Communication vs Conveyance

What does it mean to have communicated or understood something?

Is such a question even important?

Altera: Ahh... When will I awaken from this dream?

The images in this post reveal the primary plot driver of Fate/Extella.

Conveyc. 1300, to go along with;” late 14c., “to carry, transport;” from Anglo-French conveier, from Old French convoier “to escort” (Modern French convoyer), from Vulgar Latin *conviare “to accompany on the way,” from Latin com “with, together” (see com-) + via “way, road” (see via). It was a euphemism for “steal” 15c.-17c., which helped broaden its meaning. Related: Conveyed; conveying.

Of all the generic interview questions, the one I hate the most is “Tell me about yourself”. I’m fluent in English, but I’m not quite fluent in conjuring a response to these words. Is the purpose to get an audio summary of what everyone already knows is on the resume? Is it to see how I’d respond to an open ended question? Any possible answer I’ve come up with I feel there are better alternatives. My visceral response to the question every time it comes up is “This is a stupid question”. That’s not what comes out of my mouth in an interview, but is that communicated through anyways? Even if the interviewer doesn’t consciously understand it, can that sentiment be read through whatever I actually say?

If they ask “Tell me why you’re the best candidate for the job” and I say “Sorry, I can’t do such a thing without having seen the qualifications and personalities of the other candidates for myself”, will the humility and empathy get through? Or will only the cheekiness and lack of respect for authority, and a demonstration of failure to fulfill objectives in favor of laziness and some smug sense of superiority?

There’s things a person simply won’t pick up on. Having different political opinions is the easy example, introverted vs extroverted or similar personality differences are the slightly harder example; these sorts of things are knowns, and then there are unknowns, of no lesser strengths. People will vehemently reject this or that, before or even without becoming aware that such a thing is happening. If the other person is a different skin color, speaks a different language, or wears different clothes, then the reason is assigned easily after-the-fact, but if they don’t, then it’s said to be due to bad personality traits or group associations.

Which has its uses, to be sure. The purpose of knowledge is judgment, if someone is dangerous you want to know sooner rather than later, and, though subdued for most other decisions, that urgency is the same push behind all judgement, and therefore, understanding. Any other push for understanding can’t be stronger than the one powered by survival instinct (unless for whatever reason the instinct is deficient). It’s not so important that one is aware of why the other guy is dangerous, as it is acting on the decision that the other guy is dangerous. It’s not so important that one is aware of why one believes the other guy is untrustworthy… and so on. Especially when one considers how much time it takes to actually become aware of things and think things through on a level that can be written down. When these automatic judgments are right, then there’s no problem, and when they’re wrong, they’re too costly to bother fixing. Easier to agree to disagree, whether it be verbally “Let’s agree to disagree” or taking an extra turn at buying donuts, because otherwise it’s at least a few hours of everyone’s time, and aint nobody got time fo dat. Donuts plus a word starting with “S” is usually sufficient, unless it’s stealing or murder, in which case an entire class of rich people have all the time in the world, except it’s still not for that.

By all means these are not “logical”. But they get the intent across.

If understanding is not done because it is not financially or realistically viable, then communication is effectively about how to sing songs in another language. It’s about how to hit all the tones and inflections, correctly angles of chests and palms, all the things which “speak to us” as genetically similar descendants of a species, rather than anything to do with “content”. Not that content is completely meaningless, strong heartstring-pulling words mean more than logic, and logic means more than evidence, evidence means more than how it was obtained or checked, etc. etc. etc. all of them, 80/20, each step of the way.

It’s idyllicaly stated that “A good speaker is a good listener”, I don’t think this is true at all; I’m pretty sure a good communicator is 80% signalling. Similarly, a good listener is also 80% signalling. If we assume that the words “communicate” and “understand” refer to things that the majority of people actually do in the majority of situations, these are the approximate proportions and descriptions borne out by reality. Any “true” version of either “with a capital [letter]” is niche ideal nonsense at worst and still completely different from the norm at best.

But, because the writing population does spend a lot of time among words and logic, and because the probability of finding a “compatible” speaker or listener is not zero, when communication and understanding through words do happen they are treasured and remembered over all the other instances of it leading nowhere.

And so we read and learn that getting an idea across is about things which it isn’t.

Altera: Now, ba-boom! Wow, what a beautiful waterfall. This must be what Kings dream about!

“There is a saying in business.

>”Suckers try to be right. Non-suckers try to win”

They don’t care about being right. Even if they get everything wrong, they will have more friends, game and social security than you. Do you think that birds will suddenly fall to the ground because they don’t understand the physics of aerodynamics? They don’t need to know why they are successful. They just will be because their system labels them so.

This system, “/ic/”, what does it labels you as?”

“”The most important part about art is expressing yourself” – Pablo Picasso

According to one of the most renowned artists in history, expressing yourself is more important than grinding boxes and fundies. Is this why so many people here never make it and are instead stuck in a miserable shitposting loop?”

“unbeknownst to picasso the human personality is always expressing itself to the best of its capability

when he was bound by ‘technicalities’ he was expressing his anxiety

when he was being a useless hack he was expressing his flamboyance

when you consider all the ‘box drawing shitposters,’ can you figure out what they are expressing?”

“Fuck you Picasso.

The most important part about art is managing to make a living with it.
It’s also the ugliest part.”

Altera: I can't get myself out, so there's no point in trying. And so...
Altera: ...Well, it can't be any other way.

Communicate1520s, “to impart” (information, etc.), from Latin communicatus, past participle of communicare “to share, communicate, impart, inform,” literally “to make common,” related to communis “common, public, general” (see common (adj.)). Meaning “to share, transmit” (diseases, etc.) is from 1530s. Related: Communicated; communicating.

“Isn’t” – I say this as shorthand for “basically isn’t” because I can’t possibly be bothered to explain the 80/20, the letter versus the spirit, the absolute versus the general, before every single use. Sometimes I say “zero” to mean “actually zero”, other times to mean “basically zero”. In general inaccurate word choice doesn’t break the intent, but every once in a while, and usually for more important things than not, choices must be critically correct.

A stranger helped me get past the mental rut I was in with drawing. Nothing they said was particularly new or groundbreaking, and I’d had some semblence of the idea myself for a while before meeting this person, but I didn’t do it because reasons, reasons which they largely ignored because it wasn’t important. The reasons I could vocalize were insignificant or even contradicting the reasons I couldn’t, and, like in most cases, the latter was the driver. The stranger understood the problem I was having, and ignored most of my words in favor of saying that which would actually solve the issue. If I had gone on in essay format, they would’ve ignored 80% of my points. They picked up the important 20% quick, were critically correct multiple times on end, and leaving me with the sentence or two I’d been suspecting the whole time but was covering up with words words words words words, and believing the direction they pointed in was correct. Or alternatively: I had the right idea in the wrong frame, and they provided a better frame.

