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Old 11-10-2013, 05:23 AM   #51
johnny 187
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

The changes I should make are all the obvious ones - exercise, join a club, go back to school, drink less, smoke less, etc....

The things I'm actually trying to focus on are becoming a more playful person and having a more optimistic attitude.
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Old 11-10-2013, 09:40 AM   #52
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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There are some very nice things about being me, but the negatives are pretty severe. Did I mention I haven't been in a relationship ever and I haven't had sex this millenium? Envy that. I wonder how many asexuals take on that label as a way of pretending they choose to be alone.

Then again I'm not even trying.
Why beat yourself up about it? It's over, the past is done. If you want to get laid, I'm sure you could. Make up for the last 10 years.

What I envy is your potential, which you don't seem to think you have much of.

Come out to cali, I'll get you laid. Haha
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #53
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Also, steve, you may have mentioned this earlier, but is going back to school an option for you?

I had similar feelings as you do a year or two ago, and going back to school gave me a sense of purpose and coincidentally I found a field of study I really enjoy and want to pursue. Try to think of it this way - most people spend their entire lives working 40+ hours a week to achieve what you already have. You've basically skipped that, and I know it feels like a negative thing, but a lot of people would kill to be 40 and effectively be retired. No one on their deathbed says "Aw man, I wish I had worked more."
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Old 11-10-2013, 03:11 PM   #54
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Have you tried to think about death? I mean the moment you do or don't do something, think " What option would I want to had taken on a death bed". For me that sets often priorities right way. Would I wished to have had a job, or rather not. I mean time is cruel and you have at least to try to spend it so, that you have no regrets on a death bed.


LOL. read the poster above after have written my post. You seem to read quite often about this death bed thing.

am now through the whole blog. You could donate all your money, so that you have to do something sensfull. You could visit a psychiatrist and speak about insomnia and lack of drive. (depression?).

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Old 11-11-2013, 03:56 AM   #55
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Originally Posted by johnny 187 View Post
Instead of changing I choose to feed my comfortable routines and addictions.

While I am not personally well off I have strong family and that is my safety net.

My situation is complicated and perversely frustrating. I have many genetic gifts but extreme introversion has been the defining struggle of my life.
I don't know how old you are, but the awareness of whatever gifts you might have will hang over you more and more uncomfortably the older you get if you don't do anything to develop them. I used to take pride in being talented and not having to work very hard for a lot of things, and now it's a source of embarrassment when I think about how little I made of myself. Your capacities will diminish and your bad habits will become more deeply engrained. Start taking steps toward doing whatever it is you believe you should be doing now, because it won't get any easier.
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:58 AM   #56
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Why beat yourself up about it? It's over, the past is done. If you want to get laid, I'm sure you could. Make up for the last 10 years.

What I envy is your potential, which you don't seem to think you have much of.

Come out to cali, I'll get you laid. Haha
I've got a high opinion of my potential in some areas anyway. Lack of discipline and work ethic though, this **** is not so easy to change. As for the other thing, it's not even so much that I want to get laid. What I want is a relationship. But I'm so defensive and closed off that it's pretty much impossible for anything to happen. I think it's not even worth the attempt until I start to feel better about myself, so other areas of development have to come first.

If it was just about getting laid, I'm more or less average looking for non-obese guys my age (bonus for being 6'1, deduction for hair loss) so with the right game or whatever and reasonable standards that wouldn't be a problem. Acting awkwardly like I generally do around women, followed by outright sabotage if things start to get physical, obviously that's a different story. (The awkward part isn't even 100% true with women I click with. The self-sabotage if things get physical is though.)
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Old 11-11-2013, 11:26 AM   #57
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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I think I'll go to South America this winter. Either Argentina or Chile. I've been working on my Spanish pretty haphazardly with the idea of this trip in the back of my mind, so time to make it happen. I've been reading the Spanish version of Fight Club one chapter, then the same chapter in English. This is proceeding at a snail's pace and I've been at it for months but just a few chapters to go now. After this I'll save my Spanish reading for books actually written in Spanish though. Not much payoff when I could just read the original in English. Damn insomnia.
may i suggest reading "corazón tan blanco" by javier marias and "la sombra del viento" by carlos ruiz zafon. "ardiente paciencia" by antonio skármeta is supposedly also very good but i never got into it and put it aside after a few pages.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:21 PM   #58
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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I've got a high opinion of my potential in some areas anyway. Lack of discipline and work ethic though, this **** is not so easy to change. As for the other thing, it's not even so much that I want to get laid. What I want is a relationship. But I'm so defensive and closed off that it's pretty much impossible for anything to happen. I think it's not even worth the attempt until I start to feel better about myself, so other areas of development have to come first.

