Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 27 2021-05-17T03:50:05.737Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 19 2021-05-17T03:37:52.752Z
What specific decision, event, or action significantly improved an aspect of your life in a value-congruent way? How? 2021-04-01T04:26:52.120Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup February 23 2021-01-09T22:31:59.708Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup February 4 2021-01-09T22:03:41.218Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup January 21 2021-01-09T21:49:53.532Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup January 12 2021-01-09T21:43:21.753Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup December 30 2020-12-26T04:53:10.183Z
Willa's Shortform 2020-12-21T21:49:41.773Z
Intake Rumble Spew 2020-12-21T21:25:35.804Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup December 17 2020-12-15T22:28:04.610Z
Meetup Schedule through January | Group Info | Call for Submissions! 2020-10-19T15:44:06.347Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup - October 15 2020-10-10T03:21:10.704Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup-Sept 29 2020-09-27T18:40:07.013Z
Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup 2020-07-21T01:41:59.311Z
[Houston] Meetup @ Empire Cafe Sun 2-16-2020 2020-02-15T22:37:58.452Z
[Houston] Meetup @ Empire Cafe Sun 1-19-20 2pm-5pm 2020-01-15T04:17:35.441Z
[Houston] Meetup @ Empire Cafe Sun 12-15-19 2pm-5pm 2019-12-13T13:30:32.146Z
[Houston] Meetup @ Empire Cafe Sun 11-17-19 2pm-5pm 2019-11-15T01:16:48.495Z
Houston Rationalists September Meetup 2019-08-25T20:57:06.814Z
Houston Rationalists August Meetup 2019-08-12T04:50:08.705Z
Houston Rationalists Survey 2019-07-29T05:05:03.980Z
Houston SSC/LW/EA Social Meetup 2019-06-01T05:24:42.631Z
Houston SSC/LW/EA Social Meetup 2019-06-01T05:20:50.066Z
Houston SSC/LW/EA Social Meetup 2019-05-15T13:42:08.320Z
Houston SSC/LW/EA Social Meetup 2019-03-31T23:01:13.365Z
SSC/LW Meetup - Houston Rationalists 2019-02-26T00:35:22.580Z
SSC/LW Meetup @ Cafe Brasil, Houston, TX 2018-12-02T21:11:55.970Z
SSC/LW Meetup @ Agora, Houston TX 2018-11-07T02:40:12.309Z
My Hello World 2018-10-17T04:47:37.255Z


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Why don't long running conversations happen on LessWrong? · 2021-06-17T18:47:55.516Z · LW · GW

I agree re Adam's question being a good example of the case, and not at all navel gazing.

My worry about navel gazing is motivated by some personal baggage, anxiety about what's worth spending time on, and some anecdotal experiences where it seemed like metaconversations were not effective in doing anything and took a ton of time and energy, then nothing happened from them. Focusing on "...trying to find explanations for general behavior online..." definitely is helpful world modeling that can provide useful insights and instigate changes in behavior in response to those insights.

I like how you only used the word meta conversation in your comment a single time and tabooed it otherwise, instead offering more specific and actionable commentary / insights about the issues of online discussions and how to align those with what people want out of the site + discussions.

Taking an Oath of Reply like you wrote is a good idea, and I'll start doing that for my own posts or on discussions / comment threads too.

"In online settings like LW, we might tend to start by imagining what sort of interactions we think are possible and missing, and then inferring the reason for their absence and experimenting with solutions."

This would make a really good question, if it hasn't already been asked recently I'll go make that post and reference this discussion, post, and other relevant things.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-17T18:36:55.604Z · LW · GW

I know some will, but that's too optimistic and ignores the preferences / experiences of a huge amount of people, because there are categories of people who prefer death over immortality for whom the aging process doesn't factor in to their choice on that matter. Especially people with strong faith in their religion's afterlife.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-17T18:35:27.267Z · LW · GW

I suspect that a good deal of people make that assumption too, about what living past a certain age would be like. Or the bad future scenario. I've encountered people who believe either or both things, but once I frame the question and scenario as immortality with perpetual youth then the first concern almost always disappears. The majority of people I ask the question / scenario to, keep bringing up concerns about population and where all these immortality people are going to live. That's not really something I'm worried about, because the universe is very large and an assumption I make is that humanity would spread throughout the stars if immortal, but I don't have a great specific answer regarding the population concerns people have mentioned.

Actually, religious people with strong faith in their religion's conception of an afterlife are the most likely to choose eventual death over immortality in my experience, because they believe that one their time is up on Earth, they simply die and go to their religion's afterlife, and they find that very strongly preferable to living perpetually in the material world.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-17T18:29:50.328Z · LW · GW

You're assuming a lot about other peoples' experiences and motivations, the internal experience that my aforementioned love ones have described to me looks not at all similar to what you said. While their internal experiences and their desire for eventual death are alien thought processes, emotions, and experiences to me, I do notice that the people-space of people who prefer eventual death to immortality contains a pretty wide variety of reasonings and internal experiences for why they prefer that eventual death...including surprisingly well thought out and sophisticated and logically coherent answers. Some people genuinely want to die eventually rather than live indefinitely, and that mindset / preference is so alien to mine own that it's a struggle to accept that people believe such things and have such preferences, but I keep encountering people who do so it seems to be true.

However, I can see how what you said might be an internal experience for some people within people-space, it does check out and pass my anecdotal experience test at least (I've encountered some people who, per their description of internal experience, are likely similar to the mindset you described).

