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Author: wangahrah Page 2 of 7

i herd u like emotions

I’m a pretty emotional guy, but I think I used to be a lot more expressive about it.  I remember having a few breakdowns in college, screaming and crying like a girl, having my brain shut off, and almost passing out from my overwhelming FEELINGS.  Those feelings mostly revolved around how much I hated my college.  Maybe some first world problems right there, but it was how I felt, and I expressed that. Though I did hate the school I went to (conservative christian environments for the not-win), I had a good community of guys, support of friends, etc etc, and I recall having more positive expressions of emotion.

After college in the REAL WORLD, that started tapering off.  I had people around, but continually connected to them less and less.  I still was an emotional guy, but couldn’t express it so well.  I “knew how” to argue “properly”, communicate with people, and make my thoughts known, but I did not connect to my own thoughts and emotions.  I could just play the role, and not with much feeling expressed to other people.  After a bad breakup, things got even worse.  It wasn’t about her in the end; it was about me.  I know that because I became friendly with her again, but still did not connect my emotions to my expressions.  It wasn’t particularly healthy, but neither the end of the world.

This is the part where I talk about how my wife reconnected me with some of my emotions.  She grew up in a significantly more emotional environment than I did, probably in both positive and negative ways.  She got me to reconnect with myself (and still does…I have to practice it daily or I can lose it), and not in a way I thought would be positive.

Anger.  She was a very angry person when we first met…orders of magnitude more than she is now!  That’s good, or the getting married thing probably wouldn’t have worked out.  In her past, when you felt something, you expressed it.  I don’t think that’s always good….but I err far too much on the side of not expressing anything that I feel, and communicating my thoughts on a purely intellectual level.  She had ups and downs with my family, and she expressed plenty of emotion about that, and I received plenty of emotional communication from my parents…but I spent all my time and energy parsing through her and their emotions and trying to intellectualize solutions than to consider how I myself felt, and express those feelings to either party, both which love me greatly.

So what were my breakthroughs?  Anger.  It connected me to myself.  I’m not calling what I’ve done good or bad; I’m simply acknowledging at this point they worked to create a more positive ME.  Even if it is bad, I LIKED it, and felt good about it.  All that happened was I ripped the legs off of  a table, and proceeded to use the table legs as a club to destroy the rest of the table.  That was some time ago…maybe a year or year and a half.  I don’t even remember why…I just remember purely expressing my emotions.  As a male, testosterone can make those expressions more on the violent side, but it felt good to have emotions connecting to my brain.   I felt pushed too far, and acknowledged my emotions, and acted on them.  When I was a kid, I got angry, and wrapped glass bottles in a big towel.  I went up into the woods, and smashed the bottles on rocks.  I wanted to go up and just smash the bottles on pure emotion, but I knew that was dumb because then I’d be littering, hence wrapping them in a towel so I could dispose of them properly.  Little me knew better sometimes than adult me.  Sometimes you need to express things.  Maybe through tears, maybe through smashing things,  maybe through smiling and dancing.

I can’t recreate my table-smashing fervor all the time, or I’ll have no furniture, but I learned that emotions which are deemed “bad” must be acknowledged.  It’s part of the human experience that I believe God shoved into our skulls.  I don’t know why, but that’s how it worked for me.

Understanding how to connect to my own emotions helped me both connect to my then-girlfriend now-wife, my family, and also helped me learn to build appropriate emotional defenses during arguments with loved ones.  I can love them, care about what they are saying, and still appropriately feel my own emotions and allow them to color my behaviour and arguments, remaining true to what I believe, loving others, and coming to positive resolutions.

 

married

Oh hello.  I got married.  Writing here hasn’t been much on my mind.

In the coming days, I’m planning on opening up about some personal stuff, that perhaps some religious/spiritual minded people don’t usually, or maybe they do and I just don’t care, just like you won’t care.

I’ll plan on talking about the lead-up to getting married, getting married, crying a lot, and cursing out your fiance and telling her you’re cancelling the wedding.

I might talk about smashing coffee tables in anger or ripping shirts off in anguish (but not in a sexy way).

Finally, how bitches be crazy, or maybe not.  And how fun/awkward an all inclusive resort can be.

So far it’s been fantastic, if I’m allowed to call 2 weeks fantastic.  It’s like having a live in chef/maid/sexbot.  Don’t worry, I put up shelves and fix broken stuff, so she gets something out of it too.

