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Showing posts from October, 2019

132. Warning: Adult Situations

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Nobody tells you about the awkwardness. When your messy personal life collides with your orderly adult life, sparks can be generated that ripple through your existence. Like the time nudity escaped the censors at YouTube in the video playlist I was displaying in my wedding. Or when kids swear like a sailor after perhaps 2 minutes with my wife and I.  
Having condo meetings, being in a board, having a trust, paying off my student loans. These are incredibly adulty things that feel alien to me. And yet, we are doing these things. The me from 5 years ago would be like “what? no, stop!” 
I couldn’t be more proud of us though. We are doing the things. We are continuously confused, but we are doing the things.  
Is privilege a big (huge) part of where I am right now? You betcha. And I do feel guilt. Only by giving back, my time and money, do I feel a little bit less guilt. In a perfect world, everybody should be allowed the freedom of choice and the support I had throughout my life. In a perfe…

131. Hammer Mode

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I wouldn’t give anyone a bj in an alley for access to a smartphone. Using this slim, utilitarian and utterly disrespectful definition of addiction, I am not addicted to my smartphone. In almost all other definitions, I probably am (scratches neck). These days I’m frequently using twitter for political news, instagram for art and facebook for friends and family.
For my wife’s birthday I left my smartphone delights behind as we travelled up to Michigan’s north (not north north, but north enough for a weekend trip). We had a great time consuming and sight-seeing all this beautiful state has to offer. We touched alpacas, drank some wine, got soaked in a pier and I was able to show her the part where Johnny Depp gets sucked by a bed in Nightmare on Elm Street. A win in every conceivable way.
I am definitely a technofile and a techno-apologist, I believe my life in particular has been enhanced and improved exponentially due to consumer electronics. I enjoy nature somewhat, but I also enjoy be…

130. Hair

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Nobody tells you about the hair. I have been bald or balding for over twenty years. My drains have never clogged. Since moving in with the love of my life about one year ago, I’ve collected enough strands of hair from my bathroom drain to refurbish a couch.

I don’t mind using the slithery yellow bathroom snakes, they make me feel useful. It’s one of the few things in cohabitating life that is simple. You push that thing in, you wiggle it in and out and you solve a problem. It’s no mistake that it sounds coital, you do this every once in a while and you achieve harmony.

I wish I could snake my psyche the way I can snake some hair from my drain. I would snake those repressed high school memories and flush them down the toilet. Those awkward memories that make you flinch when they light your hippocampus? Wiggle them out. I would write a pseudopsychology book called “Snake the Brain” and make millions.

This comic is evidence that I have no editing room. A thought pops in my brain and I sp…

129. That Sinking Feeling

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Dear readers, politics in the United States are a mess. The right, in particular, has become meaningless. The right was the party of law and order, at one time. Under Trump, however, they are anti-FBI. They were for economic conservatism, but now they support the largest budget ever. They say they have an issue only with illegal immigration, and yet they cheer Donald Trump when he curtails legal immigration. The right under Trump only makes sense if you really see them as (poorly written) evil characters.

The Hidden Brain podcast has an interesting episode called “More Divided than Ever”. It was really interesting, especially the part with John Hibbing, who talks about the biological nature of our political views. For instance, people who lean conservative tend to also dislike spicy food [duh, says my anecdotal experience]. I feel like understanding there’s a biological component to our stances does help me empathize more with an opposing political position.

The thing is, Trump suppo…

128. Connections

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When I went to grad school I had a great advisor. However, he once said something that I wasn’t able to understand at the time. He said that 90% of my success at work will be determined by my sociability, rather than the abilities I was learning in grad school. He went as far as making us read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. I was appalled. I’m paying this guy like $1000* a minute for him to tell me that it will all come down to social skills? 
He was absolutely, completely, entirely, and annoyingly right.  The tools and reasoning skills I learned in college have served me well, but they have paled in comparison to how my social skills have served me. Being able to make connections, humbling myself, expressing interest in others, those skills have allowed me to be a catalyst for change more often than the statistical and organizational tools I’ve learned. 
So, Dr. Malott, you were right. And I appreciate the push you gave me early on to hone those skills. It w…

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