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 stream of conscious, I have my Notes section. They have lots of colors to match how across the board they get.

Keep scrolling to read my notes in order.

August 08, 2020

The next time someone claims that a pandemic policy is similar to what “Germans were put through in Nazi Germany,” I’m asking for more details. When was this policy implemented? How specifically was it meant to discriminate against German Jews? What was the public’s reaction? Are there records of any Nazi officials formally establishing this policy? Was this before or after the hundreds of deaths in the Night of the Long Knives?

Why? I have a hard time believing Hitler’s rise to power and the start of WWII and the Holocaust involved slowing the spread of a virus, wearing face masks, or waiting a few more weeks for a haircut. If they’re serious, I assume they care enough to base an accusation this heavy on evidence. If they’re not serious, why should I listen to someone who makes such stupid comparisons?

July 30, 2020

In a pandemic, video games aren’t the only good time-murdering diversion. Sometimes a little drawing is great to lower the buzzing in our heads. Colored pencil drawing is a favorite of mine, even on a tablet.

A bonus (for those of us with button makers and lots of free time) is the final drawings can be put on buttons. What fun is art if it can’t be needlessly shown off?

Two buttons on a table, one of them with the complete image of a girl kissing a boy on the cheek.

July 29, 2020

The way American society functions, it’s easy to feel more like disposable assets than citizens. That makes it tough to develop a durable sense of self-worth. It also makes it harder to put effort into anything, knowing it could all be wiped away for profit at any moment. Human misery be damned.

We can’t do much about that. Few people have any real control over how society sees its people. We have more control over if any specific people in it see us that way.

But if society sees us as disposable, aren’t we more likely to see others that way too? Is it worth trying to change how others see us?

I’d say it’s worth it, even if it’s not easy. But the first step if not seeing yourself as disposable. Or what reason would others have to think differently?

July 21, 2020

During this particular pandemic, there are lots of people I’m understandably angry at:

But I remember this quote from one of the few self-help books I enjoy.

When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health, our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if they only knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them, but our hate is turning our own days and nights into a hellish turmoil.

Anger is good when it inspires us to action. But even then, relying on it too can be too heavy a sacrifice. As angry as I feel about many things, it shouldn’t be the main thing getting me out of bed each day.

July 17, 2020

The quarantine has kept me away from my anime laser-cut artwork, which has made me sad. I’m happy to say I finally found the time, courage, and momentum to make some more. With two helpful quotes as I’m stuck inside for most of my time.

  • A wood laser-cut of some anime artwork with the quote 'a little bit of craziness helps you keep your sanity.'
  • A wood laser-cut of some anime artwork with the quote 'time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.'

The local craft store may be closed, but I have lots of wood scraps saved up. They laughed at me when I hoarded it all, but I’m laughing now.

Granted, I’m crying at the same time, but still, I’m laughing!

July 14, 2020

As delicious as meat is, eating it is unsustainable for the planet. But I read something surprising: we could help save the world be swapping meat with insects.

For example, crickets take a fraction of the resources to raise compared to cows, are highly nutritious, have fewer calories, and a greater percentage of each can be eaten. It’s even better than eating plants!

Proponents point out that certain bugs have protein levels comparable to conventional meat, and insect protein contains all eight essential amino acids, making it nutritionally superior to plant-based protein.

Sadly, there’s one big obstacle: eating bugs is gross. Many American liberals likely want to save the world, but not at the cost of their Instagram brunch photos.

But I still predict a deteriorating planet will force the whole world to fully accept eating bugs one day. Imagine what it’d be like if crickets became an everyday food:

  • McDonalds drive-thrus would serve cholesterol-laden cricket burgers smothered in cheese, mustard, and mayo.
  • High-end magazines would analyze the cricket brunches celebrities ate.
  • School cafeteria food fights would break out where teens throw fistfuls of dead crickets at each other.
  • Halloween would have houses giving little kids caramel-covered crickets.
  • Stoners hit with the munchies would get deep-fried crickets delivered late at night.

This could all be real someday. I think of that and feel a touch better about the future, for it is intriguing, revolting, but ultimately pretty tasty.

July 04, 2020

Our society’s values affect our own, whether we like it or not. It’s all part of being human. When people around us repeat the same message, eventually we say them back as our own.

I guess this is one of our mind’s tricks to make us feel more in control. It’s scary to think that we can be manipulated like this. To avoid that fear, our unconscious mind spits out the same ideas as if we thought of them. We think our chosen beliefs happen to agree with what’s told to us, instead of us mirroring them. In other words, it’s the Bandwagon Effect.

People want to be right. They want to be part of the winning side. Part of the reason people conform is that they look to other people in their social group for information about what is right or acceptable.

This is tough to accept. No one likes thinking their deeply held values are a mere reflection of what they’ve been told. I’ve seen people get so defensive at this idea it’s scary.

But it’s important to accept this weakness in our thinking. Acceptance is the first step to better defining our values. To see where they line up with society and where they diverge. They should be because we chose them for our reasons, based on our integrity and morals.

