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Memores acti prudentes futuri


We were standing there when the moon broke through
and I wonder still what it meant to you
A few words
"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"

"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
~ Seneca

"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation

"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
~ William Blake
TICoSME
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Jhonen Vasquez's site
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free counters
Blogging for the sake of blogging
Monday, November 27, 2017
Interview tomorrow. I don't feel particularly worried. People tend to like me if they get to know me. When problems do arise it's usually because I get invested/attached, but that won't be a risk with an interview. No issues when things are kept at arm's length.

---

Was reading about how friends we feel ambivalently about cause more stress than people we actively dislike. That seems pretty true to my experience. People whose friendship I question stress me out much more than people I just don't like altogether. Maybe that's why it's so much easier to just transfer people to the dislike pile when things go downhill. Ambiguity is a heart breaker.

---

Still not totally healthy, but went to the gym and did a little on the treadmill. Felt bad, but I didn't die.

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Bridgewatch
Friday, November 24, 2017
I helped with the suicide watch at the Golden Gate Bridge on Thanksgiving day. It was an interesting experience, and I would do it again. Felt better to volunteer than to celebrate, actually. I didn't see any would-be jumpers, but that's good. The bridge is apparently the second most popular place in the world to attempt suicide, with an average of 2-3 people a day going there for that purpose (that's what we were told by the coordinator of the event). Seems like they should have regular patrols, not just holiday ones. I guess that advertising it as a holiday thing gives people something to do if they don't have a celebration planned, though.

It was my first time walking on the Golden Gate, despite living here for almost my entire life. Apparently it's a little over two miles long! I wouldn't have guessed. We were all partnered up for the watch, so I had company for the walk (we didn't actually have to walk the entire bridge, but I wanted to). Wasn't like when I went for that 11 mile walk before and crossed that bridge that felt like it took forever to cross, yet was somehow only like 1.6 miles long. Having a companion changes qualitative experience so much...

Might have been a mistake to give the guy I was partnered with my number, because now he keeps texting me. Walking and talking with him was fine, but the texting is getting overwhelming because we're not really having a conversation, he's just... texting a lot of stuff at me. And he doesn't seem to be picking up on cues that I'm not super interested in what he's texting me... I don't dislike him, I just don't want to talk to him THIS much, I guess?

---

From reading The Righteous Mind, I'm starting to wonder if I might like dating someone a little more on the conservative side. I think I'm more morally conservative than most, if not all, of the people I've dated, and that's always bothered me, but I've more or less put up with it. This book is making me think I might be better off with a moderate conservative though (not an extremist, obviously). I met a guy a few months ago who was a bit more conservative in some of his viewpoints, and it was... REALLY refreshing, actually. He had well-thought out points and was informed about what he was saying, so he wasn't conservative out of ignorance or anything. I think that's important to me. I'm willing to hear people's opinions out as long as they've put a good amount of thought into them, which honestly, most people haven't.

We were keeping in touch via email for awhile, but he stopped responding a few months ago. :( Sometimes I think I'd like to date somebody like him (but not him specifically, because he's poly and in a relationship, and also he lives in Florida). I really liked being around him. I wonder how he's doing... Even though we didn't know each other very long, I miss talking to him.

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Mental conversations
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
I remember telling my old therapist, the one I used to see before I moved for school, that I imagined having a lot of conversations with people, and he looked surprised and told me that was something to be aware of. It seemed strange to me at the time, because I'd never questioned it before. As far as I knew, everybody had conversations in their heads like that. Isn't that why we have so many memes about people only thinking of good comebacks hours or weeks or even years later?

The tiniest bit of reflection makes it seem like a strange thing to assume everyone does, though. I spend a lot of my thoughts on thinking of what to say in a variety of situations, maybe as some form of social preparation... Socializing still isn't super intuitive for me, so I guess this is how I compensate.

My friend Mike asked me to take a character strengths test, which gave me some... interesting results. Like all self-report tests, it's pretty subject to error depending on how self-aware the respondent is (and most people are not good at knowing themselves). I tried to answer to the best of my abilities though, even though many of the questions were ambiguous and didn't account for context. Social intelligence was one of my lowest-ranked strengths, which according to the site doesn't mean it's a weakness, but rather that it doesn't come naturally to me and takes more effort. Mike was really surprised by that, because he thinks I carry on conversations well and am decent at understanding people, and at first I was surprised too. After reading the site's explanation of the ranking though, it made sense to me. Social stuff is really hard and I just happen to put a lot of conscious effort into it, I guess to the point where it might come off as natural to some people. Still, I'm continually shocked when people can't tell how nervous or uncomfortable I am sometimes. Maybe I don't show it as much as I feel. I don't feel it as much as I used to though, so I think things have gotten better over time.

---

The internet is once again flooded with calls to defend net neutrality... Everyone is saying to call your representative, make sure they know you're demanding that they support net neutrality. My representatives are already supporting it, so I wonder if I should still try calling them. I've sent a bunch of emails to various congresspeople already, so at least I haven't done nothing.

