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Wellness Wednesday for August 16, 2023

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.

Anybody know what happened to @urquan? (Did he lose a Doctrinal War?)

Well, now that a few days have gone by and I'm mostly calmed down, let this be my epitaph. Or obituary. Or, well, memoir? Perhaps autobiography.

Maybe let's just call it what it is, which is two times too long and five times too personal. But let it be said that I ended my career here how I lived it.

I'd been increasingly feeling like my involvement in the Motte was a severe net-negative to my life, that it made me angrier, less tolerant, and far less happy. That undoubtedly had much to do with my deteriorating psychological problems which have, erm, graced this thread over the past few years. But I maintain it also had to do with the subtle but very real truth that discussing issues of intense controversy brings out the worst in people. I also suspect I just feel more strongly about the culture war than I did a few years ago, and in a more directly political way. I don't feel detached from the culture war in a sense amenable to discussion--I feel like a part of it. So the debates we have here felt increasingly personal, and unfortunately increasingly existential.

While I bear the lion's share of the attribution, I believe the Motte's uniquely diverse and unquestionably unusual userbase made this worse. I felt myself growing irrationally contemptuous of views and positions that have no impact on my real life, like particular permutations of transhumanism or various disputes concerning issues outside my own country and which have little impact upon it. I found myself getting mad at nothing.

I suppose you could say I lost a doctrinal war, in that I lost the mental and internal war against becoming mind-killed by the culture war, against being consumed by the sort of paranoia that motivated both the Kzer-Za and Kohr-Ah to sweep the galaxy in search of alien races and restrain them before they became threats.

Not only is this psychologically harmful to me, but it falls well below the standard against which I'd hold anyone else. So I decided it had become time to measure myself with the stick I measure others with, and take steps to change the media environment that shapes me. I would expect no less of some other person infected by the mind-virus of social media.

I expressed this view once in a well-received Wellness Wednesday post, and more recently, in a much-less-well-received Culture War Roundup post. I made the mistake of formulating my feelings in the shape of a rant rather than what it was, which was a sorrowful cry. I should have made it less inflammatory, and more conciliatory, though when I made it I was out of my mind distressed and irrationally upset about some recent threads. Because of the unfortunate and spiteful terminology I chose, it was (reasonably) interpreted as an attack rather than a lament.

Ultimately, I felt I needed to do something to draw a line in the sand on my participation here, and so I decided half-rationally to throw a tantrum and hope it made me feel less compelled to visit, as visiting here genuinely has been a compulsion of mine for a while. I probably should have been smart enough to tone down the culture war elements and put it in Wellness Wednesday, but I wasn't and I didn't.

I deal very poorly with embarrassment, so embarrassing myself on the Motte did the job of making this place viscerally uncomfortable for me, keeping me away. Right now I'm just taking the risk that explaining myself in less charged words won't remove that embarrassment, just make me feel less angry at myself. I think it's better for me if I just don't post, and don't read either. Both do me harm.

I think that gambit will be successful. The past few days where I'd not been browsing the Motte were genuinely refreshing, one of the best segments of time I've had in a while, though it had its challenges. This was probably helped by the fact that I visited my girlfriend, who I'm currently dating long-distance, and she is, well, she's not a crackpot the way I am. Plus, I think she actually loves me, which is good news for a crank like me who often thinks himself unlovable.

I began my journey on the Motte, if anyone remembers, as a struggling Christian looking for theological advice. This was rather an odd decision, given that this is decidedly not a religious space. It was very much like asking the wrong people the wrong question, as though I had gone to a synagogue and I asked about Jesus. But I have a track record of finding God in the wilderness--I gained faith at a secular college, which I'm pretty sure never happens. I guess I was hoping for lightning to strike twice.

Further, I was desperate. Distraught, even. I had serious concerns about my faith--not concerns that made me want to leave it, but concerns that made me wary of trusting the Church(es) as apologetic sources. I was hopeful that Christians accustomed to spending time in diverse intellectual spaces would have some sage advice, and maybe they could share some wisdom, to which I might attend.

This didn't really pan out, though I've definitely had a few positive connections in that vein since that time. But given the emphasis within Christianity on evangelism, I've been saddened since that early experience by the feeling that there were no Christians who wanted to offer help. Probably they didn't see it, or didn't know what to say. But it still hurt.

