Last modified: 2013-08-21 (finished). Epistemic state: log.

(watch on Youtube)

Hey, internet! So a lot of stuff’s been happening. As I alluded to in some off-hand comments here and there, I’ve been busy transitioning into adulthood, or whatever passes as that for me anyway. (I’ve internally just begun to call it Chapter 1, and everything before now Prologue, because I’m stupid like that.1)

This process is still ongoing, but instead of waiting for another 2 months or so and then recapping, I thought I could just get back to writing now, while stuff’s still happening. Crazy idea, I know!

I am, in a certain sense, done with my CS degree, and as you can tell by that weaselly phrase, I mean that I’ve dropped out instead of continuing that torturous phase of my past for yet another year. The only real reason I even started the degree was because I didn’t have any other idea what else to do, and was using it to cheaply buy time. That worked out reasonably well - in total, I got half a decade out of it, and grew enough in the process (and met the right people, and ideas) that I now think it was absolutely the right decision. Maybe there would’ve been better alternatives (if so, I still don’t know what they would’ve been, beyond a “don’t take so long to stop being lame” reminder that’s probably only applicable with hindsight), but regardless, well done, past-me, It wasn’t fancy or heroic, but it worked just fine.

Still, it took me probably a good year to actually make the decision to drop out after I knew I wasn’t gonna continue this path and had begun to see an alternative. Sometimes more legible options appear stronger just because they are legible. A degree is of fairly straightforward value - you can easily look up income statistics and job requirements, compare it to the time investment of college, there ya go - and any part that isn’t easy to quantify gets thrown out of the evaluation. Like for example, despising virtually all options it opens up, not having much use for it on the paths I do like, and continuing now that I have actually found said real options would just be a waste of time.

You are now allowed to shun me based on my lack of academic credentials. I don’t mind - destroying academia is on my todo list, and regular reminders why it has to go probably help.

So did I mention I actually started a tumblr for random snippets and stuff? I’m still not sure if I’m gonna use it or anything, but nice pictures keep popping up, and maybe I end up writing a few short thingies over there. So far I’ve mostly been reblogging Homestuck ships.

Like I said over there, I’d like to eventually talk more coherently (and not just meta, but also directly) about ships, and art, and related things (, and the Oxford Comma), but I’m still not quite feeling it, so maybe it’s just not the right time, or I don’t have enough interesting things to say, or whatever. We’ll see. Anyway, it exists now.

Look, a pug!

So instead of being a productive member of society, I was mostly busy with building additional pylons figuring out how to money, keeping Mother Bureaucracy updated and working on moving in together with my moirail 2345 somewhere in the UK, which will happen in about 2 months when my contract at the university runs out and I can leave the country.

(This might be a good opportunity to point out how Homestuck has one of the saner models of romance and gender, and that this is one of countless benefits trolls bring to any story they touch.6 It also highlights by analogy some silliness in the conventional human model by showing similar silliness in the troll model. While some trolls insist that ideal relationships divide nicely into the Four Quadrants, it’s clear that in most cases this isn’t the case and it’s much fuzzier, even though the quadrants still represent some important components, so wiser trolls would realize that and take a more reasonable stance and oppose a system that tries to enforce restrictive norms (which, for all we know, they do - troll society and history is… complicated, as it should be). But in contrast to that, trolls already have a much better position on gender than the humans, who do the same essentialist “two ideal categories” crap trolls do with the quadrants.

So there.)

On a completely unrelated note, I just want to note how weird it is that “yay I’m happy” posts can cause some seriously bad side-effects, and that I remember being personally pissed off by them in the past, thinking something along the lines of, “well good for YOU that you’re happy, I’m still a lonely mess”, and so even though saying (and feeling) these things is very important, I still feel uncomfortable talking about it, and so will abstain from any more details for now. Compassionate community norms are hard, and I wanna at least think about them some more.7

Regardless, actually moving (especially to a different country) means I had to adapt some of my setups.

