April 1, 2017


CarGurus.com/driverfinder

April 2, 2017tech

Free Vintage Posters, guess they lapsed ito the public domain- cool stuff

(In response to a Lost In Mobile post about CD Nostalgia

Allegedly Japan still has a big love for the format - https://qz.com/711490/why-japan-has-more-music-stores-than-the-rest-of-the-world/ - though some people on the ground via Quara don't seem to agree.

CDs were the pinnacle of album technology. As a guy who never acquired a taste for albums as more than a somewhat arbitrary collection of songs, I don't miss 'em that much, though after ripping my collection en masse I kept a bunch for years (in 4 massive black binders, with the booklets carefully included too)

Thinking about shuffle - I remember some CD players would offer shuffle, and some of those 3 or 5 disc carousel beasts would even do it across disks, though the wait between songs (clunk, whirrrrrrrr, clunk, spinnnnnn) was silly. Actually in terms of interacting with music, those carousels were weirdly unique, right? With LPs and cassette tapes and most CDs, each album stood alone, you physically got it off the shelf or rack, prepped it, and played - a bit of ritual, especially with vinyl... CD carousels invited a few attempts to optimize, like maybe you'd put in the next CD while the current one was playing (tricky! - sort of like ordering a series of songs on a jukebox) or you'd keep a couple of really loved particular CDs loaded in the other ones at all times, for fast-switching... mostly it was a mess. (Oh and some people had a similar multi-CD player for their car... though the ones where you'd have to go to the trunk/boot to swap seemed a lot weirder and less convenient to me than the traditional single disc reader in the console model.)

CDs also have a special relationship to mixtapes. Some of it was timing in my life, but in general CD to tape mixtapes were more common than tape to tape or LP to tape. Being able to make a custom playlist was empowering. (Hm, actually when I assemble playlist like things now, whether for listening, or even in picking numbers for my street band to play in a show, I much prefer alternating paces. Maybe that preference for back to back diversity and contrast is why whole albums seemed less pleasurable to me.)

Final nostalgia tinted analysis: for a while it was cooler to have a CD player than a tape deck in your car, at least once it was more or less affordable to burn mix CDs. But then when all music was in mp3s on a device, it was better to have a tape player so you could use of those funky adapters, since it took a while for car makers to put in an aux input, or (now) USB port.

Man, had not thought about all this physicality in music for a while - so much of it so particular to rather brief eras!

(and lets not talk about 8-tracks :-D )

April 3, 2017

The other day someone posted this Wikiepedia entry:
L'appel du vide, literally "the call of the void" is a French phrase used to refer to intellectual thoughts, or the urge to engage in destructive behaviors during everyday life.[1] Examples include thinking about swerving in to the opposite lane while driving, or feeling the urge to jump off a cliff edge while standing on it.
It's weird how much that's a thing? There's this weird endless series of "what-if" I guess people play...I remember asking my dad wouldn't be kind of cool to just push everything over in a ceramic shop we were in and he assured me no, it wouldn't.

April 4, 2017

My company's first TV spots! CarGurus definitely has a challenge, it's name isn't the easiest to say when you hear it spoken, I think breaking it up like this makes sense:
(and this ending is definitely the funniest of them)
Favorite Songs with Studio Chatter audible? I came up with the following:
Blood, Sweat & Tears - Spinning Wheel - "That wasn't too good..." [Laughter]
Elvis - King Creole - "Cut" "Lets clear our throats and try again" "Uh, Mr.Wallace- the ending was messed up anyway so I didn't bother to say it"
Modest Mouse - Bukowski - "I fucked up the last line"
Colbie Caillat - Bubbly - "Will you count me in?"

Googling I was reminded of
The Beatles - Helter Skelter - "I got blisters on mah fingers!"

TV Tropes covers it pretty well

Folllowup: Propellerheads - You Want It Back - "Gimme a little bit more music in my headphones" - good example of this phenomenon/joke as made fun of my Dave Chapelle...
I admit I've been thinking about this a lot since Chasity posted it. I'd like to think about how it can apply to situations among grown-ups as well; but it's a challenge for me for that to not feel like condescension, in many cases. I mean, not that situations provoked by overwhelming emotions like anxiety and fear are helped by people being overwhelmed by them, but I understand that not everyone shares my privilege existential stoic rationalizing.