But that’s generally not how it works.

I’d had some other troubles with drawing and drawing philosophy before and almost every step of the way there’d be a “okay you can stop there, I’ve diagnosed the problem” rebuttal. So much so that I can start imagining them before they appear. An example of my disagreements:

“/ic/ told me to follow Loomis. But Loomis is overrated crap. He’s not wrong, but he’s not great. Just looking at what he proportions out as “the ideal woman” it’s clearly not pretty. He says draw skulls one way, and then draws them a different way. The way I draw now might have some similarities to Loomis, but it’s more because they felt right than because it’s what Loomis said.”

Example of potential levels of rebuttals, nonexhaustive, from broad to specific:

  • >following advice from the internet
  • >following advice from 4chan / anonymous posters
  • >implying /ic/ is one person
  • >getting memed by the sticky
  • actually Loomis is from the era of average = ideal so he’s not overrated
  • post your work
  • well you read Loomis and you draw like Loomis, so Loomis. praise Loomis!
  • mad cuz bad

Rewording for a more widespread issue:

“My parents, teachers, and the media told me to get a STEM degree. But STEM degrees are overrated crap. They’re not terrible, but they’re not great. Just looking at how many actual [countrymen] get jobs as opposed to [foreigners on worker visas] it’s clearly not pretty. They say when they went to college they paid for everything with a summer part-time job and got a real job just by walking on a lot and giving a firm handshake, look at what it takes now. I have a STEM degree, but looking at everything now, I really wish I didn’t.”

Examples of potential levels of rebuttal:

  • Any idea that originates from this place is bad (nothing you say is trustworthy)
  • Your story doesn’t disprove the statistics (the experts overrule you)
  • Worked for me (i overrule you)
  • You just hate different people (i.e. tangent into some other topic / politics)
  • You’re just lazy / stupid / (some other personality deficit)

For all these other responses, what is one to say?

Is it really a communication mistake or an understanding error? Is there any value at all at being right on one thing or wrong on another if everyone’s signalling past each other?

If you know what kind of audience you are looking to talk to, i.e. what kind of “brand” you want to build, then you can just hammer the same thing over and over again for some of that sweet sweet survivorship bias. If you just want to feel good about yourself then you just talk about whatever you’re most confident on or know the most about, then pull out the rhetorical tricks if you’re losing somehow.

If none of that applies – what then?

When I started out my post on BART, it was because I was pissed off that I had to hide my old knife under some bush after being told I couldn’t bring it into the building and finding coin lockers did not exist (and a second item I did not successfully retrieve). After coming home I thought I’d put together some imagery comparing what life looks like around Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Tampa – three regions where I either had or could easily obtain photos of and knew what to talk about, since I’d been there in recent memory and had read up on a bunch of stuff relating to urban planning. Ended up only tangentially talking about urban planning, barely on the coin locker issue, and not at all about Tampa, because the more I wrote the more I saw something even more infuriating than the ugliness of cars and land use designed around cars, namely, the mentality behind the design and defenses of the American system. Robert Stark later interviewed me not on what I wrote but on BART and SF Bay land usage, to which I prepared ~5000 words in text and proceeded to use almost none of it.

So after gone through this topic three and a half times in very different ways I get pingback from a forum on a site called where the first comments summarize my post as “‘America sucks because it’s not Hong Kong’, maybe he should move there then” and “this guy doesn’t know how to communicate and talks about killing himself, why are we listening to him”.

I mean… sure. These aren’t that far off the mark. There’s quite a few more negative things that could be said about me, if they wanted. But I can’t really care to argue about it, because it feels like I already have, and because it’s pretty clear, at least among those sentiments, there’s nothing that more words can solve. On the actual discussion too, there’s not much more I have to input: whether this city should take this decision or that agency should take that decision I don’t know. My opinion and knowledge don’t go that far. I’m aware about how much time is spent in cars and waiting in lines while in cars, I’ve seen how much better it could possibly be, and that’s about it. Maybe some disillusionment about how much can actually be done to change how systems work in America, and preference for saving time over having space. I’m not all that educated on the topic. I just wrote because I had material and I was mad.

Granted, this was a pretty unique case. I commented on a blog, and someone else who runs a podcast found me through that blog, and yet another someone else who listens to that podcast posted that podcast and my post to a forum, so clearly there was going to be some sort of audience/culture/style disconnect.

But even on the few topics which I am experienced in and can string together coherent paragraphs on and with people I spend time with it’s the same fuckin deal. Tweak some percentages on types of responses, even go ahead and switch all negatives to positive if you like; the picture will remain the same:

No one responds to what I’m trying to convey.

I mean, maybe it is just me. Maybe I’m the only idiot. Maybe I think in words too much and don’t realize or even consider why people are even around and what they want to get out of their dropping or pitching into any given conversation.

But how is one to think if not with words?

What important things could there be other than being right and true?

2017 July (Perfectionism)

I don’t really have anything to show this month.

Spent all the hours instead on watching anime, playing videogames, and appreciating all their flaws.

Coming from having only schooling and testing and going to 4chan’s /a/, /v/, and more recently /ic/, I’ve only ever looked for how things are wrong. These are all places that pride themselves on having high quality insights and tastes, and it’s enforced: the smallest thing can bring you down. In school an insignificant trivia point can be the difference between one letter grade and another, a feature of the system that only becomes more prominent as you go from 10 questions on a test, 1 test a week, for ~30 weeks, that count for 33% of your grade in public school, to college, where there’s 4 questions on a test, 2 tests ever, and count for everything. On 4chan it doesn’t matter how popular or appealing anything is, there’s something wrong with it. And if there is something wrong with it, no matter how prominent that thing actually is, it’ll be given the spotlight over everything else, and anyone who disagrees has “shit taste”.

It’s with this sort of mindset that I approached drawing. For the anatomy grinding that I was doing, it served its purpose well. There really was always some other little thing to work on. But, just like how my good grades in class prevented me from thinking about communication and life skills, my grinding relieved me from worrying about my complete lack of ability to put together anything the common man would be interested in looking at. /ic/ always criticized how these proportions were unrealistic or that muscle insertion was wrong – I wanted my works to be free from the types of criticisms that I saw. In the process I “lost” the larger picture and didn’t see that I wasn’t making any works at all.

