Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fun with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Ok- I have OCD. My wife knows it, too, she just doesn’t know what to call it. One of the ways that it manifests itself is that I collect things, most of the time things that I’ll never use. At one time it was books. I had books on all sorts of unusual arcane subjects that you weren't likely to find anywhere else but in one of my piles. Sure, I read some of them, but most of them I didn’t even look at after I bought them. So when I moved, (as I often did), I ended up dragging 16-18 milk crates full of books with me wherever I went. Believe me, it would have been much easier to get rid of a few of them than to lug them to a new place every six months or so. But then, the reasonableness of such thinking never occurred to me until just now.

I have realized that I have a problem. So now I am trying to take steps to bring things under control. Now when I get the urge to collect things, I try to collect something useful, alright, at least potentially useful. Something that won’t take up a lot of space or weigh too much when I have to move, like computer files.

Recently I bought an 80 gigabyte portable hard drive when I went to the PIKOM PC Fair in Penang with Mr. Wong. Now I can download whatever I want, and cart it with me wherever I go, in something that fits in my shirt pocket. Of course, having all that portable storage at my fingertips makes my OCD go into overdrive. I want to save stuff. I just have to control what it is that I save.

To appreciate things better, you have to know that I don’t have a computer or internet connection at home. We used to have a working computer, but one day I was playing “Worms Armageddon” during a typical Taiping thunderstorm. Despite the best efforts of our quality Malaysian made surge protector, the motherboard got fried. At least our quality Malaysian made surge protector kept me from being fried. Maybe it would have been better if it didn't because then I would have had some free electro-shock therapy. Well anyway, when we moved to our new apartment, I had to take the computer with us, despite my wife’s protestations, because I couldn’t throw it out. Who knows, maybe one day I will get the time, or the will to fix it? Or maybe I can start a new collection of broken computers?

Because of this unfortunate accident, the only place I can get an internet connection is either at school, or at the local internet café. Neither of these are very private places.

Because of my compulsion I had to go to the internet cafe, and start hoarding something of no use to me. Something that could harm my reputation, and worse, hurt my sweet wife. So what did I have a compulsion to download?

Pornographic film clips. Yup, I know, a guy like me, married, and with my religious beliefs, should be embarrassed and ashamed. Believe me, I am not proud of this, or the fact that I had to go to the internet café to do it. I wasn't comfortable doing this, but I just had to. Try doing a search on Limewire for "blowjobs" when you are sitting between some teenybopper surfing Friendster whose best friend is her cellphone, and an some officious looking Indian businessman trying to come up with a flyer for his new business venture. It's not a comfortable feeling, believe me, but still, I had to do it. I did it despite the big sign on the wall saying “Strictly No Pornography.”

The other problem was where the hell was I going to watch it? I sure as hell couldn’t watch it at the internet café, not with a bunch of people constantly moving all around me. Watching it at school? Come on, be real, would ya? What was I going to do, invite the Pastor and his family over for Hardcore Porno Night? Show them to my wife so she and her friends could have an Oprah type hugfest over whose husband is the bigger pervert? How would she feel if she found out I was doing this? What the hell was I doing?

It was then that I realized what it was- My OCD was running amok. I had to do something to control it.

Step number one, of course, was to delete the folder from my hard drive. That took me a couple of weeks to work up the will to do. It made me feel a little bit better, a bit better than the pond scum I was feeing like. Yet still, I had the compulsion to collect something.

I decided if I was going to start hoarding something, why not make it something useful, or at least potentially useful? I needed to figure out what that could that be.

My solution: I could start hoarding two things. The first was music. On my computer that I left behind in the USA, there are about four or five hundred songs that I downloaded illegally, (Ok RIAA song Nazi’s, try and get me out here in jungle land, Malaysia). I listened to them all the time, and burned cd’s, so obviously it was something useful that I take pleasure in. So I decided that instead of downloading pornography, it would be better to download music.

