Friday, March 05, 2021

oh hell the new site's rss isn't working

so I can't say it really moved yet, dang - I'll fix it soon.

I guess I'll clumsily cross post until then; this can't possibly go wrong

my post today:

getting ahead of the writer

ever have chunks of time that go by and you’re not really sure what all happened?

I keep a log file these days I call “dan log” at work and write down all the things that I did - not really sure why, besides sometimes it feels good to go back and find all the little things I did while I felt like I “didn’t accomplish anything.”

life is a little bit in that “going by in a blur” state right now. a friend mentioned once that sometimes he feels like he’s writing his story and then sometimes he’s living it. I like that framing1. Imagine that part of you is living life as another part of you is writing it, much like Gromit riding a train while laying down tracks. Right now I kind of feel like I’m getting ahead of the train tracks, or like the writer/tracklayer is on autopilot. It’s not pleasant, but it’s mostly bearable.

(the reason isn’t a mystery: I’m just working on a new project at work. it’s kind of big, it’s a lot of manageable tasks instead of one big unwieldy task, and it’s kind of important and deadliney. I’m not super used to those things, so I spend more time working and it’s stressful.)

Another thing that’s stressful: I got a new keyboard. I think I used to type about 100 wpm. This keyboard is split, columnar, tented, thumb clusters, and all kinds of things that are probably ergonomically good. But that means it’s a learning curve. I think I went down to about 40 wpm and that is so agonizingly slow, I feel like those dreams when you are running but you can’t run. I’m back to about 70 or so now, so that still feels bad but not quite so bad. Epistory was pretty fun; a little cheesy but still the best typing game I’ve played. Typeracer is still fun. is what I really need: practice with all the colons and brackets and arrow keys; those are still rusty.

legit conflict extra-guilt

One thing I’m learning in the process: a certain kind of feeling about a recurring engagement. Let’s call it “legit conflict extra-guilt.” The way it works is this:

person X invites me to event Y that is kind of an effort for me but I want to be the kind of person who goes to it.
for whatever reason, I legitimately can’t go to the first or second installment of event Y.
I feel a little relief, but I also want to make it clear to them that I’m not skipping event Y because it’s hard or something; I have an actual conflict. Maybe I’ll reach out and tell them.

At this point, I’m feeling Legit Conflict Extra-Guilt. What will inevitably happen if I don’t address it is that I will feel guilty but keep having conflicts, one way or another, and I’ve got to cut my losses. It’s a certain kind of feeling that is both like “nah, I’ll totally make it next time, see, it was a legit conflict” but also “ooh I really don’t have time for this.” Now that I’ve learned this feeling, when it comes up I know that I must admit that I don’t really have time for it right now, I was too greedy in signing up, me grasp exceed grasp, and I’m sorry for that but I will generally not be at event Y.

It’s neat to start to recognize some of the dumb tricks my brain pulls on me!

  1. I think I’m using it a slightly different way than he meant it. Maybe he reads this; if so, sorry! ↩︎



here's what I wrote a couple weeks ago:

about despair

happy month 12 of pandemic to you too

seriously, though: I’m re-forming my relationship to despair, slowly but surely. I think around 22-26 I was restless and bored; 27 was manic so the question didn’t come up, but 28-33 I’ve been more or less orbiting the attractor state of despair. 34, though, I’m out of that orbit! I’m careening all over emotional space. but some recent experiences have left me wondering what my relationship with despair is.

let me define a term. by “despair”, I’m probably not using the right word; the feeling I’m thinking of is more angry. it’s when you start feeling bad about X and respond by saying, well, who cares, X sucks anyway. it feels like a snotty punk rocker, or road rage, or maybe Walt towards the end of Breaking Bad. it’s feeling better never to have been1.

it’s a pretty coherent view of the world! and whenever I was feeling crummy, I could retreat into “well, the world sucks anyway.” problem is, it feels bad. and … maybe it’s not true? like, the world isn’t inherently bad to be in2.

so ok, I think that kind of despair is no longer my default attractor. that rules: it feels hopeful. it also feels like some responsibility: I can’t just say “this sucks and I didn’t ask to be born”; I have to make life worth living.

