Cat-astrophe averted

A padlockI like my cat. She is well behaved and doesn’t make a mess.

I went to my storage unit today. I got out the padlock key. The lock was stuck in the hole so I tried wiggling it. Good enough….

Then, it happened. I dropped the key. It would normally not be a big deal.. lean over and pick it up, right? But to my misfortune, the key fell right into the crack between the unit’s concrete and the concrete along the pavement.

I was not too upset. (For sufficiently high values of “too upset.”)

I tried picking out out with a regular key tag and, of course, dropped the key tag in the slot too. I broke out the big guns and used the temple piece of my glasses to pull out both of them.

It looked like the groove went a lot deeper, but I was fortunate in my misfortune that it didn’t fall that deep.

I got one more box out of the storage unit—the rest of my music collection—so that I could continue making progress toward the goal of closing down the storage unit.

Time to put a bigger key tag on the key’s ring.

And Zorro was happy to see me when I returned home.

Sometimes

Sometimes life is fun. You have someone or something to fight against. One can find a passion that feels like life itself. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

Sometimes life is painful. You have a problem too large. One finds that what you want is not what you need. If only tomorrow was already over.

Sometimes life is aggravating. You can’t find the last puzzle piece. One has never been able to get it done. If only tomorrow would never come.

Sometimes life is saddening. You have lost your best part. One can’t see the parts that are still there. If only it were yesterday again.

Sometimes life is exhilarating. You’ve got life by the balls. One can see the next big thing. If only I knew that yesterday.

Sometimes life is confusing.

Spring 2018 random notes

I ordered the book Homecoming by John Bradshaw tonight. I checked http://finderscheapers.com for prices, but pretty much ignored that website. It listed two used bookstore services I have accounts with, http://alibris.com and http://abebooks.com Alibris lost the sale because their checkout screen failed. Amazon, I avoid on principle.

I conjured up some one-time-use credit card numbers. They’re great for online purchases because they put a (lower) limit on the risk from bad people stealing my information from a vendor’s databases. It comes from Bank of America’s “ShopSafe” which is a service on their online banking site.

I got a long, relaxing nap this afternoon/evening. I woke up at 7:05 which was a little late for some events I wanted to go to that started at 7. I could have gone late, but I chose not to.

I really like my new sofa. The old one was tore up by my cats. I’d had it for years. I have been having trouble with back pain sitting on the old one so I needed to take action. Thanks mom!

I’ve got to the Y three days in a row which is a big accomplishment for me.

I made an appointment for Friday with the nurse with my cardiologist. I am concerned how badly winded I got moving the furniture with my dad. It shows that blood pressure might be an wishful explanation of my cardiac condition. I was upset the cardiologist had let my blood pressure be dangerously high for months while he said it was ok. I canceled my last appointment in March when I finally forced the issue. At that time, he told me my goal level was quite below those levels. Right now it is quite consistently a good number. It’s in the universally recommended range so I’m happier…. Also that I’m only taking one medication instead of the 2+ that I’d been taking until March.

There’s an famous-ish song Dragostea din tei that had a viral video that made it famous. Back when I first learned about the song, I found a musician Craig Anstey https://www.youtube.com/user/Canstey84 on youtube that had done a cover https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFonM543atg of it. I have a copy of his cover that I have for making a mix tape (BQM XVII). It’s not a literal translation of the lyrics, but its text is well known.

My last cousin is engaged. The wedding is Sept. 15. We’ll all be packing up and going to Louisiana for the festivities. Of the 15 in our generation I’ll be the only one not married and it is most likely going to stay that way. There’s also been only 2 divorces among us which is a point of pride for me — of the 6 pairs of married aunts and uncles, they have a combined 300+ years married.

On the most recent royal wedding in Great Britain I liked that the officiator of the wedding said “I proclaim them man and wife.” I don’t think “proclaim” is used much (at least it sounds more elevated than the language I remember from my family’s weddings.)

I was able to run the media for my church this week. I had someone behind me helping my confidence. There were a couple of places where he suggested I black the screen that I didn’t notice on my own. The social media feed was a little messy to turn off, but I remembered the right way to do that so it was not broken for long.

I guess I’ve typed enough….

Violences

Thought bubbleI was reflecting recently about different forms of violence. Some of them are pretty obvious: killing someone, attacking a person with a firearm, knife or club. Shouting at and belittling a person is easy to count as violence as well.

There are more subtle forms of violence. One form attacks, instead of a person, a relationship. By backbiting between two people, it’s possible to poison the relationship, violate trust and companionship. Gossip can be considered a form of violence, striking the victim from behind their back. Violence against a relationship can take varied forms, but it often kills or injures trust.

I realized that their are further forms of violence not visible from the outside. One can attack or berate a person from within your imagination. You can wish they would suffer harm or die, but not take any steps to plan to carry that out. These inner violences can still have negative consequences because they can be reflected in interactions with the other person… acting cold or rude in a manner not characteristic with other people. One can reveal the negative attitude when talking to other people about the target.

One further form of violence is against oneself. That can include suicide and physical self harm. Through self-sabotage, one can thwart ones potential by giving up too easily because of inner voices saying you’re no good, you’re not worth it, you don’t deserve any good things.

The form of violence that I’m most prone to is the latter kind. I project from my past what will happen next. My pattern-recognition is so attuned to detecting negative qualities of myself that I find fault in many things.

I didn’t recognize it as violence until I was writing a letter to a friend and thinking about how I treat myself. I’m most certainly rarely a good friend to myself. It’s hard for me to accept and forgive my mistakes because I can focus blame on the things I do as I participate in my life.