If it was just about getting laid, I'm more or less average looking for non-obese guys my age (bonus for being 6'1, deduction for hair loss) so with the right game or whatever and reasonable standards that wouldn't be a problem. Acting awkwardly like I generally do around women, followed by outright sabotage if things start to get physical, obviously that's a different story. (The awkward part isn't even 100% true with women I click with. The self-sabotage if things get physical is though.)
Yea, I've been there. Granted you're a little older than me, but not by a ton. 40's young dude. What concerns me is your belief in the relative permanence of your situation - which seriously just can't be the case.

I think a lot of your issues are probably related to depression. That can be a hard funk to climb out of.
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Old 11-11-2013, 01:57 PM   #59
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

I recommend volunteering Steve. Anywhere, doing anything. It lets you meet nice people and is an ideal way to build up some kind of social network again. Also, volunteers tend to be in a precarious life position like yourself and as a result are a lot less judgmental than the general population. It is also very rewarding working for people who are sincerely grateful for you being there.

Just a thought. It's working for me at the moment anyway, and I'm normally the most cynical person in the world.
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:52 PM   #60
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Also, steve, you may have mentioned this earlier, but is going back to school an option for you?

I had similar feelings as you do a year or two ago, and going back to school gave me a sense of purpose and coincidentally I found a field of study I really enjoy and want to pursue. Try to think of it this way - most people spend their entire lives working 40+ hours a week to achieve what you already have. You've basically skipped that, and I know it feels like a negative thing, but a lot of people would kill to be 40 and effectively be retired. No one on their deathbed says "Aw man, I wish I had worked more."
I guess going back to school is always an option, and I test well, so I could probably make that happen if I wanted to. I've been through a lot of schooling already though, and the thought of going back just basically makes me feel sad. I'm not saying that's any kind of a reason, but that's how I feel about it, so there. My schooling history in brief:

I was a zero effort B student in high school but did well enough on the PSAT & SAT to be a national merit finalist. So of course it was assumed by everyone that I'd be going to college. I really didn't want to go. High school sucked and that felt like more of the same. But I also didn't have any kind of a plan about what else to do, so college it was. My dad, now retired, was an engineer and ran a manufacturing business and he thought I should be an engineer too. I thought, whatever, I have no idea. Physics maybe? But like I said, I didn't much want to do anything other than be done with school. Ended up in the electrical and computer engineering program at Carnegie Mellon, put in a pathetic effort that was just barely enough to keep me from failing. Dropped out on my own after 3 semesters. I knew what I wanted to do in the following sense: "Anything but this." Bussed tables at Big Boy for the next year (I had a vague sense that there was a sizeable stock portfolio with my name on it, but wasn't really sure it was actually mine to do with as I please, and my dad was non-communicative on that point. What he did make clear was that if I wasn't going to school I would damn well get a job.) That was fine with me. Honestly I was happier bussing tables than being an engineering student.

But after a year of that, I started to get the idea that it was time to go to college. Since I still didn't know what I wanted to study though, I got the idea (and in retrospect I think this is pretty dumb and a waste of money) that I would pick the most general major possible while I figured it out. With my barely passing grades from CMU I couldn't get into University of Michigan, so I ended up at Michigan State as an interdisciplinary humanities major. At least this time my effort level was decent and I got the degree.