“Lost” because I vaguely know what it should be, but haven’t had it myself for a very long time.

I started drawing a couple of years ago because I had just graduated college with muh stem degree, couldn’t get a job, and after half a year wanted to have something to show for with my life. I didn’t actually start off grinding feminine body parts, that only happened after visiting /ic/. They had resources on how to draw figures and not much else, a lot of its discussion revolved around anatomy correctness, and I didn’t really know where to start or what to do. I had my own specific disagreements, but the scope of thought was basically the same: I didn’t pay any attention to anything except line drawings focused on anatomical correctness. Coming out of college having no more classes to study for, my bar of productivity was simply “do something that amounts to more than a winrate in a videogame”.

Drawing was “something to do”. Not “something I want to do”. Like probably many other young men it was a great attraction to be able to create my own fap material to specifically cater to my own tastes, but other than that, I didn’t “want” to draw. I didn’t have anything I “wanted” to draw. I needed “something to do”, something that was “productive”, and something “that could be successful”… and drawing fit the bill. Or I should say: I made drawing fit the bill.

It doesn’t fit the bill anymore.

But the bill was wrong too.

I wanted to “succeed” at drawing: specifially, I wanted to “not fail” at drawing, failing being anything that either looks bad or is anatomically incorrect. The idea of failure and success motivated me more than any idea of being able to create beautiful women with my own hands. As long as I kept putting in the hours, as long as those hours showed some improvement, as long as they didn’t fail… it was okay. “Okay” – i.e., “not a failure”.

The moment I start really thinking about something I’m doing it becomes a matter of success or failure. School wasn’t about this or that subject, it was about the grade; making art wasn’t about fun and viewing art wasn’t about appeal, it was about realism. To a lesser extent anime and videogames too, but all the same: something is only good when it overwhelms and leaves me with absolutely nothing to say. Having some modicum of intelligence and being trained to complain, this leaves me with “good taste”. But it also cripples me from doing or exploring. What I spend time with needs to “not fail” in the ten thousand ways i invariably and passively come up with.

I’ve been trying to remedy that by spending a lot of time with things I’d normally call “average” or “sub-par”, and things I’d normally not care about. There’s some truth to the criticism rebuttal of “well you do better then” and this is what I think that truth is. There’s the timeless masterpieces, there’s the lacking me, and there’s all the completed moderate quality works inbetween. The flaws in masterpieces are too obvious because of the contrast, the flaws in garbage are too obvious because there’s nothing else to look at, but for average “pretty good” no-name things I’ll probably forget soon enough, there’s no real concept of failure or success. Here’s a piece of entertainment, which people put many hours into making, with its own successes and failures, and it doesn’t really matter in the end because no one’s heard of it and no one will really remember it.

Recently I read a manga called “Gunsmith Cats”. I wouldn’t say it was a waste of my time. It wasn’t amazing either. It wasn’t my favorite style of art but it did its job. It was basically a slice of life with mostly static main characters, one of which i had trouble remembering the name of even at the end. But it was enjoyable. It was fun. And it must’ve been at least okay because the series ran for about 6 years. And for all of the things it did right and things it did wrong it doesn’t matter because no one mentions it either way these days and it’s been 20 years since it finished. “It has its good points and it has its bad points”. It was a thing. And that’s all there was to it.

This sort of idea seems like it should be self-evident to someone who cranks out a hundred iterations of anything in a week and has trouble remembering what happened two days ago, but there’s clearly some domain dependence thing going on. It’s not that I don’t “know” that it doesn’t matter what I do. It’s not that I don’t “know” that no one starts off perfect and even masters don’t make great things all the time. But I forget or ignore it when the time comes, and it only ever really matters what you can think of in time.

I took a couple of stabs at it.

A guy called Robert Stark who runs a podcast-show interviewed me on my BART/suburbia complaints. I didn’t think I had much to say or was at all a good choice for a show, but I gave it a shot.

In the few pages I did fill this month I thought one of the things looked nice and wanted to make it a bit bigger, with a few more details and some values. So I did that.

Will I care about the quality of these even three months from now? I don’t care much about the whole “the internet is forever, the media will dig everything bad on you in the future” thing, so discounting that – the answer is no.

But remembering and believing that is another story.

A story I’m not sure can be taught or learned through words.

Age vs Class

SH: i dont understand how somebody can sue without any sort of medical problems or anything
SH: why doesnt the lawyer take one look at you and just be like, nah i dont think so
SI: what the fuck? she’s suing over a fucking fender bender?
SI: itll be laughed out of court
SH: it doesnt matter @SI
QC: I’m gonna cry if I go to court
KS: no she’s suing over chronic neck pain
SH: the point is settlement
SH: and the idea that youll have to pay out the nose for a lawyer
KS: oh yeah QC is a girl
QC: And then I won’t be able to speak because I’ll be blubbering
KS: perfect
SH: most people are scared of that so they settle
KS: the rate of out of court settlement is directly proportional to the rate of societal fraud
KS: I mean, freedom.
SH: freedumbz
SI: she doesnt have a case if her car just got nudged. you got this. fucking harpie trying to extort money
SH: it might cost just as much for her to settle as it does for a lawyer
SH: i mean youre right
KS: you don’t understand! she has a history of fragile bones!!
SH: chances are QC it will only be like 5000 or soemthing
SH: they cover you up to 25k right?
SH: youll be fine
KS: are you just going to make her suffer for life? how are you going to make things right!?!!
SH: the more money they ask for the more risk of them for a court battle, which is what they dont want
SI: ^
SI: scare tactics
SI: she’ll back off most likely if you don’t want to settle
KS: what if Americans are actually just a bunch of pussies :thoughting:
SH: she should settle as long as its covered by insurance
SI: yeah it all depends on the cost
SH: if its not then you call the lawyers
SH: because up until that point, it would cost more for the lawyer and ensuing court battle
SH: the american legal system is so :ugh:
KS: better to just give the bullies your lunch money until they ask for an amount where it’d be better to tell your parents and the school what’s happening……..
KS: :thoughting::thoughting::thoughting::thoughting::thoughting:
SH: @KS it costs a shitton of money for a lawyer, only rich housewives can afford it
SH: its bullying that you cant really avoid unless youre rich
KS: sure, I’m just thoughting.
KS: there’s just so many things like this you’d think this sort of thing would be taught in school or at least be explained in children’s stories
SH: my mother would have gotten a lawyer to fight against my father a long time ago but, well, most of our income and the money he stole left with him
SH: some things you just cant fight
KS: but you rarely find it anywhere
SH: @KS because children’s stories are fictitious
SH: nobody writes children’s stories about the real horrible things, they just write about hansel and gretel and shit
QC: IDK I’m sick to my stomach about it
KS: yeah but adult stories don’t write about it either
KS: we get stupid shit like SVU
SH: i think a lot of them do
SH: oh
KS: or marginally less stupid shit at best like The Wire
SH: maybe theres a few movies about it
SH: i dunno
KS: even Japanese seinen only uses it here and there from what I’ve seen
SH: scamming insurance companies through poor unsuspecting people isnt exactly heart-pounding material
KS: feels like it’s less children vs adults and more just different classes of people
KS: do you think Mafia guys the age of 15 don’t understand these things intuitively?
KS: of course they do.
KS: but they’re also raised by different people, people who don’t care to write books and mass paperback novels.

