My Thoughts on Solo Leveling by Chu-Gong
- its complicated...
- pros include:
- epically drawn – very visually captivating large scale battles
- its cool to see a bad boy win – his powers aren't the traditional manga protag and he works it
- jinwoo succeeds in becoming the sex god the author sets him out to be
- cons include:
- at a certain point in the series (like pretty early on actually) the challenges just...stop? idk he basically over levels the whole series and becomes this guy
- nobody else matters at all, which is funny when one punch man does it, but the telling is too dramatic to be engaging
- the jinwoo dick riding becomes a bit much, from everyone in the story, directly or indirectly
- people are OBSESSED with ranking in this story, if a E-rank so much as lifts a piece of paper everyone is like "hOW dID hE dO tHaT?!~dWcn!@##>??"
SPOILERS FOR ANIME WATCHERS BELOW, ENGAGE AT YOUR OWN RISK
- the fight with thomas andre was sick af and worth reading the series just for that hype train
- the last boss was the risk equivalent of a nuclear bomb, but i felt no threat when he was on screen because jin woo is so disgustingly OP
- i literally don't know why cha hae-in got with jinwoo other than that he didn't smell like donkey shit? like ????
- the shadow army is legitimately awesome, and their personas are unique and fun every time they're on screen
- i liked the not at all subtle references to the chimera ant arc during the jeju raid, royal guard and ant king included (even the story's main arm was called the hunter association, so...)
- why even bother with the national level hunters? by the time they were introduced to the series literally everyone sans jinwoo was completely irrelevant
by W.J. Dawson
- a modern self-help book written in a non modern time (1905)
- w.j. dawson's flight from london
- a chapter in the book is dedicated to a clapback letter and his response to said clapback. i appreciated both.
- ive recently picked up a copy of sun and steel (i havent read it yet). i think dawson, murakami (what i talk about when i talk about running), and mishima might get along (despite their very different political inclinations)
- dawson is a master of turn of phrase incl.:
"The marooned seaman saves his sanity by cutting notches in a stick, the solitary prisoner by friendship with a mouse; and when life is reduced to the last exiguity of narrowness, the interests of life will be narrow too. No writer, whose work is familiar to me, has ever yet described with unsparing fidelity the kind of misery which lies in having to do precisely the same things at the same hour, through long and consecutive periods of time. The hours then become a dead weight which oppresses the spirit to the point of torture. Life itself resembles those dreadful dreams of childhood, in which we see the ceiling and the walls of the room contract round one's helpless and immobile form. Blessed is he who has variety in his life: thrice blessed is he who has both freedom and variety: but the subordinate toiler in the vast mechanism of a great city has neither. He will sit at the same desk, gaze upon the same unending rows of figures, do, in fact, the same things year in and year out till his youth has withered into age."
"It would seem that the anxieties of getting money only beget the more torturing anxiety of how to keep it."
"I define doing good as the fulfilment of our best instincts and faculties for the best use of mankind; but I do not expect that the Good Earnest People will accept this definition. They would find it much too catholic, simply because they have learned to attach a specialised meaning to the phrase ‘doing good,’ which limits it to some form of active philanthropy. If they would but allow a wider vision of life to pass before the eye, they would see that there are many ways of doing good besides those which satisfy their own ideals....It is a singular thing that men find it very difficult to live lives of charity without cherishing uncharitable tempers towards those who do not live precisely as they themselves do. For instance, the busy philanthropist, nobly eager to bring a little happiness into the grey lives of the disinherited, often has the poorest opinion of artists and novelists, who appear to him to live useless lives. But when Turner paints a picture like the Fighting Temeraire Towed to Her Last Berth (below), which is destined to stir generous thoughts in multitudes of hearts long after his death: or when Scott writes novels which have increased the sum of human happiness for a century, is not each doing good of the rarest, highest, and most enduring kind?"
- i think simon sarris is a modern version of w.j. dawson
- i wish i was a bit more self-sustaining, i don't think i could hack it out at walden pond, i lack the backbone or physical constitution!
