dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
Yesterday I saw an article on Twitter about how video games are better than real life, and it got me thinking.

I'm lucky enough now to have a job with reasonable pay and excellent benefits, but something I'm always conscious of is that my job exists as a stop-gap. I do data quality curation, so my day is checking the results of machine algorithms and dealing with what they can't handle--since we get millions of records a month, there's no way they could all be checked by hand and no need to do it when well over 99% of the work can be automated. But automation keeps getting better, and that means the space for what I do now is continually shrinking. Eventually, it'll be gone. Not this year, probably not in the next five years, but almost certainly before I retire.

(Incidentally, this is one reason why I save so much of our income. I'm trying to get ahead of the curve while I can )

And then I think about the last year we were in Japan, after Suzugamine cancelled its contract with Lang due to a shrinking student body (shrinking so much that it later merged with another school and changed its name), when I was out of work. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd told me to treat it like a vacation, and that I could get a job when we got back to America and she was in grad school. We made an attempt to look for work closer to Chiyoda, but there wasn't much to be found, and in the end that's what I did. I taught the eikaiwa we had, but otherwise I studied Japanese, walked around the neighborhood, and played video games.

Like the article says, it was fine. I really enjoyed much of that year, though in the end I was having serious sleeping problems and it was clearly having an effect on me. But while I regret not doing more Japanese studying during that year, playing games was fun. It was interesting and challenging. The lack of a job didn't bother me at all. And why not? Unlike life, video games are fair. They have understandable rules that can be challenged and mastered, and predictable results from those rules. And if they don't fit those criteria, they're often bad games, and there are other games to play. There's no other lives to life.

That's one of the few things that provides me some hope about the automation apocalypse. Large groups of unemployed young men is usually a route to massive social unrest, if not outright revolution. If those young men are fine without work as long as they get to play video games, and if robots can do the work, well...why not let them? With some kind of basic income scheme rather than having people fight over increasingly dwindling jobs, which is what we're currently having people do? There will be massive social hurdles to overcome--"what do you mean, I'm working and my taxes are paying for him to play World of Warcraft 2?!"--but it seems like the only option that doesn't end in massive bloodshed or social unrest.

That part I'm less optimistic about. But at least I have a little hope.


2017-Feb-17, Friday 11:48
dorchadas: (Chiyoda)
Last night, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I finished watching Tamayura: Hitotose. I gave it a nine. It's not super popular. The animation is fuzzy and obviously not particularly high quality, it's a slow slice-of-life anime shows about cute anime girls doing cute anime things, and the hook is that the main character likes photography and moved back to Takehara, in Hiroshima Prefecture, after her father died.

And that, of course, is the in for me. We watched the intro OVA when it first came out, while we lived in Chiyoda, so everything was familiar. I recognized the view from Mt. Asahi. They went to a shrine in neighboring Onomichi that I knew because an old man complimented [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd on the boots she was wearing, saying that boots with kimono was popular during the Meiji era but had completely fallen out of fashion nowadays. And because it's Takehara, there was an episode set during the Bamboo Festival, and we spent the whole time looking at the scenery of all the places we had been and the sights we had seen, like this bamboo and lights sculpture. There's a quote that's relevant here, I think:
“It is the curse of age, that all things are reflections of other things.”
-Neil Gaiman, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains
Our love for Tamayura comes maybe half from what it's actually about, and half from our memories of living in Hiroshima, going to local festivals, eating okonomiyaki, living in a house with tatami floors, and standing on a mountain over the Setonaikai, watching the sunlight on the waves.

[ profile] ping816 has an anime club he runs, and one of the shows we watched was 5 Centimeters per Second. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I loved it and everyone else hated it. Some of that is differing tastes, but I think part of it is because we lived in Japan and the other people watching did not. We had at least some of the culture context for appreciating what it was trying to say. That's what I seek out in anime now, rather than moeblobs or hot-blooded anime pilots. I can get those from video games, whereas getting an experience anything like living in a small Japanese town is pretty rare in games (though Stardew Valley comes close).

Now I want to go back to the Bamboo Festival. Someday...
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
For most of my life, I have paid no Federal taxes. At first it was because I didn't make enough and contributed to an IRA, then it was because [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was in school the year we got married, then it was because we lived in Japan and came in under the income limits, then it was because [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was in school again. But the last couple of years, now that we both work full-time in real grown-up jobs, we've made enough that the bill has finally come due.

Last year it caught me by surprise due to the aforementioned lack of owing and we had a multi-thousand-dollar tax bill, which we fortunately didn't owe any interest on since our income had jumped so much. This year I was much better about estimating how much we owed and our bill is comparatively low, but I was surprised at my reaction when doing my taxes. Every time I put in something that raised our taxes I twitched. I owe money based on the paltry interest from our savings account? They're charging us how much for our dividends? What do you mean I can't deduct our contributions to an IRA because we make too much money?  photo emot-argh.gif

Of course, taxes are the bill for civilization. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and are fortunate that we make enough that this is even a matter of consideration for us. But it's easy to see how without some thought, those moments of indignation could fester and turn into the lower-taxes-at-all-costs attitude that so many Americans seem to have. It's important for my own sake to remember that I'm not categorically different from a rich asshole--well, upper-middle-class asshole--and it could easily be me that falls into that destructive philosophy if I don't take some mental precautions.

I will indulging in some fist-shaking as that tax bill ticks up, though.  photo emot-doom.gif

Ending therapy

2017-Jan-13, Friday 14:41
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
I'm not sure I've written about it at all here, but I went to therapy for a year, starting last January and ending yesterday, spurred on by the stomach pain I suddenly developed a year and a half ago. I'd thought over the last couple months about why I was still going and didn't have a good answer, so I talked about it with my therapist last night and ended our sessions for now.

I always felt a bit guilty going. Like, am I really in enough distress for this? Is there someone else who could use this time more? I don't know the answer to that. I do know that I found it helpful.

It was mostly a re-calibration of my expectations. I went in with the goal of "stopping my stomach from hurting," and that didn't happen. But I suppose that was like going in with a goal of no longer being anxious, and that's not realistic either. Something I thought of as I walked away that I didn't get a chance to say is that anxiety is like fear. Courage isn't the absence of fear, that's either stupidity or foolhardiness. Courage is acting even though one is afraid. Successfully dealing with anxiety is the same way, and talking about it is what made me realize that. I'm never not going to worry before a social event or consider cancelling half-a-dozen times or assume it's going to be terrible, but as long as I go anyway, then I have succeeded in some way.

