I just don’t like Red Dead Redemption 2

I mean this post is pretty self explanatory. What I did realize is that I felt like I needed to keep playing, the sunk cost fallacy that I paid good money for it (okay, it was on sale and I had a gift card, but you get what I mean). I felt like I needed to finish the story, I needed to complete it, not just leave it half done.

But that’s really poppycock, I mean, I don’t play games to get achievements, I play them to unwind and relax. I shouldn’t feel compelled to do finish anything I don’t want to.

As to the specifics of why I don’t like it, it’s all about the story. It’s really not engaging. I mean, I see where this is going and it’s not like I can influence the story (or at least have the illusion of influencing the story) so what’s the point? It reminds me of GTA V (which shouldn’t surprise anyone) in that it’s a sort of “you’re a bad person, but not bad bad, just like kinda bad”.

Like, it’s okay to shoot the sheriff, but don’t shoot someone’s horse, only truly awful people kill horses.

If you want to watch a really long movie with an anti hero set in a western, it is technically beautiful….

Ask me anonymous questions

Editor’s note: this started out as random rambling and somehow ended as an anonymous Q&A
One interesting thing that seems to happen is that I don’t recall if I’ve actually written a blog post about something, or if it’s just that I’ve been ruminating on it frequently.

When I travel or when I’m on a plane (not sure why but planes are where I write most of my blog posts, probably something to do with being disconnected from the internet [although even that isn’t always true]).

One thing that I particularly find interesting is the one-way-ness of blogs. It seems folks are very reticent to give public feedback on a blog post. Facebook (where 90% of my traffic comes from anyway) seems to be where folks will write. I suspect it’s the illusion of privacy, but perhaps I’m mistaken.

The funny thing is one of the reasons for being more active on my blog is because I don’t want to be on Facebook. (I have problems with Facebook and not just the fact that they’ve flagged an organization I’m on the board of having a website that “goes against our Community Standards“, that dubious page is this: https://www.basicincomecanada.org/basic_income_primers. Now granted, I agree that PDFs are not great… but I’m pretty sure it’s not against the “community standards”.

Anywho, this post started out as me just rambling about blogs, but I just had an idea. How about for the next week people can submit anonymous questions and vote on them on sli.do. I’ll answer anything that gets at least 2 votes (and realistically probably everything).

The Wellbeing economy

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the future of work. I’m sure you know I’m a big advocate of a basic income and thinking thru the changes it can have to society is very interesting. The recent pandemic stuff I think will just increase societal change at an even greater pace.

One thing that has been constant and will increase is automation. Many of the jobs right now where people are being put at risk are retail jobs. Self checkout is probably going to increase exponentially as people want to distance themselves as much as possible. But I think those predictions are a bit banal at this point. Everyone knows that’s going to happen and the world will be changed. And while we do need a basic income for the transition, I’m not pessimistic about the future.

And the reason for that is that I think society / the “economy” will change once again. We went from agriculture, to factories, to services. The next step I think is the “Wellbeing Economy”.

It’ll be a great resurgence of soft skills. Everyone will have a counsellor / therapist, we’ll have more physiotherapists, nutritionists, massage therapists, “life coaches”, etc.

Basically, we’ll move from provide services to providing wellbeing. If that’s what comes next, I’d be okay with that.

Basically, we’ll move from provide services to providing wellbeing. If that’s what comes next, I’d be okay with that.

Plant Therapy

I was a bit stressed and anxious, especially on Friday. I decided to get some potting soil, some tropical plants, some seeds (online) and some strawberry clippings while going out grocery shopping.

While I usually loath commercialism as a way of feeling better, I’ll make an exception given the current circumstances. Hopefully the strawberry plants will grow indoors.

It’s a bit early to start most seeds (for Ottawa) but I don’t think I really care of the optimal time to plant at this point 😛

There’s actually nothing in here…. yet
Soon to be strawberries

Run This Town

There’s these fowl in the area, I’m not sure but, I think they are wild turkeys and I think they actually run this town (as much as you can qualify Carlsbad Springs as a town).

I’ve been going out on walks recently and they are just in whoever’s yard they want, on the roof of whoever they want. They also seem to have 0 fucks to give about cars.

There’s one that’s always a bit taller than the others and I’d like to image that’s their leader. I’m not sure if they identify more with Rihanna or Jay-Z, but I’m pretty sure they feel like they are in this video:

Wanting to be emo

Once in a while you get this feeling that you want to be sad. And perhaps it’s because of years of therapy, CBT and RET or Buddhism or mindfulness or what but I feel like I’m more aware of those times. I know there’s a bunch of people who say you should let yourself feel shit. But I think it’s often wallowing in self pity. We want the attention, we want the sympathy, we want to feel self entitled to the attention.

