Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
The grass is greener where you water it.

Programming is just saying "I have a meeting in an hour so better not start on this yet" to yourself until you die.

Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It's just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing.
February 20, 2020
I'm thinking about taking a break from my current therapist Terry Hunt, whom I've been seeing for ten years- I rate him very highly and he has helped me figure some things out that otherwise would have remained obscure, but I am worried he's become more of a "rent-a-dad" figure of paternal-ish approval for me, feeling a lack I had since my dad died during my teenage years.

Also I think there might be other approaches - specifically IFS, Internal Family Systems - that might be better designed to help answer what seems like the next most important question: what is the most proper and/or useful stance for my inner-voice "rational" self to have for my subconscious, my intuitive self? Are they peers, like pop-psychology is right and each corresponds to a whole hemisphere of my brain? Or does being "co-equal" give my emotional brain too much credit? Are they both "really me"?

As a child I developed a heightened sense of rationality - I would someday have to justify myself, via words and logic, to a righteous God who might choose to send my soul to burn forever in hell. So what my intuitive, feeling self wanted - its mortal concerns vs my immortal destiny - just didn't matter and so my gut self must be forever subjugated to my rational self. Even after I was no longer a person of faith, the rationality and sense of "ultimately true judgement is external" lingered, and I fear it stunted my intuitive self, badly. Observing people at work I think that when my intuitive self does act out, it is more childish and less controlled than those of my peers (but of course it's tough to know what their inner lives are like...)

So in that case, maybe "inner-child" is the best explanation. But maybe that gives it almost too much credit - when I realize my intuitive sense has been lurking and waiting for a moment of distraction to get me to grab that cookie from the kitchen I had "decided" to avoid, I think of a dog waiting for the humans to look the other way before snatching the meat from the table. And that side of me rarely manifests itself with human language. So... "inner-dog"? (Or maybe just the elephant in Haidt's "Rider and the Elephant" metaphor.)

Or- given the varied ways the intuitive side of me expresses itself, the patch work of competing desires - or the way it seems like a feeling anxiety starts as just a pang, and then I have SOME control over whether that feeling takes over my whole emotional self, or can be sweet-talked into calming down- it feels like a herd or pack of animals. Like one member of the herd is anxious, and tries to get the whole herd to gallop off. (I think IFS thinks a lot about this kind of internal crowd, except instead of heard they talk of managers and firefighters protecting the vulnerable exiles. I think IFS encourages visualizing those members of the group to be dramatized as full-on people, which is one part I'm still skeptical of.)


After years of my navel-gazing journey, I'm delighted when I realize I've figured something out that used to be mysterious. When I was in my 20s my friend and coworker Paul put it as "Kirk is his own Enigma- 'I just don't understand myself!'" but years later I have a better sense of some of my own inner workings.

Just this morning I realized that the sense of religiosity I talked about above explains a long-running characteristic of mine: I don't have a strong sense of privacy. I blog nearly everything, because my own personal enjoyment doesn't count for much. Everything only has meaning in a context of connections with other people - to me, value is an emergent property that rises of from groups. I don't have self-actualized value at all, so I put everything out there. (This can lead be to come across as self-absorbed, and it's a fair cop, but what people who accuse me of that don't always get is I think everyone should be just as self-absorbed. It's not that I find myself so fascinating relative to them, it's just that I need a public context to generate and evaluate the value I do have... and I'm the only person I can grant myself permission to think closely about.)

Anyone watching Lego Masters?

This last one was kind of weird - odd that Manny / Nestor team get so little attention in the thing. Also the "pick the 4 most struggling teams for a pep talk" was so pointless, I kept waiting for some reveal but it was just filler...

(I'd love to figure out where to watch the UK version.)