BART, Americans, and Attitudes, vs The East

This is what the best BART station looks like.

Yesterday I had my only trip on American public transportation in recent memory and it was even more disappointing than I expected. I love trains, I love cities built around trains, I love being able to go places without having to lug around a huge metal box, but now that I’ve bothered paying attention to it, Bay Area Rapid Transit does not run a metro. It’s not a heavy rail system. It’s not even a light rail system. It will never be a heavy or a light rail system. Comparing my experience riding BART to the one riding Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway and it became instantly obvious that BART is just a glorified parking lot shuttle that just happens to run on the rubberless kind of wheels.

But this isn’t only the BART’s fault. Even if by some hand of god all the people in the administration on down were removed and replaced with perfect candidates to fill every conceivable need, including the contracted union construction workers who are the mafia in all but name and the Department of Transportation guys who are all bought out, BART would still be garbage – because it doesn’t go anywhere by itself. If your destination is Oakland, Berkeley, or San Francisco, fine. If you’re going anywhere else, you take BART, you get off at your final station and then what?

Walk the rest of the way?

BART… and I’m back in a parking lot.

“But the population density is too low! We’re not crowded like Hong Kong!” is the common response and until now I grudingly accepted it as the truth, the reason why everything is shitty. If only we had more people in the San Francisco Bay Area, if only more people wanted to come to Silicon Valley, home to the most valuable companies in the world, everything would be fixed!

Then I realized that it’s exactly backwards. Low density isn’t the reason for lack of results, low density is itself the intended result – among a bunch of other intended results. Sure, the people want a fast high quality public transportation system. They probably want it to be free too. But god have mercy if it comes at the cost of their backyard, or if it causes buildings with more than 3 stories to pop up anywhere before the horizon. If someone really wants something they know they can’t have everything and can usually come to some sort of compromise. But the public, uneducated on little and sold on everything, compromises for nothing. So, as a result, we pay a few billion dollars every few years to keep it afloat, and otherwise keep it out of sight out of mind, ignoring that the system was outdated when it was introduced almost half a century ago, and with all the money poured into it has essentially never updated since.

Everyone who’s gotten to highschool has this figured out, even if they only believe it’s true of people they disagree with. This is all fairly common knowledge:

The people will accept politicians being stupid and wasting billions of dollars on pork barrel projects, so long as the people get to sit comfortably in their sofas at home calling politicians stupid for wasting billions of dollars on pork barrel projects.

Now what’s not common knowledge is that it’s wrong – specifically, it’s not “the people”. It’s not a function of homo sapiens, it’s somewhat a function of masses and democracy, but there’s something more accurate we can say, that no one will ever say:

The American people will accept politicians being stupid and wasting billions of dollars on pork barrel projects, so long as the American people get to sit comfortably in their sofas at home calling politicians stupid for wasting billions of dollars on pork barrel projects.

BART sucks because Americans suck.

I don’t mean this in the ‘you allow people in power to screw you!!!’ sense; democracy is a sham, and it’s unreasonable to say that unorganized masses are “allowing” organized interests to do whatever they want. I mean this in the sense that the American pasttime of schadenfreude against their political leaders is an attitude they take everywhere. There are the big problems which, fairly, only a very select few with power can do anything about this moment. Then there’s ten thousand little ones which everyone can do something about. Things which add up and eventually make the world a better place.

Things which Americans won’t do, and will defend to the death not only are they right in not doing it, but that you’re wrong and weak in wanting it done to begin with. It’s not important if you’re actually wrong or weak. It’s not important if they’re wrong either.

What’s important is they get to call you the names, and being comfortable while doing it.

This is what one of my rides on BART looked like. I don’t have pictures of the other ride, but there were a bunch of really dirty people “teens” in really dirty clothes each taking up a whole bench, and empty boxes and bottles here and there.

I suddenly don’t like software engineers.

Two doors per side per car, seats are arranged front/back except for doors, which have one side-bench per. Not shown in picture is the map of the system, which is either once per side or once per car.

This is what an older MTR car looks like.

Some of them have TVs mounted on top of the central bars too. 2 per car.

4 doors per side, all seats are arranged as sides, no padding, bunch of things to hold onto.

All these differences aren’t so important. Lower density system, you can afford put in wider comfier seats. Comfy is good. Makes sense. What is important is that BART had a paper printout of the system occurring 1 or 2 times per car, while MTR had 8 of these:

Does Silicon Valley not have that because of lower population density too? We can’t scrounge up enough money because lower ridership, and who cares it’s just an unnecessarily fancy display that only has one purpose anyways?

How about the audio announcement then? I could never make out what the operator was saying on BART, partly because half the time riding BART is louder than flying turboprop, but also because the PA system was trash and the operator didn’t enunciate. MTR I could hear everything just fine, even if I had to wait for the English version of it. It was also all prerecorded. I guess the population density isn’t high enough to justify prerecording. It isn’t high enough to justify the operator saying the name of the station before the train arrives either. Or sometimes, saying the name of the station at all!

Man low population density causes a lot of problems.

This was at the Kam Sheung Road MTR station, effectively about as backwater as you can get in Hong Kong. It is on the inside door of the restroom. The restroom at the time had the janitor chilling in his utility closet; in Hong Kong public areas in general you can often see janitors and other custodials doing their work.

Oh, thanks for reminding me.

I’d show you a picture of what the inside door of a restroom in a BART station looks like, but there are no restrooms in BART. Apparently though the janitors which I’ve never seen and which think trash littered cars are fine are paid 270k a year (USD not HKD). Because they deserve a living wage. Or something. Overworked understaffed? Maybe throw a little bit of higher cost of living in there too.

Now, on the BART website, they claim certain stations actually do have bathrooms. Supposing they bathrooms do physically exist in the stations as they say, they don’t fit the definition of public. What kind of restroom is it if a member of the public who wants to use it can’t find it?

