a barbarian journal

April 1997
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"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

i could be wrong about doing better. It may just be a good days/bad days thing.

there is an article in nature (which i don't get) about how people with bipolar and unipolar depression have trouble in a part of the frontal lobe involved in organizing complex emotional responses. So there is some progress being made in the brain level understanding of emotion.

people sabotage themselves

a good story grows in the retelling, so i'm not going to worry about saying stuff twice. and maybe i'll redo stories on occasion. Really, though, most people have such different interpretation of things, that i'm the only one who would really understand what i am writing about, anyway. and on that note i don't really feel like i'm writing to an audience anymore, just to myself.

It would be possible to kill all the bacteria in the mouth and cure all dental problems. but that would put most dentists out of work. And i guess there would still need to be a way to get rid of food particles. It should be possible to engineer some micromachine to do the job, or possibly a more beneficial organism, since the problem is that the way bacteria work creates acids.

is chelsea actually going to stanford? augh, that's typical.

there is no one out there. (i wrote this note down and i can't remember what the context was).

so many people know things about me that i have forgotten, it seems weird to me. on irc one guy suggested that it was just more important to them. And really, i prefer to move on with things and forget the past. Also, a lot of stuff i say depends on context. There is a special case of people from a long time ago asking about things i can't remember.

Wynne once asked me if people could change, and i've wondered whom she meant-- me, her, or her boyfriend. I wanted to think she was just talking general, and i think i mentioned that change is difficult and required effort and a reason for change. It could have been that she wondered if i could change, but i think i was pretty irrelevant to her, so it must have been that she was wondering if she or her boyfriend could change, in what way i would wonder. I would want to tell her that she was great and shouldn't change, except naturally. I only recently came to the realization that really she didn't need my advice about anything, but that she must have been trying to see if i thought she could change (or that i could change her, which i was probably trying to do).

I knew a guy who had a silcone breast implant (which hadn't been implanted). It had a surprisingly nice feel, kid of a fuzzy squishy bean bag. It was really a strangely fun toy.

there was a married with children episode episode in which amanda bearse (who plays marcy), also plays her tomboy cousin, who turns out to be gay (probably something to do with ellen's coming out episode). The funny thing is, though, that the actress actually is gay.

janeane's character heather in romy and michele tells romy to give a message to the people at the reunion to fuck themselves for making her high school years hell. I could sympathize with that, and actually a guy in our broken wing group (alex) wrote a letter saying something like that.

is it good to be a terrible liar? Romy and michele are terrible liars, it takes them a while to even think about lying. But once a decision is made to lie, is it good to do a poor job and get caught, or is it better to be a masterful liar. I guess the problem is that lying is a power that takes away the power of others to make decisions good for them, and it can tie you to evil actions. (What is good anyway.) And a poor lie won't work. The message was that it was better to tell the truth--they tried it, and it didn't work for them. do we stop trying or try harder.

instead of creating a more powerful combined mind, most crowds at best share a single weak human mind. it doesn't really have to be that way, and although mental scaling isn't that simple a task, there is plenty of knowledge that should be more widely known.

The last episode of the series star trek:the next generation was a kind of christmas carol episode, with the captain as scrooge, jump between past, present and future. I mean i saw stewart perform that play, so it makes sense, there is even a scene at the end wher picard finally joins the officer poker game. Its not really a direct parallel, but pretty close. There is one little bit in it though, the future riker says that he always thought he and deanna would get back together, until finally she was gone.

i wrote a java program to display a second hand on a clock, so i can use it in a mental exercise for the attention. just concentrate on the second hand for two minutes, starting over if you wander, and pretty soon you will have a better attention. I don't know if its good, but its something. All the mechanical ones were too jumpy i thought, so i wanted a smoother one. it still flashes too much.

went to see romy and michele again. the jokes just weren't as funny the second time, but all the fun stuff was still fun. So it really was pretty good, if not as funny. I don't know if i'll see it again, but i might. and I have this strange desire to see some ballet. One thing about ballet to me is that dancers really dont seem like real people, it just too fakey, although maybe once it would have meant something.

pitiful losers shouldn't have friends. it only encourages them.

it seems like its getting the slightest bit less painful, maybe a matter of a few months an it will be tolerable. But then maybe i'm just having a good day, or am just distracted. I did have a dream, and there was a woman, and i was pretending to be asleep but i was crying.

like han solo said, that's was a long time ago. i'm sure she's forgotten all about that.

suppressing things takes a lot of effort, and i need to make a stand and finally take the pain. Of course i wish i would have done that when i wasn't so desperate, but there was that critical event, i guess.

in the story of daphne and apollo. Daphne is a hunter maiden follower of diana, who just wants to hunt alone. Apollo chases her through the woods, and she just wants to get away, so she prays to diana and instead of letting apollo have her, she turns into a tree or something.

i have a tendency towards misplaced loyalty, even from when i was a little kid.

a guy has an impulse to do anything (sheep come to mind). Exactly how do women deal with that, i wonder. beat them off with a stick, i guess, and i suppose if it keeps coming back, she might respect its vigor.

a historical essay on romance speaks of the mystical basis for a tradition of obsessive love based on separation. It referes to an actual romantic arabic story about layla and majnun that inspired the clapton song. And darn if wynne didn't tell me she liked that song.

presence makes the heart grow bored

to push someone the action, you have to make him feel that he is the only one who can do it, "got to"

are the slackers just latch-key kids, sad because their mommies left them alone

normally i don't see comedies more than once. will the jokes be as funny? that usually my best rating for movies--how many times i want to go see them. For a lot of movies, i wouldn't want to see them at all, some are worth seeing once (sometimes though you wish you had your two hours back). The best movies you can just watch again and again and again. Some movies (ie pulp fiction) are good the first time but not as good the second time. That borg star trek was fairrly unusual, i saw it 3 times, but then i just didn't care anymore. I think i need to see Romy and Michele again to see how it holds up. What i really like is for a movie to be inspirational, and this movie has it because there are these two people who aren't really rich or popular but they are really very happy. It was what i really liked about joe's apartment; he was a slob and a loser, but he, like the cockroaches, was happy.

Janeane Garofalo in RMHSR plays this nasty little bitch who had this thing for a geek who only had eyes for Michele (who ignored him). Romy happens to meet her and mentions this "thing", but "Heather" gets this irritated look and says it is not a "thing", but a real, deep and meaningful love for him. I really had to identify with that. And the scene towards the end where the geek returns in triumph, transformed into the uebermann (funny what contacts will do (actually no, probably rk)) she realizes "what the hell was i thinking" and gives it the fuck up. Truly an epic.

It got me thinking what kind of contact would be appropriate, or what am i reasonably entitled to since we sort of did almost go to school together or whatever. I think face-time is definite, although maybe only a brief "hi, how are you, what have you been up to, and what do you do now" is par. In Fargo it wasn't unreasonable that the guy called up and they had coffee (of course, he was nuts). Yeah that sounds good. I'm just looking for parameters, i guess.

i could probably wait forever. if i've seen her once i count it a good decade. Does the flame love the moth?

If i just look at it more objectively, i don't think she every said she liked anything about me, and i mostly i disregarded the stuff she said she didn't like--i'm hard to talk to (it's true, everyone says that), and i'm too wimpy and not a risk taker, and i "badger" her (i did, i admit that). I understand that she mostly was trying to be civil in a frustrating situation. But she said something really intense once. She was telling me that she didn't have to go the the school she did, she could have gone to a school by her hometown. Ouch. I mean its one thing to wish that we had never met, but to consider that it might be worth giving up whatever she had gotten just so that we might never have met was stunningly harsh. I don't expect to see her.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, a movie with mira sorvino (oscar for mighty aphrodite) and lisa kudrow (friends) was really good. I was going to go see it friday, but the lame reviewer in the paper doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. When i saw siskel and ebert's description, with proper thumb movement, i had to go see it. It was intelligently writen and the girls were interesting and complex and a whole lot of fun. sorvino is noticeably a better actress than kudrow, but kudrow pretty much plays her ditz character from friends, and is very good if not emotionally deep. Sorvino helped remind me what real quality acting can be. When she borrows a fancy car from work and kudrows ask what she did to get it, she said she gave everyone at work a hand job. And kudrow is like "ok". And you can see how hurt she feels that kudrow would believe that (and there is dialog for the more dense viewers). it's touching and impressive. There is a dance scene that is worth the price of admission. And the jokes are great. The geek gets the girl too (although it isn't the big deal in like grosse pointe blank).

