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Wellness Wednesday for September 7, 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.

I am doing well, I created a simplified life guide today for people who have trouble deciding what to prioritize first.

What are your best tips for avoiding / preventing hangovers?

My theory is that the hangover is due to alcohol’s effect on dopamine and serotonin, not its effect on the body. Its effect on the liver is negligible for one time use. Small-scale liver damage does not usually result in hangover-like feelings, otherwise people would get hangovers from eating fried food or tons of sugar.

So if it’s serotonin and dopamine getting all excited, there’s not much you can do except cognitive rest while your brain re-ups and re-sensitizes and stuff. Replace my words with desired scientific jargon.

You can produce serotonin in the brain by having 20g-50g of pure carbohydrate (98+), without fat or protein within four hour window, if you are non-diabetic. This would be fruit, sugar, or honey and not much else. Higher carb diet is associated with healthier dopamine than higher protein diet, and so is intermittent fasting (I think). And exercise is good for dopamine system.

But yeah I doubt there’s any real short-term cure. The high of alcohol will necessarily lead to a low.

My knee jerk reaction is to agree, but dopamine actually seems spiked to me day after. I’m sober for a while now, but I remember the morning after drinking being very horny. Seems a lot of people get that, although some people say it is low dopamine causing you to crave anything that releases it. However, that tends to feel more like anhedonia than horny in my experience

Drink 10x more in water or Gatorade than what you had in alcohol. You'll pee alot before going to bed and may wake up middle of night but my mornings always feel better for hangovers.

I know it's a tedious comment to make, but the only thing that worked for me was stopping drinking.

There are plenty of good ways to minimize hangovers if you drink in moderation, but in my experience every one of them fails in the face of sufficient whiskey. If you're drinking plenty of water, getting plenty of sleep, taking painkillers, and you still have hangovers... you might want to consider the root cause.

Eat a good meal before you start drinking. Avoid hard liquor, and especially avoid shots. Stick to beer, wine, hard seltzers, stuff like that. A practical way of saying: get less drunk. Stopping drinking earlier in the night before you sleep will also help.

As far as a hangover cure: a little extreme, but the only reliable hangover cure that actually works 100% of the time for me is Adderall. Or something similar like Vyvanse. I don't take these regularly, so I don't have a tolerance. 5mg is plenty.

Don't overdo sugar and alcohol in the same night, stick to one or the other.

Drink electrolytes before, during, after.

Get pregnant and stop drinking.

Liquid IV + 100% tequila pretty much does it for me. Water wasn’t enough.

Best cure I've found is not going to bed or at least staying up until I feel kind of sober.

Hah, you drink enough and you don’t get a choice on that. Does work if under a certain amount of alcohol though

In addition to the hydration methods mentioned by the other folks, nothing works better for me than just good old fashion extra sleep. I don't know if that qualifies as "prevention", but just planning to have an additional hour or two available to sleep in makes me impervious to aftereffects from all but the most aggressive evenings.

Whatever residual fatigue I have also seems to shake out well with a run, but that's also my advice for pretty much everything, so take it with a grain of salt.

Drink a cup of water after every drink. Gatorade or similar before drinking or before bed.

And weird thing I don't know if anyone else has experienced but if I stay up late, long enough that I start feeling sober (or at least not drunk) I will generally feel better than if I go to sleep (even if it's earlier) while still drunk. I've tested this with the same quantity and type of drinks in both scenarios.

I get a big 40oz stainless steel water bottle (I have a ton of them out of the lost and found when I ran a gym...), before I leave I fill it with ice, water, and LiquidIV (Gatorade probably works just as well) and put it by my bed (guess this won't work if you don't know where you'll sleep). I get home and drink half of it, then fill it back up with fresh water and drink it throughout the night.

So far have gotten zero hangovers after bachelor parties and polish weddings with this technique.

What happens if you do this with just ice water alone?

Probably still good. I just have a real attachment to half strength sports drinks as a panacea from scouts, and I like LiquidIV better than Gatorade these days. I do think that the electrolytes or whatever the fuck are probably a positive (they're what plants crave!) and the taste at half strength makes it easier to chug for me.

normal water works too, just not as well in my experience.