- fwiw, i do live the digital equivalent of walden, working consistently on a blog as opposed to posting on social media is the online equivalent of moving to a cottage in the country and handling all the gardening, harvesting etc, for my own satisfaction
- takeaway questions:
- how big do you live? can you scale that back?
- how much do you know about the area you live in?
- how close is your relationship to nature? what about nature scares you?
- is it selfish to work on yourself?
- what is your balance between mind and body? are you serving one, or both? or neither?
modern people i was reminded of reading this book
by Dan Levy
- book of a list of heuristics to approach situations
- there were so many anecdotes of students of dr richard zeckhauser using these maxims it felt salesy at times
- short read, very covid focused – black swan events and hindsight bias prevails throughout
- however if you do have any important decisions coming up that weigh on you, you should very much filter it through these maxims
- hard to remember to use maxims consistently until/if they become habitual
- my favorite maxims:
- weight errors of commission and omission equally
- the shape of regret in our minds vs reality – what actually happened
- reframe anticipation as happiness
- looking forward to something is enjoyable – often we want then to be now, but we can learn to appreciate the then now too
- uncertainty is the friend of the status quo &
- dont judge your decisions on results
- we want things to stay as they are in the bounds of reasonability
- we judge ourselves on our best intentions as opposed to the facts of the matter
- these two work together for some weird scenarios like adding features to a product just to feel like you’re doing anything at all so we can look back and say we tried
by Michelle Moran
- a historical fiction novel by michelle moran
- told through the eyes of nefertiti's younger sister, mutnodjmet
- the characters must have been based on heiroglyphs because they were flatttttttt
- i commend moran on telling a story filled with real-life historical black spots and making it entertaining... but it just really wasn't compelling
- the dialogue was based more around gossip than substance
- information of the court travels in a GoT like fashion (s1-2 that is...before all the killing started)
- to please
- to please
- a tale about a people's relationship with their leaders and with their god(s)
- from the pharaoh to victoria
- a story about legacy, and how quickly your finest works will be lost to the desert for eternity, so enjoy your garden while you can plant in it
- “When the crowd was gone, I asked Thutmose, “Why is it that the women love you so much?” He thought for a moment. “Because I can make them immortal. When I find the right model I might use her for Isis, and when the winds of time erase her memory from her house, there will still be her face looking down from the temples.””
- “Nefertiti has not done what she was supposed to, I thought. Instead of risking her place as Chief Wife to sway Pharaoh, she’s protected it by goading him on.”
- family blames nefertiti for playing the games of the court but they wanted her to be their pawn, which isnt better. they tried to tame a storm that belonged to a person, not to egypt
- that said, nefertiti did spend an inordinate amount of the book being realllly annoying and jealous of every woman that was not her
- they say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but i dont know if ive ever seen it that way. i think that power magnifies certain attributes that all people share equally. if this werent the case, parents would not have to threaten their children with the eye of santa (sauron) to be good when they arent looking
- atticus finch is the same man at home as he is on the streets. the characters in this book would do well to follow his example!
- family blames nefertiti for playing the games of the court but they wanted her to be their pawn, which isnt better. they tried to tame a storm that belonged to a person, not to egypt
by Jerry Stahl
- an autobiography of alf and porno mag writer and la aficionado jerry stahl
- i wanted to like this book i really did
- i got the suggestion to read it from the netflix show loudermilk
- which the writers team took it upon itself to drop a few pop culture references per episodes like family guy
- i still have yet to watch the ben stiller movie, which may redeem the book
- some of jerry stahl's stories are very funny, some very sad and gritty
- his stories about his sex life are vivid (see example quote at the very bottom of this post for a great example of "show don't tell")
- overall it was repetitive, and there was a lot of whiplash moving from event to event
- quite impressive that he was able to live a long life filled withe events in spite of (or perhaps because of) his heroin addiction
- there's a lot you can learn about a person from the medicine cabinet in their bathroom
by Kevin Kelly
- a collection of tweet length ideas
- more memorable weirdly than the maxims from another book i read at the same time called maxims for thinking analytically (affl. link) despite the similarities in title and writing style
- “The very best thing you can do for your kids is to love your spouse.”
