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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

March 04, 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.

February 26, 2019

A philosophy comic has reminded me humans probably have no free will.

The comic’s example: imagine you travel back in time one year. You secretly watch a copy of yourself relive that entire year. Since you lived it, you can predict your every thought and action.

Now imagine you’re playing The Sims, the computer game where you create computerized people and watch them live. You make their personalities and environment, and how they’ll make their decisions. You could watch them live for a year and predict virtually their every thought and action.

These two scenarios are ultimately the same thing. It’s hard to claim a simple computer program has free will, so how can we claim humans have it?

All humans are basically robots making decisions based on things we can’t control: our personalities, environments, and the laws of physics. We’re just a lot more complex than Sims and we don’t understand the whole decision-making process. Not yet, anyway.

Also sadly, there’s no reset buttons or money cheat codes. Not yet, anyway.

February 22, 2019

When bored, I’ve defaulted to this question: “What interesting thing can I make today with anime images I find online?”

This time around, I answered by laser-cutting one of these images into a woodblock as a gift. It’s possible with four easy steps!

First, find a good image with a simple background.

A drawing of a girl smiling while adjusting her glasses.

Second, remove its color and increase the contrast.

The same drawing of the girl with glasses, but without color and with more contrast.

Third, use Inkscape to convert the image into several SVG vector layers. Pick out the best ones, change them to either pure green or yellow, and place them on an image canvas. Add in other elements like a quote or a sun.

A digital canvas with a simplified version of the girl drawn with solid green and yellow color layers, next to a quote and image of a cartoon sun.

Fourth, plug it all into a laser cutter, put in a standing woodblock, hit start, and pray it comes out okay.

The simplified version of the girl, with the quote and sun, carved into a standing wooden block.

Once all the above are done, dance into the night in celebration!

February 18, 2019

Many of my online friends handle intrusive thoughts by letting them flow in and out of their mind without feeding them. Feeding them too much attention or mental energy makes them grow, and they wear away at our emotions and mental energy until…bad things happen.

Yet for the past few days strategies like this have failed me, with intrusive thoughts gnawing away at my self-esteem and sense of security.

Turns out, forcibly rejecting intrusive thoughts counts as feeding them in my case. It’s the “say you can’t think about elephants, and it’s all you can think of” cliche. My extra effort to overlook these thoughts ironically made them stronger.

I got around this by remembering not to judge myself for these thoughts. Everyone has dark or unflattering thoughts each day, but they don’t define our character. Those are the thoughts we remember, act on, and base our actions on.

So next time a dark thought pops up as I’m walking down the street, I’ll think no more or less of myself for it. It just flows into the void, like so many others.

February 15, 2019

I look back on history and wonder what it like to live in different times. Times without:

  • Internet
  • Modern medical care
  • Video games
  • Books

I could research what those times were like forever. But I can never experience them the same way. I can’t walk down a road from the past, living in an society untouched by today’s technology. It makes the past seem archaic, and the present feel futuristic.

On the flipside, people centuries in the future will think the same about today. The future could be radically different in any way, like:

  • Colonization of other planets
  • Global devastation through nuclear war
  • Enslavement via autonomous, power-mad AIs

People in the future could be looking back on the present, wishing they could find the experiences we take for granted each day. They could long to know what it’s like walking down a street of planet Earth without fear of radiation or robots looking to enslave them.

We are living the history people will someday wish they could go back and experience, even for a moment. How incredible is that?

February 10, 2019

It’s easy for me to look at large-scale horrible news (repeating government shutdown, anyone?), and get so cynical I shut myself away with video games.

Those big problems will always be there. But it’s more pragmatic to focus on the smaller, local things that are actually productive or can make a difference to someone.

Maybe not everyone, but someone. That’s better than no one.

Cynicism is another bad feeling pulling our minds like gravity. But it pulls us away from things that can alleviate that cyncism - meaningful activity, other people, and the liquor store. So pulling away is a daily fight.

January 26, 2019

With programming, there are times when I’m balancing time between two side projects. For example, these side projects could be:

  • A Pokemon personality quiz on which Eevee evolution someone is, built on Ember to practice more complex services, writing all an app’s tests on my own, and with touches of the Pokemon API.
  • Building another Pokedex from the ground up with the Pokemon API, but this time with React as my first experience with a fuller React application and (hopefully) testing it.

When I’m torn between two weird Pokemon code projects, I know I’m in the right field.