I feel put off by people who refuse to do anything and just adopt lazy fatalistic stances like "it doesn't matter anyway." Maybe some of it is learned helplessness, but that doesn't mean you're incapable of doing things. Some of the most frustrating people in my life have been the ones who wouldn't try. Then again, I suppose not everyone has my perspective. I had a big existential crisis almost ten years ago and I decided to embrace the absurdity of life and persist despite everything. I can't force that mindset into people. Makes me wonder if it's better to just stay away from them. I just don't have the energy anymore to let new people into my life if they're like that.

Speaking of new people though... I think I have something of a pen pal now? Nothing too interesting so far but it's kind of cool to message back and forth with a different person.

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Bird movie
Monday, November 20, 2017
I watched The Big Year tonight. It's about birding, and I felt inspired to watch it after going birding myself on Saturday. When it first came out I thought it sounded really dumb, but after actually watching it, I think it was a sweet movie. Pretty... wholesome. It also made me think it would be cute to have a partner to go birding with. I'm not hardcore into birding like the people in the movie, but it seems like a hobby I would enjoy on a casual basis.

Song from the film...

"I Like Birds" by Eels.


And a different song.

"What You Call Love" by Guster.

I caught a piece of the sunshine, burned a little hole in me
But after the flood raged, there's nothing really left to see
But I was not done or beat, the violence was a source of strength
Not everything is always just as it seems

What you call "love" is just urgency
What you call "love" is a place you turn in an emergency
Would you give up when it's not what you want it to be?
But that's not love, what you call "love"

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Unexpected hello
Sunday, November 19, 2017
A man kissed me on the cheek as a greeting today. It was innocuous, but I was so surprised by it that it's been on my mind since then. I've talked with him before and I didn't feel like he was making a pass at me or anything like that, but it still felt strange. Hopefully he didn't catch my cold.

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Birding
Saturday, November 18, 2017
I went birding for the first time this morning. It was nice, although I think I was the only one in the group who was under 40 years old. I didn't have very good binoculars, but people were sharing their scopes, so I got to see some of the birds pretty clearly anyway.

It's winter birding season, which I guess means that most of what's available is shorebirds and wading birds? I think that's what the other people were saying, anyway. There were too many birds for me to keep track of, but I learned a lot of new bird names and got some pictures as well.

Here are a couple of least sandpipers. They're very tiny compared to some of the other birds in the area, but I couldn't get a good comparison shot.


Dowagers! These are more medium sized. The leader of the group pointed them out by describing the motion they make with their heads as being like a sewing machine needle going up and down. They're using their beaks to dig for some breakfast.


Avocets.

The birds don't compete with each other for food because they all have different beak lengths.

Black necked stilts.


Someone estimated that there were thousands of birds at the slough. I didn't take a picture of the crowd, though. I think there's a long-billed curlew in the middle of the picture here, but it's hard to see. Possibly also some marbled godwits? Honestly all the shorebirds look pretty similar to me and I don't have the experience to tell them apart very well yet.


---

Think I've been dealing with PMS again. Last night I was up for hours in bed just feeling pissed off about a bunch of stuff to the point where I couldn't sleep. It's really frustrating, because I know logically that the things I'm angry over aren't really worth being angry over, but I can't make the feeling go away. It's been hard recently too, what with not being able to work out (still not fully recovered...). I was reading up on some ways to potentially reduce the emotional symptoms... one article suggested taking calcium supplements, which was interesting. Can't hurt, I guess. I haven't been good about taking my vitamins recently because uh... well, you're supposed to take them with food, ideally, and I... haven't really been eating meals? Kind of just a piece of toast here, some fruit there, that kind of thing. >.> Appetite is bad again. I was eating a lot more while I was sick because I wanted to have the energy to get better, but now that the cold is on its way out, I haven't been trying as much to eat... :T Even when I feel hungry, which isn't much, there's just... nothing that appeals to me. Things taste okay, and I don't feel sick if I eat, but I'm just feeling meh in general about food.

On the positive side... I guess I've been eating enough at least to not have really messed up periods...? Back in 2014 when I was barely eating and I was cold all the time, I got my period after 16 days once. That was... not cool.

They're shutting off the power to my house on Monday... It's to put a new power panel in, so I don't think it should be off for longer than like... a day, but no power for pretty much the whole day, I hear. Good thing I have books to read. And hopefully enough candles/flashlights that it won't be a pain to read them in the evening. I think that without the distraction of the computer, I can probably finish the main book I'm working on, The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, in a day. It's pretty enjoyable and there are only three or four hundred pages left.

I've been seeing this referenced a lot on Reddit/Imgur.

"It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life."

I think it's true, but it's hard to know when you didn't make any mistakes but lost anyway. Life is very ambiguous, and my feeling is that there's almost always something you could be doing better than you are currently. Guess this quote is more about having self-compassion and not being too hard on yourself when you did your best, though.