- and loving yourself is the best thing you can do for your spouse. so by the transitive property...
- “The quickest checkout line will be the one with the fewest people no matter the size of their carts.”
- cashiers vs pulling money out of wallets and repeating the same “how are you” conversation
- “At first, buy the absolute cheapest tools you can find. Upgrade the ones you use a lot. If you wind up using some tool for a job buy the very best you can afford.”
- spend a lot (read: without limit) on the thing you care about/hunt for, and little on everything else
- “Work to become, not to acquire.”
- hunters care little for their licenses once they have passed the hunter exam
- “All guns are loaded.”
- cautionary advice... but also hidden double advice about people who keep weapons in their home. they plan at least a little bit on using them someday, even if just in their minds eye. people don't buy things they don't have a plan for.
- “Take note if you find yourself wondering “Where is my good knife?” or “Where is my good pen?” That means you have bad ones. Get rid of those.”
- see "At first, buy the absolute cheapest tools you can find..." above
- “Be a pro. Back up your backup. Have at least one physical backup and one backup in the cloud. Have more than one of each. How much would you pay to retrieve all your data, photos, notes if you lost them? Backups are cheap compared to regrets.”
- record your work sessions. arbitrage, arbitrage, arbitrage.
- “Copying others is a good way to start. Copying yourself is a disappointing way to end.”
- childish gambino had an interview about some meme that was going around in 2013 on vine and how sad it is to make art to maintain success instead of chasing your own curiosity. he follows through on that to this day.
- “Your goal is to be able to say on the day before you die that you have fully become yourself.”
- don't die until you're dead
- “To be remarkable, read books.”
- well-read people can do things others simply cannot, see my well read series for more
as a Creative Technologist
As 2023 comes to a close, I'd like to take a look at the books whose ideas have permeated deep into my brain stem. These are the creme de la creme of what I've read this year and these books have quite literally changed the way I think.
Below are the titles, as well as some questions you'll have answered if you choose to pick up a copy for yourself.
The Formula: Universal Laws of Success
Questions: What does it really mean to achieve success in life? Is talent innate or is it earned? Are some people more likely to succeed than others, and if so, why?
The Real World of Technology
Questions: What is the difference between a holistic technology and a prescriptive technology? Who (or what) does technology serve? Does a culture create technology or does a technology create its culture?
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Questions: What does it mean to do whatever you want? Is writing a poison? What lessons can only be learned through the body? Is there any reason behind effort or pain?
The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World
Questions: Is humanity unique as we claim to be? What is a universal explainer? Do we have a moral imperative to save the planet we were born on? What is true creativity? Can infinity ever be reached?
Questions: Why don't more developers have seats at leadership tables? What is the distinction between idealists, pragmatists and opportunists at companies? How fragile is your clientele relationship?
Finite and Infinite Games
Questions: Why do winners grip so tightly to rules? What does it mean to "own" a title? What games will be played forever?
Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition
Questions: Why do all human cultures have gardens? What is the difference between life and cultivation? What does it mean to care for something? What do we leave behind as the seasons slip by?
quotes and ratings for the five books i read in september 2023
Editors Note: All the Links for the Books are Affiliate. If you buy a book, I get a little kick back. Thank you!!