Trien loves music almost as much as I do, but more important than music that me or Trien likes, though, is music for our unborn daughter. So I search for Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Bach, and any time of soothing classical music, that will help calm her, and help her little brain to develop to genius level.

When daddy is at work, and mommy is at the house alone, she always plays music for the baby. So now I can feed my hoarding obsession, and get some good out of it. I can also listen to the music at work, or even right now as I write this. Believe me, it is not easy to write this stuff, but the Bach piano concerto (It sounds more like Brahms), I am listening to right now sure makes it a lot easier.

Ok, not everything is 100% ok. I still download music indiscriminately, looking in the libraries of the file sharing programs in the internet cafe, or searching through the folders of the computers in school. If something seems good, even if I have no idea what it is, it goes on the pocket hard drive. Does anyone know what Cliff Richard’s “Sing a Song of Freedom’, sounds like? I as hell don’t, but there it sits, in the same folder with “Iingatan Ka”, by Carol Banawa.

The second thing I am doing to beat down my hoarding obsession, (or is it a compulsion? I’m not quite sure what the difference is some times), is to download computer programs.

I’ll go to Google, and search for open source programs, and download them whether they might be useful or not. I mean hey, you never know when a 3-D vector graphics modeling program will come in handy, despite the fact I have little idea what it does, or it’s used for. Somebody might need it, and if they do, I have it all ready for them. Here comes John to the rescue at a moments notice!

My latest obsession is Linux Live cd’s. I found that I can use Download Accelerator Plus to download big files quickly, like 698 MB Linux iso’s. I can do this at the internet café, which sometimes makes them go a little cuckoo when it is crowded. If not there, then I discovered that I can do it on the instructors computer at the Komputer Lab in school, (no, I didn’t misspell it). This potentially pisses off only one person, Mr. Annuar, instead of the whole extended family of the Chinese people who run the internet café. Mr. Annuar doesn’t seem to mind too much, and it is cool with Najib, the IT guy, because he has his own collection of Linux cd’s and distros he likes to play with, even more than I have. I haven't asked Najib if he has OCD, but he does seem to show some of the signs . . .

So far I have downloaded the following live cd’s- Ubuntu, Edubuntu, Coyote Linux, Knoppix, Slax Kill-Bill, PClinuxOS, Puppy Linux, and I probably won’t stop until I have downloaded every live cd in the Linux universe.

Some of them I have already burned onto disk to play with. I haven’t burned the smaller ones, like Puppy Linux, or Slax Kill-Bill, because it seems a waste to use a full 700 MB disk for distros that only comes in at between 135-205 MB or so. Of course, my OCD will make me want to fill the disk up to the max with files that I will later be unable to find. I know I will come up with some sort of bizarre combination of files, like the Slax live cd, and the Led Zeppelin songs I downloaded, along with photos from my digital camera. If I do that, who knows what would happen when I put that Frankenstein like cd in to an unsuspecting machine. More than likely, I will end up booting into Linux, instead of being able to listen to “Kashmir”, “Rock and Roll’, or “The Immigrant Song”. (Sorry, I refuse on principle to download or listen to “Stairway to Heaven”. It’s a cool song the first 2000 times you hear it, but after that, it gets old quickly.)

If the pocket hard drive ever gets a full, and with my OCD, that is a good possibility, I can burn things onto those nice lightweight cd’s, and add to my ever growing collection. Right now, I have over 150 pirated DVD’s that I have bought in China, The Philippines, and Malaysia. They are getting a bit much to carry around, especially since Trien and I might be moving again at the end of the year, but how could I ever get rid of them? It took a lot of work to get them, and there’s some really great stuff there. Maybe I can trade them with someone else who also has OCD, for something more useful. Like money.

Now for the fun with OCD part:

(Note: For those of you who have read through this entry and have not clicked on any of the links, please do so at least once, if not several times in rapid succession. Because most of the links go to wikis, you never know when they will change. Hey, I might be changing one right now! You have to make sure you are getting the most up to date information! I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but it sure will help me!)