One poignant way that this has played out in the past is insecurity on relationships. I have a much too sensitive hair trigger on rejection. Although I am getting better, I still worry that I’ve done something wrong when i don’t reach someone for a while. Either I did some slight to make the person reject me or they don’t want my friendship anymore. I attack myself and usually no criticism is even necessary, just my hypersensitivity.

Being famous vs. being important

A thumbtackFor a while I’ve imagined that I’d like to be famous. It’s easy to see plenty of examples of famous people in the news. You see their glamour, the attention they get. I can imagine that that attention is what I need.

When I reflect a little, though, I see a lot of downsides of being famous. People see you for your fame and not as a person. I would need to be careful to not hurt friends that don’t want all of the attention. My beat up car, messy yard and deficient house cleaning could lead to a callous remark in the grocery line.

Impermanence is one strike on the heart that shows why being famous is a down. You write the awesome novel. Then what? If you don’t write another, you’ve become a flash-in-the-pan. Your academic work is lauded in textbooks. If in 20 years, an unexpected discovery overturns all of your scholarship, the fame fades quickly. If you made a mistake, even more so.

Selective vision is another strike. Who will really care that you have a life-long commitment to support the local civic club once you’ve create a substantial industry? Incidents where where a president answered a child’s letter with compassion and kindness are lost behind the glamour of a successful career in politics. In the end, a celebrity has their life’s work washed down to one paragraph in an obituary.

Superficiality strikes darkly at fame’s aura. A famous person could really proud of something small, but in fame, it would be pushed from their mind. Their one giant success will blot out the little things that meant more before fame hit. To most, a famous person is little more that the avatar for their social media.

Fame is a very fickle mistress who has an insatiable appetite for more.

Being important is not so negating.

I can be important in many different ways. What is important to me is based on my values and experience. If I’m important to someone else, it means that our paths crossed in some way. I can be grateful that I said this right thing or listened at that right moment.

A small effort of kindness, really nothing in my eyes, could make a lot of difference in someone’s life. It could allow them to make a difference to others I’ll never meet

If I am important, I don’t have the expectation that I keep up the poseur’s show to protect any fleeting fame.

I can be important without any demands on my time. It doesn’t matter that I won’t be important tomorrow. I can go back to bed and do something important the following day.

House version 2.0

For several months, my bedroom was a shambles. I had hired someone to rip out the plaster and replace it with drywall. Unfortunately, he wasn’t qualified and left the place a mess. He had planned to do more work to finish it, but the quality wasn’t satisfactory. My bedroom was on standby as I slept in my living room for several months.

I was hospitalized in March for 10 days. Mom and dad made the room livable again. However, mom was operating under the direction “do not throw anything away” while also not knowing what different things were for or how to organize them.

She did her best, but one person’s organization can be another person’s chaos. I’m rearranging things in a big way–my vision is that it will be better than the original ever could be.

I’ve got various goals. One is to turn the house into a refuge from the storm for people needing help. I’ve already failed at having people stay with me, so that’s not an option. However, housing is not the only refuge people might need.

I’m hoping the living room can become a party room. While a typical party has loud music and posing, I’m hoping for the opportunity for small groups of people to share something unique. The current kitchen might double a room for people to meet in private.

The bedroom and office are in flux. On one hand, I’d like the current bedroom to be an office. I’ve got a map, but it would be cramped and the current computer room would become a bedroom and library. That’s a middle term goal while my primary goal is to close down my storage unit which costs about $40 per month. I’d also like to create a place for producing music and videos.

The expensive goals are to fix the plumbing, electrical outlets and lighting. This month I need to get a lot of quotes on the many different sub-projects.

I have big hopes and am looking forward to getting stability in what is currently very shaky. I’m tending toward having a tent theme to the house where the rooms will not be divided by modern plaster. I’d rather have a form that harks back to humanity’s experience as wanderers in a big world. Our world is hard to understand. Making something simple seems worthwhile.

The Prisoner’s Dilemma and Kobayashi Maru

An Octopus

At group today, I found a way to Kobayashi Maru the prisoner’s dilemma.

The prisoner’s dilemma is an example in game theory that has no obvious solution. John and Frank were arrested for an alleged robbery, in our example, a warehouse. The idea is that the two prisoner’s are separated and interrogated independently by the police. The police say that if you confess and implicate the other person, you’ll only get 1 year in prison and the other will get 20, but if both of you confess, you’ll both get 10 years.

The prisoner’s dilemma that pits loyalty against self-preservation. There isn’t any clear way to behave. It’s a test of character and the relationship between two people.

Kobayashi Maru is a famous incident in Star Trek history. It’s a simulation of a battle with the Klingons. Basically, the captain can’t win and will end up dying along with the rest of his crew.

Kirk, famously, cheated and reprogrammed the simulator to let him win.

So me and my partner come up with a backstory to the alleged crime. The two of us had been friends since 7th grade. When were were 20, we went to prison because of a automobile theft. Now the pair was 35. About a month before the arrest and warehouse incident, we’d had a falling out because of a mutual love interest.

So, my out-of-the-box solution: I confessed that I had done it, but the other person was innocent. He had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was actually a third person who was my co-conspirator in the robbery. In my mind when we played out the game, I was telling the truth and not just making up a story for the friend. But, regardless, I think it would blow out of the water any deal that the police had proposed.

In the experiment that we did today, the other person confessed as well, so according to the rules of the dilemma, we would both get 10 years in prison. The group leader didn’t reveal my actual note….

In summary, I had used my loyalty to my friend to help him out. It threw the whole situation in the air so that a prosecutor be required to sort it all out and the police wouldn’t have the tidy mutual confession.

It certainly would not be good for me in my solution. I used my loyalty to my friend to, potentially, put my life at risk. If the third person was vengeful, he could easily arrange for me to be killed.

So, I broke the dilemma, just as Kirk had broke the Kobayashi Maru simulation.