what' soup

These days I'm really contemplating taking a sabbatical. Taking a few month far away from my day to day. Have a change in scenery. Embrace a new culture for a while. Be with different people. Wait, no, actually, be alone but far away from people I know. I think I sort of alluded to that on one week of quiet.

When I read stories of people traveling like that I find them very inspiring.

When I built this year's wandering, there was no real goal. I had decided to do 5 months seeing Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Then it was Vietnam for two months and then on to Laos for 3 weeks. Now I am at the edge. In a little over two weeks I leave Southeast Asia for almost 7 months of wandering. I am fast approaching the last few weeks here and on 19 October I fold my tent, put away my play things, and hit the road with my camera in hand.

This. No real goal. It really appeals to me. There's a sense of adventure. Far from home, you don't know who you are going to meet or where you will be sleeping. No wonders one of my favorite books in On The Road.

I'm not sure I'd be able to do it. I've lived in a city all my life, and I'm accustomed to comfort. I love the idea but doing it is a whole different story. I could do it for a week or two, but more? Not sure.

So much to see in different corners of the world that I have not.

So much to see and yet most of us never really leave our home town. It takes courage to move.

Checklists make me feel safe and in control. I can open it, add an entry, and check it off. There's this little dopamine rush flowing when I check something. A feeling of accomplishment. I've checked something off the list. And the great thing is it adds up to the other things I've checked off. If I want to be reminded of everything I did last week, I can just open it up and check. Simple game loop. I add thing, I click done, I'm happy. Then I get to be proud of how well organized all my reminding to dos are. They have tags and are put in the right list. No way I can miss anything with such a system. Or can I? At some point there's a limit between simply checking things out and procrastinating. Productivity is only productive if you go outside your tool. But that's actually hard. I prefer clicking done.

It's not quite october yet but it's already getting cold in there. Summer went by so fast. It's fine though, I like cold. And what's better than reading what other people have been up to when it's cold outside and you are comfortably seated inside?

In RE: Letter 001, CJ wrote:

I slow down, trying to be more thoughtful in how I respond to your ideas.

That's it. Slowing down. I think this is what makes engaging a great experience. Taking the time. Doesn't mean we need to engage with a lot of people if we can take time to engage in a meaningful way once. Slowing down brings quiet, we're not racing for endless notifications. It's slow but it isn't shallow. It also allows us to focus and not be reactionary.

In general I should slow down in lots of things I'm doing. It just feels better that way. Why rush all the time? Are we going faster if we don't slow down? Or do we need to slow down if we want to accelerate? So many questions.

It makes me think of notifications and whether they are needed all of the time.

They aren't. That's what I realize. If I want to check if a message has been answered, I know where to look. You've made a great analogy to the physical world:

Read.write.as, then, acts as a little town square of sorts where, as you said, you go about “looking to see what other writer are talking about, seeing if you have been mentioned, seeing if a conversation is progressing.” That to me is a place on the web worth dwelling in.

Yes! I love the town square analogy. Thanks for replying to my letter.

It's coincidentally interesting that miso should be Acknowledging feelings in a similar time frame that I've been mulling over an article on Gurdjieffian self-observation.

That's comforting to see some of us are intrigued by similar thoughts. I've never taken so much time to observe myself as I had in the past week. I knew emotions were important, but I now realize that they drive us.

Gurdjieff makes clear that our feelings and emotions are the horses that drive the carriage of our body.

Scary, isn't it? I never thought emotions could control us so much. Yet it makes sense. It also means that if someone can cater to some emotional input they could manipulate your logical mind in a non-logical way. Yes, definitely scary.

Here, I can get things as close to how I want them as I like in an editor, and then after posting keep telling myself that the two people that might skim it will somehow magically understand it exactly how I did while staring at it in the editor buffer, and so there's this sense that communication is working as it ought.

Which reminds me a little of a computer program. It's a series of statement/expression that get executed, or interpreted. The interpreter reads the program and do stuff. It's unambiguous so two different interpreters will produce the same output. It's also very deterministic. But take writing now. We write, but we can only hope it will be interpreted the way we intend to by our reader. Maybe if I say “table” you will think of a brown round table although the one in my head is gray and rectangle.

Here's another week starting. Goal is to observe and start putting things into order. I will try to detach myself from resisting my feelings and see if I can at least acknowledge them. Hey feelings, I know you are there. Let's be friend. This week my work schedule is incredibly busy. Let's take it as a challenge, as a game. I kind of want to embrace it.

I won't take life changing decisions or force anything this week. I want to see how things progress when I'm not resisting against my past and future. I've been ignoring them for so long that now it comes back at me in the most weird way. I know it's the beginning of a journey with myself. I don't think it's going to be an easy one, but at least at this instant, right now, I'm motivated by it.

Am I going to keep at it? Or will all that be shattered when I receive a message from my ex-girlfriend-which-is-still-my-girlfriend-but-i-dont-know? Let me observe and see. At least I'm finding comfort in analyzing it and posting it here. Who needs a therapy when you can blog!

Part of the non-exhaustive list of cool things to do series.

How cool would it be to spend one week away from the city, in a quiet area. Away from the world and the problems. Away from the noise. No one talking, not even ourselves. Just quiet and focusing on the surroundings. A mountain, the ocean? It'd need to be in a place that brings calm. Most importantly though, no connection. No contact with the outside world. No notification, facebook, twitter, whatsapp, instagram, and all that. Just yourself, books, paper. I wonder if I would even be able to do it. I don't count how many times I pick up my phone everyday just to check if I have received a message. Not having my phone with me would feel so strange. My day really depends on the message I receive on my phone. It's almost as if the phone owns me and not the other way around. Not looking at my phone for a week would almost be freeing myself from my obligations.

But then it gets scary. If you don't have too many distractions, you are left with yourself. Am I friends with myself? Would I be able to bear being with just me? Can I befriend myself? Can I introspect and open all those weird little boxes that are shut within my memory? I don't know. But it's something worth experiencing. If I can be at peace with my mind and myself, I think I'd be worth it. Or maybe I'd simply go crazy. Yeah that's a real possibility.

Our phones allow us to escape being with ourselves. We can't really be alone anymore, we're always one click away from seeing cute kittens doing cute kitten things. It's hard to embrace problems and befriend them when you can just look at something else. It's also easy for me to blame technology, but at the end, we chose how we deal with things. Tech is only the verdant path on the fork in the road.


Granted this didn’t affect computers with system integrity protection on, a normal state for most Macs which protects the device from third party software accessing sensitive parts of the operating system. But, still, this type of audaciousness is just rude. Especially in a time when trust of Silicon Valley is at an all time low. So I decided I’m done with Google Chrome, but, ha ha, it’s damn hard to completely uninstall.

I used to love Chrome. Especially in the early days. I love its values of being open, pushing the web forward, advocating for the right technologies, etc. What did it become though? Now that it owns the vast majority of the market share, it feels to me like it's becoming rogue. I'm getting worried about its way of operating but also about the way it treats my data. Truth is, even f I try to get away from it, it's so engrained with all my accounts that it is painful.

True to my mildly obsessive nature, I did a clean install of Mac OS and downloaded the Brave browser.

Just as I'm reading this I'm feeling incredibly tempted already.

Overall, I’m incredibly weary of the diligence one has to maintain just to somewhat safely access the internet these days. I weep for the future.

I'm genuinely curious what the future for the web will look like. I'm more and more scared about privacy — it seems it's a topic where we slowly move in the right direction. Who knows though, things change so fast.

On a different note, yesterday I sent a letter to CJ. I'm curious to experiment different types of engagement mechanisms. It seems like all our blogs are their own island and it really takes effort to go to the other person's island. As I said in the letter, I don't mind so much actually. It's exciting to open your feed, read, and see if people engaged with your content. Inquiry put it very nicely:

It's basically an endless stream of birthday presents to open.

There's no incentive to do it, which makes it even better. It's give without take.

I think I've mentioned this before, but there's a book called “The Dice Man” (Luke Rhinehart) in which the main character stumbles on the idea of associating possible “what should I do next?” items with dice outcomes, rolling the dice, and unflinchingly/unfailingly obeying the “what should I do next?” associated with the outcome.

I'm actually looking for a non-fiction book to read! I might give this one a go. Let me roll the die to see if I should. Keeping you posted.

Part of the non-exhaustive list of cool things to do series.

Not technically a take-away because it would have an interior place with only a single table and two stools. I'm imagining a fireplace on the side — yes, it has to be the coziest coffeeshop ever. On the menu, only black filter coffee but a different one every now and then. It has to be good. In there there would be a small book-sharing shelf. Get a coffee, pick a book, bring a book. The sort of place you would go in and instantly feel warm and at home. Working there should be simple. Make good coffee. Serve good coffee. Connect with people. It should be low-key. It has to. Far from instagram and shallowness. Of people pretending they have coffee for the picture and throwing it away after. Oh yeah and the other thing: there's no way to make money with such a project. If we serve 20 cups a day at $2 each we'd make $40. That's a monthly revenue of $1.2k. If we remove the taxes and rent I'm not sure to even break even. But we can dream right?


Ok so I want to try something. If I ever decide to leave my current position, what would be cool new things to do?

I'll be regrouping it under #ThingsToDo.

Weird, for the first time I encountered someone who acted rude in a meeting. Not quite sure they were truly mean or simply acted like it. This sort of person who doesn't smile. Who cuts you off. Who openly tells you they're not interested in what you are showing. Why are they even there? What drives them? I'm genuinely interested. Are they so driven by their objective that they forget to bring even a sprinkle of humanity in their interactions? Or maybe they just like being patronising. Actually, patronising isn't even the word. Arrogant? Just being an a—hole actually. I will definitely remember that meeting.

Which actually gets me thinking, does it help them to act that way? I wonder if they are more likely to get what they want. I mean, if they are that straight to the point, surely they must get things done faster than anyone else. Could you imagine being in their team? I would dread working in a team with such a manager. But would it be a highly performing team? I'm really interested. It might, but only if they're not just an a—hole. If they are smart and mean well, then cutting the crap anytime you can even if you sound rude might be a good thing in some situations. Or is it? I don't know. Maybe it's only short term. You scare people off so they will do what you ask them to do. That's not how you earn respect.

Oh well. I think some people just need to chill out.

I slept alright, but woke up stressed. All my anxieties for the day and the coming week are creeping up on me all of a sudden. Hard to stay in the now when you know you have so much in front of you. I feel a lot of resistance on my end, trying to push back the thoughts. That's a lot of fighting and effort for something that's in my head. It's making me tired already even though the day didn't really start yet. I need to think straight and play smart, consider my needs and not just follow blindly whatever is thrown at me. It doesn't mean blindly following my needs either, but considering them so that I can find the course of action that's good for everyone. I just need to keep the end goal in sight so I can work towards it. I'm not sure what the end goal is to be honest? Why am I working so hard? Maybe recognition? But I'm not sure. Lots of the things I do go unnoticed and I'm ok with that. Not the money either. I earn alright, but could make much more working elsewhere. Maybe it's the journey. The team, the company, the scale of it. I think it's because I believe in it, and I feel it can take my team and I a long way. Everything is accelerated and multiplied. When things are good, it's great and when it's bad, it's terrible.

My day and coming week don't look so bad either. Still I'm stressed. It's a pile of busy work on top of other busy work on top of very important meetings. The busy work is always on the back of my head and it prevents me from focusing on the important stuff. And then there is just “stuff”. It's not busy work, not important meetings, just work that needs to be done. And then there's personal issues. It's friday and I know I will need to deal with them this weekend.

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