they said i would

by Brandon Truong

Dev, reader, dancer. @Stanford @Udacity

Read this first

He Who Is Successful and Happy Doing It

He wanted one thing, realized something else was better than what he wanted (someone told him it was), and did that instead. He focused on it, got it, and wanted more. His friends on Facebook applauded him, and his parents too liked his statuses. He got a girlfriend, lost her, and went back to work. He watched a few movies and read books on things like ‘how to succeed and be happy doing it’.

Then he married and she divorced him; he never had kids. He ate some good food and went to bed. Wherefore would anyone want anything more?, he thought. Wherefore? Tell me.

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Facebook Detox

I recently took a sabbatical from Facebook because I was one of those people who succumbed to the irresistible desire to check my phone every fleeting moment of free time.

Thus I spent about 2 weeks deactivated from Facebook, only reactivating so I could log into sites I had already authorized with Facebook (I wish I could’ve completely disconnected, but hey, I live in Silicon Valley… of course I have some accounts connected to Facebook). At first I instinctively still took my phone out of my pocket on any downtime and looked in dismay, both introspectively at how horrible a habit this was and at the Facebook-missing grid of apps.

But after a few days, something just clicked. I coined the term, “Sage-mode” to equate the freeness of thought that overtook me. No more looking down, I looked forward. And I wasn’t looking at another projected screen (I see you, Google Glass); I was looking

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As They Move

A short I wrote.

The girl, six-foot, dirty blonde, wearing a floral scarf, mellow-toned sweater and blouse, and black leggings, confident but bubbly, Adrianne squinted at me.

“Hi, I’m Adrianne!” she came to the chair in front of me and introduced herself. I did not look much older than her. She squinted at my movements, or maybe that was just how she made eye contact in a one-on-one. She was the first one to read the sign, take enough time to comprehend what it meant, walk into the cafe, and invite herself to the table.

“Is it odd that I feel this had been done a hundred times over in a different setting? I’m still enthused by the concept. Do you think you can really do it?”

“Well I’m in a Catch-22. I already got my friend who already allocated funds to support and advertise me. I already told the rest of my friends about it. If I left before the twenty-eighth, I’d be eternally

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Womb

A short I wrote.

Merriel never really did understand. Her parents had coldly turned the news on her that they were getting divorced. She asked questions. They didn’t fulfill the expectation in one of the one times parents should indeed tell their children the truth. Well, maybe they did. Janet and Michael Hill, Merriel’s mother and father, called her to the dining table and Janet told her: “We are getting a divorce.” Merriel’s mom didn’t say this at first. At first, when Merriel first sat down, she thought that she was in trouble, but they cheesily glanced at each other and nodded. Merriel sat through some even cheesier explanation of how parents love children and love the family, but sometimes it’s not meant to be for the parents. Thinking back to this moment, Merriel realized some truth to what they said. They’d done a lot for her.

But the only words she could remember were: “We are

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EnergyPal

*An app by which you can monitor your home’s and appliances’ energy usage to be more conscious of and better manage your carbon footprint.“

I was in Boston still when they told me about the project. My friends came to me with the idea of making it for this NTx Apps Challenge thing I had yet to hear about. Sound’s cool to me. How are we going to do it?

The plan: Ian was making the app itself, Dylan was designing it and everything else, Adil and I were figuring out the hardware, and I worked to develop the wireless communications between all of the different parts we were working with.

We had the plan, but barely knew where to start. But, we started. After researching, we found useful tools to monitor the energy usage from appliances: Kill-a-Watt’s. We decided to use XBee’s to transmit all of the data to where we needed it to go. We got the Gemalto Concept Board to connect our

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Internships or self-learning

I worked in two startups this summer: Apptopia and AdmitHub. I was a dev/growth hacking intern (gray area between dev and marketing) for Apptopia and a primary developer for AdmitHub. I’d never worked in any startup before these.

If anyone from either of the companies sees this, shout out to you! Thanks for the opportunity. I learned a lot (understating).

Here’s a bit about the experience:

 Starting off

 AdmitHub

I worked remotely at first for AdmitHub. I got on calls with my boss, Andrew, and pair-programmed using Floobits (love it). The first day legitimately working, I was introduced to Meteor. I’d heard about it, but never really used it. Andrew showed me the ropes to get me started. I hit the ground running. I had never pulled that much weight on a project (except for my own personal ones).

After a couple days working, I was on my way. I fleshed out huge chunks of the web app

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Conversationalist

On occasion, I wonder if spending a hefty amount of time alone is a bad thing. As an introvert of sorts, it feels natural to stay alone, but I always have a slight desire to throw myself out there; sometimes, I don’t know how to.

My Facebook and other forms of textual communications’ usage have skyrocketed since I arrived in Boston. I go to tech meetups and an occasional seminar, talk to my coworkers, and maybe help an elderly lady extract her bike from a metal loop (I had no idea how she got it in there in the first place.). Very few of my conversations last longer than fifteen minutes.

That is, until recently, when I noticed how few words I spoke a day. In the midst of a long talk with an old but new friend, I realize how much I envy one-on-one conversation. I have had the pleasure of talking, one-on-one, with multiple people for a cumulative time of probably over ten hours in the

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Facade

So, we circle around a few times since my dad isn’t used to the pesky, tight, one-way road system in Cambridge. I truly thought my apartment was the nicely painted white townhouse across the street. Nope, Google Maps, you fail me; my apartment is the sketchy dark red door, tagged with graffiti, that leads to an even sketchier, dark inner corridor. Home sweet home.

My mom still tells me to look away during kissing scenes. However, when a couple was making out a few feet from my apartment, she was the one to look away. I wonder if I am cut out for an independent life already. Hell, tons start their independence way earlier; it can’t be that bad. I’m just not used to it. I think it will definitely take a while. I am constantly on edge, but then I promised my parents that I would be fine; what else could I do?

I realize now how easy it is to be blinded by the shelter of school and home in

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Flight

Laptop check. Laptop charger check. Phone check (that’s gonna be in my pocket!). Phone charger check. Glasses check. Glasses case check. Books I need to read check. Mouse check. USB hub check. Over ear headphones check. Ear buds check. Fitbit check. Fitbit charger check. Flash drives check. External hard drive check. Power strip check. Notebook check. No room for my speakers.

Shirts check. Pants check. Boxers check. Shorts check. Socks check. Undershirts check. Sneakers check. Running shoes check. Flip flops check. Suit check. Dress shoes check. Towel check.

Toothpaste check. Toothbrush check. Listerine check. Retainer check. Floss check. Super-floss check. Advil check. Cough drops check. Razor check. Shaving cream check (I’ll probably need it… once!). Bedding check.

Mom, can you check if I got everything?

Thanks.

My life for two months is now in a luggage, a backpack, and a

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4 a. m.

Why do I do this to myself? It’s just past curfew. People stop by my room, sit down on one of our many welcoming chairs, mention college or something eminent in their lives, and so it begins. I love it, but I don’t.

The way people talk is so interesting. Empathizing with people in similar situations to myself gives me comfort to the point I can’t help but wanting more. We persist through the first couple minutes of scattered conservation, and end up finding a focus. Usually it’s about the future. Is what we are doing right now actually going to affect our future? Out of all the classes I am taking right now, I am legitimately interested in about half of them. In the rest, I just learn it to learn it because I know a bad grade is… a bad grade? We cycle through examinations of others and reflections on ourselves. Honestly, we are not “deep” at all. We are just trying to make sense of the

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