Someone who alighted at my station on a train before mine asked where the exit was. I can’t blame him, because this is what an aboveground BART deck looks like:

The far side actually does have its exit in-frame.

This is what the Tin Shui Wai deck looks like. I specify because they’re all obviously visibly different in some way. If you memorize the colors on the walls or pillars, you can tell where you are in the line. BART is the same concrete wherever you go.

There is no exit in this picture.

Both of the above depicted stations have their exits below their current floor. One of them is significantly easier to find than the other. Are exits easier to find if it’s higher population density? An inch of glass is more expensive than another foot (thick!) of concrete?  I’ll admit the sign isn’t particularly helpful but that’s one error out of a hundred corrections. Why are there two decks instead of one, anyways? If someone mistakenly missed their stop and got off at the next one, one of these stations would fuck them if the return train arrived at the same time, and the other wouldn’t.

Obviously, the American one is the better one.

Am I just salty? Y I Mad Doe? No, it’s impossible that I might be right on top of that. Everyone claims debates and discussions are about truth but most people jump to pointing and laughing at the other guy the first chance they get and declare victory after that. Sorry – most Americans. Call someone salty or anti-American or any number of names and it doesn’t matter what they say anymore. Am I anti-kid if I don’t give a fat kid candy? These are the same kind of people who will recoil and put their hands up if you start calling them imbeciles, but we’ll get into that topic another time.

American attitudes toward everything is can be summarized in

  1. Fuck you got mine” and
  2. I’m/We’re the best“.

Must be because I’m not AMERICAn enough.

Who cares about the rest of the world when you have AMERICA?

To begin with the state of public transportation is mostly an afterthought because when it’s brought up it’s simply written off. Who cares about public transportation? I have a car. I can get where I want to when I want to. What, too poor to have a car? None of my business. Don’t ask me to pay taxes to fund someone else’s life. Then they’ll turn around and complain about how traffic is so bad lately and they have to get up earlier and earlier so the freeway moves at the actual speed limit rather than at 10mph.

It simply doesn’t occur to them that everyone else thinks the same thing and cars have geometries and physics which cause certain effects. It isn’t some economist rational actors model where everyone’s carefully and quantitatively measured out how much they value each thing and voila, now we have a shitty public transportation system as well as a shitty private transportation, but all of this is okay because we value detached single family homes so much. None of that goes through their head. It’s literally just “I don’t care, I don’t see a problem, why are you yelling at me? I was promised owning my own home in the American Dream! If you say I shouldn’t have one then fuck you!”

Why do aboveground BART stations have two decks instead of one?
Because if you miss your stop then it’s your fault you’re an idiot.

Why aren’t there bathrooms in BART stations, or if they exist, why can’t they be found?
Because you didn’t look hard enough, or if they don’t exist, why didn’t you just take care of business before leaving the house?

Why doesn’t BART have a clear announcement system or a display that shows where in the system you are at all times?
Because you should know which stop you’re stopping at anyways.

Why does BART allow trash on its trains?

Are you saying you saw trash and didn’t clean it up? Why aren’t you doing your part? If you did, why are you complaining? The problem got solved, didn’t it?

If you’ve heard the line “You didn’t get the job because you just weren’t passionate enough”, this is the same thing. Every systemic problem that’s brought up turns out to be the result of a lack of individual responsibility, effort, and faith – until they also happen to have a problem with it, then it’s always a call for somebody to do something, as long as it doesn’t turn out that “somebody” includes them. Not my tax money. Not my car. Not my backyard.

Or in case of BART employees, Not my job.

Hong Kong Central Library, not MTR.
I don’t want to talk about the state of American libraries.

Whose job was it to put this label up? Did it need to be put up?

Do you think he was paid more or less than 270k a year (USD not HKD)?

Considering it’s some text on laminated paper secured by tape, it was probably decided and put up by someone lower down the chain than whoever put up this other one:

This is on a pedestrian path on the side of a mountain.

These little things put life into what’s otherwise an environment that just happens to have other people in it and is just somewhere you have to be in order to get to the next place. It’s not just some path, it’s a paved path with clean railings and cleaned plates that have a contact number on them indicating someone is involved in maintaining it and they care about their work. It’s not just an elevator to the library, it’s one whose surfaces are cleaned every hour and someone decided it was important to let people know it’s clean – clearly not someone at the top but someone much further down.

Meanwhile, BART operators could care less if you heard them or if you know where you are. BART police could care less if you’re getting robbed by 50 “teens”. Or murder, which I won’t bother linking because it happens so often none of them are worth noting anymore. Everywhere you go in America you feel that people are basically just showing up for the paycheck. Nothing is improved, nothing gets better over time, and if really terrible things happen as a result of ten thousand little things not having been done and not building up to anything larger, hey, I was just collecting my check. That wasn’t in the job description. Hell if I’m going to let you add things to it. Better pay me more next year though. I have a union.

And this attitude goes all the way up.

A high-speed railway connecting Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, railway was brought up in the late 1990s by the Government of Hong Kong. This Regional Express Railway (RER) proposal was developed in the 1994 “Railway Development Study”(RDS); it foresaw a continual growth of Hong Kong’s population over the next two decades and strong demand for cross-border passenger traffic. The Hong Kong (SAR) Government commissioned a second Railway Development Study in March 1998. The Study went further on the British proposal of connecting Hong Kong and China from Kowloon. […] Since the typical timeframe for rail projects, from conception to completion phase, would take eight or nine years, the Railway Development Study recommended that the Hong Kong (SAR) Government should commence as soon as possible, so that the new express railway could be constructed in time to meet capacity demands.

This sort of talk of foresight seems fairly common among public planners.

Wow, 2040! They’re planning 20 years ahead!

But you look at the past 20 years and for BART it’s taken 15 years to still not completely build a single new station 5 miles away from the current terminal. They’ve been using the same train cars since the system was built in the 1970s, and the technology was outdated even back then, and they have the gall to talk about 20 years in the future.

America has the best people in the world though right? Immigration land of opportunity diversity is strength blah blah blah wow, train stations must be the hardest thing ever to build if it takes them 15 years. Maybe we should get Elon Musk to build them.

Meanwhile in China:

“But Chinese stuff always breaks and they always break regulations” Should I compare how often MTR or Shanghai trains are delayed or broken down, to how often BART trains are delayed or have murders? I’ll be the first to preach mainlanders are terrible but there’s things that are objectively better and things which are objectively worse.

“But China is communist and uses eminent domain” what’s wrong with eminent domain?

