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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 April 23, 2021

Even after we declare this pandemic "over," I plan to wear a mask for the foreseeable future. I have many reasons for this:

  • Ending a pandemic takes concentrated, collective action. I don't trust America to ever fully deliver on this.
  • It calms my paranoid side. This includes COVID paranoia, judgmental paranoia, facial recognition paranoia, and indirect mind-reading paranoia.
  • Does my continued mask-wearing annoy you? You're likely one of the folks who refused to wear masks from the start for petty political reasons. Pissing you off is a pleasant bonus.
  • It's made my seasonal allergies more bearable.
  • I can mutter to myself or lip-sync music without worry.
  • I accept that, at one point, it's a disconnected behavior that only makes me feel safer. But it's a better choice than binge-drinking or pot smoking.
  • Even after all this, they still make me feel kinda cool and mysterious. I want to savor that as long as possible.

Note posted on April 19, 2021

Is the butt part of the legs?

My first answer was "no." However, it turns out the butt is a bunch of muscles that connect your legs and back together. So it technically is both part of the legs and the back.

So not only is the butt part of the legs, it is even more than that. It did not just meet, but exceeded my expectations! All butts truly are fantastic.

Note posted on April 16, 2021

I'm still angry at everyone keeping us in this pandemic. Folks who are going to spring break parties, lots of indoor dining, and/or not getting vaccinated. Folks who are so desperate to return to normal, it pushes us further from it.

But I can also understand some of the feelings behind that. The frustration, depression, and isolation that drives this pandemic fatigue. Part of me knows public health, and my personal health, are what matter most. Another part has felt so scared and isolated for so long, it's hard to keep caring at all.

All I can keep doing is exercise, work, write, and whatever else until I run out of energy for fear and worry.

Note posted on April 11, 2021

I was reading Shutter Island (yes, of course, it was a book first) and read an exchange that wasn't in the movie. U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels asks how the missing patient, Rachel Solando, could be so deluded. She somehow believes she's living in her home instead of a mental hospital.

The doctor says her subconscious drowns her conscious mind in lies. Doctors are postal workers, her cell is her bedroom under renovation, and the like. The lies grow and evolve until her mind has no energy to refute them, and they become her reality.

The idea is to obfuscate. Confuse the listener until they believe out of exhaustion more than any sense of truth. Now consider those lies being told to yourself.

It's the same principle behind political firehousing, a big propaganda trick in Russia and the United States. When our own minds are behind this, it's a lot harder to catch. And that flood of lies may focus on one topic, not the whole world, making them even tougher to realize.

When our own subconscious is the culprit, how could we ever figure it out ourselves? How could we sort through this self-imposed chaos and rediscover the truth?

The fact I could be doing this, at any point of any day, and never realize it, keeps me up at night. Our minds give us so much, take away so much, and we have almost no say in both cases. It's also the only reason we can ponder this contradiction at all.

I'm not sure what to think about what lets us think. But it makes me feel pretty fragile.

Note posted on April 4, 2021

I'm still cynical about escaping this pandemic. I'm anxious about variants winning the race against vaccines, states re-opening too early, and younger people being reckless in large crowds. This is the country talking about entering a "fourth wave." In reality, we're still in a fluctuating first wave.

"A chart showing Coronavirus infections in the United States as a single, fluctuating wave instead of four separate ones."

But after getting my first vaccine dose, I'm feeling a little better. Amid all the bad news out of my control, I've got some good news in my control. After a whole year of this, each bit of good helps.

Note posted on March 29, 2021

I've noticed Connecticut may soon rely more on legalizing weed and online gambling to fund the budget.

Imagine if you're a landlord with a bunch of tenants. The building needs some remodeling and maintenance, and you all want it done. But they decide to fund it by encouraging some to get high all day, and others to wager hundreds on if a stranger can throw a ball through a hoop.

I'm not saying they shouldn't allow either of those things. But when we as a major funding source for larger community needs? They may be the wrong behaviors to encourage for "the public good."

Except for getting high during the pandemic. Keeping people indoors, happy and stoned all day, is now a public service. They are the true heroes.

Note posted on March 25, 2021

For a while, I was on a mad search for visual novels to pass time in quarantine. I spent hours parsing reviews, play length, graphics, and most of all, cost. It was a worthy yet stressful quest, as I had to fill my deep craving for great characters and storytelling.

This went on for about two weeks. Then I saw my app for checking out digital library books and realized the search was pointless. Visual novels are great, but library books are better in almost every way.

  • They download much faster.
  • There are many, many, many more choices. I'd say too many, but there's no such thing.
  • They get returned after two weeks, so I don't need to worry about device memory.
  • I don't worry about lackluster graphics, since I can imagine my own.
  • It's all about the story and nothing else. Wait...that explains why they're not visual novels, only "novels!"
  • Most important, they're free. Even if I have to buy the book, it's much cheaper than a new game.

This isn't to say I'm not playing any visual novels anymore. Robotics;Notes is still waiting, and Gnosia was fabulous even before I fell in love with Setsu. But my non-visual novel reading has outpaced my gaming by a lot this year.

I still have one burning question. If I read a novel and imagine it as a visual novel in my head, which type of media am I truly consuming?

Note posted on March 21, 2021

I didn't want to own a business until I learned about bookstore bars. It is now my new dream.