I like to ask people their preferences on this matter, so I've heard a lot different answers to the "death vs immortality" questions, and while I've encountered some people who have a strong or neutral preference for immortality, I've encountered a surprisingly high amount of people who would prefer death, and that sucks.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-16T05:12:45.985Z · LW · GW

Several very important to me people whom I love told me that they would rather die than live even a few hundred years or indefinitely, that they would not choose cryopreservation if life extension capabilities aren't advanced enough by their "natural time", and so on, when I asked them how they felt about immortality (scenario was: imagine that humanity figures out how to be immortal and there are no restrictions, anyone can have it if they want it, do you take it yes or no?).

There's too much deathism in this world, aahhhhhhhhh. I've already started to mourn those people, and it hurts so fucking much, it literally is keeping me awake tonight...I was meditating then trying to sleep and reminders of their choice bubbled up and now here I am, typing away. Crying about and mourning the loss of loved ones who haven't died yet, but ultimately said that that was their preference over life extension / immortality.

It hurts so bad.

Writing this felt helpful somewhat, at least I've channeled those feelings and temporarily diminished their intensity, somewhat...well, back to trying to sleep.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Am I anti-social if I get vaccinated now? · 2021-06-11T16:27:38.577Z · LW · GW

I've followed Zvi's COVID updates and analyses for most of the pandemic, and from that + other readings, my opinion is that you ought to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Whether your country actually transfers those vaccine doses to other countries in need is out of your control, plus seems like a low probability of actually happening in a way / quickly enough for your 2 doses to have any negative impact whatsoever. If spare doses even get transferred at all, which...unfortunately has not happened nearly as much as it should have since vaccines became available.

Edit: My answer is an emphatic No, you are not anti-social if you get vaccinated now.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Why don't long running conversations happen on LessWrong? · 2021-06-01T03:45:19.535Z · LW · GW

What metaconversations have you experienced in your closest relationships and/or elsewhere that you think LessWrong would benefit from discussing?

How do you turn the metaconversations into actionable, implemented, and solved advice? Rather than such conversations well...becoming very navel gazing and meta circle jerk-y?

I imagine it's much easier making such conversations bear fruit and pay rent in the context of close personal relationships because there should be a more visceral "this isn't working" type of feeling fairly immediately, yes? Whereas in an online, usually loosely connected social environment I imagine the visceral and immediate feelings of "this doesn't work" probably don't arise as much, or at least not quickly. This is me speculating, what do you think?

I'll second the "posting lots of questions" being more catalyzing and accessible feeling than regular posts. I still don't comment too much nor write as much as I'd like, but whenever I see someone post a question post that seems to generate more discussion with people who's names I don't recognize than other types of posts. And seem more accessible.

Anecdote: I comment way more on metaconversation and community norms / culture types of posts than I do ideas focused and other kinds of posts. Not 100% certain why, might have to do with issues concerning people, group and community norms, culture, etc. feeling more accessible and interesting to me whereas pure ideas are less interesting to me usually. I like people a lot and seem to get more interested in something based on the impact that thing has on people. Probably is why I find X risks, AI Safety, and other such things to be very important and good and have read a good bit about such things, but whenever I try to dig into the weeds of the ideas and grok the technical idea aspects of those things...well that's a lot less interesting to me. Anyway, this was an aside. Helpful to me though.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-01T03:25:20.423Z · LW · GW

I have attended 2 CrossFit classes each week for the past two weeks! I will attend 2 classes this week and push for doing 3 classes a week starting next week. Finally getting into a habit of regular exercise each week (it's still not a huge amount, but I'm growing that habit!) makes me feel fantastic, and I'm so happy I've done this.

I'll be in Las Vegas later this week to party and have some fun :) If you're reading this and have recommendations for what to do, where to go, etc. I'm happy to hear your recommendations.

You should listen to the "Having a successful career with depression, anxiety and imposter syndrome" podcast episode that 80,000 Hours released on the 19th. I found it an excellent and very relatable episode, and after listening to it am spending more time doing actionable "taking care of myself" things that I'd previously been avoiding, even very simple things. I have ADHD and depression, have had some really intense episodes and awful experiences from both, and found Howie's description of his struggles with both such things to be relatable, empowering, and helpful. I will no doubt share some of my own experiences in the future when I get to such posts, or feel ready to do so. I think if one is capable of safely (without retribution from anyone, no consequences from employer, etc.) sharing one's experiences with mental illness and challenges, it's probably a good idea to do so, and I will take part in that tradition at some point too.

I really like Above and Beyond's weekly Group Therapy mixes, here's the one I listened to today:

I've got the Voicing Voice article in my writing queue, expect it next week as I likely won't be writing while I'm in Las Vegas later this week.


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-06-01T03:06:41.046Z · LW · GW

Cheers :)

copied from bottom of post: "My #1 tip is to start writing shortforms, whatever you can do, give it a go :) try different strategies, write about different types of things, be more personal or less personal, fail publicly, and so on so you can see what works well for you and grow in the ways you want to grow!"

Were there any parts you found particularly enjoyable, interesting, or even enlightening in some way?

