2022 02 07

I’m learning better squat technique every time I try it. I’m really grateful to have a friend who has gone through a lot of this process and can help guide more effectively than I had been able to in my past attempts. Not to mention the moral support provide by working out with someone! Basically, I’ve realized there are two key things holding me back: 1) my core muscles are extremely lacking to hold proper form in my torso, 2) I don’t have enough flexibility to get as low as I should be without moving my shoulders forward. 2) is more critical as if I go low I have to compensate by leaning forward since I don’t have the flexibility in my hips or heels to squat so low, and as such when I stand up I need to correct that compensation which ends up putting more work on my back - not good! So, a temporary remedy I figured out today is to not squat too low so that I can always maintain correct posture. Having the correct posture makes the actual act of doing the squat significantly easier to do it correctly. I have homework to work on my flexibility so I can squat lower, but in the meantime I can keep better form by not going past my lower limit.

Read an article that a friend sent me about visiting industrial sites as a form of religious experience (I disagree with the sexist comment near the beginning about women not being able to get infrastructure - completely unnecessary comment. Aside that the rest of it reads like Ishmael’s depictions in Moby Dick and I think is still very worth reading; especially if you share these feelings). I have felt this too, especially lately when visiting airports. In Honolulu when we first landed there was a bunch of rain and it was hard to see, but the planes coming in taxiing through the mist looked super cyberpunk. Such incredible pieces of engineering - not too mention all the support infrastructure that goes into an airport. It’s astonishing and how attainable flying has become to the general populace. I think it would be good for more people to hold more gratitude for the incredible technology that enables our modern way of life. Things were so much worse in virtually all metrics not even a century ago and I don’t think people seem to understand that? Maybe I’m wrong - feel free to convince me otherwise if you think so. I can’t get over how I can turn a faucet in my sink and water comes out of it.

I think that because so many of us have been born into this way of life we aren’t equipped to really fathom the alternatives. I have had similar thoughts in the past year about computers, math, and knowledge in general. Computers never existed until very recently, and for some people (still alive!) they did not exist as personal computers when they were born. The personal computer is extremely new in history and I think it’s easy to not be imaginative about what they could do since we have always known them to perform some set of functions. The way I and most everyone else uses a computer has not changed all that dramatically since the Xerox Alto (not widely attainable, but I think of this as the first true example of a modern personal computer - reminder that everyone interested in computers needs to read The Dream Machine). I’m curious in what it takes to bring our mindsets back to the time before these things existed in order to better understand how they could perhaps be used more effectively. Or imagining more broadly what a computer could be and do. This also applies to any subject and how we teach it really. We seem to get caught up in feedback loops of “well, this is how I was taught it so this is how I will teach it, which doesn’t seem to lend itself to progress. Surely some of these methods are probably good, but anecdotally I’ve found much of my education to be little helpful, but that’s a topic for another day.

Daily Listening

Been listening to impressionism while working and I think I’ll keep doing that as it is pretty good background music for being productive.

I’ve also been listening to all my save songs on Spotify on shuffle. It’s definitely some weird shuffle algorithm that isn’t truly random, so it plays a bunch of songs that I have listened to a lot in the past (perhaps it does some form of weighted sampling based on how often you listen to this and maybe time since last listened?). It’s taken me on some interesting Proustian trips since music is very associative with my memories and various times/moods of my life. I genuinely think this is the closest we can come to time travel by reliving these experiences in our heads prompted by some stimuli.

Daily Reading

Trying to really push through Freedom’s Forge as I’m approaching 3 weeks of reading it! There was an interesting anecdote about one subcontractor that was a family working out of their farmhouse and producing high quality parts for the war effort. The larger companies that came to visit were astonished at how they could produce such parts in a farmhouse. They even fashioned their tools out of old equipment. Really incredible ingenuity to make things - I want to be better at having that spirit myself!