Sometimes that’s very hard! Sometimes I feel very run down and I’m not sure how this day can be part of a world that doesn’t suck. Or, how can I argue life is generally ok if right now I want to burn down everything in the world?

I don’t know, but my current hypothesis is: you can visit that despair planet and that’s fine and healthy, as long as you don’t get stuck in it. Take your time there, feel everything fully, and then when it’s all out, move on. If you don’t do that, then you’re restraining yourself from feeling feelings, and that rarely ends well.

  1. not saying that author is despairing; maybe he only thinks, not feels, better never to have been. ↩︎

  2. it’s not inherently good either, it’s just two wolves. ↩︎


Friday, February 12, 2021

blog's moved!

hey friends! This is the last post here at find future posts at:
there's still a little migration to be done, but I think it's ready enough to go. please update your links (especially if you use RSS; should work but gosh who knows) and let me know if you have any issues!

- on blogger, this page takes 24 requests! for a couple hundred kb! that's dumb for mostly text. new page: 2 requests for 11kb, and one of those is for the favicon. not that you'll probably notice the difference, but aesthetically this pains me.
- similarly, I have to compose this in google's rich text editor, which insists on putting everything inside <p> tags unless I really fight it. new one: markdown files which become very simple html, just as tim berners-lee intended. again, aesthetics.
- control my own site more etc. yeah it's hosted on netlify now but even if netlify tanks I can at least port it out somewhere a little more easily. (google is proud that you can get your own data from them, and you can and it's great, but this job of porting it definitely took me in the mid tens of hours.)
- oh yeah, speaking of goog, now they track you a little bit less. again again, aesthetics.
- google will probably kill blogger at some point. they're certainly not doing much to maintain it.
this was a medium-large pain. most of the pain was:
- learning jekyll, then realizing it took 10 minutes (!) to build the site and therefore is completely unusable, then learning hugo. yeah yeah, I know hugo is "fast", but I thought we were talking like 1 sec vs 5 sec here; nope, it's sub-1-sec vs 10 minutes. I guess my blog is big? (1100 posts) ... it's not that big!
- parsing google's xml. again, they give you your data, but it's in a big xml mess, and I had to find and then endlessly configure someone's script to turn that into markdown files.
- learning hugo. I think I like it okay, but there's a pretty large amount of magic that happens, like magic filenames and you have to know where it's looking for everything. ugh.

more migration details may follow, but they'll be posted there!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

my crypto journey so far

First there were the sudokus that you can trade for heroin. So I bought a few tens of dollars worth, not because I wanted heroin, but like, I thought it might be a thing and I was in my techno-optimist days.
Then there was the one with a dog on it that funded a Nascar. So I bought a few tens of dollars of that, and pretty promptly lost it, even though the #1 rule of crypto money is don't lose it, but y'know. It wasn't the original heroin sudokus, so no big loss.

Then there was the free money (Stellar Lumens; I don't even have a cute name for this one). I signed up for Keybase back in the day because I dunno doing PGP things is cool maybe? Keybase is not at all a cryptocurrency thing. Until they decided "we're gonna give all our users some free Stellar Lumens", in an attempt to maybe become a cryptocurrency thing. They started sending free money, and then quickly stopped because obviously if you're sending out free money everyone's gonna sign up, but I got like $100 before then. And despite the fact that printing money causes inflation, it... then went up to $400? ok man
Around this time I signed up for Coinbase, the company that wants their employees to be "not political" (obligatory reference), and despite such an odious farce of a position I kept my heroin sudokus and my free money in there and at least I don't forget where I put em. (They also let you answer tedious 30-second quizzes about how Blurpcoin introduces disinstantiated intermediatory trustmongers which you can Stake by exchanging Blurpcoin for Blurptoken. If you do these quizzes they give you $3 in Blurpcoin that you can instantly exchange for *real* fake money like heroin sudokus or nascar dogs.)

