November 19, 2017

Trying to declutter but Marie Kondo is too pile-centric or mumbo-jumbo-y? Arrange all your possessions in a long straight line ordered by how much you want each item, make a perpendicular line at the cut off point, and discard everything to left. DONE AND DUSTED.(Note, you may still have to dust, especially around those shelves where the cluttering items used to sit.)

November 18, 2017

Counterprotesters bring music. They chant "No Trump! No KKK! No Fascist USA!" --@lauracrimaldi

Backing up Refuse Fascism and supporting Black Lives Matter...
While writing a devblog article about a little mp3 I made and named to be first in my song collection (so when a podcast or audiobook ends I hear it, rather than Jackson 5's first rate song (and not just alphabetically) "A.B.C.", I realize I was willing to come around and accept the pedantically incorrect use of "it begs the question".

Everyone draws the prescriptivist/descriptivist line just about where some quirk annoys them personally. "Begs the question" was my line, but justified because I think "make a query while presuming some other question has already been settled" is a useful concept. (Rhetorically it's useful to be able to spot when that has happened.)

But "begs the question" in the sense of "demands that we ask this other question" is a useful concept too, I guess, and full of a kind of drama. It's also kind of a superset of the original meaning.

November 17, 2017

Sam Harris:
The truth is none of us know how much time we have in this life.

And taking that fact to heart brings a kind of moral and emotional clarity and energy to the present. Or at least it can.

And it can bring a resolve to not suffer over stupid things.

I mean take something like "road rage". This is probably the quintessential example of misspent energy. You're behind the wheel of your car, and somebody does something erratic, or they're probably just driving more slowly than you want. And you find yourself getting angry. Now I would submit to you that that kind of thing is impossible if you're being mindful of the shortness of life. If you're aware that you are going to die, and that the other person is going to die, and that you're both going to lose everyone you love and you don't know when... you've got THIS moment of life, this beautiful moment, this moment where your consciousness is bright, it's not dimmed by morphine in the hospital on your last day among the living. And the sun is out, or it's raining- both are beautiful. And your spouse is alive, and your children are alive, and you're driving. And you're not in some failed state where civilians are being rounded up and murdered by the thousands. You're just running an errand. And that person in front of you, who you will never meet, whose hopes and sorrows you know nothing about but which if you COULD know them you would recognize are impressively similar to your own - is just driving slow.

This is your life. The only one you've got. And you will never get this moment back again. And you don't know how many more moments you have. No matter how many times you do something, there will come a day when you do it for the last time. You've had a thousand chances to tell the people closest to you that you love them in a way that they FEEL it, and in a way that YOU feel it. And you've missed most of them. And you don't know how many more you're going to get. You've got this next interaction with another human being to make the world a marginally better place, you've got this one opportunity to fall in love with existence, so why not relax and enjoy your life? REALLY relax. Even in the midst of struggle. Even while doing hard work. Even under uncertainty.

You are in a game right now, and you can't see the clock, so you don't know how much time you have left. And yet you're free to make the game as interesting as possible; you can even change the rules, you can discover new games that no one has thought of yet. You can make games that used to be impossible suddenly possible and get others to play them with you. You can literally build a rocket to go to Mars so that you can start a colony there. I actually know people who will spend some part of today doing that. But whatever you do, however seemingly ordinary, you can feel the preciousness of life. And an awareness of death is the door into that way of being in the world.
--Sam Harris, from the introduction to his podcast discussion with Frank Ostaseski, a Zen Hospice pioneer - to complete the plug "And there are very people more aware of death and the lessons it has to teach us than my guest today. Today I'm speaking to Frank Ostaseski..." - the podcast is a good listen.

U.S. Navy Is Very Sorry That Their Pilot Drew A Dong In The Sky. This is powerful shamanic magic.
I plan to take solace in how when our acrobatic robotic overlords come to take over, their boxes will say "Boston Dynamics" WOOOO BOSTON!!!!

November 16, 2017

Random linguistic watch: 3 times in the past day or so I've seen "roasted" used in a casual jovial insult sort of way. Prior to that, I feel like I mostly just saw it in reference to semi-formal "comedy roast" events. Anyone else feel it is having an uptick?

Also, in trying (unsuccessfully) to confirm and quantify that feeling, I stumbled Google Books Ngram viewer (Not helpful because it just up to 2000, and then just books.) Seeing if it was like one of those baby name popularity graphers, I put in Kirk, and found a big uptick around 1840, and then learned about the Disruption of 1843, where the Church of Scotland split after a decade of strife. (Kirk is the name of the official church of Scotland, as well as for the local branch, so to speak.)

Ya learn something new every day! On good days, two things.
Last night I grabbed "Snipperclips" for the Nintendo Switch, play some of the puzzles with Melissa - cute game!

I feel like I'm out of the loop with Switch, in terms of what might be cool to do with it beyond Mario and Zelda. There is a remake of NES Blaster Master - I tried the free 3DS demo of that but the Switch would be nicer.

