Oddly Inverted

Hey there, you have found a project of mine to leave a trace of myself for later.
I'm not sure who I'm leaving it for though

Who Are You?

Imagine waking up in a body that’s not your own, but it is.

You remember two lives. The life of the body you operate, and the life that did not occur in your current body..

You have two sets of memories and yet your thoughts feel no different than you remember in either set of memories

The obvious path to take while figuring out what to do is to continue the life of the body you are in as if it was never interrupted.

You have knowledge and skills you don’t apply in your daily life, but they are there to call upon.

Perhaps in the other body’s life the world was different, with concepts or possibilities that do not exist in this world.

Perhaps the contrast between the worlds suggests new ideas that would improve both.

Perhaps tomorrow you will wake up in a different body, with different capabilities.

Maybe the body you wake up in is your own that you have always had, but it is, has been, and will be, changed by age.

Maybe the two lives are your life as a whole and your day to day existence.

Maybe the memories are things that happened long ago and things that happened yesterday.

The knowledge and skills are things you haven’t thought about in years, but remember with vivid clarity.

Ideas and concepts are always changing and mutating, but change does not always mean improving, maybe things have been forgotten that would change the nature of life as we know it.

Perhaps remembering will create new contrasts with practical implications.

Perhaps your existence could end for no reason at 12 seconds past 4:31 in the afternoon tommorrow.

Perhaps there is a way to implement those ideas you have.

The time to implement those changes you see are possible is now.

You never know when it might be too late to start.

Dugongs

Occasionally I remember the funniest animal.

The Dugong.

Why is it funny?

Well, there’s the sound of it’s name and the faces you make when saying it,  there’s the actual animal and the way it kind of hoovers plants as it eats, and then there’s the scientific name, Dugong Dugon.

Gamification

It’s a little funny how gamification seems to be creeping up all around me.

I saw a couple TED talks recently, this one by Jane McGonigal, and this one by Gabe Zichermann, and I’ve been noticing things because of them.

There are things like Khan Academy, where the gamification is explicit, achievements are labeled as badges and you get energy points for doing exercises and watching videos. There are less obvious examples like tumblr too. On tumblr, the point awarding system is imposed by individuals choices instead of a consistent system. Each follow or like has a person behind it, each note you get is another little reward or achievement. Of course this also means things like unfollows hurt a bit more than the penalties in most activities.

One of the funnier things I’ve been noticing is mostly because of McGonigal’s talk. She asks you to do few simple activities, raising your arms over your head, counting backwards from 100 in increments of 7, cute pictures of animals, shaking hands or saying thanks to someone, and attaches a sense of accomplishment to each one, and an even greater satisfaction at having done all of them. I noticed that with just a little thought, you can gamify a bunch of stuff. Like studying a textbook when you don’t really want to. The whole of the chapter is a quest, parts within the chapter are achievements, exercises are the dungeon crawl, stuff you’re fairly sure of are the minions and the harder questions are boss battles.

It just takes a little extra time and effort, it takes remembering to change the words you’re thinking with, and anything can be a quest.

Okay then. Last week I found out that I’d be helping (tagging along) my Mom with showing a movie for “Patient Sensitization Week” three days at the eye clinic at a hospital. The movie is “Going Blind; Coming Out Of the Dark About Vision Loss” By Joseph Lovett; the organization we show the movie for has the rights to show the movie to groups at no cost as many times as we want until forever, so we take it around and bring along an optometrist to answer questions.

It’s a good documentary too. It’s very hopeful and reminds you that all people are people regardless of any disabilities or handicaps they have. I love showing it. There’s always at least one person who comes up and talks with us for at least half an hour afterwards.

But …

On the first of the three days we were going to show it, we were sitting in traffic on the way there and my Mom said, “-And oh, hey, you can introduce the film. I’ll go up and introduce you, then you go up and introduce the movie. You need to practice public speaking anyway.” About an hour later I was introducing the film and pausing for 10 to 30 seconds to remember what I had come up with to say a few minutes beforehand.

The second day was slightly better, I ummed and uhhed a bit instead of freezing like a deer in the headlights.

The third day I actually did okay.

But the funny thing was that I did not have time to be nervous the first day.I had some butterflies the second day and was also feeling nervous about whether the third day would be any better.