A glass of water for every drink, and then a few more at the end before you go to bed. As much time as possible (ideally at least an hour) between stopping drinking and going to bed. Isotonic drink first thing when you wake up and then try and sleep off the worst of it.

When the child is an unreliable narrator, you could still figure out what they were studying in class by reading the textbook.

They do not have textbooks any more. How is a parent supposed to keep track?

Worksheets? Notebooks? How is homework assigned?

There is a google classroom for some homework, but not everything makes it there. And studying for tests is difficult to manage. If we are fortunate enough to know ahead of time there will be a test, asking the kid what it covers or how it will be administered just gets blank looks.

Don't your teachers have WhatsApp group chats for that?

How bad of an idea would it be to try psilocybin alone with no supervision while on vacation in a foreign country?

That’s a bad idea. Also don’t bring or buy illegal drugs into a foreign country, that’s an even worse idea. I think you have a sense that it is and that’s why you need to ask. Things will probably be okay but there’s a non trivial chance of something very bad happening.

I have never done mushrooms so I can't comment on the high, but I have lived in some pretty shitty places (in the third world) so I can comment on that. It would be a bad idea.

If you can practically gurantee that you will be locked in your room safely with no intervention and won't be a risk to yourself, then you are going to be somewhat fine.

If you leave your room, potential thiefs, muggers and a whole host of people you don't want to deal with will smell out the fact that you are not in total control and will make the best of that opportunity.

Everyone responds to drugs somewhat differently. I'm assuming by try you're implying you haven't ever had any before? One of the several reasons first timers are recommended supervision is because some people do not respond well. To me it is an effect similar to a high does of cannabis edibles, I'd be willing to have some in your scenario because I know what I'm getting. Others have different reactions.

One trick if you decide to go through with it, mush them in something like a three musketeers bar, it greatly helps with the texture and makes you less likely to puke.

Based on my limited experience, I would say the emotional quality of your trip will depend a lot on your state of mind. If you're alone and in a bad place, you'll have an unpleasant experience. If you're with someone else and the two of you make it positive, then it'll be great.

That said, there's obviously higher risks here. Imagine you're eating some random amonita that's quite toxic rather than the correct shroom or something along those lines. You're putting yourself in a potentially dangerous position.

Everything depends on the dose and your general experience with drugs, if you're used to having your consciousness significantly altered outside your control, then you probably wouldn't have a problem with mushrooms either. I don't drink and never did any drugs before I tried psilocybin alone for meditation purposes, and I had to start very slowly. If you're someone who feels the need to control everything, be very careful and start slow. The entirety of the difficulty of psychedelics is in not trying to control things you can't control. Weird unfamiliar and maybe unpleasant things will happen, and you can't control any of it (the lack of control scales with dose, culminating in no control whatsoever at 5g or more), but if you try you'll make everything worse.

The way to minimize bad experiences is to start with 0.8g the first time, then 1.6g the second, then 2.4g and 3.2g, all weights in dried mushrooms. Leaving about a week between each dose, done in darkness (sensitivity to light increases dramatically), in bed possibly with headphones listening to classical music, with locked doors, close access to a bathroom, plenty of drinking water (you will pee a lot during the trip, and must not forget to drink water), and in a good mood with clear intentions for why you're doing this and what you aim to get out of this.

edit: some more specific details: the psilocybin content of dried mushrooms varies dramatically, even within a single mushroom between the stem and the cap. So if possible get a large quantity (like 14g) of dried mushrooms and grind them in a coffee grinder to homogenize them. Then buy a milligram scale from amazon and carefully weigh out your dose and put it in boiling water to make a tea out of it, all the psilocybin will dissolve in the water and you won't need to actually eat the mushrooms. This way also avoids the nausea that some people get at the beginning of the trip.

Thanks for the detailed info!

I have been extremely drunk many times but don't have any experience with hallucinogens. Unfortunately, I won't be able to try scale up over weeks because I am only planning on a week or so vacation in a country where mushrooms are legal. Guess I will try a small dose in a hotel room.