Despite having had an Xbox One and a PS3 and a Wii U for a while, I feel like I haven't been into downloadable / indie stuff in any system since the 360 (which still stands as my favorite system for now, at least in terms of having open world sandbox games...)

Any suggestions?

November 15, 2017

"Everyone assumes they are the sperm that made it to the egg. Nobody assumes they were the egg all along."
----/u/DingDongInDaPingPong. Huh. That kind of resonates for me - is that asymmetry true for a lot of people? Is it more true for dudes? Definitely feels like there might be a sexist undercoat there. Also a shade of the old Yin (feminine/passive) Yang (masculine/active), which can be hella problematic when used as a role model for modern society. I get the feeling people feel affiliation for the faster and seemingly more action-packed journey of the young sperm cell, vs the slower travel for the egg that has been there since the mother's time in the womb. A lot of metaphors spring to mind, but again I think trouble arises with the temptation of attributing truth and guidance because of the "it's just nature!" parallels.
"If you don't find farts funny then you're a loser because you're choosing to have less joy in your life but the exact same amount of farts"
-- I find you can replace "farts" with many things in your life and it still kind of works!


November 14, 2017project

new logo tech'd up on my devblog

Stuart: You don't get things by not asking for them.
You don't get things by not wanting them, either.
Gillian: One of the things I've always tried to teach the girls is that there's nothing particularly good or virtuous about wanting something. I don't put it like that, of course, in fact I frequently don't put it at all. The best lessons children learn are those they learn for themselves.
--Julian Barnes, "Love, etc". He truly is a fine novelist.
CompuServe's forums, which still exist, are finally shutting down Always sad when an old service gets its plug pulled, I'm sure someone's going to miss that particular community.

November 13, 2017introspection

Christopher Mooney answering the Quora "How do people feel in their last minutes of life?":

I had a near death experience once, when I was pretty sure I was 20–30 seconds away from the end. Like, I mean, I was completely sure I was about to die.

I remember my feelings at the time, vividly. How could you forget.

1: I actually felt very calm. People are scared of death. But once you know it's happening, and you can't do anything about it, you find peace. It was actually one of the calmest, most peaceful moments I can recall in my life.

2: I was very very reflective. When you hear the stereotypes of "your life flashing before your eyes", that's exactly how I felt. I reflected on my life, and who I was, and if I could have done anything better.

3: It sounds funny, but I also really had this "well, this is just my luck!" kind of feeling. I actually found it kind of humorous. I was kind of laughing a bit, about how unlucky I was!

This experience, actually helped me find a lot of faith. Because, although I was an atheist at the time, I didn't actually feel like it was the end. I wasn't thinking in terms of my existence being over. I was almost feeling like I was just moving on from one part of my life, to the next.

I, kind of, had no fear, because I didn't think it was that big a deal? I know this sounds crazy, but all I can say is, that when the moment came, my mind was completely prepared for it. My brain kind of changed, and I understood everything, and was prepared for everything. It's almost like the human body/brain is completely prepared for it's demise, but you don't get to access this skill until you really need it?

My big personal growth / philosophical questions right now:
1. How does one recognize personal growth? At what point can an extrinsic improvement in behavior be safely or at least reasonably considered an intrinsic improvement in character? (AA says that even for people who by and large fix their lives, "once an addict always an addict" - given on how many fronts backsliding can happen, that while skills improve hardly anything becomes effortlessly graceful, I wonder if my intuitive skepticism about personal growth has some backing to it, or if everyone recognizes that but still finds these word games helpful)
2. Would more equanimity lead to more apathy? Does the anxiety and irritation and frustration and ego that I'd like to get away from serve critical purposes in guiding my behavior towards better things? Is not feeling anger about things that are out of my control a form of maturity or giving up? Can cheerful reason carry the load of getting me to behave well and pursue worthwhile things that otherwise find their impetus in my discomfort and discomfort? (And if so, has this always been the case? Would I always have been as productive a person, or even more so, if I didn't carry these burdens? Should I try to help young people I might advise to also pursue this equanimity or is there even more of a risk they don't have the moral or intellectual framework to carry that load, and so should rely on good old appeal to authority and anxiety?)
3. I feel that my self is best represented not as a unified thing, but at least as two parts - the intuitive, emotional elephant and the rational, narrative rider at the very least. But, am I best thought of as only that 1-2 split? Or do I, like Whitman, "contain multitudes"? This problem is even more academic than the other two - I'm not sure if it makes a big difference if I have an inner child or inner children, if each neurologically-based impulse-generating can act like a persona or is just a thought thinking itself (or more exactly an emotion itself) and if my rational narrator, so quick to claim credit for being the truest me (but full of so many post-facto rationalizations for what I actually do) is a monolithic thing too? But it's something I'd love to know, so I can come up with more effective strategies of guiding the whole lot of them where I'd like to go.

So if anyone has the answers to those, let me know, otherwise I'll just be over here thinking for a while.