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Wellness Wednesday for November 2, 2022

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

Any way to get levothyroxine in Canada without a prescription?

Does anyone have recommendations on finding real life social groups of like-minded people? As a remote programmer my job is pretty antisocial. I’ve been doing Muay Thai for a few months to supplement bodybuilding but forging friendships there is slow going. I’m agnostic and consider myself basically a Platonist, but I’m open to Christianity and have done some cursory church-shopping, but frankly most of the ones near me seem hyper-progressive, while I’m on the other end of that scale, and it has me doubting if I’d be joining for the right reasons. I’m open to basically anything, meetups, conferences, political organizations, Toastmasters, whatever. I’ve done theater and school choir in the past as well so I’m open to whatever, any suggestions appreciated.

Pub quizzes are good fun, and often a good fit for the kind of a person who obsessively and constantly scours the Internet for all sorts of information, as I suspect many here are.

I'm lucky to be in a team full of people with excellent sports and light entertainment knowledge, since those are often-present topics that I'm not particularly good with.

Of course finding a team might be an issue, I kind of stumbled to mine through a friend.

Yes, I’ve had jobs at two previous companies prior to this that were in person. Unfortunately none of the people at either were especially sociable either, my first company felt like working in a library at times it was so quiet. Compounding this is that I don’t want to commute any longer as I hated how much of my day it consumed, and I don’t want my choice of where to live being tied to extreme urban centers if I don’t have to. I’ll keep your suggestion in mind as I’ve had similar thoughts before though. Sometimes I debate switching to more of a sales engineer type role since the majority of the job there is socializing in some form, though I worry about my technical skills atrophying as well.

I am rapidly moving into the "remote work is terrible for our mental health" camp.

The trade-off, of course, is that I now live in a beautiful part of the country where my son is thriving, but there are absolutely no job opportunities for somebody in my field. If that were to change, I would be back in the office in a heartbeat.

Yeah it's a shame. Remote work has a ton of amazing pluses like no time wasted commuting, living where you like, making good salaries in LCOL areas, getting to choose who you socialize with, etc etc. But I'm beginning to think it's one of those instant gratification situations, where it feels good at first but is detrimental over the long term

Try partner dance like East coast or west coast swing.

My girlfriend and I have discussed this before, and I’ll probably give this a shot. Though most of the groups I’ve looked into seem to have substantially older regulars than myself. Honestly I wish there were adult fraternities around to join, does anyone have any experience with Freemasons?

I would recommend West Coast swing, blues dancing, or some style of Latin dance like salsa or Kizomba if you’re looking for younger people.

I see "dancing", "pottery", "volunteering at the animal shelter", and other female coded activities as things suggested to men struggling to meet women.

Am I the only one who finds the idea of doing any of those things dreadful? It's not that I think the people doing those things are fundamentally different from me or anything like that; More so that I just know I will not enjoy those activities at all, not even 1%, and that itself will be damaging to the pursuit of actually making connections with the people doing those activities, its like "I totally hate doing what you are doing, but lets hang out?", And also elements of "I'm so socially inept I have to do things I hate to meet people".

Seems to me for a guy like me who does WFH, has only male friends and hobbies are in a rather precarious situation.

Out of those, volunteering at the animal shelter surely can't be that bad? Getting to pet and feed dogs for a couple hours isn't the worst thing in the world...

Or you could be given logistics work or you have to go setup cat traps in the blistering heat for an entire day.

The playing with animals all day is a small part of the work needed to run a shelter.

Personally, I like cats and dogs well enough on the screen. I can't imagine caring for one, even if I weren't allergic. I'm awkward around living creatures who are not intelligent enough to speak a language.

Am I the only one who finds the idea of doing any of those things dreadful?

Some of them, sure. Others sounded worth a try, at least; a few turned out to be things I really liked. There's a lot of female-leaning hobbies you could do socially, if you live in a city. Yoga? Book clubs? Choirs? Art classes?

If you go through every social event you can find, and hate everything that's at least evenly-mixed, then fair enough, don't go. Absolutely, "do things you hate just to leave the house" is a terrible idea that won't work.

Still, I'd be open to the possibility that there's more going on there. Maybe hating every option is less about the options, and more about how you feel about life?

Doesn't have to be! You can just really like male-dominated hobbies, that's totally fine. Worth considering, though.

In Xenophon (iirc, it might have been somewhere in Plato, it's been a while) Socrates considered dancing the best preparation for war, and advised it over boxing/wrestling which he thought made men too bulky and hungry to make good soldiers.

More so that I just know I will not enjoy those activities at all, not even 1%, and that itself will be damaging to the pursuit of actually making connections with the people doing those activities, its like "I totally hate doing what you are doing, but lets hang out?", And also elements of "I'm so socially inept I have to do things I hate to meet people".