I won’t be able to bring my guitar with me for now, but might be able to fly it over next year or so. I’m kinda glad I opted for gear that is fairly mobile, so transport should be fairly easy once I don’t also have to bring all my other stuff with me. I’m still committed to the frugal ideal that everything you own should comfortably fit into one car at most (or you end up limiting your freedom too much), so it’s mostly the amp that’s causing trouble (and it’s still primarily monetary concerns that I didn’t pick an even smaller one, which oddly enough cost more; if things go as they usually do, I’ll eventually just build my own).

I’ve also gotten rid of my old PC setup. I used to have one Frankensteinian desktop machine that I cheaply turned into a decent-ish gaming rig, but I’ve long intended to retire it. I also had two old-ish laptops, and loads of small drives for backups and stuff. The desktop was kinda the central machine and everything else synced with it. I now switched to one fancy 13-inch MacBook (still running Gentoo, after some headaches), kept my keyboard and mouse for work that requires them, and put the two large 1.5TB drives from my desktop (which mirror each other) into a portable NAS. My total space capacity went down a bit that way, and I lost the ability to play some high-end games (for now), but meh. (I still kept the old netbook for some additional mobility though, but it’s semi-retired.)

That simplifies my synchronization and backup needs somewhat. All small-ish things are automatically copied to various online places. Each laptop does a daily backup to the NAS, which also stores most of the big media via git-annex. The NAS runs a custom Debian, so it’s also a server for all kinds of minor things, including Nethack. Every time I get my hands on any other drive I copy as much data onto it as I can fit (because why not; I just put my old drives in a box at my parents’ - no reason to throw them out), but that’s now gonna be a maybe-once-a-year event. (Also, git-annex on an SSD is finally fast enough to be fully usable.)

I was afraid that losing my two big monitors would hurt the most, but because I spend most of my time in a text editor or browser anyway, it’s actually not a big deal. Workspaces work just as well as additional monitors, and 13 inches is plenty. The only thing that’s a pain is if I still had to use Eclipse for Java work, but screw that - I’m finally in pure Ruby and Haskell nirvana. (I wouldn’t reject more monitors if I had them available, but I’m not gonna try to carry any around with me either.) And finally, not having a “central” machine I can’t move means I can now easily snuggle up next to someone and still code, regardless where said person happens to be. That’s so much more important than screen size.

I still feel kinda sentimental about a “cabin in the woods” setup with lots of ancient hardware that runs some custom setup where you wrote half the tools (as I used to run for the last few years, and would like to have again some time), so having just one main machine (and one server-in-a-box) is kinda weird.

Guess I’m a nomad now.

Hahaha, oh man. Do you guys remember how over a year ago, I made a List Of All My Problems? It was like 260 items long and I thought, yeah, that’s probably it - some issues might’ve been vague, sure, and others irrelevant, but I didn’t think I’d have forgotten anything important. Who doesn’t know what their Main Issues are, right?

I recently looked at this list again and it’s ridiculous. It’s not just incredibly petty sometimes, many things that have deeply bothered me for years and are reason enough to plunge me into suicidality whenever they seem unfixable aren’t even on there!

It’s liberating when radical agnosticism shifts from not knowing most answers to not even being sure about the questions. If I don’t even know what my real problems are, how can I possibly be upset about them?

(Also basically everything important on that list has been fixed by now.)

So what’s next?

Step 1, the prototype: teach a complex skill and make it no longer hard.

After considering various options in detail8, we’ve decided to start with German for English speakers. Because we’re still developing the courses and improving our teaching skills (well, learning from scratch based on ancient scrolls, really), we’re gonna spend a few months solely on that and in-person testing, and then Disturb The Peace.

So if you wanna learn German For Reals Without All The Tedium And Crap (or just wanna meet up with me and talk whatever (I’m totes sociable now (when I’m not a paranoid ball of anxiety (but I now have a superweapon against that (it’s not nested parentheses (just in case you wondered)))))), and you’re somewhere in the UK, just leave a comment or contact me in any way you want, and I’ll put you on The List and try to make stuff happen as soon as I’m able. (Once the thing has been sufficiently tested, there will be an automated, and more importantly, online version, of course. Can’t change the world with just one meager town and face-to-face interaction, but direct feedback makes early development so much easier, so yeah.)

