The Misadventures of Quinxy truths, lies, and everything in between!


Cruelly Ephemeral Knowingness

I don't know how to truly cope with the experience of gaining then losing knowledge.  Knowing that I graduated fifteen years ago with a degree in mechanical engineering and now retain at best 5% of that knowledge makes my recent return to school for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) feel frighteningly useless.  I'm slightly accustomed to the month to month ebb and flow of knowledge (like 6 months ago I was on top of C# but now I'm off my game there and now on top of JavaScript), but signing up to devote years studying something only to know you'll forget the vast majority of it soon thereafter (much lost even before you graduate) really troubles me.  Obviously what I need to be convinced of is that, (for example) though my detailed knowledge of engineering and related maths are seemingly gone it could be revived reasonably quickly should the need arise.  And I'm just not entirely convinced of that.  I'm not convinced that it wouldn't make just as much sense to take a Cliff's Notes' version of courses and then be exposed to the details when and if you actually need them in your career.  But, presumably that wouldn't work, you need to temporarily comprehend the details in order to temporarily comprehend the stuff upon which its built which you need so that in the fullness of time you will at least remember those weathered/eroded pillars of learning.  I intellectually accept that most people experience this phenomena, but it feels like such a very personal cruelty, it's hard not to imagine it only happens to me.

^ Quinxy
(Originally in a letter to a friend.)

Yin Yang

My day. Yin. Yang. The first half saw my better self, triumphantly in command of my life, amidst noble activities, pressed by people who variously care for, respect, and seek me out. The latter half saw my worser self, a soul periodically lost in self-analysis, striving for someone and something different (yet doing little more than cowardly navel gazing). We are the happily resigned marriage of our perfections and our flaws. Humans. Meh. If the aliens come I won't be overly upset if they make hamburgers of us all. (I don't really mean that, it just seemed a marvelous thing to say, would that I had the time to craft the sentence better and work the word 'ketchup' in there.) Sometimes I say things which are more beautiful than true, but I always indicate as much (even if not everyone realizes).



The Meaning of Pizza

My tummy hurts.  I just ate too much of a pizza, a pizza I had delivered from Chicago.  From the best authentic Chicago pizzeria in Chicago, Lou Malnati's Pizzeria.  Shipped overnight, packed in dry ice.  Hard not to eat too much of it.  I bought it to craft a moment.  But, the moment came and went, unhappened.

I met a harmless girl at the cafe a few weeks back.  We had a perfect, orchestrated social interaction.  I was like a conductor leading the interaction.  It was one of my finest social moments ever.  I hate the humans, a little bit.  Which is to say I love them like God did back in the day.  Back when they pissed him off and didn't do what he wanted and he didn't understand why, so he smote them all except for that Noah fella and all them critters.  I don't plan on smiting anything, besides the grievous ethical problems, I'm just not that energetic.  But I suffer God's misunderstanding of humans, from time to time.  So, these little perfect moments mean something to me, when everything sings with a harmony that feels like it was always and forever just unheard.  And I get excited thinking I found my groove.

And so I bought the pizza.  She was a recent transplant from Chicago, weeks recent. And I smoothly asked her to join me on the weekend for the Hollywood Forever Cemetery movie with some friends.  And she eagerly accepted.  And I got the pizza because in the course of our conversation she'd recommended it, and told me you could get it online, and so I did after some initial considerable confusion with me thinking she said "Illuminati's Pizza" and "Lou Minati's Pizza".  Because it's been years since I had a decent Chicago pizza, and there's only once place in the whole of Los Angeles that does a Chicago style pizza, and it's in Silverlake, and I wasn't sure how authentic it really was (it resembled not at all the Armand's Chicago-style pizzeria of my Washingtonian youth).  And we talked a few times leading up to that Saturday, but then the day came, I called, and she suddenly had other plans.  She flaked, but asked me to ask her again.  Humans.  I don't know what to make of them.  I should make it clear my intentions were not unusual or extreme.  This wasn't meant to be a date, I had no specific interest in her beyond her being interesting, the banter being fun, so let's pal around.  I didn't find her attractive, but she was not necessarily particularly unattractive either.  (All this I say relative to me, I have no idea what the rest of the world thinks of her.  They probably found her prettier than I did, my tastes being a few degrees off the norm.)  She was in that gray area where given the right interactions I may have come to find her prettier, but I had no such ambitions, my interest was purely platonic.  And she flaked, and even though she very pointedly said she hoped I'd ask her again, when I did, I got a similar result.  She was busy again with work, and her brother, and she is now traveling about the country on work errands.  And, to my way of thinking, and I think the world's thinking as well, if she'd had any significant interest in hanging out, it would have happened by now.  Ah well.

