26 in 34

My 26 mile time is now at 34 hours. (Well, 26.2, if I’m talking about the distance that will matter. But the 34 hour mark isn’t super precise, either. This was the first attempt, and I didn’t even decide until mile 21 that I was going to do it, so I didn’t bother keeping super close track.) Obviously the 26 weren’t all together. It was something like 1/1/.5/1.5/1/13/.5/.5/1/1/5. Now, while I don’t plan on this blog becoming inundated by posts about my fitness, it is nonetheless my web log, so I’m going to note some observations that I will presumably come back to in a few months. For the people who are or have been into running, this is probably all obvious. Maybe. Maybe it’s more idiosyncratic. Regardless.

  • I could probably chip the time down a fair bit if I actually planned ahead. The 13 mile chunk was at the end of a day that already included two full body strength workouts. My legs were already feeling like gelatin.
  • My sense of speed is not very consistent. Near the beginning I was keeping around 10 mph. By the end I was closer to 4 mph. They felt about the same.
  • Which song was playing had a lot to do with my speed. More than local progress, though less than global progress. (I.e. with a faster song, mile 3 is faster than mile 1, but mile 26 is not faster than mile 3. Unless I intentionally take mile 3 really slowly, of course.)
  • Around mile 10 of the 13 mile stretch (15 overall) I felt what may have been the greatest physical sensation I have ever felt.
  • Turns out if you sweat enough, when it dries, there will be visible grains of salt on your face.
  • The hardest mile was the nineteenth. I.e., the first one after sleeping. I assumed I was going to take a rest day because of how much it hurt to move. After three miles the pain subsided.
  • Thirteen in a row probably felt better than the twenty-six over thirty-four hours. I felt done at the end of the thirteen. Writing this at the end of the twenty-six, I feel like I should go run some more.
  • I was wondering why my thighs were okay after the eighteen. Then today when I added the eight I realized yesterday was in athletic pants. I guess now I can justify getting some nice athletic pants.
  • Getting Little Caesars midway through the final five was a nice energy boost, but also acid shooting up my throat was unpleasant.
  • I hadn’t really gone far past feeling like jello before. Apparently somewhere later is feeling like stone.
  • I hate treadmills.
  • While my presumed eventual goal is 26 in 5, as an intermediate step, condensing the chunks into 13 and 13 first might be more feasible. (Or just working up from 13 to 14 to 15 to….Or, combine the two. 14 and 12, 15 and 11, 16 and 10…..)
  • While speed isn’t really a big concern, at least for now, I do wonder what kind of pacing would be most effective. I clearly started fast and slowed down. There were some local peaks and valleys, but the overall trend was significantly downward. I wonder if keeping a more steady rate would be more efficient.
  • Also, while I did not aim for any speed, I did aim for intensity throughout. My primary ongoing goal was to defeat any urge to slow down. That is, my goal was to run at the maximum sustainable speed, with occasional sprints.
  • The sudden bursts of energy to sprint surprised me. They aligned with my music, but in the middle of mile 13 (8 of the 13 mile stretch) I was able to sustain 10 mph for thirty seconds. I had similar, though slower, bursts in miles 18 and 26.
  • I am really surprised at how little wear these shoes from Rue 21 have taken. I assumed this would destroy them.
  • Running far away from home in order to force myself to run the second half remains an effective technique.
  • Riverside has a lot of intersections. Lest I go 130-260 laps around the track in the gym, I need to find some extended area without breaks outside.
  • Riverside at night is a lot less scary while running.
  • Pop punk, power metal, thrash metal, and industrial metal, while normally excellent kinds of music, are also excellent for running. Particularly the speedier songs within. “M&Ms” by blink-182, “Once in a Lifetime” by DragonForce, “All Nightmare Long” by Metallica, and “Never Surrender” by Combichrist are some examples.
  • Pop punk and power metal are good for peppy songs to feel good to. Thrash and industrial metal are good for songs to power through pain to.
  • Part of the trick with training this skill will be that it takes quite a bit of time. And this is an extremely busy quarter for me. I know the 13 mile stretch was done in 2 hours. I imagine the total time was somewhere between 5 and 6 hours, maybe 7 because of how sluggish the end got. Even if it was only 5, that’s a lot of time out of two days. Perhaps weekends will be of some use. Or the summertime.
  • Given I really only started running with any regularity a little over two months ago, I am surprised.

Observations on the non-normal perspective on gendered interactions given by bisexuality (and probably other non-monosexualities)

The first observation: Jealousy is a common theme across relationships. There’s probably a TV Tropes page for it, but I’m not going down that rabbit hole tonight. But I imagine everyone is familiar with the stereotype of one (usually straight) partner forbidding the other from interacting with anyone of the same gender/sex as the forbidding partner. E.g. a girlfriend telling her boyfriend not to talk with any other women. I once saw someone suggest no men should ever spent significant time with any married women.