I'll share my experiences thus far writing these shortforms:

  • I definitely use these shortforms as a public journal or log, and I find that really helpful in several ways.
    • When I post something on the public internet (i.e. public http/https sites, not walled platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Discord, or otherwise) I find that it gives me more self-confidence, feels very "real" and tangible in a way that writing privately or posting on a private / walled platform does not (that realness and tangible "in the world" feel is good for me), and feels like a good avenue for "leveling up" in a variety of ways.
    • I value feedback, critique, suggestions, discussion, and so on from other people. I believe that a person becomes the best version of theirself, "levels up" more quickly and in a better way, and so on when practising their arts amongst a community of other practitioners, publicly. I don't do very well when it's just me by myself and while there are some forms of deliberate practice for some skills and arts that work okay-ish solo or require being solo occasionally, I'm at my very best when I'm learning and operating publicly in a community. So these shortforms help me learn and operate publicly in a community I care about and like being a part of, strengthen my efforts to learn and practise, and more.
    • These shortforms feel like a great way for me to practise writing publicly before doing the honestly scarier and more intimidating thing of writing a regular post here on LW that could go on main / the frontpage. Since I'm not that worried about hitting a certain quality bar level when writing shortforms (though the publicness of them helps ensure at least some good minimum quality, which I like and appreciate), I find it much easier to actually write and publish them whereas a main / frontpage post still feels like quite an endeavour to get correct and what not.
    • Sometimes I feel very guilty or go into a negative failure spiral if I say I'll write or do something in a shortform and then don't finish or follow through on doing that thing. However, because I treat this as a personal log / journal and think there's a lower quality bar...PLUS try to be kind to myself, recognize when a strategy or approach isn't working, etc. then it's usually not too hard to break the guilt or failure spiral by simply talking about what happened in the next shortform and declaring what I'll try next. I find that that capability to fail publicly and come back and try something different and keep failing and learning, growing, and doing better over time is a surprisingly empowering and good feeling / thing. The cost of failure here is low, so I can practise trying things out and failing publicly without really any sort of significant cost, which lets me learn and grow in important ways.

By far the biggest benefit I've enjoyed while writing these shortforms is that I have a public corpus of works I can look back on, reflect on, and grow from. It's not a very big corpus of works, nor sophisticated, nor fancy / important, but it's mine and it's a start! I like being able to look back and see what I struggled with over time and what might have helped me get through something difficult / solve a problem.

It's also neat to see slices of me carved out like tree rings and preserved in writing. I used to think that that was a scary terrible thing about writing publicly, but now I believe it to be a great feature and not a bug at all. The self is not some coherent consistent thing, but it can be pointed at, sort of. I like being able to point at myself at whatever time / slice is available via what I wrote and see what was there / what I was like / where I was.

My #1 tip is to start writing shortforms, whatever you can do, give it a go :) try different strategies, write about different types of things, be more personal or less personal, fail publicly, and so on so you can see what works well for you and grow in the ways you want to grow! (copying this to top of post because this is now a bit long)

Let me know what you decide to do, I'll cheer you on :)

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-28T20:05:46.674Z · LW · GW

Thank you :)

That matches with my (albeit limited) experience of Zen so far. The quiet and power gained from it makes it easier to do things to further oneself down that path, I think.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 27 · 2021-05-27T23:06:31.671Z · LW · GW

Meetup has ended.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 27 · 2021-05-27T22:31:16.648Z · LW · GW

Meetup is live! Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 889 5211 1629 Passcode: 468026

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-20T15:06:53.328Z · LW · GW

How does Zen help you move along that path?

Is it the control of yet unbinding (de-categorizing might be a better word) of self, clarity of thought, and wordless insights that one gains which provide the benefit? Or some other things?

Practising Zen does seem particularly useful for learning how to better carve reality at its joints, so that must be a significant beneficial impact, yes?

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-05-20T05:11:38.323Z · LW · GW

ToDo #1

  • I have previously read media consumption diet posts on LW and elsewhere that I thought were quite good and helpful. I need to:

    • Find the three most helpful to me such posts, search time cannot exceed 20 minutes.
  • Take a few minutes to assess the three chosen posts more carefully, identify where and how they ebb and flow in response to each other. Find the best flow and most correct-for-me ideas out of them.

  • Write 1st post detailing structured efforts for improving my media consumption diet to help improve my voicing voice capabilities.

    • Decide time span between 1st post and 2nd follow-up, reflective, post. Set calendar notifications for end of time span to write 2nd post.
  • At the marked date, write and publish 2nd post.

re: Shortform #50 "These efforts should help me notice and cultivate my "voice", and give voice to myself. Developing my thoughts into refined ideas and producing them is highly aligned with my interests, goals, and more, so I'm excited for this! (note to self: the actual methods for how I do these things and what I actually do, plus what my successes and failures turn out to be are good source material for two posts: 1 post detailing the plan and effort and a 2nd post detailing successes and failures; I think writing those two posts will beneficially effect my structuring of this effort, increase my likelihood of follow-through, and provide myself with useful analytics after the fact to reflect on; others who read the two posts may find some benefit too)"

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Re: Fierce Nerds · 2021-05-20T04:59:28.401Z · LW · GW

I enjoyed how you turned PG's essay into a manifesto (still a bit implicit, but it's there) via what you quoted and replied. Nicely done and well agreed! I'm curious to see what such would look like if explicitly written, I do love me some manifestos.

I see overlap between "fierce nerds", "being a holy madman", and/or "being highly agentic" in how each type acts aggressively independently minded in clear and deliberate pursuit of goals, even if the path to those goals is extraordinarily uncertain. And socially often end up in positions/situations of isolation or seem incomprehensibly other in some way. Which, definitely seems to be where thinking truly independently may lead.. I don't have much of a point writing this besides pointing out the overlap between those types and linking what seem to be relevant articles to social implications for being those types. That seems enough though, for a comment.

"'The bad news is that if it's not exercised, your fierceness will turn to bitterness, and you will become an intellectual playground bully: the grumpy sysadmin, the forum troll, the hater, the shooter down of new ideas.'

