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Max Antonucci

Journalist turned full-time coder, part-time ponderer.


Personal quips and nonsensical snippets

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.

Note posted on May 27, 2019

When people call out microaggressions, a common dismissal I read or hear is "if they're so small why are you treating them like some huge deal?"

Think of microaggressions like termites. One termite won't destroy a house. Thousands of termites eating away at the foundation, bit by bit, ultimately make it collapse.

Seeing one microaggression in isolation makes complaining about them petty. Knowing the context of how they damage people makes calling them out important. Knowing this context and still using the "it's just one small thing" dismissal makes you an asshole.

If you're not convinced, see this comic illustrating how the damage is done.

Better yet, read a (likely incomplete) documentation of the microaggressions one woman deals with online.

Note posted on May 23, 2019

The recent Alabama abortion ban got me thinking about other policy positions that match with "holding all forms of life sacred" and all that. When someone tells me they're pro-life, I'd expect them to also hold the following views:

  • Universal, or at least affordable, and inclusive healthcare. So no one dies of preventable illnesses due to inflated costs.
  • Affordable childcare and preschool education. Also universal education access, since it's one of the best ways to improve one's quality of life long-term.
  • No death penalty or capital punishment, assuming there's no exceptions to "all life is sacred" that were conveniently left out.
  • Global poverty aid to stop more prevantable deaths worldwide. This includes accepting migrants fleeing violence so they're not senselessly killed.
  • Sex education and birth control to reduce the number of abortions. I'd assume someone who hates abortion would support strong measures that removes the need for many of them.

The less someone "pro-life" supports policies like this, the more I see them as simply "pro-birth." That's the much less pleasant position of "make women have babies if they can't keep their legs closed, and the rest is not my problem." Which is exactly as cruel and damaging as it sounds.

Note posted on May 13, 2019

Trying to be a better person is good, but trying too hard can backfire.

Take this purely hypothetical example: someone wants to be more independent and less burdensome to others. Up to a point, this makes them less intrusive and more respectful. Taken too far, this makes them dismissive and isolated. They could miss out on great relationships by thinking "I'd just be a burden to them" when that's not the case at all.

Again, purely hypothetical.

Sometimes trying harder to be someone better is worse than trying harder to be yourself.

Note posted on May 7, 2019

The best advice I've gotten for handling unwanted thoughts and emotions is simple. It doesn't involve pushing them away or drowning them in affirmations. That only makes them stronger.

I let myself feel them without judgement. They're there, then they go away, and they'll likely pop up again. It's pointless to pile thoughts on top of them - those thoughts do the real damage.

Note posted on May 4, 2019

We can't all be the person making and leading events that help the community. We can at least be a person who helps in little ways where they can.

Even if that "little way" is playing rock music as you all work. So everyone goes a little faster and enjoys it a touch more.

Note posted on April 28, 2019

Nice and good aren't the same thing.

Someone can smile and politely greet you while doing evil things like:

  • Refusing service to black people
  • Turning down an insurance claim so someone is bankrupted by simply not dying
  • Firing someone for being a woman
  • Wearing clown makeup
  • Making you watch The Notebook
  • Standing back and letting one group shoot another down

Don't let reasons like "keeping the peace" and "being a nice person" on their own convince you someone is good.

Good people regarded as heroes today were often scolded as rulebreakers before. Similar history could be playing out with them now.

Note posted on April 20, 2019

I love writing, but I also hate when I base too much self-value on others' reactions. Too much focus on my own, or even others' writing, can sadly cause this.

So taking a step away from writing, like blogging or Twitter (mostly Twitter) helps at times. Until I inevitably get too bored and start writing something else. The cycle continues!

Note posted on April 15, 2019

Most people know that, as children, we may have repressed memories into our unconscious mind. This seems obvious enough today, but thinking about it now, I find it unsettling. Someone's immature brain basically said "this kid can't handle this memory, better hide it from them and maybe reveal it later."

Someone brain made a decision separate from whoever owned the brain itself, with maturity the owner lacked. Honestly, how different is this from a random adult reaching into our brains and making the change for us?

The worst part is, this could be happening all the time and we'd never be consciously aware of it. We could wake up one day, all our unconscious memories flooding to the surface, and realize our entire lives were a lie.

Happy Spring, everyone!

Note posted on April 11, 2019

On one of my favorite episodes of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me," guest Nora Roberts dropped this wisdom:

There are 88 keys on the piano, but do you run out of music?

For a creative pursuit like writing (and programming), a lot of my creativity combines what I know and what I find. For example, what about combining programming and camels? It'll be the start of a new generation of coders who can work remote in a desert without a beer keg!

Correction: creativity is about new and good idea combinations. Take one idea, research a new one, and see how well they fit. Rinse and repeat until famous.

Note posted on March 31, 2019

Judging people on how constantly productive they are is idiotic. They're either doing low-quality work, burning themselves out, or are secretly robots, lizard people, or robot lizards. None of these are good, and all are real problems today.

Judging people by how their spend their non-productive time is another matter. Do they watch television series or read books? Do they play video games or go for a walk? Do they scour social media or pursue a hobby?

I'm not saying you should judge people, I leave negative things like that to the robot lizards. But if you must, how someone spends their relaxation time is, at least, a more accurate approach.

Note posted on March 29, 2019

With all the React Week tweet drama, there were lots of people trying to explain it. One aspect I had a really hard time explaining was:

I personally don't find it hard accepting lots of women are smarter than me. I grew up with two such women, read blog posts of such women, and have been rejected by even more of such women.

I have an unfair advantage with accepting this however, since most people are smarter than me regardless of gender.

Note posted on March 23, 2019

While I mostly agree with Konmari's principle of only keeping what "sparks joy," my only exception is books. Books will always spark joy, even if books I've read a lot need a long break before they spark it again.

Plus, does anything spark more joy than getting lots of books for only $9.50 at a library book sale?

Technically some things do spark more joy than that, but they're all illegal in this state and I don't know any dealers.

Note posted on March 13, 2019

By your very existence, you will anger people who want nothing more but to destroy you. You may never meet them, but there will always be people who loathe one (or more) things you stand for. No matter what you try to do to change them or yourself.

If that's the case, I may as well go down the path that makes me happy and brings me meaning. Whatever it is or whoever it pisses off.

Note posted on March 10, 2019

Sometimes I look at the sheer amount of programming knowledge I have on my learning list, and get what's basically a panic attack. Shortness of breath, dizziness, anxiety, can't move, even a little tunnel vision.

I think these are caused by a few bad assumptions about how I learn:

  1. I need to learn everything on my list.
  2. Any time not spent learning is wasted.
  3. Any info I don't write down is forgotten.

Some more correct ideas to go by instead would be:

  1. I should focus on learning the resources I judge will help the most. One article on fundamentals is better than several articles on rare, middling specifics.
  2. There's time spent on committed learning, but there's also time spent exploring new information. There's also time to rest and play, because without a work and play balance I can't consistently learn.
  3. Reading info without notes isn't as helpful, but it can still help. Awareness of extra knowledge lets me know where to look when I hit an obstacle. Thinking like a glossary is better, and more realistic, then thinking like an encyclopedia.

Of course, knowing all this is easy. Fully accepting and acting on it is another.

Note posted on March 4, 2019

What scares me the most is someone who refuses to change their mind.

So much of today's anger, dysfunction, gridlock, violence, and even death can often be traced back to one fundamental flaw in someone. That's being shut off from any new ideas, perspectives, worldviews, compromises, or solutions.

Their mind is shut off like a rock that'll eventually crash into someone.