That sort of thing doesn’t really work for bisexuals. To forbid spending time with anyone else is just absurd. So the only option is to acknowledge that your partner may have friendships with people they may, if they’re not in a relationship already, date.

The second observation: At least according to what I’ve seen, monosexuals have an entire gender of people that are simply beyond the realm of romantic or sexual attraction. Thoughts of those varieties simply don’t come up seriously. (This probably has a lot to do with the possibility of the first observation.)  Bisexuals of course still have some people whom are not seriously considered those ways (because of age, familial relations, etc.), but the pool is much smaller. The assumed lines are much fewer, so more consideration is required.

TV Update 2018-02-19

Since last time I posted this (which was on FB), I’ve watched a few more shows. I’m surprised at how much TV I’m watching, but I guess sometimes it’s good to do something besides read, write, and exercise. And I’m pretty quick to turn something off if I’m getting nothing out of it. Also several of my closest friends watch a fair bit of TV and since I have them to discuss the shows with, they’re more worthwhile than otherwise.

A.P. Bio and The Good Place have been rather notorious in philosophy circles since they each feature a philosopher as a main character. Some have been concerned about the philosopher in A.P. Bio being a jackass, but, well, the show is funny nonetheless. And anyone who takes a sitcom as serious representation is probably anti-intellectual to begin with. The Good Place has made moral philosophy more prominent in popular culture, which is nice. I’ve been thinking about how a similar move might work for metaphysics, but metaphysics admittedly seems less immediately applicable. But hey, at least it’s moral philosophers nobody likes. (–a repeated line in the show. I don’t have any problems with moral philosophers. I’m finding myself drawn in that direction anyway.)

Though I was made aware of both by philosophy blogs, friends who have at most a passing interest in philosophy suggesting them was what got me to watch. A.P. Bio is hilarious in a similar way to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Californication. The main character is awful. He crosses several moral lines. The show is only a few episodes in, so perhaps it can move to cross every moral line. The Good Place is funny, but the plot really keeps it going. The characters draw you in, and they constantly get into situations that make you watch the next episode. The first few episodes rely more on humor, but by the end of the second season it may be into more dramatic territory.

I’ve been keeping up with Lucifer since this past summer and it is my favorite show on TV right now. I might have an unfair judgment since I have a huge soft spot for stories that play on the supernatural elements of Christianity. So the Devil in L.A. took me no time at all to take to. This season has had a ton of aggravating breaks between episode releases, but more often than not the episodes are very hard-hitting. The thrill level you’d expect only in season finales is hit in several episodes of the third season.

I just started watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The characters are all awful, but watching them make their choices leads to a lot of laughing. I’m only in the second season, so I can’t say much yet. I clearly have a soft spot for moral nihilism in stories, and this show has a lot of it.

Rick and Morty ended a while ago. The season was pretty good. I hate the ending myself, but it started with an alright scene. Maybe there will be a new season some day.

I started  watching Californication when I was stuck in bed from not really being able to do things like breathe this past December. The show is in ways similar to House (possibly my favorite show), but with a writer instead of a doctor. And the writer is actually interested in love, but he writes fiction, so that difference might be included for free in the first difference. I started watching because I saw Marilyn Manson was in it at some point late in the series. I was a bit disappointed to see he, unlike several other celebrities that make an appearance for a season or so as such, only stuck around for an episode. I’ve also recently been compared to Hank Moody, and I’m not sure how to react to that. I went with excitement because I like the show.

*TV shows I currently watch*

A.P. Bio
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Rick and Morty
The Good Place

*TV shows I really like*

Arrested Development
Rick and Morty
The Good Place

*TV shows I like*

A.P. Bio
Avatar the Last Airbender
Better Call Saul
Bob’s Burgers
Breaking Bad
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Freaks and Geeks
How I Met Your Mother
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
King of the Hill
Madame Secretary
Malcolm in the Middle
Parks and Rec
Party Down
The Amanda Show
The Bernie Mac Show
The Big Bang Theory
The Bold Type
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Office (US)
The Simpsons
The War at Home
Trailer Park Boys
Xiaolin Showdown

*TV shows I intend to watch*

30 Rock
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Black Mirror
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Fawlty Towers
Key and Peele
Mad Men
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
My So-Called Life
Orange is the New Black
Orphan Black
Stalker (subs)
Star Trek
Steven Universe
The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo
The Newsroom
The Office (UK)
The Sopranos
The State
The Twilight Zone
The Voices
The Wire
The X Files
Twin Peaks

Funny story from O’Hare airport

Funny story time! I was going through airport security and after the usual feel-up by security, I saw my bag had set off the alert system and was about to be torn apart.