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Deception and duty in the goldfish sea
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Decided to do some light searching for teetotaler groups. Not much came up, but there's a Meetup group that's specifically alcohol-free, so I requested membership there. Worth a shot. Would be nice to meet someone who shares my lifestyle choices.

---

I submitted my application and should be getting interviewed soon. Maybe I should feel excited, but... I don't. I guess I'm wary because of the last school. My therapist used to try to reassure me by suggesting that I might find my koi pond in grad school, but it was only more goldfish and disappointment. I'm not hoping for much this time around.

One of the books I'm reading, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt, talks about how people who think a lot about morality (specifically philosophers of ethics) aren't actually likely to be better people than people who don't, on average. I'm not particularly surprised by that conclusion. You can talk the talk without walking the walk. I had enough of that at my last school. It's a problem with psychology school in general-- a lot of people think they're helpful and good listeners, but they're actually not, and they don't take the time to seriously hone their skills and figure out what it means to be better and implement those changes.

While I don't think anybody like that is necessarily intending to deceive, I find their inconsistency a bit... disgusting, I suppose. Can't call them liars, because lying is telling a falsehood with the intent to deceive (meaning you have to know that you're not telling the truth), but I don't know what else would fit as a descriptor.

I think it especially bothers me when people are deceptive (about themselves, to others or to themselves) in this field because it seems like such potential to harm others. If you're supposed to be administering therapy and you're a terrible listener who lacks the empathy and awareness to understand your clients, you could really screw up someone's experience with therapy, and that person might never come back, or they might come out feeling worse than they started. The idea of that really bothers me. Angers me, even. I'm told that a lot of these people who suck at listening might actually learn a lot during internship, which I hope is true.

Not trying to say I'm a perfect listener myself, as I know I have blind spots and there are always mistakes to correct for. I guess the difference is that I don't go around bragging about how I'm such a great listener. Actually I'm not sure I even think of myself as a great listener, or particularly empathetic, or understanding, or whatever else. I'm trying to be those things, but for myself, I only really look to see if I've at least made some progress from, say, ten years ago, and I'm hesitant to make comments about my current state. I'm trying to do better, I can leave it at that.

---

I read a post earlier on Reddit about motivation vs. discipline and how they factor into results. The poster was arguing that waiting for motivation to strike you is a trap, and you need discipline to push through and get where you want to be. There were some issues with the way it was described in the post, but it made me think. Motivation here could be the "want" and discipline is the "need" to do something. Like a self-obligation, maybe. I think the word 'obligation' has negative connotations attached to it, because people don't like thinking that they "have" to do things, but I wish it weren't seen as such a bad thing.

This generation, my generation, has gotten so many motivational speeches and lectures and fluffy Facebook/Instagram/whatever posts about how you should follow your passion and do what you love in life. There's this strong implication that everyone has this fire burning inside of them that will drive them if they only let it. That's some straight up bullshit for a good chunk of people though. Not everybody has a passion. I think what I'm interested in is important but I would never describe it as a passion. I didn't even want to major in psychology for a long time. It seems more accurate to say I do what I do, I put all this effort in, because I have to. Sometimes that overlaps with wanting to, but a lot of times it doesn't. I don't have discipline in all areas of my life but I try to maintain it here, in my attempts to improve. There are plenty of times it would seem easier to just let myself go and be lazy and selfish, but that would also be repugnant to the point where I don't know if I'd even consider such an existence worth living.

---

Old favorite. "Schism" by Tool.

I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smoldering, fundamental differing
Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers' souls in motion
Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication
The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
We cannot seem to reach an end, crippling our communication

I know the pieces fit 'cause I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame, it doesn't mean I don't desire to
Point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over
To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication

The poetry that comes from the squaring off between
And the circling is worth it
Finding beauty in the dissonance

There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting
I've done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing
Doomed to crumble unless we grow, and strengthen our communication

Cold silence
Has a tendency
To atrophy any
Sense of compassion
Between supposed lovers
Between supposed brothers

I know the pieces fit

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Phrases for things you already know
Saturday, November 11, 2017
I had a friend, briefly, who was interested in philosophy, but refused to read anything regarding other people's philosophy, because he found the idea that someone might have the same ideas as him unbearable. That was very strange to me, as I had almost a polar opposite perspective. I found it comforting to know that I wasn't alone in my thoughts, and furthermore, most often other people had expanded on ideas in ways I hadn't, which gave me more to think about. Additionally, it seemed inefficient to me to ignore the works of past philosophers-- once I knew what was already out there, I could move on to new thoughts rather than thinking redundantly.

Anyway, I enjoy finding out that people have already named phenomena I don't have words for. One example is "talking past each other" (Wikipedia entry here). I wasn't familiar with this concept prior to my fourth ex pointing it out to me, but once I knew what it was... I realized it was happening all the time, haha (Baader-Meinhof, anyone?). For those too lazy to click the link, basically it's just when you're talking with someone and you think you're talking about the same thing but you're actually talking about two different things and not engaging with each other's points.

---

Still coughing... -Sigh-

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