April 5, 2017

Ali G interviewed Trump?

April 6, 2017

If Russia's response to our Tomahawk missile attacks is muted, Trump's popularity will rebound; he looks tougher than Obama on an important WMD/civilian-children-saving way, and he counters suspicion that he is unduly in Putin's pocket.

Of course, is Russia's response is not so muted, his popularity goes up, since we always rally around the Commander-in-Chief when the war drums beat.

So likely a win for Trump in the rating sweeps either way, I guess, which is how he gauges success.

march 2017 new music playlist

April 7, 2017
Pretty good month! Starting with one the relatively rare 5 star songs, and going down from there...

5 Star:

4 Star: 3 Star

April 8, 2017

"Sir, could you give us the secret of your longevity?"

Well, the major thing is that I never ever touched fried food. I don't eat it, wouldn't look at it, and I don't touch it. And I never run for a bus. There'll always be another. Even if you're late for work, you know, I never run for a bus. I never ran, I just strolled, jaunty-jolly, walking to the bus stop.

"Well, there were no buses in the time of ..."

No, in my time...

"What was the means of transportation then?"

Mostly fear.

"Fear transported you?"

Fear, yes. You would see... an animal would growl, you'd go two miles in a minute. Fear would be the main propulsion.

"I think most people are interested in living a long and fruitful life, as you have."

Yes. Fruit is good, too, you mentioned fruit. Yeah. Fruit kept me going for a hundred and forty years once when I was on a very strict diet. Mainly nectarines. I love that fruit. It's half a peach, half a plum, it's a hell of a fruit. I love it! Not too cold, not too hot, you know, just nice. Even a rotten one is good. That's how much I love them. I'd rather eat a rotten nectarine than a fine plum. What do you think of that? That's how much I love them.

--from the skit "Two Thousand Year Old Man", Mel Brooks & Carl Reiner, via "The Big Book of New American Humor", got in high school and have loved it ever since. Anyway, both that thing about the nectarine - it IS a hell of a fruit, and the advice about buses hops into my head whenever I'm looking for a piece of fruit or trying to catch public transportation.
Six photos from my School of Honk trip to Austin for HONK!TX...
Bikes were important...


A birthday cake for me was a sweet surprise - made up for having to get up at 4am to catch a birthday flight!


The wall of tubas was so impressive...


"Vanessa" was my charge the first day...


The dot tubas are so beautiful...


Anytime you can get an Arroz Con Leche popsicle, do so. (I was amused by how I got everyone to share my hype for these.) We found out these were manufactured across the street from the stage of the final HONK!TX concert...

April 9, 2017

"Lower, ever lower The world is falling back
Our life is but a demi-monde
And woman greets it on her back."
"Love striving for consummation
Dreams longing to become real
The world is falling back
So sweetheart, let's fall together."
--from Karel Capek's: "The Insect Play"
One thing nearly every geek kid in the 80s learned was that the term "robot" came from a play "R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots" by Karel Čapek. ... the translation I read recently (which changes the name "Possum" to "Reason", interestingly enough surprised me with a reference to the church I grew up in, The Salvation Army:
Dear lady, we've had boat-loads of Messiahs and prophets visiting us here. Missionaries, anarchists, the Salvation Army – all society's flotsam. Amazing how many fanatics there are in the world.
(They used to be more of a cultural and religious meme; think like hare krishna jokes in the 70s and 80s or the mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses going door to door these days.)

April 10, 2017history

My high school best friend Mike Witczak had a piano at his house, though his younger brother Martin was the one who actually played. One day, in the summer between high school and college, the three of us collaborated with a tape recorder and made Leavin' You Blues a long (over 20 minutes) jam on the most basic of blues riffs, with (badly) improvised vocals and tuba by me, Mike on the Alto Sax, and Marty employing the tiniest fraction of his his keyboard talent, except in a few parts. (around 8 minutes in)

The rest of the tape Mike and I filled with walking through a much of basslines he and I would jam with on the Euclid High School bandroom piano or with our horns in small group settings. It's telling that my urge for archiving, even the awareness I would forget much of this, was present even then. And now it continues, as I transferred the entire tape to my computer, broke it up into tracks, and provided titles and a little commentary...

