Hey remember that time when…

Do you remember how you felt, and what you said, when you were trying to put forward the best version of yourself to win someone’s amorous attention? Really think about that for a minute.

Now, presuming you are lucky enough to be in a relationship at the moment—perform the following exercise:

Sit down with that person and start bragging about all of your shared stories as if they were things you did before you met them…

“One time, I went to the Grand Canyon in the winter and saw the most awesome snow squall blow up the valley!”

…then they counter with, “Neat! I once was strolling up a side street in Paris and I stumbled over a famous bakery that I’d read a book about—the Madelienes were to die for!”

“Wow! I once saw the sunset from the top of the Tokyo tower and then ate the best sushi…”

“I was in Trafalgar Square for Guy Fawkes night and then I went and listened to a Vespers concert in a church…”

“omg that reminds me I saw the Salisbury Cathedral and had this conversation with a random person who was crazy-passionate about how they built the cathedral…”

“…huh, I once hiked miles into the forest, to the top of a mountain in Kamakura Japan—oh, the mist and the wind and the trees where amazing.”

“wow! I spent a week in the French Alps with a couple of the people who created Parkour—except that’s not what they call it…”

“Really? I once rented a car and drove all over the Cottswalds in England…”

“Neat! I took a road trip to Boston and walked the entire Freedom Trail and had a picnic lunch at Bunker Hill in the shade.”

…and so on and so on.

Let me know how it works out.

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I really don’t mind the noise

I’ve always had poor hearing.

(Yes, it’s been looked into. No, there’s no specific reason. Pro-tip: Some humans have sub-average hearing.)

So so so many things I could unpack about my personality, and who I am, which I now think are related to my hearing. For example, I’ve always been loud and gee, I wonder if being louder was related to my hearing. :) Put cotton in your ears and see how loud you start talking… Anywho.

Exactly three years ago I went and got hearing aids. Now most people who need them, hem and haw and fight their wives—oops, did I just call out the men? I flipped to the “team hearing aids” in one conversation.

I was at someone’s house, in the evening after a wonderful meal. Bunch of us hanging out and we’re having an incredible conversation. I was about 8 podcast episodes into my [what would become the] Movers Mindset project. One of the people in the conversation was someone I really wanted to interview; not that night, but soon.

And I was seriously pissed that I couldn’t hear half of what was being said.

Next day I made an appointment for the following week. I bought a pair (they aren’t cheap) at my first appointment. I call them my cyborg implants; I am Craig of Borg. Everyone who knows me well, was like, “hey what happened to Craig he suddenly got drastically quieter?”

What does any of this have to do with my title?

OH. MY. GAWD. BECKY the world is loud! The birds and the planes—did you know jets make noise when they fly over?—and the highway a mile over and the road when you drive and people… holy cow are some people REALLY LOUD! And podcast interviews… when I’m interviewing people, with headphones on, or talking in person, or strolling down the street where I can’t see their lips (aside: I read lips very well)… ambrosia through my ears. But the world is LOUD.

…and I love every second of it.

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The time assigned to you

Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions have been given you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Care and feeding

I recently read Ray Bradbury’s, How To Keep And Feed A Muse. It’s a great essay by the way, and I suggest reading the entire collection in his book, Zen in The Art of Writing.

When I give my thoughts on interviewing, depending on who’s asked me and why, I sometimes veer off into describing where the questions come from; right smack in the middle of the interview, where do all the questions come from? Sometimes I do actively try to think them up on the spot; I’ll run through the topics we’ve covered, the ideas I had before we started, and then I’ll grab a thread of thinking and tug. But that rarely works and it’s always obvious to the guest, to me, and in the recording. Most of the time however, the questions just come to me. Like, *flash* …they come streaming at me far faster than I could say them. So what’s up with that?!

Maybe it’s my muse?

Have you heard of tulpas? A “tulpa” was originally, “a concept in mysticism and the paranormal of a being … created through spiritual or mental powers.” (Wikipedia) No, not that tulpa.

More recently, the term is being used to refer to… Well, you’re not going to believe me, so I’ll just pull-quote it:

A tulpa is an entity created in the mind, acting independently of, and parallel to your own consciousness. They are able to think, and have their own free will, emotions, and memories. In short, a tulpa is like a sentient person living in your head, separate from you. It’s currently unproven whether or not tulpas are truly sentient, but in this community, we treat them as such. It takes time for a tulpa to develop a convincing and complex personality; as they grow older, your attention and their life experiences will shape them into a person with their own hopes, dreams and beliefs.

~ What Is A Tulpa from, https://www.tulpa.info/what-is-a-tulpa/

No, it’s not a joke. There are no drugs involved. They are literally talking about creating an entire, additional, thinking, conscious mind… which just happens to be running in the same physical organ as your mind. Sounds completly ape-shit-bonkers… until you start reading more about it and put some thought into how your mind developed. You [you reading. you as your current mind] certainly weren’t born in your brain. You-as-your-current-mind developed over years. How’d that happen?

