Part of the problem of having a generalist’s mind is that you never feel like you’re fully understood or even fully in conversation with other people because you always kind of have to modify your conversation to the other person’s worldview.
You can’t go all the way and make all the connections to things because you lose people. And it isn’t a case of that your ideas are so heavy that you lose them because they’re not smart enough to get ’em; it’s just a wide knowledge of the world.
”—Always great to hear interesting words from John Roderick, but these lines from Systematic really rung true for me.
The inordinate amount of actual anger directed at Apple and U2 over this is so disproportional to the actual event, I’ve started to wonder about the mental state of some of those complaining. It’s really been off the charts.
If you fall into that camp, let me…
Going to disagree with you here, TJ. “Nobody broke in” is tough to say when your iTunes library has been altered by someone who isn’t you. It may be free but that doesn’t make it a gift, and not informing someone explicitly feels squicky.
One of the great fears—among a life of great fears, perhaps the last great fear—is the fear of being no longer useful.
We find a role in life, and we do that role to the best of our ability for as long as that ability is there. But all of us—even me, dear listeners—will someday hit a point where we no longer are able to do that thing that we define ourselves by doing.
And more than the fear of injury, more than the fear of death—this is the fear that looms: The loss of self. The self that is the self we imagined we were our whole lives.
But we were never that self, not really. We were only a series of selves, living one role and then leaving it for another. And all the time convincing ourselves that there was no change, that we were always the same person living the same life: One arc to a finish, not the stutter-stop improvisation that is our actual lives.
Worry less about the person you once were—or, the person you dream you someday will be. Worry about the person you are now.
Or: Don’t even worry! Just be that person. Be the best version of that person you can be. Be a better version than any of the other versions in any of the many parallel universes.
“Sadness and happiness do not exist on different planets. They go hand in hand. Learning to feel sadness without shame is a pretty crucial prerequisite for happiness.”—Ask Polly strikes again with another barnburner.
“So we did a few episodes in the beginning where Finn was really panicked about things; he had all these problems? You’d go, “Oh, I don’t know what to do!”—and I hated that. It made me feel terrible. So, I made sure, I tried to wipe all of that out so that Finn could be more like Jean-Luc. So you’d feel… comfortable and enjoy watching him take care of a situation. And relax, and relate to him.”—The Awl goes deep, as they say, on Adventure Time.
My favorite breakfast spot has a new location. They took their vibe, their egg dishes and French presses and moved a couple of blocks away.
The spot they replaced, their fancy restaurant, always had a slightly fussy vibe. Like a guy whose tie was a little too tight, it had the spirit of trying to be fancy but a felt little uncomfortable.
The location is a little more out of the way, but it maintains the feeling of the old place: intimately familiar, but it’s also a little more grown up.
Every change grows us in small ways.
It works in the way a stream’s steady rhythm cleaves and polishes rock, smoothing out the rough edges and taking away the impurities.
In the process, when there are the small changes, Le Petit Morte as they say, it may not look like anything. Slowly you step down a path—unaware, perhaps, there is any path at all. (That is the most dangerous, as you are not mindful of your step.) It is easy to continue in that way.
Unlike a rock, you have the agency to change that path; to extend the metaphor, you can angle yourself in the path of the stream to change in the ways that are best for you. And in that maneuvering, you can make the acquaintance of that more refined, polished person you are underneath.
“I am busy—trying to become the person I am.” — Philosopher Lena Dunham
I now step more carefully than I had before, but confident in the direction I am headed. And if you ever wish to meet with me for breakfast, I have a great place in mind.
New York Magazine is on fire with this issue (a good friend is in the OK Cupid story). I have been catching up on Here’s The Thing and it’s great (with a few caveats; please ask). He’s a personality whom I’ll miss.
“A few years ago, a photo made the rounds. It was taken from the back, its subject unaware. He was a fat guy wearing a jeans-jacket, and on the back he had stenciled the name of his heavy metal band. It was a sloppy and amateurish job. The photo earned a lot of mocking comments in my circle, including from me. Ha ha, look at the fat guy with the rock-and-roll pretensions. Look at him. Looooook.