And I'm pretty good at that, overall. Other than back when I was a university student, this is probably the most full my schedule has ever been, socially. I keep going to Japanese tutoring even if I'd rather a meteor fall on me when I'm walking to class, and I can see my Japanese improving. I'm in a better place than I was a year ago.

And a lot of my other worries...well, there's nothing my therapist or I can do about the possibility of global thermonuclear war.  photo ashamed2.gif

She mentioned that I should email her to set up another session if I felt that I needed to talk in the future. Hopefully I won't, but it's good to have the option available.
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
A couple days ago, I read this article about the game Wurm Online and a man who was a king. I found it really poignant, the image of the author and the man riding together through an overgrown and abandoned landscape, littered with the crumbling ruins of what was once a vibrant community of players now almost all gone. A single house, alone in the wilderness, the last remnant of life.

Like this passage:
We haven’t seen a single soul since we left Strongbox but these towers are populated by NPC guards. Reminders that there used to be something worth protecting nearby. In this case, the flat land is peppered with bed frames. It used to be a collection of houses. But none of the walls, roofs or chimney stacks remain. Only bedframes, abandoned and forgotten.
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

The other reason the Wurm Online article hit me is because I played World of Warcraft for six years, for thousands of hours of playtime, and I have almost no posts written about it on here. For a long time, I used my blog as a form of social media before Twitter and Tumble and Facebook rose to the prominence they now occupy, and once those took off, I stopped posting much of anything here that wasn't directly what happened in my daily life. That means I sometimes went weeks or months without posting, and that something that took up a huge portion of my life and the lives of many of my friends for years is left with almost no records. I even ended up accidentally deleting my screenshots at some point. All I have are memories.

Yesterday, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I finished watching ToraDora, after having it on our to-watch list for almost six years. It's a deconstruction of the tsundere--one of the main characters is even voiced by Kugimiya Rie--with a happy ending that works out for nearly everyone. It's very Japanese in that "I will set aside my own happiness for now so that you can be happy and achieve your dreams" way, in multiple directions. And like many other such anime, it ends when high school does, happily, and the future is glowing brightly ahead as the characters walk forward into it. Even though these are high school relationships and the odds of them lasting past the beginning of college is very low, we don't want to see that. We want a happy ending.

That Japanese in the subject translates as "There is nothing that is eternal," which is the title of a story I wrote for that Scion LARP I was in and also one of the bedrock parts of my life philosophy. And while I was searching for the link to that story, I found this question on 知恵袋 (chiebukuro, "fount of knowledge") where someone asks if there is anything in this world that is eternal. One person says love, and one person says time, but the majority answer is that there is nothing.

I think that's what I write so much of my life down now. It's a way of holding out against entropy, of making the transitory experience of playing a single-player video game into something that can be shared with other people, of turning my experience of a good meal or an anime convention or a vacation into a record that will stand for longer than my memories do. There's already been plenty of times when I read an old blog post I wrote and find something I had forgotten or that I was remembering wrong, and writing it down meant that what really happened, or my perception thereof, remains.

We are, all of us, looking for something eternal. We will fail, inevitably. But that doesn't mean we can't try.

We don't build sandcastles in the hope that they'll last forever.

Are you there in my dreams?
Waiting there just for me?
Are you there for me?
Are you there for me?

I won't surrender
While hope still lives in this world...
Kawaii heart emoji photo heart_emoji_by_kawaiiprincess2-d51re77.gif

On digital noise

2016-Oct-05, Wednesday 09:46
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
Yesterday I came across this article by Andrew Sullivan about the downsides of constant digital connection. A lot of it is the same stuff that keeps popping up in articles everywhere, about how no one pays attention to each other anymore, and maybe we should put our phones down and actually talk to those next to us, and oh no why are people texting instead of calling, and the standard jeremiads about how smartphones are ruining the youths.  photo c9a2ed93dbfb11e324f5b3e281e5e1b2.gif All of that ignores how I can keep in contact with friends from around the world, study Japanese while standing on a packed train, find my way around a foreign country without having to carry paper maps or wander the streets, make restaurant reservations in seconds, tell [ profile] softlykarou how long it will be until I can meet her in real time, and...well, if you're reading this, I don't have to keep elaborating because you know.

Multitasking degrades performance and people who read the news are more depressed, and it sounds like that was a lot of Andrew Sullivan's problems right there. But the part of the article that really drew my attention was this:
That Judeo-Christian tradition recognized a critical distinction — and tension — between noise and silence, between getting through the day and getting a grip on one’s whole life. The Sabbath — the Jewish institution co-opted by Christianity — was a collective imposition of relative silence, a moment of calm to reflect on our lives under the light of eternity. It helped define much of Western public life once a week for centuries — only to dissipate, with scarcely a passing regret, into the commercial cacophony of the past couple of decades. It reflected a now-battered belief that a sustained spiritual life is simply unfeasible for most mortals without these refuges from noise and work to buffer us and remind us who we really are. But just as modern street lighting has slowly blotted the stars from the visible skies, so too have cars and planes and factories and flickering digital screens combined to rob us of a silence that was previously regarded as integral to the health of the human imagination.
I don't currently have much silence in my life. Nearly every second of every day, I'm listening to a podcast. Even when I'm reading in bed at night, there's usually a podcast and some music going, since I'm trying to listen to and rate most of my music. And there are definitely times when I realized that I've been listening to a podcast for an hour and can't remember what any of it was.

Is that a problem, that I just want podcast noise in the background sometimes? Would I be better served by just setting Rain Rain on rain-on-roof and thunder sounds while I read? Obviously this doesn't apply in all situations--I remember work before I started listening to music and then podcasts, and it seemed to last a lot longer and was far more boring--but am I doing myself a disservice by eschewing silence elsewhere?