There's a japanese person i talk to on irc, and she gave me all these japanese words for love: horeta, suki, aishiteru, jyunai, taisetsunisuruyo. She also said that there were some ideas that just didn't translate and suggested takeo doi's the anatomy of dependence, which i have ordered.

I guess i'm going to keep with irc, but i need to limit it, and not get lost on it. If nothing is happening i have to get out. The problem is the emotional needs that hook me in.

I can define deceptive as anything that is not intended to be helpful.

I don't think its just me. she is intelligent, compassionate, and beautiful. what's not to love? pearl of great price

I guess i have these abandonment issues. And it seems like my buds all had abandonment issues. And when it happens, once you have these issues, people keep abandoning you on and on forever, or at least you tend to sabotage things or let them happen that way because it is what you expect. And you get into a flock of broken wings who commiserate and moan together that everyone always leaves. That's something i have to escape, because that really isn't what i'm about. It's true that people come and go, but that doesn't have to be a sad tale. it can be a parade.

It was only logical that i talk to her, just because she knew stuff i didn't know, and i like to think i knew stuff she didn't, although i can't be sure of that. With any luck, we would have had something that would interest the other, because i do have trouble finding interesting people to talk to. Then again, i think there isn't much that i would have to say that would interest very many people. Humpf. Her gender was something of a problem, though.

I can see three main possibilities. First, i could deal with the emotional issues for a while and contact her in a few months. I mean we did sort of go to high school together, which was really trippy because it was an all-boys high school. somehow ironic i think. Actually bruce was telling me how he would have loved to go to an all-girls school, so there it is. Anyway, second, she could call me. And third, space aliens could land in the yard, pick me up, and take me to her house. I don't know which is most likely (my guess is #3).

Argh! and a self-sealing stembolt!

So i deleted an email message without deleting it. I know it was the first time i had done that because a window popped up that i had never seen before warning me about deleting it without looking at it. Normally i would look at everything, even spam or junk mail, although with spam i like to try to send replies to abuse@*. I also open all regular junk mail, since i don't really get much mail, not being too rich. But this one was long and i didn't want to hear from them. Perhaps it could mark a change from my being more reactive to being more deliberative.

There was an article in Science about a development in nanotechnology. I'm interested in studying that stuff and there is stuff going on with it in Palo Alto. one of the big nanodudes, Merkle, is at xerox, and there is a nanofab at Stanford. More specifically i am interested in some of the intelligent design software and control systems which are needed, and Stanford has huge AI program where i wanted to study if i could get my act together.

Although i tried to quit, i have been going back to irc lately because i feel bad. And its surprisingly easy to slip back into just sitting around waiting for stuff to happen. The climate on #philosophy is a little different, and i found some mildly interesting stuff, including some admirably efforts at conciliation, and some genuine coneern about making a better channel. My advice was that a real solution would require slow steady effort and not a quick fix like everyone always wants, not that it is likely to happen since people simply have different goals. I also pointed out that some people really want conflict.

People want to simplify. people like religious or mystical explanations because they are simple (ie the explanations, but the people too, sure). It is likely that a reductive explanation of the mind will just be too complicated for people to follow, and that only a machine could really undertand it especially. It won't be like a car in which all the parts have simple downstreams and upstreams so that you can look piece by piece. Each element in the mind/brain is probably undergoing hundreds of interactions at all times, a kind of a model that we just aren't equipped to deal with, that is our normal ability to group things in chunks may not apply. It doesn't mean there is no hope, just that machines would be needed for a real understanding.

I hit again the idea that some people are more interested in experiences than ideas, because there was this mystic guy with some lame, non-rational holistic view, who cared only about the deep deconstructed feeling of truth and not any useful or defined concept. Mystics are hollow, and i used to be into that.

Is information physical? Although the representations are physical, we use an abstract notion of information as a simplifying tool.

the essence of conservatism is a desire for conflict.

each person understands the world through his own expectation. Because we see and understand the things that happen according to the stories we believe about the world, we create the kind of world we live in through our own understanding. If we expect a world of terrible things and people, that is what we will notice and make happen. If we believe in magic, a magical world we will have.

In watching das boot, which was in german, i could see how important knowing the words was to understanding. They spoke so fast and all the words were jammed together that you really had to know the words in order to pick them out, as opposed to simply reading it. I have some stuff written in german with the translation on opposite pages, which might give me some more opportunity to learn. If there was ever someone who i really wanted to talk to (i can think of someone, perhaps), i might have been more into languages, but as it is i hardly speak english and i have even let that slide.

gosh, but it hurts

i did go down to the beach. there is something about the ocean, or maybe i just have an expectation of thinking about things when i am there. Someone was actually doing tai chi, a sight that i would have thought i would have seen before now. I have considered studying tai chi to learn the form, and i have a short version that i do.

pain is meant to indicate the damage that has been done, and psychological pain is about being aware of what has been lost such that you will go out and do something about it, usually a whole bunch of different problems and needs are involved.

People are not simply interchangeable. If a mother were to lose a child, it wouldn't be a comfort just to have other kids. Some people try devalue others such that a person is thought of as an object and not a whole individual person. But this is more of a self-deception that people are able to live with to different extents.

In thinking about having a broken spirit, i see that that damn high school broke my spirit to a fair extent with abuse of various kinds, such that by the time i met wynne i was pretty far gone and really needed someone.

Today is totally blown. Got Houses of the Holy going. Is there really no hope? It's looking grim.

But is there really anything left to eat away?

I saw Das Boot. It was really cool, but gosh those sailors cuss. And it seemed like they tried to work in every possible German cuss word. And its something of a celebration of German engineering. And what is the deal with the German film endings? The other one i'm thinking of is Aguirre. But i like that stuff.

I have a little more respect for the idea of an afterlife. I mean denial really works. In a sense i was thinking in terms of a sort of afterlife, and that really sort of worked for me. Later, i thought, maybe something will happen later. But the afterlife is even better because you never get to it. I have a sense now how it is a really effective way to deal with grief. And i'm hearing that otherwise it mostly doesn't go away, only that people just have other things to think about too (Close the door, put out the light).

I was going to say something mean and spiteful to all those losers out there, including the "perfect" ones, but they just aren't worth thinking about right now.

look at the size of that coffeespoon!

they got those floods or whatever in north dakota. I'm not going to share their pain if i didn't share their joy.

on the question of nuclear energy. One of the big problems is that we decided not to reuse the leftover plutonium and we consider it waste. So our (americas) nuclear energy produces a whole lot of high level "waste". There are experimental designs that produce very little such waste. But we won't be building anything new. And there was one reactor core design that mechanically prevents meltdowns by providing extra space for the fuel to thermally expand, such that it doesn't even need control equipment or anything to prevent meltdown. And as for the waste, the freaks in france have found that the public is pacified by putting waste in "research" facilities studying ways to reuse it, instead of just passively dumping it and leaving it. I guess its a psychological thing. Its likely that intelligent machines will be more into nuclear energy, and it will certainly be needed for space missions, although there is a treaty against nukes in space.

yancy butler was a guest star on nypd blue. She plays a really wacked out skank ho, but she really seems liked a real actress. I mention it because i had a crush on her, and that one was just a crush.

So there was this girl. And there is a cultural story, some people will say something like "I knew when i saw her that i wanted to spend the rest of my life with her" and typically you will only hear that if it actually works out. It's something grandparents say. I'm sure it happens mostly and doesn't work out. Well i had that feeling. I'm not sure i understood it like that right away, but later i came to think that's what it was. Since really didn't want to spend the rest of my life with anyone, it was confusing i'm sure that i could feel that way. But i could probably handle a "little red-haired girl" like in charlie brown, which gives him a real philosophical wistfulness that id like to have. Charlie Schulz actually did have a "little red-haired girl" that turned him down when he proposed, and he like only recently seems to have come to some kind of peace with it. And he really seems to have lost his edge since then. So from the perspective of just wanting something to think about, this obsession makes a little more sense, although of course things aren't that simple.

