Today, I think I came to a deeper understanding as to why I've been unhappy about things in general - part of it is that I operate best on the edges of large social groups. Thinking back over my life, the times when I've done so have been the best, emotionally, for me, as it gives me both the freedom of having a low-key tie to something and the ability to get more substantial human contact when I need that. This is different from having a few close friends - right now I probably don't have quite enough of those, but things arn't terrible in that regard for me right now. I think that the reason I don't have a posse is that society, as a whole, abandons people like me when we get past a certain age. In University, there are plenty of opportunities to interact, with foci of having fun, talking about intellectual things, etc. Those thin out as people leave the academic environment - one must put in serious effort (and ideally have a car) to find things where older people fit. Right now I'm of the age where it's not too awkward to be with university students, and I could (and would, if the right people were free and interested) date them without feeling odd. In another few years, that won't be the case. What is there left here for an older intellectual? Not so much - if I were the type to meet people in bars, or liked sports, or similar, I'd probably be set, but the intellectual and personal flavours I like in people tend to be most common with university students -- people who have not sold out and become intellectually dead, people who are fun to be around and like illumninati, etc etc. I wonder, when I think of how often my parents and other adults have said it, if "university was the best time of my life" was simply talking about the mixing pot and attitudes of those times. The idea of twenty to fifty people in a large social group I can float vaguely near just feels right to me, and I don't exactly have it right now -- SFF, Zets, KGB, a few other things.. Are things this way in other countries, or is this a uniquely American problem? What is it about age that increases social isolation? I suspect that it's not so much that people are deadened by work, it's that the larger-scale social organisations fade when people move and they don't build new ones of the same scale for some reason. It may be that the larger scale social organisations are artificial in the sense of being mostly an accidental side effect of university society, and that people wouldn't make things of this size on their own. Small towns that regularly have whole-town meetings (seems like a good idea for neighbourhoods, actually) might achieve this though. To older folk completely outside of any degree program, have you found the post-University transition hard in this way? To younger folk, does this transition worry you? To anyone in another country, how does this compare to your society?
I keep thinking about how clumsy wikis tend to be at acting like a message board, and how we insist on using them for message board type functionality. I would be interested to see a wiki that can still do proper threaded but managable conversations. If I come to an idea on the right way to manage this, I'll probably implement it in POUND..
Today I failed to go out and take pictures in the morning (was a bit too slow to get my stuff together, at least partly because I slept in until about 13:30). I almost missed Cosby because I confused Heinz Hall with either/both the nearby hall connected to one of the nearby Carnegie Museums and the Pitt music hall. Fortunately, I double-checked the address in time to bus down there. Cosby was great - in all his jokes about how funny people are, and how married couples interact, he reminded me how much I care about finding someone and having those experiences with them. Despite the hall being absolutely packed and huge, he gave it an intimate, small-crowd feel.
I am sorely tempted, for the first time with my present job, to apply for another, very unique job at CMU. It would be a moderate shift in job duties, with a bunch of really wacky characteristics, involving a fair amount of travel and very unusual hours. I expect the pay would be better too. My recent unsureness about things with my present job with the office move, combined with a feeling that i should change *something* about my life to keep things fresh, tempt me. I'm not sure if I should go for it or not, but I should change something in my life.
I swung by the CS Cluster on the way back from work to be slightly social, and on the way back from that I unfortunately was sitting near some people who smelled bad. I was tempted to hop out partway on the trip - odors like that are something that I've become far less tolerant of over the years.
Things of possible interest:
- The capability for complex contracts clogs markets. I've never understood why we make some deviations from the ideals of capitalism (economic crimes), like price fixing and insider trading, illegal (mind you, I think they should be, in this model) without taking the further steps of making advertising as it is now and exclusive contracts illegal and ending product trademarks (that is, allow company names to be trademarks, but not product names), as they all represent similar deviations from the ideals of this system. For the prudes and brandwatching firms, fuck you Aquage.
- Commons MP Jack Straw asks Muslim women to deveil when visiting his gatherings. This brings to mind issues with veils and religious garb/practice in general. I don't think we should respect religious or cultural practice in a way beyond if it were individual practice. I believe the veil is indeed a social barrier as well as a symbol of a certain type of different status. Should a society be able to enforce such ideas? I think it should at the very least be able to suggest it - I don't think it's healthy for a society to adopt the "none of my business" attitude - that destroys society. I don't know if I'd feel completely comfortable supporting a full veil ban, although I would be tempted. In schools, I would be completely comfy though.
- The Vatican may end limbo. The philosophy behind this is interesting.
- Monster dolphin fossils in the Arctic!
- Give us your poor, your... Mexicans?
- Coffee, Cigars, and Sex hold old Cubans together? Or is it that many Cubans like these things, and old people like talking about them as much as youth?
- Bible-thumpers picket Amish funerals. Nothing like watching devoutly religious people pissing off other devoutly religious people.
- Ban Farenheit 451?
- West Indies Company part 2
- Wal-Mart gets worse