I don't mind that nothing came of it.  I don't mind perhaps not being her cup of tea.  I have no expectations that I be anyone's (though am grateful that I am some people's).  And perhaps her new job is demanding, and her new apartment requires setting up, and her brother...  but I just wish society didn't so much rely on subtleties and subtexts.  Because I drown in the excess of available cues.  And I miss out on quite a few friendships and dates as I always err on the side of caution.  It's like if you know your sense of smell isn't so good, it's better to be safe than sorry and scream "Fire!" when you think you smell even the slightest hint of smoke; it's like the identical opposite, actually.   I won't call her again.  Two attempts on my part was enough.  Who needs the bother?
I should perhaps stick with the people who make more native sense to me (though there are few).

The pizza was good.  Some people (like my dad) have this charming notion that everything happens for a reason.  Ah, pretty, lucky little imbeciles.  If I believed them I would say, "I met her solely so that she could introduce me to Lou Minati's pizza."



The Me of Hidden Variables

On a handful of occasions it has been suggested that I am complicated.

While I think that may be a reasonable impression formed, I am of a somewhat contradictory view.  My complexity is merely the illusion created by the hiding of the variables which govern me.

One alternate notion about quantum mechanics that I believed before I knew other more intelligent and PhDed fellows already came up with it (my life is filled with devastating cleverness I exhibit only to find that someone got there 50 years before, it's very frustrating) is the notion that the randomness we think we see at the subatomic level is not randomness but are the unpredictable effects of intrusions from energy/matters/forces in higher dimensional space-time.  And I don't mean the words energy or forces in the new agey sense!  I mean it in the literal sciencey, non-paranormal sense!  These intrusions are hidden variables, we can't directly know what's going on in these higher dimensions, all we see is their effect on our own, and to us the effect appears random, but really had we omniscience enough to know the goings on of the higher dimensions, it'd be just as deterministic as Newton's apple.  So, my theory of myself is that I'm as simple as cheddar cheese, but my cheese is simply being twisted through a biased filter of social whateverthehell and so appears complex.  I hate the sorts of people who intentionally complicate themselves, who crave and craft a view of themselves as different.  Hopefully I'm not one of them.



Does a dog have Buddha nature?

Zen Buddhism includes a koan which asks the question, "Does a dog have Buddha nature?"

From what I gather, their answer is, "No."

But, I say, "YES!"

If I was a sculptor or a painter/drawer of any merit I would redraw Buddha as a dog and construct some vast and believable conspiracy which explained that the real Buddha was in fact a dog who wandered into a Hindu temple, lay beneath a Bo tree for 20 dog years and attained enlightenment, which he demonstrated by being released from desire; he longer reacted when the people of the temple offered him treats.  And everyone began to transcribe the dog's lesson, and reinterpret his meditative behaviors, and his glorious liberation from suffering, and want, and see him only as living in the perfect now.  But their first book of his teachings sold very poorly, so they made a few minor edits and Siddhartha Gautama turned from dog to a man.  And the rest is history.



The Little Lie, I Am

I lied to you, once upon a time. I wanted you to see the me I aspired to be, rather than the me I was.

{{I'm watching a couple down the street. Perhaps it's a first date. She is achingly cute, he a bit of a brute; though he has an incongruously clever folding bicycle. They walked from their pleasant enough conversation a few feet away from me down to her car, where they pause in awkward end-of-date blather. She is trying to kindly tell him with her silent geography and closing pose that she has not made up her mind about him, and that he would be a fool to attempt a kiss. After some minutes they hug, her chin pins her left shoulder, ensuring there will be no misunderstanding lips; I pity them both this moment. I pity us all our inability to speak or hear honest things. She drives off; I doubt there will be a second date.}}

I once thought you and I might be compatibly flawed, fodder for a bff or a bf. Not sure why. Something you said or didn't say, something you were or weren't. Who knows.

