Marc's INTJ Blog

Sensory Change-ups

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Since I just wrote about changing watches and variety being helpful, here are some more things like that:

Here, have some wallpaper

I’ve been making some fractal wallpaper recently. Here’s one, consider it a wacky, explosive teaser until I finish up my Red Station Wallpaper Pack to be released soon:

fractal image

It reminds me of a breakfast cereal ad. Maybe I should add some milk somehow pouring into the center…

I’ve been changing my wallpaper imagery more frequently, and I like it. What’s weird is, I thought quality was best. So I was a bit nervous to tell my computer, just as an experiment: “just pick any image in my collection, no matter the resolution. And change things out every 25 minutes.”

But no, even with the known quality issue, the quantity factor is still way better than quality on my energy-meter.

Random Sounds

I’m playing with random sounds. Making my computer produce them at random times. So far, I will only say that this has been fun.

I also updated my random-music script. Pressing the Ctrl + Super + Media-Play key combination quickly shuffles up my entire music collection, throws it into a playlist, and pipes it out through QMMP so I can hear sequences like:

I mean, there’s no going back from this level of rrrrandom.

I also have the yodeling chorus of John Denver’s Calypso bound to a shortcut key here, but that’s less random and more yodelly.

Text Editor Themes

I practically live in a text editor, so I bake up new themes from time to time, and I’m thinking of ways to speed this up.

I’ve made at least 15 themes for Geany, yet unreleased because they are sloppy AF. But they are something different and again, this counts. I have one that reminds me of Scooby Doo. I call it Inspector X.

I change color schemes about 3-4 times a day and this pace works pretty well. It’s nice to slip into a new color scheme. Something about the sensory-emotive qualities.

Layering Things

I’ve also been layering and mixing this stuff.

It’s weird. But it WORKS.

  • Radio playing Top 40 in the background
  • A podcast
  • WebSDR audio, like some hams talking on 80 meters, or arabic talk radio
  • French hip-hop

I’ll turn up, or down, these various inputs to discover different emergent effects, meanwhile changing wallpapers, text editor themes, window themes, fonts, etc.

Where this will lead

Well, it’s all going somewheres. I was going to leave that as “somewhere” but remembered that the entire point is the diversity of outcomes. Fun stuff to think about.

Filed in: /66/ | /11/

But which LEVEL of Real-life Batman?

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Fictional Batman is just close enough to a real-life human that he can absolutely trigger people. Mostly for good, like “oh wow, I think I could stand a chance at being Batman,” but in the case of people who don’t like superheroes, also for bad.

Definite Non-blog-reader Alex writes,

Not big into the superhero thing, actually. I can’t really lose myself in the fiction, it’s mostly pure cringe for me. Pause for a moment and think of a vigilante in a bat suit. In REAL LIFE.

At best we’d get: link

OK, Alex is a good guy but I have to look into this. We look into things in this house.

Because I’m super good at Batman-style digital forensics, I was able to “hack” into Alex’s image URL and discover the original article.

(I also discovered a way to “hack” (not really!) that URL to produce a comically bad JPG thumbnail using tiny quantities of free server time, but this is child’s play and I have seen much more impressive hacks in my time as a vigilante superhero, like the time I accidentally hacked my own API and produced a novel variety of radioactive emoji.)

Now, to the story-mobile:

“I’ve caught this one for you,” the caped crusader told officers after marching the 27-year-old suspect into Trafalgar House Police Station in the early hours of Monday 25 February – before disappearing back into the night.

“The person who brought the man in was dressed in a full Batman outfit,” said a police spokesperson. “His identity remains unknown.”

Uh, what?

OK Alex, first REAL LIFE detail to share here: Maybe let’s not overlook the fact that he did it. WTF? He actually did it! LOL. The guy delivered a criminal to justice.

Literally all this guy needs to work on now is his costuming and secret identity:

And while police remain mystified as to the identity of the masked man, a local fancy dress shop owner believes she knows who he is.