Let me repeat that: What’s wrong with eminent domain?

In broader terms and different words:

Why do cities exist, and what would an ideal city look like?

Rich peopleville.

This is the BART station in Walnut Creek. Out of all the stations, this is probably the one where most Americans would ideally want to live next to. San Francisco has rent out the nose for a tiny box, Berkeley same idea, Oakland has “teens”… This, on the other hand, is perfect. Single family homes, short distance to highway, to public transit, to shopping malls, to DMV, and if there’s parties or events in the bigger cities, there’s no need to haul a car there to find or pay ridiculous prices for parking. All you’d need to do is

I think I figured out where the creator of this tagline lives.

The problem is Walnut Creek can only be true for a very small number of people. Works fine for people who already lives there, Fuck you, got mine, doesn’t work for everyone else. And unless some Lee Kuan Yew appears, the land divisions set in that image will always remain. There will never be any development into higher density housing on the left side of the freeway because people will always hold onto their house, and if they let go they aren’t going to let go at the same time. And the city planners will never go against The Will Of The People because democracy.

But, also because of democracy, they do want to create more business and more jobs so they can make more money, which means more people will have to come from elsewhere to do the work or at least be customers and pay the bills, and they will come via… cars.  There’s only so much BART parking space, which at most stations is always full, and it’s not like it’s that close anyways once you get there. A train that’s louder than a plane, doesn’t run on time, only comes every once in a while, has trash lying around like it belongs there, and when I get there I have to see this?

Closest buildings on one side of Walnut Creek station.

I have to walk through parking lots where I as a pedestrian am clearly an afterthought? You want me to use this train, which means leaving my car, but at the destination I have to wait 10~30 minutes for a bus, there’s no taxis, no light rail no pedestrian paths with any nice scenery, all of which put me right next to with no barriers inbetween, one or two ton cars going by at 30+mph? I have to deal with this as I walk 10~30 minutes just to see how many shops? And I have to carry everything with me the whole time because coin and baggage lockers don’t exist, because it’s just expected everyone has a car?

Closest buildings on the other side.

Might as well just take my own car the whole way then.

So then we have clogged freeways. And the attitude towards this is “oh well”.

So are you going to tell city councilors off? Or is it not a journalist’s job description to do that?

The American people will accept losing extra hours of their life 250/365 days a year waiting in line to go to work, so long as they get to sit comfortably in their own little metal boxes with speaker systems tuned to their favorite radio stations playing their favorite music, and read some journalist on some website say “Ouch” about their daily experience.

The average person can’t do anything about traffic or how cities are set up. They want their own things, live their own life, and that’s about it. Having a place to live, being able to get to work, being able to shop at nice places, and being able to visit a lot of friends, without a lot of time – these are all things I think everyone wants.

In other words, these things are why cities exist.

This is the equivalent of Walnut Creek station in Hong Kong:

Station is underground. Park on roof. Lots of residential + 1 commercial building on top.

A mall of 3 floors and 123 shops awaits you the moment you step out of the paid area.

A whole grocery store without having to step outside.

I should’ve taken more pictures.

The park on top.

Ignoring the cost: How many people live in those buildings? How many people can get basically whatever they want, see the sights, go to work, without ever having to leave this complex?

One article estimates that there’s 70,000 residents, hotel guests, and office workers occupying this space: about 0.14 square kilometers.

The population of Walnut Creek in 2014 was 67,673 and its square kilometers is 51.

Imagine how much parking/road space 70,000 cars takes.

Kowloon Station/Elements/Union Square is a really nice place and I’m sure a lot of people around HK come here for various reasons. And they get there by… train. Buses are frequent, pedestrians get elevated and undeground walkways to not have to walk on sidewalks all the time, where there are sidewalks there’s rails so it feels safer, light rail connects to heavy rail, heavy rail comes so frequently they don’t print schedules, and, even though there are backwater places in Hong Kong, new developments aren’t spread out single property divisions anymore. The MTR corporation with the assistance of the Hong Kong government gets land and develops it as a single vision, Kowloon Station being the current newest and largest one completed.What we currently see wasn’t even developed all at once; the station was done 94~98, the current mall opened in 07, and the buildings on top opened in years from 00~10. But it was all done under one architect, one corporation, one government.

This isn’t the only way to do things, the Japanese do it much more organically, but in both cases there is no “NIMBYism”. The Japanese accept it when someone decides the land is worth enough to start building higher than all the surrounding buildings. The Hong Kong government opens up or claims lands and decides that certain things need to happen, and is generally effective at it. I’m sure HK and Japanese residents more informed on the details will have their valid complaints, but overall, the major desires are met for a very large number of people.

Compared to what BART did over about the same period (1997~2011):

The invisible station in the center under the highways, a parking lot north and south. Maybe a few of the apartment blocks starting with the inverted triangle? I don’t know where exactly BART-owned land begins or ends here but it doesn’t really matter. No matter how you cut it this 15 years had, to say the least, a lot less accomplished.

It’s not so much that there’s not a Kowloon Walled City v2: 2 American Boogaloo popping up near/in Silicon Valley (though it should).

It’s that there’s nothing.

You built a dinky station… and like a building or three?

Are you serious?

What have these fuckers done with 15 years of their life? Remember when you were still in diapers and daddy showed you a highway and a field and said there’d be a train station? Well now that you’ve finished highschool and college degrees are worthless, daddy can get you a job at that station! Nevermind that its floorspace is about 3 minutes long. It was really hard! Kids these days don’t understand hard work.

While doing a bit more research on dates I found this image on wikipedia. It’s the newest station, which started construction in 2009, currently in 2017 is half operational, and was supposed to open in 2014. This is what it looked like in 2014

The rails shown aren’t BART rails, they’re national freight rails.
In other words, they’re unrelated.

It took five (5) (V) (五) years to build the amount shown in the above image.

Okay whatever no use shedding tears over lost idioms. Now that it’s built, next to old NUMMI new Tesla factory. Great! Finally BART serves a purpose other than being a glorified parking lot shuttle for San Francisco. People all over SF Bay Silicon Valley can now work for Tesla and not have to drive! Saving the planet is awesome! Insert more boomer marketing taglines here. Maybe we have to drive to a BART station first, but BART… and we’re there! Just hop off the train and walk the rest of the way to work!

See that T-shape above “Tesla Delivery Center”? That’s the factory entrance.

All 2 miles of it. Pop quiz, what’s the average human walking speed?

Given that number, would you spend that amount of time walking to work? After spending the probably 10 minutes or so to drive to the station, assuming you can find parking and get on the train just as it arrives (trains are every 15 minutes during rush hour) the probably 30 minutes on the BART ride itself, after all that – would you walk the amount of time you calculated on a path that looks like this?

