Birthday – Tuesday was my birthday, and it was good, though a little surreal as my birthdays always feel to me now, since the attention I get from other people spikes just that one day. It was also sort of nice in a surreal way that I had to convince one of my online friends that I was actually 19 years older than he assumed from my picture, which was from a few years ago, but not that many. But the best part of the day was opening the March folder of my nostalgia box, which I’ll tell you about below.
Funeral – Wednesday the office manager from my previous job messaged me that our designer’s daughter had been found dead of an overdose the day before, which would be a shock in any case but especially because I’d met her a few years before and she was young–only 30, I later learned. I consider the father, as well as his family, a friend as well as a coworker, so I was glad I was available to go to both the visitation and the funeral. As usual, I found the service thought provoking and even inspiring, since she was a complicated person with a vitality that lifted up everyone around her and a faith that persisted even while she struggled with substance abuse, to the point that she befriended her atheist roommate in the hospital and led him to the Lord.
Nostalgia box – I’m still working on February’s project, but I’d planned my March folder for my birthday, so I opened it that night and “discovered” that it contained a diary my mom had kept for a while after my birth and a set of encouraging notes from people in my teenage years, mostly around the end of high school, plus a Mad Lib-style booklet from an elementary school assignment where I described things about my life at the time. It ended up being a very good birthday activity because it gave me a sense that people value me and reinforced the desire I’ve had to work on my social connections and support people more proactively, so I recommend that people collect these kinds of messages and revisit them from time to time. I worked some on February’s project last week too, and I’m going to have to start over somewhat to simplify it so it takes less time. I’m also planning March’s project with a short time frame in mind, since ideally I’d like to take at most a week per month on the nostalgia box, mixed in with other projects so I’m not pausing everything for it.
Public coding guide – Other than the nostalgia box, I focused on the guide last week and got a decent amount written, but it turns out there was more to write than I realized, and I haven’t gotten it quite to the point of posting. But I’m simplifying this project too, at least its current phase, and hopefully I can post this week.
Knowledge representation – I’m supposed to be taking a break from KR to work on the code console/guide stuff, but I’ve been sneaking it in anyway, reading a little of my book on Object-Role Modeling, Information Modeling and Relational Databases by Terry Halpin, and discovering controlled natural languages, which are a way of restricting the way you write to make it clearer, either to other people or to both people and computers. It’s exciting to me because half my reason for studying KR is to find a more disciplined way to take notes, and I’ve been thinking along the lines of a simplified English, and happily I caught myself before I tried to create my own, and I researched and found these existing languages, so I’m reading about them to find and learn the most suitable one for my purposes.
Books – I’m still chugging my way through Watership Down and The Divine Conspiracy and enjoying both and having thoughts provoked (my main purpose in life, it seems), but mainly I want to comment on TDC. Willard does a good job of pressing the main point of his interpretation, which is that in the Sermon on the Mount, rather than laying down laws, Jesus is illustrating the kind of person who has the kind of inner life that results in the actions he’s describing. It’s getting me to think again about how you’d become that kind of person, the kind who believes God and loves others, and right now I’m thinking prayer is a central discipline–prayer as a type of meditation on truth. Usually I don’t like prayer, at least intercessory prayer, mostly because it’s hard to come up with things to say and I’m always sure I’m not sincere enough and I doubt God will do much to respond to my requests and it feels like a waste of time, but maybe if I treat it as a project that I plan for the way I do with my others and if I approach it in a conversational, Immanuel fashion and wait for God to give my prayers their main content, I could get myself to do it and feel like it’s at least doing something for me, even if it doesn’t supernaturally change the rest of the world.
Movies – I’d had Boyhood on my mental list for a while, and Jeremy had seen it recently, so I took a couple of days to watch it so we could talk about it. It was surprisingly engrossing for a film about everyday life, and I found myself thinking about it afterward much more than I expected, so maybe boring old regular life is more interesting than I typically assume. One of the more interesting details was The Black Album, which is a real thing you can listen to, and I take its inclusion to illustrate the close relationship the director has with his actors. Mason’s life was pretty different from mine, but it seemed to be the story of the stereotypical experiences of an average person in his demographic, and it made me want to find similar stories about other kinds of people.