She added that she knew the customer’s name from his credit card receipt but vowed to keep his true identity a secret.

Seriously, if this is a bad example of Batman in real life, I have to say it’s barely bad. As in, the costume doesn’t fit well. We don’t even know if he guessed that the shop owner would protect his identity! Maybe this was part of the plan!

So…he did it! That’s the story here. I’m shocked and very pleased, as a Batman fan myself.

This is why I always like to look into things. It’s simply too easy to ignore the possibility that some day, society’s gears will mesh just in such a way that real Bat-superheroes are produced.

Hahahaha. I love it!

It’s hilarious that among other things, we probably need to start developing this concept of levels of real-life Batman, because it’s happening:

  1. Wearing a bad costume, bringing no one to justice
  2. Wearing a good costume, bringing no one to justice
  3. Wearing a bad costume, bringing one or more mooks to justice
  4. Wearing a good costume, bringing one or more mooks to justice
  5. Wearing a good costume, bringing one or more major criminals to justice
  6. Wearing a good costume and driving a f*cking amazing vehicle, bringing one or more major criminals to justice

So, a LEVEL THREE BATMAN has happened. PLEASE someone send me a link to a level 4.

I’m going to stop there because my hands are shaking in anticipation. Can you imagine if we broke into the seventh level? Hahahaha! This is hilarious, but in a way that also points at transcendence. Seriously, hilariously amazing.

I need to stop now and try to recall exactly what I ate that is making this all so entertaining, but I believe we accomplished something good here today.

Filed in: /33/ | /11/ | /22/ | /42/ | /66/

Smart Watching Dumb Watches

Wednesday May 20, 2020

I blogged about one of my watches before, all excited about how fun it was. I like watches. I love a good ol’ Casio, man.

These days I’m wearing the Casio AE-1400WH quite a bit, because I found one at RURAL-MART for $19 and I know a smart buy when I see one. This is a low-end Casio with tons of features, among which you’ll also find the ability to see the current time on the analog-style time display while you switch through alarm, stopwatch, and timer modes. I always liked that.

The same watch also has five alarms, which is kind of fun to play with. You know what I use those for, besides waking up or remembering to do something?


I’m guessing you heard the word on the streets and joined the club.

(It’s not too big a deal unless you consistently elevate your own quantification practice, which I think probably also accounts for the difference between viewpoints like “I don’t get why Quantified Self is a big deal” and “holy sh**”)

Anyway, that’s right…I use my Casio alarms to track things! Calories, hydration, protein, whatever. Mostly calories though.

And yeah, there are some issues. For one, it’s impossible to store a number like “175 calories” because your model M1-A1 Improvised Casio Watch Alarm Calorie Counter will go up to 159 before it needs to jump up to 200 calories.

(If you’re hating on that I got news for you, son: I got 99 problems, but counting calories in increments smaller than 50 ain’t one. Also, this little feature can easily help you lose weight by overstating your calories consumed)

Plus here’s another little gem: Every time I change the alarm, it helpfully turns itself on. So I guess it’s possible to starve yourself and end up waking to a Casio alarm at like 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. (100 or 200 calories). In this way, we reward a balanced diet and punish extreme dieting.

Watches, man.

Oh, and if my schedule is in shambles, of course that’s when I notice that I LOVE a good ol’ G-Shock. Because my schedule is in shock and I may literally die from terrible time management. Something like that. But this truth is pretty consistent.

The opposite case: On weekends when all my work has been done for the week, I think, “maybe I’ll get one of those Snoopy watches.” Time for playful weekend scheduling.

(The reconciliation of schedules is generally helpful to a guy like me, just in case this is lost on anyone)

(Parenthetical 5: It does feel pretty clever to notice this stuff, and observe it happening again and again. At the same time, writing it out is kind of embarrassing…so it’s a good thing I have coached enough people to know that EVERYBODY has embarrassing stuff going on, and often the sooner it’s talked out, the better.)