 

 

expectancy vs expectancy

I was going to post some things about aging, wisdom [oxford comma] and lifespan.   About how, at age 27 (rounded up, please read preceding post), I’ve actually somewhat of an old man…at least late middle-aged…compared to people throughout history.  Up until the early 20th century, life expectancy was pretty low [wikipedia.org], 31 years at birth.  My pea-brain understood that (as most do) that the average person only lived 31 years.  Therefore, at 27, I must actually be relatively well traveled, brilliant, and wise.  I mean, I’m no genius…I was when I was 15, and my parents were the dumbest people I’ve ever met.  Probably through my fantastic influence, they’ve managed to appear smarter and smarter as I get older.  No coincidence, I’m sure.

Anyway, that plan was a flop.  Turns out if you think about it, average life expectancy from birth isn’t what matters in this situation.  No, back in the day, there was a lot of dead babies bringing down the average.  If you have one child that dies as a 2 year old, and one person living to the ripe old age of 48, you have an average life expectancy at birth of 25.

This site shows A BETTER WAY.  If someone lives to be 20 years old (basically, surviving childbirth or being strangled by their parents during their teen years), they’re going to live to be more like 60 years old, going back to 1850-ish.   At birth, the numbers are low because of so much early death…but if you survive the tough early years, you will on average live much longer.

By these stunning new metrics, I’ve realized I’m still dumb, though now at least I know to ignore dead babies and only care about statistics of people who live to be 20.

Whether you are a man or baby, you can still contribute to society.  Since wisdom isn’t exactly an easy thing to chart, there is no data publicly available letting me know how I rank in such things.  I do not know if the Dunning-Kruger [wikipedia.org] applies on these topics, but it probably does.  At some point, we might get old enough to trust in our own wisdom, and watch our actual wisdom collapse under the weight of ego.

Why I lie about my age

Or, why people think I do.  Many other people do as well, probably because they intuit what I overthink.

Is someone 15, going on 16, or are they just 15?  It can get annoying (and creepy…why am I talking about 15 year olds?), and I’ve heard plenty of people complain about people talking that way.

I say I’m 27, though I’m really 26.  The day of birth is somewhat arbitrary as a day of celebration in my opinion, but I understand and accept it is helpful to establish a base from which to determine age.  Is age truly relevant?  Probably not, but we like to accept it as important.  We need SOME standard of judging people by, and it’s too complex to judge on merit and ability, so why not age?

Anyway, 6 months after your birthday, any given individual nudges the line from closer-to-last-birthday to closer-to-next-birthday.  So, just round to the nearest birthday.  This way, you remain within 6 months error of what people are asking.  If we do it the traditional way, then one day before your birthday, there are 364 days error in your communications.

Now go and lie more about your age.

 

efficiency

wouldn’t it be interesting if I wrote an interesting, informative, and downright genius post about why we should be wary of efficiency, and why inefficiency may be a better choice in many circumstances?

 

ok, bye.

reviewing logic according to saleae

This isn’t really a review, so ignore the title.  It’s just musings and thoughts.

I’ve been playing with a new toy.  I MEAN, A TOOL, NOT A TOY.  To engineers pretty much all tools are toys.  For work, I got a LeCroy Waverunner oscilloscope/logic analyzer.  It’s delicious.  Really.  Not only is it amazingly functional, but it’s aesthetically about as breathtaking as lab equipment gets.  Just look.  I’m already sidetracked though, because this isn’t the toy that I’m talking about.  Here’s a picture of the LeCroy unit anyway.  Why yes, the screen rotates into portrait mode to help you out when using it as a 32 channel logic analyzer…


What I meant to start talking about is the  Saleae Logic logic analyzer.  Hopefully, proper capitalization doesn’t confuse you regarding the name of the device and its function.  It’s about as sexy as a tiny USB analyzer can be.  It’s like a tiny Mac Mini, or Apple TV, in black, with one connection on each side.  Pictured is Logic16, which is the LARGE version.  Both the Logic and the Logic16 are pretty tiny.

Putting aside the fact that it works, the software is sleek, elegant, and intuitive.  At first, I was put off by the lack of menus, options, and configurability…and then I realized, it was in the Apple class of it just works*.  Disclaimer: I don’t like Apple, and I don’t feel for me that it just anythings.  The plan is to use it for some personal projects, but I brought it with me to work to check out some CANbus stuff, and see how the serial decoders work.  I just like calling it CAN, normally, but its really hard to google for the acronym Controller Area Network, because “can” is a pretty common word.  So, you’re welcome, googlers, for helping you get here.

I was overwhelmed with sadness when the unit initially would not read or decode anything on CAN bus.  So much for just working.  But, fear not oh ye will vote for me in the 2028 presidential election…Saleae seems to love open source, so I downloaded the source for their CAN serial analyzer.  Within a few minutes, I found that my data stream was inverted from typical applications…something I’ve known for awhile, but always basically ignored.  My setup is nonstandard, and Saleaa’s analyzer had it the typical way.

