Turbulence

I dreamt about arguing. Annoying arguing where you can’t believe the other person is saying such stupid shit that you are forced to reprimand them in the course of making your point. In response to my dream opponent saying “Well my research indicates..” I actually cut him off and said “No your research doesn’t indicated that, you are just repeating a line you heard someone else say without fact checking it at all because if you were doing any research on this you’d know that’s bullshit.” And then I woke up, heart beating faster than it should be first thing in the morning without someone else’s assistance.

I haven’t even had any of these arguments in years, I think it’s because I started rearranging the living room last night and went to sleep without finishing it.

Disconnect

I seriously miss Google Reader. For years it was an indispensable part of my day and the primary source of news and info for me. Since Google killed it I’ve tried several options with none really sticking. Reeder is the closest thing, and I forget to look at that all the time. I just can’t get in the habit of using anything else and feel like I’m missing out on my friends posts. It feels lonely. When I could trust RSS to let me know anytime a friend (even one I hadn’t been in touch with in years) updated their site I felt connected. Even in the early days of twitter when I only followed close friends I could trust that they’d post things there and I wouldn’t miss anything. But twitter has become something else and I can’t be anymore sure that I see all the posts from people I follow than I can be sure that anyone sees mine, and I know several people who follow me that often tell me they didn’t know about something I’d tweeted about repeatedly so my reliance on that is low and getting lower by the minute.

As a dude who is never terribly comfortable in social settings – initially irc, then blogs, then twitter really gave me a strong community that I felt connected to for the first time in my life. I miss those people – even the ones I talk to or see regularly – and I’m not even sure how to regain that. It seems like the decade from 98-2008 (at least in my mind) was exploding with online conversations and interactions with people. I could trust that any given day I’d be having several thought provoking conversations across many different sites. Now it’s all gifs and links and one liners – which are great, but I miss the other stuff. And I know I’m just as much to blame as anyone else but I just wanted to get that out there.

Flatline

For various reasons I’ve been messing around with various meditation techniques off and on for the last year with more off than on, and to varied success. Motivations for this are kind of all over the place and may or may not be with any merit – reducing stress, clearing my head, helping to focus, martial arts, interactions with others, rewiring my brain, helping write, the list kind of goes on. Not unsurprising to me the biggest struggle ha been just keeping the habit going – not even getting to the issue if I’m even doing it right or not – I pull off small runs, a few days in a row and then miss a day and then before I realize it a week or month has passed. I’ve been using the Calm iPhone app primarily, both the guided tracks as well as just the timed ones during which I’ve tried my own methods of clearing my head including transendential inspired mantras though admittedly repeating some gibberish in my head has worked better than a concrete statement.

I feel like I like the results though I’d be hard pressed to express exactly what those are, and like I said I’m still not even convinced I’m doing it right. I heard an interview with Sam Harris the other day where he was talking about meditation and specifically a breakthrough he had after about a year of meditating every day wherein he realized he hadn’t been meditating at all. So who knows if I’m on the right track or not.

Distance

The conference location is about a 30 minute walk from the hotel and it’s a simple train ride there yet I can’t seem to fathom going that distance any other way than by foot while in Japan. We took a taxi yesterday because the conference folks set it up and we didn’t know the final location, but once we got there the overwhelming sentiment was – that’s all? Why did we drive? The weather is perfect for the walk too. In LA 9 times out of 10 I’d drive that distance. The weather wouldn’t allow the walk to be comfortable and the scenery wouldn’t be interesting enough to justify it. In Tokyo I might opt for the train because I really love the trains there, but I’d still probably walk the 80% of the time. It’s one train stop from my hotel to my office there and I walk that every day without thought.

In the continuing discussion of where to escape to, being able and interested in walking this kind of a distance is paramount for me.

Strip

The hotel that I’m staying at in Sapporo has a bath on the top floor that everyone is hanging out at. Naked. Because that’s how you roll in Japanese baths. You get naked and hang out together. Gender segregated of course, though that makes it even less interesting to me. I’m not judging or being prude – I just not entirely keen on the idea of hanging out naked with a bunch of people that I’m attending a conference with discussing social movements and big data all day long. Or people I’m not hanging out all day discussion social movements and big data with to be honest. I just don’t want to hang out with a bunch of naked people. Is that too much to ask?

Freeboxing

Traveling for two weeks with only a single suitcase, and already being in a “get rid of everything” mindset I’ve been thinking more about just how to do that. I wrote before about wondering how to give things to my friends rather than sell or donate and I’ve done a little bit of that but the truth is it’s hard to sync up with people to hand deliver items – it’s nice – but it’s not scaleable. Selling things on ebay is a full time gig that I don’t have interest in and donating works fine, feels good, but if given the chance to help out friends or people I don’t know I tend to always lean towards friends. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but whatever.

