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."
"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
Think about it
Kill that boredom!
Binder Paper Comics
Web Comics and Such
A Distant Soil (Some nudity)
The Adventures of Gyno-Star (Some explicit stuff)
Blue Milk Special
Cigarro & Cerveja
Cyanide and Happiness
dead winter (has some explicit stuff)
Devilbear: The Grimoires of Bearalzebub (PG-13?)
Eat That Toast!
The Fancy Adventures of Jack Cannon
For Lack of a Better Comic
Girls with Slingshots (some explicit stuff...?)
The Intrepid Girlbot
The Last Halloween
Last Train to Old Town
The League of Evil Genius
Legend of Bill
Living With Insanity (some nudity)
Love Me Nice
Married to the Sea
The Moon Prince
Moth (Some nudity)
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Political Cartoonists Index
Poorly Drawn Lines
The Property of Hate
Robbie and Bobby
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Scenes from a Multiverse
The Secret Knots
Stand Still. Stay Silent
Strong Female Protagonist
The Super Fogeys
Tales of Pylea
Three Word Phrase (some nudity)
Tiny Kitten Teeth
Toothpaste for Dinner
Trying Human (Some nudity)
Two Guys and Guy
Yellow Peril (PG-13)
Infrequently/No Longer Updating Web Comics
The Abominable Charles Christopher
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja
The Adventures of Ellie Connelly
Bag of Toast
Bear in Mind
The Book of Biff
Chain Bear (Some explicit stuff)
Daisy is Dead
Ectopiary (Some nudity)
Edmund Finney's Quest to Find the Meaning of Life
A Fine Example
Finn and Charlie are HITCHED
Hark! A Vagrant
Head Doctor Productions
Hello with Cheese
Kyle & Atticus
Lesbian Pirates from Outer Space
Letters to a Wild Boar
Lovecraft is Missing
Meat and Plastic
The Nerds of Paradise
No Reason Comics
One Swoop Fell
Pictures for Sad Children
A Redtail's Dream
Roy's Boys (PG 13?)
Run Freak Run
The Super Gay Adventures of Ross Boston
YU + ME
Pure Flash Awesomeness
Die Anstalt : Toy Psychiatry
Clients from Hell
Creatures in My Head
Damn You Auto Correct!
Jhonen Vasquez's site
Overheard in New York
Passive Aggressive Notes
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
Has a tendency
To atrophy any
Sense of compassion
Between supposed lovers
Between supposed brothers
I know the pieces fit
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-
Friday, November 10, 2017
I started reading a fascinating blog post series about System Justification theory yesterday night. It's an eight part series, so I haven't finished it yet, but the second post in the series reminded me of something:
Under stress, we tend to default to heuristic thinking.
As a reminder, heuristics are just mental shortcuts, easy cognitive patterns that we use to make quick judgements. That's not always a bad thing, as in most cases, they will do well enough. It does become harmful though when we're presented with a lot of complex information which requires more nuance in thought in order to comprehend fully (or at least, more fully).
Anyway, I mention this because Fro recently asked if anybody had ever pointed out that I engage in a lot of black and white thinking. This isn't a typical critique that people level at me, but yes, I have been told that before. However, I think it's important to qualify that statement; I engage in a lot of black and white thinking some of the time. It's not evenly spread out by any means, at least as not as far as I can tell. To the extent that I'm self-aware, my usage of it spikes when I'm, surprise surprise, depressed (or under a lot of stress). And hey, that makes sense. Black and white thinking is a kind of cognitive laziness. It's easier to say something is either/or than to try to tease out its subtleties and multiple facets. In a state of depression or stress, you don't necessarily have the cognitive resources available to think as thoroughly as you would in a more positive mood state.
I feel like it's also important to flesh out the context of Fro's comment and my feelings about it. I was talking to her about someone I had a bad experience with, and my negative feelings about that-- primarily focusing on the things I disliked about the situation. I think that, given the information she had to work with, what she said wasn't unreasonable, but I think she didn't completely grasp my process for handling these things.