(Step 2-10 are left unmentioned to maintain the Unspoken Plan Guarantee. Things will become clearer eventually.)

Regardless, that means the next few months are completely filled up by logistics, development and being amazed how I can continue to fall even more in love every day. Some of that might eventually get better, some might not, but I don’t expect too much writing to happen for a while, unless I find a way to harvest the power of smooching to produce some wicked posts. (I’ve also lost parts of my writing urges for various reasons9, some likely permanently so, but these things come and go. I’ve had quiet years and hypergraphic years before.)

In terms of kinda-planned drafts, I’ve begun to write down my way too elaborate Jesus RPG campaign. I’ve given up on ever running it and just want it out of my head. I’m about 4k words in, might actually finish the thing soon enough, maybe start posting it in small-ish installments once I’ve sketched out the whole post structure.

So overall, I think it’s a good idea to just declare Mission Accomplished for the daily logs. I’ve done my first crazy miracle and I’m busy working on the next. This site is now officially “whenever, whatever”, as long as its kinda coherent. The rest goes to the tumblr.

Man, being an adult is awesome.

  1. This is stupid for several reasons:

    • it smushes everything before now into one Prologue, when really there are multiple clear “everything changed forever” events during that time (e.g. first anime, first time taking Ayahuasca, first website (on a shittier version of Geocities, no less)) and there’s no overarching unified progression during the whole thing (like, Batman loses his parents in his prologue - what one critical thing happened to me, exactly?)
    • it places great emotional importance on events that haven’t even unfolded yet, like I have secret insights into God’s Narrative or sumthin’
    • it uses linear narratives, not shandified ones (who’s to say I won’t return to Chapter 1 at some later point?)
    • it implicitly assumes one arc has one theme, or at most several exactly parallel ones; in other words, whatever Chapter 1 is about ends with Chapter 1, and if some other stuff happens during that time, it either has to end there too, or it must just not be what my life is really about
    • it strongly suggest there must chapters after it, thus undermining my ability to Fix Everything Forever Like I’m Made Out Of Pure Fixeverythingium
    • and seriously, “1”? you can’t even name it something cool, like The One With The Robot Snake?

  2. Don’t know what a moirail is? Read the link. While the concept strongly overlaps with “bros” and similar things, these tend to not get the romantic component of it, or imply weird ideas like how this kind of relationship is inherently asexual (fuck no), partially I suspect because just mainstream romance/sexuality discourse is retarded, so I’m declaring a Special Snowflake Exception for “moirail”, as it seems easier to repair these misconceptions in a troll-originated concept, than to get bros to finally suck cock and not feel guilty about it.

    Incidentally, the pronunciation of “moirail” is delightfully trolly. Personally, I use “meow-rail” for normal use, and “mwah-rail” (with implied kissing) when flirting.

  3. I’d also like to note that even though this establishes a canon (and muflax-endorsed) <> and <3 dual-ship of muflax+Owen (and I’d argue in favor of OTP here), this only expresses my (and Owen’s, and arguably the universe’s author’s) opinion, and is no reason to abandon other ships or your personal headcanon. I oppose any central authority on these matters, even if it might happen to agree with me.

    (I also find it really weird to use two different types of names, but I wanna be consistent about only using “muflax” for now, even though using my first name would allow for an S+O=SO pun, but then I hate the “SO” term, so nevermind…)

    I’ve only dabbled in o8< (mostly by not-always-intentionally trolling certain people by acting as a proxy for mindfucky ideas by other (crazier) people, and so leading them to write wonderful “the fuck is this stuff even about?! I never knew about X until last week, and now I’ve realized I’ve hated it MY ENTIRE LIFE!” posts; I noticed I’m doing this when friends in 6th grade told me I was the one who introduced them to kink, somehow), and I’m totally lacking in <3<. I mean, I kinda hate Polycarp but not quite enough, and if the alveolar trill were a person, I’d wanna have angry hatesex with it so hard, but I’m not sure that counts.

    So the most promising shipping research topic is probably who my arch-nemesis is gonna be. Somehow I mostly get into fights with concepts, not people.