But then GME happened and money became a meme again? and I was like, while everyone's laughing about money being fake, I gotta buy more nascar dogs? So I traded all my other fake money for dog fake money and now I'm reading just absolute nonsense posts in comic sans on r/dogecoin and have already made a couple hundred dollars.

To the moon, my friends.

how does crypto gambling connect to our world more broadly

Some time ago I read the 3-ladder system of social class in the US. I was recently reintroduced to it by the Michael Scott theory of social class, which I think is just a summary of the Gervais Principle. My even shorter summary: in the US there's the Labor ladder and the Gentry ladder, which we sorta knew (blue-collar vs white-collar), but there's also the Elite ladder, which is not like the Gentry ladder. Elites value power and money, as opposed to the Gentry who value being cultured, smart, and interesting.

Risking money to make money (in a smart way) feels like an Elite thing. Say someone offered you a bet, once, where you risk $10k for a 52% chance at 20k. I think most Elites would do that, no question. I... probably wouldn't. I'd be ok if I lost $10k, but losses loom larger than gains. I think "risking lots of money" is probably a skill that you've got to develop if you're on the Elite ladder at all.
And it's not really valued among Gentry. I can say "ehh I don't have to Play the Game of gambling money to get rich; that's just crass materialism" and a lot of my friends will be like "yep" but an Elite would be like "what? no, if you opt out of learning how to risk money smartly, you're just being dumb."
I'm kind of fine with this, the Gentry ladder sounds like it leads to a happier life, I'm so glad I'm a Beta, etc. But in the same way that it's nice to enjoy dancing even if you're not a dancer, maybe it's nice to be able to do this skill even if you aren't gonna do it most of the time. If I lose my hundreds of made-up dollars in stupid cryptocoins, maybe I'm gaining the experience of losing hundreds of dollars.

(also I'm aware how stupid this sounds; watch this post go super-viral and me be the main character on twitter one day :-P

how to buy Dogecoin yourself (if you're as square as me)

This is still difficult and may take a couple days, so start setting it up if you're interested. Buying Bitcoin is pretty easy; sign up for Coinbase (they're big and well known despite their leadership being uh clueless about social impact), verify yourself via a photo of your driver's license and proof of residence and who knows SSN and whatever else (yes I'm aware this might be hypocritical with the privacy side of me), and then buy Bitcoin.

But they don't sell Doge, so you have to go elsewhere. A couple options that have worked for me:
1. Kraken seems to mostly work. also seems to mostly work. Both of these are pretty backed up and haven't verified me enough to buy cryptos with cash.
2. set up a Doge wallet somewhere*, then use Changelly to trade one crypto for another. E.g. buy Bitcoin** on Coinbase, then make an order on Changelly to trade Bitcoin for Dogecoin. Give them your Dogecoin address, send them your Bitcoin, then they will send Dogecoin to your Doge address.
* A "wallet" is basically an account. You can set one up on some websites, like Binance or, or you can keep it yourself by installing a Wallet program on your computer or phone. Don't use the "official" Dogecoin wallet by langerhans; it is super slow, like takes a day to do a transaction. Coinomi on my Mac seemed to work all right. I don't know a good phone-based Dogecoin wallet.
I like Binance for now, because if you do keep a wallet on your computer, the money is literally all there; if you uninstall the wallet or reformat your HD or something, your coins are all lost. There are backup ways to get around this, but I'm not used to thinking of money in this way yet***.
** Actually I had better luck using Stellar Lumens for this, weirdly; transactions took minutes instead of hours. Probably other less-popular coins would also be easier.
*** This makes me think of new rituals; we've grown accustomed to "forgot password" links and stuff, but like with crypto wallets, there is no "forgot password" link. Somehow we need to make it super clear that "this is a password you better not forget ever." People are trying this, but it's hard. (there is more value to rituals than UI ease of use, but that's a longer topic for another time.)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

reacting to posts by various internet nerds

"nerd" being of course entirely unjudgmental; I like some of these nerds and dislike others

seeing like a state

I keep meaning to, but I still haven't read this book. but this SSC review is pretty fun to read. similarly, this about warrens vs plazas. when you start seeing it, you see it everywhere: top down wants plazas, bottom up wants warrens. (when you work with computers, you want plazas: your data, your code, everything. but your data comes in in warrens. this is often what we mean by "data cleaning.")