Normal people can life normal lives. A fierce nerd following the rules is like a wild animal in a zoo. If you don't do daring things you'll go nuts."

Having met many grumpy sysadmins and others deeply struck by bitterness and utter cynicism and been one [grumpy sysadmin type person] myself for a short time, this feels all too painfully accurate. The people who I've met who were once fierce (whether fierce nerds or fierce in different capacities) and didn't take the riskier yet ambitious path are almost universally deeply unhappy, negative, cynical, and deeply bitter (I'm related to several such individuals) or have become totally passive and checked out. Conforming and being passive and hiding ones fierceness (of whatever kind it may be) a single iota more than is strictly necessary to survive at one's present stage of life, situation, privilege or lack thereof, and so on is a trap, a very dangerous game. I'm still escaping that and becoming stronger., because death still exists and myself and others need to get rid of it.

Bitterness, cynicism, mean-spirited-ness, and so on are not helpful to anyone trying to change the world and/or help others in whatever ways one wishes to do so, they are counterproductive tendencies to possess.

Fierceness, kindness, magnanimity, probity, and so on are much more helpful for getting things done and solving difficult important problems.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 19 · 2021-05-20T00:03:10.671Z · LW · GW

We have switched to Discord because of technical difficulties with Jitsi. If you aren't already a member of our discord server, you may join via this link!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup May 19 · 2021-05-19T22:27:34.066Z · LW · GW

Meetup is live! See y'all shortly :) password is DoingWellBetter!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-05-17T05:07:03.359Z · LW · GW

Shortform #50 Voicing Voice

My consume vs produce ratio is not well balanced, I consume dramatically more media, information, entertainment, and other such things compared to what I produce. How can I even notice let alone refine my own thoughts and opinions amidst the ruckus and maelstrom of external inputs rummaging around my mind constantly? Furthermore, many if not most of those external inputs don't actually pay rent, though there are (and in some ways quite notable) exceptions (e.g. what I learned reading The Sequences).

In response to this problem, I am altering my media consumption "diet" to restrict non-deliberate consumption and increase deliberate, focused, helpful consumption plus increase conscious production efforts to generate significantly more outputs / products than I do now.

These efforts should help me notice and cultivate my "voice", and give voice to myself. Developing my thoughts into refined ideas and producing them is highly aligned with my interests, goals, and more, so I'm excited for this! (note to self: the actual methods for how I do these things and what I actually do, plus what my successes and failures turn out to be are good source material for two posts: 1 post detailing the plan and effort and a 2nd post detailing successes and failures; I think writing those two posts will beneficially effect my structuring of this effort, increase my likelihood of follow-through, and provide myself with useful analytics after the fact to reflect on; others who read the two posts may find some benefit too)

I am taking my website offline to undergo maintenance and possibly switch hosting providers so that the site is more aligned with how I want to use it and easier to push content out to, and hopefully be cheaper to operate. The present setup is WordPress on AWS Lightsail, and I don't like the experience of using + maintaining WordPress, don't want to continue with AWS Lightsail as my hosting provider, and think that a different website CMS or generator would work better for me than WordPress does. This effort will impact my choices for hosting a second soon-ish to be announced website where I will produce exciting and good outputs in a field I care deeply about and am pursuing as a career.

It has been ~2 weeks or so since receiving my second Pfizer vaccine shot, so while I still wear a mask where mandated, or seems generally sensible and/or low cost/effort, I'm returning back to normal with regards to hanging out with people IRL since there doesn't seem much reason not to do so once fully vaccinated. This has had an immediate and greatly positive effect on my mood and general happiness. Fuck quarantining and not being able to see people, that was a terrible experience. I went axe throwing last night, and that was an amazing and delightful experience! So Much Fun :)

I've started CrossFit! I'm only a few classes in, but wow am I loving it. Attending a class has a ridiculously highly positive impact on my mood and well-being for the day and increases my self-confidence. I am not presently self-motivated enough to exercise by myself on a regular basis, so going to CrossFit classes solves my "doesn't consistently exercise" problem quite nicely. I'm committing to attending CrossFit classes three times per week at a minimum, and because it seems helpful to pre-commit when I'll attend on a given week, I'll do that now:

17 - Likelihood Low; 18 - Definitely; 19 - Likelihood High; 20 - Definitely; 21 - Neutral; 22 - Definitely

I updated my calendar for each day based on class time and likelihood of attending. Barring genuinely excessive soreness or injury potentials, I'll generally aim to do 4 or 5 classes per week with 3 classes as my baseline mandatory attendance rate.

It's good to develop a voice and voice it, here we go!



Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on MIRI location optimization (and related topics) discussion · 2021-05-09T13:16:47.924Z · LW · GW

Seconding this.

While it's possible to get around without a car in some spots of most cities in Texas, your quality of life and ability to visit others, go to interesting places, etc. downright sucks* unless you have a car. Additionally, the moment you leave the big cities in Texas (and even in them in some parts), the culture gets very religious and conservative, very quickly. Also, the state government and legislature is fond of going on crusades against the big cities from time to time, because they think the big cities are too progressive / liberal. Furthermore, everyone has guns. This is not an exaggeration**, unless you're on university or government property, or in a few very very progressive / particular locales, you can expect that the majority of people you see are armed, and that a majority of people or more keep a gun in their car while driving. People get shot during road rage incidents. Liberals and progressives frequently own guns too, it's not just conservatives. Avoid Waco, you really don't want to relocate there.

