I have at times attacked & criticized education. Why? because we weren’t good together. It’s tempting to say that the education system failed me. In reaction to the idea that I was a failure- which was something my parents, teachers, peers, all…

I’ve come to realize that… you can’t always blame one party or the other when something doesn’t work out. Two agents can try their respective bests and still fail. Assigning blame. I spent a lot of time oscillating between blaming myself and the system. I didn’t really understand either. Today I realize that the system isn’t malicious, it’s just struggling to do what it can with what it has. I’ve come to realize that I’m atypical. I used to want this to mean that I was somehow special, important, above everything. This was the narrative I was fed, and it was pleasant while it lasted.

As a working adult with bills and a mortgage and responsibilities I’ve discovered that my problems are deep-rooted. I probably have clinical ADHD. I never did my homework, even for the teachers I liked. I never practiced guitar even when I had gigs coming up. I was phenomenally flaky. I’d wake up every morning nervous and sick because I hadn’t done my homework. This was a problem for me in primary school, secondary school, JC, and I can guarantee that it would’ve been a problem if I had gone to university. It’s a problem at work, and I absolutely LOVE my work!

I just get distracted in a way that’s bizarre to most people, the way chronic alcoholics must be bizarre to people who are able to enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. It’s a problem in my social life when I miss appointments. I have ruined friendships with my ego, arrogance, small-mindedness, even my marriage can get strained when I’m not careful. I go home late from work- and it’s not like I’m staggeringly productive, I spend a lot of time staring into space or otherwise procrastinating. it’s in the brain.

I’m an unromantic person. I don’t plan dates. I’m also really, really bad at sticking to the task at hand. If I’m on the way to do something, and my wife asks me to do something else, one of the two tasks will be left undone. A drawer open here, a plastic bag half-filled there, a pen uncapped…

I’m hesitant to call this a mental illness or disorder. I think a better way to think of it is… there’s a part of my brain that’s horribly underdeveloped. And that’s an idea that can seem silly or absurd, so I play around with it and then put it out of mind. I’ve been able to get through life so far without worrying too much about it… though it’s also the primary cause of stress, anxiety and pain in my life. Not just me, but the people in my life that I care about, too. My dad calls asking me why I never call. I don’t think they appreciate ADHD as an excuse.

No single self-help book or listicle can fix this. I read a story about a guy who violently took control of his parents’ lives… maybe I need something like that. This is the single biggest impediment to peace and happiness and joy in my life. It has to do with the way my brain currently works, and I need to change it.

What I’ve learnt about change… it requires precision. It requires that you start small and deep. Trying to effect big change with limited resources/power leads to certain failure and is a quick way to get demoralized + give up. I think I’ve made about 20-30 “Okay, this is it, I’m going to turn my life around now” assertions in the past. While it can be interesting and deceptively exciting… what I really need are small victories.


Nicotine and Blood Sugar

I’ve been wanting to write about the relationship between cigarettes and blood sugar for some time, but it’s challenging because I’m busy with work. Also I’m not a scientist and I don’t have a lot of background.

So I’m gonna copy-paste a conversation I’ve been having with with people, invite feedback, and edit it as I go along.


“Are you aware of the relationship between cigarettes and blood sugar?
let me give you the thug notes.


I can’t remember the precise details, but basically but basically the human meatbag experiences the equivalent of a blood sugar rise with a cigarette. Something about nicotine, glucose and receptors.

That’s why cigarettes are appetite suppressants and keep you skinny, and that’s also why people who quit smoking suddenly want to eat so much more, especially sugar. Cigarettes fool your body into thinking you have more blood sugar than you actually do.



The worst smokers are typically the people with the worst diets.
They don’t eat breakfast. maybe they’re stressed and anxious and nauseous.
They wake up in the morning, coffee and cigarette. reduces nausea. induces shitting. it’s all “controlled”.

But they don’t have a hearty / heavy breakfast.
So now their blood sugar level is volatile throughout the day, And whenever it goes really low, the brain (prefrontal cortex?) starts shutting down. You just feel like you can’t function, like you’re not there. It’s a bit like sleep deprivation, it’s a bit like ‘feeling faint’.

Fastest way to address this? Smoke a cigarette. And then you kind of get some power back.

For people with bad blood sugar levels, it’s an intense problem. The symptoms are startlingly similar to altitude sickness.

(Which is why it’s sort of poetic that smokers joke “i’m going out for some oxygen”. to their body, it’s the same thing.)


Tobacco companies don’t talk about this.
They talk about cancer.
Lung disease.
Which every smoker knows they’re probably going to get.
But in the short run they’re suffering from chronic, volatile blood sugar.
Cancer is 10, 20 years away.
You have altitude sickness, what do you do?
You smoke.


And right after you smoke, how do you feel? guilty.
or maybe angry.
What happens when you’re guilty and/or angry?
Limbic system lights up. [citation needed]

///// CORRECTION by Junhong Yu:

“limbic system does not ‘light up’ . The ‘lighting up’ simply reflects statistical maps in group studies, but not actual neurobiological mechanisms

and there are inhibitory connections between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex that make affect your decision making when you are feeling stressed or anxious.

the other thing to consider is that smoking messes up your dominergic system (i.e. reward system), you are less able weigh risks properly, you are less able delay present gratification for bigger future rewards”


What happens when those neurons fire?
They use up resources.
What is the resource?
What happens when the glucose levels are depleted?
Low blood sugar.
Altitude sickness.
What do you do?
Smoke again.