I felt like there were many Christians on the Motte who wanted play ballgame with revelation, but not to apply it to help a sojourner in a strange land who had been left for dead by life's troubles on the side of the road. I felt as though I had offered myself up on a silver platter to any missionary worth an ounce of salt, and no one bit.

But again, I was asking the wrong questions to the wrong audience. I was asking the choir how to get to band class. And ultimately, in my passion to answer questions put forth on the subject of religion, I became the same sort of flame-war-participant headed for flames that I so despised (in my perception) for spurning me in my distress.

Outwardly proud and pious, my insides grew as dead and cold as a whitewashed tomb. I had become, in my zeal, not only a broken fool but indeed the very worst among the sinners against which my religion warns. I became especially prickly about religious arguments after this, as I had no security in my own faith to support me when questioned. I was arguing from a base of confidence that no longer existed.

While they no longer exist on the live web, I stand by what I've said on the subject of religion (in the sense that I think I made an accurate assessment of the theological discourse in a defensible way that represents my honest view of the truth) but I don't have any interest in arguing the points. I don't feel that's constructive to my current state of faith, which should probably involve me shutting up and speaking more to God than to the internet.

Further, and this is sincerely secondary to those other concerns, but given the rise of AI and the evident use of web crawlers to gather text to plug into their algorithms (some in contravention of robots.txt), I'd also been feeling lately that any participation I have on online forums is just feeding more blood to the blood god text to the text-gobbler-industrial-complex that is AI training.

Whether it leads to an AI legitimately believed to be an intelligent entity or not, I do think that generative AI will prove to change society in ways that will benefit some while harming others, just as I believe the automobile, mass media, and even computers themselves have done. I don't wish to have my text put in a place where it will obviously be plugged into training data for such an invention. I don't wish to contribute to it.

Given those constraints, I don't know that I would really want to participate in a public web forum in which I put effort into posting lots of precious text unless I got serious and obvious benefits from it, like Bernie-Madoff's-fake-numbers-level return-on-investment in terms of status or acceptance or joy or fellow feeling. Since the Motte has been net-negative for me for a long time, it's just a double whammy that makes me feel confident in my decision to back away.

This, in addition to my general desire to do something big to force myself to retreat from participating, made me want to overwrite all my posts. I'm sure it exists on a database or an archive somewhere, but I feel better having done as much as I can to obfuscate it on the live web.

With that being said, I'm happy to PM with anyone who wants to talk although my track record on actually being responsive is not good. I would especially value any Christians with Motte-like interests.

Anyway, that's what happened to urquan.

Are there any good free AI tutoring tools out there? Specifically hoping to learn about myths and Jungian symbology.

We're wondering if we should try to have a third child or not. Currently we have two daughters, 4 and 1.5, and I'm 36. If we were going to try, it had better be soon. Several of my mid-thirties friends are currently pregnant with a third baby, and some others have already had three or four. I feel worried about getting pregnant, but there might be something wrong with the baby, since I'm getting older?

I think you should try for a third. As others have said, an increase on a small number is still a small number, and the potential upside of another child sounds like it would be worth it for you.

Depends on your views on medical screening and subsequent abortion.

When dealing with a sample size closer to Dunbar's number than to population-level statistics, I don't think there's much difference in health outcomes, personality traits, or other factors based on maternal age. For what it's worth, my mother was older than you when she had me and I turned out normal, or at least as normal as any of us who post here are.

As anthem said, the absolute risk of having a baby with issues because of advanced maternal age is still rather small.

If you want a third kid, I wouldn't let that stop you, especially since you'll likely have fertility issues if you delay it more than a handful of years.

The odds of eg chromosomal abnormalities do go up in your late 30s, but even a 150% increase of a tiny probability is still a tiny probability. Odds are, you'd have a baby as healthy as my friends' youngest, who is 14 years younger than his eldest sibling.

You would then face the issue of having more children than you have arms. God have mercy on your soul.

Yeah, I think it's unlikely, and probably irrational to be worried. I've been overexposed to certain kinds of problems lately, and last time I was pregnant, the healthcare workers kept asking if it was intentional, if I wanted to keep her, if I wanted to do somewhat invasive tests, that these tests are recommended to women over 35. I did not do the tests. The kids are, as far as I can tell, very healthy.

Haha, I suspect we're just redneck enough to not use the absolute most highly recommended carseat arrangement, to get them in the backseat of our wagon anyway.