speaking of states, ok, politics:

- measurement is really hard
- mostly super-engaged super-lefty people work on campaigns, while more centrist (for the US) people vote
- *sigh* I hear people on twitter gripe that we should go for big important ideas (m4a, defund the police, etc) but the more I hear from people who know politics it sounds like those are less successful because of what Shor talks about, which is a bummer because we really need most of the far left's big ideas. (again, this is "USA far left", which would get us in line with European centrists)
- side side gripe: I agree that ACAB is a terrible slogan if you wanna convert white people - they'll all think about the one cop they know and "that C isn't AB!" and "abolish the police" sounds radical too, sure. but how is "defund the police" so controversial? like, ... that could literally mean shrink the police by 99% or 1%. "centrists", seriously, if that's too radical for you, give me a slogan that means "maybe we should consider thinking about changing something please." or do you really not wanna consider changing anything please?

about meritocracy: obviously it's broken now. is it even worth striving for?

Callard argues that "achievement" (where we judge people) is different from "weight management" or "mental health" (where we don't judge people) because in weight/mental health, you can only screw up. If you're average, you're good; if you're off average in any direction, you're bad. Meanwhile, with achievement, if you're average, you're fine; if you're under average, that's bad; but you can be way over average and that'd be awesome.
I disagree with this premise. In mental health, you can also be average, below average, or way above average. Some people have ... just really great mental health. They're not just getting by, they're really flourishing and have extra love left over for everyone around them. And with weight - well, that's one narrow slice of "physical health", and it's not fair to compare a narrow thing like weight with a broad thing like "achievement." And in physical health, you have people who are average, people who are below average, and the LeBrons of the world who are just super fit.
Well... regardless, she ends up at a conclusion that I think I agree with: we should reward people for their triumphs and not blame people for their failures. This sounds great. The one question I have is: can we do that? As we celebrate wins, do we not also implicitly anti-celebrate the losses? I think she agrees that this is a big challenge.

I am unimpressed! covid is like... sorta a techno-optimist success story, because we did a vaccine in a year. but that's because "make a vaccine" fits into a category that we're very good at: executing on a well-defined technological problem (that we've been sort of preparing for). everything else covid-related, we are botching pretty miserably. Most of the rest of the techno-solutions are like... not actually solving our big problems (lab meat, self-driving cars, VR), or not actually working (fusion, "AI" whatever that is). and the necessary ideas that are not "tech lab solving tech problem" (like Yglesias's "government guarantees to buy electric cars" or even just "immigrants are good") are political, and therefore stalled forever by our f'ed-up federal government.


I'm not sure if doing this kind of post is serving me. I like collecting links and having a record of things I've thought at various times, but I don't know if it's worth the effort. I spend a couple hours collecting stuff I've read and it's kind of tiring, not a lot of fun, and I don't think I have any deep thoughts that are worth sharing.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

best of twitter 2020

how to sum up this year? as usual, I maintain that twitter is good at one thing, and that is dumb jokes, and we have had plenty of time to scroll it this year, so it seems about right. here are some of the bests of 2020ish:
toots other people made that I love:
- the circular circular (god I'm still in awe of this one)
- wisemind (memes of the year)
and because I'm vain, my toots that I'm proud of:
- the Big Challenges series
- I'm sorry Ms. Pac-Man (actually a reddit comment)

Saturday, December 19, 2020

expertise, football, covid, uh, wisemind

Expertise For Sale

Noe Valley still barely has a video store. Of course Netflix is basically putting them out of business. But that's a shame, because "loaning you the newest Avengers DVD" is only half their business, if that; half of it is recommending movies and having hard-to-find stuff. I want to pay people for the 2nd part, though; I want to give them $5 to just tell me what movie to watch.

