Doing Nothing

For some reason, things have become oddly "dull". It isn't that anything is bad. On the contrary, things are actually going very well, by all real accounts. Still, I don't feel as though I "do" very much.

One thing I need to seriously get back to is making my YouTube videos. I just find the process often very tedious. Overall, though, my main channel has over 61K views, so someone must be finding it valuable. My other channel gets less attention but someone recently linked to it to explain a concept which came up in a book they published, so that is a nice gesture.

I just need to get out more. Once the spring gets into full swing, my plan is to go biking along the lake more often. I am going to take this year off from roller-blading since the MRI found that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee and the physiotherapist said that it should eventually heal, if I get good exercise, but the location was unusual and is typically due to a kind of twisting strain.

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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,

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,

...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,

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.


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.

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Distractions and a Calm Mind

I have noticed that I have become fixated on distractions. Not engagements, which would involve any decisive act, but merely the distraction from the meaninglessness of life. This typically involves watching videos with which I hold only a passing interest (or have seen before), reading articles which are only slightly interesting to me, etc. I think that this is related to my general feelings of disinterest, disconnection, and lacking motivation.

Sure, the feelings of disconnection are either born of a real lack of human connections or are the consequence of a mental block inserted by hateful ideas, but the others should be more purely internal. Also, all of these might have the same solution.

In short, it comes down to the pleasure one finds in dreaming of an idea, planning its execution, fulfilling those plans, and then living in a world where the idea has become reality. This has been lacking in pretty well all facets of my life for a few years, now. There are no more dreams, so there is no reason to do anything, so there is no movement within which to experience pleasure.

The distractions are employed because they are easy ("Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now." -- ) but they do not provide any lasting pleasure. Much in the same way that sugar is a food that doesn't nourish, one needs something more complete.

I wonder if I do this for some other reason. All I can think of is that my "boredom watchdog timer" is set to be a little too sensitive. It snaps me out of a still moment before my mind can begin usefully casting about.

I need to get better at preferring that silence and stillness. Otherwise, I have become a mindless consumer of time-wasting distractions, not the creator of worlds.

Maybe I can find clues back to that path if I let it get quiet enough,

No Inspiration

For some reason, I have had a hard time doing much of anything, these past few months.

It is some sort of motivation problem: I just can't get sufficiently interested in many of things which have historically held greater interest for me.

I am not entirely sure what is different now, versus about a year ago when I was still doing some of those things.

In general, I just don't feel engaged, or something. I miss connections with more people, I think.


Few Words, Few Actions

I feel oddly bad that I don't write as much as I used to. It used to be something so therapeutic but it has fallen by the way-side only to be replaced with... nothing.

Part of it is that nothing much happens. Life is pretty boring, all said. No great problems and no great triumphs. There is just that dull hum of irrelevance in every moment.

The other problem is... the sky has eyes. Writing can change things around the writer and I can't see that being useful. I would either disappoint well-wishers or give ammunition to the demonic creatures which dedicate time to lurking in the shadows (and I thought _I_ was bored).

In any case, I am still alive and still keeping an eye in this direction.


Perfect Possibilities

Thoughts move slowly and, despite their uncertainty, they have a subtle direction in their progression. For a while, I wasn't certain. Now, I think I understand.

It is the slow and careful tread beyond the boundaries. A walk back into a realm of humanity.

My younger mind would have been unable to contain itself. Maybe I am wiser and more careful or maybe there is some remnant of the dispassion inflicted on the past of my world.

In my mind, I am back at the shores of Lake Huron, at Evergreen, on an air-still morning, between breakfast and lunch. Usually, this place would make me feel alone but not today. In this moment, it is the stillness I seek. I need a place where my thoughts, alone, move faster than the world, but still in a sense of slowness.

Those moments of the night were oddly like that: Slow and decisive. All my dreams evenly poured over each instant. If I must fail at this endeavor, let me fail in beauty. Let there be no sense of pain, frustration, anger, or loss. If all is lost, let me warmly smile at its perfection in the knowledge that nothing was held back and nothing was incomplete. I will succeed or fail in the bathing light of perfection of purpose. For that, I can never apologize.

If it works, the future will be set in an odd balance. If I fail, the failure will be trivial. This will be the second time I have approached the impossibility and uncertainty in this way. The last time left marks on me: marks of courage, love, knowledge, and strength. I have nothing to fear when the world is cast in this shape.

Bring on the morning of this shared vvictory,