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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 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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?

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on 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.

Note posted on November 4, 2020

America is still counting the votes, but it's a close race.

America is having a tough time deciding if they want to give a man, whose pandemic response killed over 200,000 people and will likely kill at least 200,000 more, a second chance. You know, that guy whose poor handling shattered economic livelihoods and regular life across the country while other countries have beaten it.

That guy. He's the one who was also...

The country is having a hard time deciding if they want to give him a second chance.

Biden winning won't make any of that go away.

Note posted on November 2, 2020

There are lots of good reasons not to commit murder: morality, prison time, emotional trauma, being out of dishtowels for cleaning, or you're about to do it but notice a stuffed animal staring at you and are worried what it may be thinking. These are all equally valid reasons to avoid ending someone's life.

But I think the best disincentive many people now have is this: they've killed people while playing Among Us and know how stressful murder is.

Here's a scenario that's likely happening across the world: someone was planning to murder someone. But after playing a few Among Us rounds as the imposter, they thought, "this is so stressful! I can't handle this in real life." So they packed up their knives, put the disinfectant away, saved all their romaine lettuce for a salad, and went on with their lives.

Future studies will show a large drop in the murder rate around this time. Thank you, Among Us.

Note posted on October 23, 2020

Do you think history and society would have changed if our sky was a different color?

Colors can have a large effect on our mood and imagination. A blue sky could have given humans made us calmer and sadder than we think we usually are. Red skies could hypothetically have fueled more feelings of power, rage, and lust throughout time. The result could be a world different in any number of ways - more sex-positivity or mass incarceration, polyamory as the romantic norm, still having slavery, or anything else.

What could have changed if the sky had been yellow? Or green? Or purple? Or polka-dotted? Could such a simple change in the world have such a drastic change on human history?