Though, despite those things, Texas is probably one of the better places in the US for things like local political control, low to no state taxes (correspondingly, low to no state services that you'd find in CA or NY), high amounts of libertarianism and "live and let live" vibes (except when that's a lie), surprisingly high tolerance for variance and weird / unfamiliar ideas, generally very cheap cost of living, cultural vibrancy, starting and running a business, and some other nice things.

Somewhat of a joke, but not entirely...if you move to Texas you will be assimilated and suddenly find yourself extolling the virtues of Texas and Texanness to everyone who's not already living there. Texas has very strong cultural memes and you will get infected by at least some of them.

The Texas Hill Country is probably the most compatible area in Texas for MIRI if they chose to relocate to Texas. You can have beautiful rolling hills, decent enough weather, lots of outdoors-y pursuits, breweries, less traffic, slower pace of life, and more while still being within 30-60 minutes driving distance of Austin proper.

*there are exceptions, such as...someone living in Montrose, The Heights, Midtown, or other neighborhoods inside the 610 loop in Houston who doesn't venture outside the loop can do just fine without a car for the most part. I'm sure the same is true for certain areas of other Texas cities, theoretically (I only have experience with Houston). On a side note, the food scene in Houston is amazing and worth visiting for.

**okay, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration in some ways, but my broader point about "if you move to Texas, you will have to interact with lots of people who are likely rocking concealed weapons" being generally true is a claim I stand behind.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-04-01T03:45:30.289Z · LW · GW

Shortform #49 Specificity

I mostly talk about my own life in these shortforms, and I'm partly okay with that, because doing so has been nice and helpful for me thus far, but I want to talk about other stuff too. So, I'll work other sorts of topics into these posts as I desire: right now I want to learn more about and discuss specific life interventions others have tried and the resulting effects from said interventions. Time to ask that question via the site's "New Question" feature!

If you haven't yet read Liron's Specificity Sequence you should go check it out! I haven't finished it yet, but it's proving quite useful and good thus far.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-31T02:48:17.479Z · LW · GW

Shortform #48 Go Outside, Self

On 14 Jan, 2021 for Shortform #20 I said it was time to find a job. So far, no new job. That's because I haven't applied for a single job since writing that post. Ouch. I've enjoyed not working quite a bit, plus I focused on moving instead of job hunting.

I guess the hard part begins now, because I still don't want to find a new job, because I still really enjoy not having one and being able to just live. Especially now that I can walk <5 minutes to the beach and hangout on the beach, just living seems really nice.

I never before optimised my life for fun, this [since moving, so about 2 weeks or so at this point] is the first time I've done that, and I still haven't managed to break all the old habits and thought patterns. It's only been about 2 weeks, so that makes sense, but I really don't want to add a job yet when I feel there's more fun to be had, new and better habits to be built, and so on. On the other hand, money is a necessary condition of life, and I think depleting my savings is a pretty bad idea, so after 2 more weeks of optimising for fun, I'll get a job. (I have lived off of savings for the last 5 ish months, still have over 8 months of runway left at current burn rate, but...there's no good reason to deplete my savings, that would be stupid, so I won't do that [having a lot of savings gives me great "fuck you" power if I'm ever in a situation where I need to change something or leave ASAP, and living without that power is awful, so I don't ever want to lose it again]).

All this talk about fun comes from re-reading Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary which is a biographical account of Linus Torvalds' life and how he created Linux (yes, I'm aware of GNU and FSF contributions to all that, among others.) Torvalds seems to have a laserlike focus on only doing what he likes, having fun, and enjoying life as much as possible.

Because I've never approached my life with that attitude before, I decided to try doing so after moving, and that's been a really nice experiment! I am continuing the experiment, and one way I'm doing so is changing my default from "prefer staying inside" to "prefer being / going outside": yesterday and today I spent 3-6 hours outside and loved every minute of that time. Yesterday I walked 8 miles (5.5 on forest trails and 2.5 on the beach) and today I walked 4 miles (2.5 or so on the beach, the rest just puttering around the house and yard), sat outside with my laptop for a few hours writing, and planted some plants! Another way I'm optimizing for fun is by [responsibly] saying yes to doing things outside of the house, being social, and so on instead of defaulting to no and having to find some reason to do something; now I will default to yes and have to find a reason why I should not do whatever the thing is. This change in mentality is already paying great dividends, and I've been consistently happier over the last two weeks than I have in a really long time. I know part of that happiness increase is from the novelty of living in a new place, but my day-to-day moods just seem better overall in addition to the novelty-induced happiness increase. Anyway, good things are afoot from this experiment, so I'll continue pursuing fun for the sake of fun!

I was pleasantly surprised to see ESR post Rationalism before the Sequences today, that was a lovely telling of the pre-history of LessWrong, and learning about said pre-history was fascinating and impactful: I'm so happy that LessWrong and other rationalsphere places exist, that we have intentional communities of skeptical empiricists, and that we all don't have to "improve the sanity waterline" alone anymore. These are good things, cheers to ESR for writing that post.

I listened to the album "Why?" by Koan while writing this shortform.

Writing is nice, I enjoyed creating this post. 2 weeks from now I will apply for jobs, in the meantime I will have as much fun as possible.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-17T02:55:45.510Z · LW · GW

Shortform #47 A New Place

I drove across the country to the new house, arrived there safely after ~2 days of travel, and then rested for a few days. I'm excited about living in a new place, time to start unpacking and exploring :)

LibrePlanet 2021 is this weekend, here's the schedule if that's something you're interested in, I'll be checking several of the sessions out for sure.

