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May 18, 2016 // Gaman

on May 18, 2016

Gaman (我慢?) is a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin which means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity".[1] The term is generally translated as "perseverance", "patience", tolerance, or "self-denial".[2] A related term, gamanzuyoi (我慢強い gaman-tsuyoi?), a compound with tsuyoi (strong), means "suffering the unbearable" or having a high capacity for a kind of stoic endurance.[3]

Gaman is variously described as a "law,"[4] a "virtue,"[5] an "ethos,"[6] a "trait,"[7] etc. It means to do one's best in distressed times and to maintain self-control and discipline.[8][9][10][11][12]

Gaman is a teaching of Zen Buddhism.[13]
~ Wikipedia

I just want to share this with as few words as possible. Read it and form your own opinions. ...

The Creative Art Of Coping In Japanese Internment

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May 12 2016 // Personal Challenges

on May 08, 2016 ·
2 comments

Together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky. ~ Sonia Gandhi

I haven't written in a while because my family is being harassed, stalked, and threatened to the point where we need a lawyer. ... It's ugly. So ugly that I've been physically ill. But that's what challenges are aren't they? They're usually something we are afraid to do, terrified even. But we overcome them in the end. We keep moving forward and we can't give up even when it seems the easier choice.

When things get ugly and you feel you like you don't have anything left. What I didn't know is life usually proves you wrong on this point. There's been light spots in the darkness that came at the strangest of times.

Yesterday a terrible storm hit my neighborhood. The sky turned green and there was rotation in the clouds behind our house. We ran to the basement until it seemed that the storm wasn't as dangerous a good hour later and the sky was a beautiful set of hues from pale sunset pinks and oranges all the way into the deep purple of the storm. I grabbed my camera in an attempt to get a photo of the lightning but my camera's crap and wouldn't catch it. So I pasted my face to the sliding doors and switched it to video. As soon as I started filming lighting lit up the distance and I caught it on video. I had felt better than I had in days so I went upstairs and uploaded the video. That's when I noticed something odd. ... I rolled the video back again and again. It turns out that I didn't catch just the lightning in the distance but a bolt of lightning had nearly hit me and I didn't even see it happen.

Wow.

It was scary. I watched the video a few times slightly creeped out. After all that's been happening, all the trauma, and the heartache. I could have died. That would have been the second time I've almost died in less than a year. Less than four months to be exact.

I could have died unhappy and stressed out in my plaid pj's with a camera welded to my hands and look of hopelessness on my face. Just imagining that makes me cringe.

But what if I changed?

What if instead of feeling this hopelessness I did something about it?

Now healing takes time. It takes a million little steps and sometimes we stumble. We have to discover new things about ourselves that we never knew before. Whether it's how much we can really take or that we might need to ask for help.

One of the things that's been helping me heal is an old black moldy briefcase. Inside are things from my great step grandfather. Specifically drafts for a novel he was writing in the 80's about his life. I've only read the pitch so far. It was several pages long and described how he survived life in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. How he survived Typhoid Fever, quicksand, two blizzards, a panther, and rattlesnakes. How his horse died and how he fell in love. What happened when he came across a prairie fire and the fields full of buffalo bones.

After reading those pages my troubles shrank a little. I felt a little better. A little lighter. We all have our trials, our tests. But we have to make it through them. We have to keep pushing forward even when it seems we can't any longer. If not for ourselves then to prove to others that things can be bad, but we can survive them. ...

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May 06 2016 // Desiderata

on May 06, 2016

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy."

~ Max Ehrmann

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April 16 2016 // Summer Plans

on Apr 16, 2016 ·
4 comments

This summer I'm going to be writing a language hacking e-book. I'm also planning of brushing up and / or learning a good range of things. Here's a list:

  • French (Review & Get back to B2)
  • Hebrew (Complete A1) (Main Focus)
  • Spanish (Complete A1) (Main Focus)
  • Esperanto (Get to B2/C1)
  • Swedish (Complete A1)
  • Irish (Complete A1) (Main Focus)
  • Python (Main Focus)
  • PHP?
  • Journalism (Coursera)
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April 12 2016 // Let it Go

on Apr 12, 2016 ·
2 comments

We cling to objects to anchor us in the world. They give us a false sense of security. But objects are meant to serve a purpose. They are exist because at the present time we need them. We use them. They are tools. When they are no longer tools. Pass them on. Give them away. Get rid of them. Cut out the dead weight.

We need to evolve past the idea that stored up objects offer us some kind of primitive protection against the dangers of the world. They can't offer that. More than likely when something terrible happens you will either cling to you objects thus risking your own life for something inanimate or it will be taken from you. The only other options are to flee without it or too have never had it to begin with.