This bartender started doing this on Tell her what you have and the kinds of things you like, and she sends you recipes using them. This requires pretty deep knowledge of drinks! I am happy to pay her for this. This is great.
Speaking of expertise, I would still pay for regular, customized, sports run-downs so I can keep up with a couple teams in like 5 min/week. Especially if they had a bit of:

Football for nerds

y'all nerds: if you wanna Get Into Sports in order to talk with friends, family, SOs, whatever, read everything by Jon Bois. Including 17776 and 20020. (ok those won't help you talk sports. but they're great.) I wish I could talk more about the Browns and the Indians and college football and stuff when I see family, which brings us to:

Covid and travel worries

Actually, side note: I've seen very little actual advice about what to do if you get Covid. Here's a thread; bookmarking this for later, just in case.
Covid and travel worries: I feel like despite how much I evangelize Microcovid, I'm the only one I know who actually uses it. A lot of friends have canceled holiday trips. And that's great; collective risk reduction is cool. But I think it's a little out of proportion; your individual trip to see 2 family members at Christmas, say, can be pretty low risk. Ok, ok, I'm not gonna tell anyone I know how to weigh risks for them; I guess I'm just feeling defensive because I feel like I'm the only one still planning on traveling. I feel like I'm doing the equivalent of "still drinking water at restaurants in a drought", because your water glass is not the main thing causing a drought anyway. But I guess I'm still thinking about it because I'm afraid of getting called out! which leads to:
this has ... just always been a good idea? problem is, most people who are "against cancel culture" are ass-clowns. (indeed; I fear that y'know Ben Sh*piro is gonna link this article too and then I'm agreeing with ass-clowns!) this is because "cancel culture" means everything from canceling some kid who misspoke once, to canceling bill cosby, and of course some of these are bad and some are good. maybe I'll continue to steer clear of any conversation involving the words "cancel", "woke", "sjw", etc; usually the people on the "woke" side are right; yes there's a crummy edge where people don't realize that they're delighting in yelling at people for not being woke enough and not furthering justice and that's a real thing that should be fixed BUT the bigger problem here is our society is so unjust; this is exhausting, I need a dose of:

Gen-Z absurdity

I think there's something to this tweet. 2020 is messed up enough as a secure-enough 30-something; I can't imagine if I were growing up or trying to make my way in the world right now. This goofy-ass humor would totally resonate.
An example: #wisemind is the best thing on twitter 6 months ago. this is poetry. if there were a pulitzer for tweets it should go to dril; if there were one for memes I'd give it to jay dragon.
It's easy to look at this and see it as Dadaist post-war nihilism, but I don't think this is? Or at least, not in a bad way? It's flowering creativity, world-building using the tools we have available.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Swole, Smash, Dr

I should post more frequently, instead of waiting til I have 3 topics and posting 3 at once.

Getting Swole

I'm lifting weights again. Or rather, doing mostly bodyweight exercises in my apartment every other day. It's good. There seem to be 5 main benefits:
1. Number Go Up
I like seeing numbers go up in basically anything I do! When I started, doing like 3 dips was hard. Now I can do 3x15! When I started, doing 10 push-ups was hard, now I can do 3x20! And doing 3 pull ups used to be hard, now I can do more than 3x10.
(I recently completed a life goal, sort of! When I was ~20 I thought it'd be cool to do my age in pull ups. I never did, but now I can (... in 3 sets). That's cool.)
Numbers Go Up even more if you have barbells or dumbbells; alas, I don't right now.

2. Loss Of Any Kind Of Neuroses Around Food
I never had a ton of neuroses (I'm lucky to be a not-overweight man), but like... as a friend recently said, we live in the Bad Place, you know? So I was always a little bit like "I'd *like* to eat more but I *shouldn't*." Now I eat whatever I want! I sort of have a goal to gain ~5 lbs, I don't really care if it happens, but it means I really don't have to worry about it at all; I eat what I want. To be so self-regulating feels great.