I remember the nights in Chiyoda. Living in the suburbs or the city as I had until that point, I hadn't really understood how quiet and dark the night was. I can just imagine my ancestors in England in winter during the new moon, when everything was deathly silent and pitch black, huddled indoors by the fire. That's why we lit the night (and why we, unlike the Japanese, have central heating). But I do remember going for walks in the hills around Chiyoda, and while it wasn't silent, the only sounds were the wind and the cicadas, the frogs, or the crunch of leaves or snow. Japanese has a word for that: 森林浴 (shinrinyoku, "forest bathing").

Sometimes I look forward to the day when I will have listened to all my podcasts. I wonder if my brain is trying to tell me something?  photo ashamed2.gif
dorchadas: (Not the Tale)
It's been a very long time since I actually answered one of these memes, so I'll try my hand at this and give the ネタ tag a workout.

Read more... )
dorchadas: (Default)
This post is inspired by an article I saw about how procrastination is often caused by anxiety and not laziness, though I unfortunately can't find the source right now.

If something is bothering me, I have a tendency to let it slide for a while. Part of this is conflict avoidance, it's true, but part of it is that most of the time I'm legitimately chill and am willing to put up with a lot if I figure that it's going to be a short-term thing. The problem is that I let things go for a long time without saying anything, and then once I hit a particular threshold, I explode. Where normally I don't want to say anything because I don't want to upset things, or because I worry about what the other person will think, or because I can't figure out how to phrase my request properly, once I cross that threshold none of that matters.

The main example that springs to mind is cleanliness. I tend to prefer things almost completely spotless and the floor with no clutter on it at all, whereas [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd doesn't mind a backpack dropped by the door or a few pieces of clothing laid out for the week. What used to happen is that I let things go for a while, quietly getting more and more annoyed every time I saw a cardigan left on a chair or a piece of mail on the table, until I went into a cleaning frenzy and scoured the entirely living space with bleach and soap. The first time [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd went to a grad school conference, I spent three hours cleaning the entire apartment. And this was our first post-Japan apartment, when it was three rooms, one of which was the bathroom.

I have gotten better about it since then. I'm more careful to bring up when something is bothering me earlier in a way that doesn't lead to everything seeming okay until it's suddenly, overwhelmingly wrong. But one thing I've noticed over the years is that when I get into the annoyed side of the cycle, I don't actually feel anxious. If I'm pissed off at a company because of something I think they did wrong, I can actually pick up the phone and call them to complain, and yet I dreaded making restaurant reservations until I got an app that let me do it without any human interaction. Somehow, I need to find a way to synthesize those two attitudes into a Voltron of healthy response to my circumstances. I'm working on that.
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I was telling someone the story of my first real experience in Japan the second day we were there, where [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd had to go to a lot of panels but I had free time. I looked at the guidebooks and determined that I was going to head down to Meiji Jingu, so I dressed, loaded up my satchel with the guidebook and map, and headed out to Shinjuku Station, the busiest train station in the world.

I watched the people at that station use the ticket machines for fifteen minutes until I finally felt confident to use them myself, and then I bought a ticket and got on the Yamanote line, and spent the whole day out wandering the city, coming back at dinner time to meet up with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd.


After telling the story, something was nagging at me. I remembered that my feet got torn up from the new sandals I was wearing and that I had walked one leg of the trip, but I knew I didn't walk home. I also remember walking south, past Yoyogi and through part of Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑). And in a flash, I remembered what really happened--I didn't buy a ticket. I watched people for a long time, waiting for a lull in the crush of people buying tickets so that I could go buy one myself without holding up the line or having to walk away without figuring it out, and there never was a spot in the line. I didn't have a ticket but I wasn't going to sit in the hotel room all day, so I walked. On the way back, Harajuku Station was significantly less crowded and I bought a ticket there to go back, and thereafter I was fine.

My mind rewrote the whole thing as a story of triumph over unfamiliar circumstances and persistence in the face of discouragement and, actually, it was completely the opposite. I got too worried and gave up, though at least I actually went to the shrine instead of hiding inside all day. But until I thought about the inconsistencies, I would have sworn that the first version of the story was the true one.

This is part of why I still keep a blog of mundane events when nearly everyone else I know has stopped doing so. I don't trust my memories, and writing down accounts of vacations or weekends or cultural events immediately after they happen helps preserve the first impression in my mind. Maybe no one else will read it, but I sometimes go back and read them, and it helps me remember things I've forgotten or that my mind has distorted over the years.

It's also why I'm terrible for giving advice. Sure, "Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes," but even when I do give an answer I wrap it in as many qualifications as I can based on how ignorant I am of the parties to a situation, the circumstances, whether I was there or not, whether it's ever happened to me before, etc.

I look forward to the perfect robot future, when everything we experience will be perfectly recorded for later access and we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.


2016-Mar-13, Sunday 12:54
dorchadas: (Angst)
I've always preferred having longer nails (same with hair) and I'm really not sure what the reason is. When I was a child, I remember telling people that I liked having them longer because it made it easier to turn the pages of books, which--much to my surprise nowadays--they accepted as a legitimate answer, maybe because they all knew how much I loved reading. When I got a bit older people stopped caring, except for when we went on field trips when various girls would fawn over my nails out of jealousy that I didn't do anything to maintain them and they still looked great. I specifically remember the time when we went to the Shakespeare Theatre to see Julius and Caesar, where they wanted to paint my nails and I figured why not?

And speaking of that, Yesterday, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to go get a manicure.

2016-03-13 - Manicured nails

Hey now, hey now now.

I think it looks pretty good, actually. I wasn't sure whether I would like it before I went in, and I was originally planning to just get a clear topcoat and get the nails filed until the woman behind the counter asked us to pick out a polish color and I figured sure, why not? (this is a theme...) I got black, obviously.

I used to occasionally wear makeup in certain settings--[ profile] ashiri_chan and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd can both attest to that--but much like my fashion changed in my mid- and late-twenties, I fell out of the habit. Fashion was pretty much the same way, where I went from a bit more diversity to basically wearing untucked dress shirts/polo shirts and khakis all the time. I'm glad that I've settled on something a bit more distinctive, though really it's more just reverting to the way I would have dressed back in my late teens and early twenties if I had unlimited money.

