Pacific Standard: Learning to Love My Anxiety.
As you know, I grew up with a speech impediment. Speaking off-the-cuff in class terrified me. If anyone had described ‘anxiety’ or ‘panic attacks’ to me, I would have been a basket case. I would have needed every drug under the sun, therapy, just to face a single day of school. As it was, at that time, no such diagnoses were offered. So I found coping mechanisms. As in, I thought it was ‘normal’ and just ignored the anxiety. Later on, when an adult, I had a period where anxiety became overbearing. Seeking help from a psychiatrist, I received a dose of Xanax, and fell into the hole of chasing benzo half-life and endless useless therapy sessions. After some terrifying experiences (very mild dose, BTW), I said “SHIT” on the whole scheme. It seemed like a purposeful moneymaking track to increasingly powerful drug addiction. Three months to come down from the benzo-generated panic attacks. I would classify that period as the most disempowering experience I’ve ever had in my life. I pity those on that horrific path. Better facing the anxiety head-on, than the ‘fixes’. Yet it seems every other person in America is on this drug/therapy journey. Psychology needs to step in and break up this little profit-party.
Just can’t get no weblog-traction today.
Requests keep pilin’ in. Makin’ money’s a good thing. You’ll understand.
With y’all shortly.
Meeting this morning.
A biggie. With y’all later. Run along, read all about the end of the DNC. It’ll take three days for the glow to wear off. Then it gets real.
Aeon: Thinking positive is a surprisingly risky manoeuvre.
“Positive thinking impedes performance because it relaxes us and drains the energy we need to take action.” Um, there’s something wrong here. I was just doing a modified set of burpees yesterday (instead of just jumping up, I jumped up to do a full pullup, then back down for the pushup). I was only able to perform a handful. After five sets, my trainer said, “Let’s do three more than last time in the set.” I said, “No way.” He said, “You can do this. Big guy like you. Let’s go.” I steeled myself, muscles already screaming, and I did them. If he hadn’t have changed my mindset (which was already defeated), I’d never have done it.
Later: This is from a book, and it does reference Seligman’s “Learned Optimism” theories. So I won’t dismiss it as swiftly as I did above.
Fubiz: Adorable Cliches of a Photographer’s Shy Girlfriend.
Yeah, any photographer knows their spouse/partner/significant other gets terrible sick of the snapping. I’ve given up. I ask permission first and always.
The Atlantic: Success in High School Doesn’t Mean Good Grades in College.
“Instead, the pair thinks that if high schools want to prepare students for college, they should focus less on specific content and more on critical thinking and reasoning.” I agree. My experience in AP classes revealed a great variation in curriculum compared to what was expected on the test; I felt ill-prepared when facing those questions. But my experience was umpteen decades ago.
The selection of ‘advanced’ students was even more wobbly, in my view. Such programs tend to look for students whose performance is improving beyond baseline; this is an inaccurate metric in isolation. Using myself as an example: I wanted to attend AP English. But I was bored, having already read through the assigned reading materials, so my performance was declining out of lack of mental stimulation. I didn’t make it. So I took an elective in “Journalism” instead.
Ultimately, on my first day in college, I was asked to write a paper. I’d already skimmed the table of contents of the assigned “English textbook”, so I gave them everything the book covered, and much more. Within minutes of arriving at my very second class in “college English”, the instructor marched me down to the Department head and she waived all English requirements for my degree, clearing me for anything I wanted to take, including electives.
Here’s the question: Would the AP course have made me any better? I wonder.
High school is not college. And I don’t think there’s any way to approximate the experience in a high school setting. It’s more than just the classes and curricula. You are challenged in multifarious ways, this often being the first time a child is truly ‘on their own’, eliciting different responses in different kids. So yes, critical thinking and reasoning.
Storm over the Ortiz.
A gorgeous one, as I walked out to check the mailbox (not the one in the photo) today.