Another thing that happens: If I’m shopping while bored, my ULTRA-contingency-planning process kicks in, which is I’m pretty sure why I bought a solar-powered G-Shock for my birthday recently. Because…it should last until the sun burns up? No, but gosh darnit, it’s solar and I think somehow that will make things easier in the long run.

It hasn’t arrived yet, and it’s nothing fancy, and I also bought it in “box is practically exploded” state to get a nice discount, so we’ll see how things go. But now that my mindset is back in normative mode, I’m pretty sure I my regular non-solar watches will retain their wearability despite the presence of this apocalyptic-times-anticipatin’ monster.

Sometimes I even hop on Aliexpress and buy a HUGE $10 “fitness watch” just for kicks. The build quality is good enough for day-to-day stuff, and a lot of them watches got “good movement” or so a friend tells me.

Also it’s just impossible to get a reasonably-priced “yellow camouflage” watch these days without paying an arm and a leg.

On the cost

I have a few friends who buy $5000 watches, and that’s all they wear. And I have a friend who tells me that he knows celebrities who collect watches that cost $200K and up, and this one time a bunch of those got stolen, or something. Man those guys need some kind of precious scheduling I guess. They’re probably avoiding scheduling out the rest of their lives, something like that. You know? The old man’s gold watch symbol. Time is precious.

Which, it’s all cool if that’s their thing. Personally I find that sensory breadth is way more rewarding to me than sensory depth, so I try to keep the budget low and the collection varied.

Plus I once lost a titanium G-Shock that was worth about as much as my entire collection is worth right now. Losing that watch was not cool at all. And I’ll probably find it in a box someday.

This also brings to mind a time when a friend approached me at a social event and said, “I used to be just like you, buying cheap watches.” Thank god it was really easy to cut that conversation short. Mister Expensive Watch Guy over here. Geez.

Filed in: /19/ | /74/ | /10/ | /42/

What is Seriousness? Four Factors to Consider, and their Implications

Tuesday May 19, 2020

Here’s a label that deserves some scrutiny: “INTJs are serious.” What does that mean?

You also might have heard someone say: This or that INTJ is too serious. What is too serious? Let’s get into both of these questions.

First, what does it mean to be serious? Here are my observations, separated into four factors:

  • First, it means that one has a natural tendency to appraise and compare in a calculated way, a way which also leaves little room for nuance. “I see that I’m falling behind here, and this other person/thing is ahead over here.” Millions of other factors are discounted in order to get at this evaluation grosso modo. The “grosso part” in effect creates a “seriousness lens.” Moderated by time, it may create an “impending seriousness” effect which complicates things further.
  • The second factor is what I call a war footing, driven by a need to protect oneself from outside concerns. “I’m going to fight as if this (project/undertaking) is a war. If I win, I get to claim this experience and carry it forward, further displacing scrutiny and building relational capital.”
  • The third factor is finality. “I’ll do this once so it doesn’t have to be done again. And there will be no second place, even if just for contingency purposes.” This immediately complicates the question of energy inputs and outputs, requiring a strong commitment and seemingly mandating a painful recovery.
  • The fourth factor is applied competence. “I’ll apply the best approach.” This person has studied the masters (see step one) and knows that the master’s work is done at a different level. Therefore, the work must be elevated to this level, in the closing act of seriousness.

I can’t think of a single INTJ I’ve met, and known well, who hasn’t expressed most of that in some way or another. And that’s reflected in a lot of their past experiences.

Think about the way INTJs often relate their past experiences:

  • “You see, I used to be the most effective [type of person / job / etc.] in all of [area].”
  • “It so happens that I spent 20 years studying [thing].”
  • “What I’m about to say comes from doing this [number] times over the last decade.”