It took an hour and a half, so I'm not sure how often I'd be willing to do this. On the other hand, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd picked the salon we went to because the few bad reviews complained that it was too quiet and no one said anything at all and she knew that would be a huge selling point for me. And it was! Not just for the normal reasons, either. I've only been to a nail salon with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd once before and the conversation I had there went like this:
Salon attendant: "Is that your daughter?"
Me: "That's my wife."
No further words were spoken.
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
Like I mentioned, I've been reading 世界の中心で愛を叫ぶ and I'm pretty sure that it's helped me identify one of the problems I'm having in trying to learn Japanese--I compartmentalize too much. I have a tendency to want to look every word up I don't know, so I stop when I find something, make a note on the PDF I have of the book with the word and its reading and pronunciation, then go back to the text. But it means that sometimes I'm reading whole sentences, and sometimes I'm reading it one word at a time, which makes it pretty hard to draw meaning from it.

What I really need to do is to read everything through once first, not look anything up, and see how much I understand. Then read it through and note down all the words I don't know, then read it through again with the notes in case I can't remember something.

On the plus side, I've noticed that reading actual written Japanese is helping some vocab stick in my head because I have context for it. It's like how I'll always remember that アライグマ literally means "washing bear," which means "raccoon," because of Kazu trying to explain it with "洗濯ぐま" ("laundry bear").

As for the actual book, I'm enjoying it. I started off feeling like it was being crassly manipulative, but once it moved past the opening frame of sadness and taking someone's ashes far away and went back to the meet cute, it got better. Though it's pretty heavy-handed:

But in spite of [walking with a distance between them], from the girl's hair the sweet scent of shampoo and condition hung faintly in the air.
Later, then come around a turn in the path and find a field of hydrangeas, and Aki turns to Sakutarō with sparkles in her eyes and exclaims how much she loves hydrangeas and asks him if he wants to go to hanami together. I can almost see the sweatdrop on his face when he says yes. But it's definitely good practice!
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
Current mood:

I've been having a pretty bad week, and I've said so before, and people have been very kind when I have. And then, my brain immediately leaps to one of three possible options:

People Who Didn't Say Anything: It's because they didn't care at all, and probably wish they had never met me in the first place so my whining wouldn't assault their ears.
People Who Said Something In Public: They're grandstanding, making sure to demonstrate their compassion publically. It's all performative.
People Who Said Something In Private: They have an ulterior motive, either not wanting to break their friendship with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, not wanting to cause any other rifts among our mutual friends, or it's pity without any actual care behind it.

You can probably see how literally anything anyone says to me can get shunted into one of these three boxes, which makes it pretty difficult for me to hear what's being said. It's like conspiratorial thinking, where evidence proves the conspiracy, unrelated evidence is bent to fit the conspiracy, and lack of evidence just shows how effective the conspiracy is.

I'd like off the conspiracy train, please.
it's that old recurring dream where you're drowning
flailing your arms out, fearful and frantic
and black waves are curling and pounding
down onto your head somewhere in the Atlantic
through the fathoms below you a shadow
is gliding up towards you with singular purpose
and hundreds of thousands of gallons
of ocean froth and foam as it breaks the surface

its black eyes find you almost at once
you can't hide, swim away or take air into your lungs
to scream for help that won't come
dorchadas: (Not the Tale)
This is mostly just going to be me rambling for a while.

So, I've stayed out of the various LARPs run by people in know in Chicago, usually turning them down with a note that "LARPing isn't my thing" or something similar, and I think that was pretty true at the time. But I'm not sure that it's an enduring truth, because I played in a Vampire LARP for about a year and had a pretty good time other than some problems that were mostly my fault.

It was when I was dating [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and we'd trade off weekends visiting each other. Her college had a LARP, and I figured I'd join up because it took up the Saturday nights on weekends I visited her and sitting in her room for hours was pretty boring, really. So I made Ye Stereotypical Celtic Gangrel, Ciarán O'Connor, and signed on.

Alright, let me justify myself. I figured that since I was coming from out of town and didn't really know many people except through [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, and certainly didn't talk to them when I wasn't in town, playing a loner made sense. And I didn't want to haul a lot of costuming material back and forth, so a rootless Gangrel made that easy. I wore the same clothes to every LARP--black t-shirt with white lettering, green cargo pants, no shoes (that was fun in the winter, especially for scenes outside). I did have a kind of meta-joke in that I changed out my shirt every game while keeping the same theme, but no one ever commented on it. I changed my posture so instead of striding everywhere like I usually do, I slinked. I kept my eyes always in motion, looking all around the room and constantly glancing away from people who were talking to me.

One of the aspects I was most proud of was what I came up with for my Gangrel's bestial feature. I have little (read: no) skill with makeup, theatrical or otherwise, and I didn't want to take the cop-out of writing something on an index card. So I came up with a bestial voice. I spoke with a feral growl whenever I talked and several times I had the satisfaction of seeing people who hadn't previously interacted with Ciarán jump when I opened my mouth. It was great.

The problem, of course, is that the LARP was around four and a half hours long and talking in a throat-ripping growl meant I had about ten minutes of conversation in me spread out over that length of time. That inability to interact with people kind of shot one of the main points of LARPing in the foot, and coupled with the lack of in-game connections I spent a lot of time sitting around in silence, which isn't fun no matter what the setting is. Eventually, when Ciarán sat on the Primogen Council for a night while the primogen and whip were both busy, he figured that the spotlight had gotten too hot and it was time to move on before heat led to fire, and various things meant I didn't really want to make a new character.

However, the basic premise--dressing up, adopting different mannerisms, acting everything out instead of saying "my character does..."--was a lot of fun, and maybe I've been letting some mistakes I made taint my appreciation for the whole. Maybe I should give it a try again.
dorchadas: (Default)
I was walking along the bank of a stream when I saw a mother otter with her cubs, a very endearing sight, I'm sure you'll agree. And even as I watched, the mother otter dived into the water and came up with a plump salmon, which she subdued and dragged onto a half submerged log. As she ate it, while of course it was still alive, the body split and I remember to this day the sweet pinkness of its roes as they spilled out, much to the delight of the baby otters, who scrambled over themselves to feed on the delicacy. One of nature's wonders, gentlemen. Mother and children dining upon mother and children. And that is when I first learned about evil. It is built into the very nature of the universe. Every world spins in pain. If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.
Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals
As a pessimist and someone who's one step removed from dystheism, I have a bit of a hard time with Yom Kippur. Fortunately, it is written
For transgressions against G-d, the Day of Atonement atones; but for transgressions of one human being against another, the Day of Atonement does not atone until they have made peace with one another.
so despite my opening quote, this is going to be about the latter.

