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.

July 4, 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But for many, an outdated national identity is worth more than our strength and survival.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 6, 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 3, 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?

May 23, 2020

Imagine a group of people living in a home. They gather piles of dry wood everywhere. They vageuely know it's a bad idea and it'll eventually cause some kind of disaster but do nothing else. Then one day there's a spark, the dry wood catches fire, and the house is set ablaze.

The firefighters arrive and start the hard, dangerous work of stopping the fire. The folks from the house thank them loudly and constantly for their work. But when the firefighters are gone, they keep hoarding dry wood.

They could take a hard look at their home, see where they went wrong, and begin the tough yet necessary work of clearing out the dry wood. But they don't. They hoard dry wood until there's another fire. But the people in the house don't think they're bad. They're thanking the firefighters so much for their bravery in cleaning up their mess. They feel so good about the thanks they give, they feel no need to clean up the dry wood.

This may be a metaphor for America and everyone focusing on the #HealthCareHeroes hashtag and yard signs. Americans that focus on them over the larger, systemic issues that made this pandemic worse. Issues like hospital layoffs due to an over-reliance on elective procedures for revenue, a long-expected shortage of vital medical equipment, or the implicit racial bias in our systems of care.

I'm not saying it is, but it could be. And pointing it out wouldn't make me any less of the cause myself.

May 18, 2020

Recently I tapped into my evil side and recommended Doki Doki Literature Club (DDLC) to someone. For those unfamiliar, it's a visual novel that starts cute and fluffy before eternally scarring you. So I highly recommend you, the reader, to play it now. Go into it knowing as little as possible for the best effect. I'll wait.

But when I think about it, doesn't DDLC reflect the current pandemic? It started mostly fine with some unsettling elements we couldn't quite pick out. Then there's a jarring shift full of death and insanity, with everyone getting picked off one by one.

I suppose the big difference is the game has tea, poetry, cupcakes, and cute girls. I never thought DDLC would be an improvement over the real world. But things are that crazy.

Now, are they crazier than Yuri? Let's hope the planet doesn't come to that.

May 13, 2020

The coronavirus has reminded me that sometimes, things will just be horrible. Admittedly, it's been a while since things were this horrible, but we still need to just let the world be horrible. We just need to do what we can to get through each day.

For example, I plan to get through the day by doing the following:

  • Making chocolate pancakes for dinner
  • Playing loud music for a 2+ mile walk
  • Watching "The Office" as I clean the dishes
  • Staring at the ceiling and not thinking

The outer world is horrible. I'm willing to make my inner world as pleasant as needed to get to tomorrow.

May 8, 2020

I'm getting more mileage from my Anime Quote Maker than I ever expected. One reason why is I'm using it to build a stash of inspirational wallpaper porn. For example, this image with a quote from the NewsFlesh book trilogy about fear.

A quote image about being scared so often, it eventually makes one go numb.

A more recent one, and possibly more relevant these days, is this one.

A quote about time and alcohol healing all wounds.

Both make me feel better when I see them on my computer. But in the long run, I think the second one will help more.

May 2, 2020

I had two nightmares last night.

The first was when I unleashed a zombie virus through a can of contaminated soda. It turns people into ghosts that hunted and infected the living. I escaped to underground night clubs only for the zombies to pass through walls and infect them too. So I tried to escape through the claustrophobic, chaotic venues. I could only run for so long until the entire population would get infected and trap me.

The second was I stood too close to someone, and they coughed. They said they were probably exposed to the coronavirus but weren't tested. So I started a two-week quarantine to be safe amid the uncertainty.

At this point, I’m unsure which one was scarier. The first one is overwhelming and unpredictable. But so is the second one while being all too real.

April 24, 2020

The best workouts meet the following criteria:

  • You feel great afterward.
  • You can't believe you just ran them.
  • You never want to run them again.
  • Near the end, there are either tears or raindrops in your eyes.
  • There are at least three moments you want to scream.
  • Something once living, now dead, is under your shoe. Bonus points if it's not an insect.

Sadly, I don't think anyone gets enough workouts like this. So when they happen, they should be treasured.