And then there's the telephone. I found the nerve at one point to call her up. She was nice enough i guess. And i actually called her a few times, but me being just a geek, i just got to the point of being a pest pretty quick. And i remember that i couldn't tell how she felt about me (although probably i should have been able to), but if i could have looked just once in her eyes i would have known. Because I didn't really have any money to go out with her, i didn't ask her. I think i must have stopped calling her because she asked me to stop, but mercifully my memory is fuzzed out on that point. There was a period a ways after that when i saw her almost everyday, and there would occasionally be great opportunities for me to speak to her, but i was just too scared or embarrassed. I'm sure she would have been nice, and i know now that lack of confidence is about the least attractive thing there is. Actually fate intervened such that i was actually kept out of situations in which i would had to interact with her almost every day (some classes that we might have been in together but weren't). Not that it would have been bad, but it would have been very different from this world. But the thing with the phone. I have like this tremendous dislike of calling people on the phone now. I guess i kind of blame the phone for my not really understanding how she felt and messing up my life. (It doesn't make sense, but it's there). And it's worse because it just ran into her years later, and she seemed perfectly friendly, if a little nervous. So i was able to maintain the confusion about how she felt. I just didn't understand, and i wasn't able to let go, and didn't really want to i guess. So the phone wasn't just in on a bad couple of weeks, it was the beginning of years of torment. What has happened recently was just that i had to actually face it again (i'm still letting go); it was suddenly in my face. With a little insight into her character, i could see that she was really mostly just trying to be nice with me, even though i was actually nothing, worse than that, she was actually being quite patient. So i was just clinging to a misguided hope that we could be friends. And its going to be hard and slow letting go.

But there is an additional conclusion to made concerning my false hopes. As a corollary to all this self-deception, i developed a bad tendency to live in the past. One of the aspects of that is that i have these really long-time friends from high-school that i really have no interest in or reason to talk to. And yet i cling to the notion that somehow it's good for me, yada yada, when really i should forget about them and find people i really like.

i hear the crying of a distant horn
did i fall asleep? i'm confused about where
i am. i look and there's nothing.
i need to go. man, play that note.

intelligence is learning. the typical problem in ai is to create a program that knows stuff instead of something that can learn things. And it is true that you have to know stuff to learn more things. And a smart person who learns well is going to know a lot of stuff after a while.

Somebody should break down some of that american prudishness and broadcast some hardcore porn on primetime. that'd show 'em. And maybe the kids would learn something to go along with their full knowledge of violence.

They showed the "bizarro world" episode of seinfeld. It has the idea that there is a secret club of beautiful people, and that there could be evil/good opposite twins of everyone. Really pretty cool. But i was thinking about seinfeld in general, and i think it has been a strange influence on me. You've got the slacker lifestyle celebrated. A bunch of really non-driven guys just floating. I mean, i'm a slacker and i feel little push to do much more. Where are the heroes? And elaine is kind of a mystery. It had been the common thinking that guys and chicks couldn't just be friends, but there it is, although this was explained at one point because she was a man's girl or some such and wasn't much into women friends. The way she totally hated the english patient also makes sense with that--she is just the non-romantic type. I suppose there are some of those, and we're lucky they don't want kids. Still it presents intriguing possibilities.

It's likely that the same types of guys could be attracted to a particular girl and that the guys could actually be reasonably good friends from that, although i have never heard of that working, not that i would have.

NBC dateline actually did a bit on what makes people help each other. Generally it is a surprisingly selfish reason, which is why i advocate non-emotional helping. People help when they feel some personal connection or empathy with the person (which will obviously be limited). They'll help to feel good about themselves, or to follow along what other people are doing, or to restore harmony in an unpleasant situation, or because they want to feel like the kind of person that does good. One major reason cited for not helping was that they didn't have the time. Well people like to celebrate the compassion as part of the inherent goodness in people, but it is really just inherent selfishness and is actually more cruel than helpful in how selective it inevitably is. Decouple the feeling from the act.

It still bothers me that commander data on star trek is trying to be human, when he is the vulcan ideal. it's just not logical, and is done for pretentious dramatic reasons. It'd be nice if the writers were just a little more into science fiction and a little less stuck on these burned-out human issues.

It's supposed to help the grief process to share your feelings, so i'm sharing.

so when i looked for a list of emotions, one of the first links was to "axis: bold as love". Here's the list i came down to: desire, jealousy, awe, guilt, humiliation, fear, shame, sadness, grief, worry, envy, disgust, frustration, anger, closeness, happiness, joy, love.

got electric ladyland going. One of the albums i had so long ago (actually then it was just a tape from the radio, having it on tape came to have some significance.)

One thing about ai, we'll be able to get rid of the damn lawyers.

Man, i thought we were friends, but maybe i was just kidding myself.

There are so many things that people think they can decide for themselves but they just don't know. And if somebody were make their decision for them, the greed inherent in the system would corrrupt them. So they are forced to make indequate decisions. How can anyone decide which laws to break, what is true, or what is good? These are all social question. We just need better people.

Bandits are always getting into mischief, sitting around and then grabbing people up to get their money in some kind of way. A couple of bandits were holed up beside a bridge across a river. Whenever a traveler would come to cross the bridge, the bandits would ask them to pay a toll. A merchant one day came to cross the bridge. "Two pence toll" said the first bandit. The merchant reached into his cloak and pulled out his change purse, which by the sound of it was fairly full. As the merchant was fumbling for tuppence, "We'll have all of it, now, won't we?" said the first bandit, as the second bandit played with the handle of his long knife. "Ruffians!" cried the merchant, but he gave over his purse. "Yer fat enough to spare it" said the second bandit. Later on, a young couple came to cross the bridge, but they didn't seem to have any money. "you must pay the toll" said the first bandit. "But we haven't any money," said the young man. "Well, where are you from then?" asked the first bandit, and the young man told him "We are from Brighton." The first bandit puzzled for a second, and then said "Well we have an agreement with the mayor Brighton, and since you are from there, you may pass," thinking they were not worth any trouble. And the couple made on their way. Later, a dragon walked down the road. Bandits in general being rather fearless, the first bandit boldly said "a gold piece for the toll". The dragon did not seem upset by this, and replied "Is that all it is? i have nothing that small." The bandit's mouth got a little wet as he said "Well i could give you change" The dragon pulled out a lump of gold from a sack on his back and said, "this is the gold from a hundred pieces" The first bandit pretended to count out 99 gold pieces from a sack, enlisting the help of the second bandit. When they had finished, the second bandit approached to offer the change while the first bandit moved to grab the lump of gold. They were quite surprised when the dragon's tail swung around and hit both of them in the back, knocking them down. The dragon then ate them both and took their money.

[tpm] a couple thoughts on what intuition is. First, intuition is a process for coming to decisions. And we don't have conscious access to its functioning, only its results, which suggests that it is a non-verbal process. This is perfectly reasonable because no other animals use language and they make perfectly adequate decisions for them. But it does suggests that there may be some important limitations to intuition, and situations that it was just plain not designed for.

what i need to do is find a list of emotions somewhere, and just mark off the ones i'm feeling, because it is getting just way too complicated.

get the stones going. gotta love the stones. not complicated. very real.

we are controlled. we are controlled from the outside, we are controlled from the inside, and the outside sets up agents inside us such that we are controlled indirectly too. How do we react to all the forces? We can just follow them, comply. I mean if the forces were really destructive then they would have been eliminated or they would have already destroyed us. We can rebel, but then are we just trading one collar for another. It is possible for the exceptional to reach out and pulls the strings of the system in charge, but can anyone be qualified to handle that? The learning curve would be a mess. Sure, we have some freedom. Life on a chain. But what if there were total freedom, i'm talking something that could happen in the future, how do we make decisions then? Do we live on non-self-damage and expansionism? is expansionism self-damage? After we change ourselves, do we really exist?

[talk.philosophy.misc] philosophy is good for people who think of the world abstractly, involving universal ideas. Religion, on the other hand, must appeal to everyone, so most religions include impersonal ideas and personal ones, and lots of physical actions to appeal to the physical people.

[tpm re:"WHAT IS LIFE?"] First, the question says something about you, that you would even ask it. You want life to be something more than what you see. It is a function of people to try to understand things, and sometimes even to see meanings that aren't there. In that case, life is whatever you make it. Life is such a complex process that it is open to all kinds of meaning.

serial monogamy is polygamy

I went shopping, and it was a little strange because there were women that seemed to be making an extra effort to speak to me. It may just have been me, but i don't think so. I hesitated while looking at some flowers (actually i was looking for white lilies, to see if they are common enough, it's from a laurie anderson song) and there two girls working there, and they both asked me if i needed help; i mean, one would have done. I have an evil feeling about the reason though. I was wearing a T-shirt that i got from an engineering company i interviewed with, so they may have thought i was a 'have'. Perhaps a subtle brush with evil. But i also thought of something that cuts the other way. I was thinking that it seems like i find any woman my age or younger at least potentially attractive, and as i get older that's more and more of them. Very insidious (older is uglier and its not like they can just work and be younger).