“But, as far as I can tell, even if what you do isn’t normal, it’s not bothering anybody.” “Not right now.” “So what’s wrong with that?” I said. I might have been a little upset then (at what or whom I couldn’t say). I could feel my tone getting rough around the edges. “Who says there’s anything wrong with that? If you’re not bothering anybody right now, then so what? Who knows anything beyond right now anyway? You want to speak the Kansai dialect, then you should. Go for it. You don’t want to study for the entrance exam? Then don’t. Don’t feel like sticking your hand inside Erika Kuritani’s panties? Who’s saying you have to? It’s your life. You should do what you want and forget about what other people think.” (Location 926)
But when I look back at myself at age twenty, what I remember most is being alone and lonely. I had no girlfriend to warm my body or my soul, no friends I could open up to. No clue what I should do every day, no vision for the future. For the most part, I remained hidden away, deep within myself. Sometimes I’d go a week without talking to anybody. That kind of life continued for a year. A long, long year. Whether this period was a cold winter that left valuable growth rings inside me, I can’t really say. At the time I felt as if every night I, too, were gazing out a porthole at a moon made of ice. A transparent, eight-inch-thick, frozen moon. But no one was beside me. I watched that moon alone, unable to share its cold beauty with anyone. Yesterday Is two days before tomorrow, The day after two days ago. I hope that in Denver (or some other faraway town) Kitaru is happy. If it’s too much to ask that he’s happy, I hope at least that today he has his health, and all his needs met. For no one knows what kind of dreams tomorrow will bring. (Location 1033)
“When I read this, it shocked me. If the time and place had been different, I might very well have suffered the same terrible fate. If for some reason—I don’t know why—I was suddenly dragged away from my present life, deprived of all my rights, and reduced to living as a number, what in the world would I become? I shut the book and thought about this. Other than my skills as a plastic surgeon, and the trust I’ve earned from others, I have no other redeeming features, no other talents. I’m just a fifty-two-year-old man. I’m healthy, though I don’t have the stamina I had when I was young. I wouldn’t be able to stand hard physical labor for long. The things I’m good at are selecting a nice Pinot Noir, frequenting some sushi restaurants and others where I’m considered a valued customer, choosing stylish accessories as gifts for women, playing the piano a little (I can sight-read simple sheet music). But that’s about the size of it. If I were thrown into a place like Auschwitz, none of that would help.” I agreed with him. In a concentration camp Pinot Noir, amateur piano performances, and sparkling conversational skills would be totally useless. (Location 1275)
The purpose of a defense mechanism (in this case physical symptoms) is to divert people’s attention to the body, so that they can avoid the awareness of or confrontation with certain unconscious (repressed) feelings. (Location 263)
Retirement is generally “dangerous to your health,” whether you’re a man or a woman. The loss of status, the change of pattern and lifestyle almost invariably produce disturbing internal reactions that may cause emotional or physical symptoms. Some of the strongest feelings arise in the nonworking wife of a retiree. Now you have to interact with your husband all his waking hours; you may find yourself cooking three meals a day. One woman remarked that it’s like having a teenager around the house again. (Location 325)
Perfectionism is the predominant personality characteristic in many of my patients. In others, however, a closely related compulsion—the need to be good—is primary. These people are driven to be helpful, often to the extent of sacrificing their own needs. They have a desire to ingratiate, to want everyone to like them. Cultural or religious influences can enhance this tendency. Society mandates that you be a good son or daughter, a good spouse, a good parent, a congenial fellow-worker. This powerful drive, like perfectionism, seems to stem from deep feelings of inadequacy. What’s wrong with striving to be perfect and good? Doesn’t that benefit everybody? From a social and interpersonal perspective, it’s wonderful, but it also engenders great internal anger. Though we may consciously want to be and do good, the narcissistic self does not have such an imperative. Indeed, it reacts with anger at the imposition. Add to this the unconscious anger at not being fully appreciated for our efforts and, worst of all, the anger at ourselves for not living up to our own expectations. Remember, the unconscious is often irrational. A young mother with a newborn, whom she loves dearly, is very worried about doing things right, and she’s up half the night. Completely preoccupied with being a mother, she is unaware that she is unconsciously angry at the baby. Many of my patients have found it difficult to accept the idea that parents may be unconsciously angry at their children. (Location 573)