Feels like there are a ridiculous amount of things I need and/or want to do now that I've moved, I'll spend some time early tomorrow setting priorities, then will adjust things as needed.

For now my ToDo looks like:

  • Order groceries and supplies
  • Set priorities then build tentative schedule for next 1-2 weeks
  • Organize and unpack clothes, toiletries, computers
  • Update address and all the million other things that go with doing that
  • Look for local and/or remote jobs
  • Find privacy-respecting calendaring system for family to use, good goodness do we need it.
  • Set aside time each day for specific-topic-writing; it's time to write more than just these shortforms!

The beach here seems nice, definitely will be jogging and hanging out there, despite how cold it is.

I wrote this shortform while listening to Polarity, by the Hoff Ensemble. It's a fantastic album, I highly recommend it, especially if you're into jazz or like experimental music.

I wish there was a search via mp3 (or other audio format) search engine. I have a few mixes and tracks that I somehow obtained over the years that don't have an artist with an online presence or maybe don't have the right artist's name on them. Would love it if there was a way to search online via those audio files to find who the original artist was for each of them. I will duckduckgo this question tomorrow.


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-12T04:42:42.382Z · LW · GW

Shortform #46 Git Pushin'

Today was chaotic, but overall decent.

  • I walked ~10,000 steps.
  • Did not waste time on the internet prior to 5pm (I will continue these restrictions tomorrow, because they work and are good for me; I am happier and get more done when I follow them).
  • Logged my time and what I accomplished throughout the day.
  • Submitted my first functionality-changing pull request (with commit from my forked repo's branch) to an open source project, thus hopefully finishing the ticket on github I was assigned (still under review).
  • Was virtually social for > 1 hour.
  • Did more moving related things...moving is a lot like a black hole, it sucks up all your time and you can't escape its influence until past the event horizon (successfully finished moving). Should be driving across the country tomorrow, here's to that!
  • Finished up the rest of the ToDo things mentioned in Shortform #44 that I didn't get to yesterday.

Time for sleep.


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-11T04:02:04.324Z · LW · GW

Shortform #45 Successes and Walking Around

Today was a good day :)

I walked ~20,000 steps, successfully avoided time-wasting on the internet prior to 5pm, logged my time taken on different tasks / spent on things, worked on currently-secret-project for a solid 2 hours, worked on several other things, and more.

Tomorrow I'm prioritizing finishing that ticket on github, need to get that done. I'll also work on currently-secret-project, do some writing, and some other things that need to get done.

Not wasting any time on the internet until after 5pm made for a much nicer feeling day, a more productive day, and a happier me! I'm following those same restrictions tomorrow too and continuing the experiment.


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-11T03:56:37.259Z · LW · GW

Thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendations :)

Going for a walk usually helps me out, and today was no exception (I walked almost 20,000 steps today split between two main walking sessions and misc daily tasks). I talked with friends while walking most of the time, that was a nice bonus. Right now I don't have access to my desktop (it is packed for moving) so have been working primarily off of my laptop: being able to simply close the lid and walk away when flagging or otherwise needing a break helps a lot and feels much more satisfying in the moment than clicking a few buttons to put my desktop to sleep.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-10T04:53:22.235Z · LW · GW

Shortform #44 Only Kill Time After 5pm

I want more Alive Time and less Dead Time; b. To facilitate that, I will no longer allow myself to use the internet for any purpose that is not expressly related to what I'm specifically focusing on accomplishing at that moment, prior to 5pm each day except Sunday.

Unfortunately, I waste a lot of time browsing many different sites, watching YouTube, watching Netflix, scrolling through Discord servers, and so on, during any and all times of the day. Thus I'll try living under the above self-imposed restriction and see how that helps. The vast majority of my time wasting happens on the internet, so that's why I'm singling out my use of the internet as an intervention point and will change my habits therein during the aforementioned times.

I will not be using any blocking software because those are not effective for me, I either follow the restriction voluntarily to change my habits, or I don't. I'll include comments about this intervention's efficacy in my daily shortforms over the next week or two so that I gain useful information to use for tweaking or improving the intervention, if necessary.

Specific things I can use the internet for prior to 5pm tomorrow:

  1. solving a project ticket assigned to me on github
  2. transferring money from savings to checking and paying all my monthly bills
  3. logistics, communication, organizing, research, and purchases for currently-secret-project
  4. playing music via YouTube, Spotify, or whatever internet music provider, but no exploration that takes conscious effort.
  5. reply to DP's email
  6. health insurance, AWS, and other billing related concerns
  7. I'm sure there are other things, for now this is a good list though.

It's time to get stronger!


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-03-08T17:08:15.658Z · LW · GW

Shortform #43 Egress Shell

~27 days ago I wrote shortform #42 and mentioned that I experienced a very low low that day, among other things, and gave a super vague description of said low: "The very low low sucked, but I don't want to talk about it further here. I will be okay, and I have a good support system to talk about it with." For the following 25 days or so I stopped writing, withdrew into a shell, and alternated between hiding in that shell and frantically packing the house up. That sucked :( I don't want to stay in a shell anymore, so i'm kicking it apart and emerging to live a more full and whole life like I prefer to do. Hello world, once again! :)

I had a close friendship with an individual for 6+ years. On Tuesday February 9, while walking through Costco to pickup groceries for that evening's little get-together birthday celebration, I received a text message from said individual wherein they terminated our friendship and blocked me. Over the last ~27 days I spent too much time wracking my brain trying to come up with some explanation for why they did that, for why they threw me away, for why they retreated into a shell of their own, and more., This was [and still is] new emotional terrain (I'd never experienced anything similar before) for me and goddamn did it wreck the shit out of me. It still is in some ways, but some time has passed and the emotional knife wounds don't feel as raw or as open as they were initially, thank you "time passing" and having a good group of friends, family, my therapist, and so on to lean on and help me process everything.