I guess i should have know this, and it never bothered me, but mcdonald's has "shakes" and not "milkshakes". Probably no milk involved.

hunger is really a pretty natural state. That is, it isn't something necessarily bad that you absolutely must fix right away. and i find that it seems better than just lazy fullness, with more energy really.

There is a difference between forgetting and putting something out of your mind (repressing). In time all things will lose their importance if considered, instead of just ignored. And you have to forgive, but it can take time

So where do i go with the stories, if it isn't already messed up. I hadn't really planned it out, but it was just supposed to be practice in narrative. I see that it is a whole other kind of thing trying to get into the heads of characters. As it is, it looks like the princess could just go on meeting people, but i don't think i have enough insight into her character to keep with that. I originally thought of it as a ring, with each character introducing the next (i probably would have had the dragon and the bandits next), but i can't properly characterize the players in a single story while still trying to add some other moral or message. And i don't want to simply show single characters, but also to explore how they interact with each other, which could open a lot of room for stories. The architect in me would like to have some type of elegant rigid structure, like a ring, or one character in all of them, or a complete set of pairwise interactions. But that might be a little too much for me, and i probably couldn't keep it consistent. And the start isn't quite right, but i could always rewrite it, i suppose. Actually i really need to work on my understanding of the characters. Of course, i will get tired of it pretty soon, if not already.

A weird thing i have found, is that the understanding needed is more a matter of trying to really be the character, and not just a matter of matching up pieces (which i also try to do). This is actually quite similar to the problem of natural language understanding, which i am studying.

Is there anything general we can know about how many mistakes we can expect before we have a success. I have heard a rule of thumb that there are usually around 15 failures before a success, but what could that mean? It could be just a statistical kind of finding, or it could be involved with the way a person learns in a competitive environment. When a person first starts out to achieve some goal, he usually knows very little about the situation at hand, and will therefore fail. He should learn something, but how much he can learn is limited by his lack of understanding already, So the learning will necessarily be slow. The limits on what is needed to be a successful beginner vs. just a novice probably have a lot more to do with human capacity than the actual situation at hand. And there might be personal factors like confidence and openness to new things that affect our performance in new learning environments. Because all the environments and what constitutes a success come from doing a job comparable to the other people in the particular environment. In any learning, it is fairly quick to rise to a certain level of competance, but further progress is much more difficult. It may be that for any given task this learning curve is pretty close for everyone, with only a small difference for especially gifted or slow people. The big difference in ability comes just from time spent building up the knowledge needed.

On geniuses, occasionally there will be real genius, i'm thinking like mozart or jimi hendrix. I knew a guitar player who really had jimi's spirit. He could wail, but he was always exploring new things, and worked at it with a real gusto and exuberance. It just has to be fun, and you have to spend a long time exploring new things constantly to really be good. I heard an estimate than to be an expert in an area you would need around 50,000 separate bits of knowledge, and that takes time. Unfortunately, i tend to be a dabbler, i switch around too much to be really an expert at anything, and look what it's gotten me.

whoosh! i finally made it down to 155 pounds, now i have to make sure i'm eating enough.

I know that my first question would be "Why didn't the princess just call the guard when the dragon flew in her window?" Well, this was because the princess already had made many magical friends, and she knew that although may seem very fearsome at first, they usually settled down to be quite tame. Once when she was just very little princess, and not yet cutting her hair so short, she went down to one of the lakes to bathe. Now this was in fact an enchanted lake, although there was really no telling that from looking at it, although perhaps it was a little bit too clear. A little ways from the shore, the princess tried to dive down to see how deep the bottom of the lake was. And as she near the bottom, she was sure that she could see swimming figures in the corner of her eye, but when she tried to look striaght at them, they weren't there! Well, the princess had to go up to the surface to take a breath, but she was so amazed at figures that would be there and then wouldn't, that she had to try to look for them again. When she dove to the bottom, she could almost catch a glimpse of them, but somehow they always avoided her direct gaze. Well it was time now to go, so the princess went back to the shore and dried off, and went back to the castle. The princess often returned to this lake (it had such clear water!), and kept diving to the bottom, and the figures kept appearing just at the edge of her vision, but it sometimes seemed that maybe they weren't always so far away. On one particularly hot day, when the princess was swimming for quite a while, she thought she feel something brush up against her, not like a fish, but softer, maybe like a mitten, and very warm, but when she looked there was nothing. This frightened the little princess and she rushed out of the water. When she was standing on the bank, she wasn't quite so afraid, but her bath was done for today, so she returned to the castle. She decided not to tell about her experience, for they would say she was just a silly girl. But she did return to the lake. And as she was diving to the bottom, she saw figures in the corner of her eye, but when she looked at them, they didn't disappear! they look like small girls, or perhaps very small women, and they were hard to see because they were the same color as the water. "Water nymphs!" thought the princess, and she watched their curious swimming until she was almost bursting to get air. But when she tried to get to the surface, she found that her hair (which was very long at this time) had been tied to rocks on the bottom! The princess was in a panic, but a good swimmer and probably better fed than many of the girls that may have bathed in this lake before, so she was able to make it to the shore before running completely out of air. It was after that day that the princess took to cutting her hair so very short, for after that, she could bathe in the lake, and even play with the water nymphs, but they would not catch her and keep there, and she could stay a princess. And the princess learned that the water nymphs were actually quite playful and that they only wanted her to join them.

[cap] There is no reason that the genetically controlled development of the baby need be complete at birth and that all subsequent changes result from learning. In fact, evolutionary concerns required that human babies be born well before brain development is complete. There is a great legacy from all the mammalian genetic ancestors which are born with a good amount of perceptual ability and control over themselves. But in humans this continuing brain growth after birth is also modulated by the environment and social concerns, which may give rise to more adaptive system of development, a much greater responsiveness than simple learning.

This past week, i've been listening to the rembrandts, kind of a beatlesque pop, almost christian rock band. They also did the theme from friends. One of the songs has the lyrics, "Someone save me/'cause i've been savin' myself/for her too long" and there's lots of other serious love related things.

I have to admit that i had already resolved this problem, but i must have written it down and forgetten about it. The problem is that there were two separate areas of feeling that i had. On the one hand i just wanted someone smart to talk to, which fine, but i also really lusted after her, and i just totally repressed it (or tried to). As a bit of context, i was in the midst of brats who wouldn't know self-denial even if they did believe in god. Anyway, i had this internal conflict that i wasn't even aware of (or i tried not to be), but i had to explain to myself why i liked her so much while trying to pretend that i wasn't after her body (which was pretty nice actually). So it turned out to be confusion and not so much love. And i had the feelings all worked out before, but i forgot about it, and they came back.

People think that understanding oneself would be easier than understanding other people, but there are problems with that. We don't have any special access to why we ourselves do things, and we have to find out about ourselves the way we find out about others--by observing what we do and deducing the reasons. Its even a little worse for understanding ourselves, because we have access to more stuff that we would need to explain--thoughts and feelings. But we are more immediate to ourselves, and we have more incentive for understanding, so it kind of balances out.

It isn't me. Beautiful chicks make guys stupid. One cause for stupidity in general is thoughts disrupting working memory, and they certainly do that. There is a thing about blonde chicks being dumb, but if the only guys they ever talk to are struck dumb, then it is appropriate that they learn to talk at that level. I wonder if chicks have some established ways of dealing with it, or if it just another one of their tests.

What exactly would you do for an angel if you met one? Michael suggests that they are happy to include you in the little missions that they have. Because its unlikely that you could contribute much on their own to them, not having their level of comprehension. But angels do have a different kind of wondrous outlook on the world and can appreciate the magic of things, so they actually would like the little stuff.