There's a lot of adolescent, goofy chatter and commentary throughout, mostly me, that I kept in, as painful as it is for me to hear now.

Without further ado: '92 Blues and Basslines



It's a E. Bishop "One Art" kind of day! My work laptop at home this morning (buried under some clothes for good will), my eyeglass case as I leave the parking garage (actually on my person, the old 'past self pranks present self by putting something in idiosyncratic pocket' gag) and then my wallet, lost outside of a restaurant but mercifully found by a kind person who happens to work at the Athletlic Club I go to for yoga.

Yeesh!
New slogan for Delta Airlines - "We May Cancel 3,000 Flights, But at Least We Don't Beat You Up About It!"

(heh, wait, is the slogan for United really still "Fly the Friendly Skies"?)

April 11, 2017

2 Years ago I joined in a little amateur GoPro promotion film entry...

In retrospect I'm not surprised it didn't win, it's rather long and also the percussion impacts visibly overcome the anti-shake features of the camera.

At a Best Buy I saw some DELIGHTFUL footage of headmounted (but facing back at the wearer, so you could see the expressions) of people on some sort of water slide / chute that would throw them way up into the air before splashing down... closest i could find with a few minutes of googling was this

April 12, 2017

http://www.sauerkrautrecipes.com/ - a long while ago a friend pointed me to this site as "things you didn't know needed their own domain", but 15 years later and it's still going strong.
"My ireland native father once told me that the first time he ever saw people use water for hot chocolate was when he came to america, and said that it was then that he 'knew this country was doomed'"
--mettic
"One to Sleep On: Release the past to rest as deeply as possible."
---- @charliemurphy's final tweet, RIP Charlie Murphy - what a story teller!

April 13, 2017

Lovely long read about Bede the Venerable and books in a dark time. What an amazing technology they were, what a boon to humanity's ability to preserve and share information. Parts of the longread go into the technolgoy of it, the scribes having to be chemists as well to make their own colors of inks; reminds me of how lately I've been thinking about the physicality of the making of brass instruments and of sailing ships (thanks to reading "Master + Commander")
"Our future selves are strangers to us.

This isn't some poetic metaphor; it's a neurological fact. FMRI studies suggest that when you imagine your future self, your brain does something weird: It stops acting as if you're thinking about yourself. Instead, it starts acting as if you're thinking about a *completely different person.*"
--Jane McGonigal, Our Puny Human Brains Are Terrible at Thinking About the Future. I wonder how it looks for our past selves?
Projects!

April 14, 2017

I just ported an old macabre doodle program I made for my Aunt a while back, to make it modern-browser friendly.

April 15, 2017ramble

A friend's online moot/mute swap typo provoked me to write the following, clearly I'd been looking for an outlet for this ramble...
---
I make all kinds of phonetic typos (where I'll end up typing a third word that sort of sounds like the others), and then this odd m/b swap where I'll switch "me" for "be" say, or vice versa. Not mute for moot for some reason, I guess for me the vowels are less "swappable" than they are for others.

Lately - hopefully without raising too many questions about my mental health- I've been thinking a lot about this subconscious me, how there seems to be almost a personality in here, different than the rational / inner voice me (the one that tries to take credit for BEING me, though I think I got over that via Dan Dennett's "Consciousness Explained")

This "other me" might correspond a bit to the Id as drawn by Freud - or the pop culture "inner child", one that throws tantrums when things seemed aligned against it - that thwarts my attempts at smart eating by provoking cravings - and, FINALLY getting to the point - I wonder if it's the background processor that lets me read (well, skim, but with good absorption rates) and write very quickly, but not always accurately ("I want to live life like I type; fast, and with lots of mistakes")
---
This other me - under certain states of sleep/awakeness, I feel like I've had glimpses of him. Sometimes I think it might be a multitude, I've gotten this impression of a skull full of colorful worms, or lets say "sock covered slinkies" because worms are gross. (It looked a bit like this kinetic digital art piece I made, paintbars.) The fugue-ish state with that visual also gave me the idea that the worms are a little bitter because they're generally not in control, and short lived and forgotten, and that they can generally only communicate via emotional post-it notes. (Ever get that? Like I'll get a sudden stab of, say, melancholy, or relief, or something, and have to sit a moment and trace back where it came from.)