IMHO, a big part of what makes a good partner in a marriage is adaptability to enjoying different things with your partner. Who wants to spend 50 years married to someone who will only enjoy his own hobbies and games and ideas, unless they share those same exact tastes? In my marriage, my wife has come to like baseball and tolerate football and get dragged to the opera or the symphony once a month; I've adapted to watching The Bachelor or 90s RomComs and viewing them as sociological documents, what does this say about the people watching it and the people competing on it? Did I disdain reality TV dating shows before? Yeah, but my wife wanted to watch, so I found the angle to enjoy it myself.

By saying not only "I don't naturally enjoy dancing" but "It is impossible for me to enjoy dancing;" you're revealing a problem with dating you.

In Xenophon (iirc, it might have been somewhere in Plato, it's been a while) Socrates considered dancing the best preparation for war, and advised it over boxing/wrestling which he thought made men too bulky and hungry to make good soldiers.

In Republic, Plato (through Socrates) only recommended music and gymnastics, not dance. I don't remember his stance on wrestling.

In Xenophon (iirc, it might have been somewhere in Plato, it's been a while) Socrates considered dancing the best preparation for war, and advised it over boxing/wrestling which he thought made men too bulky and hungry to make good soldiers.

Tangent but, I am quite suspicious of ideas that fit into the;

"{Unrelated activity} is actually better for preparing for {activity} than {related activity} because {philosophical reasons}" mold.

And I am suspicious of it because I am actually quite good (99.99 percentile) in a specific game and I got good by grinding at that game relentlessly. And every other person who was good at that game did the same, they grinned on that game for 12 hours a day. And this is what almost literally every other person good at the game does.

It's not that the idea is without merit. It's quite idealistic and romantic that the best warrior is actually the best dancer. My (experienced) priors say otherwise, that is all. Were any of the potential philosophers who might have made that quote actually good generals?

And said advice does apply to beginners who lack lack some kind of intuition that can be trained easier in some other sort of activity. But I don't think it applies to people who are actually good at what they do. A fighter might benefit from studying a different martial art than the one he knows, but he damn well won't become a better fighter because he knows how dance.. How different of an activity dancing is from fighting is up for debate. But you get my point.

By saying not only "I don't naturally enjoy dancing" but "It is impossible for me to enjoy dancing;" you're revealing a problem with dating you.

Fair enough!

And I am suspicious of it because I am actually quite good (99.99 percentile) in a specific game and I got good by grinding at that game relentlessly. And every other person who was good at that game did the same, they grin[d]ed on that game for 12 hours a day... Were any of the potential philosophers who might have made that quote actually good generals?

Your objections to this are actually hilariously off-base. Taking the second first

  1. Thalatta, Thalatta! Xenophon* is on the shortlist for greatest general in classical antiquity**. If you have never read the Anabasis you should, but at least watch The Warriors it's just as good. Xenophon was elected to command of a group of 30,000 Greek mercenaries, trapped in hostile Persia after the side that hired them lost the civil war they were hired to fight in before they could arrive. He lead them in a fighting march across hundreds of miles, facing enemies on all sides, with no home base. He knew warfare about as well as anyone could.

  2. I assume because you said "Game" rather than "sport" you're talking about something in the Vidya or Chess range? Yeah, physical sports just don't work like that. You can't just make the same explosive movement over and over all day. You'd end up with overuse injuries, you'd overtrain and retard physical progress, and you'd fatigue yourself and practice shittier and shittier reps of precision movements. And in a contact sport (phalanx warfare is the ultimate contact sport), you can't train full speed often at all without injuries. We still aren't really sure what Phalanx fighting looked like, but we can look at analogues.*** Taking the Medieval Tournament, a scrimmage in terms of battle, and fatalities were constant whatever the precautions. You simply can't do very much fighting when you're training for fighting, so you have to do other things to build your skills. Professional fighters today spar only a few hours a day, a couple times a week. NFL teams practice full contact only once a week. It's not practical to "grind" away at fighting 12 hours a day.

But, my use of the quote was some rhetorical sleight of hand. It's likely that the "dancing" Xenophon referenced was more like the single-sex group dances common at traditional celebrations. Less Dirty Dancing and more like a college Bhangra competition or a high school colorguard. And Phalanx combat was notoriously more about group coordination than about individual strength or courage or prowess. So almost nothing would train you for that better than practicing high speed complex coordination among pretty much the same guys who would stand in the phalanx next to you because the Polis isn't that big. So Xenophon's/Socrates' point is actually pretty mundane mechanics of the phalanx: Coordination is more important than individual strength or daring.

*I'm skeptical that we can really say much about Socrates, there is the Platonic Socrates and Xenophon's Socrates, in addition to The Clouds Socrates and some likely false but more contemporary than us interpolations. Socrates himself was noted as a hardy and stoic, but not extraordinarily athletic, soldier.