I have started looking at some of the other types of people, and the different outlooks that they have on the world, because i want to be more sensitive about them. I tend to think of the world as an ordered machine that can be objectively understood as following rules. Another type sees the world as magical, and everything has its own soul. Some see a mosaic, or tapestry, or big collection of pieces fitted together. And some see the world as a full of interactions like a market. The views inspire different questions about the world: "why is it here", "who is it", "how does it fit together","what does it want". My understanding isn't very far along, though.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful short-haired princess who lived in a castle in the woods. (It may well have been an enchanted forest, but this chronicler has no knowledge of that). Castles at this time didn't have glass in the windows, so one day a dragon flew into the window of the the room where the princess was sitting. It was just a young dragon, and probably could only breathe a little smoke and a small amount of fire, but one never knew with dragons. The princess did manage a somewhat startled "hello" and the dragon immediately said "You have very beautiful hair, princess. It is much like the gold i take from bandits when i eat them." "Thank you" said the princess, being very polite. "It would be much better if it were longer" the dragon said. "Hmm" thought the princess, "how very rude. i am a short-haired princess, but i mustn't be rude", so she said "that could take quite a while". "I can wait" said the dragon, and it sat for a little while, waiting for the princess's hair to grow. Of course, the princess became ever more perplexed, but she was a good princess and was quite capable of waiting too. The dragon actually waited for many days, although it did occasionally have to go out to eat a bandit or two. The princess's head did spin a little more gold thread, and the dragon would always remark how much better it would be if her hair were long. But eventually the day did come, and her hair was cut. "what have you done to your hair?" asked the dragon. "I cut it" said the princess, for she was a short-haired princess. "Oh, silly girl." said the dragon, and it was so perplexed that it flew up and hit its head on the timbers, and lost a few scales, and breathed just a little smoke and a small amount of fire (the princess was mostly unscathed), and flew out the window in search of bandits.

Happiness is really about getting things and not having them. Occasionally you will hear talk of the journey being more important that arriving. The whole mechanism is so people will go out and get stuff, but it does turn out that people who have more stuff are able to get more stuff, so possessions are important as a means to get more stuff, not so much as things in themselves.

There is a kind of person, typically female, that is very self-sacrificing, which really bothers me, for one, because i am not very self-sacrificing myself (to put it mildly) and probably more important, it tends to be someone that i care about and i want only good things to happen to them. I don't really get why they should feel the need to suffer--it really can't be doing them any good.

So, i wasn't aware of the full story of prometheus (which means foresight), an archetype for my type. He was the wisest titan, created man out of clay. He stole fire from the gods and gave it to man, and tricked zeus into accepting entrails as sacrifice. his punishment was to be chained to a rock and a vulture would eat his liver, which would grow back. maybe i'll get further clarification.

Most people have to get specialized in order to develop proficiency (competance, that's what i need), and i might do that here, but it would seem fairly boring to me.

Um, so why did Star trek: Voyager decide to rerun the episode where a crewman gets totally obsessed with a holodeck character, who turns out to be a loner intellectual alien babe (marena) who herself becomes obsessed with a vulcan (notorious intellectual loners)? This isn't me, people, i'm starting to get weirded out. And TNT showed logan's run again (it's only been two weeks). Well, voyager at least gave a vulcan cure for the obsessive love called "engulfment": logical deconstruction and meditative suppression. So i'm deconstructing.

There is the question of the role of fantasy. What if fantasy is only %10 as powerful in influencing how you feel as real things. It is still presumably possible that it could have more effect than something real, or some old memory. It isn't possible for everyone to try everything in the world, so our shared experiences and knowledge are in a sense fantasy. The functional role of fantasy is probably important, and getting the right balance must be a challenge, and is certainly something that is learned in development.

The real question is to understand what goals are. Goals are an image (now i have to define image sometime) of a state of the world (with certain amounts of abstractness) that we are trying or want to get to. This brings up the question of where the wants come from, and certainly we have to figure these out for ourselves. It's not like we could actually have our wants preprogrammed, because they depend on the environment. There is a primitive AI approach to goal-seeking which involves comparing the state now to the goal state. We are pretty good at making comparisons to things, and this approach is probably significant, but the way we represent things is really pretty different from computers. Neural nets and connectionist systems are a whole strange world on their own, and understanding them is pretty technical, in addition to the problem that we don't have much knowledge of the function of big systems of neural nets. But we're working on it. Unfortunately there is a tendency to treat NNs as black boxes that just give desired output for certain inputs (and its somewhat fortunate that this is even possible) so that understanding isn't even always sought.

Some thoughts on what friends are. Friends are people you can talk to, share your feelings with. And it tends to be largely unconditional, in that you always disagree with your friends but usually they stay your friends. A weaker kind of friend is just someone who is convenient and there to talk to. And i guess its nice to have someone that you share something with, otherwise there is no point in even being around them, but that makes it conditional--"i'm your friend because", instead of just "i'm your friend". Reasons are for deciding what to do and not for determining what you are.

*Warning* I write this stuff so i can forget and move on. Which is going to be very misleading if you want to know what i am like now. 'Cause its a chronicle of ideas, and that's all you should get from it. It's not about who i am; it's about what i have thought and no longer think, because i have already moved on. It's funny, because sometimes people will thow stuff back at me that i have said, and it was so dependent on context that it no longer fits.

I've taken an active approach against spammers. Whenever i get email spam, i write back to their server. There was one i tried telneting to their computer but i didn't have the password. Anyway, i've actually gotten responses from the administrators saying they had dealt with it (well, just form letters but still...) Pacbell sounded particularly evil about. It was pretty fun. But i'm on some mailing lists and i'm not always sure if it's spam or what.

Too many silly beatles love songs i guess. I mean it was just a fantasy, there really is no harm in that. And i could only maintain it as long as i had no idea where in the world she was. I mean i really have no interest in having a girlfiend, but it was nice to pretend that i could some time, but it was just a harmless daydream. Oops, but there was a actually a real person involved and i couldn't hold onto a dream in the cold light of truth, and i'd really much rather just be friends (although one wonders if that can really happen). Still, i'd rather dream of angels than be with same old everyday woman (bonus question: what jimi tune is this alluding to?).

And really it's just a matter of economics. I haven't really been able afford a gf, so i don't mess with it. And i was stuck with all these nasty little spoiled rich brats. I like to think though that i may have tempered some of their arrogant 'tude. Whatever, i really don't give a fuck about them. And she really was yet another little princess, and would have been way too high maintenance for my little disillusioned self. (Although it is a viable strategy to marry rich, and i'm sure she has some rich friends.. :)

What do i gain by losing this? Actually i could give up all ties to the past, i've been thinking this would certainly happen when i get a job. Who needs the past, anyway, it just ties you down to things you were. And what are my options? Should i just try to be like the rest of the slime in the world? ft.

Beliefs are very complex, because of their interconnectedness. One aspect of this complexity is that one small change can make a disproportionately large effect on other belief structures.

Beware the ides of april.

I just had a major catastrophe. I lost my bookmark file, which was a honed down summary of a year of web-surfing. Argh! And most of it was my brother's. ouch.

Well, i have one vote for forgetting about her completely. Thanks doug, it's not like i haven't tried that. And sorry if i made it seem worse than it is. It's just more fun to write it like that.

Right now i'm listening to cry of love, possibly jimi's finest, although it has quite a different sound, since its with the band of gypsies and not the experience. Axis: bold as love is also more of a contender, but cry of love is so much more soulful. Did i mention that i have a thing for angels? I should go see Michael again, now there was an Angel, and there's little thread running through it about how he smells like cookies that i find strangely enlightening.

ok, so i'm a little distracted. It wouldn't be so sad in France.

Went to see the shrink. She said i should get a job (and she gave me some tips). I told her about wynne, and she said i should definitely call her before trying to see her. I guess i didn't get out that its because of wynne that i have a real aversion to calling people on the phone. And really there isn't much chance of my actually being able to go down and visit her by surprise. I'm just broken. I'll probably write her a letter.

Then i went to westech, a big technical job fair thing. There were quite a few things that seemed interesting. a fair amount of people are looking for java stuff. but as usual i was in no mood for "the look", the look where they size you up and you are nothing

i saw grosse pointe blank. The hero is the abstract, loner, intellectual-wanna-be type. Maybe somewhat like me. And he's also a warrior, a hitman actually. He seems so stupid though. And he is obsessed with this chick from high school, whom he hasn't seen in 10 years. And he's so emotionless that this obsession is almost an intellectual problem for him. And there are scenes of him talking to his "shrink". And there's an eery touch--his mom is on lithium. The central event is his 10-year high school reunion. (personally i'm glad i didn't go to mine, although i didn't write a letter of protest like alex). The ending was surprisingly boring, and no one ever seemed to sight their guns. And what is it with killing people with TVs? But except for the silly ending, i thought it was an interesting character study, and had some funny moments. (in my defense, my plan to kill people was to create robots for it).

what have i done to her? what has she done to me?

i mean, i don't want to be obsessed, but it gives me something to think about. actually its quite complex. There's part of me that just thinks she's a great person, and part that's just lonely, i guess, generating all manner of weirdness, and part that just wants to be distracted.

found out that wynne is a pediatric resident at Stanford.

i was going to go shooting today, but i got set on going on the weekend because there is this range near me that is only open on the weekends. But i changed my mind about which range to go to, i want to go to one in town for the shopping, and i'd rather go there during the week when it isn't so busy. But it took having it right in front of me to actually put it off.

