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Memores acti prudentes futuri


She said it was all make believe
but I thought she said maple leaves
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
TICoSME
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Basic Instructions
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Blue Milk Special
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dead winter (has some explicit stuff)
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Scattered musings from today
Friday, September 1, 2017
"You Never Knew" by Negative Gemini.


I thought a lot about dying today. I mean, compared to normal, that is. I think about dying all the time, but today I thought about it more frequently. My parents drove down south to visit my aunt and uncle at their new house, and I had to take them to my other aunt and uncle's house so they could carpool. Coming back from there meant driving along the road where I got into the accident last year. Although I'd driven that way by myself since the accident, it had been a pretty long time, and my mom kept asking if I would be okay. I told her it didn't really matter, because I get anxiety now whenever I go around a curve anyway (it's just that the amount of anxiety varies).

The whole way home, I imagined what would happen if another car hit me on the road, or if I didn't brake in time and slammed into another car. When would my parents find out? When would my friends find out? Would I die on the road or would they cart me to a hospital first? I thought about what it was like to be in the car for the accident last year, and the noises, and hearing myself screaming without realizing that it was coming from me. When the car landed upright, I sat there staring ahead, gripping the steering wheel hard, my whole body rigid and tense. When I heard someone calling out to me, asking if I was able to get out of the vehicle, it was like waking up from a dream, and I couldn't really understand what had happened or how I got there. Then I realized that the radio was silent.

It's hard for me to drive without music playing. If there's nothing to occupy my white noise thoughts then there's more space for anxiety. I guess music is kind of like a security blanket for me in that way. It helps drown out the bad stuff in my head.

---

My friends were busy tonight, so I went to the art walk downtown by myself. It was... a strangely emotional experience. In the quilt and textile museum I saw some quilts that were the winning pieces in the Japan Handicraft Instructors Association, and they were absolutely amazing. I don't think I've ever been so stunned by quilts before. I wish I had taken pictures of more of them... I only got one picture, of a quilt named "I touched your scar in the dark". For some reason beyond my descriptive abilities, the name of that quilt struck me deeply. It evoked this intensely intimate, vulnerable imagery, as well as feelings of loss, distance, loneliness, and pain. It reminded me of lying awake in the dark next to a sleeping figure, physically close but... alone.

I think, no matter what I might feel for the person sleeping next to me, if they're asleep and I'm awake, it is lonely to be the only conscious body in the bed. The separation feels so profound, even though I know that in theory I could wake them up if I wanted to. It feels like an uncrossable distance, a metaphysical Grand Canyon. Seeing as how I find it very difficult to sleep around other people, I've been in this lonely spot a fair number of times, now.

Despite my dislike of platitudes, there is something I find fascinating about clichés, and I often find myself unraveling them in my mind. "So close, and yet so far" is such a tired and overused expression that it's practically meaningless, but it does succinctly describe the feeling of being awake next to someone asleep, in a way. I mean, it takes all of the emotional complexity and depth out of it, but it does apply. I've had this longstanding habit of using these kinds of sayings and aphorisms as axioms in the logical propositions I spin for myself about life. I don't know why; I guess maybe I just like to reinterpret what I know until it makes sense within the current framework of my life. These little sayings are like shortcuts, verbal placeholders in my philosophical formulas.

---

I think, once I have some spending money, I'm going to get this book:

The Lover's Dictionary: A Novel by David Levithan.

---

Last night, after my weekly Skype call with friends, Sean and I stayed on for awhile and talked, just the two of us. I ended up opening up to him about a number of things that have been on my mind, and... it was hard, and it was sad, but I felt heard, and that was nice. Back when we first became friends I felt like I could be open with him, but there was a long period where I didn't feel like he was really listening to me, so I didn't talk to him as much about things, and I felt like we grew a little more distant. But yeah... last night was better. There's no resolution, but I didn't need a resolution, I just wanted to feel understood, I guess. That's all I really want, most of the time. It just happens very rarely. Sometimes I wonder if the part of me that lets me feel connected to other people broke a long time ago.

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Hair progress... [2P]
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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I'm in a strange half-awake state
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I've been browsing through Gabriel Picolo's Icarus and the Sun on Tumblr, and this one got me right in the feels: (Click)

Not always into these romantic/sappy/moody things but I guess I do like this one. The art style is nice as well.