June 25, 2020

I’m proud to live in one of the only countries to see coronavirus cases spiking in over half the states, yet continue the reopening process. To be so attached to its unequal, overworked economy that it willingly sacrifices the health of the exploited.

Wait a minute, I don’t think “proud” was the right word..oh, “ashamed” was the word I wanted! I’m ashamed of all that.

Thankfully, that mistake isn’t getting hundreds of thousands getting sick and possibly dying. I can’t say the same for some of America’s other screw-ups, like deep-rooted racism and housing inequalities, sadly.

But for many, an outdated national identity is worth more than our strength and survival.

June 20, 2020

Here’s a reminder to all the bloggers out there: it’s healthier to be a selfish blog writer. Writing for others over yourself has many damaging effects, like diluting your real voice. But the worst is it needlessly gives other power over your happiness.

Fame and attention always go away, so relying on it never works in the long term. But knowledge and self-expression always stay with us and make us better.

If others happen to enjoy it, that’s a lovely bonus. But it’s never the paycheck.

June 18, 2020

My apartment protects and suffocates me.

My mask protects my face and mutes my self-expression.

The isolation keeps me safe physically but frail mentally.

My distance keeps away vulnerable people and our shared humanity.

My hand-washing cleanses me of germs and washes away my self-assurances.

My television numbs the spiraling thoughts and the comforts of my daydreams.

More and more I want to scream. More and more my hand touches a pen and freezes.

More and more my anxieties creep from the corners. More and more they tower over me.

More and more I see the damages tear at me. More and more I see them hurt me a tad less.

More and more I see my anxieties in a harsh, new light. More and more I see the light illuminating the paths around them, even by only a few steps.

June 12, 2020

To truly feel like I’m living life, it takes something that gives me meaning. Makes me feel I’m creating. Lets me build a new part of my internal world. These are the facets of existence worth defending the most.

Yet I feel my television call out to me and threaten to take them all away. With the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series, no less.

Stay strong in the face of temptation, everyone.

June 06, 2020

I used to think that “who we want to be” is less important than “who we are.” But why wouldn’t it? Isn’t who we want to be an expression of our desires, goals, motivation, and the path we choose to walk?

Maybe we won’t ever become that person we want to, but chasing it will make it better. That desire changes “who we are” for the better. It’s still a major part of our identity.

So if you’re chasing something and think you’ll never reach it, I recommend chasing it anyway. It’s always worth getting a little closer.

June 03, 2020

One big effect quarantine has on me is making it harder to write. Inspiration and focus are a lot harder when you’re stuck in one apartment all day. So the hobby I rely on for learning and self-expression is also harder. Quarantine is turning me into a rock - stale, gray, and covered with an unknown but disturbingly high amount of bacteria.

So I twisted this struggle into a lesson. Quarantine gives me a harder time expressing myself, but also more awareness and acceptance of who I am in the first place. I’m stuck with myself, but I’m more comfortable with that person.

This all still hurts though, I can’t deny that. But this buys me time to figure something else out. You can learn all the lessons in the world, but sometimes you just need some grit.

You shouldn't need everyone to understand. It's more important to know yourself, know what you're capable of, where your limits lie, what you can do, to quit worrying and accept there's no one to prove anything to but yourself.

May 29, 2020

I’m not too scared of death. No amount of panic will let me avoid death, so I may as well accept it. I’m more scared of having a boring death.

To me, a worthwhile death is either memorable or one that helps others. If my death is both spectacular and considerate, I’ll have few regrets. Even if it’s painful, the pain is temporary (I hope) while the legacy lasts much longer.

Not to say I want to die anytime soon. But I may as well know how I’d want it to happen.

May 27, 2020

I recently read a book about life in Nazi Germany leading up to World War II. What struck me most was how ambiguous and mixed peoples’ feelings were. Today the horrors of the Nazi Party are black and white, but not leading up to the war.

  • Most people thought claims of “inevitable war with Germany” as needlessly stirring the pot. Even seeing the Nazi Party’s early brutalities and feeling Jewish citizens, they saw it as someone else’s problem.
  • The U.S. government cared more about Germany paying off its debts than stopping their discrimination.
  • Many believed Germany’s claims to want peace, and that they were only working for equality among other European countries. This was even as the country’s explosive military growth made it apparent they were stalling before declaring war.
  • The U.S. ambassador the story follows was mildly anti-semitic himself, and agreed with Germany about there being a “Jew problem.”
  • When the ambassador’s daughter arrived at Germany, she was enamored with its changes and saw it as an admirable rise to its former glory.

It took until the Night of the Long Knives with its hundreds of estimated deaths for others to see the Nazis’ true nature. Even then, no other nations spoke out. They kept hoping the party would become too radical to sustain itself.

Right now, we could be in a similar setup for any number of countries. Where our “it’s complicated” views could get much less complicated and more obvious in hindsight. It’s unsettling but makes me want to learn more and catch this shift before it happens. To not think “if only I’d seen it then” after history’s next dark chapter.

Of course, if some random coder in Connecticut could figure it out, wouldn’t those in charge have already done that?