**It's reasonable to discount Xenophon because he was his own best publicist, as was Julius Caesar (Alexander paid his professionals). If we're going by that though, Hannibal is the clear winner. Not only was his history written by his enemies, his entire culture was wiped out before his body was cold. Still gets the rep for GOAT.

***If I were a mad scientist in Mengele mold, I'd force prisoners to attempt some pre-modern fighting methods, for the purpose of simulating how it would have actually gone. Of course, a phalanx on phalanx fight would require minimum 128 prisoners for two 8x8s

And I am suspicious of it because I am actually quite good (99.99 percentile) in a specific game and I got good by grinding at that game relentlessly. And every other person who was good at that game did the same, they grinned on that game for 12 hours a day. And this is what almost literally every other person good at the game does.

Unfortunately with war, especially in ancient times, you can't just 'grind' your way to victory. Sure you can practice sword fighting etc, but the ancient Greek city-states especially knew that those types of practices were nothing similar to the actual brutal reality of war.

A fighter might benefit from studying a different martial art than the one he knows, but he damn well won't become a better fighter because he knows how dance.. How different of an activity dancing is from fighting is up for debate.

Dancing can give you quite a few important skills when it comes to the ancient style of fighting. You have to learn to keep a solid center of gravity and understanding of where you need to step to contort your body in certain ways. This could directly translate to if you need to move quickly or get knocked off balance in a battle, and is not easy to simulate in sparring

You also have to learn what's called 'floorcraft,' or situational awareness of where people are around you to avoid bumping into them. Again something that isn't obvious when sparring or necessarily easy to recreate in a sparring environment.

This poster literally says “I’m open to basically anything.”

I’m also confused as to why and how partner dance is female coded for you. With strict leading and following roles I’ve actually found it to be a lot less woke and full of stereotypically ‘masculine’ men.

Have you tried to be more open to experiencing new things? It can make life a lot more enjoyable.

Well the OP asked about meeting "likeminded people" and I am talking about how dancing gets suggested to men looking to meet women. This is the first time I am seeing someone suggest dancing for meeting "likeminded people". And I am scratching my head a bit on this recommendation; Given that I don't think dancing selects for any type of ideology or worldview, maybe extravertednesss ?

Have you tried to be more open to experiencing new things? It can make life a lot more enjoyable.

Yes. Doing it continuously. Unfortunately my intuitions turn out to be true more often than not. My personal experience is that if some activity is in my "I'm going to hate it" bucket; Often times I don't hate it, but I don't particularly enjoy it either. On the flip side "I might like it" activities are ones that I do actually enjoy a whole lot.

I am differentiating not neutral-bad, but neutral-good.

Sorry to hear you haven't found things you enjoy. Maybe I was a bit too harsh in my reply, I find people write off dancing too quickly.

Sure dancing can be good for meeting women, but honestly I think it's just an excellent hobby. You get to meet interesting, relatively wealthy, and driven people. You can indulge your creativity while also memorizing patterns, and partner dance with repeatable figures really does reward practice and an understanding of timing/direction which many engineering or systematizing folks can be very good at. On top of all this you get a workout, and you meet people.

Hell if you're super competitive you can even start competing relatively easily, if you have the money.

Even though the OP specifies meeting likeminded people, I think what most lonely men need overall is just a group or community to regularly spend time with. Dancing helped me with that even after trying dozens of other activities and not liking any of them.

Even though the OP specifies meeting likeminded people, I think what most lonely men need overall is just a group or community to regularly spend time with. Dancing helped me with that even after trying dozens of other activities and not liking any of them.

Eh, I think this is true only to an extent. I think spending time with a group or community that happens to radically differ from you in ideology and outlook, and speaks continuously about that ideology and outlook, can slowly drive you nuts. And I've noticed that there's a large group of people who treat politics as basically unavoidable and think of their beliefs as if it should be the default Good Person mode of thinking, so they usually never shut up about it and often don't even bother to try and introduce any balance to their view whatsoever.

I'm not saying one should create an echo chamber and only expose themselves to people who agree with them, but from experience I will say it's also probably a bad idea to throw yourself into spaces populated primarily by members of your outgroup and expect yourself to have a fantastic time.

I agree, I think baked into the idea of community is the idea that you respect and enjoy the company of the people around you.

Good to hear that it worked out for you.

I agree, on paper its a great activity. (IMO) With the caveat being, for the ring kind of person.

I mean you mention selecting for extraverted persons, I feel like pretty much any gathering or hobby meet up will select for extraversion right?

Like being an introvert trying to find people to hang out with you're going to have to learn some extraversion.

While I mostly share your feelings, some more classic(?) styles of dance like swing or line dancing can be laid back and fun, more of an opportunity for everyone to get together and have a good time rather than a status competition.

Yep. Same with contra which is a lot more family friendly and designed to be easy for newcomers.

My son got his 15 month well-child check today. At the appointment everyone was really trying to upsell me the COVID Vaccine. I had a conversation that went:

Dr: "Are you sure, just the regular 15 month vaccines?"