These are good pieces of advice for if @badciviilization is mainly concerned with a meditative experience. I will note though that if they're using it more recreationally I've never met a mushroom lover that didn't recommend nature and greenery.

done in darkness (sensitivity to light increases dramatically), in bed possibly with headphones listening to classical music, with locked doors

I would not recommend this set up if the goal is recreation.

Oh, very true! I honestly forget that people do these recreationally and not to understand the nature of self and sensory experience. Though I personally find it hard to think of anything less pleasant than doing shrooms in public.

I do shrooms both meditatively and recreationally, and probably my best experience was going to MoMA on a medium-low dose. It was low-key life-changing.

You'd be surprised. Context hugely changes the experience. One of the most pleasant afternoons I've had so far was taking a gram and wandering downtown Chicago in the summer with a couple friends. You don't want to be in the danger or navigating complicated situations but you're not totally helpless.

Pretty bad I think, unless it’s a very small dose. My experiences with a moderate-small dose was overwhelming and I required supervision.

< 3g in a hotel room is prob fine as long as you don’t have any psychological issues like suicidal tendencies

I went to choir for the first time last night. Seriously one of the most elevating experiences I've had in the past ten years.

It compares favorably to psychedelics: same category of experience, but lower commitment and more materially meaningful.

I feel the same way - there is a truly amazing experience that happens when you're in the middle of all those voices and getting in harmony with them. One thing that turns me off about choirs, though, is that often the directors like to do "difficult" music. I just want to sing, not struggle with my sight-reading skills.

An issue to be sure, especially if you're in a choir of middling talent.

Singing a difficult piece is one thing, struggling with it for weeks/months and never really perform it well... Just kill me.

And unfortunately, I am usually the middling talent :D

Haha :)

That is great man! There is so much amazing music to discover that is even better sung than just listened to.

What kind of choir did you go to?

Secular choir but mostly Christian songs, including one eastern orthodox (because Ukraine).

i got a prozac prescription along with axepta 18.

I take prozac 20, axepta 18 and viviloref in the morning and viviloref and sove 10 at night for my adhd.

will add calisthenics (ring rows and push ups on off days on my 3x week weight program) to my workout and be more disciplined with my schedule. imo just sleeping on time and sitting down to study asap makes the bulk of differences.

Hi, that sounds great! It’s nice to see you here!

Likewise 🙏

Reading a My Little Pony fanfiction of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Suddenly realizing something very important to my self-image:

I didn’t get D’s and Unfinisheds in college because of stupidity. I got them because I was too curious and didn’t want to stop thinking long enough to plough through the homework which didn’t require any thinking beyond rote calculation.

This is going to sound like a really silly question, but which one?

(what, you mean there's more than one HPMOR/MLP fanfic? Yes, I'm pretty sure there is)

As recently shared on /r/rational, Harry Potter and the Prancing of Ponies. Feels like A SLIGHTLY more accessible early HPMOR, with a similar focus on thinking, a lot less stress, no ticking clock, and the Toms’ personal war on hold. Spoilers for HPMOR almost up to the end of the original, so be warned.

You're probably missing some important machinery around time preference and tradeoffs.

Absolutely. ADHD is the primary wrecker of that machinery. What was cleared up was thinking of myself as lazy or “a procrastinator” when I was voraciously, energetically devouring information late into the night. Now I can include time preference and tradeoffs in my choices without feeling both the burden of the work and the weight of judgement.

What WFH jobs are available to someone without a college degree, lacking work experience, from the third world and how do you go about finding them?

Thank you.

Call center for US financial firms

Play old school RuneScape and sell the gold, there are 1000s of Venezuelans who make a living this way

Who's buying the gold?

Not sure if you’ve played an MMO before, but there’s “black market” websites that facilitate gold transactions. RuneScape gold goes for about $0.30-$0.50 per million gold (in-game currency) depending on the supply/demand. It’s not super difficult to make 5 million gold per hour (so call it ~$2/hr) which I guess is decent in Venezuela, especially when your job is just playing video games

I have played MMOs and know people who made thousands of euros selling crap to stupid mid easterners*. But it was all in newer games. I'm enough people are playing it so that the Venezuelans can make the money..

