Category Archives: Questioning

Learning Adobe Illustrator… or not

I have no idea what it is I am trying to do but I want to learn how to do it. It could be argued that my time would be used best if I was learning Java and Android. I am not sure where I got the idea that I have to be methodic and algorithmic OR creative and visual. I also have no idea when I got the idea that doing both would be counter productive and when I actually started believing these ridiculous ideas. I really do need to let go of such limiting notions.

For me to get a design for my fledgeling company, I got the idea that I didn’t want to spend money but I wanted it to look good and professional. So I figured I would do it myself. It would cost nothing and I would be directly responsible for the quality of the design. However I know that I am not a designer and even though my eye for detail has improved much I know people with a much better eye. So, if I did get a designer to do it, it would look more professional than I could ever get. See… this then gave me the fear to start the design process because I believed my design will never be as good as it should/could be. (It’s a shit reason not to do something, I know. Surely something is better than nothing)

Now that I listen to my thoughts, I think I don’t want to spend money because I fear that my business won’t work out and I am scared to start it so any I money I spend would then be a waste. I also think I don’t want to get a designer because I feel that I will be relinquishing some form of control. The other thing is that I fear I might get ripped off? Charged and exorbitant amount for my design.

Ok, I can’t think that way about failing. Failure in this case would be not even trying. So if you are going to start a business you need to jump in feet first. Jumping in feet first means that you are going to give it your all. If that’s the case you should have no fear of spending money on the design.

Losing control because you outsourced your design? You’re joking right? I think your real fear there is that it means that you will have to tell someone what you want to do and that means opening yourself up for criticism.

Getting ripped off? Maybe it’s valid, but I think that is just an excuse… another thing just to say no. To stop you. Sure it’s possible that you should have more confidence in your design ability. I think though that the mere fact that you don’t know the software means it’s gonna take you longer to do anything. As for the cost, you still need to spend time on the code, correct? Surely your time is better spent on that until your skills with the software are better?

Awesome, I didn’t even know I was blocked until I started writing this. Finding a block and resolving it. Success!

Hmmm this has removed almost all my reasons to learn illustrator. The last one I have left is space panda. I was meant to talk about how all tutorials I found for illustrator are all really complex. I struggled to find the really basic basic tutorials. Ones that assume Zero knowledge.

This one looked like a good start. I have not actually done it yet because I have been doing this post but it’s got pause-able video,  voice over and on the surface looks really easy. It’s drawing a heart, how hard could that be? I will let you know how it goes when I get around to it… which should be in London.

Math Captcha?

I am not sure what’s going on. My confusion comes from two things that as far as I know are correct. The 1st one captchas exist so we can tell if the user is human or machine. The second is that computers are good at doing calculations. I am right? Right?

So, if I am right… why is this a good idea?

Captcha

I am right? Right? What am I missing here… I could eval that with js easily to get an answer… and I’ve seen this captcha in more than one place.

I don’t know maybe there is some hidden technique I am missing. I would like to hear from you if you can explain.

Edit: The other version of this is asking in words something like “What is five plus two?”… have you ever typed that into google…? Google is a machine and it knows. Seriously, what’s going on here?

If a tree falls in the woods

You know that old western kōan, “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a noise?”

This question was circling my head for ages and as what tends to happen when a thought circles my head it gets distorted. It usually happens when I try to sleep. After unconsciously repeating the same line in your head over and over “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it does it make a noise?” it eventually becomes quite annoying. So after much tossing an turning and generally not being able to sleep, I attempted to get my head to quiet down by asking it: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, DOES IT MATTER?”.

“Interesting!”, my head replied.

“Interesting!?”, I thought. That was not the response I had intended. Having blurted it out to get my head to shut up, I didn’t actually hear what I’d said. I repeated the question again to myself: “If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter?”

I agreed with my head, “Interesting indeed”, and made the equivalent gesture of a nod that one would make when speaking in thoughts. We decided to work on trying to find an answer to the question.

After roughly 5 hours, we came to an answer we both thought satisfactory.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, does it matter ?