This is a 45mph road. It’s also half the walk. No, the other side has no sidewalk either.

“But Tesla looks good on a resume”

Yes… Tesla’s the best. If you’re really passionate about helping mother Earth, you’d do it. America’s the best, if you really treasure your freedom, you’ll put up with 60 minutes every day each way to go 20 miles, a distance which might as well be in the middle of nowhere because it’s all single family detached residential around here. Stop complaining already. Everyone else has to deal with it too. If you don’t like it why don’t you leave? I just suck it up like a real man. I’m proud of my country. I don’t like it either,

but look at me,

I don’t complain.

This attitude is why I hate Americans. “My country, right or wrong” – except worse, because it’s not about foreign vs domestic, it’s about “Fuck you, got mine“. There’s no reasoning going on, there’s no considering of alternatives, there’s no constant seeking for improvement, it’s “eh, who cares, fuck you, got mine”. American gamers say those who are better than them “have no life”, and say those who are worse than them “casuals”. Americans who are more successful than them are “lucky or “talented”, but when they taste success themselves it’s because they have “passion” and achieved it through “hard work”. It’s so prevalent everywhere it’s would almost be funny, except they get really serious when the shit hits the fan and still refuse to believe that any of this is related.

People want housing to be close to jobs and shopping. Higher population density means more people are closer to the same amount of things. Metro systems, which have guaranteed right-of-way on their rails, connect speedily and reliably even more people to the same amount of things. This speed simultaneously connects those people to more areas than before, meaning there’s more areas competing with each other, driving the price down of, among other things, rent. All of these things are objectively desirable. All of these things are required in an ideal city.

But the people don’t care. And the city planners don’t care. The public transportation workers don’t care. The public transportation leaders don’t care. No one cares, until it looks like it might be time for them to get their cut. Then it’s not in my backyard, not my job, sorry the project was more complicated than expected, it’ll cost twice as much and take three times as long, man that janitor worked really hard this year, he deserves a raise. And then it’s back to not caring. Maybe once every five years we’ll do a week’s worth of work. Maybe once every four years they’ll pay attention. And we’re the world police superpower anyways, it’s always going to be better to live here. If those slanty eyed chinks start getting uppity we’ll just nuke them. Time for a nap.

“That’s just how America works, you have to learn how to play politics”

Americans are so far up their own ass in marketing they can’t see what’s real anymore.

I say “they” because I don’t identify with any of what I described. I say “Americans” because that’s the largest and most accurate group for which I can see these traits. They appear in idiots everywhere, but in America they appear in general from bottom to top.

I also know, from bottom to top, it’s not true in Hong Kong, and from what I’ve heard it’s also not true in Japan. It’s not a “people” thing, it’s not genetic or inherent in human nature. It can be changed, it can be fixed. Hong Kong has problems with their attitude toward society, and so does Japan, but there are always imperfections, and the attitude towards that is “we will fix them“. Whatever the actual distribution, the rule of culture is to do your part. Society there naturally pushes people to contribute more and more.

Thanks to the isolation of suburbia, I’m not fully AMERICAn.

What does society in America tell its people? How do Americans treat each other? Not just the hello how are you nice weather today, but the actual systemic results?

BART… and I’m…

What does America think about anything that happens outside of America?

What do Americans think of anyone who has ideas about how the world could be?

Because fuck you, that’s why.

Parents as Stars, Children as Supports

I don’t mind the woman being a realistic bitch. I don’t mind the man being an unrealistic cuck. I don’t even mind the art standards of western webcomics and all the words words words words words.

What really grinds my gears is the portrayal of the kid.

I absolutely refuse to believe any kid would respond to that sequence of events in that way. They’re not that stupid. Or more importantly, unlike ~mature~ adults, they call shit as they see it. The stated intent was obviously not fulfilled. There’s innate physical truths which are immediately observable and understood by instinct, stronger than any understanding by words: if you assume a specific physical stance and are moving forward and then, for no discernible physical reason, start going in reverse, then obviously something is wrong.

At “best” the kid’s response would be “oh… okay”. Wouldn’t be uncommon for questions to start appearing. If it was a ballsier kid they’d just voice their disappointment. But a “Wow! You got serious game dad!“? I’d be really worried.

There’s screwing with visual beauty standards ala “tumblr art”, and then there’s… whatever this is. I want to say “logical beauty standards” but it’s not really logic. There’s a natural order to the world that’s understood innately by everyone and this screws with it at a primal level. I don’t even like kids, but they act a certain way and can see certain things, a way which is useful to everyone else in its own right.

And this comic says that unique insight of kids is “Hey everyone, my shit doesn’t stink!“.

I’ve heard the idea before, but it didn’t really hit until seeing this “comic” that this parent generation is the first one where baby pictures are more important than the actual baby. All the kindergarteners holding up signs about abortion or trump or immigration were just whatever to me, I suppose, because in their minds they’re just holding up the sign mommy told them to. But a comic depicting “the whole situation” with no direction or prepping beforehand… maybe I’m just stupid. But better late than never.

And something I’ll never do is making children the supporting cast for their parents. If I made something where a bunch of adult women drooled over my dick, either 1) it would be taken as an obvious joke, except for the part where I’m a pervert, or 2) it would be taken seriously and I’d be delusional, as well as a pervert. I wouldn’t be able to do that with less-than-adult women. People take children seriously. As they should.

But not seriously enough, it seems.

If you had asked her if she wanted to raise a transvestite she’d have said no– she wants a child free of stereotypes– because there are stereotypes of boys and girls but not of boys who dress like girls. That mixed logic reveals the true intent of her “gender-neutral” project. It isn’t for the kid, it is for her. If it wasn’t for her, you wouldn’t have heard about it. Wasn’t the whole point not to call attention to the gender? Oh, I had it backwards, the whole point was entirely to focus on the gender. Sigh. The main character in this story is herself. The kid is supporting cast. He is not a person, he is a blog topic.

“”Did you see that wonderful melodrama, Stella Dallas with Barbara Stanwyck? She has a daughter who wants to marry into the upper class, but she is an embarrassment to her daughter. So, the mother – on purpose – played an extremely vulgar, promiscuous mother in front of her daughter’s lover, so that the daughter could drop her, without guilt. The daughter could be furious with her and marry the rich guy. That’s a more difficult sacrifice. It’s not “I will make a big sacrifice and remain deep in their heart.” No, in making the sacrifice, you risk your reputation itself. Is this an extreme case? No, I think every good parent should do this.” […]

She is doing the exact opposite: sacrificing her child’s reputation, subjecting him to potential ridicule and god knows what else, not for his benefit but in order to promote her own identity. It’s not the gender neutrality that’s going to mess this kid up, though it might; but being raised by parents who are using their kid as something other than an end in himself. As was said in a movie I hope has no parallel here: this isn’t going to have a happy ending.

