog in order to find out a little about myself and to get a little practice writing. When I was a child, I had many stories published, won awards, etc. I always wanted to be an author and a paleontologist. I hope writing this on a somewhat regular basis will help reignite the passion I used to have for writing and the ease with which I let my imagination flow, because I do not plan on digging for dinosaur bones anytime soon.

I’ll pass on putting thought into making this post flow, so the next paragraph, I have decided, will be a quick note before I go.

I care about the people who care about me a lot more than they think, deep down.  I hope anyone who reads that knows it. I hope to write again soon. Maybe when I am really low, or really high, or absurdly tired, or procrastinating. Or just when I am normal. I have little clue what the non-extremes are like, though, so don’t expect the neutral side of me. On that note, goodnight.