Also when I was a kid, twice when I was going through anxious times (moving to a new city) I had a dream about this "alternate me". For a while I thought he was supposed to be my opposite - skinny when I was chubby, wearing the other half of the pajamas I had on, and silent where I would be talkative - except then as we wrestled I went to scream, and couldn't, classic sleep-paralysis. This might be looking too much into it but now I wonder if he might be a manifestation of this other part of me.

There's a whole type of therapy, popular in New England and maybe not so much elsewhere, called Internal Family Systems that encourage recognizing similar sub-parts, and roleplaying engaging with them as full-fledged people. (So closer to the silent kid than the skullfull of worms) The practice talks about specific roles (Managers, Exiles, Firefighters) that I'm not sure feel true to me, but it might be an avenue worth exploring.
"Spiders are really tiny 3D printers"
--/u/Peerkons

April 16, 2017

"I mean." Uberman cleared his throat, adjusted his necktie, and began delivering his morning whine, which is clearly what he'd been intending to do all along. "This is, what? The third network outage this year?"

I stopped. "We're having some problems porting your database to our server, sir." I edged one step closer to the exit.

"I mean," Uberman scowled, "if I can't depend on your network, I'm screwed. Just totally screwed, you know?"

Then how come you're not smiling? is what I thought, but "We'll have it back up as soon as possible," is what I said.

"I mean," Uberman whacked his PC with his newspaper again, "we never had problems like this before MDE acquired us. Dammit, our old Applied Photonics network never crashed! Not once!"

"So I've heard." And heard, and heard, and heard! And if you gave me just sixteen users in a one-floor office, I could make this network look pretty good, too.

--Bruce Bethke, "Headcrash", kind of a no-account cyberpunk-y book from the mid-90s... the technobabble is pretty clumsy, but for some reason this passage has stuck with me for 20 years so I thought I'd post it - from time to time, its reminder that little toy systems can get away with things that projects you want to scale can't is useful.
"You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."
--Cormac McCarthy, "No Country for Old Men"


Blender of Love

"Can't believe how strange it is to be anything at all"

April 17, 2017

Weird things going on in Cleveland, attention seeking homicidal idiot on the loose, having Facebook Live'd an out and out street murder with a randomly selected victim and the killer saying it's because of some ex's fault.

(It's not the main point but reinforces my opinion that so little good really comes from livestreaming on social media. If it's worthwhile, it could just keep on youtube.)


"To live life, you need problems. If you get everything you want the minute you want it, then what's the point of livin'?"
--Jake on Adventure Time. I guess I'm not sure I agree? I think the point of life - or at least one point of life, could be to create meaningful novelty. Which doesn't seem to require problems. Maybe.

April 18, 2017tuba

Bass Section of the School of Honk in Austin, TX, via The Book of Honk (prints available)

(The Ride 'Em Cowboy is my favorite from this batch - usually the tuba is riding me, nice to turn that around, though the "hero shot" might be even better than Franklin Marvel's Take at Figment.








Last years bass sectional photo was a little better, come to think of it:

"You might see punching bags are even better hugging bags if you'd just calm down for a second."
--http://twitter.com/JasonLastname
Write up about Ze Frank and The Show. Man that was great. Also, I really miss his page of little digital toys, he was a really inspiring toymaker...
"What do you care what other people think?"
--Arline Feynman

April 19, 2017

Yeesh, pretty bleak talk for a mattress store

(I enjoy macabre humor, but I was saw this looking up from Mindy Fried's book about getting appropriate assisted living care for her 90-something father- so I think I also got a subtext "so if you care about your elderly parent at all YOU'LL BUY BERNIE AND PHYLS YOU JERK")

April 20, 2017ramblefav

Just when you start to think the RMV was getting it- a painless online address change. Just to find out from the city office that that did f***-all to change where the car is "garaged", which the RMV website doesn't mention when you change the address? What's the point?
My company CarGurus has been named "Online Auto Shopping Brand of the Year" in the 29th Annual Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, unseating our longterm rivals. And they asked me to plug it on Social Media so here we are.