What do you guys do when you feel stuck in a rut? It feels like all I think about is food, sex and money and it's really irritating. I'm constantly preoccupied with what I'm going to eat for my next meal, how I'm next going to get laid and how I'm going to make more money. I don't like spending time on activities that are nonproductive so I try to avoid video games. I spend a few hours every day on my computer but it's kind of a half work half mindless visual processing thing. I make money passively so I don't have to really work more than an hour or two a week but I usually end up spending a few hours more developing ideas and doing work that's not really necessary. I have a lot of free time but I spend a lot of it organizing stuff in my house and cooking. I am dating a bit but I don't really like any of the guys I'm talking to for anything long term so it feels like a dead end there. I also don't really generally like people and would rather spend time alone, I feel like these convos always go to "go to church" or "join a community" but it just sounds irritating to me.

When I used to feel this way I would just take walks outside or drive around or do chores around the house but I have done all of those to death. I have walked every path within an hour of my house, driven everywhere in my state and done many chores. I traveled for over a year and it was great but now that I'm stuck at home again the inanity of daily life is driving me crazy.

The bad news: What you are discovering are truths about the human condition - going after sources of temporary happiness or fulfillment will never lead to lasting, reliable happiness and fulfillment. Food, sex, money - thinking that these objects of greed will give you what you really seek is kind of like being a dog that mindlessly salivates at the thought of being thrown a bone from the butcher shop. They get the bone sometimes, and gnaw at the bone, even though it's already been scraped clean of meat. It will only provide enough satisfaction of the desire to keep you falling for the same trick in the future. Until you're tired of it.

The good news: You're in a great position to start seeing through the games that the mind sets up. You're already tired of it. You're in a pretty enviable position. Lots of people would love to get by on passive incomes with barely any work. You have your basic needs met, yet you are not fulfilled. This makes it clear to you that seeking lasting happiness from outside sources cannot work. What's good about realizing this? Because breaking free from illusions is liberating. It means you can stop setting conditions for when to have happiness.

If I were you I'd start putting a good chunk of time into diligent meditation each day. It worked for me. I'm not saying it made me happy all the time, but I'm a lot less unsatisfied than I used to be.

Yep, I can confirm your assessment in the first two paragraphs. I'm very bored of worldly pleasures and want to seek greater fulfillment. What do you mean by diligent meditation? Do you sit in a room with no distractions and just think? That's what I imagine meditation is. Do you reflect on deeper questions? I'm curious to know more about it and why it helped you out to be more satisfied with life because it doesn't sound super exciting but I'm open to exploring it as well.

You might want to read this brief chapter, "Meditation: Why bother?" from a freely available book called Mindfulness in Plain English:

What do you mean by diligent meditation? Do you sit in a room with no distractions and just think? That's what I imagine meditation is. Do you reflect on deeper questions?

By diligent meditation I mean that you closely follow the instructions given to you by a legitimate teacher and/or book. And not just for 10 minutes every once in a while. For at least 45 minutes per day (you may start with lower amounts and work your way up). You sit in a room, in a position that will keep you both comfortable and alert, and engage in no distractions. You might follow the breath or another relatively reliable object which you can bear to stay with. You do not intentionally proliferate thinking (unless you're doing an analytical style of meditation, but this is done later, if ever). You do not intellectually reflect on deeper questions, although exploring deeper questions and assumptions is what a more trained mind will start to do on its own, when looking for mundane or supramundane insights. This will not happen right away. You need to train the mind first and get a stable base of mindfulness established. It's a bit like training the body. Most people's minds may be trained in one way through their education and work, but remain absurdly untrained in other ways. It can't perform at a good level if you don't cultivate it. The duration of 45+ minutes is necessary to get the mind to settle, reaching an understanding where the mind's modules cannot just "ride out the storm" before getting right back to doing what they have always done. In order to attain liberation for ourselves we help the mind to observe and change itself, unifying the board members around a common purpose, while observing its autonomous natures. Some parts don't want to change. They are employed in certain ways and do not want to become unemployed. We give them a better alternative. We find joy in letting go.