The entire system is designed to screw you over and over again.
(it’s eerily similar for overeating– I haven’t done as much reading about that, but it seems to be fundamentally about insulin levels, tolerance, etc)

Also. Say you have low blood sugar.
You can’t function.
You can’t do your work.
You can’t focus.

What happens?
You miss deadlines.
Never study.
What happens?
You get stressed. (cortisol bla bla… haven’t done enough reading here)
No appetite. (some people stress-eat… I haven’t read up about the distinction)
Can’t eat.
Low blood sugar.

But wait, there’s more!


What happens when you have chronic low blood sugar throughout the day?
Your brain worries that it won’t have enough fuel, so it doesn’t let you sleep.
It’s literally afraid you’ll go into a coma.

But you have no appetite.
You can’t eat.

What do you do? Smoke some more.

Quality of sleep? Horrible.

Wake up in the morning? Tired, stressed.

No appetite. No energy. Brain needs sugar to function.

Smoke some more.



“What happens when you’re guilty and/or angry?
Limbic system lights up. [citation needed]
What happens when those neurons fire?”

limbic system does not ‘light up’ . The ‘lighting up’ simply reflects statistical maps in group studies, but not actual neurobiological mechanisms

and there are inhibitory connections between the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex that make affect your decision making when you are feeling stressed or anxious.

the other thing to consider is that smoking messes up your dominergic system (i.e. reward system), you are less able weigh risks properly, you are less able delay present gratification for bigger future rewards


“I think he is linking this too much to mood and stress, which can be subjective.

Here’s the more direct causative factor and relationship between smoking and blood glucose levels:

Nicotine causes the release of adrenaline (one of the many other hormones it triggers). Adrenaline prepares the body for fight or flight, so heart rate and blood pressure goes up and the body converts it’s stored glucose (stored as inactive glycogen mainly in the liver) back into glucose, that is then dumped into the blood stream.

This glucose spike is bad in a few ways:

1. The smoker is not actually using it up, causing it to remain in the blood stream for extended time. This is linked to development of insulin resistance and eventually diabetes type 2.

2. Appetite is suppressed as the high blood glucose level triggers a feedback loop that normally triggers when food digestion dumps sugar into the blood stream.

3. If the smoker does not eat because appetite is poor, the body actually goes into starvation mode as the stored glucose are depleted and no food is coming in. This causes heavy eating later and even if this does not happen, the body starts to develop the “feast and famine” response, which causes it to excessively store fat (which are burnt after glucose is depleted) in times when food are available. i.e, some smokers may look skinny, but they may have high lipid/fat ratios and other related issues.

4. The constant heart rate stimulation as well as the accompanied blood pressure spikes also creates a problem when combined with a glucose spike. When there’s more glucose in the blood, it changes the osmotic gradient and fluid actually moves into the blood stream to dilute it from surrounding tissues. Coupled this sudden blood volume increase with the pounding heart and the already artificially elevated blood pressure, and one can imagine how much strain this puts on the heart walls and blood vessels. Long term, this increases the chance of heart diseases and strokes from burst vessels.

And all these are just the tip of the ice burg and only from just the adrenaline + glucose route. We are not even looking at the rest of nicotine’s effects and the tar and other crap.”


ENTP problems

A caveat to start with – I do not believe that personality tests are destiny, or even conclusive. It just so happens that I happen to fit the profile of a theoretical ENTP very well. I’m just listing these things out so I can address them in later blogposts. Think of it as a sort of… crude map, not to be mistaken for the actual territory. People are complex, vast and contain multitudes.

More later.

Shiny Object Syndrome

ENTPs tend to have Shiny Object Syndrome. What does that mean? Check out this short video of our spirit animal and it’ll all make sense:

ENTPs are wired to see connections between things, to see lots of possibilities. Alternate perspectives, ways things could be different. This leads to a massive generation of new ideas for new projects.

The problem is the followup. This doesn’t come so naturally. It’s always going to be easier for us to think of something new than to take the next step on something that we had already thought about earlier. And having thought about something, we’re going to second-guess it immediately. And then second-guess THAT. And on and on until the original project idea starts to seem sterile, or overwhelming, or suffocating, or boring.

What I invite my fellow ENTPs to consider is this – becoming predictable means becoming boring. How many times have we responded to an article about procrastination with “I’ll read it later”? Why do we pretend that this is somehow original or interesting?

I believe that the ENTPs most underlying commitment is to curiosity and interestingness. And we need to realize that our oversimplistic approaches to creativity – always coming up with new ideas and never executing on them – is itself boring and limiting. If we want to learn more, see more, we need to execute. We need to make things. There are things that we’ll learn and see about the world only if we develop a practice, a discipline.

A prototype is worth a thousand brainstorms. So prototype things. It’ll lead you to new paths that you’ll never be able to see or consider otherwise.