It really is a pretty sweet company, and a great place to buy a car, especially used. Techies should definitely hit me up if they see something on our jobs listing that seems like a fit.
"Every jumbled pile of person has a thinking part / that wonders what the part that isn't thinking isn't thinking of"
--They Might Be Giants, "Where Your Eyes Don't Go"

Serendipity brought me to Cormac McCarthy on The Kekulé Problem - (the title comes from the premier example of "the answer came to me in a dream / flash" ) and thoughts on what the heck this unconscious is. This directly ties in with what I wrote about Saturday and have been a little obsessed with for a week or two.

(McCarthy calls it the unconscious; I think of it as the subconscious, a subtle but possibly important distinction.)

McCarthy concludes wraps up saying
The unconscious seems to know a great deal. What does it know about itself? Does it know that it's going to die? What does it think about that? It appears to represent a gathering of talents rather than just one. It seems unlikely that the itch department is also in charge of math. Can it work on a number of problems at once? Does it only know what we tell it? Or--more plausibly--has it direct access to the outer world? Some of the dreams which it is at pains to assemble for us are no doubt deeply reflective and yet some are quite frivolous. And the fact that it appears to be less than insistent upon our remembering every dream suggests that sometimes it may be working on itself. And is it really so good at solving problems or is it just that it keeps its own counsel about the failures? How does it have this understanding which we might well envy? How might we make inquiries of it? Are you sure?

I'm not as convinced as McCarthy that dreams are always so deliberate and purposeful from the subconscious; I accept they can be a communication pathway from the unconscious to our rational selves, but sometimes it's a bit more random and chaotic than that. (And I am always shocked at how whatever part of brain that says "this can't be real" is so much more asleep than the rest of us.) And man, now I really am wondering about whether the unconscious knows that it will someday die and how it feels about that!

I feel like I'm gathering more instances of the subconscious as having its own personality and- all too often- separate agenda. I've started thinking of it as my "inner toddler", but I'm a little wary of thinking of it in such disparaging terms - like it might grow to resent me, and that would be pretty bad for my overall mental wellbeing. Still, there's a stubborn petulance there. Like, it's bad enough that I eat my desk at work, but there's even less dignity when I start digging in while still walking from the damn kitchen. So yesterday I apply some willpower and hold off chowing down 'til I'm safely seated. Great! And then today... I don't even make it out of the kitchen. My inner toddler sees the taco in my hand, recognizes it as delicious, and I've had a bite or two before my rational self is fully aware of what's going on. I've witness that "backslide/backlash" factor before. (I also wonder if my inner eater is just a more well behaved version of the inner demons that are so destructive in the life of

McCarthy writes "the fact that the unconscious prefers avoiding verbal instructions pretty much altogether--even where they would appear to be quite useful--suggests rather strongly that it doesnt much like language and even that it doesnt trust it." My first instinct says that it's not a matter of disdain, but it lacks language as a toolset. I can't tell my inner toddler to "use your words" because it doesn't have any! Of course, this seems to contradict my earlier theory that this subconscious was my "fast reading/skimming brain". But perhaps words can come in, but they can't come out, and the "jist" that my fast reader is so good at providing my rational self is more based on images and feelings than I realize. No wait - I got started last Saturday by trying to explain the subconscious process that was making my typos, especially my oddly-phonetic-almost-dyslexic swap of "m" and "b". So words go in and words go out, but they aren't its native language. (So to speak.)

And so it might be a mistake to think there's only one subconscious entity. Or it might be hard to understand in general. Especially right now, I feel like I might be back to conflating my "self", my consciousness, with my "inner voice" process using words. (To quote Emo Phillips, "I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.")

I wonder if I'm on to something here. It is very odd to think of an internal part of oneself as some kind of (at times, childish!) companion rather than... well, than as ourselves, but I think it suggests a whole new set of promising approaches for self-therapy. I think every successful weight-loss I've had has had to cope with this inner toddler, for instance! (And again, I wonder if I'm risking further resentment by calling him that...)