Me: "And the flu shot."

Dr: "The regular 15 month vaccines, COVID, and the flu shot?"

Me: 'Ye-no, no COVID. Just the flu shot if that's possible."

Dr: "Yes, it's possible."

Then with the nurse administering the vaccines:

Nurse: "I noticed on the paper it said just the 15 month vaccines, would you like the flu shot as well?"

Me: "Yes, the flu shot."

Nurse: "COVID, too?"

Me: "No COVID."

Nurse administers 3 shots. I get the paper home with my son's weight, height, and shots administered. They list COVID as administered, no flu shot. My husband called them, he was put on hold then disconnected.

I'm sure the pediatrician thinks I'm crazy, but I don't think a boy less than 2 years of age gets a huge benefit from a Covid vaccine, he's already on an aggressive vaccine schedule, getting multiple vaccines every three months, and I really wanted him to have that flu shot.

There also needs to be a clearer way to consent to medications/procedures than a verbal conversation that apparently two separate people misunderstood. I'm still hoping he got the flu shot but the paper was marked wrong.

When my son has gotten his vaccines they always show me the syringe and what it says on it and confirm with me that's what we consent to. I think that's the best way to make sure no mixups occur.

A part of me just really hopes it was a typo and they are just disorganized. I have a hard time believing what it looks like happened actually happened.

Isn’t this the USA? The county of suing everyone for any mistake and making millions? I don’t know if this is how it works in reality but the situation definitely gives me some ideas


Throwaway just for this topic:

I want to quit my job (as a team lead for programmers) and work as a regular programmer again. I've took the job because of the compensation but I hate being dragged into the administrative and coordination world that seems to be inherent in the position I have. I like solving technical challenges and I'm pretty good at it.

I'm currently in the preparation stage for my exit. I'm putting in all kinds of redundancies and documenting processes so my eventual successor will have an easier time to keep it running for now and then being able to introduce their own spin on it.

I've done the non-programmer thing too long and I don't know how the field looks. I don't know if having a FOSS project on github in my target language is a good choice or if I have to grind leetcode for months as that is the expectation now. My CV is split 50/50 between being a programmer and something else (manager or technical support/admin.)

For the timeframe: I've decided that this position isn't for me, but I have to stay here for an additional 7 months due to a contract situation. (Pension funds.)

What would your advice be about this? I know this is very vague but I don't know the lay of the land.

Additonal Info about my yearning:

Some days I quit the work for today, just so I can go to my private computer and work on technical challenges associated with my pet projects. When I think about that I can't help but think that some people are paid for solving real technical challenges and I merely get paid to manage that kind of stuff.

Could you trade jobs with someone at your firm who wants to move from programming to management, de facto if not de jure?

I've thought about this a bit and even if I were to find a hypothetical swap-partner, I would probably be too negative when describing my current role. It's hard to sell someone that is solving technical problems on answering emails or managing tickets, etc. If I knew years ago this is what it would be like, I wouldn't have taken that deal.

You could look for a programmer with relatively weak technical skills but strong people skills.

I don't understand. You said FAANG caps out at around 350. But you're at FAANG and made more than that in years 3 and 4.

What are you saying, that you're staff and not a senior swe or that you're counting stock appreciation as part of your compensation?

Your compensation should be calculated based on the value of the stock options at the time they were paid to you, not their value at the time you exercised or sold them.

Consider this: your comp went down, because of a double whammy of cliff and stock market crash. You should now be in a steady state, with each annual refresher replacing the previous expiring one. You expect your compensation to go back up, because you expect the stock market to come back up. But that means that you will make much more if you switch companies now. Here is why:

When you were getting refreshers for past 4 years, the amount was determined by assigning some cash value to it, and then dividing by the current (at the time) stock price to get the number of shares. For example, if you were making $140k in base, and the company wanted you to make $160k a year in stock. Assume the stock price is $100. In a steady state, you have stock vesting from four refreshers, so each refresher should provide a quarter of $160k, ie $40k. Thus, they take $40k, multiply by four year to get the total value over four years to get $160k, and then divide by stock price of $100 to get 1600 stock units as a refresher size.

Now, in the steady state, if the stock suddenly jumps from $100 to $200, your comp is now $140k + 2*$160k = $460k, so you’re happy. However, your next refresher will be only 800 stock units. Conversely, if stock falls to $50, your total comp falls to $220k, but next refresher is 3200 units. The point is that if the new stock price is stable, in the next 4 years, your total comp will converge back to $300k, with $160k in stock.

Now here is a thing: if you switch companies right now, your total comp should converge to $300k immediately, because with the big new hire grant you’ll be obtaining, you’ll compress 4 years of refreshers into it. Moreover, if the stock goes back up slowly over time, the new hire grant will be worth more than 4 refreshers, because it will entirely be granted based on the bottom stock price, while the refreshers will be granted at consecutively increasing stock prices.

