Sometimes I want to write things that can't work as a blog post, I don't want to lose amid Twitter, or don't make any sense. For all these streams of conscious, I have my Notes. They have lots of colors to match how across the board they can get.

Keep scrolling to read my notes in order.

January 14, 2021

Many white supremacists are rarely explicit in their goals of pushing non-white races below them. Much of that work was done by past (and maybe present) policies like redlining, the prison pipeline, over-policing, and underinvestment in many nieghborhood's welfare/education/health/infrastructure, to name a few.

One only needs to be against or indifferent to policies aiming to undo all these racism-caused inequalities to be racist. No matter how many "Black Lives Matter" signs are in your yard.

January 12, 2021

In 1790, the United States passed the Naturalization Act to set the first rules for how a non-citizen becomes a US citizen. But the law was limited to "free white person(s)...of good character."

This was the same time slavery was happening in the United States, creating a huge gap in how citizens and non-citizens were treated. Understandably, new arrivals wanted to be seen as "white." Especially Irish, Italian, and German immigrants that were first seen as either "non-white" or just "partially white."

That didn't change over a century later when people brought the issue to court. In the 1922 SCOTUS case "Ozawa v. United States," a Japanese-American man argued he should be included under the category of "free white persons." A year later in "United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind," an Indian Sikh man argued the same thing. Both lost.

The United State's naturalization laws have evolved since 1790, but race has played a key role. Society has defined what it means to be white, how humans changed that definition, and racial privilege.

This is all in case someone dismisses the idea of race being a social construct as "absurd." Why pass laws and have court hearings over race if it's part of nature? Otherwise, we'd have witnessed the 1889 SCOTUS case "United States v. Gravity."

January 8, 2021

If you've found your best sense passion and identity, but don't express it since you're worried how others will react, I don't believe it's really your top passion.

I think the best sign is when you love something for the pain as much as the pleasure. When you could flame out and have everyone laugh at you, but you want to do it again.

Don't let the fear of what others might say stop you from what you should be doing.

January 5, 2021

Sometimes my inner voice will pretend to be someone else. I'll imagine someone else telling me in person or a chat, "You know, if you were really caring/smart/curious/human, you would have..." When I got better at silencing my inner critic, it disguised itself as an external critic that I'd have to engage with.

A good way I've found to beat this is to ask "do I know anyone who would say this to me?" Most of the time, the answer is no. When the answer is yes, I learn it's someone I'm better off cutting out of my life.

I'm glad I figured this out, but I'm worried. My inner critic's next step may be to appear as a hallucination of a real person walking up to and criticizing me. The mental strategies around that will be tough.

January 2, 2021

When I'm out and about in the city, it's easy for my mind to think "this is relaxation time, not productivity time." It's a lot harder to make that switch when the pandemic has stuck me inside on weekend nights.

It's tough to change that switch by force. Even when I'm screaming and pleading to let it ease the pressure on myself. To let myself be who I am, and not force myself into an ill-fitting "who I think I need to be."

We see lots of television and movies of people with great skill and intelligence battling tough enemies and overwhelming odds. That may be why we believe that should be our "normal" and anything below that makes us a failure. Seeing more of those in the pandemic makes this worse, and makes it harder to flip that switch.

I think unless I outright tell myself it's okay to flip the switch, I never will.

December 29, 2020

For those who want to stay in power, it could be in their best interest to tell others, "one person can change the world."

The biggest changes in our society - civil rights, new technology, medical advances - couldn't have happened without many people working to organize, share, and learn together. Even stand-alone geniuses needed others, as Isaac Newtown said in 1675.

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Someone believing "it only takes one person to create great change" is less likely to work with others. They're more likely to try on their own until they burn out, become cynical, and think change is impossible.

It dresses up division with pretty language, so people swallow it without seeing its effects. The leaders can frame any criticism of this as "insulting to human potential" and swat it away.

Something to remember the next time leaders talk about how much they want to change things for the better, they swear.

December 23, 2020

Let's spare a moment to consider how horribly all this social distancing has hurt American pickpockets.