A self-aggrandizement parent comic for self-aggrandizing parents.

What does an unbridgeable gap look like?

I was raised to believe “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it”. I was also raised to believe that “Everyone is equal”. This explicit declaration of a lack of any sort of class(ification) system and that everything in reality bends with enough will paints the world in extremely hopeful tones. Add on top NCLB-era participation trophies, and the world becomes “You want it? You can have it”. It’s something that anyone will agree couldn’t possibly be true, but feelings aren’t changed so easily.

Yesterday I read an article by one of my favorite writers and instantly concluded creating such a piece was forever beyond my reach.

It’s not that long, it’s his usual finesse with words and flow, but this time he talked about a topic which I thought I knew something about. Something which at least in recent times he hasn’t directly talked about. And yet in 1 article and ~1600 words he manages to cut to the heart of the matter. It’s something which he basically does every single post, and upon retrospect he really does talk about a lot of different topics, but I only noticed it this time because it’s a topic I thought I knew something about.

While he writes

Because individuals run rampant, it becomes impossible to do anything without cars. Even public transportation doesn’t work well when the distances are too great and even urban areas too diffuse for any coherent collective activity. Every single house stands alone with its own lawn.  At the same time all the houses are nearly identical.  In a glimpse, we see the banality and horror of individualism without duty to others.

the best I can formulate on the matter in about the same length is

Commuting fucking sucks. I’d rather spend 30 minutes a day crammed into a box with everyone else than 2 hours a day in my own little box. Everyone has to prefer that; they also only have 24 hours a day. What’s the point in cars anyways? We all use the same roads which are planned out and the big three things to travel for are working, buying, and sleeping. What’s the big deal about “freedom”? So why are cities built around cars rather than trains? This is obviously evil. Also cars are why people are fat.

It felt like the story my dad told me about visiting my brother at university. Brother had been there for three months and there was some problem with his screen window, and dad asked him why it hadn’t been fixed when the problem was so simple. Brother said he’d been there for three months, he would’ve figured it out by now if there was a solution. My dad walked over and, without any tools or YouTube videos, fixed it in about three seconds. Dad happens to have been an engineer for a decent chunk of his life, but I think there’s more to it. The easy and given solution of “hard work and time” clearly isn’t it. If anything it fits the definition of poison: looks great, replaces the actual stuff so you stop searching, and harmful.

Whatever those solutions are, the more important question is whether or not they exist. How does one identify them? Which unbridgeable gaps are actually bridgeable?

At some point in time I couldn’t draw faces at all, at some later point drawing 5 heads took me 10 hours, now 5 heads take about 10 minutes – whatever the improvement of the former, the latter step was obviously an improvement of at least one and a half orders of magnitude. There was definitely a lot of time and work inbetween, but the reason why they improved so drastically wasn’t because of the time and work. After the 10 hours one, I went to bed, woke up, and thought “There’s no way in hell just this much should take that long. Professionals should be able to do this in, I don’t know, but it couldn’t possibly be more than 10 minutes a face. Something is fundamentally wrong about what I’m doing“. For the first step it was even more unrelated: “I need to do something with my life that doesn’t require large amounts of capital. What can I do with just the things on my desk? …Drawing? Let’s try to actually seriously learn drawing.

It’s been 2+ years since then and I’ve been able to, adjusting for the “anything is possible” nonsense, do things I never thought I’d be able to do. There’s lots of other people who’ve done a lot less in 2 years, and a lot of other people who’ve done more, but in any case it turned out to not be impossible for me. If you told me five years ago I wouldn’t care or spend time on online competitive videogames at all I wouldn’t believe it.

Could I have done something else instead? Can I still do other things?

What exactly is out of bounds?

Anything I’m not interested in spending time in is obviously impossible; regardless of the lack of value in hard work and time spent it’s not zero. “Passion” is required at some level to spend time, which is required to discover new and interesting things, which is required to explore those to expand horizons – or in other words, improve. Things which I’m not “passionate” about I guess aren’t relevant because I wouldn’t want to do them. But even with things I do “want” there are things I can’t discover, right? By nature of how I was raised, or what language I think in, or what ideology and friends I have? Spending time without being able to discover and implement anything new is just a 9-5 without getting paid and maybe without the 9-5. Which areas are things I, for whatever reason, can’t ever learn anything significant or improve in any meaningful way?

That writer clearly has more experience in writing and in the subject matter. I’m interested both in his way of communicating and what a better city would look like. Are either of these two things impossible for me to do? How would I determine that?

Is it a field I can only grind, or is it one where I can get orders of magnitude better?

Why don’t I just kill myself?

There’s two material conditions which need to exist before this can occur. Something I set a while back, probably sometime in the first half of 2015.

  1. I need to have made something of value.
  2. I need to have written out why I believe there’s no hope.

The first basically translates to “getting good at drawing/painting”, which seems like it’s a couple years off. It doesn’t have to be drawing, but since it’s what I’m doing and it’s the only thing I can do where I make something, it’s probably going to be drawing. Due to some recent ideas of story being significantly more important than visuals, there’s an increasing probability, though still very unlikely, that I will stop thinking of drawing as worth anything and pick up writing instead. But it won’t be anything else because 1) I don’t think anything else I can do is worth anything, and 2) anything else that is worth something is on the scale of changing society, or otherwise costs a lot of money to even practice, let alone execute, money I don’t have.

The second would be trivial to execute in relation to the first and could theoretically be done any time. Would take maybe a week. I just haven’t done it because it feels like it’d be a drag to write and wouldn’t serve any purpose other than it’s one of the conditions I have to meet.

I wonder why I set these conditions. It’s not like anyone else is holding me to them. There’s no point in them anyways. Most peoples’ taste in art is garbage, they can’t tell what’s good and what’s not. And no one’s going to read what I wrote because they want to find out why. It’s nothing more than a bit of pride, some characteristic of my way of thinking I can’t change. If I have to go, then I have to leave something behind that people in general can appreciate, and something else which explains why. Just how it has to be.

If I could be so unquestioning in that it’s possible that there’s hope for a brighter future then that’d be great. But I doubt that solution. Everywhere I see doubt and where there’s hope I almost only see lies.