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from Andrey Writes

Before I moved to England for university, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to reinvent myself. A new life. A new me.

So I took the step that should have been obvious to anyone who had spent their formative years in the 90s: I grew a goatee.

Coolness didn’t wash over me in a localized tidal wave, but I kept it for a few years and it was seen as my thing.

A few people at the kitchen I worked at were growing moustaches for Movember, so I decided to join in. I grew my moustache north of my goatee, forming what is known in Bulgaria as a “padlock”. I felt silly and looked forward to going back to normal at the end of the month.

I shaved that moustache off on December 1st that year. My then-girlfriend and I had a single look at my newly exposed upper lip, and decided it should not be a thing on display to the world. So I stopped shaving it off, and eventually let the sides grow out, too.

Time passed.

At some point, driven by boredom, curiosity, laziness, and the fact I was now single, I stopped trimming my beard altogether. My manager at the kitchen looked at my increasingly unkempt face.

“Andrey,” she said, “You’re becoming a health hazard. We’ll want to get you a beard net soon.”

“If you get one for me,” I replied, “I would happily wear it.”

My plan was to wear the beard net once, then shave the very next day. The exchange repeated itself several times, but the beard net itself never appeared. Six months passed. My beard was now long. I never measured it, but at its longest you could stick up to eight pencils in it, and none of them would fall out.

This was before hipster beards were in vogue, and way after pirate beards had been in vogue, so I was getting odd looks on the street. I decided to get rid of it, beard net or not.

I felt shaving off a beard this beardy was a special event, possibly of the once-in-a-liftetime kind. So I cobbled together an online quiz where friends and enemies alike could vote on my next facial hair style. Whichever one was picked I would keep on my face for twenty-four hours, no bamboozle. The styles were as varied as I could make them: a Hogan moustache through a Lincoln tuft, all the way to Viking plaits.

By an overwhelming majority, the winner was the Monkey Tail.

A Monkey Tail beard is one of those things you would only see on the Internet. It’s a thin strip of hair that starts from under one sideburn, wraps its way past the chin, then lifts sharply up and over the mouth, terminating just before forming a full loop. Kind of like a curled up monkey tail, if you squint.

I wasn’t happy, but a promise is a promise. With a heavy heart, I chopped my beard off, pared it down to a simian appendage. Twenty-four hours of Monkey Tail. No bamboozle.

By then, I was also working freelance, so I was due to spend my Monkey-Tailed day in a coworking space, away from the public eye. I was worried about the twenty-minute walk there, so I forced a coworker who lived nearby to walk with me in the morning. After all, a madman with friends is an eccentric at worst. The walk to work was surprisingly all right. You see, a Monkey Tail beard only looks odd from the front. Had you seen it from either side, it would’ve looked like half of a perfectly legitimate facial hairstyle: a goatee when looked at from the right and a disjointed beard/moustache combo from the left. I scanned the faces of people we passed, and saw not a single smirk.

The morning at work went without a hitch, as anticipated. That day, hitch o’clock came in the afternoon.

The coworking space belonged to what was then known as Leeds Metropolitan University. As a recently graduated student who was also freelancing, I had been slated to appear in their newsletter along with a recent photo. The day for the photo? You guessed it.

“Um. Are you sure you don’t want to take this photo tomorrow?” I asked.

“Nope,” the guy said, grinning, and raised his camera. “This is perfect.”

So my mugshot made it in the official Leeds Metropolitan careers advice newsletter, complete with a full frontal Monkey Tail display. Not that anyone reads it, I told myself.

In the evening, I speed-walked back home, Monkey Tail on my face and metaphorical tail between my legs. Shaving my face that night was cathartic. I have never experimented with facial hair since.

Reflecting back on that day, I suspect I got off lightly. While the Monkey Tail was the clear winner of my poll, the second place had been occupied by a more widely known moustache. The one you could euphemistically call the “Charlie Chaplin”.

 
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from Shit I Find Interesting.