This also means, by the way, that your current company will likely offer extra out-of-cycle grants to good performers in order to retain them, so that they don’t simply jump ship. They will not announce it publicly, but if you ask for it privately, you might just get it. I recommend first getting a competing offer though.

There is also one thing I forgot to mention: that promo to senior in 2-3 years? You can get it tomorrow if you switch companies, a nice diagonal promotion. Happened to me and many people I know.

Glad to hear someone is doing well. I make about $7k a month after taxes right now as a SWE manager, which is not bad at all for Russia, but I gotta emigrate and hot fucking damn, Europeans treat their IT like dirt. 350 for senior SWE? More like 100 if you're super lucky and 60 if you're not. And these 60 turn into 48 after the taxes are paid. Getting my $7k back would require finding someone willing to pay 120. I really hope I can win the diversity lottery this year and move to the greener pastures across the pond.

I really wish someone had told me how much software engineers made in the US when I was younger. I was good at math and liked programming as a kid, but didn't know about computer science until after I started university, and I had no idea they made a lot of money until about three years ago when my friend moved to California and told me what the starting salaries were. But even then, I didn't know how much they increased once you had some experience until a few months ago. Why isn't this better known?

In Sweden if you're having a salary of 60, you're actually getting paid 80 and get to keep 42. ^^

Work in London for a FAANG or in Switzerland.

It was nice of Putin to start the war right before FAANGs entered a contraction phase.

An easier (not easy) way to migrate into the US instead of betting on the DV would be to get Canadian citizenship (trivial compared to getting US citizenship) and then try though the TN visa path, albeit that is a decade long con, but us poors outside the US have to think in those timeframes if we actually want a shot of getting into the US without being within the 99.999 percentile of programmers or being millionaires.

Yes. If you're young, educated, speak English, and have a good job offer, you'll have enough points to be granted permanent residency, after which you get Canadian citizenship after five years I believe. We have a points system that favours economic immigrants and a much higher immigration rate than the US has relative to our population.

Even if you don't have quite enough points, I think you can get a two year work visa pretty easily and then having Canadian work experience gets you more points which allows you to apply for permanen residency. There are probably other types of work visas you can get too, because I know people who have been here for years who don't have their permanent residencies yet.

This. I work for US company and we have people from Canada working for us (remote). In my 2 previous jobs, we also had people from Canada and even interns from Canada working for us. If the company is remote-friendly, hiring somebody from Canada doesn't seem to be a big deal (I'm sure there's some paperwork to be done but looks like it's not too bad if I see Canadians hired all the time). If you can get into Canada, the chances of getting a job is the US are much higher, and as far as I heard, Canada's immigration policies are easier to deal with than in the US. Also, Canada has its own IT companies, though I don't know how the pay is there, probably worse than in FAANG.

Yes, American visa policy is all about luck, there's a reason why illegal immigration is so high. L-1 is the only visa that has a straightforward path to permanent residence, and it still requires a certain shuffle through another country.

The DV odds are very much against me. Last year the chance to get selected was about 1 in 100, 2 in 100 if both spouses applied.

Congrats! Could be some tricky decisions ahead, but it's a nice problem to have. Are the finance roles as a technologist, or a trader/researcher? Do you know how much of the comp is bonus, or how variable the amounts are?

What kind of background do you need to be a quant?

Depends on where in finance, I think? Banking is rough, absolutely, but in quant funds 45-hour weeks are common, at least in the UK.

It's more hours than @null's current setup, and in-office would be different from WFH, but it doesn't have to ruin your life.

Yeah, must depend where you work, I guess? 45ish was always what I saw offered, and at least for the ones I know about, their people usually do leave on time.

For what it's worth, I know a variety of Jane Street London Office employees and for all of them they either have a great work-life balance, or genuinely love the job, put in more effort/take seniority promotions, and therefore get paid more for more hours, but they enjoy it so it doesn't matter. Hours are usually like 8-5/6ish (depends on whether you're tied to the trading hours or doing behind the scenes work). One person I know moved into their crypto team, so because the market is 24/7 they work Saturdays, but get Mondays off instead. NYC might be different though!

If you do manage to get a Jane Street job, of the 5 staff I know who started in the last 4 years, none have left (and the pay is...impressive), so I'd definitely consider it.

Just differing circles- I don't know anybody who works at a FAANG on the technical side (a couple in marketing/sales). Everybody I know who works at JS did maths at my university, they hire (graduates at least) from an extremely small talent pool in the UK. I'll try and figure out a way that I can help without doxxing myself!

Joining a choir remains one of the best decisions I've taken this year.

This is my first choir, joined because I'm trying to learn music. I got some extraordinary resources for self-study from a fellow Mottizen (Gary Karpinski is the absolute goat) but it was time to take it social. I heard the choir at a friend's Orthodox church and decided I liked it.