When something goes badly between me and a person, ending our friendship, then I tend to view them very negatively for a short period of time. Maybe even all negatively. It helps me distance myself from the situation, and with some distance, I can scale it back a notch and be a bit more forgiving. Not everybody is willing to deal with that, and that's okay. I didn't talk to Kyle or Trevor for a year after we had our respective falling outs, and felt pretty negatively towards both of them, but the feelings faded with time and then we were able to reconnect. I think the distance and time was necessary. The strong negative feelings surrounding the fall outs might not have been necessary, but I think they did help move along the process by encouraging me to cut off contact. Otherwise... I think it's possible that things would have kept going, but there would have been this slow-burning resentment that could have eventually killed any desire I had to be friends. I usually swing back from those short intense bouts of emotion, but not from the long slow burns.
So yeah, black and white thinking is kind of like the rough draft of an essay for me... Start out with very large dichotomous categorization, whittle things down and separate them out into grey zones from there. I always imagine it like a pendulum swinging back and forth, with smaller arcs each time.
I guess I feel like the important part of this is that even if I start by making things seem black and white, they don't stay that way to me. "Black and white thinking" has a very strong implication that you don't break down your dichotomies any further, which I don't believe completely applies to me. Those big categories are just a jumping off point, because well... you have to start with something.
Still pretty sick at the moment. Was up past 5 AM because I couldn't stop coughing long enough to fall asleep. It sucks, but at the same time... I'm strangely not tired? This is, weirdly enough, the most energetic I've been in quite a long time. Too bad I can't actually do anything because I'm sick...
Whoops. It's almost 2:30 AM now and apparently my parents can hear my coughing through the wall and it's keeping them up. >.> I guess last night they went to bed early enough that they were already asleep before the coughing got really bad, but they weren't so lucky tonight. My mom came out and asked if I was using the humidifier... I told her that I brought it out but there was mold inside because whoever used it last didn't dry it out before storing it, and that I clean it thoroughly enough tonight to use it, so we put it in a bucket with some diluted bleach and hopefully that sorts things out. For now, my dad put a basin in my room with hot water to hopefully get some steam into the air. Not sure if it will work but I suppose it's better than not trying anything. Still not tired enough or able to stop coughing long enough to sleep, but... I'm making progress on my essay? So that's good?
Sure wish the doctor had prescribed me the codeine cough syrup I used to have instead of these little benzonatate capsules. I don't think they're working at all. :
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
I don't really like the word 'poetry' or what it entails. It brings up connotations of pretentiousness, angst and ostentatious phrasing bundled up in a few pseudo-intellectual, self-satisfied lines.
And yet I love poetry, at the same time. Despite what I associate with the word, I know there are wonderful poems out there. There are poems that repeat in my mind for years after first reading them. There are poems that describe feelings I've never known how to explain or share with other people. There are poems that make me laugh, and poems that make me cry. There are poems I marvel at, unable to comprehend how someone could write something so perfectly structured and composed.
When I want to write, but I don't want to flesh out a blog post, I sometimes end up writing poetry instead. It's rarely edited or planned out; if anything it's just a more raw version of whatever I'm thinking. It exists in a twilight zone between bullet points and full sentences.
Because I know this blog is public, I backspace a lot and edit and formulate what I want to say based on the knowledge that people I know might be reading it. That filter isn't there for poetry, which I generally don't share with people. If we were going to make a crude comparison between the two, we could call it a left brain/right brain thing, I suppose. There's always some amount of restraint here. Blog posts are written for myself and others. Poetry is written just for me.
Nobody else has to understand it because nobody will see it.
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Front bathroom is finally done. I'm not a fan of the new vanity but I guess I'll adapt.
At least I don't have to rush to brush my teeth before my parents go to sleep now.