After that I worked at Borders Books, which for an entry level job in retail wasn't too bad. Working at a bookstore you get to spend time around people who read. Eventually I'd been there long enough that it was time for me to make the move up to a management position, but I found the idea of being in charge of anything at all and having people report to me really unpleasant. Time to go back to college! Like I posted earlier, I'd always had some level of interest in computers, so I enrolled in the computer science department at a local tech school. I might be misusing that term, it was a four year university, but not very prestigious and pretty small.

This time I was pretty focused on my studies (by my standards anyway), and found that computer programming and the related mathematics were a natural fit. Since it was a small school and I was one of the star students within the department, all the professors knew who I was and I was being strongly encouraged to go for a PhD. (to be continued)
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:31 PM   #61
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Why not go to India/Buddhist retreat, or something fun like that?
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:10 PM   #62
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More.

Finding this blog strangely fascinating thus far.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:35 AM   #63
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Wow, so it seems like Computer Science is more than a passing interest. Hm, I had no idea you'd attended so much school.

It's really tough dealing with low motivation, and something I've struggled with my whole life. I can imagine if I came into a significant amount of money I'd be exactly where you are right now. cept probably more coked out.
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Old 11-13-2013, 01:47 AM   #64
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Why not go to India/Buddhist retreat, or something fun like that?
I do have plans to travel somewhere in South America and was just thinking about that today. What was making me feel unenthusiastic about it and thus drag my feet, was that I don't want to get somewhere and then have nothing to do other than see tourist attractions. So I think a good way to set it up would be to enroll in a language course while I'm there. Maybe something that meets just a few days a week but something to give the trip structure, plus it would be a way to meet people. So that trip is making more sense to me now and I think I'll actually go through with it.

Instead of a Buddhist retreat, what I've thought about along those lines (but I'm a little scared to do it so I probably won't), is an Ayahuasca retreat. The guy I heard talking about it on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast was as I recall using it to get over a drug addiction (so ironic), but it sounded like it could be useful for anyone in a rut looking to re-evaluate their life, and I'm there. I'm not sure just how different this kind of a trip would be from asking someone to hit me in the head with a shovel repeatedly though. So like I said, probably not going to do that. I might try going not quite so deep down the rabbit hole at first.
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Old 11-13-2013, 03:31 AM   #65
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Continuing... I wasn't too sure about getting a Phd, not that I was against it, but my motivation was unclear. Lots of encouragement though, my professors had their Phd's and seemed to think I should get one too. Good enough then, I was in a supportive environment and people I respected were taking an interest in my future, so I applied myself to the one part of the task I felt confident I could handle. I studied for the GRE and got a near-perfect score. I was pretty sure I'd be getting strong recommendations from my professors. I was interested in artificial intelligence / cognitive science / machine learning type stuff, so those were the kind of programs I applied to. Not all the schools were interested (**** you MIT!) but a few were, University of Michigan and University of Rochester in particular (that's Rochester NY, though there's a Rochester MI too).

One difference between applying to grad school and undergrad is that graduate departments will take a more active role in pursuing the applicants they like. So early in the process, I'm already having second thoughts about why I'm doing any of this because I'm not too sure I belong in grad school anyway, but UM and Rochester both want me to visit and are willing to pay for my airfare and hotel room. Which with UM, I wasn't really that far away so there was no need for the airfare part of it, but I still took advantage of the free hotel room. I really think part of the reason I didn't back out of the process right away was because I enjoyed feeling like a big shot with all the personal attention I was getting.

Shortly after the visit my application to UM was accepted and they offered me a Phd fellowship, 5 years fully funded plus stipend, but Rochester had me wait-listed and was by that point my first choice. It took until the last possible day for this to be resolved, so Rochester must have had another applicant they preferred who ended up going somewhere else, but in the end they came through with a similar offer to what I was getting from UM, which I accepted. But by this point I was extremely stressed out and sleep deprived, and when I got an email from one of my professors congratulating me on my decision, I took what he said very much the wrong way...
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Old 11-13-2013, 04:16 PM   #66
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Ok so I decided on Rochester instead of UM, and got a congratulatory email from one of my professors. But it seemed like way too much praise, the tone was off, and somehow I managed to convince myself that he was being sarcastic (remember, sleep-deprived and super stressed). What was really going on here? This professor was a UM graduate himself. Maybe he was bitterly disappointed that I picked the other school. Maybe he had some kind of a deal in place with his friends there, but I screwed it all up for him. None of this would have held up if there had been anyone around to talk it over with, but as I was sitting there building up this conspiracy theory in my mind it seemed real. I sent him a nasty email in return, letting him know that I could see through the sarcasm, and what he was doing was extremely unprofessional, and he had a lot of explaining to do. Then I went out for a walk to try to clear my head because I was so upset I couldn't even think straight (big clue right there).