(And therefore? Think about what this person will ask of you next: “Listen to me. Understand me. Give my statements some weight. And lay off the criticism”)

What does it mean to carry this seriousness too far? Certainly that could be helpful to know:

  • Applying rough appraisals and comparisons where a different, perhaps deeper approach is warranted
  • Taking a war footing where a more synergistic, win-win approach would be best, or perhaps even a nurturing or playful footing
  • Aggressively reaching for finality and attempting master strokes when a perceptive, long-term, stabilized approach would lead to an easier success
  • Applying competence where incompetence or another oblique approach might create better outcomes
  • Needlessly pushing / working / deciding, as opposed to waiting / resting / being open-minded
  • Needlessly self-sacrificing / dedicating
  • Needlessly tying oneself to a specific outcome / committing

Maybe you can start to see blind spots forming. Some examples:

  • I was too black-and-white in my appraisal and my comparison / critique was too harsh
  • I went to war, when I regret that I didn’t go to play
  • I tried to finish the thing off, when we could have kept it open and celebrated it, carrying it forward into other pursuits
  • I tried to stay with it, when a looser approach would have been less embarrassing
  • I tried to improve myself and master the task…and inadvertently worsened the outcome / raised the stakes for everyone else
  • I pushed hard for something that really didn’t merit the hard work
  • I sacrificed myself for something that really wasn’t worth it
  • I brought a specific outcome into being, but the outcome was simply one acceptable outcome out of many
  • I brutally sacrificed my energy for outcomes which I must now defend, or else I’ll feel ashamed

This brings to mind some guidelines:

  • If you can continually develop effective ways respond to outside concerns and scrutiny, you may not have to take life so seriously.
  • If you can forgive yourself and take up opportunities to retry things, you may not have to take life so seriously.
  • If you care less about your “self” and its value as compared to others, you may not have to take life very seriously at all. (this is trickier than many people think, but awareness is huge)
  • Some things can be taken seriously, but for fun. That is, you take them seriously, but know you can moderate the seriousness as needed, depending on how much you like the results and outcomes. This may be important to understand for those who have previously taken things too seriously. It also points to the need for an ongoing, emotionally-reflective process.
  • If you’re going to be serious about a thing, that thing should be really, really important to you. Otherwise it may be too easy to mistake your own seriousness level for that of others, which could lead to wasted energy and other disasters.
  • It’s really important to be able to develop a “feel” for what is important to you. This is not a set-and-forget thing, but will change over time.
  • The most seriously-taken things should also be those which can freely demand huge swaths of your time, energy, suffering, and reflection.
  • Very few things should really be taken at 100% seriousness.
  • The fact that others may have mastered non-seriousness gives you something worthy of study—other tools to consider.
  • The fact that still others have found a way to mix serious with non-serious is also worth considering.
  • It may be a very good idea to ask if the systems you create, as a serious person, are overly serious. Could such a system be transferred to a less-serious caretaker, for example? Or can the system respond to / account for a change in seriousness?
  • Since relationships are also systems, INTJs in relationships would probably do well to evaluate and reconsider their own seriousness, that of their partner, their friends, etc. Not necessarily as an act of criticism, but certainly as a possible target for emulation or as a learning activity.

Filed in: /66/ | /20/ | /74/


Wednesday May 13, 2020

Earlier today I podcasted for fake for a bit. Let’s call it Noncasting. I plugged in my nice mic, put on my headphones, started up Audacity, and hit Record.

Then I said nothing that will ever be published. With terrific audio quality. It sounded great, looping back into my ears, in enhanced stereo, with just a tiny bit of delay.

Man, it helped A TON. I got a lot of things off my chest. I ended up taking notes while doing it. Built up a huge list. Speak a while, type a while. A “here’s what’s up, and here’s what I’ll do about it” loop of sorts.

So far I’ve tried:

  • Podcasting for fake
  • Fake blogging (even on paper, like drawing columns and a sidebar and stuff—this is what started my journey to 100 lbs. of weight loss)
  • Vlogging for fake

And here’s one I haven’t tried: OBS-style screencasts. Tutorial-making for fakes. Apparently this one can be pretty helpful to get into the flow of work.

And to clarify: We’re recording for real, but not necessarily publishing it anywhere.