Each object you buy or have was a tool for the present moment. A notebook is a tool until it is filled up with information you no longer need. A book is a tool. Everything you've bought that beauty was it's only purpose isn't a tool. But it does the service of giving pleasure to the owner. Don't become attached to them. They are not worth gathering up. Keep only what is beautiful to you in the present. Make sure that when the time comes to let it go. You let it go.

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April 07 2016 // Busy

on Apr 08, 2016 ·
2 comments

I've been really busy lately. I'm moving. Which since I'm not a practicing minimalist means packing up a lot of crap and getting rid of even more. I'm not leaving ZeroNet. I'll be checking my messages. I'll be reading blogs. But for now, I need boxes. Lots of boxes. ...

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March 29 2016 // ZenPen

on Mar 29, 2016 ·
3 comments

Just put up ZenPen yesterday on ZeroNet.

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March 26 2016 // Zero Note

on Mar 27, 2016 · less than 1 min read

@CryptonBits
came up with the idea of using a fork of ZeroTalk to create an evernote alternative. Here's what mine ended up looking like. See below for images.

  • If you would like to clone a copy. Just remember to edit the hyperlinks for more notebooks. Zero Note

Themes

To change the color theme go to the css file and replace every instance of #DB3207; with the hex color code of your choice.

  • Evernote color: #00cd00;

update:

Project Renamed "Zero Note".

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// FAQs

on Mar 25, 2016 ·
6 comments

Loc - United States
Lang - English, Esperanto
Stack - irssi, tor, zeronet, gpg, git, lynx, bitmessage, multibit, sublimetext, laverna, keeweb, ipfs, turtl, mailpile, vim.

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// Table of Contents

on Mar 25, 2016 · less than 1 min read
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March 23 2016 // Multilingualism

on Mar 24, 2016 ·
8 comments

I could never see a book written in a foreign language without the most ardent desire to read it. Bayard Taylor

I'm monolingual. At least I have been for the past seventeen years or so. I used to speak Spanish fluently. But I lost touch with it when the people around me slowly stopped speaking it, different people moved into my neighborhood. The order of the day was English. Monolingualism flourished and idea's and cultural norms shifted. I hated it. I hated the food. Mayo and Bologna slowly replaced homemade tamales, roasted peppers, fry bread, and cacti. To this day I cannot stomach Bologna. To this day I rant when the local stores don't have roasted green chilies for sale.

When a language stops being spoken we lose a hell of a lot more than the language. We lose friends. We lose a culture. We lose the stories, the food, the histories. So much is lost and sometimes, most of the time it's gone forever.

Last year I decided that I no longer wanted to be monolingual. There had been times before that where I randomly bought books or took a course but I was always a half hearted attempt. I never really did anything about it. I never really studied. I acted as if my passivity would magically cause me to be multilingual. It doesn't. It never will. So I took the plunge. I started learning Esperanto. I took a lot of work but this year I'm around b1-b2 level. I'm not going to stop and I plan to keep adding languages.

Will you join me and learn a new language?
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March 19 2016 // Mourning

on Mar 19, 2016

I just read this article on BBC Future called, Facebook is a growing and unstoppable digital graveyard it talks about how after we die, we are essentially still living thanks to the social networks etc. and that the number of dead users will eventually outpace the living.

I've had some terrible brushes with this policy and I'm not a fan of the social network. I've had family members die tragic deaths and when I was still grieving saw them post from beyond the grave their love of Walmart. An ad. Their memories were reduced to an avatar for an advertisement corporation.

It's a terrible feeling to have someone ripped out of your life. There's regret. You start to wish you could have done more things with them. Been around them more. Been kinder. You try to grasp hold of the few memories you took for granted when they were alive and try to keep from forgetting. But memories fade. Then there's the funeral. ...

I hate funerals. To me it's something everyone expects when someone passes away and they expect you to be there. Why? Why can't we just remember who they were and honor their memory? Don't tell me it's closure. Funeral's give me anything but closure. Just more heartache, terrible memories, and a level of mourning that cannot be fathomed.

I'd rather celebrate their life than their death. What people did, who they were, their favorite music, their memories of their lives is what matters. Not the coffin, or the flowers, not even whether their piece of eternal real estate was in a 'great spot'. It means nothing. A great person or a terrible one can equally be buried with splendor or humbly. The procession at someone's death doesn't matter. It's what that person did and who they were. Don't slander it. Don't turn it into a misguided attempt at advertising. Don't toss unnecessary money at it. Respect it.