I wondered what might had set it off. Maybe the bag of malic acid? I think I heard something about taking chargers out but was in a hurry and had other things on my mind so I forgot to play along with whatever new form of security theatre they were engaging in.

So I get to the counter and the guy asks “Do you have any Yu-Gi-Oh! cards?”

I say yeah and note I have a box in the back pocket. He says he knows. Okay. I mention after he pulls it out that I have a small tin in there, too, and he’s already pulling it out. I guess those machines are good at detecting the presence of children’s card games.

He ends up going through the whole collection and swabbing them and testing the swabs. I guess my deck must suck because they let me go and really the only explanation I can think of is they’re worried terrorists are now harnessing the power of the shadow realm.

Incoming influx of posts

As I revive my WordPress presence and also review the past year, I’ll be posting a bit more. I’ll schedule them so they don’t come in bursts, but expect much more frequent posting for a few days as I move the bar for what goes on this blog. (In the past it’s been mostly low-effort quotes and somewhat higher-effort pieces. I’ll now be posting things more in the middle. I.e., with some thought behind them, but not necessarily as much as those in my Writing Prompts or Philosophical Sketches.)

Software (May 2017)

As I get ready for another reformat of my laptop, I’ll take a moment to consider what software will be getting put back on.

Express Burn Disc Burning Software seems light and easy enough. I got it because it came preinstalled and had no drawbacks for putting an ISO on a DVD-R. I might just get a different disc burning program, though.

FL Studio 10 lets me turn the MIDIs I make into listenable audio tracks.

Skype is the only way I have to communicate with some people.

Spotify lets me listen to pretty much anything for free, and its organization is a fair bit better than YouTube. Plus I don’t have to deal with Chrome’s attempt at handling memory.

4k Video Downloader 4.2 is the only program I’ve ever found that will download Youtube playlists in a variety of formats without making a fuss.

Sumatra PDF is light and lets me read my ebooks and papers. I may seek out something with better highlights and annotation powers.

FileZilla lets me easily move things on and off my wobsite.

HydraIRC is a nice IRC client. That’s about the extent of what I would ask of it.

SimCity 3000 is a very fun game.

Pidgin covers basically all of the messaging protocols. Notably XMPP.

Adobe Illustrator CS6 is great for making vector graphics.

Process Blocker is good for when a process doesn’t seem to want to buzz off.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 is a fantastic photo editor.

VLC Media Player gets the job done for video viewing. And the keyboard controls are nice.

Notepad++ is my goto text editor. Which I use surprisingly often.

IrfanView is good for viewing images.

Audacity for audio editing.

Google Chrome because of ChromeCast.

Windirstat for keeping tabs on how much stuff is taking up space.



Path to idealism

A friend of mine suggested I should write up how I came to idealism, which I’ll do here. I’ll note up front that I do not think that I came to it through the best philosophical arguments, possible or actual. Nonetheless, the path itself may be elucidatory of rhetorically strong arguments for it. (It may well also just be a generally uninteresting anecdote, but in either case, the request is fulfilled.) I may as well also explain how I came around to agent-causal libertarianism and agnosticism regarding the existence of divine beings. They all tie together, anyway.

At the end of high school I was a generally stereotypical new atheist with a strong inkling of disillusionment coming out of having strong religious beliefs that fell apart (and were probably of a harmful variety, anyway). Along with this came an eternalist theory of time, incompatibilist determinism, and a general scientism. Ultimately, buying into a third-person methodology probably did a lot of this. When still a Christian, I appealed to revelation that couldn’t be verified with a third-person perspective. I was told that if something didn’t qualify as evidence for others, it can’t qualify for me either. This didn’t knock over the dominoes immediately, but once I internalized it, everything else started to fall into place.

My first semester of college I took two seven-week seminars that met daily. Each of the two professors were brilliant, and the latter of the two a theologian as well. At that point I had two contradictory beliefs in mind: (1) religion and theism are completely stupid and (2) these religious people/theists are brilliant and have thought hard about religion and theism. The latter option won given the stronger evidence in its favor (Dawkins and friends have very condescending things to say, but looking back, I don’t see much substance to those things). Of course, this didn’t defeat my atheism, but it certainly made me believe the alternative is plausible.

