The guilt of not writing

Yes, writing ruined reading but, I’ve since found that I’ve been able to elevate my criteria for selecting reading material so I’m once again reading without too much zoom-out-to-editor-mode.

But, now, when I find myself not attending to my endeavor of learning to write well, I feel guilty. If I let a weekend go by where I fail to add to the current story, this nagging depressive guilt lingers around me in a funk. If I were to sit and watch a pointless TV show — guilt. If I spend way too much time curating anonymole — guilt. Zoning out — guilt. Sleeping — guilt. Breathing — guilt.

Maybe it’s just this particular story that has me stymied. Or I’m in a phase of my development where I’ve made certain progress, yet still have an arduous path before me, so I’m hesitant to write and potentially foul up what I’ve learned and maybe fail at the next step.

Or maybe I just analyze shit too much.

Yeah, that’s probably it. Writing is like exercise: you may, at times, dread the prospect of beginning, but once completed, the world looks much rosier and full of potential.

 

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The Stoic within us

The only true power we have in the world is that which we command, of ourselves and our reactions to the world.

How to nurture the Stoic within you? Someone cuts you off in traffic, or steals a cab, or cuts in queue, or calls you out online, or sends you a baseless, accusatory text or email or even accosts you verbally — all of these are affronts to our sensibilities. How we handle them is our choice. And at times, I find, my reactions are not those that I, later on, realize were the most optimal for the situation. They were not Stoic enough.

Situations like those above trigger reactions. Being animals first, and cognizant, critically thinking humans second, we react in ways that may be hardwired into our physiology. Someone smacks your finger with a hammer, you react with anger. Someone disparages you personally or belittles your ideas, you may react with hurtful feelings or lash out with aggression, depending on your assailant and the degree of attack.

Fighting these reactions, the innate, raw emotions, often driven by hormonal release, is tough. But the Stoic must try, right?

I recently entered into a regrettable discussion online with someone who’s beliefs I apparently contested with a whacky idea of mine. They reacted with animosity and a superior attitude, scornfully discounting the idea. The Stoic within me was no where to be found. And so it went, neither of us finding our inner Stoic, each with an apparent dog in the shallow, meaningless fight. Isn’t that the way of things? Escalation of contention begets more and more tension, more angst. Neither backing down, neither willing to adopt civility,¬† as if, to take a step back is to accede the argument?

Humans! Can’t live with them, can’t live without.

[Thought: Does marijuana reduce the perceptions of threat and therefore elevate the concept of being Stoic? Did the ancient Greek philosophers imbibe, and did it help them elevate their spirits, help them find their inner Stoic?]

Regardless, here’s to becoming more of a Stoic in 2018.

 

 


The internet divides us

In concert with mobile devices, the internet has ushered in a social malady we may not cure but for the arrival of calamity.

The “living” room used to be a place of congregation. Handicrafts, garment repair, reading, conversation, music, then radio and then the single family television, all of our favorite social pastimes took place in the living room. No more.

Now-a-days this room might host a single denizen, someone who has commandeered the large screen. The rest of his/her family is cast to their private chambers and their private devices where they exchange private messages with private eyes.

I recall Sunday nights, the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, and then the Wonderful World of Disney. All of us, despite homework demands, or illness, or whether we finished our dinner or not, gathered in the living room to become collectively entranced as Marlin Perkins fumbled his grandfatherly way with the creatures they portrayed. And then ol’ Walt would come on…

Today, despite a house full of people, I’m sitting here, alone, in the living room, wishing the internet had never been invented. Or, if nothing more, that a CME might descend, wipe the grid and save myself from another lonely night passing the time, by myself. Maybe I’ll check my phone for notifications….

 

 


Holiday songs

I wrote a few songs and posted them last year. I share them again here.

Note, these are the lyrics to what never became songs. So, they’re tuneless. If you know someone with musical talent and they’d like to write the music… Feel free to share.