My name was Quinxy. I was and will likely forever be a bit of a lost soul. I will likely always be struggling to understand this foreign and unfamiliar world, will likely always be struggling to express my thoughts about it, and will likely always suffer for the prettier world I can imagine yet not create.  But I am happy, of a sort, and find peace(s).


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The Warez Manifesto

In college I wrote a document called the "Warez Manifesto" which laid out the principles by which the use of unlicensed software becomes moral.  In a recent email exchange with a friend relating to someone else who was talking about their own software piracy I had occasion to revisit the topic and briefly (and crudely) summarize my feelings...

My basic argument regarding the rights of property which can duplicated without a further resource required of the producer (i.e., duplicating a song) is that if the individual is making or receiving the duplicate for their own use and they would have otherwise not have used that property legally, then in my eyes they are doing nothing immoral.  Obviously the part that must be factored in, to some degree, is the collateral damage done by someone's passive (or mildly active) support of piracy which serves a large audience of people who would be behaving immorally because this illegal use is an alteration of their behavior (they would have otherwise paid for the product).

But there is a stronger, though more peculiar, argument which says that such piracy is not only not immoral but is in fact a moral imperative.  I started to write this argument to my friend before running out of time and leaving it somewhat incomplete...  But I think it still has some merit in this form.

Our little society is hurtling its way somewhere...  We're racing towards the cliff and whether we'll fly off the edge and ascend into the heavens or plummet into the abyss I'm not sure...  Immortality, elimination of suffering, ubiquitous joy, technology can usher all those things in (or kill us all quite dead)...  I am not sure to what degree we can protect ourselves from the downside.  For though we evolve our society by leaps and bounds, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bushel, and we've got a big bushel, and the bad apples are getting more infectiously rotten.  Our killing capacity is growing by leaps and bounds as well, and we're approaching an age where someone with modest resources and modest knowledge will be able to kill nearly everyone in one go through biotechnology, nanotechnology, etc.  and I don't think we can do much to modify that threat.  We might be able to delay it 50 or 500 years by limiting access to information, restricting some technologies, but the information and the technologies will eventually be available to all.  So I figure, oh well, might as well roll the dice sooner rather than later (why put off the inevitable?).  Progress begets progress.  Advances in curling iron technology is just as vital as advances in defense technologies, -ish.  Obviously not really, but the idea is that technology and society are never elevated in only one sector.  A society which has fabulous fashion design abilities will be directly and indirectly raised up by those mad skills.  Maybe the fashion produces the GDP which lets the society buy other people's technology, which feeds the development of that other technology, or perhaps the fashion sense literally invites new ways of thinking about problems in general, about society in general, and the society and technology are elevated.  Of course it can go the other way, too.  But rarely does it, really...  I mean, inexorably we move forward, accepting the odd dark ages here and there.  Our darkest hours in recent years may kill tens of millions (see WWII) but boy do we rapidly advance in times of trouble!  So, my logic has it that if advancement is inevitable, if we might as well race towards it as meander towards it, and if even unrelated progress is progress, then I think we are improved if as many people have access to as many "advanced" tools as possible.  So, if little college Johnny can't afford to buy a copy of $1600 Photoshop, I think his purloining one helps us progress.  His access to the tools will give him access to the knowledge which will give him the opportunity to contribute, and our society moves one step closer to our fate one day sooner.  And I think, given our peculiar circumstances, that's the right thing to do.

Nothing I said or feel on this subject conflicts in any way with the notion that everyone deserves to be compensated for their work, as they are currently.  My argument that theft (as currently defined) can be moral requires that the individual act of theft engenders no loss (of any significance) to the producer/creator.  I'm all for cracking down brutally hard on "immoral" piracy while legally codifying "moral" piracy.  Essentially I'm just arguing in favor of an updated and digital version of squatter's rights/adverse possession protection.  Instead law seems to be going the opposite way, extending copyrights and patents ridiculously beyond their original intended runs, and granting patents to the first in line with utterly unremarkable and obvious nonsense ("one click" shopping).  And that hurts everyone by enriching only the already enriched, and not encouraging continued ingenuity.



Odious Small Talk

I must breathe, and drink water, and sup, and excrete, and Society (the grand They) seem to expect small talk.  And that's fine.  I think for me it's when it lingers over the small and you realize the small is all there will be that I feel a bit frustrated.  Which isn't to say I don't care about the small stuff.  I ask my friends how was their day because I care and even their minor incidents are pieces of their larger puzzle.  But it's also the depth of my awareness of them that makes those small things important to me.