At the beginning of the month, I wrote about being an introvert and how that affects my interest in social events. And that post is true--[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd can tell you that even doing things that I love, among people whom I love, if I don't have enough social battery I'll end up like a rat in a cage, constantly looking for an exit. But you know, a nicely-appointed cage filled with wonderful people.

Perhaps I could have picked a better metaphor.

That's about half of it, though. The other half is anxiety. I've had huge problems with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I taught English in Japan for years, including a year spent teaching in a private school, and I never got used to it. Every single lesson was as nerve-wracking as the very first lesson I taught. And actually, just writing about it now and remembering it made my stomach twist up for a moment.  photo emot-sweatdrop.gif It's part of the reason I have my current job, where I listen to podcasts all day, don't talk to anyone, and can relax.

So where am I going with this on the Day of Atonement? Well, on a whim, I checked out my Facebook memories from a year ago, and there on the page was one that seems pretty topical:
"Maybe I am alone because I am not good."
-Screen quote, Mountain
One of the effects of my anxiety is that I'm always worried that no one actually likes me. Maybe they're just too polite to tell me, or maybe they're resigned to my presence, or maybe they like [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and are willing to put up with me to hang out with her (this one is particularly insidious, since [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is so fantastic). But in effect, this is assuming the worst of everyone else. For any of that to be true, my friends would have to uniformly be the kind of people that become the villains in young adult books, simultaneously capable of sociopathic emotional masks and extreme cruelty in their black hearts. And that's really not a very flattering thing to believe about one's friends.

So, I ask your forgiveness for thinking the worst of you, even inadvertently. For letting the Hedgehog's Dilemma twist around my thoughts so that I keep you at arms' length, to the point where people assume that I'm anti-contact and ask before giving me a hug (which is not a bad course of action to take! But I love hugs). For withdrawing into myself. For spending so much time worrying that I avoid you at social events or don't go entirely. For not saying anything in any non-structured group larger than maybe two or three. For joking about how I hate people as a cover for the truth, which is that I'm nervous around them.

.תיעתענו ,תעינו ,פשענו ,ניאצנו ,טפלנו שקר ,זדנו ,דברנו דופי ,אשמנו

If you got this far, thank you for reading.
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
Something a friend posted on Facebook yesterday made me think a bit about my mental modeling. My view of myself is basically a Cartesian homunculus--there's "me," whatever that means, and then a series of impulses, urges, desires, and other messy emotional stuff produced by the gross matter of my body that "I" have to react to. It's part of why I'm so reserved, because my first response to any strong emotion is generally, "What are you doing to me? Go away!"

But what I realized today is that I think it makes me more vulnerable to depression. Now, as depression goes, I don't have it badly at all. But when it shows up, my self-conception always leads part of me to think that I'm in a more "pure" state. I don't know how it is for other people, but for a long time I didn't think of the episodes I went through as depression, because "depression" is just being sad, right? And I didn't feel sad, I felt hollow. And now I know better, but I end up with the following chain of reasoning:
  1. Emotions are an external influence on my mind.
  2. Depression ends up removing most of my emotions.
  3. In those moments, I'm some kind of bodhisattva undergoing inverted enlightenment
Therefore, that's when I'm truly rational.

This is obviously stupid. Emotion is not actually an external influence--it is literally impossible for humans to make decisions without emotions--and when I'm depressed I have extra cognitive load because I have to run an additional "how would I react to this under other circumstances?" filter. When [ profile] softlykarou talks to me at those times, I have to evaluate all my statements before I say anything so I don't come across like an uncaring machine (Edit: As another example of my mindset, I had to stop myself from writing "perfect, immortal machine"). It's usually not much of a problem otherwise because why should I talk to these other people, which obviously isn't an accurate representation of how I feel about my friends. If I think about for longer than a moment, it clearly just makes everything terrible.

That's not how I feel, though. And it makes it hard to remember sometimes.
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
Yesterday was a team building day at work. As much as I complained about it, it was actually pretty well-run and inoffensive. No stupid trust fall exercises or silly games, the icebreaker was just "introduce yourself to a couple people you haven't met," and the majority of the day was talking about what it is exactly our department does--summary: we're the ones who make all the money--or discussing different communication styles through the lens of the DiSC, which I had never heard of before. You may be unsurprised to hear that I scored by far the highest on C, with S as the second-highest category.

And even with that low level of intrusiveness, by the end of the day I was still:

I love Introji.

And then tonight I have Japanese tutoring, which is also very well run and extremely helpful in providing a chance for me to actually speak Japanese instead of just reading it (which I'm pretty good at, though still not at newspaper level), but takes a lot of energy to deal with.

That's the eternal paradox of my mental state. Even things I am really looking forward to I often end up dreading at times, with my anticipation wildly careening around like a bat in a Castlevania level. I know it drives [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd crazy sometimes how I'll agree to go to an event, then a few days later act like going will literally lead to my death, then be excited again, all with unpredictable frequency and lengths of time.

I know a lot of people were annoyed about those introvert vs. extrovert articles going around last year and the year before since they painted all introverts as anxiety-ridden wrecks with a deep and fulfilling inner life ruined by those damn extroverts shitting their interactions all over everything, most memorably summed up in this tweet:

And reasonably so. I know plenty of introverts who love social interaction and just need a bit of alone time to recover from it. But not me.

I really am excited about your invitations and the vast majority of the time, when I arrive, I have a great time and I'm glad I came. But often my instinctual first response to any event is, "Uh, I have some forbidden alchemy to do that night..."
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
Almost a third of the way through to a century, and so far my plan to live forever is going splendidly. Also, when I woke up the weather was cloudy and cool, my favorite weather anywhere. That's the upside. The downside is that I've felt nauseous since I woke up for no obvious reason.

I don't have any kind of major celebration planned. [ profile] softlykarou and I might go to Jin Ju tonight, if it's open and if my stomach ever decides to settle down. I was originally thinking about having a party, but I really wanted a weekend where we didn't have to do anything and I could just relax. I have WFRP on alternate Mondays, Japanese tutoring every Tuesday, book group most Wednesdays (and [ profile] softlykarou is gone much of that evening too), Fridays and Saturdays are often taken up with the socializing, and Sundays are sometimes quiet but sometimes not. Maybe I'll still do something next week, but probably not.