Of course sometimes it's like this Id/subconscious self is the only part of me that knows how to enjoy anything! Sometimes I think the only pleasure my ego/rational self gets in life is...well... ego stroking...

(and btw, it's so sad that googling topics of communicating with your inner child are so often about coping with buried past trauma and backgrounds of abuse and neglect.)
I do wonder - is it like this for everyone? Are McCarthy and I outliers? Are he and I and some others somehow less coherent and unified people than most? Why aren't people talking about this more? Is it different for them, or is it just to painful to admit we're not as singularly in control as our rational selves would like to be?

I've seen many rube goldbergs but nothing with this kind of narrative! Lovely!

April 21, 2017ramble

(tl; dr: maybe I'm so damnably bad with names is because my main processing part of my brain is separate from my verbal inner voice part of my brain.)

Weird possible introspection revelation, tying into yesterday's Cormac McCarthy link about how the subconscious talks to us via images and dreams and not words.

I had some early morning dreams that were about me going on a white river rafting trip, modeled after one I took a few years ago. For some reason it was stuck on the preliminaries rather than the rafting itself, but whatever -

As I stumbled through that murky twilight of half-awake, I realized the one thing that was missing from my understanding of that dream narrative's was a description: i.e. the words "river rafting". I can't be sure of the dream production process, but it often feels like some part of my brain, the subconscious, spits out feelings and images, and then my verbal/inner-voice/narrator weaves it together into a more coherent story that it can understand. (The McCarthy article speculates a bit about this process as well)

I feel like my subconscious can *understand* words - in fact it's the subsystem I use to skim read quickly, and it gleans the relevant bits for the narrator brain (and tells it to go back for the tricky bits for more careful review) but the subconscious doesn't use words and labels much - it relies more on a wordless understanding of how things interact.

This felt like a revelation, or maybe half of one. I have long suspected I'm bad with names and faces because they don't change how I interact with that person. A person could interact and be the same person under a hundred different names and still be the same entity from an interactive standpoint. (This explains that old "remember people's names" trick of associating it with some semi-arbitrarily selected mnemonic - like picture Francis in a beret with a baguette, just to engage these other parts of the mind and not just the verbal narrator)

So the other half, the new half, of this revelation is maybe that is so difficult for me because I rely more than most folks on the part of my brain that doesn't have any facility for names. I might just be making an excuse for myself, trying to to justify a kind of laziness and disengagement, but I think fully recognizing the source of a problem is both a key to making excuses for it and for fixing it.

(The revelation also provides a path to reconciling some seeming contradictions: on the one hand I'm what my friend Tom Kermode has called a "cruxian", the thrust of things is what matters to me. I like art and music that engages in broad strokes, and a dual insensitivity to details / nuance and indifference to interior life that doesn't come to the surface. On the other hand, one of my arguing partners frequently gets annoyed when I correct his vocabulary, and insist on a precise selection and usage of words (but, to his chagrin, precise in a descriptivist, how it's actually used kind of way, not in a word-history arm-chair etymologist kind of way) - at a shallow level, word choice seems very much to be about nuance. I think the contradiction is resolved in the interplay between the desire for two people's subconsciouses, the ones doing the deep understanding to communicate but they have to filter through the rational verbal narrators - the surface characteristics of the words are all they have to work with, so the wrong or misleading word can lead to big problems indeed.)

This all reminds me of that bit from "Through the Looking-Glass":
'This must be the wood,' she said thoughtfully to herself, 'where things have no names. I wonder what'll become of *my* name when I go in? I shouldn't like to lose it at all--because they'd have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to be an ugly one. But then the fun would be trying to find the creature that had got my old name! That's just like the advertisements, you know, when people lose dogs--"answers to the name of 'Dash:' had on a brass collar"--just fancy calling everything you met "Alice," till one of them answered! Only they wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise.'

#321 formation of a committee to determine the plausibility of "aggressive passive" behavior; for example, furiously hammering water (for my work's slack channel #stupid-idea-buddies )

April 22, 2017

Rallying for science with BABAM!
"What do we want?"
"SCIENCE!"
"When do we want it?"
"AFTER PEER REVIEW!"

