October 22, 2018
[The Planet named] Blessed would not have been on my route other than for business reasons. Interstellar trade is economics stripped to basics. You can't make money by making money because money isn't money other than on its planet of issue. Most money is fiat; a ship's cargo of the stuff is wastepaper elsewhere. Bank credit is worth even less; ] Galactic distances are too great. Even money that jingles must be thought of as trade goods -- not money -- or you'll kid yourself into starvation.

This gives the sky merchant a grasp of economics rarely achieved by bankers or professors. He is engaged in barter and no nonsense. He pays taxes he can't evade and doesn't care whether they are called "excise" or "king's pence" or "squeeze" or straight-out bribes. It is the other kid's bat and ball and backyard, so you play by his rules -- nothing to get in a sweat about. Respect for laws is a pragmatic matter. Women know this instinctively; that's why they are all smugglers. Men often believe -- or pretend -- that the "Law" is something sacred, or at least a science -- an unfounded assumption very convenient to governments.

I've done little smuggling; it's risky, and you can wind up with money you don't dare spend where it's legal tender. I simply tried to avoid places where the squeeze was too high.

--Robert Heinlein, "Time Enough for Love". The narrator Lazarus Long is an extremely long-lived interstellar merchant, with libertarian leanings and capabilities that almost put him in an Ayn-Randian mode, but I've appreciated his resigned acceptance of the "The Squeeze" as the cost of doing business.
October 21, 2018
Marianne Williamson wrote a poem that starts:
it is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

(this passage is sometimes falsely attributed to Nelson Mandela)

Personally it feels more like the deepest fear - or at least the one that drives procrastination and lack of ambition of all types - is that we'll put in a really good effort and not get the results we wanted, that the world will prove as daunting as we feared. When you've failed to put in a good effort, at least there's that fig leaf of you not trying - maybe there's still that untapped potential in you, maybe you still have untapped settings up the dial.

(I have my todo list clogged with all these not particularly hard or sometimes even necessary tasks, but what if I clear all those out and life still isn't just grand?)

I guess the remedy is there is like Eric Barker said:
"Are you afraid of the task? Why? Does it have a knife pointed at you? No. You're afraid you'll do a lousy job. Well, you're gonna do an even worse job if you don't get started."

Also it reminds me of that Vonnegut quote: "Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?" (Not sure what the procrastination version of "unexamined" is - "unprocrastinated"?) "A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved."
--Kurt Vonnegut
October 19, 2018
The Tufts Concert band went to Bermuda, I went to Gala, I graduated and then... I guess i switched to digital photography...
"It's special in every aspect. Not only as a manager, but as an individual. Just to manage this team. Everybody knows the history of the city, and history has positive sides and negative sides. And for me, as a minority, to be a manager in Boston hasn't been a challenge. ... And to be able to led this team, it's amazing. It's a great group, very talented, very humble, very hungry."
--Alex Cora in the Minute Maid Park interview room, after leading the Red Sox to a pennant. Also, what a fine last name he has.
seriously what is that??
October 18, 2018
My family went on a 2 week, 3000-mile bus tour of the British Isles. And Veronika came to visit my in NYC for New Year's.
"If you make things long enough, you will fail. That's important enough that I'm going to say it again, with emphasis. If you make things long enough, you will fail. The same thing that put you in the elevated place of being a creative artist in the first place will curdle or invert or fall on its face or on your face and you will be a person who made something that they should not have made. [...] David Bowie said something I really liked. I don't know if he said it often, but it's the kind of thing that you should get tattooed on your leg. He said that creativity is "one of the few human endeavors where you can crash your airplane and walk away from it.""
--Questlove, "Creative Quest". I think it's a good example of being aware of catastrophizing - an individual effort fails, it's so easy to see that as an array of dominos to other creative efforts, to our self-worth, maybe even our ability to make a living and thus ensure our own physical security. But those situations, those kinds of slippery slopes, aren't that common, and usually we can find some place to get traction - that is if the initial failure is even that big to begin with. Which it usually isn't - that's where the ability to cast a "So What" field comes in handy. This effort failed. So what? So I feel like I'm less good of a creator. So what?

Another quote from the book that I liked the sound of: "There was no such thing as distraction. There was only traction."
October 17, 2018
And then, college. Technically my home address was New York City - some of those shots with the towers are a bit poignant.
Funny how the aging milestone might shifting from transition lens / bifocals to "cranking up the font size on my phone"
October 16, 2018
Before I started college I got to visit Marcos, our exchange student from Portugal... his friends put on a poetry and fashion show "Fractions of Seconds" and I saw a village bullfight.
Random notes on reading and vanity:
1. I recently shelled out the $20 to get my old and scratched but great touchscreen Kindle off of ads, so the lock screen is an attractive grayscale image instead. Worth it I think.
2. It's funny that besides column width, my other reason for not using my phone as a reader is so that it's more obvious to onlookers that I'm engaged in reading and not browsing or gaming. This may be one of the most shallow things about me. (On the other hand, I always think it's good when the cover matches the book. So to speak.)
3. Come to think of it, I've switched from iPad Mini to this old Kindle full time. Maybe partially in existential protest to Apple leaving the Mini behind- I'd buy a new model that supported the Pencil in a second. But also, despite the lack of backlighting and color-coded highlighting, e-ink readers are such a chill technology.
4. Since 2000 I've been recording books read, movies watched, games played through, tv-series consumed. It's nearly impossible for me not to gamify this for myself- like I know I'm driven to complete mediocre books just for the little mark. At the end of the year I post a list with comments and recommendations. I'm not really trying to impress anyone with the numbers, just compete with my past self. Maybe I should consider posting the list without counting...
Arun and his pup Bolt