Kirk Israel's commonplace and blog. Quotes and links daily since 2001.
I still repeat myself too often. Ask my kids too many questions and forget the details. I forget to shut the screen door, and I occasionally leave the burner hot on the stove. I am no longer ashamed of what I can't remember, and I consider it an opportunity to remind others of my human frailty and their own.

With the future uncertain and the past fuzzy, I have developed my capacity to be wholly focused on the present--which I've learned has its own value in this world. I think more with my heart, now, than with my head. I am less concerned with appearing corny or woo-woo or sloppy in my thinking.

I've learned that I am not my thoughts--that *"I"* exist somewhere else, as something else. I am no longer an intellect. Perhaps I am a soul.

This is important to me.

I lived for three years as 40 Percent Martha and another three as 80 Percent Martha. There were times in my life where this was, and would have been, completely untenable--when I was caring for babies and elders, or building a career. I am grateful that my brain changed after those tasks were complete enough.

As it stands, I don't have any desire to go back to 100 Percent Martha. She could do too many things at once; she thought too fast to see all the beautiful things that you can only see when your thoughts are slow. She could get lost in a sea of facts and details and miss seeing the underlying eternals.

She didn't know she was more than all that she could think of

So, I'm not at the point where I'm as accepting as the "woo-woo"; it's good to not identify with your thoughts, but I think the "somewhere else" that we are is only metaphorically distant; emergent (and transcendent) from the base physical and neurological material we start as, but not separable.

Reading about Crawford's experience... I have never had a great mind for "unimportant" details - with a self-serving circular definition of "important", though I think I've isolated it to: does the detail reflect how this thing interacts with other things, or is it "merely" intrinsic. So I have hopes that I'm more adept at leaning on external aids - todo lists, notes, etc.

I do have to brace myself for being less adept at coding up projects. That could happen - I mean it might already be happening, sometimes I am very impressed with the scale of things I would take on just for funsies. And I never feel like I'm great at learning new things like languages - I suspect I'm hampered by "but I already know how to get these results with the system I already know, new way for the sake of new way is not worth it", but that's not a new trait.

From a UX perspective, it's interesting for us people who grew up as "the smart kid" that, frankly, you don't have to be that smart to get around ok in a lot of contexts. (Heh, actually I think about musicians who smoke a little weed before hand, get a little more loose, let things flow. I wouldn't do that just because I don't have experience/confidence in being a reliable bass player in altered states.)
When looking for the purpose of existence, consider petting your dog.
Two photos by Seton L, JP Honk at Roslindale Porchfest, Adubbs then Me...

Spiders are the only web developers who enjoy finding bugs
September 26, 2022
Judd: When we did *Undeclared*, the note from Fox was: You need more eye candy.
Amy: Do you think that's true? Do people really need more eye candy?
Judd: I have thought about that a lot. I don't know. But what if people do want it?
Amy: I'm not above that. I want to look at Jennifer Lawrence eating cereal.
Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer in Judd's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

But you learn more from fucking up than you do from success, unfortunately. And failure, if you don't let it defeat you, is what fuels your future success.
Chris Rock in Judd Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

[Harold Ramis] once said to me, "Life is ridiculous, so why not be a good guy?" That may be the only religion I have to this day.
Judd Apatow via his collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

As I said to someone recently, I'm trying to fuck my kids up *just* enough so they'll want to get a job.
Judd Apatow to James L. Brooks in Judd's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

We just went in knowing that we might get canceled. And if you're going to go down, you have to go down doing what you like doing and what's fun for you, because I don't ever want to do something painful and then have everyone go, "Hey, that works. Keep doing that painful thing for years."
Jimmy Fallon to James L. Brooks in Judd Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

I'm glad I didn't get [that shot on Letterman]. I'm glad for every single thing I didn't get.
Louis C.K. in Judd Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"
His name is dropped frequently across many interviews in the book; when I think back to stuff like "shitty ankle"... it really suck that he was so abominable to women. (Later in the interview he says "I like to put myself into fucked-up situations and make mistakes and deal with it. I like to do that over and over again on the show, and maybe I like to do that in my life also."
I know. The thrill is seeing it communally. Seeing it in a movie house on a big screen. And that's, you know, television is wonderful and DVDs, they're wonderful, but they are really a disservice to movies. I mean, you enjoy somebody cackling from the balcony. You enjoy people around you joining you in the laughter.
Mel Brooks in Judd Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

I think all good plays are both. You can't be only funny. And God help any play that is never funny.
Mike Nichols in Judd Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

Sarah: It's funny because sometimes I'll get c***y with [my sister the rabbi] and I'll be like, "Oh, so you believe there's a man in the sky?" I just can't get my head around it, you know. And she'll go, "Well, I like to live my life as though there is one." And I'm just like, "Oh, you're beautiful."

Judd: Why can't you get your head around it?