I have a mouth but like, don’t scream often enough

I think basically the longer I go without making a noise out of my mouth or typing words through my fingers, the worse. And we’re talking minutes, not hours.

And since this is an INTJ blog I KNOW YOU KNOW how long that perceptive silent period can go.

Te is a pretty good model for this, all things considered, with some issues here and there. For one, there’s a lot of Fi involved, and hopefully Fe and Ti too. But I’ll tag it here in case it helps.

And also, there’s a bit of that “well OF COURSE extraversion is the solution to introvert problems” mindset, but there’s also more to it than such a shallow model can convey. Sometimes it takes just the right tool, which matches a mindset, which matches a mood, which matches specific circumstances…

Filed in: /74/ | /29/ | /79/ | /54/

Watching REALLY Dumb Movies, for Fun

Wednesday May 13, 2020

Do you ever watch REALLY bad/dumb movies for fun? I’ve only been able to do this very recently, but it seems to help.

Access is super easy at zero cost. In addition to Youtube’s amusingly high-quality VHS rips from well-known distributors, there’s a lot of this stuff at the Internet Archive as well: Example One and Example Two.

(AKA: Bad movies: Does anybody even GAF about copyright? You don’t even have to watch these in parts that you painstakingly searched for and added to a playlist!)

And that’s not even getting into the various streaming channels. Some of them are really worth checking out for that bad-movies aspect alone.

As a kid, then later as a teenager, and still later as a dumbass 20-something and professionally-foolish 30-something, I wasn’t really into non-serious movies. I thought: The more-seriouser, probably the better.

I was a much more serious person back then. I kind of regret it. And now that I’m a freshly-minted dumbass 40-something, I think it’s good to have regrets.

(Check out my list of INTJs on the front page of the blog, too. As a group, you see, we’re basically known to be dead serious about stuff at some fundamental level, and also at some fundamental level, that tends to break)

So these days I’m out here in the streets trying to be less serious. This seems to be reflected in the movies and TV I’m willing to watch. Here’s what I like:

  • I like that no part of me is acting like the production needs to be on my level. I’m not struggling with the question of whether I’m above any of it (yes/no it doesn’t really matter), and that’s relaxing in its own way.
  • I like taking apart the plot. Taking notes is kinda fun. And sometimes I like reassembling it to make it better. But mostly, I like the funny questions it brings up.
  • I like the waves of silliness that lap onto the shores of my over-serious perceptions. This feeling of “lighten up a bit” is much more treasured now than ever before.
  • I like the feeling of “maybe I could take something this seriously and do an OK job of writing it.” It’s fun to think about.

There are still some exceptions; I’m not able to take the silliness to 100%. For example, a production that’s just pointless chaos without any structure—I’m still not so comfortable with that. I like to feel at least a little bit of seriousness from the production team. Low budget? Fine. Low quality script? Also fine. But when there’s literally nobody taking any aspect of the entire thing seriously? Personally, that’s where I fear to tread.

Maybe that will change—we’ll see.

Filed in: /66/ | /11/ | /79/

Morning Food Mood vs. Intermittent Morning Mood

Wednesday May 13, 2020

Intermittent fasting was pretty cool for a while. Now it’s just another tool in the box. We can look it in the eyes and say, “look buddy, here’s what you absolutely suck at, and that’s ok. We need to be honest at this point.”

Lately the problem is that I’m realizing just how much my mood is assisted by food. Especially in the morning. I often need a good pickup in the morning.

And especially with that sweet food, man.

I noticed this little trick: A donut is AT LEAST as good as one ibuprofen tablet under specific circumstances. Overworked? This’ll help.

This brings to mind my favorite dirty cut times a few years back, when I’d buy a box of candy bars and eat the entire box in three days, and complain that even my hats were getting too big now, or whatever (the hat size change is truly an under-shared facet of extreme weight loss).