I totally relate to withdrawing from the world and would do it if I had the ability to. For me, it's less that I've been rejected or bullied and more that living in American society gives me an uncomfortable feeling of cognitive dissonance. It's kind of a terminal situation as I've tried to make the best of things but the only thing that really helped was when I was living in a hippie commune (which wasn't sustainable long term because I have responsibilities like aging parents). I just don't like our culture and I don't like our lifestyle. I'm not suited to it. But more than that, I think the way we live is morally wrong in too many ways to enumerate here, in too many ways to cope with some of the time. Living the life I need to live to get by is painful to me. I'm fundamentally uncomfortable with the basics of what we've built as a civilization. I hate cars or cities that are built around cars (the sounds they make are really abrasive to me- it's just one of those things that's like nails on a chalkboard and you can't explain why), I hate having to give my time and labor to make someone else rich, I hate working just to spend my money on nonsense, I hate the anti-intellectualism of American culture, I hate the hyper capitalistic antisocial nature of our economy, I find American politics deeply offensive and can't tolerate discussing or hearing about the events of the day, I hate that nobody notices that to live you have to go into debt and that the powers that be want you to go into debt so that you're a slave to them, I hate commuting, I hate that most recreational activities in the US are centered on consumer culture, I hate that your life is an endless hamster wheel of being funneled from one sterile air-conditioned isolated box to the next, I hate the idea of the nuclear family, I hate the rat race, I hate the suburbs and the unethical quantity of space/resources Americans feel entitled to, I hate the life of quiet desperation that most of us are living. Just generally, I don't jive with 99% of the norms in our culture. I just don't like what this particular life has to offer, and if I had the option I would opt out of society completely and spend most of my hours in blissful silence/solitude whilst petting my cat and tending my garden. I think most of us feel this way on some level, it's just that some of us are better at shoving down the feeling and going through the motions, either because we're afraid or because we numb ourselves to it.

https://np.reddit.com/r/psychology/comments/brmnbu/new_insights_into_hikikomori_people_who_withdraw/eofyqbb/

 
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from ego echo

Een beter moment om af te treden kun je niet kiezen: May zegt in mei vaarwel en treedt af in de opvolgende maand. Het is pure poëzie, maar dan hele slechte.

Een ander poëtisch drama is de filevorming op de Mount Everest. Alsof je bij De Efteling op je beurt staat te wachten tot je met een bakkie jezelf misselijk mag draaien. Voordeel van deze wachtrij is dat je al ziek bent voordat je bovenop de top staat. Mijn diepste wens is dat het hoogtepunt van de attractie een vrije val blijkt te zijn.

Over file gesproken: aanstaande dinsdag wordt het interessant op de weg wanneer het OV plat ligt. Dan wordt het aansluiten in de rij der volkeren om van negen tot vijf gezellig kantoortje te spelen met draaiende motor. De waanzin van een economie die ten koste van alles heilig is verklaard. Ik hoop van harte dat het asfalt zal smelten en een sinkhole de boel in één keer opslokt met daarna een vet geoliede boer. De aarde zal beven als nooit tevoren. Nogal Wiebes.

En de Sint zal komend jaar zo goed als zeker bij wijze van ludieke intocht in een zwarte auto en heel hard PIET! schreeuwend op een denkbeeldige menigte inrijden en zijn paardje van de Naald in Apeldoorn plukken. Met gierende banden in één of andere hoek. Koekkoek!

#waanvandedag

 
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from the ghost of eve

Somewhere I have:

a letter where I said I couldn't do life without him/you

a book full of goodbye letters about first impressions and removing the weight if/when I went autopilot to the end

I try not to remember that I let you overtake me, that you were no one, a whim – a chain reaction

Monster me. Only eclipsed by the monster you.

 
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from tmo

Firefox on a Chromebook (using Linux Beta). And it works just fine :) I managed to sign in, get LastPass extension up and going, and this is going to be what i use on this device from here on out. I even uninstalled CHrome on the Pixel 3a(!). So, I am glad I am getting back to my PSS (Privacy, Safety, Security) roots, and I am glad that I am using more FOSS stuff on the Pixel and Chromebook. I have yet to install a dedicated #Linux distro on this device, and I am not sure if I am going to do that, afterall. I see no immediate reason to.

So, all is good in the hood!

 
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from Dino’s Journal

Beautiful Sky

So I did spring for the upgrade to the Pro subscription. Testing out the Snap.as photo integration.

Update: Well that was easy. And I did all that from my phone.

On another note, I cannot believe the Bucks lost to the Raptors tonight. Maybe a little bit of inexperience showing up? Either way, they are in big trouble as they are going back to Toronto for game 6. I think the Raptors are going to win that game and then we’ll have the Warriors vs Raptors for the NBA Finals.

 
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from Joachim Elsander

För några månader sedan hade jag, precis som vem som helst av oss, all tid i världen.

