Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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December 2000

26 Ponderings.

good and evil
I find I know less about good from evil. for example, even though he is over-reaching and illiterate, i think i'll give our new president a chance. Besides savagely raping the environment and killing indigents by the score, he might just turn out alright. So far his cabinet looks more racially diverse than any we've seen before. Though Thomas Sowell is black too, for what that matters.

i'm learning that anything i want to be good at i have to practice. including even relationships. Amy and I broke up because our conversation seemed to easy flowing at the start of things, and over time we came to rely on our repartie rather than constructing a serious long term caring dialog style. So that's a lesson - if you want to live with someone, for now or forever, initial attraction and charm is one thing. Seriously sustained discussion takes committment and dedication. And practice. Whew.

media = magic
I've known it before but I'm remembering that media and communications is sorcery and magic. And there is good and bad here. Whenever I remember this I realize I have power as a wordsmith to give people a sense of things and affect the world, much as I have been affected by writers and speakers. I've been told repeatedly that I'm a natural for television. Television seems like Sorcery 101 - it's so elemental, the magic. Just lots of magic powder and hand waving and large audiences and disappearing elephants. I've been amazed to realize/remember that many of the leaders in the field of television are smart, even caring people. When I watch television it does only shallow service to the world of ideas. But I'm not really qualified to speak - I don't have cable. I have turned on cable in Lincoln Nebraska, and seen televised Cornel West speeches. So maybe cable is the redemption of television.


questions > answers
Most of the major work I can do in my life these days seems less about answers and more about questions. I used to know with conviction what i could make of myself and make of the web. I can't remember how I came to be that full of energy. But seeing Buckminster Fuller performed twice reminds me that questions are the root of passion - if I can locate that burning issue that I must resolve, then I will work up a hypothesis. It only sounds like I have answers, in fact I'm testing questions.

Math at Work math
Math is good for keeping a limber brain. I bought a book on applied mathematics and I'm very slowly working my way through it. If you can factor and prime and fashion numbers into math problems you've got a whole new hold on the world of data and information.

Work. I work a lot. Meaning I go into work and I hurl myself into tasks. I often choose to work instead of chasing experience. Any time I spend working means I think my energy is best used by my boss for his or her own ends. Or it means I am learning from the experience. I remember when I was growing up, I used to emotionally terrorize my mother for working too much. Now I are one.

scan hair Family is important. I feel lucky to have mostly civil funny people in my family - visiting my roots is not generally a time for derision and discomfort, at least since I cut my hair. I get great advice from my family, I learn who I am from my family, and I can help members of my family. for example, I turned my uncle on to MP3s and we were able to find a recording of Long John Blues by Dinah Washington, a song he had been seeking out for years. Jim gave me some great advice about approaching my workplace with confidence. I play Starcraft with Eli once every two weeks or so and I'm glad we have our own relationship - it's a wild thing to work with a young mind. I took an eleven year old Gideon to the Bucky play; I reexperienced it through his eyes.

community service
You can either work your tail off and make money and give money when you have it. Or you can consider raising good kids enough of a service to the fate of the world. Or you could volunteer for Compumentor, Habitat for Humanity, or a church, shelter or school or something. I've been trying to volunteer my tech skills. I'm so darn busy and focused on work or chatting it's hard for me to take time to get the community service done right. But I will get it done. If ever I feel bad that I'm not contributing enough, I remember my mother's work on the Young Women's Leadership Charter School. She's become the family saint.

spiritual practice
When I was breaking up with amy, I needed to clear my head, to remember how I felt. Regular meditation has helped that. It's difficult to train the monkey mind. But right now I'm enjoying the challenge. I either sit and try to empty my brain, or I sit and I play finger piano, guitar or drum aimlessly. Or I sing to my cat.

as much as i like writing on the web, I want to undertake a focused study and generate a book. So far, trying to write a book while I'm caught up in work has been very difficult. I'm imbuing myself with ideas and writing to prepare my rod for lightning to strike. I keep Kafka in mind as a parallel productivity role-model.

the post
Crap sucks. I hate the postal mail. Most all of what I get delivered is commercial solicitiation. I get like a tree worth of credit card offers a week. I work in my life to be a thorough listener, and i have a hard time just tossing something someone has mailed to me. The post is making me callous. Actually, I'm failing at callousness. The mail is making me cluttered. So far I've been bad with timely bill payment. I hate it when magazines I write for pay me late. I try to pay individuals on time - it's the companies that still give me trouble.

In one night I'll watch three movie fragments, work on two computers, play two games, and browse two books. It's these media stacks that stimulate some of my culture comment. Without them I would have nowhere near the hypertext behind me. They are the rocks I stand on to see over the wall of the present into the hidden past. But having all this crap keeps me from thinking of moving any time soon.