Part of the training of the mind is to strengthen your power of consciousness and to shape your working memory. For me, it freed up several slots in working memory, and populated it with more sensory reality of the present moment, and less with past and future time-constructions. The slots used for the present moment are instantly available for cognitive uses when needed. Focusing more on the present moment will let the mind observe itself in action, further "upstream" than usual. Much of what the mind does comes about through chains of thoughts, assumptions built on assumptions, feelings built on feelings. This can happen lightning quick. Typically you only see the downstream result. Meditation takes you closer to the source, where you may adjust things in a way that leads to more harmony, more letting go, less running of unnecessary or stressful programs. :)

Let me know if you want specific recommendations for teaching sources.

Meditation is just one avenue of seeking wisdom, which it sounds like is what you’re looking for. Basically the task of learning to find lasting contentment or at least a sort of understanding with life.

The reason people have told you to go to church is because that’s traditionally a place you seek wisdom with others. If you want to do it alone you’re in for a difficult path.

Well, I've never been one to take an easy path. What is it about seeking wisdom with others that makes it easier than seeking wisdom alone?

People are very bad at seeing their own weaknesses and flaws for one. Our brains aren’t designed for it. Hence your asking for advice here.

Two, there will be a lot you don’t know. Wisdom is difficult to pass down in a fully legible format, so you’ll likely be reading myths and stories and scriptures. Pieces which others have been working on understanding for thousands of years. Having a guide through those commentaries is crucial.

Finally, if you really open yourself up to fundamentally changing your view of yourself and the world (a necessary step) you can get to some weird places. People you can talk to help keep you sane and out of the deep end. They also help you learn to articulate your experiences in a socially acceptable way.

I am dating a bit but I don't really like any of the guys I'm talking to for anything long term so it feels like a dead end there.

Do you live near or in a major city? There are a lot of people out there, even if you have niche requirements. One of the best things you can do is very deliberately put yourself in spaces where the kind of people (in terms of interests, background, etc) you want are. Maybe that sounds very obvious but thinking about it like this helped me a lot. Good luck!

As for work, I don’t ‘need’ to work either but over time I’ve found I very much enjoy the social aspect of collaboratively working towards a collective goal. Teamwork feels natural, in other words. Would you never want to work a ‘real’ job, even for fun?

Thanks for your response. I think I will try to seek out a more niche community of people who might be aligned with my interests.

I have considered working a real job just to kill time but I'm not sure what I could do. I've been self employed ever since I graduated college other than just a bit of interning and freelance work so I don't think I'm very attractive to employers. I have a pretty strong dislike of authority figures (stems from the irritation I felt toward my ineffective parents growing up I believe) so working for someone I don't respect would be a huge issue for me but I do like the idea of doing some work to give my day to day life more variety and purpose.

Your sentiment is certainly relatable. However, I don't have any advice for you which you have not already rejected in your post. It does make me think of this little poem:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
   says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
   Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
   at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
   but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
   and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
   and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
   ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
   yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
   there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
   more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
   nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
   “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
   it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
   and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
   by those who follow them.

The poem comforts me somewhat in that I can sense my boredom and restlessness are as old as time.

Start an ambitious project and work on it a little every day. Attempt to do something hard. Aim for mastery. Study a subject deeply, or seriously pursue a hobby, or create your own works of art/writing/code.

When I have my bases in life covered, I paradoxically feel unfulfilled. I need to feel like I'm making progress towards something to feel satisfied. Oddly I'm not sure the specifics of the goal matter, just the feeling of progress towards it. I guess it's why MMORPGs are so addictive.

Yesterday I almost replied to this comment and said that doing all that has gotten me where I am today, but I thought about it over night and even as I slept and realized you're totally right. The problem is that I feel like I'm not working toward anything valuable, and I'm not challenging myself enough. Yesterday I was tempted to fall back into my self destructive habits and I didn't know why but I realized it's because I'm not holding myself to a high enough standard and it was irritating to me. Now I just need to think of some new goals to strive toward.

I make money passively so I don't have to really work more than an hour or two a week

Nice, how? I identify with the rest of your post, and aspire to also this part, but do worry that I'd end up with (even more of) your complaints about life.

Basically, when I was growing up and into college, I was addicted to really tedious video games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, and resource management simulation games. I would play them for hours and hours, making the most efficient and aesthetically pleasing farm or town or whatever that I could. When I was finishing college I thought I should just take all the time I waste in video games and apply that to business. So I just started selling things online and micromanaging everything about the businesses as if they were video games. Every dollar that came in would give me the same rush as doing something good in a game. Addiction also runs in my family so I basically just hacked that part of my brain to put it to work in a way that worked for me. It took a long time to get to where I am now and it's a very competitive field but now that I've built things up I can literally die tomorrow and keep making enough to live on for years to come. Anyone can do it but you've got to dedicate a lot of time with very little reward in the beginning for a huge reward down the road. I would never want to work a regular high stress job like everyone I know does at this point but it does lead to irritating situations where I've got a ton of free time and feel guilted by society to use it more wisely than I really need to.