What if you could do it again, on purpose, using your current brain?

Today I find myself wondering if I’ve created a nascent Tulpa. It doesn’t seem to mind being stuck in my brain; it has no control, but every once in a while it realizes there’s a cool, novel, human mind across the table, and here are these ice-cream-cone like things with the wires and… “oh OH! I have a question!!!”

…and then Craig’s all like, “now where did that question come from?”

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Mono versus stereo

As people get started in podcasting, the question soon comes up: Mono versus stereo?

For the Movers Mindset podcast, we produce our content as mono, and not because we don’t care about audio quality—rather, because I don’t feel stereo gains me anything. Here’s a bunch of things to consider:

But first, an aside: Newb mistake with voices: Don’t put one voice in one channel, and the other voice in the other channel. This isn’t “stereo”, it’s simply a mistake.

Data file size: Stereo is roughly twice the size as mono. Two channels of data versus one, so double the size. Size directly affects download time, storage size on listeners’ devices, their cellular data usage, and relates to my personal disdain for data-size bloat on the Internet in general; all of which cause me to take that “twice the size” very seriously. If the file is going to be twice as big, I want it to be twice as good—or at least drastically better. Stereo isn’t, and so this alone is enough for me to pick mono.

Monaural listening: Many people only put one ear bud in, and some people only have one ear.

Mostly voices: The Movers Mindset podcast is mostly people talking. In fact, it’s mostly just two people talking… often just one person at a time. That single sound source is picked up by one microphone. The other voice, in one other microphone. So here again, publishing stereo gets me no improvement in the final product.

Music: is usually generated by a collection of instruments and voices and that performance does have a three-dimensional aspect. And that’s why we see music in stereo… but we also see lots of “surround sound” systems that do a much better job than a simple left-right channel setup. Meanwhile, the Movers Mindset podcast doesn’t have any music at all, so this doesn’t even factor into our decision. (We use just simple cords, played on a single guitar, recorded—you guessed it—with a single microphone. So even our “music” is already in mono.)

Immersion: If I wanted to really go all-in, to record what it really sounds like—what would it sound like if I was literally sat there—you need to use binaural recording. This involves using two microphones positioned literally like the human eardrums are. This requires either using expensive microphones that you wear in your ears, or using microphones which are built inside a mannequin head. Because it turns out that the presence of your head and bone conduction all affect how things sound to us.

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Fasting

Fasting is nothing more than intentionally restricting what, or when, you choose to eat. Over the years I’ve posted a good bit about fasting. If this is new to you, start with my post, Ten years and About that diet.

In my battle with depression, I’ve become convinced that inflammation is a causal factor; being over-weight is generally inflammatory and then eating inflammatory foods can tip me over into an acute episode of depression. To be clear: I’m literally saying that if my weight is up, and I eat the wrong food, the following day will be a shit-show of depression.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about—AWESOME. I’m so happy for you. (That’s not sarcasm.)

…okay, you’re still reading. Here’s something new [as in: I’ve not posted this URL on my blog before] from Pilon:

I’ve found stats saying it’s the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide and that mood disturbances including depression will lead to an epidemic of disease in the 21st century in the western world. It’s clear that depression needs to be addressed more often than it currently is in the mainstream and health and fitness media. I find depression particularly interesting because of the connection with inflammation.

~ Brad Pilon from, https://bradpilon.com/weight-loss/intermittent-fasting-and-depression-an-inflammation-link/

Curious, it’s almost as if what I eat matters…

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What’s in a title?

Should I write the title first, or last?

Should the title be a clear signpost of what is to come?

…or should the title prepare the reader?

…prime their mental state, jar them out of common trains of thought, give them the first bit of context, …

Should the title be short, or loquacious?

An interrogative or a statement.

Should the tense (present, past, passive, active, …) match, or provide counter-point?

If I practiced by writing 2,509 titles would I be able to write a title for a post on titles?

Could I remove the titles entirely?

Should I remove the titles entirely?

What is my intention for having titles? (Hi Angie!)

Should I have the same intention each time I’m composing a title?

Could the title be revealed last—only after the piece is read?

Email has a subject line; not a title line.

Does a title convey the subject?

…always? …sometimes? …maybe it never should?

Can a subject be a title?

Could a title contain the subject but also serve some as-yet-undiscovered-by-me purpose?

Should a title set the tone?

…create tension? …allude to the subject?

and be short?

Do people judge what I write by the title?

Do people who read a lot of my posts, versus those who are having their first experience, use the titles differently?

Or maybe the title’s primary purpose is to serve as a mental bookmark for the piece after it’s been read?

Wait. What was I going to write about today?

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Serious work

Well, then, are we teachers the only idle dreamers? No; it is you young men who are much more so. For, indeed, we old men, when we see young ones at play, are keen to join in that play ourselves. Far more so, then, if I saw them wide awake and keen to join us in our studies, should I be eager myself to join with them in serious work.

~ Epictetus