Sen kom cancerbeskedet med förtvivlan och hopp om vartannat, med dörrar som stängdes och en värld som krympte. Ett tag kändes det som om det nästan med blotta ögat gick att räkna de få sandkorn som ännu fanns kvar i det snabbt sinande timglaset.

När vi häromveckan mötte onkologläkaren och han sa att jag i alla fall borde kunna räkna med att leva över sommaren, ja ännu längre om cytostatikan tar bra. Då kändes det som om jag vunnit på lotto. En sommar, oceaner av tid.

Tänk hur vi människor anpassar oss ändå.

 
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from tmo

As I get older, I notice that I “adapt” more to the way life is, the way I am, and the way society conducts itself. That isn't to say I am growing cynical or jaded, I just get bored more easily. I remember when social media more or less “came on the tech scene” in 2008 or so when there was widespread adoption of the services (Facebook, Twitter, and yes, MySpace) and everything thought it was the coolest thing ever. Now that I use social media (Twitter, Masto) every single day, I notice hwo damn bored I am with these networks. I can basically only spend about 5 minutes a day (total) on Instagram because it just numbs my fucking brain to scroll that much, I don't know why I even go to that service. Facebook I ditched long ago. Many others I never joined to begin with, and never will. It's essentially just Twitter I spend the most time on. And I find myself very bored over there after a period of time, much like I am instantly with every other social platform.

What I am saying is: humans get bored. Humans adapt and they become accustomed to what is around them, and it just isn't interesting at all anymore. I am not here to tell you, the reader, if you happen to be in agreement with me what the solution is to this boredom, but I am saying that it is there.

That's all.

 
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from Contemplations of the Ghostlike

My dog...she is a very smart, devoted, loyal, loving dog...not that she does not have foibles, or imperfections. Frankly, I wish I had as few imperfections as she does...and I realize that her imperfections stem from my anxieties.

As we settle in to watch some t.v. I listen to her breathing, much like a snore...but she is awake...which worries me.

I wake up to listen and make sure I hear her breathing.

Love my baby.

 
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from Upāsaka

  • Staying awake for too long
  • Sleeping too late in the day
  • Overeating
  • Looking at pornography
  • Steaming hot showers
  • Aversion towards a person, object, or experience
  • Alcohol, and many other drugs
  • Lusting after the human body
  • Anger
  • Greed
  • Earning money for the sake of earning money
  • Social media
  • Checking your phone many times a day out of boredom
  • Masturbation
  • Most entertainments
  • News
  • Tabloids
  • The telling of lies upon lies
 
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from Quiet Habits

If I learned anything from the first 5 months of 2019, it's to give more focus and energy to fewer things. I've cut back on quite a few activities and projects and put a lot of ideas on the back burner. My wife and I are also in the process of decluttering our house so we have fewer things to pull our attention away from what's important.

One major thing I'm simplifying is my 2019 Year of Change. This year I decided to resurrect the Year of Change challenge that I've done for a few years. I changed the format a bit to focus on just two habits each quarter. That proved to be too tedious to track and I found myself bouncing between the two habits and never becoming consistent with either one. To be frankly honest, I've barely made any progress. I've felt distracted and without purpose. So I'm shaking things up.

Instead of treating the Year of Change as a way to build new habits with rigid goals, I want to experiment and track results. So instead of saying “I want to be able to do 100 push-ups by the end of the year”, I'm going to say “What happens if I do push-ups every day for 2 months?” I want to treat these changes as experiments instead of goals or habits. And I want to track my progress instead of charting a course. In other words, I don't want to feel like I have to meet a quota. Instead, I want to track what I accomplish and the effect it has on my life.

Another change I'm making is shifting from focusing on two habits for 3 months to focusing intensely on one experiment for 2 months. For those 2 months I want to track progress and keep a log in a way that makes sense for the experiment (reps, time, distance, etc.). So I have some time to plan the logistics and prepare, I'm going to begin this adjustment on June 1 and see how it goes for the remainder of 2019. For those of you keeping track, that's now only 3 experiments for the rest of the year (I'll probably take December off for a month of reflection and preparation and family time).

While there will be fewer experiments overall, I'm finding that having one thing to completely focus on is better than bouncing between many things. I want to fully commit to one experiment rather than testing 2 or more things.

Another departure is that I'm not setting these up as permanent life changes. If something really sticks with me and I find it has a valuable, positive impact on my life, then I'll stick with it. If the experiment fails or I don't see lasting value, I'll either rethink my efforts or just part ways with the habit. Either way, I hope I'll learn a lot during each experiment.