I don't want to stay in the shell I retreated into so I'm writing about what happened (it's feeling well cathartic, it's great), making myself emerge, resuming my social and other habits, and trying my best to live fully again. A few more words on what happened and then I'll move to other topics.

Dear individual who used to be my friend, but chose to terminate our friendship by nuking me from orbit via text message: Go get some help, seriously. What you did was cruel, and I don't want you to do that to anyone else, please don't do it to anyone else, because it hurts too goddamn much. I didn't realize that when you spoke over the years of all the people you've blocked, who you said were toxic, or made you too anxious, that that practice and designation would one day extend to me, because I work hard to be a good friend to my friends and work hard to learn from mistakes I make and improve. I make mistakes, and know for a fact that I once hurt someone else I was friends with in the past by saying something off the cuff without realizing the impact, but I never act with conscious malice towards my friends. We had no conflicts over the past number of months, nothing I (nor others I've talked with) can identify as a trigger event for blocking me, so...why'd you do it? Communication exists so that people can talk to each other, and the normal and good thing to do is to talk to your friend about what's going on, tell them if they did something wrong, talk about what you're going through. We had a long history of communicating well about our friendship, what was going on in our own lives, discussing emotions, negotiating boundaries, and so on. Why did you choose to destroy that practice and terminate our friendship? I can't be friends with you again after how badly you hurt me. I know you'll probably never read this, but if you do read it...just go get some damn help and don't do to anyone else what you did to me. If you want to contact me, you can since I didn't block you (I don't do that to friends or former friends, it's wrong and cruel), but I probably won't be a nice conversation partner until another few months have passed, the emotional wounds are still too raw, and I'm angry at you.

Life moves on, time passes, and the wheel keeps turning. Onward to new topics and experiences!

Sometime next week I'll be driving to Virginia and will start living there. I've never lived outside the Houston area and am immensely excited to try living in a new-to-me place, even though I will miss a lot about where I'm from and miss a lot of people (I will NOT miss the weather though). I think it's probably a good thing to move far away from wherever is home at least once in life, so I'm happy to be embarking on that adventure now.

There are so many things I haven't experienced yet that lead to a more whole and fulfilling life. I've decided to prioritize pursuing those experiences and having fun: for too many years I allowed my happiness set point to stay too low, I allowed myself to wallow or remain depressed or hide in a shell, I allowed myself to think deeply and extensively about ongoing problems in my life and the world without taking many actions against them, and so on. Now...I allow myself to raise my happiness set point, to cultivate fun, to experience more of the lovely riches of being alive, to take regular and consistent good actions against problems, and to live more fully and deeply!

Life is better when I write, when I create, when I produce. So, back to it I go :)

Movies and TV shows can have some excellent and inspirational music, lately I've turned to such music for mood improvement and for having a fun sonic environment. I wrote this while listening to,, and I've really enjoyed listening to it.

I read this yesterday and it was profoundly impactful, probably in a positive way. Reading that felt a lot like reading about myself in many ways, because I have ADHD and saw much of myself in what was described (though there were differences). If you have ADHD or know someone who does, go read that article.

I've noticed an uptick in "a year of lockdowns", "quarantine retrospective", type posts around LessWrong and elsewhere. That surprised me because I'm surprised we've all been in quarantine for over a year now, it feels ridiculous that life in so many ways for so many people had to shrink or stop for so damn long, it sucks. One benefit of where I've lived during quarantine is that going outside has always been permitted, more things have been open, and people (after the first 2-3 months or so) didn't have to basically shelter in place in their dwellings for so many months. What I've heard about the restrictiveness of lockdowns in many Californian cities, in New York, and elsewhere scares me, because that would be hell to live through for me, personally. And so many of the intense lockdowns just...didn't have to last this long, or be put in place at that level of intensity in the first place, if decisionmakers had made more prudent, "rational" decisions (I'm basing these opinions off of Zvi's COVID posts, discussions I've seen on LW and other forums, and the little bit of research I've done myself) regarding how to effectively handle the pandemic. This last year has increased how much I value living in an area where personal liberty in many specific contexts is usually prioritized (not all contexts are priortized here in Texas though...this state's government is too damn obsessed with regulating people's bodies, and some other things; but it is a pretty good place to be for freedom of association, movement, and some other things) at the expense of the collective in some ways. Living in a political monoculture scares the hell out of me, because that seems to be when there's the highest probability of losing freedoms I care about, among other things. This has made me reevaluate how quickly I want to move to Seattle or other blue-tribe dominated places, mostly because I'm not familiar with living in a monocultural blue-tribe place and am almost exclusively familiar with living in a deeply mixed blue, grey, and red tribe area like Houston (I have no interest in living in a purely red-tribe place, though it would be culturally familiar and easier for me to deal with in a lot of ways versus a purely blue-tribe place). Ugh. I think I'm ranting at this point and am not being very specific, so I'll stop the politics stuff for now. This paragraph rant is mostly me venting quarantine related frustrations cum "where do I want to move to / live" considerations.

If you are reading this, how has a year of lockdowns, of quarantining, etc. affected you? How are you doing now versus before the pandemic?


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup February 23 · 2021-02-23T23:31:15.626Z · LW · GW

Meetup is live! password is MeetupTime!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-10T05:51:29.987Z · LW · GW

Shortform #42 Ah, more writing.