I walked through the apartment complex and down the road, and maybe half an hour in I'm starting to calm down just enough to realize that I might possibly have a less than airtight case here. A sarcastic congratulatory email, really? Who does that? I had gotten to know this professor pretty well, and he had always been straightforward in his communications with me. I might have this all wrong! I raced back to the apartment hoping he didn't read his email yet (late 90s and I didn't have a cellphone on me or I would have called him right away), but there are several messages on the answering machine when I get back. He's understandably upset and says we need to talk. Yeah. We need to talk. Holy ****.
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Old 11-13-2013, 11:43 PM   #67
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

That was an unnecessary cliffhanger. All that happened was I called my professor, explained that I had lost my mind for a little while, and he was very understanding about it. Maybe my erratic behavior wasn't all that surprising, I don't know, but he took it in stride. There's a lot more I could add here about the lead up to grad school but this writeup is dragging, so I'll summarize. I was becoming more complacent in my studies, increasingly pessimistic about grad school, and because of poor eating habits my digestive health was starting to suffer (acid reflux, constipation, etc). Later I started to clean up my diet and cut out dairy, although these are still recurring issues for me to some extent. The point is, my state of mind and physical health weren't where they should have been, and I was spending my time dreading the future instead of preparing for it.

So grad school was a disaster. I could go into detail but I'm not sure if there's any point. I found the workload intimidating and instead of trying to rise to the challenge, I spent a lot of time in my apartment depressed and watching TV or playing video games. Within a month I had pretty much given up and after two months I was out. By then I was suicidal, but "suicidal" is more like it. I went through the motions of writing a suicide note and running some water in the bathtub and getting a kitchen knife, but it was pretty much just a theatrical act to convince myself that I had to leave.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:19 AM   #68
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Have you tried to think about death? I mean the moment you do or don't do something, think " What option would I want to had taken on a death bed". For me that sets often priorities right way. Would I wished to have had a job, or rather not. I mean time is cruel and you have at least to try to spend it so, that you have no regrets on a death bed.
I hear this kind of thing sometimes but it makes no sense to me. On my death bed, I'd imagine I won't care about anything at all. Maybe if there are other people in my life by then I'd be thinking about their futures, but my past? So what? I have a hard enough time caring about anything as it is, but when I feel most connected with actions & consequences I'm thinking about the future, not the past. (In a different mood I could have answered that completely differently. I'm just making **** up as I go along.)

Quote:
am now through the whole blog. You could donate all your money, so that you have to do something sensfull. You could visit a psychiatrist and speak about insomnia and lack of drive. (depression?).
I've considered either donating all my money or just spending it like a moron so it disappears, but all that would do is take away options. In game theory that's a dominated strategy, and following it would be irrational. A lot of my thoughts are irrational too, so that's why this stuff comes up. Like, when people say "If <something>, don't tell me, I don't want to know" that's irrational. For a rational agent information is always an asset (or useless at worst, but never of negative value). It's only harmful if you're going to use the information in an irrational way. (Poker example: You should always want to see the other guy's cards after the hand is over if he's willing to show. Maybe you're prone to tilt and would prefer not seeing that you just got bluffed, but that's a psychological flaw.) Voluntarily making do with less for a certain period of time might be worthwhile though.