During yesterday’s visit to the gym, I’m working on the ellipticals behind all the other rows of equipment. I don’t watch television as I work out, but I can see what others are watching. As various people are watching RNC reruns, and and others intently gazing at media wonks placing bets on Wasserman-Schultz’ departure, the music on the overhead loudspeakers changes from the usual bump-thump to something strangely familiar. I realize I recognize it, through the haze of sweat ... and I nearly fall off the trainer laughing. “Sheep”, by Pink Floyd. Followed by ... “Reason to Believe”, by Springsteen. And, as people will do, they all start to step/pedal/ellipticalize to the songs’ rhythms. Then it all went back to current bump-thump music.
Just for a moment, it seems Clear Channel (or whatever service the gym uses) had an individual with a perspicacious sense of humor.
A moment I’ll treasure, courtesy a spin of life’s dice.
Repost from Facebook today.
She chose Kaine. Oh my friggin’ God.
The guy’s pro-fracking, pro-offshore drilling, pro-TPP, pro-bank deregulation. My morals, ethics ... I can’t. Just can’t. Where’s the whisky ... Jesus. We have to figure out how to live in the dark ...
c|net: Top 5 solid-state drives: It’s upgrade time.
Hmmm. I still need to get the recall done on my iMac’s graphics card. Time to replace the internal with an SSD, methinks.
YT: The Who, Eminence Front.
“It’s just an eminence front, an eminence front, it’s a put-on ...” First thing I thought of this morning. And I haven’t even started up the aggregator. Happy Friday!
Techdirt: Nick Denton Bucks The Trend Du Jour, Thinks News Comments Are Worth Saving.
“Throwing out the entire concept of on-site comments because a jackass said something mean or pointed out you were wrong about something has never been much of a solution.” Um, been saying this for a decade at least.
Slate: Trump’s wall would hurt wildlife and halt science at the border.
Let’s put this to bed once and for all. There will be no wall. Perhaps an invigorated fence, but there will be no wall. A wall vs. a fence requires much more material. How much more? I believe I’ve posted before - concrete calculators are available on the web. An 18’ high by 4’ thick by 1 mile long chunk of wall would be ~14,000 cubic yards of concrete. The entire border is 1,520 miles. That’s nearly 80 million cubic yards of concrete, longer than the Great Wall of China (built of brick-faced rammed earth). That wall didn’t keep out the hordes either.
The fact that Slate or any other media source is reporting on ‘the wall’ as if it is a serious consideration, is a breach of journalistic ethics if you ask me. As a joke only. A piece of idiotic tomfoolery.
But this is how media sources keep clickthroughs maxed, and make the contest more of a horserace (as I projected months ago).
[#ignoretrump. Thistles can’t grow where roses do. Use it - point to cat photos if you want. Anything but the blowhard.]
Macworld: Scrivener for iOS review - A sophisticated writing and research app for on-the-go.
Quirky but lovely, I use Scrivener for all my longer-form writing on desktop. I’ve not tried this mobile variant yet.
Chronicle of Higher Ed: What Classics Professors Can Teach the Rest of Us.
Yet little seems to rub off. Today’s writers seemed mired in descriptive trivia that the writers of classics simply didn’t need in order to paint a lively tableau. Perhaps it is my age - I don’t need to have my imagination prompted. I suspect today’s Disney-raised need textual cartoons to paint their cerebellums.
I would not change my era or childhood for *anything*.
Case in point: “Adrenalized coots”, “hotheaded moorhens”, “sly-bones heron”, “susurrant reeds”? Fellow writers, can you not see the thesaurus being hauled out for those? You can feel the streeeeeetch. Words over feelings, emotions. Words that break the song of location.
From my journal this weekend by the South Fork of the Rio:
There is a peace - a zen space - in watching the dance of sedge-flies in the morning, arcing and lilting over the water. A glancing touch on the surface, a sudden swirl ... swift death by trout. Chipmunks dart through the boulders and dead wood searching for forgotten morsels. Red-shafted flickers spark their crimson underwings seeking an easy insect breakfast buffet in the beetle-ridden deadwood. You can hear the river at work. Dull bass booms as the rocks shift. Curious, that flora and fauna manage to manifest such joy and happiness in the face of daily mortal danger, yet we humans seem to always be bored, testy and unsatisfied. An eddy in the river ... suds. Sticks to the rocks like plaque to teeth. Who would be so inconsiderate? Mother Nature has much to teach us, if we still have the capacity to listen. If we don’t murder her first.