If you want something and can't have it, should you stop wanting it? Maybe you wait until you can afford it, or you look for something else. Or maybe it just isn't really right for you and you should give up.

I keep letting myself get distracted. I mean i should be looking to get a job or make some money, but i think i just don't know how to do it, and i just think about other stuff instead of just feeling bad about wasting away all my time.

I'm curious to see her, and i'd like to get to know her again. I think i could be a devoted friend. I like that long time continuity, but i don't think she really is. And its mixed in with my obsession for her (which i can deal with). But probably the most is that i just want to be distracted. I mean she is really pretty different from me, rather conventional, but i can't really say she isn't my type, because i don't have a type and i am nothing.

pretty soon i'll probably quit pretending that anyone else would read this. It's just for me, anyway

[cap]This reminds mind of a fundamental problem with AI research, which i like to compare to our approach to the moon landing. In getting to the moon, the US stuck a tin can on a big firecracker to get the whole job done at once instead of the more rational approach of building an orbiting space station and from there sending a mission to the moon. The AI people orginally took the bold approach. The had the goal of creating the fully functional, adult thinking machine from scratch in fierce burst of will. But just as there is no moon station based on the big firecracker, we don't have an AI based on the 'symbolic' approach. There is a different approach, creating a system that can learn from the environment to become intelligent (which is really how humans do it), which is a simpler task and more likely to get results. We create new animal types from single cells and letting them grow, not from sewing parts together. So the problem of creating a disembodied adult is like a couple generations down the road from creating a first intelligence (but after enough is learned from the growth approach, even that would be possible).

i was reading in Science about a neural network approach to grammar. Instead of using general rules of grammar, which would be too difficult for childen to learn and therefore had to be inherited. We use a lot of different linguistic modules that interact, and probabilistic information whic we pick up from experience.

babbling is an important part of language learning

Another technique to assist in having lucid dreams is to take a nap during the day, which makes it more likely to remember the dream. I find that waking up and slipping back ihnto a dream state is really good for becoming aware of your dreams. One commonly used technique is to keep a dream diary, but i resist that, because i'm too lazy, and i don't really want to remember my dreams. Sometimes its hard to remember if something was real or happened in a dream.

Animals are born with the idea that taller is bigger. So humans standing erect have that little advantage. Children are supposed to have the same idea, If you have water in a tall thin glass and pour it in a short fat glass they will say the tall one has more.

I went to go see scream, a wes craven horror flick in rerelease. I liked it because it was a parody in addition to a straight horror flick. There was one scene in which a group are watching a horror video with jamie lee curtis, and the discussion turns to her breasts. The one chick exclaims "tits!", and the next camera shot shows off her tits, with obvious nipple bumps in her shirt, even though she's wearing a bra. lots of stuff like that. there was a preview for the next batman movie with clooney; alicia silverstne(sp?) is going to show up as batgirl; i liked her in clueless.

There are some groups i don't like, even though the individuals in them don't seem any worse than average people. i guess i just don't like people in general.

sex is a reward for doing what they want

its seems to me that clapton plays fake blues. that rock drifted into a totally fake blues style. blues is about hopelessness, things are terrible and there is nothing you can do so you play or laugh. For some people its just pretend.

[cap post,re verifying conscious experience] How about this: we first need scanning technology that will enable us to trace paths of neural activity. Right now our scanning technology isn't quite so precise, allowing use to detect in general time-integrated regions of activity. Knowing the neural impulses won't be enough, for there is some sub-neuron information that determines the functionality, but with luck a lot of that can be determined with the functional info (Or might be available from a more precise static scan). This raw data will need heirarchical brain modeling to determine the higher level functionality. Building this full model of the individual brain will be a daunting task, but there should be a lot of commonality between different brains, (although probably not as much as some might like). Somewhere in those functional models will lie an understanding of the general processes that we now vaguely call consciousness, enough for "verification".

I never actually need her. I think dependence relationships are pretty bad. I just wanted her in a mind-meltdown kind of way.

I really like the intel commercials for MMX technology. The disco guys in the colored space-suits. They are about how fun technology really is, vs. the drudgery that a lot of people are stuck with.

One thing about liposuction, fat chicks get smaller hips, but they keep the fat woman breasts.

So i'm trying to get to the point where i notice that i'm dreaming. I was hoping to learn to react to strange things, that this would trigger my realizing that i am dreaming, but i just had a dream that was like an x-file episode, and my other dreams seem to be fairly close to everyday stuff that might happen to me. I don't know if i am starting to have more believable (ordinary) dreams, since i didn't remember them so much before. But there is a problem now since the same mechanism that allows me to accept TV shows is letting me accept dreams as reasonable, when i want to realize that they are dreams.

in the quest for truth, emotions mean nothing.

People should be compatible with everyone else. It is a terrible loss to be stuck with only certain types of persons.

There is an idea from science fiction that we are approaching a day where technology will be so advanced, that nothing after it will be predictable from what came before it. In comparison with a black hole, it is called a singularity. This would be something like having intelligent nanotechnical machines that could rebuild the surface of the planet atom-by-atom to contain anything they want, in that day. Probably the most optimistic predictions for singularity is about 2070, One of the consequences of making it to the singularity is that you would likely be immortal. So to be optimistic, i have the goal to live to be 100 to make it to 2070. If singularity is longer in coming then maybe we just aren't in that good a world.

We don't really know our own motives, we have to guess at them like everyone else, with only a slight bit more access to the evidence of what we've done.

Dennet talks about how it wouldn't be possible to do a complete simulation of the world. I was somewhat convinced at the time i read it, but i'm not so sure, and certainly people with little imagination don't see a problem with it. Aside from chaos problems and loss of information, there is a computational problem that each object is affected by all the other objects, and calculating the resulting influence is a big problem, but most of the interactions are negligible, and the whole benefit of having objects is that you can put peices together to have a big object, and limit the total number of objects you have to calculate with, reducing the work. And i'm sure that there are other ways of handling the interactions. Right now, i don't see exactly what the exponential explosion was that dennet had in mind. Of course, according to chaos theory, the model will never match the world, because even the rounding errors at the sixteenth decimal place will eventually be enough to get the simulation out of synch, but i don't think that was the problem. Right now we have a software problem that we don't have the programs to simulate enough objects in the world and handle the interaction, but that doesn't make it computationally impossible. I don't know.

There's a kind of recycling of plastic that isn't recylcing at all. They take the plastic and make some type of bucket from it, but it doesn't ever get made into the original plastic object. Since its not a cycle, it couldn't be used indefinitely, or the world would just be full of buckets, and no candy wrappers.

a life strategy: help everyone, deceive your enemies.

There is a thing where people form relationships to fill some hole in their personality, some skill they are bad at that the other people can do for them. This pretty well insures that they will stay an incomplete person, and some people are happy to stay that way for all their lives. The other person provides continuing pressure to maintain that hole. And there will be trouble if there is actual change. Hence the problem with early marriages, but its more general than that.

the flu virus is mostly sitting in wild birds. In china, still pretty rural and people are close to animals, the birds transmit the virus to people, or pigs and then to people, and it's spread all over. There are other pathways, of course, but one way to get rid of flu, would be to find a way to cure the wild birds. It actually not that unreasonable, the approach would be first to find a cure, then genetically engineer a plant food that they eat to contain it, and then plant those plants around.

[comp.ai.philosophy post] This unverifiability of conscious experience is just a current technical limitation.

[qv (ispe)post] First we need to know what stress is. Mechanical stress is some force or pressure on an object that causes it to bend (strain). Psychological stress then would be something in the environment that pushes you into something you don't want to do. The problem of course with stress is the reaction to it. If you can just bend with it, then there is no problem. But if you are trying to stay rigid, (like maintaining your identity which is totally reasonable) then you will get internal friction and small bits of damage.

Another way to look at stress is the biological reaction that animals like us have developed for stress. We have that wonderful "fight or flight" reaction from various chemicals like adrenaline. This wonderful reaction can give us that shakey twitchy heart-racing nervous feeling. Which can build up if not dissipated. And it's like any exercise, we get used to it the more we "do" it, so you can build some tolerance to stress (actually our reaction to it). But like any exercise, it's possible to get way too much and then overload and shut down. This stress reaction was intended to prepare hunter/gatherer types for physical action, so there might be some need for an actual physical release.