Sarah: I can be cynical. But I don't think of myself, at my core, as cynical. So much of it is location. Like, who is Muslim? Who is a Jew? Who is a Catholic? Who is a Christian? Who's Buddhist? Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of it is where you happen to be born. So how can one be right and another be wrong? It seems pretty clear to me that it's a coping mechanism for people who cannot handle the not knowing of things. I am okay knowing I will never be able to comprehend the world.
Sarah Silverman and Judd Apatow in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"
That was exactly the same turning point for my spiritual journey, when I was a teen.
I also really like sleeping. My friends make fun of me because, you know, I love hanging out but I always hit a point in the night where I just want to get home and sleep. I have a very active dream life and I have to be there a lot.
Sarah Silverman in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

No tennis player or baseball player has ever directed a good movie. I mean, it is interesting when you think about how many filmmakers and artists come out of skateboard culture and zero come out of football, baseball, tennis, soccer. It's not part of any other sport.
Judd Apatow to Spike Jonze in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

Judd: I think about my girlfriend from high school and all of our dreams at the time and I almost...You know, a lot of times I'm tempted to reach out to her but I don't because it's almost, it's so *present*. It doesn't feel old. It feels brand-new. I'm always afraid to see exes in front of my wife because I feel like she'll know in my face that I'm as devastated today as I was the day that girl broke up with me.
Judd Apatow to Spike Jonze in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

Maria Bamford is my favorite comedian ever. Nobody makes me laugh harder. To all my friends who are comedians, I apologize for saying this. I hope it didn't hurt you. But it's just a fact. And deep down, you know I'm right.
Judd Apatow

I think I heard someone say, "Nobody has a backup dream."
Judd Apatow to David Sedaris in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"

But I always felt--I guess I felt like, *The joke's on you*. If somebody was being, like, a dick to me or whatever in school, I would always think, *Your family sucks*. I always felt confident that my family was better than other people's families. It wasn't money or class or anything like that. I just knew that theirs laughed at the wrong things.
David Sedaris in Apatow's collection of interviews "Sick in the Head"
cracked on the history of the contact lens I sort of can't believe contact lenses exist. I mean I tried some for a while in high school, but yikes. What a daring thing to be around
Spiders are the only web developers who enjoy finding bugs

Oh, I just realized Barton Fink was the movie I was mixing up with Barry Lyndon. Not that I know much about either.

Spock, McCoy, and Scotty waited with Kirk in the transporter room. McCoy was scowling. Kirk knew what McCoy thought of the transporter. For the doctor the room was filled with the ghosts of a thousand humans and aliens who had passed through this room to their fates: disintegration and analysis and materialization in a distant place. Bodies had come and gone, leaving their immaterial essences behind, and most of them had returned--though who can say that the same persons came back who left this room. Exact duplicates, certainly, but what of that which could not be measured or analyzed? What of the personality? What of the "I"? What of the soul, for those who still believed?
James Gunn, "The Joy Machine (Star Trek: The Original Series Book 80)"

Nothing outside makes you whole. That arrives only when you come to terms with what's inside, when you accept what you are and who you are and grant yourself the right to make mistakes and still keep your self-respect.
Captain Kirk (James Gunn, "The Joy Machine (Star Trek: The Original Series Book 80)")

Think! Happiness is not the only good. Humans value other things even more: love, friendship, accomplishment, discovery, and, most of all, knowledge. Given a free choice between happiness and knowledge, humanity will choose knowledge every time.
Captain Kirk (James Gunn, "The Joy Machine (Star Trek: The Original Series Book 80)")

(I've been on a Vonnegut kick, and I wanted to check out this novelization of a never-produced screenplay by Theodore Sturgeon, who is said to be the influence for Vonnegut's Kilgore Trout character)
Ghost Town @ Roslindale Porchfest , with a few JP honkers

Open Photo Gallery

What a delightful surprise on Tumblr, I was in the NES game Rollerblade Racer. must've been during my brief time wearing contacts.

The more something is shared, the greater its value becomes.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"

Lewis Hyde wonderfully illustrates this dissonance in his exploration of the "Indian giver." This expression, used negatively today as a pejorative for someone who gives something and then wants to have it back, actually derives from a fascinating cross-cultural misinterpretation between an indigenous culture operating in a gift economy and a colonial culture predicated on the concept of private property. When gifts were given to the settlers by the Native inhabitants, the recipients understood that they were valuable and were intended to be retained. Giving them away would have been an affront. But the indigenous people understood the value of the gift to be based in reciprocity and would be affronted if the gifts did not circulate back to them. Many of our ancient teachings counsel that whatever we have been given is supposed to be given away again. [...] In Western thinking, private land is understood to be a "bundle of rights," whereas in a gift economy property has a "bundle of responsibilities" attached.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"

English is a nounbased language, somehow appropriate to a culture so obsessed with things.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"

Ceremony focuses attention so that attention becomes intention. If you stand together and profess a thing before your community, it holds you accountable.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"

Time as objective reality has never made much sense to me. It's what happens that matters. How can minutes and years, devices of our own creation, mean the same thing to gnats and to cedars? Two hundred years is young for the trees whose tops this morning are hung with mist. It's an eyeblink of time for the river and nothing at all for the rocks. The rocks and the river and these very same trees are likely to be here in another two hundred years, if we take good care.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"

But it is not enough to weep for our lost landscapes; we have to put our hands in the earth to make ourselves whole again. Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, "Braiding Sweetgrass"
For a while I've been wrestling with a paradox of dissatisfaction: Buddhism and other philosophies (Stoicism, Epicureanism) tell us that it's a fool's game to make our happiness contingent on the world being different than it is... but it seems like that's a critical way to get energy to change the world for the better. (George Bernard Shaw: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.")

But the other day I posted a meme that started "Be a Kermit the Frog. Have a creative vision and no ego [...]" That seems like beautiful advice - but it seems like ego is another important driver? Much like it's easy to predict docile passivity if one were to consistently just accept the world as it is, it seems like without pride there would be fewer reasons for high standards. Ego is a hell of a stumbling block - stops me from taking risks that might damage it - but it also encourages me to do excellent things.

I worry I'm a little too ego-driven; you could see a lot of what I do, from art projects to romances, having inspiration that's a mix of "this pleases me" and "this impresses others". But I think my lived philosophy of truth as being an emergent property of groups (rather than a subjective thing known by individuals) means that my ego is tied into trying to see if what I'm doing is any good according to other people, since I don't trust - or even value - my own judgement.