Seeing a psychiatrist: The problem I have with psychiatry is that it seems to me that the go-to option in their toolkit is psychiatric meds*. That makes a lot of sense from an efficiency standpoint on their end. Patient is depressed, must be a chemical imbalance, take this pill. Next. No need for the messy business of looking into underlying causes, delving into the patient's history, or asking the patient to do any kind of real work to change their lives or their outlook on life. Psychotherapy could be useful though. Without proof, I'm not willing to accept that a "trained therapist" knows any more about how to live my life than I do. There are a lot of bull**** certifications in this world. I know I'm pretty messed up psychologically, but I think instead of paying a therapist, what I really need are relationships. But if I knew of a good therapist who I trusted, I wouldn't be against that.

* A few posts back I considered going to an ayahuasca retreat but won't take psych meds? Yeah, I see the irony.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:27 AM   #69
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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may i suggest reading "corazón tan blanco" by javier marias and "la sombra del viento" by carlos ruiz zafon. "ardiente paciencia" by antonio skármeta is supposedly also very good but i never got into it and put it aside after a few pages.
Right now I've got a few Spanish books in my queue so I won't be getting to your suggestions anytime soon. I'm just advanced enough that reading books in Spanish is possible, but it's quite a slog for me still.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #70
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Originally Posted by There Is A Light View Post
I recommend volunteering Steve. Anywhere, doing anything. It lets you meet nice people and is an ideal way to build up some kind of social network again. Also, volunteers tend to be in a precarious life position like yourself and as a result are a lot less judgmental than the general population. It is also very rewarding working for people who are sincerely grateful for you being there.

Just a thought. It's working for me at the moment anyway, and I'm normally the most cynical person in the world.
Here's my cynical view on volunteering: If I was doing anything of value, they'd be willing to pay me. Although that doesn't apply if you're helping people who can't afford to pay you. Non-random tangent: I'm being paid nothing to post on 2p2.

It's got to be better than moping around the house being depressed though. Glad to hear that you're getting something out of volunteer work. Any specifics?
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:47 AM   #71
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

The thing about psychotherapy that's good is a decent psychologist (definitely go for someone with a PhD) is they can help you identify maladaptive or irrational thought processes you have that may not be apparent to you. Figuring those things out on your own can be really difficult because the ego is extraordinarily good at deceiving itself.
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Old 11-14-2013, 11:51 AM   #72
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How about becoming a Big Brother to an underprivileged kid with no father figure/strong male role model in his life.

FTR I have never done any volunteer work, but if I ever were too this would be my first option.

Last edited by Brocktoon; 11-14-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:10 PM   #73
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

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Here's my cynical view on volunteering: If I was doing anything of value, they'd be willing to pay me. Although that doesn't apply if you're helping people who can't afford to pay you. Non-random tangent: I'm being paid nothing to post on 2p2.

It's got to be better than moping around the house being depressed though. Glad to hear that you're getting something out of volunteer work. Any specifics?
I'm currently volunteering at a citizens advice charity. Essentially, people come to us as a last resort when they have problems and we try and help them sort their sh*t out. It sounds depressing, but it's surprisingly rewarding. Plus there is a heavy rotation of hot young law graduates volunteering to get something on their resume.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:02 PM   #74
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:11 AM   #75
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Re: EvilSteve's midlife crisis

Didn't mean to completely abandon the blog. Things have been pretty uneventful but not too bad. I'll make this really brief now and expand on it later. Still hanging out at my dad's house in Michigan and my options are obviously limited as long as I'm here. Needed a project to work on and have something in mind now.

I managed to acquire some bitcoins a while back, when they were worth less than a dollar each. It all started with this thread: https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/25...proach-934333/

Cliffs: A game theory question was posed which involved a game being played on an MMO which involved gambling for bitcoins. That caught my interest and I ended up writing a bot to essentially solve the game, and won some bitcoins in the process. No big deal at the time but a few years later I noticed the bitcoins were actually worth something.

So now I have a substantial bankroll on the bitcoin poker site Seals with Clubs, and I've decided to start working on hand history analysis software. It's as much about the process as any result for me at this point. It would be way easier to just write a hand converter (or find an existing one) and use PokerTracker or something, but the point is to have a project of my own so I'm building this from the ground up. Right now I'm reading up on database programming which I'm not familiar with and will definitely need for this. Anyway that's what I'm up to.

Still need to plan that South America trip too, I just suck at planning things.
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