My third semester I took a course on ancient and medieval philosophy. In the class we talked about some sort of phenomena (either color or feeling or pain; I don’t remember–for the sake of not writing a bunch of disjunctions, I’ll assume pain) and the professor asked us to explain what they are, more or less. I identified pain as a neural state. I.e. pain is just an arrangement of one’s brain and neurons and maybe some other biological stuff. The professor responded that may have some causal or correlatory connection to pain, but is not itself the feeling of pain. I pondered on this for awhile and the distinction became immediately apparent. (This is when the door to first person methodology opened back up.) From this I inferred some sort of “soul” must exist. I used “soul” synonymously with “mind” or “immaterial self”. While now I know physicalists have a response to this, I did not know that at the time, so I was convinced. With this I became a substance dualist.

The next semester I took a class on early modern philosophy. I appreciated philosophers like Descartes giving me further ammo for dualism, but my focus turned more towards whether divine beings exist (or, specifically, God). Descartes’s Meditations persuaded me pretty well, particularly on how we can get around skepticism. In the Meditations he only gives a natural theological argument, so I wasn’t pushed to any religion, but I did take to deism, though with hesitation. In fact, the final for the class had two essay questions of which we had to pick one: argue for or against the existence of God or free will. Being hesitant on God, I picked the free will option, running the “both determinism and indeterminism are bad for free will so we don’t have free will” argument. (Which in the paper I’ll be presenting in April, I argue doesn’t actually work.)

The following semester (fall of my junior year; also my first semester as a philosophy major) I took a class on science fiction and philosophy in which I had plenty of opportunities to apply substance dualism to all sorts of fun problems. The main thrust of it relied on God mapping souls to bodies. The deism obviously was critical. In the sci fi and philosophy class I found the arguments for compatibilism really compelling.

The next semester (spring of junior year) a few important factors came into play. I took an independent study on early modern philosophy and the PSR. Reading more into Leibniz and Spinoza with their basically panpsychist views probably had some effect. Reading Reid fully convinced me of agent-causal libertarianism. I was already starting to see how compatibilist free will has some problems (like not being free will), but had no way around it, not really getting event causal libertarianism (and universal object causal libertarianism being wacky). ACL filled the hole the best and, to my knowledge, indeed is the best explanation. The door being open to first person experience being relevant to an argument was of course needed for Reid’s argument having any force on me.

In the winter months of my junior year I started reading some work found on marxists.org, in fact just plucking anything that looked interesting and giving it a go. At this same time I started paying more attention to continental philosophy (which isn’t covered super well at Valpo). Most notably for this story, I took a liking to Sartre. Moreover, I found his argument for atheism more compelling each time I read it. Once I was fully convinced of libertarianism, the deism fell out to positive atheism. A long conversation I had with another friend in which he tried to convince me of physicalism was the straw that led me to look at all the problems with dualism. Without God to make the whole thing work, dualism was ready to fall out. Of course, the original point that made me move away from physicalism holds, and since then I’ve found more compelling arguments as well.

This past fall, with physicalism and dualism each unappealing, I started to lean to idealism. A few weeks in, I read Peter van Inwagen’s chapter in Metaphysics in which he reconstructs an argument for idealism and then knocks it down. I found the reconstructed argument far more compelling than the knocking down. (While I’d read Berkeley twice before, neither time was I moved. I couldn’t really understand the texts at the time, either.) Since then I’ve been working on a nontheistic account of idealism. At the same time, I took a class on philosophy of religion. There I learned Sartre was wrong; free will and theism are compatible.

At this point, I’ve acquired more compelling arguments for ACL and idealism. The agnosticism on the existence of divine beings stems from no longer having a strong case either way. Traditional idealism demands theism, but I think this is a hasty move. Multiple people have pointed out that the most apparent problems in my current set of beliefs all go away with God in the picture. I’m hesitant to apply such a powerful fix, inclined instead to believe other options should be explored first (which is what I’m doing now, alongside trying to make the case that what I’m doing totally isn’t monism because there are at least two things). Moreover, as the friend who suggested this post put it, I want an ontological argument for every property of God. So even if there is some being keeping our ideas consistent and explaining intersubjective agreement, that being isn’t obviously omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient, etc.

[Edit 2018-06-23: I noticed this is one of the more popular posts on my blog, so an omission here is worth correcting. I should note that the professor of the early modern class, as well as the sci fi & philosophy, history independent study, and logic independent study (fwiw) is a Berkeleyan idealist. At the time I wrote this, I wanted to avoid sounding like I was just imitating or like he was pushing his idealism on students. Apparently I went too far in the other direction and failed to mention his role at all. As far as my idealism up to the point of writing the original post here, he at least provided a pretty good foundation of what it is and also some of the possibilities. (After all, Leibniz and Spinoza are, in some sense, idealists.) Also, someone smart believing it probably helped me maintain some trust that I wasn’t just crazy as everyone else I knew disagreed.

I might do another post soon to update where I am since I have certainly updated my position since.]