Zampanò

Axaxaxas mlö

I realized it's been awhile since I posted. This is mainly due to painting myself into a corner; I was trying way too hard to make this particular online identity the one I use for Deep or Controversial thoughts.

But I find that coming up with something worth writing about in this (imagined) context was exceedingly difficult, and I didn't want to just have a blog where I complain about day-to-day life. There's also the fact that many of these issues or questions haven't changed or been resolved especially. Change is typically incremental.

It also means that I only write when I have the time and focus reserves to spend a fair amount of time on a given post, which is also pretty rare. So adding this to the probability of having something to write about that was “good” enough (or “deep” enough or “significant” enough or whatever), and small wonder my posting schedule was as infrequent as it was.

I do still want to maintain a space where I can talk about things that I'm not comfortable sharing with people who know my offline identity. The observations I'm generally making about the world are changing somewhat as well; I'm far less interested in politics and related things (like “policy”) than I was even a couple years ago, and I've struggled to find observations or ideas that don't simply come down to “be less terrible to people.”

I'm also coding a lot more, but don't feel like I have the knowledge or experience to do a worthwhile dev blog (and don't want to limit myself that much anyway). I do hope to write some tutorials at some point, but I'm not sure what I can add to the existing corpus. My main idea is to target an audience that most don't, namely people who aren't necessarily interested in becoming hobbyist programmers, but those who have some other work to do and want to make that easier. That's also how I choose my own projects: how can I streamline processes that aren't traditionally “automate-able.” Sometimes I just want to make existing software less terrible to use, even if it's just sprucing up the visuals.

Strangely, I'm also finding myself wanting to dig in to legal minutiae, despite not wanting to get back into any kind of traditional legal practice. If I had to guess, I think this stems from my wanting to like, do something that isn't just putter away in my isolated corner of the world.

This has proved elusive. I'm not really sure what it would look like, much less how I would get there. Because I feel so trapped and so powerless in my life, it's easy to preclude any thoughts that come to mind by assuming that they're unattainable. It's also coupled with a tendency to imagine how I'd feel in the situation rather than what I'd do, which muddies the waters that much more.

After spending some time wandering, it was time to come back.

It’s very easy to romanticize going wherever the winds take me, and there can be value in that sometimes. At the same time, the why matters. While I’d hoped to get some clarity about things, and in particular about where I want to be going, what I’ve come to realize is that I was actually avoiding choice.

Read more...

It’s been a busy few weeks. I’m taking a couple classes at a seminary (online, thankfully), and they’re certainly keeping me occupied. So far it’s been the good kind of busy, though, and I’m definitely enjoying what I’m learning.

Read more...

I’ve been sitting about lately watching the world be slightly more on fire and trying to figure out how I should feel about it all. It’s not that I’m wondering whether to feel bad, it’s more some questions about what kind of bad I should feel and what, if anything, I should do about it. I don’t have any real illusions about my individual influence over the world, but at the same time simply accepting something bad as inevitable is a tool the alt-right likes to use to avoid thinking about making change (or to avoid having to).

Read more...

(A non-review of Prompt and Utter Destruction by J. Samuel Walker)

I had a conversation on Discord awhile ago, and somehow the issue of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki came up. I repeated what I had always heard to be true, namely that the use of the bomb was done to prevent an invasion of the Japanese mainland that would’ve cost even more lives, both American and Japanese. This is certainly how Truman et al. portrayed the decision after the fact. But one of my compatriots explained that the historical consensus now is that basically none of this is true. He went on to recommend Prompt and Utter Destruction by J. Samuel Walker, which I have now read.

Read more...

One of the abilities that humans generally take for granted is pattern matching—the ability to see how things fit together. And of course, part of this must necessarily be the ability to see what sticks out. This is what “salient” means: to stick out, to draw one’s attention.

Read more...

Dear Reader,

There’s a scene from The Wire that has stuck with me since I first saw it. Well, more than one actually, but the one I’m thinking about right now is when a character who goes by “Bubbles” is meeting with his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor. The sponsor, played by Steve Earle, tells Bubbles that quitting drugs is the easy part, but that after that “comes life.”

Read more...

Dear Reader,

Once upon a time, I thought that if I got sufficiently outraged on Facebook, this would make a difference. And maybe there is something to be said for trying to shift the Overton Window for the small group of people who used to read what I would write. (I say “used to” since I haven’t had an active Facebook account since sometime in 2015.) After all, we don’t dismiss columnists as pointless or not doing anything important, or at least not the whole class of them. Individual ones may be another story.

Read more...

Dear Reader,

It's a weird sort of serendipity that I wrote about wondering what “great enough” meant, only for Freddie deBoer to come along and do the same thing much better. In his most recent essay, he bemoans the ironic distance that contemporary educated people effect, especially those who hold themselves out as writers. It's a longing for unironic passion for the craft, for wanting to say something and thinking you have something worth saying.

Read more...

As I've written about before, I often struggle with absolutist thinking when it comes to valuing something. It's especially prevalent when it comes to myself; I tend to be a lot more charitable with other people.

Read more...

Enter your email to subscribe to updates.