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Below are the 5 most recent journal entries recorded in Jeff's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, December 17th, 2016
10:08 pm
Read-only existence
I write so infrequently, these days.

It seems to be a microcosm for how much of my life feels: Just doing my job, interacting with people I know, looking for distractions... Never really creating something from my mind, the way I used to.

I miss that inspiration to write or create great things. Solving interesting problems has been the fascination of much of my adult life. These days, I don't solve the ones I seek out but lament that I am not given interesting ones.

Uggh, I have become such a waste. I have become sedated by the distractions of the world, distracted by the frustrations which circumscribe my existence, but no longer someone who pushes the boundaries of my abilities.

I think that I fell too hard with the failure of OpenAutonomy. The realizations that technical ideas and effective implementation was not enough to build a company... it seemed to kill something in me.

I need to get back to that. Back to that era where the journey was the exciting part, damn the impossibilities of the destination. That was where great ideas were possible.

I just need to turn off the world and let myself listen to my muse,
Monday, September 5th, 2016
3:42 am
The Earthen Hammer
Clearing my mind, I spent some time alone in the mind-scape, on a simple beach. I was there to build a great sandcastle, much as my yearnings usually dictate.

As I finished the structure, I decided to forage around for the stones to represent the citizens and the soldiers representing the military. Small pebbles for every person weren't hard to find.

The king, however, would be a different matter. The beach was very smooth with no large stone piles to prevent erosion so I decided to forage by digging.

Eventually, I found what appeared to be a large stone. After dumping a great deal of water on it and digging around until I could find a hand-hold, I manage to unwrench it, pulling it up into the air. Eclipsing my view of the sun, I could see its shape: a hammer.

I heard a scurrying behind me heard a voice: "Maybe that is what you were looking for. What does it do?".

A little startled but thinking the same thing, I stood and brought it down on the sand.

My ears rang with what sounded like metal on metal, but this hammer appeared to be some kind of stone and the ground was nothing but sand and water. I managed to clear my mind and open my eyes to see the shock-wave continue across the beach. In its wake was emptiness and stillness. The other people had disappeared, the waves ceased, and the wind seemed to halt.

Looking at this tool, seemingly untarnished by the strike into the sand, I smiled at my sudden companion: "I think think you might be on to something".

Maybe digging through the sand, all alone, is more correct than I had previously assumed,
Saturday, August 13th, 2016
4:21 am
...that night in Toronto...
My feelings of isolation are not as bad as they once were but they are still there. It leads to the odd problems associated with feeling disconnected. This means that I am oddly moved to emotion. While, at work, a pointless argument will quickly cause me to fly into a rage while, at home, it sometimes means odd things move me to tears.

I was watching some videos of The Tragically Hip performing their farewell tour, as it stops in Toronto. Seeing the crowd erupt, while they play Bobcaygeon, at the line "that night in Toronto" can easily move me to tears.

It is a beautiful moment where we realize that we are all here, together. We build this great city, simply by existing within it, connected to each other through economics, culture, transportation, and a myriad of other dimensions.

It makes me happy... but also sad.

We are all here, together, but how come I don't know any of these people?

It is a great reminder that we are connected, but why do I still feel so alone?

'Bout a quarter after nine,
Sunday, July 24th, 2016
12:55 am
A world without magic
Is this why everything has shifted to the grey?

Once upon a time, I gazed into the future and wondered my place. I knew then that I would be in a position of stability, as I knew how secure those who had the education I sought were, in turn, sought by the industry. It was an uncommon privilege, and I made good on it, more of less.

But that was nearly half a life-time ago, when I first knew my place on this path was secured. It wasn't easy to walk it, but it happened and I completed it, more than a decade ago.

The time since then has rarely been easy, but every hardship has been something I could understand and overcome.

Now, what of it?

I find the movement to inspiration so difficult. I have, for some time, thought that my present-day dysphoria is because I "forgot" something from my past. Tonight, during the ritual, I may have unearthed it: I have lost the magic.

When I was a child, I always loved the wizards of fantasy worlds. As a nerd, it spoke to me that someone who wasn't the physical paragon of their age could still turn around to move worlds though their understanding of the world, though study.

So, I became that. I spent my life learning the nature of the machine and becoming a force to be reckoned with when it came to understanding the machine or the abstract logic of the craft.

After a few years in my professional career, I was sought as a member of an all-star team of great creators to define the next generation of my area of technology (by several years the youngest of my companions). I loved the world in that fray. I loved those who fought the same problems, at my side, and I loved my commander. He eventually came to call me one of his "heavy artillery": someone who you send into an impassible problem to break it open for the rest of our legion. Together, we redefined the world of our technology. We were like gods, standing together at the whiteboard. Those days, at IBM, were thoroughly engaging. If the religious could have experienced that era, they would have no need for gods, as they would be them.

Then, things changed. I left that world. I entered one which disappointed me, so I left. I decided to forge my own world. It was beautiful, but I couldn't sell the idea.

I tended it, until I was drawn to something which sounded like that old world. It was/is good.

But, in the moments outside of work, I can have engagement. I have grown to find the taste of this fray sour. Why? Why would the single defining element of my life become empty? Is my life to end? I am still healthy and I still have responsibilities so that seems a bit premature (we will talk, again, after the Ash cat has completed a long and happy life).

I think I realize what I have lost. It is the magic. In the space ignorance occupied there was something else: dreams. Magic consumes dreams to give them form. While banishing ignorance was arguable a good thing, I miss the dreams and the magic which were swept away with it.

Without those things, all problems are small and solved, all life is without meaning.

The 90s was an unusually magical era. Maybe the last we could ever have. I miss the dreams and dreamers of that era. They don't miss me, it seems, or they could have come for me. After all, I do little to hide myself from those who look for me.

Monday, July 4th, 2016
9:22 pm
The controversial definitions of progressive
Yesterday's rather frustrating Pride parade got me thinking about what it means to be "progressive". Through time, I assume that its definition has always been in flux and always a cause for conflict and disagreement.

In the past few years, I have come to realize that I don't agree with the modern narrative of "progressive" as realized by the "social justice warrior" crowd. That is, they seem to believe that a combination increased segregation along largely arbitrary lines followed by applying "2 wrongs make a right" treatments to these false dichotomies is the way forward.

Personally, I don't see how this is either progressive or fruitful. I always ask "when does the war end?" and I am either told that it never will or that it will in some nebulous "later". To follow that up, I am then usually told that I don't have a right to speak on such matters since I am "privileged".

I find that the attack on myself (not personally, but through demographics) isn't a particularly useful way forward. To me, it feels like an example of the problems we sought to resolve. Ultimately, this approach is a microcosm of the broader problem in approach: "2 hates make a love".

I don't buy it. I think that the way forward can only be found by imagining a world where these problems don't exist and trying to build that. Instead of looking backward, I think we need to look forward.

While I know that this is an unpopular position, I think that it is the only way we can know that we are moving in the right direction. Some will say that it is an impossible dream but I realized that it is at least a dream worth having.

Imagining a world where we are divided and looking for a reason to demand special treatment or attack someone who we feel is getting it too easy just doesn't inspire me or sit well with me. In that nightmare, there is never a reason for inspiration or joy. It is just a place where we blindly trudge forward, hoping we don't live to see what is over the next mountain.

Imagining a world where we are beyond those trivial troubles and moving forward as a complex sea of individuals is something which can inspire me to act, to care. I might be the only one who thinks it is the right way to live, but it is a life I can choose and a dream which gives me reason to smile and to hope.

It might not be popular, but it is the "progressive" I think we should adopt. I need to stop apologizing for that or acting as though it is a question. While we might not agree with each other, at least I can agree with myself.


Current Mood: hopeful
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