I've been in a questionable mood all day. It might just be being stuck in my bubble:

...but honestly what often happens is that if someone does talk to me, my spines go up, I'll respond tersely in the hope that they'll get tired of talking and go away. I'm amazed that [ profile] softlykarou puts up with me, frankly.

But even then, right now is the most sociable I've ever been in my life, with the possible exception of university. And you really can't compare a time when you live five or ten minutes' walk from all your friends with any other time in your life. So obviously I have some kind of good qualities that convinces people to reach past the spines. Or maybe they just look sharper from the inside.

(I really wanted to put a cute hedgehog emoji here, but I can't find a good one. )

Happy birthday to me!
dorchadas: (Warcraft Stormcrow)
Yesterday I was poking around Youtube looking at World of Warcraft shorts out of a sudden sense of nostalgia and I re-found this:

This isn't my favorite WoW machinima I've ever seen--that honor goes to Ulduar: Defiance, to which I can attribute my love of trailer music like Two Steps from Hell or Epic Score--but it's definintely my second favorite, and I think a lot of that has to do with how I played World of Warcraft and why I ended up finally losing interest in the game after Cataclysm dropped.

One of the parts of World of Warcraft that I really loved when I first started playing was the sense of exploration. All the hard travel, the Menethil Harbor run, the Stranglethorn Vale run, traversing the length and breadth of the continents to get the flight points, all of that was great. As much as actually traveling on the flight points was a bit annoying--ten minutes to fly from Silithus to Darnassus--it gave a great sense of place in the world, and that's probably what I valued about the game most. Having played through Warcraft I, II, and III before I played World of Warcraft, so it was a chance to learn more about the setting that I already liked. I still have some of the screenshots I took of getting into bizarre places and exploring all the nooks and crannies that the designers didn't want you to go, like on top of the Ironforge gates, Mount Hyjal before it opened as a regular zone, or the edge of the world.

I mention this because I interpret the video as a conflict between people who want more DoTs and all the DPS (hence the title) against people who just want to explore the world. That's not actually a real conflict, since people who like raiding and downing bosses aren't diametrically opposed to people who like WoW as a setting or the feel of it as a world, but that kind of dichotomy was definitely drawn between them when I played.

Anyway, when Cataclysm remade the old world, it lost most of the spark for me. Most of the secret areas that I had spent so much time trying to get to were wiped away with the move to make the world suited for flying, the quest structure was revamped and, while it certainly improved the flow of the quests and the ease of getting into the game for new players, I found it pretty offputting when I went back and tried the quests out. There was none of that slow, plodding structure that I found really let me get into exploring the world. And with Arthas's death at the end of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, all the named characters I cared about had either mutated completely beyond recognition, if they were friendly, or already been killed, if they were enemies. Or gone insane and made us kill them, as the joke was.

I liked raiding and downing bosses, but not in isolation. Without context for them they were just so many numbers, and I stopped playing and have never really considered going back.


2015-Jun-28, Sunday 21:59
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I'm not sure I've talked about it here--I know I've talked about it before in the book reviews I do--but one of the things that most annoys me about coverage of Japanese culture is the almost worshippful attention paid to the concepts of wabi sabi and mono no aware. Sure, let's talk about the value of wabi sabi while Japanese construction companies seeking fat government contracts cover every mountain, riverbed, and beach they can with concrete, and let's talk about mono no aware in a world of Twitter and Line and Mixi. I've gone on plenty of rants about it before and I won't do so now, but this post was prompted by [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I watching 秒速5センチメーター/5 Centimeters Per Second, which is one of the best examples of mono no aware I've seen in a long time.

I'm not going to recap the plot, since the Wikipedia article does a pretty good job of it. Takaki spends most of the movie fixated on a single event in his past and unable to see what's in front of him, and as a result, he lets life mostly just pass him by while he doesn't really engage with it. He has no close friends, he misses out on romance, all because he's stuck at a single moment without being able to move forward.

Mono no aware is the idea that some things are valuable because they're transitory. Cherry blossoms are so lovely because they bloom and fall in the space of weeks, and the same with our life experiences. Takaki and Akari's relationship was no less valuable for ending as it did, with letters slowly growing less and less frequent until they died out altogether, but Takaki's mistake was dwelling on it to the exclusion of the rest of his life. He always worried about being someone that Akari would be proud of, but he didn't realize that it was holding him back from living. If you're always gazing at the horizon, you'll probably trip and fall.

It's kind of easy to look at this and draw "lol kids" from it, and G-d knows that I've been prone to that myself, but I think the intensity that children and teenagers feel emotions is worth recognizing. I remember those adolescent relationships, where every motion and moment of silence was pregnant with meaning, and every word was written on the sky in fire. We told each other that we'd be together forever, but of course we weren't. Most people aren't. As I wrote in my review of the manga:
We get older, and our hearts fade, just a little, and we call it growing up.
There's something valuable in that kind of fire that's worth recognizing, because even if misguided or silly or outright destructive, those emotions exist and have to be dealt with as any other emotions do. But in the end, eternity isn't attainable for humans and only sorrow comes from not realizing that[1].

(Brief note: If you want a fantasy version of that same concept, read Nightfall in the Scent Garden. It's really good.)

I think that's why I loved 5 Centimeters Per Second so much, because so often media is devoted to the idea of happily ever after or everything turning out for the best, or, if not that, then the polar opposite of tragedy that still allows for happy memories. But life isn't like that. So many things don't end, they just slowly taper off over time. We all have people we've fallen out of contact with, and sometimes we wonder how they're doing, but life gets in the way. It's not neat, and it's not a story for the ages, but it's, well, life. That's just how it is. This movie is one of the only ones I've seen that takes that as its plot rather than one of the tidy endings that's more mainstream, and you might say that I haven't watched many movies and you'd be right, but it's no less good because of that. It's messy, and distasteful, and cringeworthy because you recognize part of yourself in it. Sometimes there is no ending, and there's a part of yourself that's always stuck in a moment, waiting, and all you can do is keep walking and hope it catches up to you.