---

A guy on OKC wants to get into writing regularly, so I offered to give him writing prompts/critiques if he wanted, and he took me up on the offer. He might give me some prompts back, so we'll see how that goes. It might be nice to get back into writing more often. I write here, and I've been writing a bit of poetry on the down low (not for sharing though), but nothing really... too creative. Might be cool to have a writing buddy like my friend Mike has, although I don't know what this guy's style is. Fingers crossed that it's not cringey and terrible.

I don't really know many explicit rules for writing, but having read so much, I guess I have something of an intuition for what I think is good vs. bad writing. Some people don't have a sense of all the connotations of words, and then you get really awkward phrasings of things, or just weird descriptions that take you out of what you're reading (if you were able to feel immersed in the first place, that is). Good writing, in my opinion, submerges you in the world of the piece and feels seamless, natural. Like breathing air. For fiction, anyway. Nonfiction is a different creature entirely.

So yeah, looking forward to how this writing thing goes.

"Hold Still" by Grizzly Bear.

Here we go again
We’ll carry on, my only friends
I’ll take one chance without compromise
There isn’t anything left to try

Here we go again
We’ll carry on, but then again
We couldn’t take this on, the story goes unformed
As if we never were there at all


I love the lyrics in this song. The music itself feels like hot days at the end of summer, rust, tall dry grass, empty air in the shade, and the temporary infinity of waiting for something unknown.

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I forgot to title this for a whole day
Monday, August 28, 2017
Had to bike to the gym today because both cars were being used, but it worked out fine. Extra exercise, haha.

Ran 1 mile (9:31, lvl 1 incline) before C.S.I., then jogged a slow mile (10:00, lvl 1 incline) after class. Have been trying to run more slowly so that I can do more distance, but man, it gets so incredibly boring. I have to resist the urge to speed up the treadmill to at least an 8:34 minute pace, because I know if I do that it'll tire me out quicker. If I run as fast as I'd like then I tend to get chest pain for the first third to half of it, which sucks. I guess boredom is better than pain?

I feel like my brain's just about always buzzing with thoughts, and running kind of reallocates some of my energy so that I'm not thinking about as much, but it doesn't take enough that I'm completely immersed in the moment, and it's not so little that I can just space out and daydream or have a nice productive problem-solving session, either. It's just in the zone of boredom...

Although, speaking of daydreaming... The book I'm reading, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, cites research that apparently shows that daydreaming can sap your motivation to pursue your goals, because our brains aren't that great at telling the difference between fantasy and reality, so by daydreaming, we're in some part tricking our brains into thinking we already have what we want. It makes us feel nicer, but it also means we're not pushing as hard to achieve our goals. I thought that was pretty interesting. I'm not as much of a daydreamer as I used to be, and I think that I've become more productive since I stopped fantasizing as much, but that's just anecdotal evidence and I hadn't really thought about there being any connection before.

Also related to this book, I'm feeling like maybe I need to rethink my goals (or at least how to achieve them). I like to try to reassess what I think I want and how I'm going to get there every now and then, so that I'm not just chasing something that doesn't fit my situation. The book mentions a system for clarifying your goals and mapping out a plan to achieve them called WOOP, which is summarized as follows:
-What do you wish for?
-Visualize that and the outcome you want.
-What obstacle is in the way?
-What's your plan for overcoming that obstacle?

I'm trying to put what I want within this framework right now to get a better idea of what I might do specifically... Not going to write it here I think, at least not right now. Need more time to consider it. I have a lot of ideas about my internal goals (who I want to be, how I want to treat other people, etc.) but I don't devote as much time to my external goals. I guess my priorities there are a bit obvious, haha.

---

Mm... I miss my friend. Without him to talk to, I have a lot more time to read though, I guess... Not that I wouldn't be able to read if he were around, I just wouldn't really want to. I suppose that's just how I'm inclined, by default... when I get close to someone I don't want to do anything else but talk to them. They can't really "get in the way" because everything else (excepting other friends) fades into the background.

"Overpowered" by Róisín Murphy.

A chemical reason
If reason's your game
A chemical needing
Is there in the brain

With pre-programmed meanings
Like a little more pep
Alien feelings
We have to accept

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Book group
Sunday, August 27, 2017
I really enjoyed the book group I went to today for Ethical Culture Society. Felt like I was scratching an itch for intellectual discussion. Prior to going, I felt slightly apprehensive because I was wondering if it was going to be more intellectual than I've been used to for awhile, as I really haven't had much in the way of in-depth intelligent conversation recently, but thankfully it wasn't like that. The discussion was very approachable, and I didn't feel out of my league even though everybody else there was probably around 20 or more years older than me. It was a small group, so everyone got a chance to talk.

