Daythoughts

A big thing that stopped me blogging last year was a sense that I didn’t have anything interesting to say, not on a daily basis. Realistically, I don’t have something interesting or thought-provoking to say every day, and trying to come up with one is kind of unsustainable when I have other things to do (which I do, now!)

So, instead, when I feel like writing but don’t have a clear topic, I’m just going to label it “daythoughts” and run down some of what I’m thinking. It’s my equivalent of chatting about my day when I get home, except in my case my dog is not the most receptive. This might be interesting for me to look back on later, too.

So. Daythoughts, 9/6/17.

–I am deeply concerned by the weather, locally and elsewhere. Smoke and ashfall where I live is distressing. Monsoons in south Asia are devastating, the hurricane(s!) slamming the Caribbean and Gulf Coast are doing serious damage, and basically the predictions of increasingly dangerous weather that went ignored for so long are proving to be as accurate as the data used to predict them. I’ve checked in with my family as much as possible, but I don’t have contact info for some of my more extended family, who are going to get hit by the weather.

–I think about data a lot lately. We have more tools to know more things about more things than ever before, and we live in the Data Age. Information is one thing; we can communicate what we know. Data is a different thing– it’s empirical evidence that can be used to predict what we don’t know. If we get good enough at it, and in many places we have, we can act on things we don’t know as well as if we did know it. I can imagine a person from today with some basic modern data collection tools flashing back even a hundred years and putting them to use. That person would look like a prophet, just acting on simple behavioral data.

–Despite all of this data, we’re really, really bad at actually listening to it. I think there’s a deep-seated (learned?) distaste we have for the idea that we’re predictable to a high degree of accuracy. It’s weird for me personally, because it’s something I take comfort in, it suggests that we don’t act randomly, that we act in patterns that can be seen and understood and modeled. It’s not just a chaotic weave that we all contribute to, it just looks that way if you aren’t looking at it with the right tools.

–I wonder, often, how much of this aversion we have to being predicted is cultural. I think about trying to spend some time living in another country, just to get a feel for how differently people think.

–This is the worst time of year for me. I am reminded of the things I haven’t yet accomplished this year, the things I meant to do but didn’t, or couldn’t. It’s some combination of convention season, my birthday, and the end of summer, which is my favorite season. Cons remind me that I am not the person I’d like to be, my birthday reminds me that time continually ticks away from me, and the end of summer is a start of the cold/sunless/quiet season. It’s not quite loneliness, but the expectation of impending loneliness.

–I’m trying to engage on Twitter a bit more. It’s a platform that I really don’t like for a variety of reasons, but it’s also one of the few that I’m a part of that have expanding circles rather than contracting ones. I’d really like to meet and get to know some new people, and Twitter seems like the best avenue for that.

–It makes me really happy to play games that feel like they have something to prove. I’ve spoken before about my love of the “second place” MMOs, because they really try harder than whoever’s on top at the time, and it’s true for other games in other genres as well. Currently am very impressed by the storytelling in GW2, which is something I didn’t expect I’d say, and the anniversary event in FFXIV was really touching. I look forward to more from both.

–I’m looking forward to the GW2 expansion more than I expected. I’m (finally) caught up in the story and while I’m sometimes frustrated by certain parts of the game, I have fun pretty much every time I play. Unlocking our guild hall and working towards that is really fun.

–My FFXIV playtime has dipped, as it often does, as I’m left in a place where any progression I do either requires a full raid group or requires me grinding daily roulettes. I really don’t love daily things, and (frustratingly, predictably for this expansion) long queue times as a DPS haven’t done much to inspire me to play more.

Thoughts for today. Not sure if they spark anything in anyone, but let me know if they do.

–Tam

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