3. General health
Yeah yeah this is probably good for me in the long term whatever

4. Actually You Sometimes Have To Lift Heavy Things
I used to think "why lift weights? I never lift heavy things." But actually I do! Moving furniture, cleaning things, carrying bike, and someday carrying small children. Making all that easier will be nice.

5. Looking A Little Better
One time like 7 years ago I joined a gym because I "should" (see point 3) and bought their intro package of 5 classes + a personal consultation or something. It was not a gym for swole bros, they were all kinds of alternative movement-based exercises and bodyweight exercises and stuff, it was probably pretty cool. But at one point the guy I had my consultation with was like "so... do you want to get big, or do you want to get strong?" and I was like "Strong! pff, who cares about how you look." And he was kinda subtly like "yeah, cool."
What I should have taken from that is, "this gym focuses on getting strong, not big. (not that they're exclusive at all; you'll probably get one as you get the other, to some extent.)"
What I did take from it is "I gave the Right Answer; wanting to look muscley is vain."
But you know what? Looking muscly is a little bit cool! I'm not gonna get all Schwarzenegger here, but I like looking at myself and thinking I have good muscles. It's not the whole picture, but y'know it's one benefit out of 5.


Super Smash Bros Melee was a game for Gamecube released in 2001. It was great, I played it in high school, it was great. But it's had a behind-the-scenes competitive scene for almost 20 years now, which is pretty incredible. Some documentaries if you find this as fascinating as I do:
Metagame (haven't seen yet)
I saw a tournament in 2018 in Oakland. It was wild - there were hundreds of people there. (not knowing anything, I rooted for Hungrybox because I also "main" Jigglypuff ("main" meaning I played Puff in a tournament once, and was proud to only get 2-stocked)). I think that's like rooting for the Yankees. Whatever, he's kind of a heel, that's cool :D

I love this image - I think it's supposed to be Mew2King on the left and Mango on the right? For the record, when I'm playing games, I'm more like the guy on the right.
I get something out of watching it, in the way that I imagine a lot of people get about tennis or chess. Different players have different styles, sometimes you can see real particularly good moves that they did, it's real tense, etc.

uh but downside: it's super nerdy in a way that I'm not really happy about; gamers, y'know? It's the only community I've seen that's maybe even more uniformly male than Magic. The documentaries touch on this, but only briefly. to me, seems like the community is not toxic gamer shit, and has built some bridges between people of different races and backgrounds: cool! but, it does seem 95%+ men, and there's a decent amount of casual low-grade sexism and homophobia. That's not real compelling.


ok obv if anyone wants to use Dr and they've done the Thing We All Agree Lets You Use Dr and you tell them they shouldn't, then go to hell. But side thing I've wondered for years before it became a news item: should I start using Dr. more for myself? Should I list myself in Linkedin/etc as Dr. Dan Tasse? I never did because I thought it was vain and silly, but there's always that nagging doubt: "I should normalize calling myself Dr so that other less-privileged Drs can call themself Dr and thereby level the playing field." I wanna support women and minority Drs, but I think the idea of Dr in general is pretty dumb. How come you get a title for working 6 years in some career paths and not others?
Is the idea that Dr-achievements (phd/med/etc school) are harder than the corresponding other kinds of work you could be doing? ... maybe! grad school is tough. but geez, getting to change your name because you've "done a hard thing", we as a society are definitely gonna miscalibrate that one.
Is the idea that Dr-achievements are somehow Good for humanity and we should reward them? uh, I should give mine back, mine was "all this data seems cool but is pretty useless, I guess you could use it for this shitty feature if you're airbnb." (I still cringe about parts of that thesis.)
Should we all have collectively ignored this froth, because it's a case of Someone Wrote Something Bad Somewhere? yeah probly :shrug: