The way I see it, libertarianism is less of a point on the political spectrum and more of a philosophy or way of life.
An analogy I came to this morning was that as a libertarian, I'm a lot like a pacifist serving in the military during a war. I participate because I have to, but refuse to do what my conscience won't allow. As a practical person, I acknowledge that there's a war on, that there's going to be fighting, and that it is completely irrational to believe everyone will just lay down their weapons and be peaceful. But that doesn't stop me from refraining from violence myself, and trying to convince others that violence isn't the answer, and to stop as well. In that sense, it's more of an idealistic approach to things, but is no less important or valid because of it.
A lot of people who get past the caricatures and generalizations about libertarianism and understand the core principles wind up dismissing it because it's "not workable in the real world". Neither is pacifism, but that doesn't stop people from trying to be better human beings.
Definitely something I'm lacking lately. Well, not just lately.
It's funny, run-of-the-mill things people are usually afraid of don't bother me much at all. What ties me up in knots is the idea of taking control of my life and directing it where it ought to go. Scares the ever-lovin' bejeebus out of me. Anyone who knows me, knows that I always take the passive, path-of-least-resistance way in everything. It's not intentional. I just can't bring myself to put my foot down on the right path.
Watch that first step, it's a doozy...
Just feeling I'm in a bit of a depressed funk lately, since the turnover of the year.
I have a feeling a lot of it is related to my upcoming 10 year anniversary.
Yes, as of May 15th I'll have been in Japan for 10 years.
It's a little bit scary and a little bit sad.
I will have officially lived in Tokyo longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life.
I only ever lived "at home" in Kentville, NS for 9 years in sequence (and a few other random years disconnected).
I approach my life here these days as, well, just life. Tokyo is where I live.
It's home. It's no longer special or exciting or challenging or whatever other people
might like to think it is. It's just my home. I love living here, I really do,
but it's a place like any other. Maybe when I first came here, I could view it as a learning experience, expanding horizons, getting to know another culture and language, all that sort of stuff. Now, however, those things seem unrelated to my everyday life. That's what tourists do. I'm more concerned with living my life normally.
Which means I haven't addressed any of the linguistic or cultural issues I used to face in the past, because they just faded out of view when my everyday life became more important.
And that is kind of depressing, though I'm not entirely sure why.
It is of course still a beta product, and thus lacking a number of features and customization options. That said, it is ridiculously fast, and smooth as all heck. I have to say that I am very impressed with the state it is in already.
Once they add some features such as mouse gestures and custom hotkeys, I'll be uninstalling Firefox and using Chrome as my "app to use when Opera flakes out on a site".
Your result for The Perception Personality Image Test...
NFDS - The Guide
Nature, Foreground, Detail, and Shape
You perceive the world with particular attention to nature. You focus on what's in front of you (the foreground) and how that is affected by the details of life. You are also particularly drawn towards the shapes around you. Because of the value you place on nature, you tend to find comfort in more subdued settings and find energy in solitude. You like to deal directly with whatever comes your way without dealing with speculating possibilities or outcomes you can't control. You are highly focused on specific goals or tasks and find meaning in life by pursuing those goals. You prefer a structured environment within which to live and you like things to be predictable.
The Perception Personality Types:
Bills of Japanese currency are capable of withstanding a trip through a washing machine
The Bad News:
I discovered this by leaving my wallet in my pants when I put them in the laundry
My clothing was covered in a fine, confetti-like layer of what used to be my ATM receipts. All my cards and ID and such appear to be intact, though I'll have to wait and see if my bank cards work anymore. Nothing of value was lost, but it was a shock and an extremely tedious thing to clean up.
I really should have known better than to put things in the wash without checking pockets, but I had actually forgotten to start the laundry and only realized at quarter to midnight, so I hurriedly gathered everything up and shoved it all into the machine.
I said that right now my life is like a coloring book. I'm carefully and quietly filling in the colors, trying to stay in the lines, deciding what color my sky should be.
You just think you do.
We're nothing but the stories we tell ourselves. We know in our hearts what kind of people we are, what we're capable of, because we've told ourselves what kind of people we are. You're a carefully-rehearsed list of weaknesses and strengths you've told yourself you have.
(Self-confidence, for example, is a particularly nebulous quality you can easily talk yourself out of having.)
You owe no allegiance to that self-image if it harms you. If you don't like the story your life has become — tell yourself a better one.
Think about the person you want to be and do what that person would do. Act the way that person would act.
Amazingly enough, once you start acting like that person, people will start treating you like that person.
And you'll start to believe it. And then it will be true.
Welcome to your new self.
It would have a solid spine maybe a centimeter and a half wide, thin novel width basically. That would house whatever power adapter slots, batteries, storage slots, etc you need. Aside from solid protective front and back covers, the inside would consist of about 6 sheets of digital paper. At the bottom and top of every sheet of paper would be small round holes such as were used in tractor-feed paper for printers in the Good Old Days(tm). The first one or two holes on the left and right sides of the sheet would contain input contacts. The spine would use these to feed the data to the paper. You turn pages as you would in a normal book, but as you turn the fourth page over the first page is slid through the spine to reappear at the back of the book. Thus you always have three pages on either side. When you reach the point where the remainder of the file being read can fit on three double-side pages, of course the sliding mechanism stops to allow you to finish reading using the end-pages. I chose 6 sheets because I figure it will be easier to ignore the sliding about of pages if there are at least two or more sheets on top of the moving one.
This seemingly silly mechanism would allow people to get the benefits of digital storage of books, without losing the feel of reading a book. Almost everyone I know who is an avid reader hates reading things on a screen, and part of that reason is that it just doesn't feel the same. There's something enjoyable about turning pages. I'm sure this is by no means an original idea, but I just thought I'd write it down.
( Read more... )
So we got our first snowfall of the season this morning. It's still coming down out there, but not too heavily. Not really enough to stay on the ground except where there's grass, but since the city is mostly concrete that means it's not really staying at all. It usually doesn't get truly cold here until the end of January or beginning of February, so this is fairly on-schedule. We typically get an occasional day of faint snowfall with none of it really sticking.
I've noticed this before, but since I'm posting now I thought I'd mention it. My route to the office involves a short trip underground via a walkway beneath the expressway. It's a small little passage down some stairs, across the street, and back up again. Only takes a minute, minute and a half I'd say. Without fail, every person, whether foreign or Japanese, always closes their umbrella about halfway down the stairs...and then re-opens it about halfway up the stairs on the other side. Even though it's less than 2 minutes from one side to the other. Even though it's just a bare passageway with nothing in it. In fact, even the thought of not closing my umbrella makes me feel kinda uncomfortable. Sometimes our irrational cultural mores are truly bizarre.
Lastly, on the tragic note of Heath Ledger's death, I couldn't help but notice that mere moments after news of the event had spread both his imdb page and his wikipedia entry were updated with the details. It is kind of creepy to know that there are people out there, hovering in place, just waiting for this kind of information. It would not surprise me in the least if some kind of informal competition were in place for most up-to-date posting of this sort of information.
Seijin no Hi (成人の日) is the day when all young folk who will attain their majority (20 in Japan) during the coming school year attend a small ceremony at their local city or town office. Most young women dress up in traditional kimono, with the classic long sleeves. Some men also dress in traditional, though not nearly as many. It's interesting to note that Japan has a number of these sorts of lifestyle stage ceremonies. Rites of passage are something I think our western culture is sorely lacking.