My choir is over a hundred people strong. We learn the lines in-person, barely anyone knows how to sight-read. I'm going above and beyond by doing any amount of solo practice.

The first time I heard the sopranos join in I was slammed by a mystical experience, comparable to calmly stepping into a cold shower or being on psychedelic mushrooms.

Would be pretty sad if you saw yourself as too old to be bothered to learn music. We have a bunch of seventy year olds singing soprano, though maybe that's easier to learn. (I sing bass, which is mostly a combination of tonic/subdominant/dominant. And then there's Handel, whoops.)

  • Know all the common arguments.

  • Realize its the same argument loop on repeat ad absurdism

  • Realize life is too short to argue with people dumber than yourself or care about their opinions

  • This doesn't mean they are dumb because they think differently, but if you can predict all of their opinions from knowing 2 of them, then they are "dumb" in a way that a smartphone is smart. And they are the ones usually fighting the CW.

The culture war keeps drifting away from what I'd call important topics and into clown world territory, so it's naturally becoming less interesting on its own.

A simple divider - if the 'culture war' stuff is important, then being ""addicted"" to it is fine. And if it's not important, then it's worth figuring out how it's not important - and then just not doing it. It's not heroin, it's just a bunch of claims.

The truth is a combination of both tbh - stuff like 'the kids are trans' or 'the environment is being destroyed by the corporations we need to FIGHT BACK' are adjacent to true things, and use those to derive energy. But they're also deeply wrong in some ways, and thus the simple way of fighting for them (vote for school boards! stop buying from exxon!) do not work at all.

But then people get confused and get shamed for 'caring too much about something stupid', and start thinking that caring or putting energy into large-scale problems at all is bad. Which is also wrong! Both trans and environment are issues that many/all people will personally deal with, and your attitude towards it can deeply shape your personal life. (e.g. I have very close friends who have transitioned, and very close friends who haven't but were tempted.)

I grew bored with it.

The day in 2021 Rush Limbaugh died was also the first day of Lent. I felt it would grieve my soul to watch the libs metaphorically kick the body around, and watch my fellow dittoheads badly defend the man, the legend, the legacy.

My sister, who joined an American Anglican church for the ceremony and time-tested theology, had told us a few years back she was giving up a specific non-food habit for Lent, and explained it helped her spiritually the previous year.

So, I went on reddit Motte and announced (in a Wellness Wednesday thread, I believe) that I was giving up division for Lent. It was the toughest thing I’ve done in a while, but I did do forty days in which I didn’t reflexively jump into political discussions firmly on one side against the other.

After it was over, I found I had far less urge to tear someone down for their beliefs. It was around then that reddit was demoted from my first hobby to my third or so.


Meditation helps. Participating to a men's group helps. Doing cool shit with people irl helps.

I chose a new username, mostly to remind myself that every letter I write here is ultimately a waste of time better spent either directly fixing the problems I observe or acquiring more resources to act in that way.

It's... not as effective as I'd like to pretend it is, but baby steps.

It's funny, I was grateful for the site move because I figured I would spend less time on Reddit. I was right, and now I barely go on Reddit, but I spend much of the time I would've saved here on the Motte. At least I write more, I guess.

I'd just like to say that whoever built this site has done an amazing job. Clean, full-featured, information dense. This is how a discussion board should work. And while it's mostly a clone of, it's very impressive to have built it with what I assume is a very small team. Kudos to the design team.

Some more work went into it that you think. I'm sure the actual programmers of the site can explain better but the current motte site is a fork of the rDrama codebase which was built on top of ruqqus (a opensource reddit like forum).

For me it's a slight improvement. I spend just as much time on themotte, but once I'm done reading the new posts there's nothing else here to distract me.

Has anyone here actually experienced the alleged improvement in mood after exercise? How long did it take you?

Cause I'm going to the gym again (nothing serious; half an hour of cardio a day) for a couple of weeks and I'm wondering if this is a false bag of goods or if there's some threshold.

It takes 30 minutes for me to start feeling good about a workout. The problem with intense cardio or lifting is 45 minutes is generally as long as I can go.

That's why I do a lot of biking. The first 20 minutes are a grind, getting started is tough, but then you get pure pleasure afterwards (up until about hour 4).

I can't remember a time when I haven't experienced an improvement in mood after cardio exercise, and I desperately missed it during times in my life when I couldn't. Are you working out hard enough to really sweat and get your heart rate up, or are you just doing the equivalent of walking? Not that walking is useless, but the effects are more subtle than moderately intense cardio.

I enjoyed lifting initially but now hate it. A lot of people mistake the positive feeling they get from improvement for enjoying lifting itself (and lifting tends to give substantial initial gains which is how people get hooked). I hate running too but I've always hated it.

nothing serious; half an hour of cardio a day

Stop doing this shit and start lifting.

