Having Been Human

A blog by Pat Gunn (Atom/RSS)
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Sun May 19 22:09:27 2013
Context shifts

Spent much of the day trying to remember something where I had a simple grounding fact wrong.

Here's the Denklog that I wrote myself in order to brainstorm:

  • I was listening to some kind of music, probably on Youtube, and I really liked it. It was from a musician whose works I usually but not always like, I think. I emailed them saying that work was particularly significant to me, and had a brief back-and-forth which ended with my apologising that I couldn't donate to them because I was not employed.

All this was a few months ago, and now that I'm starting to figure out what my life should look like post-unemployment, I'm making a spreadsheet of things I wanted to do so I can do them.

Problem is, I couldn't remember the music/artist, and a lot of searching of my gmail and regular mail wasn't turning anything up. I kept staring at that Denklog, and a bit of lateral thinking happened; what if it wasn't music? And exploring that eventually led me to remember that it was in fact a webcomic. This particular comic, to be specific.

It's surprising how quickly the full memory came back once that initial miscategorisation was cleared.

Sun Mar 24 13:56:43 2013
Odd confessions

Strange end to last night's dream. It had a kind of "want to escape from a bunch of different crazy and violent people who I kind of knew" feel, it was set outside over a hilly area with buildings and fences and stuff, guns were involved, there was a pregnant woman terrified of losing her baby, someone had gotten killed earlier (maybe more than one), for some reason the 3rd Doctor Who had been present earlier in the dream (or as a remnant of a different dream-scenario; always hard to tell). Maybe had a bit of the feel of the movie "Clue" except set outside in a much more porous environment somewhat like "Fallout: New Vegas" (which I played recently). Rather than everyone slipping away, we somehow all concluded we needed to know who did the killing(s), so we sat down in a circle and started with a confession of something private. The pregnant woman confessed to her boyfriend (husband? definitely one of the blokes with a gun) that she had had an affair with another specific person of the blokes in the circle. And I was second in line to confess, so I confessed things about my (real-life) depression, and being unsure if that was the kind of confession they wanted (were they supposed to be related in some way to the current situation?), added that I was asleep and this was a dream. They wern't all that happy about that, but confessing it woke me up before too much more conversation on it happened.

I think that "I'm not sure what's expected in this underspecified situation" thing came from a recent situation in the TeaLounge where they presented my tea on a wooden stand thing and I was unsure if I was meant to take it back to the table or not.

Sun Mar 24 02:15:40 2013
Migraine Info

I've been logging my migraines on Google Calendar, taking extensive notes on what I've eaten recently, if I've had any alcohol before, and so on. The recent 27-hour migraine was pretty inspiring for that.

Bad news.

While there are some things I can still do that instantly trigger migraines, like drinking red wine, otherwise my migraines are very regular. Every 4-5 days. No dietary or sleep influences. 4-8 hours each, generally, with the run-up full of mild queasiness.

This means there are no other triggers I can remove to deal with the problem. So yeah, it'll be good to see a doctor again when I'm insured. Also maybe to check in with a cardiologist about the tachycardia, and to see a dentist, and ... other regular maintenance I haven't been doing since leaving CMU. Sigh.

Oh well, hopefully most of this stuff is fixable.

Fri Feb 22 13:10:30 2013
Matches to Matches

Trying to figure out how to express how Matchbox 20 is irritating. Maybe it's that it's so terribly generic.

Wed Feb 20 14:11:33 2013
Time Boat

Last night the power went out in my bedroom/livingroom, which was surprisingly good at getting me to bed at a sensible hour. It came back this morning, but the hot water was absent; I guess there's a manual restart for the heaters in the building? That's a weird thing; the kitchen electricity stayed on, but it was this way through the whole building (I initially assumed it was a fuse). The wiring of the building must be wonky to allow for that.

After the power came back on, I got my stuff together to head out, and used the stove to heat up a lot of water for a pour-shower; it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be (plentiful water meant I didn't need to skimp too much). Afterwards I played on the computer for a bit and the power went out again, this time entirely. The electric company thinks it might be back in 6 hours or so. Sigh.

I have far too many essays almost-done. Very frustrating; I'm hoping to get one out the door today. I also want to write a new one investigating the idea of imperialism; I think the third-wavers, as usual, have got their theory wrong, and we need to carefully examine multiple senses of use of the term, as some are healthy and some are far less so. Hopefully this will help seperate the strands of liberalism in people's minds; I want to make the case for a strand of liberalism that is socialist, proudly anti-political correctness, one for whom all of feminism and anti-racism is ending inappropriate normativities, and one which would not flinch at claims that science (or international socialism) is culturally imperialist; in the sense that we wish to push it on the world, of course it is! In the sense that we think it is a tool to enrich us at the expense of subjugating others, of course it is not! And finally, a liberalism that operates with philosophical integrity that has a joyous diverse people coexisting, cooperating and mocking and engaging with each other in a grand (but fair) battlefield of ideas. It's a grand vision. Not the PC offense-fetishist postmodernist hellhole, nor the traditionalist or capitalist hellholes.

Anyhow, I want to get at least one essay out the door today. If I get time afterwards, I should finish writing that android Zorklike I wanted to write. Hell, maybe I'll even see if I can sell it for a dollar on the Google Play Store.

Tue Feb 19 15:59:27 2013
Philosophy Meetup, Marketing, sensitivity

Last night hosted an alternative version of one of Massimo's meetups. Only 6 of the 12 people who signed up showed up, but it went pretty well. Left me oddly exhausted.