Still feeling fairly sick, but got a new prescription cough suppressant today, which I think is helping. I was exhausted and in pain from how much I was coughing yesterday. It's a strange cold, though, and seems to primarily be affecting my chest. I'm not congested and I don't have that grogginess I often associate with colds. Throat doesn't hurt either, it's just that there's this feeling like my chest and throat have some kind of thick foam in them that's full of small rocks.
Despite the sickness, I feel quite well mentally/emotionally. More calm and at peace than I have for a few months. I guess that in a sense I did some cleaning and sorting in my mind. Evicting people from my mental space seems to help with that when I can do it successfully.
Listening to "Power Of Darkness" by Danzig lately.
There's something cathartic about this kind of music. It's harsh, but in the way that a wire brush is harsh against caked-on grime.
I've been reading a little about slow looking, which is pretty much what it sounds like: looking at things slowly. Specifically, it's supposed to be slow looking at art in order to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the piece. The articles I read suggested briefly walking around a museum to get a sense of the collection, and then coming back to something that stood out to you and getting more acquainted with it over a period of minutes (or even hours). Twenty minutes or so was the low end of the recommendations I saw for length.
It's an interesting idea to me, and something I'd like to try. I'm kind of tired of this lifestyle of darting around between things, scrolling, swiping, moving on. There have been times when I'd have really liked to spend more time looking at things, but felt pressured to move on and look at something else. It's hard to take your time when you're with other people. Maybe I just don't meet many people who have the patience or focus to stay with a single thing for very long.
People treat boredom like a sickness to be cured... But the constant stream of entertainment we feed ourselves to stave off boredom, what consequences does it have? I've fallen prey to it too, and I feel less creative than I used to be, less inspired. Like I don't think as productively, as expansively, because there are so many available distractions. That might sound odd, considering how much I think regardless...
I wonder if I should try to spend more time just with myself, not connected to things. I did that to some extent when I used to go walking, but I still had my music, which is a buffer against the world and a distraction, as much as I'm attached to it. Maybe I need to relearn how to slow down and be bored, to see what I'll find.
Sunday, November 5, 2017
The more I do yoga, the more I realize that:
a) Yoga is difficult
b) Yoga is boring
c) I really don't like yoga
But just because I suck at it and don't enjoy it very much doesn't mean I shouldn't give it a chance. I was terrible at Pilates at first too, but I came to enjoy it. I'm not sure if that will happen with yoga but I might as well go to a few more classes if they fit into my schedule. What I can't figure out is why the room feels so warm during yoga. It seems like my hands and feet get sweaty and it's hard to hold positions, which is strange because I don't normally have that issue in other classes.
Anyway, I look around at the other people in the yoga classes who very obviously are into yoga and know what they're doing, and I know I'm not as good at it as them and I get confused and tired and a little overwhelmed trying to attempt some of the poses, but that just means I have to try harder.
Giving up is weakness.
Little rest day
Friday, November 3, 2017
I think something in my house is making me feel sick. Have had fatigue, mild nausea, and headaches a lot in the past few days... or more? It's hard to keep track. Not sure if the remodeling has something to do with it.
Today I went to an "estate sale" with my mom over in a rich neighborhood nearby. I say that with quotes because it wasn't really much of an estate sale. A woman was moving out of one of the multimillion dollar houses over there and was pretty much just liquidating the backstock from the gift shop she owned, so the house was full of collectibles for sale... It was kind of neat to see the house itself, but the actual stuff for sale was a big letdown. So many figurines...
In the evening I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 with my parents. My dad had already seen it, but I guess he just felt like getting it from the library, so we all sat together and watched it. There were some funny parts, and also this:
Kind of a sad sentiment. I also don't think it's necessarily true that if you're ugly and someone loves you, you know they love you for who you are. Sometimes people just love other people for fulfilling some particular role to them, which I would argue isn't the same as "loving them for who they are." But I guess I do think it's kind of true that beautiful people never know who to trust. It just falls under the larger umbrella of nobody being able to know who they can trust, not really.