For those who are curious, I've adapted this idea from these two blog posts from David Cain:

Experiments: Raptitude

Where Personal Breakthrough Really Come From: Raptitude

Currently, my tentative experiments for the rest of year are:

  1. Train to ride a long local bike trail
  2. Make Meditation a daily ritual
  3. Read a physical book before bed

These are subject to change, but this is my plan so far. More updates to come on May 31st.

Also, I've decided to create and release an audio version of this blog (I'll narrate each blog post and publish them as a podcast). I'm still in the planning stages, but I hope to have more updates on that project on May 31st as well.


If you liked this article, please consider subscribing or sharing with your friends on Twitter or Facebook

 
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from Dino’s Journal

The suggestion there that you need an ethicist, it suggests at least to me that they're concerned about the addictiveness of the products. In fact, Tristan himself has written about that, and that's exactly what he says. He suggests that there should be, in the design world, a Hippocratic oath — just as in medicine doctors should “do no harm,” he believes the same should be true of designers of these kinds of platforms; that people who design tech, people who design social media platforms, should be forced to obey the same rules — do no harm.

Link: 'Irresistible' By Design: It's No Accident You Can't Stop Looking At The Screen

I like this idea, a lot. The problem is I don't think the tech industry will adopt it. Not unless the industry moves away from making money using an ad-based model.

You see with an ad-based model, you want your users using your apps/products/services for as long as possible. And you want them coming back as often as possible. Why? So you can serve them even more ads and rack up the profits.

If a tech company is in the business of making money this way, then it will be really hard for them to design their apps in such a way that stops the users from becoming addicted. They want the users addicted to their app, because that's how they make money. So you can see how implementing or following a “Hippocratic Oath” when designing their apps, can go against the company's objective of making money.

Now to be fair, the whole tech industry is not like that. There are some companies who are making an effort to try to keep their user's well being in mind. Here are some examples:

  • In the game Guild Wars 1, you get a reminder to take a break if you've been playing for an hour. I don't remember if this feature is in Guild Wars 2. I don't recall seeing it in GW2.

  • Sticking with Guild Wars, you also don't need to pay a monthly subscription to keep playing. This means I don't end up feeling like I'm wasting money every month if I don't play the game. I can come and go as I like. Actually that's how I've been with Guild Wars 2. I've already finished the game years ago. Arenanet, the makers of Guild Wars, releases new content every year, but I don't feel pressured to login and play every night, because I don't have to pay for a subscription just to play. Sleep is more important than MMOs.

  • Netflix will ask the viewer if they are still watching after a few hours of non-stop streaming. I think they should just change this to tell the user to take a break instead. The irony here though is that they will also auto-play the next video, which encourages the viewer to binge-watch.

  • Apple has added the Screen Time feature that can help users set limits for app usage and track how much time they are spending on their phones. (I believe Android phones have a similar thing, but I do not own one so I cannot confirm.) The irony here is that smartphones themselves are addicting for various reasons. Of course they won't stop selling phones, so I don't know how they will rectify that. They might not even be able to.

  • Instagram has a feature that tells the user if they have caught up to all the new photos on their feed. And I believe it also has a Daily Reminder feature, but I cannot confirm right now as I don't have the app installed. I can only install it on weekends, that's my rule :(

Edit: I totally forgot to include write.as in this list. Matt and his team at write.as is doing a great job with this writing/publishing platform. They separated the act of writing a post from the distractions of a news feed. There are no ads, even on the free plan. There are no “like” buttons. Comments are coming, but in a different, hopefully less instrusive implementation. This is one very good example of a product that is looking after their customers/users.

So you see some companies are already trying to look after their users, but more work needs to be done. I believe technology is supposed to help people, not bring them harm. As someone who works in the tech industry, this is something that I will try to keep in mind whenever I end up designing new applications.

#SoftwareDesign #TechIndustry

 
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from Shit I Find Interesting.

It seems to be about surrendering, a bit, as I relax my constant need for control. I don't have all the information I need to perfectly plan out my life —– there's so much uncertainty about everything, that I can't possibly know how things should go, what I should do exactly, what will come next. So should I try to plan for every possible outcome, be incredibly prepared for any possible scenario, when I can't know what might happen? Or can I relax and surrender, trusting that I can deal with whatever does come up. So far, that's always been true.

https://zenhabits.net/turbulence/

#mindfulness

 
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