The candy bar diet thing was:

  • Inexpensive, because somehow I found boxes of candy bars on clearance every time I went shopping.
  • Good for the purpose of controlling calories, because hell yeah I’ll skip everything else on the menu today so I can eat SIX of my favorite candy bars. Hell yes.
  • Easy food math. The math is basically done for you on the wrapper.
  • As flexible as you wanted it to be. I was still eating healthy foods, but that was “sometimes” or even “most times,” instead of “every meal is measured for macros like a medication.”

I believe some part of this needs to be folded into my future cuts. It’s free good-mood real estate. And mornings…eh. I just think I can use more food-energy in the morning.

Dirty Cut Bonus Content

Plus, here’s the thing: Dirty cuts might be “dirty,” but you’re still losing weight. If weight loss is the purpose, then we can’t say that a dirty cut is really so bad. Sometimes a clean cut with its food-program-maintenance aspect can quickly frustrate one into getting off track and gaining weight. Just IMO. We can say, “but but but here’s what will happen if you eat dirty” all we want, but in fact the various factors have to be weighed. A perfect program can be perfectly inappropriate.

Filed in: /20/ | /22/ | /66/ | /10/

Things aren't really changing, and none of this is getting better

Monday May 11, 2020

When I start to feel exhausted or worn out, one of the messages that frequently comes to my consciousness goes like this:

  • You make all these changes and say you’re improving your life, but nothing is really changing.
  • Otherwise you wouldn’t feel as grumpy as hell right now. See? This doesn’t feel good at all.
  • So none of these improvements you say you’ve made are worth a thing.
  • Might as well give up on these changes.

Having written that out: I cringe to think of the drastic decisions I could make while feeling this way, knowing that I’ll periodically have to review this kind of message for the rest of my life.

Materially, the premise is incorrect, but easy to trust in a deceptive way. It ignores various really important details (my own life has improved greatly, and I have the logs to back it up, but I do have to remember to give that fact some weight—not always easy when the illogical NOW feeling is in control), and in doing so it re-seats the simplistic, naive look at life improvement: “Just” do whatever you feel like right now, and that’s the good life right there. All you have is the present, and the best way to plan for the future is in simplistic, fearful terms.

Really though, it’s pushing for huge, uncontrolled, chaotic, explosive change now. It wants to be able to say:

  • We REALLY changed just now! Hahaha!
  • That’ll show ‘em!
  • We made people notice, didn’t we?
  • In the end, the only truth I have is me, and the purpose might as well be my whim and pleasure.

I used to live that life a lot more than I do now. And being aware and planted in the present is indeed important. But this tired-me version of that philosophy is not a good one on which to base a life. As it turns out, when given the helm, it robs both the past and the future in sneaky and regretful ways.

(One of the other lessons here is: Big-picture change can feel very hard to perceive and difficult to grasp, even though it’s materially effective and measurable)

I made some real big & dumb decisions in the past, and many of them were indeed decisions I made while feeling pretty awful about life. While that isn’t “normal me”, I persisted in stubbornly thinking it was still “me” at the controls. So I trusted “myself,” which was in fact a completely different person in the sense that it was a messaging system with vastly different perceptions and judgments than the “me” that I have learned to leave in charge when possible.

Really, I wonder if one of the first-best improvements one can make as a self-aware person is differentiating these various mood-personas with their mood-messages. From there it’s possible to find a way to at least compare them and make a judgment at a healthier distance, so that the collection of perceptions can lead to smarter and more effective outcomes.

Filed in: /66/ | /54/ | /33/

You want MORE sleep? Expanding the Cat Approach for Total Nap Mastery

Monday May 11, 2020

I have this theory (pet theory?) that INTJs can benefit from working a lot like cats. Sleep, rest, sleep, then BOOM the cat crazies hit: Move fast and break things.

Well, maybe that last part is a bit hyperbolic, and I’m less convinced about the fast moving & fast-breaking idea than I used to be. But personally I could tell there was more energy to capture, more of a flow to find, in my own sleep-activity cycle.