I like those, but do not consider them finished thoughts; even that feels ‘not spare enough’.
SEO Chat: 4 Of the Most Destructive (And Common) Blogging Tips You’ve Ever Heard.
“Did you know that the majority of blogs become inactive within 100 days after creation?” 6,000+ days and counting ... I agree with the tips. But who’d listen to such drivel?
The Atlantic: The Decline of Social Mobility in America.
“Those who make very little money in their first jobs will probably still be making very little decades later, and those who start off making middle-class wages have similarly limited paths. Only those who start out at the top are likely to continue making good money throughout their working lives.” Or, for those like myself, boom-and-bust cycles. I feel like I’ve lived many different lives in my span of time. You have to be willing to risk, be bold.
‘5297 unread articles.’
Not so bad, really. I’ve seen worse.
I’m here, I’m alive.
I forgot to schedule posts when I should have. 25th wedding anniversary trip! Didn’t want to let the entire internet public know my house was empty and waiting for brutalization. What a time to be gone! Nice, Baton Rouge, Tuppence (Trump-Pence). I see I didn’t miss ANYTHING ... links when I can, as I plow through the backlog. My aggregator’s probably going to force-quit itself [internet software equivalent of suicide] for overload when I open it shortly ...
Mashable: A massive heat wave is poised to envelop the U.S. from coast to coast next week.
More?!!! Dear God, help us survive. We’ve had little break. Our night time temps are just not getting below 70 until midnight. Rough sleeping, sans A/C.
Bicycling: Heart Health - Why Fitness Alone Isn’t Enough.
I agree. Don’t waste time with an EKG or Holter monitor setup. Go straight to the stress echocardiogram. It’s the only test that gives physicians actionable information.
Return of the Cafe Racers: Motorcycle Maintenance Made Easy.
Second Yorkshire Gold (tea) of the morning ...
I’ll get to links, really I will ...
The word of this election season: “Imperviousness.”
I’ve never experienced such imperviousness to reason as I have these last few months. People I love, people I respect, acquaintances, strangers. People are entrenched, taking editorial media reports, political PR, interest-group marketing and immediately converting them to deeply-held belief without proof. If it sounds plausible and agrees with one’s preset opinions, then it’s ‘fact.’ A simple dry comment can elicit a friendship-breaking response. And it’s spread throughout the metacosm really, not just in political discourse. Beyond just a ‘litmus test’ - opinions are becoming guillotines for what used to be conversational classical argument. “My way or the highway.” The echo chambers of Facebook seem to be implicated here. The algorithms that continue to feed us what we ‘like’, rather than what we actually ought to see and understand. The morning email from Amazon, “Most Read from the Washington Post” — what a horrible, depressing way to start the day. Facebook Trends - all the news not fit to print. The new algorithms on Instagram, Twitter. All narrow, shoving us down a sales/marketing funnel. All keeping us ennervated, anxious ... ‘small’. I thank God for RSS and my aggregators every damned minute [little or no algorithmic targeting]. [RSS widens. Use it.]
I can certainly be impervious, but I’d like to believe I see it and recognize it, esp. when readers call me out. Many readers know of my willingness to push an argument out into books and spending time re-educating myself - postponing judgment and refusing to blog on the subject again until I know more. I try. I don’t see many others trying. The process of investigating a personal opinion can be confounding, maddening ... and amazingly rewarding. I thank my readers for this constantly. You all keep me functioning well. Reminding me to step away from the silicon!
Blogging used to be better. I look around at this present time, and ‘lose the will’. I know it’ll pass (I hope; ‘Trumpish imperviousness’ seems to have become a human virus). However the current philosophy of blog-as-soapbox instead of blog-as-conversation loses everything that is great about blogging, IMHO. I find it a sad shame. To me, simply engaging in a conversation implies mind-changing. I and you readers seem to be the minority here for believing this.
I’ll leave the last word with Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” Something I keep in the back of my head every time I open my mouth, or press “submit” on a post.