So I just started selling things online and micromanaging everything about the businesses as if they were video games.

Please explain in some more detail. You make it sound somewhat easy to become financially independent.

Yes, 2rafa is right. But I have a background in art/design so I mostly sell things I design myself. I don't want to dox myself or give away too many secrets so I want to be vague but at the same time I think most of the posters here could do the same thing I've done and succeed. It is relatively easy as long as you've got the time to put into it and are willing to work for very little reward in the beginning. Building my online businesses isn't too much different than building one in the real world but there's less moving parts physically with ecommerce so it's good for me as someone who would be sitting around on my computer anyway

Presumably drop-shipping, eg. what most large Amazon or eBay sellers do.

My vasectomy has spontaneously reversed itself nearly a decade after its confirmed success. I only learned this after my wife became pregnant, which, due to a lifelong pre-existing condition, is a severe hazard to her health.

I know what you're thinking -- what are the odds of a vasectomy spontaneously reversing itself after that long? Isn't there some alternative hypothesis for that positive pregnancy test that you're not considering? No, not the possibility of an hCG-secreting tumor, another alternative hypothesis?

Have no fear, I have confirmed the reversal with my own eyes on my own microscope, on a sample I collected and prepared. There are a multitude of obviously motile sperm where they have no business being. I've been betrayed by my own ballsack, making me some kind of regenerative mutant worthy of my own case study. Lucky me!

We're terminating this miraculous pregnancy with all haste. Even if it had been a full legal person that were putting my wife through the same hell this anonymous homunculus has been putting her through for the past few weeks, I'd be trying my best to kill them too. She's been no stranger to suffering in her life, and this, in light of her condition, has managed to top the list -- she'd likely be in better shape if it were a tumor. The possibility that she could carry this to a successful completion if she wanted to is remote.

Without getting too culture-war, I consider us fortunate to live in a polity where nobody will try to gainsay her decision, and it's been enlightening to see firsthand how narrow a window there is to make it. "Medical" rather than "surgical" abortion is only reliable up to about 10 weeks, and in her case, with a long history of chronically irregular menstruation, the first 6 weeks elapsed before she was unprecedentedly "late". With our low prior on pregnancy in light of my long-confirmed successful vasectomy, it took us another two weeks to nail down that this was actually the most likely cause of the shitshow of bizarre and disabling symptoms she was experiencing. Add one more week from there to procure the actual abortifacients, and the window had almost closed.

I'll be getting a second vasectomy, but I don't know I'll ever trust it again. Life finds a fucking way.

Okay but do something about the alternate hypothesis.

There's no evidence for it, given there's no longer any doubt that I could have put this thing there.

I've never had to go with my SO to have an abortion done, if only because the one time we slipped up, the baby took the hint and made its own way out the door before we had to. We got an IUD inserted posthaste, the fact we're both doctors made it easy enough to convince the gyno Consultant to sign off on an IUD despite it not being recommended for women who haven't had a kid (the risk is insignificant).

It would have been rather awkward to take the matter to my own gyno parents to say the least, so I'm glad we didn't have to.

I'm grateful everyday that abortion is a matter of fact in India and not remotely a contentious topic, regardless of what a handful of Catholic nutters might want. I suppose the Hindus probably just want to tell the fetus to Git Gud or reincarnate as an ant next time, and if the Muslims have any hangups, then it's not obvious from the number who show up for MTPs.

Vasectomy reversals, while rare, are hardly unheard of, but it's an unfortunate occurrence nonetheless. I second @TheDag 's advice to get an IUD inserted.

Yeah I knew it could reverse itself at some point, but I really figured that at nine years post I was safe by now. I have literally seen case studies about late reversals that weren't as late as this.

lol at telling the fetus to git gud -- my wife jokes that she'd be disappointed in this kid from the start from pursuing such a dumb strategy that includes preventing her from holding down any nutrition for either of them. She also jokes that she should apologize to her own mother -- an abusive psychopath -- for having put her through any fraction of this misery as a fetus (she didn't put her mom through anything like this though -- if she'd been a difficult pregnancy, her mom would have absolutely blamed her for it, and in reality she just blamed her for the associated weight gain).