For this reason I’ve been experimenting with forced naps lately. Even after 8-10 hours sleep, I’m realizing that naps are still needed on some days, due to various effects, such as: Poor quality of sleep on some nights, heavier-than-normal workloads during the day, new and exhausting sets of problems to solve, etc.

What about just getting better night-time sleep?

Part of the problem is that sleep isn’t really a conscious-control process; in fact in a lot of ways it’s the opposite. It’s not like driving a car down the road and staying in a lane; in some ways it’s more like falling off a cliff and trying to make things as comfortable as possible. There are a lot of different things that can interrupt sleep or make it worse. For example:

  • Environmental temperature changes
  • Environmental noise or sounds
  • Body disposition (soreness, gas, illness)
  • Sensory characteristics of bedding or bed or clothing
  • Mindset upon reflection of previous events
  • Mindset in anticipation of the next day
  • Messaging / emotions from dreams

I have a pretty good evening system for helping me deal with these problems in advance of my sleep, but it doesn’t always work well. I think a lot of that is due to the fact that it’s the evening, and in the evenings it’s even tougher to be a robot: I don’t want to be journaling or preparing or doing some directed activity. I want to be lazing around. So, I’ll swim with the tide, as one of my readers put it, and try to shift some of the burden back into the daytime.

Naps come with their own set of problems. One of the big ones for me is: Will I even be able to fall asleep? Sometimes my mind is racing a bit, or conditions aren’t right, or I think, “I could JUST dive into my work right now and solve all these problems, and then I won’t need to worry later…” and this is all pretty distracting.

Time for your napping pill, comrade

So recently I started experimenting with forced naps. On my first try, I took a melatonin tablet and waited about 25 minutes for it to kick in. Then I slept for 2 HOURS. Holy smokes. After I woke up I felt “better” but not really good. The drowsiness effect was way too powerful, plus I woke up in the middle of a sleep cycle, and then the drowsiness / weird head feelings took hours to wear off.

The next time I tried this (actually a week passed, because I forgot about this new idea!), I reduced the dose. I took half a melatonin tablet to force a nap. That was a definite improvement. I slept like a log for an hour or so, and woke up with way more problem-solving ability.

In fact, despite my negative emotional disposition toward a specific problem on that day, I found myself immediately diving in to work on it. That’s usually a good sign (even though the emotions are still important and need to be addressed). There was some lingering drowsiness, and it wasn’t easy to kick (I’d say it took about 4 hours to totally kick!) so for now I plan to compensate by taking naps earlier in the day when possible. I’ll also experiment with changes in sleep supplements.

But in general: I will be doing this again, no question. I’d like to aim for about 90 minutes per nap, so I’ll keep experimenting and see if I can get tighter control over the nap length.

And in case you’re interested, my favorite nap track so far is this one.

Slipping into Something Comfortable

Another thing I’m finding about relaxing so I can take a nap is that “things I already know about” are really good tools for getting comfortable mentally. Books I’ve already read, podcast episodes I’ve already listened to. I still enjoy them, but there’s less pressure to learn something. It’s a calming effect. Also, in my mind’s eye I like to explore favorite places from my past.

Well, results are promising so far. I’ll keep pushing along.

Filed in: /74/ | /7/ | /79/

C'est un Programme

Monday May 4, 2020

This is a program.

theatre program

Original at Wikimedia

Whenever I become interested in programming as in “writing a computer program,” I discover that this other kind of program, above, is more like what my metaphorical message-system, my interest-creator, is wanting from me.

A “program”. It doesn’t want me to become a computer programmer…it doesn’t seem to care so much about that. (It also seems to have no concept of a “career” to speak of)

No, it wants something fundamental, simple, and nutritious, even if temporary. It wants a program. A program, as in, “what’s going to happen in the next little while.” A list of events I can get with. To align myself to something that will run. Will go. Get with the program. Run the program. Execute.

So, for how long did I mistake metaphorical urgings arising from “I don’t have a direction, like a simple plan for my day,” for “wow it’d be fun to write some actual computer code”?