It's hard to find people whom I can be both intellectual and silly with. I feel that I generally have to pick one or the other and stick with it. So, some people experience me as being pretty serious and thoughtful, and other people... not so much.

Didn't go to the gym today... It's been terribly hot the past couple days, and the heat is sapping my energy. I fell asleep after I got back from the book group, but woke up a few hours later because it was getting too warm in my room. I'm going to the gym tomorrow though for sure. Thinking maybe eating more will help with the lightheadedness. In better news, I don't seem to be getting exercise-induced rhinitis anymore, so yay! That was one of the things really putting me off running before. Getting sneezing fits after running was so annoying.

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Hasty generalization
Saturday, August 26, 2017
I went to the gym today.

1.75 mi (9:31 minute pace, lvl 1 incline), walked 0.25.
Squats (on Bosu, then off with weights), planks (60 sec, 2x), burpees w/ Bosu, tricep extensions, lat pull downs.

I don't know why, but I felt really just like... mentally exhausted after running, so I was doing everything else kind of slowly. Probably could have kept running but was getting a bit lightheaded so decided to stop and do other things. I had to keep stopping between exercises to just slowly walk around to try to get rid of the lightheadedness. >_>

---

Anyway, while I was running, I was thinking about hasty generalization, which is basically just jumping to conclusions before you have enough information. I've put in effort to not do this so much anymore, but it does sometimes manifest in small, subtle ways.

I don't know if anybody except for Kyle really remembers what I was like as a teenager, but I was pretty moody, irrational, and cynical. To some extent that's just typical for that age (teen angst!), but I have put in specific work to move away from how I was back then. I know Kyle and I had a number of arguments where I got emotional and upset and couldn't effectively argue my points, because... I didn't have points. I had feelings. It's nearly senseless to try to argue with someone who's coming from a position of emotionality, because they're unlikely to be able to absorb what you're saying. You have to take the time to calm them down first and then calmly lay out your argument clearly while explaining where you're coming from. Of course, as teenagers, Kyle and I didn't know this, so we just ended up frustrating each other on a few occasions.

When I'm in a negative highly emotional state I'm more susceptible to making hasty generalizations. This usually takes the form of "this is what I've encountered, so this is all there is." I feel like there's some more specific term for this but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. It's kind of a sampling bias, I suppose? Undue extrapolation based on a limited data set.

Examples of this include:
-Thinking that the only times people think of me are the ones they tell me about
-Thinking that because I've had lame relationships in the past, I'll only have lame relationships in the future (though this line of thought is countered by the uniformity of nature part of the problem of induction somewhat)

There's some negativity bias thrown in there as well, e.g. if I have 10 positive interactions with someone and 4 negative ones, it's easier to remember the negative interactions and fear the person won't like me anymore based on those. Unfortunately this one isn't contained to me; it's possible that the other person's negative memories will be more salient, which really would affect their feelings towards me.

Ways I try to counter this tendency:
-Reminding myself that there's always more to things than I'm seeing
-Holding conclusions very loosely, if at all, until I can get more direct confirmation
-Pushing myself to be open to the unexpected
-Paying extra attention to positive moments (though not at the expense of negative ones; I don't want the bias to swing in the other way)

Gotta have that extra voice in my head reminding me to be reasonable and not rush to action over limited data. I'm pretty cautious and prefer to wait to make decisions as much as possible, but in the heat of the moment those jumping-to-conclusions thoughts still come. At that point I just try to hold them back from affecting my behavior. Even if I can't stop their automatic generation all the time, I can still keep them contained, which I think is important.

---

An old favorite song from an old favorite band that came up on iTunes just now.

"I Concentrate On You" by Splitsville.

Words I write down in black and white
Still cannot describe how I feel
My mind's on fire, locked in overdrive
And there's only you at the wheel

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Cognitive biases [4P]
Friday, August 25, 2017
Be it extremely emotional, controversial, messed up, or whatever, this entry has been password protected.

If you know it, enter it; or, ask me for it.

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Filler
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Ran 1 mile (lvl 1 incline, 0.8 at 9:40 min pace, 0.2 at 8 min pace), did Turbo Kick, ran another mile (lvl 1 incline, 0.6 at 9:13 min pace, 0.4 at 7:53 min pace).

There's a lot I'm thinking about, and stuff I want to write, but it's 4:30 AM and I think now is not the time. I'll get around to it later.

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