Might want to look into IUDs, although I'm sure you probably have. My understanding is that they're even more effective than vasectomies.

We have strong reasons to believe she would not tolerate either hormonal or copper IUD, but yeah, we did consider that before I got the vasectomy.

Life, uh, finds a way, doesn't it? Can you get a refund from the clinic that performed the original surgery?

I don't believe they actually did anything wrong -- it did provably work at the time, and continued to work for many years afterward. They performed the procedure about as aggressively as possible -- this was not one of the "open ended" vasectomies that may have a greater probability of recanalization, they definitely clamped and possibly cauterized both ends of the snipped tubes, and I think they removed a pretty long section in between. The guy was really serious about how he was optimizing for efficacy over potential voluntary reversibility.

I'm guessing this freaky occurrence is partly a result of my having it done younger than most men, which means I probably had more regenerative capacity and also a longer window of potential failure while my partner is still fertile. 40-year-old dudes with 40-year-old wives getting vasectomies after their third child or whatever are unlikely to notice if their procedure reverses itself in ten years, cause no pregnancy will likely result anyway.

I'm also interested to know if @lemograb is entitled to any financial compensation.

This late? Almost certainly not, the procedure doesn't come without the small but real risk of failure.

Even I, an inveterate pro-lifer for religious reasons first, logical reasons second, applaud your decision (though despising the tragic necessity). It’s a killing in self defense, akin to shooting an armed burglar who broke into your home.

But since this is WW, not CWR, I instead wish you and your wife the best, and the best possible outcome, and a long and happy life for both of you. if you need to see someone about lingering emotions related to this, do so without shame or reproach.

Thank you. Without being religious or a pro-lifer myself, I still hoped it would never come to this, and I did take reasonable measures to try to ensure it would not.

Not being attached to a personhood-from-conception perspective, or ever that invested in the whole controversy in general, I take the normie view of regarding abortion as unfortunate, and getting more uncomfortable with it the later it occurs. Reflecting on that in light of recent events has made me more in favor of removing as many obstacles to early abortion as possible, so it's less likely to come down to a more distasteful later procedure. It seems the more people's inputs are required to authorize it, the later the ones that do happen will happen, even if fewer happen overall. I can see though how for many people with a more "principled" stance, this would be a distinction without difference, and fewer happening overall would be the overriding consideration.

I'm still glad for her sake that there wasn't some long sequence of gatekeepers to argue with about this, having just seen the person I care most for in the world consider taking her own life to get the awfulness here to stop. Thankfully it's lessened since, with some medications that would not be safe for a fetus that we were trying to preserve.

I still find it creepy that there seem to be people who are straightforwardly pro-abortion as though it's a positive good (and those are many of the voices one encounters when actually considering having one). I kind of assume those people are just overcompensating somehow, in a "signalling support for this direction". If it's not that, I don't know where they're coming from, and probably don't want to.


That captures the essence of my attitude toward my nuts at present.

What are your guys' favorite solutions to tab/reading overload? I come across a lot of things I would like to read, and every few weeks my mind gets frazzled about processing my backlog. Currently I add articles to Pocket, and I wrote a script to sync those to Anki notes, which in theory I should be reviewing instead of going into my browser. But the Anki notes now have a backlog too.

Put things on the safari read list instead of keeping them open as tabs. If I didn’t read something after a month, delete it since obviously I am not actually that interested. If I find an article genuinely interesting and worthy to remember later, save in pocket and/or send it to my girlfriend so we can discuss it later.

Also helps to read less and skim more, and be very strict with what’s worthy of your time.

My solution is more tabs, evidently, since my Chrome app shows :D instead of the number of tabs.

I add things to my bookmarks if I want to reference them later, or pop them in a draft writing doc in Obsidian.

What I've done is open everything as tabs. Normally I don't close them until I finish reading them completely. But I tend to not start or stop halfway through on things that just aren't that interesting. So what I do is, when the tab count starts to seem a little high or crowded, I go delete tabs that I haven't gotten around to reading in a while. No saving or backing up anywhere.

It does feel a bit uncomfortable to have to be like, yeah I'm probably never actually going to read that, let's delete it. But better to get it over with at once than shuffle those articles around a bunch of other lists that I'll probably also never actually catch up with for months longer and have to deal with more copies later. I reason that if it's actually that important, I'll come across it again later. Otherwise, they never come up in my mind again after that initial discomfort.