Well what to do? You need take time to recover from each bit of stress to gain resistance. The mental strains need to be dealt with, as does the state of physical arousal. Personally i have a little tai chi/martial arts form which allows me to visualize my beating up the offenders in question, relieving both the physical and mental need to do something (ie fight) if only in an imaginary way any time i want. As for dealing with mental problems in general, i'm an introspective type of person, and i find that taking a relaxing half hour to think about the problems really helps (self-analysis); occasionally it will turn me all the way around. But this is more of a life-long process than a quick fix. Just relaxing or pointlessly meditating does not seem as good for me, and i would watch out for any magic bullet that doesn't deal with the real damages and tears caused by stress.[qv end]

i saw a show on women in the sex industry (strippers, hookers). It was all just a job for them, although there might have been a little exhibitionism and need for validation. But it really struck me that there didn't really seem to be anything else to their lives but their work, that is they really seemed pretty empty (that could have been the directors fault). One talked about trying to make a real connection to the person. And they talked about how they might break the rules if they need the money.

I just got a wrong number. Most wrong numbers now are people who actually have this number written down by mistake.

One thing not widely understood about natural selection is that it doesn't simply select for individuals, it also selects for whole populations, such that a species won't just have identical members. Variability is very important, not just for disease protection, but also for various social roles to be filled. You would need for there to be leaders, followers, some daredevils, and lots of guys to play it safe. Its possible even on a genetic level for there to be a stable mix of different types of individuals. Certainly social pressure could account for different people types also. But it is reasonably that societies keep a balanced number of different types.

just making an effort to think about things seems to be helping me, plus not just forgetting things instantly. Actually i still forget things instantly, but now i write them down first. And maybe i actually forget things faster when i write them down, but i am able to think of more things, instead of trying to hold the same thing in mind for an extended period. That's a big reason i wrote ideas down in the past--so i could quickly move on to other things.

what is humor? and why is it so fun? My current view of humor had been that it was a way for people to point out when someone else had done something wrong. We laugh at other peoples mistakes, essentially. The laugh itself is very noisy and everyone notices. This has several good functions: the person who made the mistake gets it reinforced that it was a mistake in case he didn't know, other people who might not know of the mistake get warned not to do it, and it is generally brought to everyone's attention so they can deal with it as they need to. These are such good benefits that it's a good thing for laughing to be pleasurable. Possibly another cause for it to be pleasurable is that it makes the laugher feel superior to the person laughed at (this may be the root of the pleasure, but the pleasure may have taken some additional independent link since its a useful social function, or maybe that source is just naturally amplified). Nowadays, people buy pleasure where they can, so we have comics who find humor professionally. One of the nifty things in zen is the zen clowns, who were always laughing at everything.

In my cosmology of the universe being just bends in space time, i have tended to think of these bends as kind of creases, sort of linear. I just thought that the string theory make more sense, that these bends could be more circular, like dents, or making sort of tube patterns in space-time. I'm not so good at visualizing patterns in higher dimensional (try 9) systems, but i think it makes sense.

[cap post] Words narrow the view of the whole world to some particular classes. There is first the perceptual process of building classes and objects to think about, and the verbal system adds a way to jump into that process towards the end. Particular objects are a class of views of that object, plus a concept for identity persistence, or an expectation that something you say before should still be there after a short enough time. "John" is really a kind of collection of all the images you have had of john. There is even a more basic physical abstraction. The eye bounces around and the mind has to recreate a stable view of the current world from an amazingly bouncy collection of images. Words must indicate what groupings should be made to recreate the image or story trying to be communicated. The process of forming groupings is a basic mental process, and communication is an attempt to direct the attention to specific groupings.

Privacy right is a property right to your time and attention.

I don't know how i got the habit of not proofreading (i guess from not wanting to admit mistakes), but that is seriously bad. if i won't read it, why would anyone else.

to ignore is to encourage. the person can take silence or inaction as permission to continue. "For evil to triumph it is enough that good men do nothing." I actually used that on irc, there was an evil person and i said really nasty things about her, and when there was no reply or attempt to defend, it was kind of a show of weakness. I don't think she tried that again. The real act of shunning requires some noticeable if small act, like hushing up or glancing away. Treated as a learning problem, if someone, for whatever reason (ie by intent or accident), does something bad or wrong or just something you don't like, and they get away with it without any problem, that is encouragement enough to do it again. Indeed once something is successful once, it now becomes a serious struggle to stop it, just because it is a successfully learned behavior. Therefore the best approach is to react immediately with furious anger, and this is in fact the natural reaction. This strategy actually has support in game theory, where it is also tied to an idea of forgiveness after the initial retribution.

General Relativity holds that objects travel through the shortest possible path through curved space (i think that's right). Why would that be? maybe there is some type of tension tightening paths in space-time.

I think daylight-savings time has me kind of messed up. I had a lot of other stuff to write about, but i'm way behind, and i'll quit for now.

And i'm driving back. just as i turn from highway 17 to bear creek road, the voltage indicator shows that the alternator circuit is broken again. I'm figuring this bad connection is temperature related and i stop to cool off. I tried starting is several times and nothing. After a while, i decided that it probably needs some road vibration to get it going again. And after a short distance, it came back. But i had the opportunity to look at the manual, And the car computer knew that the voltage had gone out, but it also said there was a problem with the distributor.

One thing that is going to have a huge effect on computing in the near future is the use of distributed programming (a single program that uses many computers) . Distributed programs have been used for some mathematical problems that are easy to break up, like checking prime numbers and some code-breaking. The main problem is that there is no easy and widely available way to do it, no commonly used programs. But the new java has support for distributed programs (Unix which is pretty global can do it, but language support hasn't been widespread). The kind of thing this could mean would be that computers on a network could be used to run really huge programs, using time when they are just sitting doing nothing. This could mean an amazing jump in the computer power of the country, just because people would be able to use existing computers better. Unfortunately it is a software problem, and often it is very hard to get much advantage from distributed programs. But with java being all over the place, it should at least suddenly be convenient. Of course almost all programs are conceived to fit into a single computer, and we don't even have a lot of good ideas yet.

Somebody was proposing that she was really after peace. What was she willing to do about peace? I've heard it suggested that maybe if these murderers got laid more often, they would be killing people. Where are the women and the organization that could implement this solution to the world problems? Seems like a perfectly good role for society to encourage, the peace keeper

I'm dreaming about what would be the perfect house, not the building but the atmosphere and the activities and the people and the organization. I'm thinking something like a frat house i guess, but they seem a little degenerate, a good idea hobbled by small minds. The first thing we want is exuberance, it needs to be bubbling over with doings and thinkings and plannings and livings. Comings and goings, new things. People tend to build on each other's energies, supporting and raising them. Cheerleading is a great thing. One product, dear to my heart of course, must be wisdom, as people who leave see more clearly than when they entered. But wisdom is not all there is. There's gotta be food. Always food. An army marches on their stomachs. And for the warrior spirit, there must be the telling of the tales and the celebration of the victories, and the healing of the wounds. There must always be a string to make it a great house. But it should not be assumed that a constant vigor can be held, because in the times of quiet and peace there is a great building. What happens during the slow development is as important as the sudden act of change. A house, a house!

Ginsberg is dead. Howl!

I went to a mensa meeting. and there were a bunch of old computer geeks, back from the dinosaur days of computing. There was a guy with a java t-shirt. One guy was talking about scripting and perl. And a guy wanted to start a business based on a machine he developed. But it seems clear to me when i tried to talk to them that i am not much of a computer geek, really, and i didn't really have much to say to them.

In the spirit of openness, I'll describe an unusual visit to the pink poodle. I just turned thirty, and some crazy people just gave me $2000 more credit. So to celebrate, i went down to a strip club. Naked women have a really low level kind of biological effect, that bypasses conscious awareness. Sometimes it seems that i don't sleep as much when i've gone to see some, and it seems to give me a little kick of motivation or energy or something. And it's all just play and pretend, anyway. The fascist rulers of the local area are militantly against any physical contact at all. There is this little clear plastic wall around the edge of the stage and you're supposed to hang money on it, lest the act of tipping itself involve physical contact. Normally the dancer would have to bend over or squat down to get it, but i don't know if it was from considiration from their laziness or to move it along, but this time, folks were actally handing money up to them. Just a little contact of fingers makes a really surprising difference, a connection. I've seen in described in psychology articles. And it's not even a conscious thing, but a subtle effect of mood. The mainliner, serenity, had an interesting show. (why do porn queens always seem fat?) She was going at it with a dildo, right there a couple feet away, and four fingers. She did this thing where she popped the dildo out, and it like hit me in the head. It was too precious. And she had this little change in character, like she was a real person and this was a crazy world, when she put her hand on the side of my face. The whole mechanism of conscious attention is for focusing on unexpected events. Well, she said it doesn't usually go so far.