Not the ones in banking and finance positions. The blue-collar ones reaching into actual pockets. Let's send them some thoughts and prayers.

December 21, 2020

Some workdays frustrate me unbelievable amounts. For example, if I'm dealing with local MySQL databases. But they're also the most exciting. I like learning new material, and these days remind me I still have plenty more to learn.

Now, will I focus much of that learning energy on databases? Maybe. I may refuse out of spite. Even if they're the main cause of these frustrating days.

Unfortunately, there are some lessons I may never learn.

December 15, 2020

There are so many fears and denials of death that takes many forms - buying things to look younger, disparaging the old, and denying our eventual deaths by acting invincible.

But remember this: if you don't get old, you die young.

Which one would you prefer?

December 13, 2020

I enjoy rewatching The Newsroom for its snappy, smart dialogue. Then I remember if a real person remembered and spit out so much mostly useless information, they'd mostly irritate everyone around them.

Our minds remember the information we find useful and cleans out the rest. Unless you have a job based around learning and presenting tons of information (like a big-league journalist) expecting oneself to meet those standards only makes you miserable. Even then, there's a limit.

If anyone gives you crap for not remembering every obscure detail of something you read one time a week ago, remind them you don't live in an Aaron Sorkin show. We keep the knowledge we find useful, like how to clean our showers, and clear out the knowledge that only serves to maybe impress others when we share it later.

If they protest, don't worry about their opinion. They can't handle the truth.

December 5, 2020

I have a theory why, for Americans, a vaccine is seen as the end-all Coronavirus solution. It's because getting a vaccine asks the least from each person.

Other countries beat Covid-19 by making smart investments in public health and following through on changes like social distancing and masks. It took work, resources, and people had to adjust to a new normal, but it worked. People are much less terrified of death and fewer people died.

Too many Americans would rather cling to "normal" and an "every person for themselves" mentality. It's easier for them, and if hundreds of thousands die, then oh well.

It's a common theme in America, individualism to the point of absurdity and horror. "Land of the free" apparently includes "freedom to needlessly kill more people than many recent wars combined."

And still counting.

November 30, 2020

I respect the leaves that, even now, are clinging to their trees.

Imagine you're one of those leaves. A deep, hopeless chill is falling over the land. Over many weeks you've seen most of your friends fall to their deaths. Your strength is slowly fading as the forces of nature pull you towards a mass grave. You look down at this mass grave each day as a reminder of your unavoidable fate of death.

Yet still, you cling to the tree. You know you can't beat nature, but you choose to spite it a moment longer. Now that is perseverance.

November 25, 2020

One of the biggest things keeping me going through the pandemic is the Libby app. I can get free eBooks about epic wizard sagas and dysfunctional space cadets without risking death or, even worse, awkward social interactions.

The best things in life are free. The better best things in life are free but get returned after two weeks.

November 18, 2020

Taking action to help others is one thing.

Taking action because of other's expectations, real or imagined, is another thing.

An otter politician arguing to put littering parents in jail with their own filthy water to drink and bathe in is one more thing.

The first thing is good, and the second thing is bad. The second thing can sometimes be in charge, but it'll convince someone's mind the first one is and make that person miserable. The first thing is the one that should always come before the second thing, and not let the second thing sneak ahead.

The third has nothing to do with the other two, but I find it amusing.

November 6, 2020

One of my favorite theories is when we dream, we're not only seeing things from our subconscious mind. Instead, we're seeing bits and pieces from everyone's subconscious minds mixed in. But we never know exactly which parts of the dream are ours and which are someone else's.

I got this from the idea of a collective unconsciousness. There are thoughts shared by almost every human, like instinctual and archetypal thoughts. I like to stretch it further and think of it as a giant current of thoughts flowing in the surrounding air. Most of our everyday thoughts get drowned out by dominant ideas, like a drop of water in the ocean. But sometimes our thoughts survive and drift further into the collective unconscious. If we're lucky, they're picked up by people as they sleep and appear in their dreams.

I know this likely isn't true. But I like to believe we have those surprise glimpses into the minds of those around us. Even if we'll never know the full context behind it all, it helps us build more empathy one step at a time.