The answer we came up with?

Yes, yes it does!

On expectation, but not really

I am trying to figure out if having expectations of something is a good thing. Doing something and having an expectation of how it is going to be can really detract from the enjoyment of the experience. For me the most common form of this is watching movies trailers. A lot of trailers have spoiled movies for me. They either hype the movie up into something it’s not, or they show all the good bits making you expect more good bits when you do actually watch it, only to find you’ve seen them all.

Heh… the word trailers made me think back to my youth when I first used that word. I remember back in the day my family used to call them shorts. The shorts. “Do you want to fast forward past the shorts?”, I would ask. It’s interesting to notice how and why vocabularies change. I have lived a life where I frequently needed to cross the boundaries of vocabularies. By vocabularies I mean slang, colloquialisms or more generally a subset of words. I stayed in a coloured area and probably had only coloured friends at the time. At about 9 years of age I went to a white school. Not sure if “white school” was the correct terminology for it at the time. I don’t really know what the history of the school was up till that point. Perhaps private school is better. A private school with 99.9% of the children being white. A boarding school. Myself and the kids there pretty much got on like a house on fire. So as one does when one becomes part of any group, I picked up a lot of terminology, or slang. I also picked up some nuances of pronunciation as well as an accent.

I find it interesting that the words I picked up and used was conscious process. It’s also interesting to note that I could have attempted to introduce the other kids to the words I grew up with but rather chose to replace those words for their local counterparts or even omit them from interactions altogether. Right at the beginning when all these colloquialisms were new to me, I would incorporate words that would ease communication or prevent me from having to explain what I meant if I had used my own word.

The other interesting thing was that I found nuances of pronunciation and the accent I picked up were not a conscious process. I only noticed I had one when I visited my grandmother on a holiday a year or two later. My grandmother asked me, I can’t remember the exact words but it was something like: “Why do you talk like you are white?”. As I said in the last sentence, I don’t remember the words exactly but I do remember disgust in her voice. I was taken aback. From the tone of her voice I could tell my accent displeased her and in that one comment made me feel as though there was a chance I could no longer be trusted because I no longer speak like her people. My response was, “I don’t talk like I am white?” and immediately forced myself back into rolling my Rs.

From then on I became conscious of how I spoke. It carried on this way for a long time. I’d have a different accent for school and a different accent at home. To this day actually… I still do it. Around my family I can have a different accent than what I normally do. And what’s worse is that often around coloured people, I force my coloured accent. The problem is that this isn’t how I talk anymore so I don’t get practice using the accent anymore also I never really had the opportunity to study it so I can’t even mimic it that well. If that was not bad enough I also find myself using a half forgotten, dated version of the coloured slang I knew when I was 9. So interactions in this mode feel so fake for me. I feel like every word I say is a lie. Which it is. Even though I am telling the truth, the sounds the words make when they reach my ears feel to me as if they are a lie. Anyways I am in the process of fixing this. I am in the process of merging my accents into one.

So yeah, as you can see, I got horribly distracted. My original article was meant to be on expectations. I wanted to talk about expectations because of the hot-cross buns you get in the shop. Eating them (the experience) is never as good as they smell, or half as good I remember them (the expectation). So, I may start a new quest. I may just take up baking to create a hot cross bun to rival the flavour of the ones in my memory – the perfect hot cross bun.

Happy Easter.

Different

I’m a strange person. I believe in fate but I also believe that there’s no such thing as fate. I believe that some people are lucky but I also believe people make their own luck. As far as I can tell, I modify my beliefs so that they benefit me. As an example the number 13, widely believe by the superstitious to be unlucky, just so happens to be my lucky number. In this case I modified the superstitious belief to work in my favour. It’s actually just one of my lucky numbers. I have a few: 7, 11, 13, 27, 121. I am not sure why 13 got into that list, possibly to tempt fate, or maybe just to be different.