I really feel like I'm not expressing this very well, but I can't find the words to say what I mean properly, so I'll leave it at that.

[1]: There's probably an entire separate post I could do to tie this in to Utena's desire to find "something eternal," but I haven't seen Shoujo Kakumei Utena recently enough to do so.
dorchadas: (Equal time for Slime)
I just finished watching this video about how Minecraft's encourages the ever-increasing looting of the earth in the pursuit of the player's goals:

And watching that, I realized that I think that's the main reason I prefer magical mods to tech mods. The mods that add a bunch of wires and pipes and power stations and so on eventually end up with Minecraft looking the same as the real world, with power lines strung everywhere, open pit mines, power plants spewing pollution into the surrounding terrain, oil spills, and all the rest. There's really no way around it without enormous amounts of inconvenience. A lot of the tech mods I've seen require mind-boggling amounts of raw materials to get set up, and if they allow automation, they don't allow it without scouring the earth down to the bedrock.

While there's nothing requiring that the player act to preserve the natural world with a magical modpack, it certainly makes it easier. Thaumcraft requires some raw materials, but the main progression is accomplished through going out into the world and analyzing various materials and then discovering formulae in your research base. Witchery actively requires a profusion of plant life near the player's altar, and Botania is entirely focused on magical flora. The culmination of all this is probably the Regrowth and Hubris modpacks. The first requires you to bring life to a lifeless wasteland, and the second is about surviving in a landscape corrupted by the arrogance of old wizards. Healing the land, not exploiting it.

I greatly prefer that kind of play. I tend to look for natural cave entrances when I'm looking for resources, and I usually build tree farms instead of chopping down pre-existing forests. In [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's and my long-running game that we had to abandon due to server lag, our base looked like this:

We built our stronghold inside the tree and under the ground and lit it with fireflies, and the only sign that anyone lived there at all was a small fence around the door at the tree's base and lights burning in its boughs, plus a few nearby torches to ward off the night. That's my favorite way to play Minecraft.

Postscript: In fairness, I should say that one person who liked tech mods but didn't like ruining the world created a mod that adds a mining dimension that you can ruin instead. Whether that's actually philosophically different at all, I leave as an exercise for the reader.
dorchadas: (Enter the Samurai)
This weekend is ACEN. A few years ago, by this point I'd be frothing at the mouth excited, but I'm actually mostly just apprehensive and kind of second-guessing my decision to go at all. I think [ profile] stephen_poon put it best recently when he said that he used to get a feeling of "These are my people!" when he'd go to a con, but he doesn't get that anymore and it reduces the draw. It's not just age--though part of it is definitely age--but also that I don't really feel like I'm part of the "community" as such. I spend much more time playing games now than watching much of anything, much less anime, and I really have no idea what's going on other that what I learn from listening to Mouthful of Toast.

I think some of it is just sadness that we aren't cosplaying this year. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I had originally planned to do Creeper-tan and Ender-kun from Minecraft, but my skittishness about money--three years of grad school and not really being able to save anything ran my nerves ragged--meant that we put it off for this year. I was looking forward to dressing up as something I would have actually enjoyed, and now I won't get to. Even though it's my decision, it's still disappointing.

On the other hand, I get to see [ profile] ping816, [ profile] klenkers, [ profile] redpikachu, and some other people I haven't seen in a long time. I remember years ago that I wondered about the people who sent to cons and seemed to spend a lot of it sitting in the hotel bar talking to people and wondering why they came, and then last ACEN I spent a big chunk of it in the hotel bar talking to people. Gaze long into the abyss...
dorchadas: (Kirby sweatdrop)
I feel like I've made that joke before even though it's definitely hyperbole. But the truth is, I tend to use weekends as decompression time and I usually get nervous about even having one event scheduled. More than one and I'll probably turn down anything I get after the first event. It's not that I don't want to go, it's that I don't want to stretch my nerves too thin.

This weekend I had four, and I made three of them. What's more, I had two events on the same night back to back. I've never been a party-hopper and I'll usually choose the first event and stay there for the duration, but this time I went to a barbecue, a birthday party that required walking around six miles to get to (barbecue -> walk to mass transit -> take L -> walk from mass transit -> birthday), and then to dim sum the next morning. That might have been a bad idea, because we walked to and from the restaurant and while it wasn't nearly as far as I walked on Saturday, it was all in the sun, and my threshold for getting tired from being in the sun is pretty low. I spent most of Sunday sitting inside in the dark, drinking tea with a headache and dreading the evening when [ profile] softlykarou and I were scheduled to clean the apartment.

But it all went well! I'd never had dim sum before and it was amazing, and even if there was a lot that I wouldn't eat there was plenty that I would. It was good to see people at both the parties I went to, and I'm happy I went to both instead of picking one and staying there or going to neither, as I was tempted to do. [ profile] softlykarou told me she was proud of me, because I rarely to events that she's not also going to. Which is true. And mostly I'm fine with that, but this time I'm glad it turned out differently.
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
I just finished reading and reviewing Spock's World, which I've wanted to reread for a long while but which got pushed to the front of my queue by Leonard Nimoy's death. It made me remember the influence the book had on my as a child, and I figured I'd write about it. I'd love to make this a nice, pat causal relationship, but while it's that way in my memory, memory is so unreliable that I can't honestly say there's a direct connection. But in my mind, there is.

I first listened to Spock's World instead of reading it. I don't remember if I picked it out or if my father did, but it was the CD edition read by Leonard Nimoy and George Takei. I still remember the way some of the quotes sounded, and when I read the passages in the book I could hear, clear as day, George Takei saying:
"We give her remains to the night from which we arose," Sarek said, opening the porcelain container to the light wind that had sprung up. "Surely we know that this is not she; she and the Other know it well. And we wish her well in whatever may befall, til the Moon is no longer, and the Stars are no more."

The wind carried the dust away into the silence. T’Khut slipped upward in silence flooding the ocean of sand with light.

"Light with her always," he said, "and with us."
It was amazing.

I was not the most popular child. It probably comes as no surprise, and I was lucky in that by high school everything was fine and I had a great last four years of secondary education, but I had few friends before that. I also tended to feel things very strongly, such that I would occasionally overreact to attempts at camaraderie and treat them as insults (which I received a fair number of, to be fair). I sometimes think that strength of feeling is why I don't like watching movies at all anymore, and why even when I would go to the theatre I hated horror movies or any movies based on embarrassment comedy. But it meant that I spent a lot of time on the computer and most of middle school hating the time I spent there.