Years and years, it seems. Sigh.

And you see, Saturday mornings need programs more than other mornings. Does it make sense? That’s how it works. Because Saturdays are those days where we risk not having a program, us program-types. The idea is to just chill on a Saturday. (Which incidentally, this unprogrammed Saturday is a good way to cause ruinous outcomes for an INTJ.)

Saturdays, always so unstructured, but not for lack of trying by the vague (and accordingly kind of unhelpful) messaging-system. I wake up on a Saturday feeling like I could learn ten new programming languages!! Wow. But now that I’ve learned about this, I stop myself—OK, this just means I REALLY need to develop a program that’s more like a list of things I’ll do today, and a schedule, the “when”. (And not even the boring kind, but also fun stuff. Just to have a direction.)

Maybe in the future I’ll stop the computer coding. I doubt it. For now, when I get the urge to write some code, I might write actual computer code, yes. But I also make sure to write a program, for me. A simple schedule, list, a plan for the day, whatever. Something that allows me to execute.

Accordingly…and weirdly…this usually makes the temporary interest in / obsession with computer programming go away. Sometimes within seconds.

You might think, “oh that sucks. I’d hate to lose an interest like computer programming.” But really, what’s happening is something different from a feeling of loss. It’s more like a feeling of “oh, I became that thing in which I was interested.” It’s that feeling that one has integrated something, becoming something more than one was in the recent past. That’s the best way I can describe it. Almost the opposite of loss.

There’s this idea, or theory, that you and I are “invited” by some universal configuration system to generally stick to a specific type of railroad track. We have gifts and those gifts are continually looking for the fit of a specific kind of track. When we depart from the track, it’s rough going. And we’re drawn back to the track by that fit. Out of this, the universe derives some kind of benefit, maybe. For example, maybe there are fewer creative beings who are just wrecked.

Personality type theory has a lot of overlap with this idea of the template-track. However, the subjective / qualitative question of “WHICH F&*()& TRACK, JUST TELL ME AND I’LL GO THERE, SOUNDS GREAT” is not quite yet one we can easily answer. (Amusingly, people who talk like that also don’t like being told what to do. But that’s not the only reason. The “track” is also more like a broad set of millions of conditions which overlap with other conditions, which either make things hazy and annoying to figure out, or worse. Still, some success here, in little moves, even—is far better than none at all.)

Looking outside of programming, to other, similar urgings and messages of the metaphorical variety, this “aha, I’ll just do the thing metaphorically” approach is harder. With some aspects of the radio hobby messaging-sytem, for example, I’m still finding my legs. (That one has a lot to do with big-picture messaging and it’s tricky. There’s a question of scale; how big-picture? Both in scope of perception, and in temporality—A day? A month? A lifetime? Then there’s the question of how best to tune in.)

Looking even broader, at my now more specific list of interests, I’m even more frequently confronted by this question. Do I do the thing, or do the thing behind the thing? It’s frustrating to do a thing and realize, “I don’t even know how I would start doing the thing behind the thing right now,” because it’s a weak area, and it’s more comfortable to just avoid the question, or something like that. Well, over time I try to make some progress at it when I can. Being a bit more forgiving of myself helps. Plus in practice, things aren’t really so bad. This new depth discovered is much more of an improvement, overall, than it is some tragic, dawning awareness of millions of unmet needs. (It’s finding the concept of a nervous system—maybe you poke at it and that hurts, and you realize you have a system of pain. But a nervous system is also a great thing to have.)

But with programming—for me—it’s been relatively easy to switch between those conceptualizations. Computer programming itself is still generally interesting, afterward, which is kind of a relief. I think that’s also due to other factors, nostalgia being one.

(I also think the metaphor goes much deeper. For example, there are reasons why I’m not feeling the urge to draw up theatre programs…)

(Parenthetical #2: Now, in this light, isn’t it funny—the number of “my-first-apps” that are to-do lists?)

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