In the dominant discourse about dropping out, several things are equated that in our own lives we know to be unequal: university equals the courses you took; the courses you took equal the courses that prepared you for eventual business success. To be clear: Zuckerberg wasn’t advising that you drop out of college when he brought up his Harvard side projects. He gave the example to illustrate the importance of being creative “outside of the jobs you’ve done.” So, once again, CNBC’s framing is off, but at the same time, Zuckerberg is perhaps revealing how he thought of college: It was his first job. He stuck it out long enough to learn what he needed to learn, but when it turned stale and a new opportunity came along, he hopped firms. Anyone who’s watched people switch jobs in tech, especially in Silicon Valley, has seen this habit in action: there is a genuine fear among young and talented tech workers in Silicon Valley of staying too long at a company whose luster has dimmed, whose tech no longer gets anyone excited. There’s the panic in people’s eyes as they admit to being at the same startup that still, even after two or three years, no one has heard of and no one cares about. (Location 259)
And what tech calls thinking may be undergoing a further shift. Fred Turner, a professor of communication at Stanford, traced the intellectual origins of Silicon Valley in his book From Counterculture to Cyberculture (2006). The generation Turner covered in that book came of age in the sixties, and if they made money in the Valley, they’re playing tennis in Woodside now; if they taught, they are mostly retiring. The ethos is changing. “As little as ten years ago,” Turner told me, “the look for a programmer was still long hair, potbelly, Gryffindor T-shirt. I don’t see that as much anymore.” The generation of thinkers and innovators Turner wrote about still read entire books of philosophy; they had Ph.D.s; they had gotten interested in computers because computers allowed them to ask big questions that previously had been impossible to ask, let alone answer. Eric Roberts is of that generation. He got his Ph.D. in 1980 and taught at Wellesley before coming to Stanford. He shaped into the form they take today two of the courses that together are the gateway to Stanford’s computer science major. CS 106A, Programming Methodologies, and 106B, Programming Abstractions, are a rite of passage for Stanford students; almost all students, whether they are computer science majors or not, enroll in one or the other during their time at the university. Roberts’s other course was CS 181, Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy. Back in the day, CS 181 was a small writing class that prepared computer scientists for the ethical ramifications of their inventions. Today it is a massive class, capped at a hundred students, that has become one more thing hundreds of majors check off their lists before they graduate. Eric Roberts left Stanford in 2015, and today teaches much smaller classes at Reed College in Portland. As Roberts tells it, the real change happened in 2008, though “it almost happened in the eighties, it almost happened in the nineties.” During those tech booms, the number of computer science majors exploded, to the point where the faculty had trouble teaching enough classes for them. “But then,” Roberts says, “the dot-com bust probably saved us.” The number of majors declined precipitously when after the bubble burst media reports were full of laid-off dot-com employees. Most of those employees were back to making good money again by 2002, but the myth of precariousness persisted—until the Great Recession, that is, which was when what Roberts calls the “get-rich-quick crowd” was forced out of investment banking and started looking back at the ship they had prematurely jumped from in 2001. When venture capital got burned in the real estate market and in finance after 2008, for instance, it came west, ready to latch on to something new. The tech industry we know today is what happens when certain received notions meet with a massive amount of cash with nowhere else to go. (Location 121)
In 2019, Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, explained in an interview with Rolling Stone that the true reason his platform was crawling with Nazi trolls was that users—his customers—were derelict in their duties. “They see things,” he complained, “but it’s easier to tweet ‘get rid of the Nazis’ than to report it.” Twitter was happy to take responsibility for Tahrir Square, it seems, but Nazis are someone else’s problem. The promotional materials the companies put out claim revolutionary potential for their platforms, but in the end, the tech giants are always happy to get out of jail free by pointing out that they are not responsible for the content on those platforms. There is a tendency in Silicon Valley to want to be revolutionary without, you know, revolutionizing anything. (Location 629)
Rating: 5/5 (ongoing)