One idea I have is a rotating book and drink special. You get a discounted drink if you read them with a certain book. But the drinks and books in these specials rotate every day. This encourages people to try new things on both fronts!

One day you'll want a discounted red wine sangria - but it comes with a copy of "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind." Or you're curious about "Untamed" by Glennon Doyle - but you're also trying a Kentucky Mule for the first time. The possibilities make my head spin, as if I just drank a rum and coke with a book from the "Illuminae" series.

New Haven has many book cafes, but no book bars, and I am ashamed. We can be the change we wish to see in the world! Especially if that change is creating more drunk arguments about why the Big Little Lies book is better than the HBO series.

And before you ask, there will be no non-alcoholic options. Take that crap over to Barnes and Noble.

Note posted on March 17, 2021

Is there an official job title for people who make bad things sounds good, and vice versa? For example:

  • Naming a bill ramping up government surveillance on its own citizens the "Patriot Act."
  • Labelling states that broke up labor unions as "Right to Work." The remaining states "Forced Unionization" states.
  • Saying people who face consequences are mere "victims of snowflake cancel culture."
  • Calling a health care bill without even a public option the "Affordable Care Act." But another group reverses the spin by calling it the menacing-sounding "ObamaCare."

My first guess is the title is something vague and impressive-sounding. They could be "Marketing Consultant," "Public Relations Expert," or "Mental Systems Analyst." But if we're going to keep these highly-paid people around, their names should be more honest. My top choices are:

  • Mental Pinwheel Architect
  • Society Rationalization Czar
  • Brainwashing Euphorist
  • Brain Matter Putty Plastician
  • Super Bullshit Man (must wear a foul-smelling mask and cape)

...maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I now want the job for a mere chance to use some of those names.

Note posted on March 14, 2021

Hollywood makes lots of films about past steps we've taken for racial and gender equality. Off the top of my head, there's The Help, Hidden Figures, Selma, Iron Jawed Angels, Straight Outta Compton, The Butler, and 12 Years a Slave. They're focused more on the past, and have a "pat on the back" appeal for many. We're reminded of our great progress and feel grateful for today's society.

The few movies I remember focusing more on the present are Dear White People and Get Out. A common theme was reminding white people they're still part of racist systems today. Those systems only adapted to society's last attempt to remove them, and we still need to change them. I'll admit that's a bitter message for many white people, even the liberal ones.

But what happens when you reinforce ideas that past generations did all the hard work? That all we need to do today is remember, be thankful, and get teary-eyed over it all? Who's going to think there's still lots of work for everyone to do today?

Convincing people there's nothing left to change is, after all, one of the best ways those mostly white men in power stay there.

Note posted on March 10, 2021

Give me a well-reasoned, logical, impassioned argument and I'll consider the points it makes. Give me that same argument, but with the speaker treating me like an idiot or a toddler, and I'll walk away before it's over.

It's a simple fact of communication: if you don't speak to me as a human worthy of basic respect and intelligence, I have no reason to listen to you as one.

If you treat someone like crap and expect them to listen without any pushback, most likely you are:

  1. Stupid
  2. Entitled
  3. A jerk
  4. Some combination of the above
  5. Working at a cable company

Being upset by this isn't being a "snowflake." It's being someone who can set healthy boundaries and won't put up with your nonsense. There's no reason to be ashamed about that.

Note posted on March 7, 2021

I like myself a good Nora Robert's romance from time to time. One I read a while back was "The Obsession" with this notable exchange.

“She’s drunk.”

“You know, like brilliance, I never find that a decent excuse for being an asshole.”

That made me wonder, are there decent excuses for being an asshole? I have a few ideas...

  1. Unavoidable pain. The excuse worked for Dr. House for five seasons, at least.
  2. It's for the greater good. Sometimes you need to be a jerk to avoid being a monster. But it's hard to objectively measure and prove it's the case. It should be fine as long as people don't use this argument in bad faith, which I'm sure never happens.
  3. You're a Disney villain. I doubt Cruella de Vil had much of a choice. Imagine someone with that name being nice.
  4. You're talking to someone wearing brass knuckles. By all means, keep being an asshole. I'll have my phone recording for...religious reasons.
  5. You're an actual asshole. It's an unpleasant job, but someone has to do it.

This isn't an exhaustive list, so more will follow!

Note posted on March 3, 2021

Here’s something you should know today: there's a shark called the Ghost Shark, and the male's forehead has retractable genitals.

You may ask why I'm writing about a shark with retractable forehead genitals. To that, I say, why aren't you writing about a shark with retractable forehead genitals. Indeed, why aren't you looking for as many reasons as possible to repeat the phrase "retractable forehead genitals?"

I am because I know how to embrace life!

Thank you for taking some time for the Ghost Shark with retractable forehead genitals. Please go about your day.

Note posted on February 27, 2021

Many themes in the book "Anxious People" had me feeling...anxious. But none more so than this quote.

Because the terrible thing about becoming an adult is being forced to realize that absolutely nobody cares about us, we have to deal with everything ourselves now, find out how the whole world works.

This is a routine source of anger and sadness for me most days. But in some ways, it's the most satisfying.

Every time I pay my bills, cook a meal, or schedule an appointment, I'm giving the finger to that voice telling me I'm a lousy adult. Each completed to-do list item is me saying "fuck you, being an adult is tough but I'm doing it" to the world.

But car maintenance doesn't count. No one can handle that well unless they're a mechanic. Prove me wrong, I dare you.