Social networks are not good at this sort of thing. They don't have feelings. They don't understand. Everything is in the present. No past. No future. If you want to leave something for your descendants and relatives, when the time comes do it with purpose. Record stories, take photographs, write about it. But do it with the proper intent in mind.

Don't let your social networks write your narrative for you.

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March 09 2016 // Push Yourself

on Mar 09, 2016 ·
4 comments

'Personally, I would be delighted if there were a life after death, especially if it permitted me to continue to learn about this world and others, if it gave me a chance to discover how history turns out.'
~ Carl Sagan

I've always been curious. When I was a kid I tried to learn Egyptian Hieroglyphics and Chinese. I wanted to go on an excavation and have that moment of discovery when brushing away the hot dirt to find bones. I spoke fluent Spanish. I ran a horse down a mountain. Found a geode bigger than a volley ball. I wanted to program. I adopted the local alley cats. Tried to memorize the constellations and watched the meteors pass by earth's atmosphere. I was captivated with the power of nature as I was caught in a tornado, monsoon, and dust storms that seemed more at home on Mars than on Earth. I ran from a condor. Petted a wolf. Ran from a bear. You name it. My life was like an episode of some crazy adventure series.

Now though, things are different. I've lost some of that child-like wonder. It seems that the world is so much smaller, more full of conflict, strife, and pain that when I was a kid. But it isn't gone. I'm still as curious as ever. So much so that I never have time for anything. I'm too busy learning and experiencing things around me that I took for granted.

What changed? I started doing hard things. That's what we do as kids. We bolt head first into circumstances that would terrify our adult selves. That's why we grow stagnant. We've become afraid. We slow down and focus because otherwise I think adulthood would probably scare the hell out of us. We are all of the sudden expected to be a certain type of person and do a certain types of things and buy certain things and say certain things.

AND ITS BORING!

Why do we allow ourselves to be so bored with life? Is it so that when it comes time to die we are thankful for it? For the escape clause? Or are we full of regrets but still not willing to take that first step?

We need to become curious again. ... We need to do hard things and learn hard things and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We need to wonder, ask questions, start conversations, provide answers.

If there has ever been something that bothered you because you didn't know it or know the answer. Seek it. Even if it's hard. Start with small steps and once you've mastered it. Expound upon it. Look into something that is related and interested you and keep moving. Don't loose that momentum.

I'm constantly taking MOOCs online to learn more. I test out classes even if it's something I might not like just to answer whether I do or not. I read books that seem boring and I challenge myself to find their redeeming qualities. Most of the time I end up liking the book. Simply because I took a chance. I've also decided to learn Esperanto, French, and Hebrew. Why? Because why should I set limits on myself when I don't even know what my limit is? I bet it's a hell of a lot higher than we all believe our limits are.

Don't set limits on yourself.

Be curious and take a chance. Why settle for an average life? When it's possible that yours could be so much more?

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March 07 2016 // Don't Give Up

on Mar 08, 2016

Life changes, it's in a constant state of flux. Shit happens and all that jazz. But what's important is what you make of it. Of each situation. How you decide to act. Do you push on? Or do you fail? Is there such an option as failure? Or is failure like beauty and only in the eye of the beholder?

I believe that life is what you make it, regardless of circumstances.

Circumstances are just your starting point. If you think of it as a game, it's where the game begins. It has absolutely nothing on where you are going.

That part is all up to you.

Learn what you can.

Do what you have too without sacrificing your morals.

Don't dwell on what you cannot change.

Push forward even when all the odds are stacked against you.

Carve out the person you want to be, even if you don't have the tools you think you need to do it. Use your fingernails.

Because you matter.

Don't ever give up on yourself.

When everyone else has given up.

When the fighting seems too hard.

Take another step and dig in. You are in it for the long haul.

When things are bad around you. Be prepared to leave it all behind without a second thought.

Don't get attached to things. Things will always be there. It's the living, knowledge, and yourself that matter.

Focus on the now. The past and the future are unchanging shadows. Only the present time can be altered.

Treat everything with respect. You are no greater than an ant or a fern.

Be humble.

Find balance in everything and maintain it.

And remember,

"No man is free who is not master of himself."
~ Epectitus

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March 5 2016 // Scroogled

on Mar 05, 2016

I just read a short story by Cory Doctorow called "Scroogled". It's part of a new book of short stories called, "Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest". You can read it here:
http://lithub.com/the-toxic-smog-of-the-information-age/

It's about the government contracting out to Google who just does searching and profiling of people better than them and what happens to people who don't conform to their idea of average. How much do search algorithms know about you? Are you protecting your privacy? What happens when the powers that be get a hold on you metadata?

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