Something is conserved, which can take the form of energy or mass. Some property of space-time.

i used to think that i had a multiple choice memory. I was very good at answering multiple choice questions, but not so good at just giving the answer, or giving a full explanation. It seems like i knew some people that really choked on multiple choice

Just Do and Ti it.

I like to use suck as a model for this journal, although i don't yet aspire to their quality of writing or their graphics design. I guess its more of something to work toward, since i'm not really moving there. I don't use the margins yet. And i need to add graphics, i guess. And i still include boring personal stuff, and the content is generally uninteresting. At least i have room to grow.

The main principle of Quality (as in Demming) to me is always making an effort to improve, which normally involves talking to your consumers, but since i'm a little lacking in that area, i looked at a survey about on-line journals (ok actually i just happened on it when i was looking at Mary Anne's journal, but i mostly look at other journals to get ideas.) Anyway, i decided that i am pretty much not going for that audience, which seems to be mostly people looking for additional vicarious lives. Sorry, none of that here. Just philosophical musings and attemptings at thinkings. I hope never to be entertaining (the idea that people are objects for your amusement is unethical), but I aspire to be enlightening in maybe a guru sense.

Speaking of senses, "sense" is the word used to describe different meanings of a particular word in the natural language textbook i'm getting around to reading. The last book i read about it was a little too theoretical and i didn't get much out of it, but i hope this one will inspire me with some programming projects.

something of a grim day today. I was boiling a cup of water in the microwave for hot chocolate, and when it was done, i had some hot chocolate packets that were stuck together and i had ripped two apart (but not open) when i decided today would be a good day for a fast, so i put the two now separated packets back. But i had a cup of hot water. i think of it as very weak tea. I'm listening to james taylor. one of those sad albums from one of those sad people.

It turns out that the catholic church hasn't been against the theory of evolution for a while. In 1950 pope pius said that the church wasn't against it, it was a different magisterium or area of expertise that science had every right to speak about, different from the magisterium of the church which is concerned with morality and the soul. pius, though, did say that the theory wasn't proven yet and seemed to be hoping that it wouldn't be. john paul recently added that evolution finally has been essential proven and that's fine with the church. It only bothers the crazy fundamentalist bible literalists. The church has always said that the bible needs to be interpreted. the doctrine of the immortal soul is the important thing to the church (i have argued against the soul elsewhere and maybe i'll consider it again). And evolution paints a harsh and cruel view of the world, which humans can rise above.

i read a little about shamans. Shamans are people who travel spiritually to other worlds, often to speak with the spirits there to win back the health of people. Its different from medicine men or healers or magicians. Shamans are all over the world and they use drugs or dancing or drumming (4-7 beats per second) to enter the trance which can take them to the other world. The lucid dreaming which i'm trying, and which is in carlos, i guess is sort of in this tradition. carlos actually talks about many other things too; that is, all the warrior stuff is essentially not shaman stuff, and i'm guessing that people who would be shamans are usually somewhat schizophrenic.

what did eliot mean in The Waste Land? sure, he was going after that spiritual paralysis that comes after a great world war. i'm sure that's why i like the beats. But we didn't just have a world war, i guess society to me is always completely without values. But anyway, eliot had this sort of different philosophy about moral thinking. It's a little clearer in "Prufrock" (the "pair of ragged claws" poem), which was towards the beginning of the war. The traditional approach to morality revolves around the question whether actions are good or bad. But the more fundamental question that people are faced with is whether to act or not in the first place. I guess the idea is that you must at least act and be true to yourself, or you will not only not be good, you will be nothing. Its almost a little romantic, and the idea sort of rebounds in existentialism (and of course in fascism). It becomes actually quite mainstream that you should act in accord with who you are, be true to yourself, and all that rot. I suppose there is also something to be said for avoiding a mental layer of asking "is this good?" when its hard enough to decide "do i act or not?". But let's see what a world war does to one's dream. Suddenly everyone is tired, and no one thinks of the greatness of humanity, and whatever meanings people thought they had seem empty. They just want the peace which passeth understanding.

If you can't say anything interesting, make something up.

I saw a book by some guy sanchez, (the way of don carlos or something like that), supposedly applying carlos's stuff to everyday life. i'll have to read it eventually but i didn't think i had time right now.

problems with the electricity today. pg&e cut back on cutting tree branches, and now we've been losing electricity a lot.

One of the consequences of trying to have lucid dreams is that you remember a lot more of the regular ones. I just had this one dream, i'm sitting in a school desk looking at her, and i had this intense feeling of being "in love". I don't remember ever remembering such an intense feeling in a dream. I suppose it was just from the memory, but gosh. I mean i know i'm obsessed, but i don't think its serious.

Its all just terminology. If you want to redefine words, make up new ones and redefine them. Don't mangle the ones i'm using. I don't need you for that.

The niftiest thing that could come out of nanotechnology that i've heard of is solar-energy collecting paving material. Naturally it could also be roofing material. And we could finally have a really clean and easy energy source, using space that normally isn't much used. And the energy would be good for transport, since it would be wherever the vehicles go. Just the idea of solar energy collecting paving material is thought-provoking.

Yesterday i experienced a sign. For me, and i guess its a carlos thing, there are all sorts of things that happen, that can be taken as showing some significant to some problem you might be facing. Its not necessary that the thing in itself clearly points out something, but rather that it gives you an opportunity to think, and the mere act of seeing the sign and trying to decide its meaning will tell you something. Sometimes something is merely too strange for it not to be an opportunity to decide or learn something.

Anyway, this particular sign involved the alternator on my car. I have been having trouble with my alternator belt being loose so i was trying to pay a little more attention to it, and i have a voltage gauge on my instrument panel so i can tell how well the alternator is working. The belt had been slipping for a while and i finally fixed it. I was in town on some business in the afternoon, and when i started my car to go on to my next destination, I saw that the alternator was doing nothing. I figured the belt must have come off or gotten loose, so i crawled under the car, but the belt was fine. Since this was already the third alternator on this thing, i figured i must have lost another one, so i was thinking about mechanics. Well i was parked out in front of a car parts store, and i went in to ask them where there was a good mechanic around there, and this parts girl ask me what's wrong, and its the alternator so she offers to check it with some charger system checker device. She wheels some fancy box out, and its totally gone, no juice coming out of the thing. Argh. And she suggests calling a place that might be able to look at it that day. She actually calls them (which is how i think i heard that her name was andrea). But they are a little too busy. It could just be a bad wire, right? Anyways, just a few doors down there was a tire place that could do some stuff, so i limped over there (still nothing) and when i stopped i decided to look at the wires, and i didn't see anything wrong, especially. Tire place's mechanic is booked, but he suggests some other places, and i try to limp on a little bit further down the road. And of course it started working then as i was driving away. It was at that point that i realized that it must be one of those crazy signs i get now and again (and not just that my car is falling apart). And there was that name andrea that actually has a little too much significance for me, so i decided that i needed to go back, at first i was thinking to check the alternator again, but since all was fine it became just to say thanks. And i missed all the lights on the way back. I go into the store, and she is like, no longer there--it's like fifteen minutes later, but she could have left or been in the back. Still, that's the kind of thing that always makes these things really spooky. But what does it mean? I took it as an example of not really needing the help of other people.

And then there's angels. I once had a delusional way of looking at the world and seeing it as being just full of angels, or you could see it as full of demons, or as just empty particles. It was more of an interpretation than anything else. And as i think about it, i can not really be sure that all women are not angels anyway, because they sure are mysterious, and more than a little bit magical. Anyway, i do seem to occasionally come upon the particularly magical person; sometimes they don't even seem real, and often are anonymous. There was the one girl, that i saw a few times, with a strange property, in addition to being extraordinarily nice, that i couldn't ever remember her name or even hear it right if she told it to me, or remember especially what she looked like (although that latter isn't so much for me since i have some trouble telling women's faces apart). I'm not saying andrea was an angel, but the experience falls into that category.