# OBSESSIONS AND PUZZLES ## 2-24-24 I think, in a way, I've figured out why I like the things I like. First, we have to start with obsessions and how they manifest in my daily life. ### OBSESSIONS I will find something, and study it. I will *devour* it. It will consume me, become every fifth thought. I will study it intensely, trying to figure out every thing about it. This can apply to anything. Media, mostly. But it can be other things. I will talk about it whenever I can, to anybody who will listen. It used to be more frequent, a narrow tree of conversational paths that I would be willing to go down. But nowadays I've gained more social awareness to know that I should probably talk about other stuff. And I think I'm interested in more stuff. There's a good example of this, and it was when I was six or seven years old. I had just moved to California from where I grew up in Minnesota. We had moved to the same city as our family friends who we had moved alongside, so I had to start (I believe) the first grade there. One day in class, there was an assignment that was pretty simple. There was a picture that we were given, and our task was to write about what was in the picture. The picture was comprised of a clown in a wheelchair for some reason. Instead of actually following the assignment, I instead wrote every version of Microsoft Windows that I could remember. I specifically remember writing Windows 2000, but knowing me I knew basically all of them. *Actually, here's every version of Windows that I can remember:* - Windows 1.0 - Windows 2.0 - Windows 3.0 - Windows 3.1 - Windows NT 3.1 - Windows 95 - Windows 98 - Windows NT 4.0 - Windows 2000 - Windows ME - Windows XP - Windows Server 2003 - Windows Vista - Windows Server 2007 - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows Server 2012 - Windows 8.1 - Windows 10 - Windows 11 (What my computer currently runs) This isn't comprehensive, but you get the picture. This was all from my memory, except for Windows Server 2007. I had to make sure that was a thing. I probably missed a few. *Anyways*, It spilled over past the width of the page. It was sloppy, as my handwriting always was (and still is). When my teacher handed us back our papers, the only thing she wrote on mine was "???". I got a zero. I read a lot of Wikipedia as a kid, and loved trivia books (specifically, Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, which I brought to my overnight camps in elementary school). So much useless information I consumed. But that was what interested me. And it's what still interests me, although I take this information now and put it to better use. If you know me, you know about THAT album (St. Anger). What could become the longest running obsession I can recall in recent time. I also remember a night where my father drove me around for some reason (maybe we went out to eat?) and stopped in a parking lot. He told me that I needed to get interested in sports or something like that, that the kids in school wouldn't want to be friends with me if all I talked about was tech. He started yelling. I think I cried. Not a pleasant night, and not a good way to get his point across. But it had *some* merit. But in the past week or so, I realized something about my obsession with that album, and perhaps other obsessions in general. I need puzzles to solve. ### PUZZLES St. Anger feels like a puzzle to solve. I've been trying stem separation software, trained on neural network models. The best that I've found so far is Hybrid Demucs (Transformer model specifically). I want, and *need*, to figure out what the bass was playing on each song, since the way the bass sounded and was mixed made it very hard to discern in the songs. I try and try to figure out everything I can, to solve some question about it that I can't even ascertain. It's just an endless spiral, an unquenchable thirst for information about the flavor-of-the-miscellaneous-period-of-time obsession, until one day, I just get bored and move on to the next thing to ponder over, with little to show for the amount of time and mental energy that I dedicated. I guess the main question I attempt to answer is "WHY?" Why was this decision made? Why did this thing get created? And on and on. Stories are another good way to describe it. I need a story to follow. Interesting tidbits, tales of strife and struggle and enough intrigue to keep me hooked. Usually some strange dichotomy of bad and good, stupid and smart. Sometimes it feels disheartening to think about. Because, truly, who cares about what I have gathered? Who cares about what I have read about? Why do I even bother with it? Thankfully, I feel that much less nowadays. I have outlets for my obsessions. I have an hour on the radio, each week, to discuss this to either everyone or no one. Sometimes people tell me they like what I'm doing. That makes me feel really good about myself. But mostly, I do it for myself. I'd be pacing in my room back and forth, reciting YouTube scripts that I'd make up in my head (A thing so common that I put it on my dating app profiles when I still used them). And I also have this blog. I'm writing this after a decent party with my college friends, after somehow once again listening to the song Frantic and watching its music video. If I didn't have this, these thoughts would have been lost in the ether. At least now, there's a place for them. There's places to show the puzzles that envelop my mind, to show how I solve them, to get my voice out to the world, so someone, *anyone*, can hear all of it. And that's pretty neat. Go back to blog posts