Categories
brain

Know When You’re Full

“I’m full.”:

A few months ago, I started telling Anne, “I’m full,” when we are out with friends, my brain has had enough social interaction, and I’ve crossed a threshold from having fun to feeling overwhelmed. When I get full, it’s time for me to leave, and I don’t beat myself up for that…

I get this and it is so good. Introverts of the world unite!

Categories
brain culture nerd technology

Keep Podcasts on RSS

I’m still upset that Google provided Reader, then killed it. Don’t let the same mess happen with podcasts.

Big companies are trying to monetize and monopolize an open standard. Please don’t let this happen. Learn more:

Categories
brain nerd technology

Your terminal is not a terminal

Your terminal is not a terminal: An Introduction to Streams:

Streams are just that: streams. In the same way that a river has a stream of water, programs have streams of data. Moreover, just like you can use steel pipes to carry water from one place to another, you can use UNIX pipes to carry data from one program to another. This was the very analogy that inspired the design of streams:

We should have some ways of connecting programs like a garden hose — screw in another segment when it becomes necessary to massage data in another way. This is the way of I/O also. — Douglas McIlroy
Streams can be used to pass data into programs and to get data out of them.

The running water water analogy is a great way to explain many complicated topics and Lucas Costa uses it to great effect. You even uses |pipes| to flow input from one command to the next.

Go read his post if, like me, you find yourself scratching your head trying to understand how to work efficiently on the command line.

Categories
brain music

Up is Down (video)

Thom Yorke always amazes me. Time signature? Down beat? Try to find it. It shouldn’t work, but it does.

Categories
brain

Overcoming Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are lurkers.

For years, I suspected something was wrong with me and I just couldn't figure out what it was. Strike that. Nothing was wrong with me, but I did need help. It took me until May 2018—way too long—to sheepishly mention something to my doctor. Like everyone else I have talked to, he said I would be surprised how many people need some sort of help. He wrote me a prescription for Lexapro and told me to give it 30 days.

I am still taking it and life is so much better. Looking back, I can see the cycles of anxiety I would go through. I see now why I struggled with my previous job and why I finally moved on to other work after 11 years. The medicine doesn't make me weird or hyper or lethargic or anything like that. It just corrects the course of thoughts through my brain.

If you have a nagging feeling that things will never work out or you just can't handle it any more, please get help. Make an appointment. People are waiting to help you. If it's really bad, find help now at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Categories
brain life nerd writing

Breaking Digital Bonds

My habits have become terrible. All of my idle moments are filled with Twitter, Instagram, and endless mindless games of Microsoft Solitaire (which is the best handheld solitaire game I have found to date and please don't download it for your own sake and sanity just DON'T DO IT).

So it's time for some change. The easiest change is to read more, not in witty chunks of 240 characters or 500-word articles on, well, everything. I mean reading real books of fiction and non-fiction, and I mean reading for fun and not to learn anything. I mean reading like I did when I was a kid riding my bicycle to the public library between the polo field and elementary school to fill up my summer reading booklet with titles.

I've had a Kindle for years. It's the third-generation Kindle with the physical keyboard. It's slow, and I'm old and need lots of light to read now. As I was finally finishing American Gods by Neil Gaiman, a book I purchased two or three years ago and only finished Sunday night, I found myself leaning into the lamplight and squinting to make out the words. It was frustrating, so it didn't take me long to upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite and I got it yesterday and it's wonderful.

Now I'm digging into the five-volume box set of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones saga, which may be too ambitious. Having watched the series on HBO (and eagerly anticipating the final season), reading the books is like watching it again in slow motion in my brain. The writing is great, but I'm not sure if it will hold my attention to the end. I wish I had read it before watching the series so I could kvetch about how they did so-and-so wrong and "No, it wasn't like that in the book!" with all of my fellow nerds.

Reading more will, hopefully, lead me to write more regularly. One plan to reframe my brain on the front is to simply move around a bit. Today I have holed up in a local coffeehouse. Cliché, I know, but it's working. I can see they have Wi-Fi, but I refuse to ask for access. That invisible Wi-Fi wire will bind my mind and I'll be stumbling through Twitter and reloading Reddit before I know it. If I really start jonesing for a connection, I have a paper notebook and pencil.

In case of emergency…unplug!

These grand plans for change are fresh on my mind. For now, it's working. I have written more today than I have in the past year. Much of it is rambling. Nobody would want to read it, but it's getting garbage out of my brain. I spent many years making a living as a writer, enough time to know that the words will start making sense if I just start giving them form outside of my brain. I remember someone saying something like "you can't think your way out of writer's block" and that is so true. Thinking is important, but spilling thoughts into a more physical medium is the only way to break a block. It seems like a contradiction, but you must write your way through writer's block.

Categories
brain culture

All the TED Talks you need to see

It’s easy to get sucked into the YouTube hole of TED Talks to watch enlightened individuals bless viewers with their wisdom. Boy howdy do they have a lot of wisdom to share.

This clever life hack will eliminate the need to watch any more of those 15-minute talks. These two videos will change your life!

Behold!

Even better!

Categories
brain life productivity

Finding Peace in Laundry

Doing laundry from start to finish can quiet a troubled mind if you set your mind to it.
I'm talking about being mindful here—completely in the task—and it works with any simple task. The methodical nature of doing laundry, washing dishes, or sweeping the floor can help quiet mental gremlins and find focus again. Change the way you think about these tasks; convert them from mindless to mindful.
Laundry provides several different ways to relax and focus completely on the task.

  • Sorting laundry: darks, whites, lights, and other stuff
  • The drone of the washer and dryer
  • The smell of clean laundry
  • Folding warm clothes

Focused folding is a ritual. When I studied aikido as a young man, my sensei taught me to fold my hakama in our dojo after practice. He referred to the careful folding process as the "Japanese press" because it would look perfect when unfolded to wear next time.
One of life's simplest pleasures is outfitting your bed with clean sheets. That luxurious feeling surprises me every time, a great way to end a day after meditating with eight loads of laundry.