Different. This brings me to my core topic. For a long time I was obsessed with normality and trying to be normal. At some point in my life at least 80% of the people I know have told me I am either weird, crazy or insane. I made up the 80% figure, but enough people have made mention for me to take notice. For me, the strange thing is that this usually happens when I am doing or saying something that I think to be completely ordinary. I would then ask: “What makes you say that?“. I would probably ask this so that I may learn to fit in better. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure of my motivation. I know that at times I do like it when I appear eccentric to others, so another reason could probably be the desire to be able to control my ability.

Anyways, the answer to my question: “What makes you say that?“, would normally be: “No reason, you just are.” or “… in a good way” or a combination: “No reason, you just are… in a good way“. Generally an answer is not gathered. There was the time about 2 years ago, when actually listening to what I had just said, I didn’t need an answer. In that case I had said: “Do you ever look at your hands and think: ‘Are these my hands?‘?“. In my defence, that day I looked at my hands and noticed they had aged a lot since the last time I actually last looked at my hands. They had looked like my older brothers hands. His hands are 4 years older than mine and his skin is a lighter complexion. So too was the complexion of my skin because at the time because I had been living in sunless London for a year already.

Anyhow, these experiences have shaped my personality to a large extent. Well, not my personality, just how talk to people I don’t yet know. I am very restrained. Often I will not say anything for fear of what I might say and how it will be recieved. Also it’s probably affected what and how I say things to the people I do know. But I know that everyone says different things to different people, so that’s nothing to be concerned about. So yeah, it’s made me not say or not do things I might normally have said or done. But, the thing is… how do I know what the normal way to behave is? How does anyone? Yes, there are societal norms. For example not flinging your shit at people. This societal boundary that most people know it exists. And I, like most people, am aware of it. It’s also worth noting that I have no conscious desire to cross this boundary.

The same goes for other societal norms. I know my eccentricities are well within the societal boundaries I know to exist, so what do I have to fear? Surely the concept of normal is not only a societal one but also an individual one? How would anyone know what they would normally do if I they have not previously behaved in that way? Surely the way they are at that point is their normal state? Surely this is the individual normality I mentioned.

Anyhow, from this I’ve learned that there is probably no such thing normality with reference to living your life. I’ve given up on this quest. This is probably a good thing if only to conserve future wasted effort. Rather I have embraced the eccentricities I may have and now relish in the fact that I see things differently to other people. I’m at the stage where I accept that and am now learning to use it to my advantage.

The ideas of eccentricity and using it to my advantage could potentially lead me to another post I want to write entitled: Delusions of Grandeur. However it is almost 23:00 and nearly time for me to go to bed.

Good night.

Against all human morality

Recently I go to thinking that I wanted to prove plants exhibit intelligence. One of the reasons I wanted to do this was out of spite for vegetarians. I haven’t really bothered to figure out what the militant human herbivorian argument is, but I imagine it to be along the lines of animals are able to feel, think, etc and we should not eat them. That is to say they display intelligence. This group then goes on to claim some imaginary moral high ground to the rest of the human carnivores and omnivores. I say “imaginary moral higher ground” because my believe is that using imaginary when referring to morals is a form of tautology.

I am starting to get off topic but I am not saying that there’s no such thing as morals. I believe that in this world that we live in, there is no right and wrong. Right and wrong is a concept that humans made up. And morals are a reflection of what is considered to be right and wrong in the society we currently live in. Using the death penalty as an example: some think it’s the right thing to do, others think it’s one of the worst things we could do. Who is correct? The fact that we as a species can’t agree proves that concept of morals are an iffy one.

The original title of this article was meant to be intelligence but the vegetarians have made me spiral off topic somewhat. Because of them, I now have to do that article another time.

Goal Orientated Thinking

It’s quite strange. Recently I have been finding a lot of things to be a chore. Things that should not be a chore have somehow become a chore. Reading for example. I have a book that I bought… two actually, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and a book called the myths of innovation. I bought both of those books because I want to read them. Now that I have them I feel I have to sit down with them and read them. It must be done, I see it as something that I just need to get through. Like something I just need to tick off a list. Same with video and movies that I have. I feel I need to get throught it. It must be done. The TED talks for an example. I’m subscribed up to the TED podcast. I find a lot of interesting talks on there. Almost all of talk I have watched are thought provoking. Knowledge-wise I am richer having watched it… but yet, I find it a chore to sit down and watch them. I feel the need to watch them. It as though my life is some kind of shopping list.

