This Day, Now

26 June, 2007

I’m home from work, after a day of crunching. I had one of those weird days where I didn’t manage to accomplish much, until the last hour, at which point I actually made some big strides. It’s funny how often that happens.

Today was a very hot day. They say it was 90 degrees… dunno what that is in real temperature, but it sounds hot. Plus it was very humid… reminded me a little of spring time in Japan. I still have no air conditioner, and I’m determined to tough it out without one. Just like I wash my dishes by hand rather than using the dishwasher. I hope that makes a difference, but who can tell?

I’m drinking a Corona with a slice of lime. It’s worth it in life to make sure one has these sorts of simple pleasures available. To pay attention to the details and make sure I buy the Corona on the weekend, and don’t forget the lime, because later in the week when the heat wave hits, I know I’ll really appreciate it.

I just read a fascinating article about all the plastic waste floating around in a big mass in the Pacific Ocean. It sucks to think that collectively, we’re making such a mess, and the efforts of the concerned few can’t make up for the effect of the rest who just don’t care. I remember in Japan, there were no garbage cans at the beach. People would just leave their garbage sitting in bags by the surf at the end of the day… because hey, the sea just makes it magically disappear, right? Sure… until your grandkids die of cancer from all the toxins moving up the food chain.

And I can’t even recycle here in Malden. Oh sure, there’s a recycling program, but because I live in an apartment building, I can’t participate in it. The city has the mindset that recycling is a service it provides, not an obligation we all share. There isn’t even a depot that I could take my stuff to. I still accumulate recyclables like an OCD case, because it causes me too much pain and shame to just chuck them in the garbage. What a world.

Now I’m going to sign off and spend some time formulating my turn orders for VGA Planets. I’ve been playing it with a bunch of guys from work. It’s fun and cool in a very retro sort of way, but it will be interesting to see if any of us are still speaking to each other by the end.

That’s my day. Pretty typical, really. How was yours?



  1. Work is slow (as you can tell, I’m posting blog comments) but I’m looking forward to going to the Shambhala center tonight. It’s part four of a four part talk on creative writing which I’m finding moderately fascinating.

    They say great writing is writing that moves the reader and the writer, and from a Buddhist perspective there’s different practices that can improve our ability to do so. One is the practice of prajna, often translated as wisdom, pure intelligence or true sight.

    Personally I find prajna practice helps to realise the duality of self. There are two selves: the self that perceives others and the self that perceives itself. What this means is in our own mind lives a version of ourselves that we use to filter all of the information we gather about ourselves and along with this self lives the interpreted visions of everyone else we interact with which serve as the basis to build our knowledge of them. This also implies that everyone we interact with has a version of us in their head that filters information about us as well too. The somewhat scary conclusion we then come to is that the self residing in our own mind is indeed the one that is completely illusory. Every one elses version of us carries a certain more accurate form of truth based solely on our action, or, in sanskrit, karma.

    I think knowing this duality on some level helps a writer to a great extent. What I’m getting around to saying is that I enjoy your blog Dan.

    P.S. I also just finished Lone Wolf. Goddamn Yagyu…

  2. Hey Jeremy, great to hear from you.

    Thinking in terms of multiple selves or identities is also pretty common in psychology (and I’m not talking about multiple-personality disorder). You could say that we have the two selves that you describe (how others perceive us – the social self, and how we perceive ourselves). You could add an ideal self to that (who we’re trying to be, whether it’s a better driver, a better father or just someone who chicks think is cool). You could say we have an inner self, defined only by our inner dialogue and feelings that only we know. You could go further and say that we have multiple social selves, as different people and groups in our lives will have different experiences of us, and will have formed different impressions based on our actions.

    Which one is our true self… that’s definitely a question for the philosophers. But I think the Buddhists are right on in saying that more than anything else, we’re defined by our actions. And that our own impressions of ourselves are not likely to be the true self at all. We’ve all known people with extremely inflated (or undervalued) views of themselves. How does my real self differ from what I think I am? Dunno. I just trust that if I get too far off-base, Blake’ll tell me.

    The goal, though, if we are to have one, would be to integrate those different selves as much as possible. If you have a social self that is radically different from your inner self, then maybe you’re not being true to yourself nor honest with people around you. If your ideal self is too different from the reality of who you are, maybe you need to work harder to achieve that, or recognize that you are judging yourself by an impossible standard. Still, the self you see when I’m out drinkin’ is likely to always be a bit different from who my mom thinks I am. = D

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog (and I’m sorry to see you end yours). To tell you the truth, I don’t really have a clue what to write about here. I try to keep politics out of it (though the temptation is strong), and just keep to stuff that answers the question, “Gee, what is Dan up to in Boston?” Lemme know if it gets too banal.

    And of course, I miss you the most. = ]

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