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss cardio (and I say that as a gym-bro who much prefers lifting).

Lifting is fundamentally about vanity, whereas cardio has objective benefits for wellbeing (better mood, better sleep, improved cognitive function). I wish I had the willpower to do more cardio.

Lifting is fundamentally, for me, about doing something hard, taking a challenge and beating it. When I try to lift for vanity, which I've done dozens of times, I quit. I need a goal, and I need to work for it. This is positive for my mood over time, because it means that even if I'm getting bad grades or the deal I worked on falls apart or my wife is mad at me or the Eagles lose or [political party] wins, theres this other more or less totally decoupled yet concrete and meaningful part of my life that can be going well, progressing, and that evens me out over time.

Cardio activities like distance running or rowing can do this too, but probably not 30min elliptical workouts. My standard advice on this is that your primary workout should be something people either compete in, or aspire to master at a high level (the exceptions that fit here are things like dance and yoga).

whereas cardio has objective benefits for wellbeing (better mood, better sleep, improved cognitive function).

Lifting has these objective benefits as well and some more.

The ideal fitness regime imo should include both lifting and cardio. Purely from a maximizing wellbeing perspective, nothing else.

I wouldn't say it's true that 'lifting has the benefits as well'. Sure, you can make your resistance workout intense enough that you get indirect cardio, and therefore get (a very small amount of) the benefits of cardio. But if you're wanting to maximise growth, then a slower workout with longer rest periods is much better.

Optimising each workout for it's goal (bigger muscles or taxing the cardiovascular system) is better than doing a faster resistance session which is worse for both goals.

(better mood, better sleep, improved cognitive function).

I am specifically talking about these 3. Of which there is research to support all 3.

Anecdotally, I have been lifting for almost a decade and personally experienced all 3 of these to a level I am confident is not placebo.

I inevitably hurt myself when I lift (which also inevitably leads to me quitting the gym) so I was hoping to get the habit locked via "easy" cardio and then get a trainer later on to help with form.

Suggestion: If that's your end goal, just start with extremely light weights. There exists a range of weight where you can still work out your muscle and train the mechanics of the movement without any serious risk of injury (unless you drop the weight on your head or something).

Which is pretty much the "old school" way of starting to lift. No fussing about internet forums trying to nail the perfect form and starting when the conditions are just perfect. Instead just start and perfect them along the way.

For me, better mood from exercise is mediated through better sleep, a sense of accomplishment and being fitter in general when walking, climbing stairs, carrying things, so I feel more inclination to do things instead of just sitting on my couch.

I think there might be two different effects here, which maybe confuses things a bit. (Epistemic status: it's bro-science, don't take it too literally.)

The first one is an endorphin rush, "runner's high". I don't work out hard enough for that, but my friend who does hours at a time swears by it. Apparently it lasts a few hours after the exercise.

The second is from muscle growth, possibly via increased testosterone? It's much easier to get from strength training, and it probably helps to eat more protein as well. This one peaks a day or so after exercise, and is probably stronger for guys.

You have to go balls to the wall. 5k runs and vinyasa yoga really do it for me, as do actual sports.

It took effect immediately, as in while I was lifting the weights I started feeling my focus and discipline return, and my anxiety decrease. It's not a wonder drug, there's still the recognition that there is a painful road ahead, but I do feel like I'm making progress along that road.

*this effect

I have, but not always. As someone else noted, it comes after strenuous exercise for me too. I've done all sorts of sports and find running provides this wffevt most often and most consistently. I have also done road and gravel riding - road riding does if it's intense, gravel same. Two key points here is this idea of intensity, and the idea of mood. If I have lots on my mind and run solidly for 30 mins, I return home in a much better place. An intense ride takes longer and I find I often ruminate on the bike and my mood isn't improved - riding intensely on the bike is harder and more dangerous than running, and has a higher cognitive load of its own. Another consideration is whether you're fit enough to have an intense and enjoyable workout that can improve mood. I'm fitter than average and have been for years, and can't remember being unfit. I don't know what it's like to try intense exercise for mood improvement when you're not especially fit - the sensations may be more about struggle and 'is this worth it' than wow, I feel great. I don't know. But when you're fit and can push yourself, it feels like exercise helps with me; or, at the least, knowing you can train purposefully and achieve something difficult lifts the mood.

Definitely yes, but it needs to be strenuous exercise. Half-assing it doesn't get the good brain chemicals flowing for me.

What kind of cardio are you doing? A 30 minute hard run outside should definitely improve mood following exercise.

I'd recommend trying weightlifting and upping your workout length to about 45 minutes. I typically feel a relaxing glow for several hours after a good lift.

What kind of cardio are you doing?

Elliptical. I would say maybe...moderate intensity on average? Enough to be out of somewhat out of breath (my fitness is at the floor) but not balls-to-the-wall, stitch-in-my-side.