Not only was the source available to me, they also provide clear instructions for setting up and compiling with a ready-made Visual Studio project.   In under an hour, I had edited the source and recompiled for my particular application.

This was a triumph of open source.  It was great to be able to quickly and easily modify their application to suit my needs.  Customer service is quick and knowledgeable…alright, customer service is mostly the engineers who designed it.  It’s a big plus in my book.

Bottom line; if you are looking for an inexpensive hobbiest analyzer, pick up a Saleae Logic for $150-ish.  Do it.  If your budget is more in the $15,000 range, I’d suggest a tricked out Lecroy Waverunner.

 

fear and santorum in the USA

I didn’t call this one.  Who would have thunk that Rick Santorum would have a shot at the Republican nomination?  Not only did I not predict it, it makes me a little sad.  Not completely sad, just a little irked and disheartened about either the state of politics, or probably the state of conservative America.  I understand that conservatives are on their “Anyone But Romney” train, but I thought they’d give up after Newt’s second attempt.  Before I get into a discussion of the Man Himself, I just want to point out a snippet from Santorum’s web page, regarding his stance on jobs:

Rick Santorum is committed to celebrating the family by reviving our economy and creating jobs in America again with a smarter and simpler tax code.

Ok.  I don’t really get how any of those statements are related.  It feels like throwing out conservative jargon to make people nod their heads.  It’s not a finishing blow to Santorum…nonsense rhetoric is quite commonplace in the Romney camp (as well as Obama’s entire 2008 campaign).  I’ts just irritating to see it over and over again.

Most annoying to me is the following clip (well, I like the clip. Just not Santorum’s stance).

I do appreciate him stating what he believes.  I also believe he’s totally off base.  He’s not even even following alone the common founding fathers were awesome! line of thought…just stating he believes the government should get involved with people’s lives on a moral level, and that he does not believe in the libertarian views of people being allowed to do what they want.

That’s not American at all; from his stances across the board, it’s fairly clear he he appeals to the very right wing conservative who believes that everyone in America should believe and act they way they do, because it’s the correct way to act.  I wish he, and the right, would take note of the Amish; live how you want, and stay the hell out of other people’s business.

That’s mostly my beef.  He can believe what he likes, just as I can believe what I like.  He’s even free to try and bring it into the public square, and make legislation for it.  He voted for No Child Left Behind, but openly admits it was a mistake.  Interestingly, he pushed forward an amendment in favor of teaching evolution.  Not the standard conservative vote.

Anyway, in his current campaign, he espouses all of the “crazy” that people find in the conservative right wingers.  The language is way to inflammatory and divisive, but he’s pro war-on-drugs, war-on-women (it’s totally a bullshit line, but you know what I mean), war-on-terror, war-on-industry (ok, I made that up, I just mean to say he doesn’t believe global warming is real science), and believes there is a war-on-religion.  I think most of these things are either 1. fabrications to help entrench those in power and/or 2. bad moves that enroach on our liberties.

I’m just amazed that a first world country could have enough people buy into these ideas that I, personally, find quite backwards.

On the bright side, I see pretty much no chance of him becoming president.  That moderate Romney (and why is moderate such an insult?) has a better chance of wooing democrats.  Santorum has the far-right wing vote.  Both Romney and Obama are much more moderate, and have a much wider voter base.  But, in caucuses that just have Republican voters, and the most active voters tend to be ultraconservatives, it’s not as shocking that an ultraconservative would poll well.  I simply didn’t predict it.

I’d post a picture, and tell you to do a google search for Santorum to learn more, but I can’t recommend doing that.  (So go do it).

 

i <3 interweb

Everyone once in awhile, I’ll smile a lot at what the internet enables.  A few similar things have happened before, but the latest one is personally the most moving.  The picture below is a snippet from the Kickstarter page.  Kickstarter is a crowd-source funding platform.  If you want to, say, make a documentary on lemmings, you can post a project and dollar amount you need to start, and individuals/whoever pledges to donate in whatever amount they see fit.  This allows the general internet public to decide on projects they feel worthy, and fund them.  There’s some art projects, media, hardware…lots of interesting, boring, great projects.  I’m not 100% sure of all the details, but if your goal is not hit, then everyone’s money gets returned.  If you need $50k to fund your lemming film endeavour, and you only get $10k in donations…those people haven’t lost anything, and only cough up the dough if the project hits their goal within a deadline period.

Anyway, this is it:

I know, those of you voting for me in the 2024 elections may be unfamiliar with the words described above.  In less than 24 hours, the internet community contributed more than $1 million dollars to fund a developer with a history of fantastic games.  So what?  This is what.