It's not that you can't trust people... you just can't know whether you can trust people. You can only believe that you can. To truly know you'd have to have proof, and patterns of the past aren't genuine proof. They're just... patterns. Problem of induction. You just have to have some faith that things will stay in pattern.
After the "estate sale" I went to Safeway with my mom, and I think I saw a guy from my high school there... We weren't friends, and as far as I can remember we only had one class together, but I think it was him. I decided to message him on Facebook to mention that we passed each other, though we're not friends on there, so I don't know if he'll see it. No harm, though. I felt nervous about it at first, but I figured that I haven't really been challenging myself lately, so this was a small thing I could do to get over the shyness/anxiety.
No gym today, because I was resting. Tomorrow, though.
"You're not my type"
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Ran 1.5 miles and did Turbo Kick today. Think I need to give my legs a rest. They feel a bit... stiff. Could also be that I'm not eating enough, though. On a good day I manage two meals, plus a protein bar and a green smoothie... It's hard to eat more than that. I know I need to in order to get stronger, but the motivation to force myself to eat isn't there. Plus we don't have a kitchen right now, which adds a layer of difficulty to my appetite problems.
I was looking at someone's Facebook page tonight, and it struck me, as it has before, that I'm tethered to this one body, to this one perspective. Not 'perspective' as in opinion, but like, I can only see out of these eyes, only feel with this skin, only hear with these ears, and so on. It feels... so confining.
It's weird to feel so unfamiliar with that confinement. You'd think I'd be used to it, given that it's the only thing I've ever really experienced for most of my waking hours. I say "most" and not "all" because there were some times during... traumatic... events where I was pretty strongly depersonalized and felt like I was watching myself in the third person. I don't really know how to explain it to a general audience though... And things are rarely in first person in my dreams. I guess it's like a video game, where you can shift between first person and third person perspectives, except that in my dreams, often there just isn't a "me" anymore. No body, no presence. Just watching things that other people are doing, and occasionally becoming them.
Tonight while I was videochatting with Sean I decided to purge my Facebook friends list again. I cut five people, which I guess was... 8.3% of my total? Considering cutting more soon. There is limited social space in my life and I don't want to keep a line open to anybody who isn't worthwhile.
We are remodeling parts of my house, and my dad finds the contractor we're working with very irritating, because the man is imprecise. My dad told me that the quickest way to make an engineer angry is to approximate and bullshit about stuff you don't know, and this contractor does that a lot. The man has been late by several hours and seemed barely familiar with the contract that my dad drew up, plus he said the electrical stuff was "ready for inspection" even though not everything is connected yet. I don't know if I've ever seen my dad get this annoyed at anybody before. I've only even seen him get angry a few times in my life, maybe three if this contractor stuff counts.
It made me think about how being the daughter of an engineer has influenced me. I have a strong aversion to ambiguity and like things to be laid out clearly and precisely. Vagueness and noncommittal answers are annoying. People who aren't on time are annoying. Inconsistency is annoying. That overly relaxed "go with the flow" attitude is annoying. I mean, none of this is annoying to the point where I'd actually get enraged with people, but I do notice it, and I don't like it. When I'm making plans I like to have the exact date, time, location, etc. figured out ahead of time as much as possible.
Now on the other hand, my mom is an art teacher... so she's a strange contrast to my dad. She isn't thorough, composed, exact, or consistent. Not saying I'm all of those things either, but I definitely lean more to that side than to my mom's side. She embodies a lot of the traits that annoy me, which is why I've learned that I have to keep a certain distance from her to avoid being extremely frustrated all the time. Then again, she does have a lot of social skills, so I guess there's balance there.
I'm somewhere between my mom and my dad, and I don't know what kind of person would complement me...
This scene from Happiness keeps replaying in my head.
This isn't working.
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