And then someone said, “I think he’s awesome. He’s found something he loves, and he thinks it’s great enough to share with the world. This guy is a hero.”
And… Oh, my God. That’s right. That’s exactly right. Who was I to judge, much less judge publicly? Maybe his music was terrible, but so what? It wasn’t for me. It was for him, and his friends, and his fans. Nobody was seeking my opinion, because it would be ill-informed and emotional, because those are the only opinions I could possibly have.
I was just pumping poison into the atmosphere, to feel good about myself, for another hit of self-righteousness. I was what was wrong, because I vomited out disapproval — could only vomit out disapproval — without intent or willingness to even attempt to understand.”—Greg Knauss (via cleversimon)
There are new people in the office—and at least one of them seems to be confused about the etiquette for the office coffee machine. The coffee at the office is critical when you need it—but it’s not really supposed to be a luxury.1 Nobody expects perfection. But…
The reason nobody else will touch this is that it’s actually not universally agreed upon.
You’re assuming that you’re in an office full of people who like good coffee and care what it tastes like. The reality is that most people are in an office with shitty coffee drinkers. They don’t care (or even notice?) that the bottom half-inch of coffee has been burn-warming for 3 hours before they get to it, and they think you’re an asshole if you leave an empty pot at 11 AM.
The only right solution is to abolish the office coffee pot. Those things get grimy in no time at all. (I am the dead-eyed freak who makes a cup or carafe by hand at 3, almost daily.)
At 4:30, there are giant urns of what’s supposed to resemble coffee, but that’s when I switch to tea.
“If there’s one thing that’s surprised me these past few months, it’s how often people struggle to admit they’re unhappy with something unless that thing is objectively, undeniably terrible. Sometimes, things are perfectly fine and you still don’t want them. “
Hits so hard! For the entire year I researched my decision to quit my job (I was also a VERY early hire at a start-up which is now enjoying success), I felt like I owed it to … somebody … to have this horror story about why I left (maybe because it’s so scary that there just MUST be a bigger horror than “I cannot sustain this for the next 40 years” — That particular horror sounds really selfish and, god forbid, you know?). But ultimately leaving just boiled down to, I either get real with myself and call an audible or I stay because it just feels safe.
Reading tweets is like a car ride with someone who’s just slammed an 8 ball. We bounce between unrelated thoughts, ideas, conversations, suggestions, requests, etc. in a matter of seconds. There’s no time to give anything a moment’s contemplation.
This feels like more an issue with how the medium is used, rather than the medium. He even says later, “[t]his phenomenon isn’t unique to Twitter,” but doesn’t seem to accept that it’s the process that could be broken.
There’s always time to stop and reflect, if you really want to – you just have to make the time and space to do it, à la Habit Fields. Media like Twitter and Facebook lack the space to do that – something I think Instapaper does much better, if you actually reserve and care for that time and space.
I used to work for a very large survey company. They conduct phone surveys, mail surveys, in-person surveys, and they gather data automatically using various gadgets, apps, and plug-ins. They gather all the data they can from as many sources as they can.
As a semi-professional photographer who is constantly thinking about the value of his work, the impending changes to the Instagram terms of service, which apparently grant them the right to sell my images, don’t quite sit right. Obviously a service with overhead costs needs to make money to…
“I’ve always thought that one of the the great things about physics is that you can add more digits to any number and see what happens and nobody can stop you.”—Randall Munroe’s “What If?” gave me my laugh for the day.
“Children of the Stars will be an immersive concert going experience, where you the audience will be thrust directly into the action of the music. Every song will be its own live music video where you will literally interact with the characters and creatures of our own intergalactic odyssey.”—The lady and I saw this on Thursday, which I would describe as somewhere between a live performance of a concept album and Rocky Horror. I had other words for this, but it was actually kind of fun.