I never watched Star Trek, but I found the Vulcans fascinating, and especially their portrayal in Spock's World. A species that has incredibly strong emotions but developed a discipline in order to control their effects? That honestly sounded like something I needed, and so with all the unreasonably strong conviction a pre-teen can muster, I set out to burn all emotion out of my heart.

It didn't work. Of course it didn't work, because that's not how humanity works. But it worked well enough, and even my parents noticed the change and commented on how I was less moody and more pleasant to be around, which of course served as encouragement. I can't tell how much my parents themselves influenced me in this, as they're architypal reserved Midwesterners and I could have picked up plenty of my inspiration from them. But the end result is that I went from being sad almost all the time to not crying for close to a decade and generally being a lot calmer.

I later decided that this kind of iron control was unnecessary and it was preventing any kind of deeper connections forming with my friends--I used to take pride in being described as "mysterious"--but it's effected my emotions to this day. I generally don't feel very strongly about much, and one of the reasons [ profile] softlykarou likes to listen to me talk about RPGs or old DOS games is that they're two things that I obviously get excited about. Even though I know that logical decision making is actually impossible, I still hold to logic as probably the important motivator in my reasoning. I can't directly attribute that to Spock's World, but I am reasonably sure that it's the source.

So while I didn't grow up watching Star Trek, I can still trace a lot of my personality to its influence.

Mene sakkhet ur-seveh. \\//_

Edit: I found that audiobook! It's up on Youtube:
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Last weekend, [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I took a trip to King Spa, which I normally wouldn't bother writing about, but I had kind of an odd reaction to it--I found it really stressful.

I've been once before a few weeks ago, and one of the people we went with mentioned that it was uncharacteristically empty. There were a couple dozen other people there, but about half the tables in the cafeteria were empty and most of the remaining ones had one or two people, the chairs were empty, the sauna rooms had one or two people or were empty, and it was otherwise mostly our playground. In contrast, last weekend there were lines outside some of the sauna rooms and the cafeteria was jam-packed to the point that [ profile] drydem commented that with all the identical spa clothes and people sitting at small tables it felt like being in a prison.

I found it impossible to relax and ended up heading upstairs to the quiet room with the couches to read The Roads to Sata, but even there I was interrupted by the occasional person chatting or one incredibly rude old woman on her cell phone. Despite the interruptions, lying down up there was the best part of the trip, and as soon as I left the upstairs room and went back into the main area I just wanted to leave immediately. I ended up going home even more wound up than I had been when I arrived, and it reminded me a lot of a day working at Suzugamine.

But I'm writing about this because of how odd I found it. I'm not...hmm. I was going to say "I'm not usually bothered by crowds," but that's not entirely true. I'm fine with crowded cities and usually with crowded public events, but I'd had to leave parties before because I found the atmosphere oppressive for no reason relating to the people there. The spa had a bit of that feeling to it as well. Though it might have just been all the people talking. Relaxing, for me, usually means quiet, with maybe some music or a podcast on. The constant low murmur of conversations around me but not too me is exhausting.

Hmm. That's probably it, really. I get unreasonably annoyed when co-workers are talking around my cubicle, or even a row away, and I'm sure anyone reading this knows my feelings about people talking on the L or the bus. And while that's just a personal quirk under most circumstances since I don't go around yelling at people to shut up, it did completely sabotage the spa visit. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd are thinking of trying to go again, but on a weekday for lunch that we both have off but that isn't a holiday, in order to minimize the number of people there. Maybe then I'll actually feel like the visit was restful.
dorchadas: (Do Not Want)
Based on articles like this one on Cracked or the one with comic strips that went around a couple weeks ago (at least among people I know), it got me thinking about irrational fears I have. So here some of them are!

  • When I'm walking outside with my hands in my pockets, I worry that I'll slip and fall straight on my face before I can get my hands out to stop myself, and that the fall will knock out all my teeth.

  • I assume that anyone I pass when walking is a potential threat. I put this here because of its sheer scope--while it's possible that the guy walking quickly with his hood up is a threat, it's much more likely that he's just cold and wants to get home. However, the woman with a child in a stroller? The man walking his dog? The three middleschoolers? I still tense up when I pass them and relax when they're safely behind, even though I'm not exactly sure what could happen. It's not like I'm going to get a dog thrown at me as a prelude to an assault.

  • When I wake up and can't hear anything, I worry that [ profile] softlykarou died in her sleep. I check to see if her chest is moving, and sometimes put a hand on her to make sure she's still warm. She does this to me as well, so at least we are comfortable in our shared delusions.

  • Every time I go to bed, I worry that I won't be able to sleep at all and I'll spend the entire night tossing and turning. This isn't entirely irrational, because I've always had trouble with sleep (see the insomnia tag), but while it usually takes me 30-45 minutes to fall asleep, that's actually down from my childhood, when it was more like an hour to an hour and a half. I'm getting better, not worse. But every time, I still think that there will be a repeat of that time I spent seven hours tossing and turning and got one hour of sleep.

  • I worry that I'm going to turn my head too quickly in just the wrong way, that something will hit my glasses and break them, sending shards of glass into my eyes, and I'll go blind. This is probably exacerbated by my height.

  • I worry that everyone actually can't stand me and only deigns to hang out with me due to politeness or because they're actually interested in spending time with [ profile] softlykarou.

  • Maybe related to the previous fear, I worry that I actually smell terrible and people aren't reacting to it because it's not socially acceptable to call people out on it. This mostly only pops up when I'm on public transit. Apparently a pathological form of this is pretty common.

  • The irrationality of this may be debatable, but I worry about global civilization collapsing or being seriously damaged within my lifetime. If it won't be a plague due to antibiotic resistance, it'll be wars due to water shortages, global warming, economic apocalypse caused by automation, or any number of other problems. A lot of these are a concern, but the timeframes are such that the worst it'll get comes after my death unless Kurzweil is right.

Some of these may be more rational than others, but they're all so unlikely that worrying about them is pretty much a waste of time. And yet...  photo emot-ohdear.png


dorchadas: (Default)

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