  4. Also, I’m really unhappy with established terms to talk about “person who I love, like, THIIIIS much”. Like (girl|boy)friend? Fuck that. “partner”? Like, the government gets to call ‘em “partner” if it wants, and I find it kinda adorable what weirdly formal language it comes up with, but it’s not really a very affectionate label, is it? Seriously, all options are either super-formal, horrible or real silly. (I’m never gonna use “SO”. This is too stupid even for me.) I’d be ok with “lover” if it didn’t have this connotation that it isn’t a serious thing, or “mate” if Australians hadn’t ruined it. So for now until I find a term (neologic if necessary) I’m happy with, I expect to mood-swing through “partner”, “moirail”, “love” (and I really wanna use “hon”, but then I’m tempted to practice a Southern accent all day and never get anything else done), and whatever else feels slightly less awkward that day.

    Man, /language/, amirite?

  5. That’s a lot of footnotes for one word! It’s as if there’s a correlation with how important the topic is to me, or the thing it refers to…

  6. Seeker, wear the troll hide, learn the signs of the dakinis and wander into the Bohemian forest, where you will find a four-headed statue proclaiming Beauty, Freedom, Truth and Love, which grants liberation to all who know the magic song. A servant of Grandma Bonylegs once sung it to me, but I can never quite keep it in my head

  7. Part of my writing philosophy has always been “write what I actually wanna read more of”, and so I’m pissed at myself that I don’t share a lot more here, cause this is exactly what I’d love to read about, and so not doing it is a concession to lameness itself. But I’m also paranoid about various perverse incentives and substitutions (i.e. writing more about the thing than actually doing the thing, or in this case, person (BOOM FLAWLESS INNUENDO)), and so for now I’m gonna be mostly silent while I think it through.

    The other problem is that this stuff is hard to write about. It’s weird how “this is not a real medium” is one of those statements that incredibly piss me off, like every time someone says “games aren’t art” or “but you can’t trust someone over text” (aside from the retarded conceptions of “art” and “trust” that underlie this nonsense), and so not being able to write about something because I just wouldn’t know how is a deep moral failure for me, and when I find myself thinking “I can’t write about that, who would want to read that?!, and anyway, I don’t even know how to english it to begin with”, I feel like I’m Failing At Life, and everything that matters at all gets betrayed because of some stupid sense of boundaries or expectations.

    So I gotta figure something out, and beat this old narrative machine into a decent enough approximation of half my feels. Just gimme some time to adjust.

  8. Also considered, among other things:

    • different places, most importantly Canada (but their bureaucracy tries to cockblock me as hard as it can while still claiming they want valuable immigration with a straight face), and Berlin (not ideal for the skill set we currently have, but I’d still like to re-visit at some point in the near future, maybe in the form of some grand Europe Tour)
    • different language, primarily French (possibly the next one), Japanese (would love to do it next, but I really want either more teaching experience or a fluent speaker to work with first, so it had to wait) and English (not enough resources right now)
    • math and physics up to undergraduate level or so (much harder to get a properly incentivized audience, but real high up on the list and long-term mandatory (and I like everything about it, including teaching it), but not the right thing to bootstrap with)
    • different timeline / “business model” / major reordering of The Plan (long story, but tl;dr: everything else is predictably stupid-in-retrospect, and so doesn’t make sense)

  9. Various reasons:

    • much lower need for outside approval, and actively working on lowering it even more; Arline’s Mantra “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” helps a lot to clarify and work through these issues, but kills ranty blogs dead
    • after some discussions with David and Owen, I’m pretty strongly in the “most philosophy (i.e. the stuff I talked about a lot) has only negative value by removing misconceptions” camp now, so the only interesting stuff for me is foundational stuff that directly leads to engineering stuff, and so I find myself only reading Skinner, Mill and similar folks, if even that
    • too sane; I kinda have a tendency to get worked up about stupid shit (in entertaining ways, at least, but still) when I don’t have a calming influence in my life; have that now, feel much less crazy (except in a good way)
    • speaking of Feynman and craziness, you gotta do crazy shit occasionally so you can later talk about it; currently in that phase

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