While I’m not saying you should pretend those kinds of feelings aren’t there, I don’t think giving in to them helps. You can accept that the feeling is there. No necessarily try to sho it away or anything, just accept that it’s there and carry on.

That being said… It’s often easier said than done.

Compassion for people who were hurt

I’ve sometimes found myself being hurt by folks who clearly have had some trauma or really shitty experiences. I know I want to be compassionate to them and yet, I often will feel hurt or attacked and I find it really hard to be compassionate.

I feel like as a society we also do this at a wider scale. Many of the folks in my circles us are for restorative justice and rehabilitation instead of punitive justice. But it’s mostly in general sense. When it’s not an actual incident. When there is an incident, it seems many folks fail to stick to their beliefs and become vindictive.

Perhaps it’s something we should be reminding each other of when we’re in the moment.

On the impact we’ve had on people

I remember, in first year university, I had recently been diagnosed with depression and I was working on some homework in the evening on the lawn in front of residence (Leblanc) and I saw one of the community advisors.

I’m not exactly sure how it came up. But he talked about how he left university for a semester because of depression. In that moment, I needed to hear this. I needed to hear someone else talk about depression, I needed to hear that I wasn’t alone, I needed to hear that maybe it wouldn’t always be like this.

I don’t remember if I ever thanked him…. and to be honest I don’t even remember his name. (Maybe something like J-P) (edit: found him and thanked him!)

When I left Automattic, I got inundated with messages about how I had impacted folks. It made me feel so warm and fuzzy and to this day I have those notes, along with others I’ve collected in a google doc. I’m not sure if people realize the impact those notes had / have on me. I go back and read some of them when I’m feeling down.

For myself, I’m trying to be more diligent with letting people know the impact they’ve had on me. I know how much it means to me to know the impact I’ve had on others so I’m trying to be more diligent about doing it consistently.

Being pulled back in the real world

While reading Buddhism Without Belief I couldn’t help but notice how, while reading the book, I was more aware of certain things.

I’m aware of my surrounginds, I’m aware of how I want to act, how I want to change certain patterns. I have compassion for others. I notice the world around me more and appreciate it more.

But, just as it comes, it disappears. I get pulled back into the “real” world. I get pulled back into ruminating on things. On how person X is terrible and playing out conversations in my head where I let them know how shitty they are etc.

It’s interesting because they talk about it in the book. It seems you can only stay into this place of awareness, of appreciating the non-duality of ourselves and others for brief moments at a time before getting pulled back.

Hopefully I’ll be able to extend those moments slowly but steadily.

Context is key when buying a car, in digital government or in PHP

I often find folks in tech to be very dogmatic. “Framework X is the best “, “Java is a terrible language”, “pineapple doesn’t belong on a pizza”, etc.

There seems to often be a lack of context when we throw out thoughts like that.

It’s a bit like someone asking you what’s the best car and you tell them a Ferrari. So they go and buy a Ferrari and they try to use it to move their family across the country.

I saw a talk by the creator of PHP Rasmuf Lerdorf looking back at the 25 years of PHP. If there’s one thing that everyone who’s been using PHP with version 4 knows is that register globals was a terrible idea.

For everyone didn’t code PHP way back in the day. Previously, if you had a GET or POST parameter such as ?test=random_string a variable called $test was created automatically with the value passed in. No sanitation etc. So if you had some code that let’s say checked if a variable existed, well an attacker could basically inject any variable they wanted. I (and pretty much everyone) always thought this was the dumbest thing.

In his talk Rasmuf talks about register globals. And one thing he mentions is that, when this was created, JavaScript didn’t exist….. That blew my mind. In that context it made much more sense! A whole attack vector just didn’t exist when it was created. Now I’m not saying it was a good idea even considering that but just learning about the whole context was mind opening.

I find that searching for the context behind decisions is at times missing in digital government. I’m working at CDS and when working with partners there are often technology decisions that will make people’s eyes roll (I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this as well).

I think those kinds of comments don’t help anyone. They certainly don’t help us understand the context in which these decisions were made.

It’s easy to shit on tech work in government, what’s less easy is really trying to understand the context that lead to these decisions. The constraints people were under, the requirements, the available resources. All those things we might not know about. Only after we’ve started to build a shared understanding of what the current context is can we, together, find a better solutions to serve people better