Games need developers, publishers, distributors, all of these things.  And when a brilliant (and sometimes not brilliant) development studio wants to make a game, someone needs to pony up the dough.  More and more often, a big studio like EA (Electronic Arts), Activision, etc will fund them…but having the wallet means you can dictate some of the process of development.  Furthermore, just like recording artists get screwed by their production companies, development studios can see very little return while their publisher rakes in the dough from a successful game.

Something like Kickstarter allows this model to be circumvented.  People can choose who to support, donate directly, the developers can work on their art in a much purer sense.

Another example of this is Louis C.K.  Instead of going through the usual channels, he self-produced a comedy album (is it called a comedy album?), and distributed it online for $5.  He’s well known and popular enough for the internet to take of the marketing for him…but cutting out the middleman allowed a lot of dollars not to be burned doing nothing.  I understand this is a poor way to “stimulate the economy”…but really, it’s a much more efficient way of working in the internet age.  If his experiment failed, the studios could point and laugh…but he made over a million dollars.  I’m not here to toot anyone’s horn, but he donated nearly $300k of this to charities.  I don’t see publishers giving away 30% of their profits.

I’m not saying everyone has the capabilities to produce things themselves, but the big media companies are becoming increasingly obsolete.  Services like Pandora and Spotify make music free/inexpensive, which cuts into the big studio’s profits.

Keep being independent.  Keep crowd-sourcing funding when necessary, and pour back whatever profits you can back into the community.

What I’m saying, dear 2024 election voter, is that I believe the big studios are wasteful, and corrupt their art, whether it be music, video, games, or other things that I can’t think of right now.  I’m sure this effects books and physical media (painting and such) as well, but nobody looks at art anymore, and only girls read books…and only Vaginal Fantasy Novels.

phoneRage

“new” phone?  i have a samsung stratosphere now.  it replaced my original droid. it’s not as particularly hackable, but i got a splenditudinal deal on craigslist.

this leads me to my lack of sleep last night.  around midnight, i installed an update for my launcher.  something got horked.  it sort of, kept locking up on the homescreen, but not in a way i’ve ever seen before.  it made me think the battery was dead.  the screen went dark…but not COMPLETELY black.  it looked sort of stained.  the tried to start again. and kept choking.

what i’m trying to say is, i cannot get a good night of sleep if my phone isn’t working. and if my computer is having issues…fuggedaboudit.  had to stay up til 2am until it was working smoothly again. this does not help my sleep issues.

apophenia, patternicity, pareidolia

We see patterns in things.  What is this?

No it’s not.  It’s three circles and a line.

Patternicity, as coined by Michael Shermer in this article [scientificamerican.com], helps illustrate how and why we see patterns in otherwise meaningless things.

Pareidolia, as explained by Wikipedia, is why you hear your phone ring when it doesn’t.  Or, more often for me, I feel my phone vibrate, even when it doesn’t.  When presented with noise of one type or another, we see patterns in it.  Our brain does this with pretty much everything.  As an engineer, I’m hit with this a lot when trying to debug something.  A pattern appears, I pursue it to fix a problem, and in the end, it didn’t exist (or was just unrelated).  Even though I’m not trained out of patternicistic behaviour, I know that I do it.

Add that together with our own desire to be validated.  If I believe something, I’m going to interpret the world according to that belief [wikipedia.org].

This makes it somewhat psychologically inescapable to reinterpret things according to our pattern of thoughts.  I’m mostly talking about modern Christian’s interpretation and Jesus-spotting in the Old Testament.  I think it takes some suspension of disbelief and creative interpreting to pull out some of the prophecies of Jesus from places I wouldn’t expect them.  Even one of the first prophecies they say apply to Jesus…

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.  -Gensis 3.15

It seems, just like many similar passages, this is interpreted as prophecy by a liberal application of Captain Hindsight.  When you see how things are, its very easy to interpret things to prove that the thing you already know is true.

Party of the…beauty…or ugly…of it, is that there is no way of knowing if it is true.  Jews don’t tend to see many of the so-called “Prophecies” Christians see in the Old Testament as prophetic works, Christians claimed them as prophetic after the fact.  It just doesn’t seem fair to me.

And, one more thing.  Every indication in the Old Testament was that the Messiah would be victorious when he came.  I see no evidence of multiple comings, nor of Jesus fitting the bill as the Jewish messiah.  However, if you creatively reinterpret afterwards, it’s very easy to claim “Now we see!”, and change the interpretation of the past to fit the present.

God gave some criteria for prophets.  It doesn’t seem like many of these prophecies fit the bill.  It very much fits in how we spend so much of our time seeing / imagining patterns.   Some of them are real.  Some are not.  The mechanism to see which is real or not is lacking, and most do not even try to discern.

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