So I’m thinking of making up a freebox. I’m making this up as I go so maybe it needs refinement, but I’m thinking I put a box by my door at home and try to put stuff in it regularly that I’m getting rid of. I tell my friends who come over (and those who don’t as well to encourage them to visit) that anything in that box is fair game and free for the taking. And perhaps more importantly, once I put something in the box I can’t take it out. At the end of the month, anything left in there goes to the thrift store. So I’m giving my friends first crack.

Might work… gotta think on it a little more.

Fifth Degree

I sat for the godan test last night and failed.

Got hit squarely the first time without even a flinch, got a 2nd chance and while I dodged the strike the judans thought it was a little iffy and asked for once more, on the 3rd try I dodged correctly but didn’t move entirely out of the way and was hit on the arm – and failed. Afterwards several shihan told me that I obviously felt the strike coming but my ukeme was off and I needed to roll not just dodge. I told them I appreciated the feedback for sure, and it reaffirmed what I knew I did wrong. I’ve practiced rolling for years and knew exactly what I was supposed to do, and I didn’t do that. I was distracted, and then panicked. With the first strike there was a train passing the the shihan administering the test said to wait for it to pass, but then I started thinking about the train and that put me off which is why I got hit on the first shot. And then it was kind of over – after getting I knew I’d failed it, even if I passed it after that the first strike was a solid hit which is everything I didn’t want. And that was in my head and freaking me out and I completely forgot to roll. I’m not upset, a little disappointed perhaps but I half didn’t believe I could do it in the first place. So now that I’ve confirmed that I have to defeat it, and I’ll try again at tomorrows class and see what happens.

Relocation

Endless weeks of temperatures topping 90F and near 100% humidity has rebooted the “where can we move because this shit is unbearable” discussions. When I moved to LA in 2001 one of the major draws was the lack of humidity so even if it was hot it wasn’t sticky hot, which coming from Chicago and Florida before that – humidity was I was desperately trying to escape. Some people love even crave the humidity but I can’t stand it. LA was supposed to be the land of no humidity but that has changed. I don’t even know who to blame for it – El NiƱo? Obama? Terrorists?

In any case it’s crossed a line.

So of course this discussion leads to complicated places -If we’re to move due to climate then we might as well consider political climate as well. Where are we least likely to run into militarized police forces, least likely to be under constant surveillance? But that’s just the start – Where has good schools for the kid, is close to the water, close to a major international airport, has fast internet, a language we speak, etc, etc. And that’s not even thinking about the social bits -do we have friends there or will friends be passing though -don’t want to end up somewhere where we won’t ever see anyone again like what happened when we moved to Venice. The list gets quite long eventually eliminating all possible options. Which then requires a reassessment of those criteria, which are more important than others. So far, no clear resolution.

Handled

Usernames are funny. Pick something unique and interesting so you stand out and then chance it that you’ll ever be able to get that again. In the early 90’s I ran through a variety of screennames because of just that – pick something random and then be out of luck next time. I finally oped to use my full name everywhere. As one of the early twitter users I’m often asked why I didn’t opt for @sean or @s and while I could have gotten @s by the time I got there, 120th person to sign up or so, @sean was already taken. And if I’d been using only “sean” as my name elsewhere that would have been problematic for sure. @s is amusing but doesn’t map to anything. Even on ello @s and @sean are already gone but I easily got @seanbonner. That’s not to say “seanbonner” is in small demand. There are a few other Sean Bonner’s out there who I know I curse me as they regularly sign up for these places a year or so after I’ve laid claim and are stuck with “mrseanbonner” and “therealseanbonner” or “seanbonnerplussomerandomstringofnumbers.” There’s also someone out there who sees oblivious to both the concept that there are any other Sean Bonner’s and also that emails are specific, because I get mail for him about once a week because he’s always putting my email account on job applications and family correspondence. I’ve talked to his sister, his aunt and two of his cousins now who are quite confused as to why their little Seany gave them my email.

inboxing

I opened this window with the full intention of bitching about email and then clicked over to check email and then found that the SMTP error I had the other day which prevented me from sending any emails at all was back and a bunch of stuff I tried to send earlier in the day was stuck in the outbox. I was only able to solve the problem the other day by deleting my email account settings entirely and starting over from scratch which I’d really prefer not to do all over again so I struggled with that for a while and then found a halfassed work around which is less than ideal on all fronts but does work so at least those emails went out but then of course there were new emails. I need to stop treating my inbox like a todo list. That is, I need process a request in an email and put it on my actual todo list rather than leaving it unread as if that will remind me to address it later, which it never does.

I hired a somewhat assistant recently to help with my scheduling of calls an appointments and that’s changed everything for me, I can’t believe I ever tried to do all that on my own before and how much easier it is now just to CC her on my email reply and then magically appointments get worked out between her and the other people and show up in my calendar. I don’t know why I resisted the logic on this for so long but it’s amazing to have it in action now. I wish I could hire someone deal with all my emails too.