Then the third day was not comparable to either of the other days. The presentation directly before us was a group of physical therapists who demonstrated some exercises and got most of the patients in the room to join in. It’s a little harder to be intimidated by talking to people if you’ve just seen them get up and march in place and stretch their arms in the air like they just don’t care.

Menstruation, Why?

Warning:

You may find this icky.

This discusses menstruation and a possible way to circumvent it. If you don’t find it that icky, or don’t mind reading about it even if you think it is, then read on Macduff.

Read More

I’m Still Here

So I did the SAT yesterday.

And the only question I did not answer was at the very end of the last section and I had just decided which the right answer probably was, and guess what? Time to put your pencils down.

Aside from that I think I did fine.

Despite all my angsting about the, necessity of standardized testing, my horrible formal essay skills, and memorizing math formulas.

I think I did fine.

I hope.

But I had “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park” by Tom Lehrer going through my head for half the test.

Revolutionary Doesn’t Always Feel That Way

There isn’t always a different feel to a situation or action when you do something that takes off or makes a difference.

To take a somewhat common example that quite a few tumblweeds have had. (Is there a standard term for people who have tumblrs? If there is, sorry, if not, I vote for tumblweeds.) Writing a post that goes a little viral is surprising. You just don’t expect something like that to happen. It didn’t feel any different while you were doing it. After the fact it might seem obvious why it took off like that, or it might not, the point is that you don’t always know when you’re doing something that will be noticed and shared and ripple out, being seen by way more people than you thought would see it.

Not that all cool things feel normal while you’re doing them, but the really revolutionary ones run much farther than the people who started them probably ever imagined. You can bet that Alan Turing knew he was doing something extremely powerful when he worked on computers, but probably didn’t realize how central they would become to the average person.

Some important mathematical ideas were just doodles in someone’s mind. Practical applications were only found long after the pure mathematics were worked out. Group theory is one such example.

The full implications of any revolutionary idea can likely never be known, but the majority are not evident even if you know you’re doing something that will be important.

So go ahead and do everything you can and want to. You never know what might turn out to have been important. You have to do it to find out.

Identity Is Hard

I have long since decided not to let social awkwardness or discomfort get in the way of things that need to be, or just should be, done, but I still have to fight to act through the awkwardness.

This does mean that I’ve been a bit more abrasive than usual. But I’m still figuring things out so I figure that on average a little roughness while learning to break my barriers is acceptable. Especially if I continue to work on my behavior.

I’ve been trying to match my internal personality to my external. It’s really weird to realize that they are different. I have only recently become started to become aware of the different ways I express myself depending on current company.

I don’t remember my body language changing depending on whether I was by myself, with close friends and family, or in a totally mixed group with people I didn’t know. I notice it all the time now. I dance and make big sweeping gestures and sing and hum when I’m on my own. I flow easily between motion, madness, and sound, and still, pondering, contemplation. I’m somewhat reserved when I’m around just a few people. I switch acting and dancing on and off at any cues I notice. But in a crowd I turn into this quiet listener who rarely talks.

Ideally my personality would average all of those and just be different according to my relationships with whoever I’m interacting with. That’s what I’m trying to work towards. Being myself.

I think it’s worth talking even if you can’t articulate what you mean clearly.

If you actually do it, you learn how to do it better and actually say what you mean in ways that are understandable to others.

Remember You Can Inspire Yourself Too

I’ve been told again and again that I’m smart and capable and can accomplish anything I want to.

But being told this doesn’t make it any easier when I start dissecting the way I think and what mistakes I keep making despite my best intentions.

There’s a spectrum of possible things to tell someone when they’re in a particularly self criticizing mood. It ranges from the utterly unhelpful, unless it gets you angry enough to do something, agreeing with your brutal criticisms to the just about as unhelpful utter rejection of the idea that you’re making mistakes or not doing things right.

My parents are very supportive. They fall further on the meaningless sounding praise side when I’m in a bad headspace.

I have been, and still am, learning to inspire myself out of such slumps.

The things that have worked the best for me are practicality with a positive spin, doing whatever small things I can to start making the situation at least a little bit better, and looking up stuff on the internet like Carl Sagan’s beautiful space poetry, science music like this parody of Wrecking Ball, or anything to restore my faith in humanity.

The space poetry is especially effective when you go through the Astronomy Picture of the Day archive at the same time.

Sometimes a time scale or vast distance will just sneak up on my mind and I stare off into space for minutes at a time trying to wrap my head around it.

This time it was the time scale continental drift occurs over.