April 23, 2017tuba

Ezequiel playing in the March for Science in today's NY Times; Andrew, Dave, and me behind

It's cool how both the Boston Globe and the NY Times select photos with younger players front and center, and some taller folks backin' em up
I've moved around 20 times in my life. You think I'd be a bit less crap at it by now...

April 24, 2017

This person bowls better than you do.
via
"It's ever so slightly plausible, in that, yeah, the robot is named EVE and Wall-E does give her a plant. On the other hand... it presumes that the future where humans are all lazy blobs in a spaceship where robots tend to their every need is paradise, which... huh."
--io9 onis Wall-E akin to the serpent in the Garden of Eden aka Satan...

April 25, 2017rambletuba

I've been thinking that maybe I could get my inner toddler to become, like, an inner precocious teen (though it's odd to think that I can't tell it "use your words!" because that's not how it operates) but I'm concerned I might lose some kind of vitality in that process, some part of essential Kirkness.

And also concerned that I'm not sure what to trust to tell me if that is a risk of being the case, because I don't know to what extent the inner-narrator/rational self vs subconscious self is the same for everyone. Various paths of self-improvement call it different things (the Id, the inner child, the right side of the brain, the unconscious mind, etc) and imply different functional relationships.

Even something like meditation has contradictions in advice about its methods and goals. Like, is it to have that zennish empty mind, where my verbal inner-narrator is finally silent and my whole self can enjoy purer sensation, unmitigated by simplification into verbal simplification and categorization? Or is it to be 'mindful', and allow that inner narrator to calmly process and analyze and pontificate but without encountering spikes of anxiety and other disruptive emotion? (Which, in my current way of thinking, tend to emerge from my inner toddler.) I kind of prefer the latter; it's less work and a lot more fun.

In "Eat, Pray, Love" Elizabeth Gilbert writes
Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the "monkey mind"--the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but--whoop!--how quickly I swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it's the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.

The thing is, to me it feels backwards... like the thoughts are the slaves to the emotions, and then I'm the slave to the thoughts. Or something. But basically, the process is more my inner rational narrator teaching my wordless sometimes-raging sometimes-fearing sometimes-frolicking subconscious self about the world. You know, it feels a bit like the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

So I feel there's lots of room for that inner toddler - who will probably never grow up to have words - to mature, and develop a real camaraderie, rather than the current paternalistic relationship. And without assuming that subconscious part of me is only feeling, not thinking. I suspect feeling and thinking are the same thing but at wildly different time scales, feeling taking in the long term evolutionary wisdom and near term immediate reaction, with thinking occupying the middle ground.

Also through all this, I feel my rational, verbal, narrator self is trying to reassert the throne of being "The Actual Me", the real me, that it lost when I read Dennett's "Conscious Explained". I think it's time for a reread of what I pin as the "most important book I read", even though it's mighty long.

April 26, 2017

"If you torture the data long enough, it will confess."
--Ronald H. Coase
WHERE DID ALL THE SAXOPHONES GO? "How one instrument went from being the backbone of American popular music to being a punchline in a joke about the '80s." Reminds me of my 2004 rant about saxophones as the most overrated instrument. I disavow most of that now - I was just a bitter tuba player who hadn't played tuba in like 8 years.
Don't deep fry gnocchi. Skip to :30 and enjoy....

"ATTN: FOG IS JUST REALLY BIG GHOSTS" --http://twitter.com/boatse

April 27, 2017

Facebook Meme, post 10 musical groups or people you've seen in concert, but one of them is a lie.... here's what I said.

Alright, lemme join in! 9 concerts I've been to live and a lie.

1 The Canadian Brass
2 Weird Al Yankovic
3 The Knack
4 Deee-Lite
5 Dirty Dozen Brass Band
6 Maynard Ferguson
7 Gladys Knight
8 Phoenix
9 Dr. John
10 Trombone Shorty

"Which ones the fib" gives this meme legs I guess!
(Honestly the only other 4 I could think of were all recent shows: Coeur de Pirate, Tribe Called Red, The Soul Rebels, Steve Earle... I think I've never been gung-ho about going to shows, though it's usually a good time... looking forward to TOO MANY ZOOZ next month at the Sinclair though am expecting to be filled with jealousy)