What is awfully hard for me to suffer through is when you get dragged to a bar by a friend...  And you spend the next three hours briefly conversing with slightly drunk people about the most superficial aspects of themselves.  I come away knowing a human named Cindy exists and she is an account rep at a pharmaceutical company, that she went to Northwestern, that she has a thing for Gucci bags, she likes Hawaii, and she thinks Robert Downey, Jr.T is super sexy.  Ugh.  I want to know what Cindy feels when she first sits at her desk in the morning.  Excitement? Dread?  Why does she seem to have this palpable sadness about her?   Is this really who she thought she'd become five years ago?  What secrets is she keeping from her friend, Jen, who's sitting right next to her.  Does she secretly lust after Jen's husband?

That's what I want to ask, what I want to know.  Anyone can ask me anything any time any place.  I may choose not to answer but I won't be offended.  I don't have rules about you can't ask me this or that until some whenever.  Obviously if you ask me and also seem odd I'll assume you're a few bricks shy of a load, and may keep myself to myself.  But that's just sensible.  To the mostly sane I would bare my soul at the drop of hat.



Peanuts (the comic): An Analysis of My Hatred

Peanuts (the comic) is the perfect storm of all my core hatreds.  I detest things which get grossly disproportionate attention.  I detest things which have no characters I can relate to.  I detest swishy jazz music (love dixie land, love Satchmo, like Ellington, hate those free form make-it-up-as-we-go stoned-out-of-our-gourd-but-our-audience-won't-notice).  Peanuts has wasted god knows how much printed page space for god knows how many years and elicited in its entire run sixteen and one half chuckles, four of those were from drunk people who were reading it upside down.  Charles Schultz made millions upon millions.  Newspapers paid millions upon millions.  And have you seen that "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" play?  I was forced to see it twice as a kid.  You know what happens in it?  Nothing.  You know what costumes they are wearing?  None!  Snoopy is just a dude, wearing a white shirt.  No dog mask.  No tail.  No barking.  And Charlie Brown is just a dude with that stupid yellow shirt with the zig zag.  Oh my god.  Make an effort, people.  That's what that sort of jazz does to you, that's who goes to see it!  And everyone on Peanuts sucks.  I love dogs.  But if Snoopy was a real dog I'd euthanize him with extreme prejudice.  I hate him worse than Scrappy Doo, and thinking about Scrappy Doo churns bile in my belly.  And who else is on that show? Bunch of little shits. You've got smelly guy, piano guy, psychiatrist girl, pull the football bitch.  I mean Linus was the only major character I didn't absolutely hate, but he was still pretty god damn smug about his smarts.  And all it is is swishy jazz, swishy jazz, swishy jazz.  When adults talk, when stuff happens, etc.  And what the fuck is with the WWI Snoopy cousin flashbacks with the flying doghouse?  Mother of god, get the damn dog some PTSD medication and treatment, he's been suffering for 90 freaking years now.  Anyway, that's the gist of why I hate it.  I could go on for hours, especially if I got drunk at a Peanuts-themed bar.  Ohhh..  And WTF is the name Peanuts for?  Name it Snoopy for god sake.  The good people of Hanna-Barbara didn't name their show Cashews when it was really about Scooby Doo.  What a pretensious asshole Charles Schultz was.  He and Hitler are the only good reasons I can think of for not curing mortality.  To think of an infinitude of time and space stuck with those two...  Ugh.



Das Nihilist

I'm 84.6% nihilist, but not in the anarchist's co-opted blow-stuff-up sense.  Rather, I neither believe nor disbelieve most things I don't directly experience.  I used to drive my last ex-girlfriend nuts by doubting her every celebrity sighting claim. Once a week she would say, "I just saw [insert celebrity name here] on 3rd Street."  And it just seemed like the frequency was impossible, and that she was mixing in people who just happened to bear resemblances.  In fairness, I discovered later I had prosopagnosia, a mild case, and so I really was in no position to deny her claims.  I can have difficulty recognizing people I only know (though only those I know slightly).  Whatever the excuse, it was slightly obnoxious of me.  I meant it in jest, but that doesn't mean it was forever funny.