Flush tabs regularly. The visual and mental burden isn't fun.

If they're productive readings, try some form of Zettelkasten. Skim through an article you find interesting and make a note on it with appropriate tags and backlinks. You can then revisit it at an appropriate time when you're exploring the subject, and it frees you of the mental burden of "unread" or "things to do".

I just stack them up to infinity, then when the've reached critical mass I cut the whole thing loose and start afresh.

Not reading it. I try to keep my open tabs to the bare minimum.

Text-to-speech while doing something mindless.

That helps a bit, but ultimately it's a problem of too much content, too little time.

Named bookmarks and a reading list.

I tried the "Lanebreak" feature/game on the Peloton that I'm renting and it was the most fun I've ever had exercising. If you have access to one you should try it. I'm sitting here actually looking forward to getting on the bike later today.

I started exercising at home a few weeks ago. Bought a stationary bike for a low price. It's great. The treshold for getting a session done is much lower when I don't have to leave the house to do so. I do 2-3 days in a row and then take a rest day. Sometimes I go for longer than I had planned, but I'm careful not to "cheat myself" often. My primary motivation is simply one of general health/longevity. Increased cardiovascular fitness, leg strength and well-being is a bonus.

Leg strength can't be developed using a cardio machine unless you have stick legs. Get yourself a barbell setup as soon as possible.

It does develop a bit of strength (and muscle endurance) for my legs, I've noticed already. I realize the limitations of cardio for strength, but I hadn't trained them for years prior to this, so they probably qualify as stick legs in your estimation. :) I don't have room for a barbell setup atm, else I'd probably get one.

I was just trying to look out for you... some people delude themselves, out of fear, into rejecting barbell training altogether. It's a sad sight, especially considering weight training has one of the lowest injury rates of any sport.

And well, going by your story, you could probably do anything and see growth, however barbell training will always be the most efficient altogether. I'm glad to hear you're looking to get a barbell and rack, that's always good.

Great call! Next up: Pull up bar, kettlebell between 35 and 53 pounds, big exercise bands (Not a TON of value but they are cheap).

I've really found value with home gym equipment in the past. Not just financially vs a gym membership.

Like you, I exercised far more when I could walk into another room or the garage and just start. No need to shower first, or otherwise make myself presentable. No need to jump in a car, pack a towel or protein shake. No risk of tinea in the locker room. Everything is just ready to go for as long as I want, whenever I want.

I hope you get great value out of your bike.

Would you have any qualms about going out with a girl who’s 18 or 19? I had a 25-yo friend turn down an attractive girl because she was 19.

I'm in my late 30s, so it probably wouldn't be great. That said, if I were single, I'd have no issue with dating any woman that had arrived at something that looks like full adulthood (e.g. lives on their own, has a respectable job, and so on). One way I often think about this is whether I would still find my wife appealing if I'd met her now, with her age the same as when we actually met, and I can't imagine that I would fail to do so. I actually think it's kind of weird that other people disagree and suspect that there's a performative aspect to the idea of being way too mature for a woman in her 20s.

Regarding your specific ages, I think I dated an 18-year old when I was 23. She was a flighty idiot and it didn't go all that well, but my impression is that she was still a flighty idiot at 28, so the age probably wasn't really the point.

Respect for disregarding the social norm Zoomer women seem intent on pushing these days.

My feels say that unless you are extremely good looking and charismatic you will get 0 numbers out of 10 (or even 100 girls). For one, almost all attractive girls have a boyfriend.

Not to discourage you! In fact, the opposite. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't work. If you keep going at it, I'm sure your charisma will improve to the point it does work.

Maybe he found his soul mate and realized he didn’t need a Motte account anymore

Godspeed. How old are you, if you don't mind my asking?


Let's see Paul Allen's religiously clean-shaven face.

Hi folks! At the end of October I'm running the Dublin Marathon to raise money for Focus Ireland, a charity which provides food and shelter for homeless people in Ireland. I'm pretty far short of my fundraising goal, so if any of you have a few shekels to spare for a great cause, please consider making a donation:

I normally post here under a different username which has multiple AAQCs, but the fundraiser link reveals my real name and face, hence the throwaway account.

Fair play

Thanks a lot!