And because I’d rather not just repeat myself, I’ll tap out a new one…

~~~ Christmas Boxes ~~~

From the boxes in the basement,
from the attic, from the shelves,
come the treasures, and the trinkets,
of past Santa’s Christmas elves.

There are lights all snarled and tangled,
balls and baubles, and tinsel tied,
the colored candles and tarnished holders,
from last Christmas, stowed with pride.

And this box here, the one with ribbons,
has the snow globes, Rudolph dear,
but one has leaked, its glitter powdered,
we’ll get a new one, and shed no tears.

There at the bottom, a color riot,
ornaments both gay and calm,
with photos faded, and pasta mated,
a poem penned, a phrase, a psalm.

All of theses boxes, taped and beaten,
contain our memories, our stockings too,
Unpack the holiday, our decorations,
Happy Christmas from me to you.


Humanity’s one shot

[Sometimes I write to myself just so I have the thoughts persisted.
A thought written is a thought not forgotten.
This is one of those posts.]

Blue Across the Sea & Shadow Shoals foundational premise.

Here’s my theory.

First off this happens: Blue Across the Sea Epilogue, https://goo.gl/q6Hkj4 (a pair of massive CMEs destroy the Northern hemisphere’s electrical grid).

Supporting theory…

Coal and oil allowed the 19th and 20th and the first 1/3 of the 21st centuries to become the mega-food and people generating periods that we’ve seen thus far. Without oil, particularly, there would have been no way to produce the food that has produced, to date, 7.4 billion people. And, once sucked from the ground and burned, oil is gone. Humanity got exactly one shot at our technological advancement — and that shot has been expended. If 80-90% of people were to die off today, leaving about one billion, this would approximately represent where the human population would have been without coal and oil. And that would be it. No technological renaissance 2.0. One shot, bang!
[Cite: https://anonymole.wordpress.com/2016/01/21/drake-equation-more-on-the-topic/ ]

WorldPopulationGrowthFossilFuels

Okay, so the primary driver here was energy — in the form of oil — which produced food. Food is the crux, the fulcrum which makes or breaks all civilizations. I go into this theory in the previously linked post, but suffice to say, with out fossil fuels, humanity would never have attained the populations necessary to spawn the technological revolution. No great world wars (which require oil), no space race (which require oil), no massive move to the cities (which required food produced by oil). The tech revolution just wouldn’t have happened. Humanity would have burned whale oil until all the whales were dead. And then maybe hydrolyzed wood to produce methanol as a fuel, and of course ethanol from fermentation — energy is life. Without fossil fuels, we’d literally still be in the 1800’s

Now back to the post CME apocalypse: So, even though the buildings and cities and structures in the stories still exist, many were burned or ransacked after the sunstorm, but, yes the cities are still there, and the roads exist, and there are people who might still live there. But the major problem now is that food is scarce, similar to the 1600’s and 1700’s, but without the prior hundreds of years of people having learned how to leverage the land and live on less. Only the countryside can provide food now. There are villages and towns that exist and thrive, but without electricity – we’re back to the 1800’s at a maximum technological level — but without the possibility of being rescued by fossil fuels.

All the agriculture lore that the people of the 1800’s had available to survive — that has been lost. Horticulture? Animal husbandry? Those were reset to zero. Now, it’s been 230 years since the storm so there are enclaves and substantial areas thriving. But food is still the prime driver for all societal organization.

Recall that the Southern hemisphere avoided the sunstorm. That’s how that catastrophe would work; the Northern hemisphere would get destroyed as, when the CMEs hit during the summer, the Earth’s tilt would have allowed the plasma wave to obliterate the Northern hemisphere’s electrical grid. The Southern hemisphere collapsed due to the influx of 600-700 million people escaping the north. But there would be countries there returning to productivity and that will become evident when a steamship shows up in the Chesapeake Bay with intentions of establishing a colony from New Brazil.

One of the ideas I use to justify the existence of stuff in this future world is by looking backwards about 300 years and thinking “what is here today that was built or made back in the 1700’s?” Books survive, some clothing (especially that made from non-organic materials). Roads, buildings, metal signs even, and metal of many kinds. Guns that were well taken care of, sure, but ammo is gone. Glassware, some plastic, pottery, many tools¬† but nothing made from rubber. Nothing electrical or electronic. But the wire would still exist and have been reused for other purposes. No engines or motors, as fuel hasn’t been refined for centuries. Although, in remote mountainous areas there are some solar cell systems running at perhaps 5-10% efficiency. And a few hydro generators still work in tucked-away places.

More on this to come.


What was my first blog post?

I had to look.

Tom Being Tom prompted me to go back through my archives to see what was my first blog post. No, not here on WordPress (although it started about the same time I wrote my own custom code to process my personal blog posts), no, what I wrote was my custom blog engine. And what was my first blog entry?

Well, here it is:

<BlogEntries>
<BlogEntry>
<BlogID>33</BlogID>
<EntryDate>2003-01-28T08:40:16.00</EntryDate>
<Topic>Database</Topic>
<Title>NextGen Databases</Title>
<Synopsis>RDBMS's should expose ready made objects</Synopsis>
<Body>
RDBMS databases should provide their own object functionality.
From a CRM database one should be able to request, rather than
a recordset or dataset, a customer or customer collection. 
myCustomer = DatabaseReturnEntity("Customer", "id=932");
myCustomerList = DatabaseReturnEntityList("Customer","lastActivity='2/8/03'");
There is no reason why a BLL (Business Logic Layer) should have
to read in a dataset and repopulate a collection or object from
that data.
</Body>
<LinkList />
</BlogEntry>
</BlogEntries>

Isn’t it darling?

This is my own design (back when I was learning C#), and I used this code for the next eight years.

Those of you who are programmers will see the makings of what became MongoDB or AWS’s DynamoDB (a quasi-object database). Pretty futuristic wouldn’t you say?

(An RDBMS is a relational database management system; CRM: customer relationship management.)


A day in the life of

Your content stays fresh for about 24 hours. And then it goes stale.

Stale content reeks, like a goldfish in a bag, shoved into the heat register, for a month.

goldfish

“My god! What IS that smell?” Oh, it’s last week’s blog post.

Are we so enamored with the hot, the new, the topical that we absolutely refuse to look back into the past for content?

OK, here’s a test. Most of us here on WordPress have been doing this for more than six months. Some, for a few years. Hell, some for nearly a decade. Have you EVER gone back to some blogger’s earlier content and done more than a cursory examination? Click, click, click — I’m done reviewing history. What’s new? What have you written lately?

A blog post might last for twenty-four hours. Might. If you’re working instagram these days then a new image might only net you three, maybe five hours, before you had better-damn-well-submit-something-new!

Good god! Are we so accustomed to the availability of fresh that we can’t even deal with a half-day old post?

Yes. This is the way of the content driven web today. “That meme is so thirty minutes ago, egads, why are you even showing it to me?”

A day in the life of a writer, a videographer, a creator of any kind, it no longer a day. It’s an hour, a minute. We have grown so inured to the availability of “new” that we have no appreciation for true effort, for true art. Your trope is worth maybe five seconds of my time. Ten times that if it’s really good.

Welcome to ONE BILLION PEOPLE CREATING NEW CONTENT EVERY-SINGLE-DAY.