When she drew, she didn’t feel as if she worked with only charcoal and paper. In drawing a portrait, her medium was the soul itself. There were plants from which one could remove a tiny cutting—a leaf, or a bit of stem—then plant it and grow a duplicate. When she collected a Memory of a person, she was snipping free a bud of their soul, and she cultivated and grew it on the page. Charcoal for sinew, paper pulp for bone, ink for blood, the paper’s texture for skin. She fell into a rhythm, a cadence, the scratching of her pencil like the sound of breathing from those she depicted. (Location 2064)
“Syl?” he finally prompted. “Were you going to say something?” “It seems I’ve heard men talk about times when there were no lies.” “There are stories,” Kaladin said, “about the times of the Heraldic Epochs, when men were bound by honor. But you’ll always find people telling stories about supposedly better days. You watch. A man joins a new team of soldiers, and the first thing he’ll do is talk about how wonderful his old team was. We remember the good times and the bad ones, forgetting that most times are neither good nor bad. They just are.” (Location 6009)
The eastern horizon, inverted in his sight, was growing darker. From this perspective, the storm was like the shadow of some enormous beast lumbering across the ground. He felt the disturbing fuzziness of a person who had been hit too hard on the head. Concussion. That was what it was called. He was having trouble thinking, but he didn’t want to fall unconscious. He wanted to stare at the highstorm straight on, though it terrified him. He felt the same panic he’d felt looking down into the black chasm, back when he’d nearly killed himself. It was the fear of what he could not see, what he could not know. The stormwall approached, the visible curtain of rain and wind at the advent of a highstorm. It was a massive wave of water, dirt, and rocks, hundreds of feet high, thousands upon thousands of windspren zipping before it. In battle, he’d been able to fight his way to safety with the skill of his spear. When he’d stepped to the edge of the chasm, there had been a line of retreat. This time, there was nothing. No way to fight or avoid that black beast, that shadow spanning the entirety of the horizon, plunging the world into an early night. (Location 10098)
Rating: 5/5 (ongoing)
If an emergency war order arrived from SAC headquarters, every missile crew officer would face a decision with almost unimaginable consequences. Given the order to launch, Childers would comply without hesitation. He had no desire to commit mass murder. And yet the only thing that prevented the Soviet Union from destroying the United States with nuclear weapons, according to the Cold War theory of deterrence, was the threat of being annihilated, as well. Childers had faith in the logic of nuclear deterrence: his willingness to launch the missile ensured that it would never be launched. At Vandenberg he had learned the general categories and locations of Titan II targets. Some were in the Soviet Union, others in China. But a crew was never told where its missile was aimed. That sort of knowledge might inspire doubt. Like four members of a firing squad whose rifles were loaded with three bullets and one blank, a missile crew was expected to obey the order to fire, without bearing personal responsibility for the result. (Location 461)
At first, the British refrained from deliberate attacks on German civilians. The policy of the Royal Air Force (RAF) changed, however, in the fall of 1941. The Luftwaffe had attacked the English cathedral town of Coventry, and most of the RAF bombs aimed at Germany’s industrial facilities were missing by a wide mark. The RAF’s new target would be something more intangible than rail yards or munitions plants: the morale of the German people. Bombarding residential neighborhoods, it was hoped, would diminish the will to fight. “The immediate aim is, therefore, twofold,” an RAF memo explained, “namely, to produce (i) destruction, and (ii) the fear of death.” The RAF Bomber Command, under the direction of Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris, unleashed a series of devastating nighttime raids on German cities… (Location 994)
The dangers of fallout were inadvertently made public when a Japanese fishing boat, the Lucky Dragon, arrived at its home port of Yaizu two weeks after the Bravo test. The twenty-three crew members were suffering from radiation poisoning. Their boat was radioactive—and so was the tuna they’d caught. The Lucky Dragon had been about eighty miles from the detonation, well outside the military’s exclusion zone. One of the crew died, and the rest were hospitalized for eight months. The incident revived memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, sparking protests throughout Japan. When Japanese doctors asked for information about the fallout, the American government refused to provide it, worried that details of the blast might reveal the use of lithium deuteride as the weapon’s fuel. Amid worldwide outrage about the radiation poisonings, the Soviet Union scored a propaganda victory. At the United Nations, the Soviets called for an immediate end to nuclear testing and the abolition of all nuclear weapons. Although sympathetic to those demands, President Eisenhower could hardly agree to them, because the entire national security policy of the United States now depended on its nuclear weapons. (Location 2529)