*It's not a needless insult, the people were known for grossly overpaying and squandering what they kept buying. Most other player types spent far less or bought thinks for in-game items in barter.

If your English is good, become a copywriter on fivver/upwork.

Yes, thank you!

I've watched a number of scambaiting videos on YouTube which indicate that scamming old people is something one can do from one's home anywhere in the world and doesn't require any particular education or work qualifications. Watching such videos (try searching for Kitboga or Jim Browning on YouTube) can probably give you an idea of how such scams work and how you could set one up yourself. It seems like a high risk/low reward kind of endeavor, but that's probably to be expected as a trade-off for being able to WFH without any education or work experience.

  • -13

I'm not sure there's actually a rule being violated here, but let's not encourage illegal activities, mmkay?

That's a fair point, and I'll refrain from doing so in the future.

Either ghost writer or publishing your own books on amazon, it takes almost zero initial capital (just paying someone 50$ per book to make you a professional cover if you're not confident in your abilities). There are some channels on youtube that specialize in this stuff, the niche has gotten pretty saturated because of it, but if you're a decent writer you can still make money that would be good for the third world.

Nice. Thank you.

"Saturated" is an understatement. I think you're overestimating how much most people make self-publishing. There are literally thousands of people throwing their crappy books on Amazon every month; for every break-out hit who starts making enough income to live off of, there are thousands of "authors" who aren't even breaking into double digits.

Even if you're actually good (and arguably, this isn't even a requirement, the main requirement is to be capable of churning out many words at a steady pace), you have even more competition than if you were traditionally published. It only seems like it's easier because there are no barriers to entry.

Ah, then things seem have changed since I last looked at this stuff a few years ago, and OP's only option is to get hired as ghost writer for those people throwing money at it.

Noted. Thank you!


When slightly aroused my dick is large,

When slightly dry my ass is rice.

When slightly wet smooth velvety skin covered in sweat

But never for the cam, you see; I am too fat.

There must be someone who's into that.

Trying Super Squats for the second time. Started reallllly light and jumped 20lbs each workout every other day, now I'm moving down to 10lb jumps per workout and hopefully stick to that to 275 which is my prior best, then grind it out to 300-315 5lbs at a time. Been a long term goal, gonna give it a run this winter and see what happens.

super squats is a based af program, I do wanna run it in the future.

Why is TL2's code shit? Like, is it buggy, or poorly-designed? Or are you truly just nitpicking, maybe about style or other non-critical path type stuff?

Talk to your manager again. You seem worried that you're being a problem, but don't be afraid to bring it up: it doesn't reflect poorly on you. This is why you have a manager. Provide examples of the shit code if necessary.

Also the environment in general might just be shit. I've never worked at FAANG though so idk. But if TL3 is unsatisfactory in some other way, then it might be time to update your resume.

A sample size of two is too small to pull conclusions in either direction. You are overthinking things.

What's the approach to code review on your team? Is it "pls review pr, we need to push it to prod rn"? If it is, explicitly budgeting enough time to do a relaxed review and fix the code should help with the issue.

I would prefer having a tech lead that constantly makes me defend/rationalize my code vs an incompetent one that might make a stupid decision down the line that could create far more work for me than aquiecing to dumb nitpicking.

Are you overly opinionated about coding and style?

As an engineer, I've worked under several different principals and every one of them had a different set of specialties, priorities and quirks.

My favorite was very "wild west" and valued constructability and cost for the client above typos, minor errors, unclear language. One of my most eye-opening experiences with him was catching him on the phone leaving a deposition for a lawsuit with tens of millions in the balance. He non-chalantly told me not to worry about this technical question I had because the risk was low and the factor of safety would more than account for it. This was the highest ranked chief engineer in one of the largest companies in our niche in the world.

My second favorite mentor was more or less the opposite and fit the mold of your overly-detail oriented, micro-managing engineer. His emphasis was on details, specificity and minimization of liability at the expense of client goodwill. The right answer is the right answer, after all, feasibility be damned.

