Inward horror, the bones override the vanity, grasp for what the bodyneeds. Intellect shudders, feels violated at the other it finds in itself,fetishised as a symbol of death. Within lie ever more complex layers ofstriving, all to build the necessary illusions aid layers for a sane,completely lacking in insight, mind. Limited by birth, its first breatha soft echo of its last.
It's time again for my yearly reflections. Who am I? What has changed?
Last year this time, I had just committed for the second time to try to makethings work with Debb. I was working for the Robotics group at CMU, and hadonly recently began to see myself as not being a libertarian. I was workingon my BLOG software around this time last year too, moving to CSS. I had onecat, Wally, and kind of had Beefalo back, as Debb had brought her back intomy life when we got back together.
In the 6 months after that, Wally died, something bad was revealed relating tomy family, I got Tortfeasor to replace Wally, and both my job and myrelationship with Debb began a slow slide into misery. I put an end to both,switching my job into Psychology, and ending the relationship. I made an evaluation of my political philosophy and began to tenatively explore theidea of calling myself a communist. I'm still not entirely certain the nameapplies -- the system I desire differs from any communism-as-practiced that Iknow of (I still need to read up on the Sandanistas though), but I've decidedthat free markets lead to power concentrations and the advancement of valuesthat enslave people. I devoted more of my time to Wikipedia, and spent a lotmore time with CMU's philosophy group. Eventually, I began to spend some timewith a friend, N, and that eventually and slowly changed into a relationship.It's not a simple relationship -- both of us are too complex for that. It is,however, enlightening and fulfilling. We're heading to Europe for most ofJanuary..
So I still ask myself, who am I? What are the things that drive my life,what are the things that dominate my mind? I am still a philosopher -- I stillsee it valuable to think in the philosophical traditions, and to attempt tostructure my life by the things I decide. My positions and style have changed,but the identity has not. I still am also big on science. In both, I feel thatpeople don't really know how to mix sentiment into the way they see the world,and I hope to be both an example of a better way to live and think, and to keepworking to improve myself in that way. I do adopt the new identity of communistwith a bit of uncertainty, both because of what it means to others, and becausemy commitment to it is contingent on it working, something which I am notcertain is possible in a way compatible with liberalism. Extinguishingcapitalism is not worth doing if the replacement system doesn't provide a decentlife to people. Capitalism will likely be the end of civilization, but we mustfind a cure that's better than the cancer. I hope it's possible. I am still ageek, but I'm enjoying working partly outside of programming-type jobs. WhereverI have worked and touched code, I've found people uninterested in fixing it, andunwilling to allow me to do so. That's really frustrating. It's nicer to workwith the opensource community, as the programmers generally are better and caremore about good code, and where managers do less damage because they aretypically the community as a whole. Wikipedia, as I mentioned, is a big part ofmy life presently, and it's part of a general focus on things that benefithumanity as a whole. I'm focusing a lot of my attention on what kind ofstructural and within-structure changes can be made to make things better andlimit the ability of people (businessmen and criminals, among others) to damagethe system and society as a while. I am increasingly worried that the largescale course corrections needed for the American government are not possibleto make because of entrenched power and political persuasion necessary.Musically, I'm not too far from where I was -- I'm continuing to work onbroadening my musical horizons. Groups like "No Doubt" are new to me, butold to the world, and I am happy to continue to explore what's out there.
What do I expect from 2005? It'll be interesting, first and most obviously,to get used to writing 2005. I anticipate deeping my connection to theWikipedia community and becoming more involved in politics as I get morecomfortable with how I think now. The relationship is promising -- it's stillyoung, but I hope it grows and we get good things out of it. I hope to continueto work on my BLOG software, and when the major rewrite is working enough, Iwould like to get some additional people working on it. Right now, it's quiteclose to being minimally functional -- the only thing stopping me from puttingup a comment-disabled version is that the commandline importer is little morethan a stub. The Wiki part isn't very close to being mature right now, but itkind of, vaguely, works (it can display entries using a small subset of thefull wiki syntax, but there's no way to put entries in right now except bytweaking the database directly). Over the next year, I'm hoping to movedachte.org from its current box, a virtual UsermodeLinux box, to real hardware.This will help with performance issues -- 128M RAM is really lousy. I also hopeto spend a good amount of time with my friends, both those in Columbus andthose in Pittsburgh. I haven't had time to do that much recently, and it'simportant. I also hope to reestablish and maintain the inner peace that I'vebeen trying to keep that recently slipped a bit.
Recently, Debb gave me the cats back. It's wonderful having them in my lifeagain (although the vet bills to take care of a surprise problem were not fun..yuck!).
And so, Comrades and others, I bid you adieu. It's time to go pick up N fromthe airport.