Gerard’s Life:

  • Go to School
  • Get a Degree
  • Get a Job
  • Get a Girlfriend
  • Start an online service
  • Become really successful
  • Profit

Then everyday is a checklist too:

  • Wake up
  • Shower
  • Brush your teeth
  • Pee in the shower
  • Use housemate’s shampoo
  • Get dressed
  • Buy coffee and a muffin
  • Buy lunch
  • Pick up news paper
  • Skim read news paper
  • Read Star Signs
  • Get off train
  • Have a cigarette
  • Take a taxi to the office

I just noticed that I have two problems as opposed to only the one I thought I had. The one I just noticed being bigger than the original one of seeing much of life as a set of tasks with a tick box next to it. The second problem being that nothing on my day to day checklist puts me any closer to my life goals.

I usually stop writing when I come to a realisation about my behaviour or realise how I can fix something. I have already reached a realisation. I always thought something will happen and TADAA… I am now successful! But looking that the discrepancy between the two lists, I realise now nothing will get done unless I actually work towards it. It’s a simple concept I know.  I have always known this concept to be true, but now I actually understand what it means. I think I assumed that you would automatically work towards your goals and things you wanted badly enough. Looking at the two lists, this does not necessarily hold true. Nothing on my daily list is getting me any closer to my life list.

If the last few posts are a trend, there seems to be a common theme among my realisations – I know a lot of stuff to be true and live my life by them but I don’t understand them fully. That is until I take the time to actually think about them.

So I want to stop here even though I have not addressed the problem of seeing life as a task list. Which I think is a bigger problem and one that requires a level of thought and understanding which I have no idea about. I will have to come back to it.

Improving yourself

The way I have always tried to live my life is to better myself at any chance. Better myself mentally and physically. I am not sure if I did it when I was little too but something I noticed when I got older was that I would try to find out my reasons for wanting to better myself.

When it comes to knowledge, it seems as I don’t really need a reason, it’s just because I want to know. I have no problems with that. When I was younger I trained physically because I enjoyed it, so that was my reason for doing it. Both of those reasons are excellent reasons to do something. These are self fulfilling – you do something because you enjoy it, and you enjoy it because you do it. (Not that that last sentence makes complete sense but I am sure you get the gist of what I mean.)

Now that I am older, I am finding problems doing some things. I find I make a lot of excuses for myself. I find myself not doing something because I don’t accept my reasons for wanting to do them. Take going to gym or getting fit for example: In my head my reasons for getting fit are good health, a good body and so that I can impress the girl next door. Immediately after this I think this is the shittest (the dictionary says shittiest – I like shittest) reason for doing anything. How could I do something like this? Put myself through all this hard work just to impress a women who may or may not care about me. It’s completely ludicrous, I am doing something so that I appear better in someone else’s eyes. Surely this is the wrong reason to do something? Surely you should do something so that you are better in your own eyes?

Judging from my behaviour over the years, one of my strongest beliefs is that one should live one’s own life. The reason for doing something should be because you want to do it. Not because it will make you appear better in someone else’s eyes. This is a good way to live I think. However, as I type this, I realise now that I have misinterpreted this maxim for quite some time. Even though there are numerous other benefits which would benefit me, I would focus on the fact that part of my reasoning for going to gym was to impress a skirt. I would then be disgusted at the thought and and use this as a reason not to go to gym.

I realise now, just because you shouldn’t do something in order to appear better in someone else’s eyes, doesn’t make a good reason not to do it. If we continue with the gym example, yes going to gym might make the girl notice my awesome body but there are other benefits. Seems simple enough, I know. Not sure how I could have missed that one.

This is enough for tonight. At some other time I want to explore friends and family as motivation.