Any way, that's a lot of lead up to say that you're missing another interpretation of the situation: you're not necessarily better or smarter than your leads, but have gained some kind of detail-orientedness from your last one and eventually may learn something yet from your new lead (hard to say, but maybe delegation to technician types? Alternatively, he could actually be useless, not enough info to determine). TL1 may have this trait in over abundance and TL2 may not have it at all, in which case having a healthy-but-not dysfunctional quantity of this trait may make you a better, well-rounded programmer than either. Have a little self awareness and communicate with TL2 and this may work to the benefit of both of you.

Alternative: within some bounds of acceptability, there is no such thing as objectively good code, and you three are just trying to push your personal tastes onto each other. This would explain why no one seems to be able to convince any one else of their point of view, even in as seemingly objective a domain as CS.

You'll make spaghetti code and code debt just rubber stamping or giving minimal input on the reviews. My philosophy is to try to make it as easy on my future self or future coders as possible, because in my experience teams never have time to do refactoring or clean up work. There's always something else to make a priority.

To be less nitpicky sounding, I focus on the why of my comments. I try to explain what good it would do, with the level of detail I include based on the coder's level of experience. With a more senior dev, I may also ask why they chose to do it that way to see if there's something I'm missing. Basically, make it a conversation with learning opportunities. Mileage may vary with the results.

Give that a try, and if nothing improves then, yeah, slip in the rubber stamp and maybe start looking for another team. My current team lead talks a lot about good, clean, reusable, readable code and then in practice barely reviews code on my project and will add subpar code as a quick fix to a bug. I've lowered some of my expectations to cut back my frustration and sneak in a code cleanup here and there.

Starting a new job in two weeks. Pretty excited because the comp is so much higher than I have now. I'm anxious that I'm totally unqualified (it's a drastically different role than I've had for the last 5 years), but can you imagine not taking a risk like that?

The downsides* are that I'll struggle and require half a year to figure out the basics if the job. The upsides are that I'll be challenged and forced to learn new things and I'll be paid more for it. The unknown-sides are that I'm not sure what it means for my career trajectory afterwards. Seems irrational not to take the risk.

*leaving out the failure and firing scenario since I think it carries way too much psychological weight for how unlikely it probably is.

I’ve changed jobs pretty frequently these last 8 years or so, 4 different workplaces in all since I graduated. I’ve moved industries and disciplines along the way, and have a plan to change discipline again in about 2-3 years from now. It has been both for better pay, and for things I just find more interesting and personally rewarding.

I think my biggest takeaway was to look ahead at your career path when moving. A new position can leverage the next, and some organizations are better for your future than others. Same for the size of the industry, and even the title that you can put on your resume. Same goes for how your salary will increase in your new job. I had to do my last move strictly for monetary gains, and the deciding factor for me was the pace of increase in my new job vs. the one I left. The old place did offer to match, but looking ahead it would still have been a loss for me.

Don't most of the faangs do refresher grants on promotions/ for staff they want to keep? If not I would always recommend jumping to another company but taking 6 months or so to figure out carefully what to do next and get a valuable offer.

Let's test the new site Wednesday Wellness.

So, how do you find something that gives you energy to get out of the bed everyday? My only desire in the last 8 years is going to bed and do not wake up.

Yes, tried meditation, medication, CBT, private therapy, group therapy, exercise, every self-help method I could find... I just need a purpose, damn it! Everything seems so arbitrary and grey and boring and I just feel the feeling of cosmic terror sinking inside me and I do not think I can move, just disappear.

Lame, but 8 hours of magnesium assisted sleep makes it much less of a struggle for me. Optimized: no caffeine, no alcohol, hard exercise almost daily, viewing sunlight at morning and dusk, and a blacked out cold room. I wake up naturally after nearly exactly 8 hours daily, and while i don’t want to get up, i can. I know it’s not what you asked, but just getting up recharged and doing something will help

My wife and kids need me, so I must get up and do what needs to be done. Best motivation I can think of. I don’t think a man can get really motivated without duty, honestly. We’re not really wired that way.

I also work a job with meaning (before that I had a job I liked better fay-to-day, but was less meaningful), which is a big plus for job motivation.