I wish they'd have a website with timelapses of all the build stations...
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. ... Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't.
Carlos Castañeda

Oh your "brain" is acting "illogically"? It's meat with electricity inside what the fuck did you expect

Only an idiot picks a fight he can't win. Balls don't enter into it.
Kensuke Aida, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Finally watching this bit of the geek canon...
I'm back to pondering on KonMari "does this spark joy" like I was a month ago - back then I realized the answer to "is the joy-spark test a way of answering 'do I *really* like this?' or 'is this cosmically a Good Thing in my life?'?" is a blend - getting a joy out better establishing the balance with possessions in your life. (I like that day's thought on hip minimalism as well)

Yesterday, perusing some sweater-y top things I inadvisably decided to take a chance on during the death throes of the local Sears, I realized the "joy spark" test is a way of counteracting the anti-joy that comes with having to admit "huh maybe I was a bit of dum-dum for buying this"... so it reminds me of how decluttering is a negotiation with both our past and our future selves! In the past, as we consider why we brought this into our life, and with our future, as we make some doors of future possibility a bit less open. (Maybe the opportunity to wear this special use clothing item won't arrive, probably I won't get around to engaging in this hobby thing I bought stuff for, perhaps it will never be quite worth swinging back to this old video game system, etc.)

Anyway, our friend Maile became a for-reals KonMari consultant (she was the one I went to with the "what's the joy spark test mean" question) so if you're in Western Mass and are struggling under your own clutter and need help or might be interested in a workshop, she'd be a good person to contact and/or follow at Cloud Eleven Organizing...
There was an open bag of "Birthday Cake Oreos" at work. These things are so sugary, it's like your mind skips back a beat and things time warp and you are literally tasting the sweetness before you put the cookie in your mouth.
Melissa and I were at the Brattle Theatre's Bugs Bunny festival - in Long-Haired Hare he plays a tuba! A notable well-rendered sousaphone (so many comics and cartoons clearly use no reference art and draw it like something out of Dr. Seuss....)

Man, this sucks: Cracked on 5 Ways The World Undermines Teen Girls' Confidence.

I'm so grateful I was able to stake out an "affable goofball nerd" personality for myself in high school. My fixed mindset "smartest kid in the place" ego was (is?) tender and needing lots of coddling, but I was able to carve out a social niche that wasn't as worried about standings in social hierarchies- and there's probably a lot more room for boys to do that than girls.

I wish I knew how to start distilling useful lessons for the kids in my life, the virtual nephews and especially nieces. But, like with job advice, I only know what's worked pretty well for me, from my rather fortunate starting places and an affinity for computers, and so have never had to be very analytical or planning-smart about my trajectory....
Shirt Retirement! Graphic Tees are funny - ultimately expendable, but also often literally irreplaceable. Here are two I'm especially going to miss:

This one I got in Japan in 2008, a Manga-ish frame of a boxer being knocked down. It was my lowkey message shirt when I was expecting a bad day, like layoffs at work or whatever.

Probably my dorkiest and most pretentious shirt - Kay and I collaborated to screenprint a batch of these - it's my favorite exchange from "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" where the titular characters realize they're below decks on a ship, but the last thing they remember was being ready to be hanged...
"We might as well be dead. Do you think death could possibly be a boat?" "No, no, no... Death is...not. Death isn't. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can't not-be on a boat." "I've frequently not been on boats."

People CLAIM they like gum, but as soon as I describe it as "putty you put in your mouth so you can drink you own flavoured saliva" they're all "ew gross" and "Ryan why"

Fascinating digging into how No congenitally blind person has ever been diagnosed with schizophrenia - implications for the connection between vision, timing, and how are minds model and predict the world.

One of the ways that you can say 'I love you' in Irish is 'mo cheol thú' -- 'you are my music.'
Pádraig Ó Tuama
I've started listening to his Poetry Unbound podcast. The poem is read, pontificated on briefly and thoughtfully, and then read again, and it's beautiful. One of the few I don't listen to at 1.5x speed or faster- and not just because of the narrator's terrific Irish accent. Honestly it's a secular sermon.
Just passed a mum with her little girl, no older than 7, who was crying over a skinned knee.
Mum: I don't think we need to cry over this anymore.
Little girl, still crying: This is in NO WAY a WE situation.

I spent way too much of my childhood assuming the Harlem Globetrotters would have utterly decimated the rest of the NBA.