As others have mentioned, I'd suggest trying the bike or the treadmill and increasing your pace. Elliptical is pretty low-stakes cardio and has never given me that same "high" as the other exercises.

Yeah, the elliptical is definitely more friendly towards easing off than the treadmill. Will try to mix things up.

I go for long bike rides, in the range of 1-6 hours, and I go for them anywhere between 0 and 5 times a month usually. I notice no particularly mood change afterwards, except for my body being a bit sore after I do them.

I feel noticeably worse if I've not been to the gym recently if that counts. But I lift weights primarily.

Halloween went well. I have two little kids, the older one picked out the costumes for both this year.

It did rain during Halloween, but I think this had an interesting side effect of resetting Halloween expectations. For the previous two years people had been putting their candy out on tables in their driveway, cuz COVID. Well with the rain no one wanted to do that, so it was back to walking up to houses.

As a parent I'd prefer my kids to have to deal with some awkward social situations rather than get a boatload more candy.

We always put candy in a bowl on our front porch, so we can all leave home and my kids can go trick-or-treating with their cousins around their house instead.

We had the bowl stolen this year, though; first time that's ever happened. Our cameras didn't get a good look at whoever ran up and grabbed it, but it wasn't taken until after all the trick-or-treating was done, and none of our decorations (handmade, all with sentimental value, one which took a lot of work and parts) or jack-o-lanterns were touched, so the perpetrator must have been a relatively nice person, as scum-sucking thieves go. I don't think I'd be bothered if they'd only taken the candy, but that decade-old cheap plastic bowl was something we use all the time, the only one we had in its size, and I'm annoyed that we had to buy a replacement.

We put out a pumpkin, left our porch lights on, and noticed that a lot of families were going past our house. Left a bowl out under the porch light after that and most candy got taken.

My girls liked going trick or treating, though about 2/3 of houses just left out bowls.

This was our first holloween in the new house with an actual front porch. We carved a pumpkin and put up some decorations. We knew form our neighbors ahead of time that we weren't really a high traffic area due to how easements and foot traffic work but we were disappointed to not have a single trick or treater this year. I was looking forward to being on the adult end of a ritual I quite enjoyed as a kid. Oh well, more candy for us.

A sort-of mistaken costume is a now a in-joke in my family.

One year, while handing out candy, my father was dressed as Frankenstein’s monster. He and my mom had set up on the front porch.

My father asked a seemingly-shy, small child, who had approached, “Happy Halloween — would you like some candy?”

The child enthusiastically replied, “Thanks, Einstein!”

It took my parents a moment to work out the child had meant “Frankenstein”, and was not being condescending.

Wait until they realize that Einstein was the monster after all. Messing with time, and all.

A not very bright friend of mine in college got stoned one time and was trying to express some kind of stoner thought about relativity, but kept referring to Einstein as "Frankenstein" and was confused why I kept laughing my ass off at him.

I typically set up shop at the end of my driveway and refuse to give anyone candy until they perform the ritual threat. If there is precipitation, I'll open the garage and sit just inside. I prefer this to answering my door repeatedly, and this way I can talk to the adults who stick to the sidewalk while sending their children up to doorsteps. It's not a huge time commitment since trick-or-treating generally runs from 6pm to 8pm where I live, and we do get a couple hundred visitors in that span so I would be answering my door every few moments anyway.

This year there were a shockingly large number who had forgotten the ritual threat. "Do you have something to say to me?" was met with "Happy Halloween?" and "Please?" almost as often as "Trick or treat!" The habit of just-walk-up-and-take-candy set in remarkably quickly with some of these kids, I guess is what I'm saying. I assume this is a weird COVID-19 thing but maybe not.

I saw one person doing what you suggested, and it looked like she was having fun: she had set up a metal fire pit in the middle of her driveway that had a cheerful fire burning, and naturally everyone was drawn to her. I'll have to try something similar myself when the kids are too old to trick-or-treat. Sounds a lot more fun then constantly being interrupted by the doorbell. I'll probably set up a little speaker with "Grim Grinning Ghosts".

I too noticed that (for the limited number of kids I handed out candy to) many of them didn't say trick-or-treat. I made sure to coach my little girl before every stop. About halfway through the night she got the idea and didn't need prompting. Where will we be if we fail to pass on our sacred traditions?

Do you know the history of the saying?

There appear to be similar ritual threats in the (antiquated now) Slavic tradition of kolyadovanie.

They weren't ritualistic at all. Getting a load of snow down the chimney or finding your door blocked by firewood in the morning were legitimate outcomes of not providing the treats just 150 years ago.

To the best of my knowledge, nobody knows the origins of the saying for certain. It appears in pop culture no later than the early 1950s and is hypothesized to have originated with what some perceived as excessive "tricking" taking place during Halloween in the early 20th century.

We had to coach my 6-year-old at every single house to remember to say "trick or treat" and "thank you." I think some kids just get so excited that their little brains shut down.