Dyutiman took a look at the flyers I've been putting up for my class, and immediately spotted that it was badly done; no big text, nothing that grabs the eye. Which I should've known immediately; it just took a few words out of his mouth before I realised how I had been in the wrong mindset when writing it. He explained it at length which I probably didn't need, but in my experience when people give advice they like to explain it fully; normal emotional realities. Anyhow, he helped make a much more grab-ish version; now I need access to a printer again to print out the fixed-up copy, but it should probably do much better. Still kicking myself for not making sure I was thinking correctly about how to do this kind of thing. Even a big word, "programming classes", would go a long way. What was I thinking?

Occasionally I still see men or women with human eye-candy laptop backgrounds; I've long resisted and argued against the strands of feminism that criticise that as objectification. Objectification is normal and healthy; we do it in workplaces ("human resources"?) and for every playboy there's a playgirl. It still can bug me, but it's mostly a class thing; I don't see sex as shameful, but I do see it as being mostly private and I get very uncomfortable with how people get when they're watching sexual displays as a group. It can be ok as a statement in pride marches though.

I can't avoid a hypnotic kind of sadness in tracing the paths I take in my life; the familiarity of places, passing through the same halls of the places I've lived enough to burn them into my head, and then to lose them. I don't really have those ties in my waking life anymore and things have come to feel pretty abstract. I feel I've lost sight of myself. But I'm not sure if the thingsd I hope for, even the ideal of being awake, is there in any significant amount; as much as I mistrust the idea of looking up to someone, or even looking up to a group, it seems to be a need, or an unmet draw. What are we to be when we're entirely alone, and even our ideals are so abstract? NYC has given me noise, but is the reason I sought it flailing, instinct, or some kind of prajna? It would be funny if this pain and yearning is something that could only be fixed by beauty, not something so emotionally blind as philosophy or knowledge.

Sat Feb 9 22:26:48 2013
Failing to Flee

Another migraine. Tried to get too sleep before it got bad, might've got about half an hour of sleep before it woke me back up again. An increasing number of my migraines are positional; they either "want" me upright or prone, and virtually all of them create an avalanche of pain if I rotate my head upwards or downwards to any serious extent.

With this one, if I close my eyes and sit at my computer desk, it's not so bad. Just got out of yet another near-boiling shower which has given me a reprieve from the pain. Has been my second such shower tonight. May need to repeat. So much pain, but if I sit in the right way and keep those eyes shut, it at least hurts less.

Earlier today I made a comment on twitter stressing the importance of occasionally engaging religious folk in debate. A bit weirded out that this was one of those rare tweets of mine that was retweeted a lot; part of this is that it wasn't a particularly profound thing to say (why not one of my more careful statements?), and part of it is that I now have a gut nervousness when people agree with me. Also displeased that among a few new followers I got some clearly objectivist sorts; really bugs me. Tempted to post some things to shake them off.

Wishing this migraine would go away.

Mon Feb 4 01:15:55 2013
Warm Feet

Still surprised that I can walk around in this weather wearing the vibrams. My feet are actually colder with socks and my normal shoes. I can only assume that somehow the vibrams either are amazing at trapping heat (will make summers intersting) or my feet move more and generate more feet the way I walk while wearing them. They're amazingly comfortable.

My Nexus 4 should arrive soon. Will be nice not to be on a dying phone. I should start doing Android development soon.

Stephen stopped by TeaL tonight with his printer, and I printed out flyers for my tutoring thing. Also registered a domain for it. Now I don't have an excuse to wait for getting students anymore. I should put some content up on the site soon.

Hopefully will hear back about the NYU job this week.

Sun Feb 3 18:42:33 2013
Insistence Of Center

Some of the moments I regret the most were times when I interfered with the enjoyment a bunch of people were having for some music or film because I wasn't enjoying it. A few instances of this weigh heavy on my mind every so often, and the most recent examples happened well into adulthood. I should've known better. Nobody bugged me about it at the times, surprisingly.

Tue Jan 29 22:24:33 2013
Vibrams and Electricity


  • Google Nexus4s are again available in the the Google Play store. Ordered one. My father did too, and he'll be paying me back for mine so it'll be a "gift". Looking forward to finally having a phone that's not nearly dead.
  • The exchanged Vibrams came in. These more-or-less fit, and being a few sizes down they only have one strap rather than two. Wore them to the coffeeshop (where I am) today. They're not cold, despite the chilly weather. I'm wondering what their lower and higher comfortable outside-weather-temperature comfort bounds are. I'm definitely feeling the ground more when I walk wearing them; every crack and even some surface texture, although they're not *that* thin, just much thinner than normal shoes.
I've noticed a number of people hugging and occasionally making out in dark corners of TeaL. Makes me wonder what that would be like. I just have this memory of broken relationships and relationships that never quite were. Sigh.

I need to produce a final code sample for this most recent job application at NYU. Trying to figure out what it should be; probably something in Java. Maybe I'll translate one of the code samples I produced sometime back when I was interviewing at Knewton (which I wrote on Perl) into Java.

I'm coming to think that the reasons most people have to move to NYC are probably not the same reasons people stick around here. The practical infinity of coffeeshops and other cultural places is compelling. If TeaL were to close, I would have hundreds of other places I could go; some discovered, many not. At varying distances with varying specific cultural and other content. There's a lot to say for this scale of civilisation; it's culturally redundant. I may decide to travel 4 stops north and walk 4 blocks from there to reach a gigantic teahouse like TeaL where I am known and can comfortably sit for half a day, but I could also head 2 stops south and walk a quarter-block to reach a small teahouse with better soup where I can stay for an hour or so. And so on; I haven't really explored very much because I long ago figured out enough places of each kind that I have all the variety I could need. I sometimes look for more teahouses, but I don't really need any more.

I really need more people, but those are harder to find.