Something's missing. From the stuff you tried, it sounds like maybe it is that you don't spend enough quality time with quality people.

As for myself, I try to keep a stable representation of who I want to be and what I deserve, and then I pay homage to that by getting up, going out, connecting with people, working out, etc.

So, how do you find something that gives you energy to get out of the bed everyday?

Priorities, commitments, obgliation. You have to do something and the pain will be greater if you don't. "Time to go work in the shit factory."

The only reliable thing that gets me out of bed is regular breathing. Just make every breath roughly the same amount as the last breath, for 1-5 minutes.

As for the cosmic terror, I suppose a kind of philosophical idealism keeps me free. The very fact of my existence implies things about the universe. I don't know exactly what things it implies, but it seems to warrant a certain amount of careless groundedness.

I used to be on (I think) dexedrine. I hated it, because it would keep me awake for 20+ hours, even at the lowest dose. One time I took it before bed and woke up 4 hours later feeling more refreshed and energetic than I've ever felt in my life.

I stopped taking it after that, because I got worried that I'd never be able to survive without the stuff if I continued, lol. So I still dread getting out of bed each day.

Have you tried sleep hygiene and such? Make your bed, clean your room, clean sheets, have some nice scent (lavender), only use your bed for sleeping, no phone/computer in bed, no eating/snacking in bed, stuff like that?

how do you find something that gives you energy to get out of the bed everyday?

Coffee and stimulants.

Maybe you should try having someone or something depend on you. A lot of men don't shape up until they're forced to.

Dunno about the latter. When I was on my own and free to go about each day as I pleased I practically jumped out of bed every morning to get at doing the things I wanted to. Now that my life is almost entirely about being a provider and caregiver and the course of each day is mostly outside my control, I stay glued to the bed each morning until I'm forced to force myself to rise.

Coffee still works though.

Agreed. If you don't have a pet, I would recommend getting a dog. Maybe a cat if you don't feel you can take care of the dog or have to leave it for eight hours.

It may seem burdensome but it is useful for keeping yourself to a semi-regular schedule. Also, you can trade petsitting with friends which is a great way to strengthen bonds.

Now that the servers are well again, I'll repost this explanation here!

We're using Kubernetes, giving us the whole Treat Your Servers Like Cattle, Not Pets thing. Kubernetes allows us to dispose of old servers and start up new ones pretty much immediately; if we do run into load problems, or optimize the site to the point where we no longer have load problems, I can just switch the backend hardware around and everything is solved.

This does require that Kubernetes knows everything about the servers in a way that lets it restart. Earlier, I was doing some cleanup of old pre-stable-site configuration and I deleted the wrong thing; I took out one of the bits required for the database server to start. This didn't break the site because the database server had already started; Kubernetes just said "uh-huh, everything is fine here, no problems" and kept on trucking.

Later, and annoyingly right after I went to bed, our host decided they wanted to do a server swap - they probably had a rack failure or something - and so Kubernetes dutifully noticed that our server had vanished, returned it to the pool, spun up a new server, and tried to restart everything.

At which point it sat there saying "hey, I can't start the database server. Help, please."

And I was in bed.

But this actually wasn't the only issue. I did a writeup on the startup pains we had. A quote:

As near as I can tell, there is a switch on the GUI. But this switch is also overridden by some settings in my configuration. Importantly, it's overridden irregularly; sometimes you'll do something, and it'll say "oh shucks, gotta go check that switch!" Because I hadn't realized this, it went and checked it and dutifully turned it off again.

I think I've fixed that now.

Nope! Hadn't fixed it.

I think I've fixed it now. But I might not have.

Later tonight I'm going to intentionally fake a server change in the same way it happened today. With luck it'll just work, without luck I'll fix it manually and then give it another try.

Kubernetes is truly the regular expressions for the new century. The only thing that kept me sane with k8s was relentless automation. No manual switches anywhere, no "let me just kubectl apply the correct secret". 100% of the changes go through gitops 100% of the time.

Yeah, I honestly believe it's a better paradigm and a far better model.

But god, it's like the worst possible implementation of that model.