Today had good highs and a very low low. The high points came from having a very small birthday dinner and consuming good food with a few others, being virtually social with friends (we played some rounds in Paladins and did okay, twas fun), and from being reasonably productive during the "4 hours of digital tasks" time in the morning. The very low low sucked, but I don't want to talk about it further here. I will be okay, and I have a good support system to talk about it with.

I was successful regarding 2 from yesterday's ToDo, but not 1 or 3. I will repeat the same ToDo list for tomorrow. I did my taxes today, and the tax prep software indicated I likely will get a refund of some amount, yay.

I listened to Leylines by Aes Dana

Upon going to YouTube to find that link, I saw that ContraPoints is streaming!!! Time to go enjoy ContraPoints Live for a little bit before bed! If you aren't familiar with her, ContraPoints is a trans YouTuber who makes videos about philosophy and politics, but does so really well and with a fab aesthetic. Go watch her stuff, here's her channel description and link to her channel: " YouTuber, ex-philosopher. Sex, drugs, and social justice. 🌸 "

Be Well!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-09T04:41:52.499Z · LW · GW

Shortform #41 Feeling Good

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. I walked a little over 3 miles (~7200 steps) today plus ate decently.
  2. I felt great upon waking up in the morning.
  3. I was virtually social for ~2 hours today.
  4. I tore through the garage and got most of the old tech stuff out of their various boxes and almost ready for recycling. (PLEASE RECYCLE YOUR OLD ELECTRONICS, do not throw them away; most cities or metropolitan areas have somewhere you can take most if not all of your electronics for recycling. Please please please recycle that stuff, throwing it away is in most cases akin to dumping toxic waste over the long term)
  5. I retrieved all the forms and other info I need to complete my taxes, so tomorrow I will do my taxes.

Over the weekend I stayed in San Marcos with a friend, and had a fantastic time! We avoided other people and hung out together mostly indoors, but Saturday we went hiking at Purgatory Creek Natural Area which was a beautiful place and quite fun to hike. All the trail names and markers were Divine Comedy themed which was cute hehe. We hiked about 7 and a half miles throughout the area, and there were still trails we didn't walk, so that area is definitely good for multiple visits. Getting out of town for a weekend in a reasonably safe way (we had both been quarantining prior to visiting, and we only interacted with each other for the most part) was fantastic, I had a great time hanging out there with my friend, and I feel recharged and ready to tackle a lot of things upon returning!

I haven't done a weekly review in awhile, nor have I done my first monthly review. That'll change soon :)

For now though, I'll shut down the computer and make myself go to bed at a responsible time, so that I wake up tomorrow at a respectable time without compromising how much sleep I get.

ToDo 2020-2-9:

  1. I know what article or two I want to recommend as the topic for the next Houston Rationalists Meetup, and the next such meetup is on the 16th, so tomorrow I'll post a meetup reminder and send it out to everyone in the group including the recommended article or two.
  2. For the first 4 hours I'm awake tomorrow, I'll be doing digital tasks on my computer such as coding, applying to jobs, and so on. After those 4 hours I can switch to other things, but during those 4 hours I need to do deep focus work, or at least focus mostly on the same thing so I get a lot of it done.
  3. I will exercise for 30 minutes or more.

Ah, what a nice start to my week. Here's to an excellent week!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-05T05:59:03.623Z · LW · GW

Shortform #40 Egads! A Title, but not a real Title.

Today was nice :)

  1. I was virtually social for >4 hours today. This includes the 3 hours I attended and facilitated the Houston Rationalists meetup, which was quite a fun and nice meetup, I had a good time and we had a few new members!
  2. Today's step count was ~9871 steps, for about 4.1 miles of distance walked. A large part of that came from walking around a field for an hour or so during the afternoon, it felt great to go walking outside again.
  3. Completed initial onboarding for a new project, excited to see what we create.

There may or may not be shortforms for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. I'll be out of town and am neither committing to writing shortforms during that time nor outright declining to write them.

I finished reading Worm today! Worm was the first story with "capes" (superpowered individuals) that I actually enjoyed reading / engaging with in a long long long time. Despite the incredible amount of combat scenes that occur in the story, the combat scenes didn't get old or tiresome, and there was also a fair bit of time for character development too. Though, I think I would have enjoyed the story ever so slightly more if there had been a few more chapters devoted to day-to-day life and other character development things for all the purely combat oriented chapters there were. Overall, I'm quite happy that I read Worm, and consider it a very nice and enjoyable epic / saga which I heartily recommend. It gets extremely dark in some parts, but those scenes seemed like they were handled well, so no complaints from me about that, plus I like when stories have some of that grittier more awful / horrific depth to them at times.

Yay for a short weekend vacation!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup February 4 · 2021-02-04T23:39:00.352Z · LW · GW

Today's meetup is live! Join here: Password is: MeetupTime!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-04T05:58:47.495Z · LW · GW

Shortform #39

Today was a decent day :)

  1. I read Worm more than yesterday, but less than on the 1st, so that was good.
  2. I job hunted for an hour.
  3. I was virtually social for 3 or so hours, and also completed an errand I needed to do.

Had a strange and stressful thing occur today, but I will be okay and things are fine.

Be well,

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-04T05:51:20.200Z · LW · GW

Thanks! It's difficult, but noticing is an important first step :) That being said, I read more today than yesterday, so a little progress lost, but, I read less than on the 1st, so a small victory nevertheless.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-03T05:08:11.817Z · LW · GW

Shortform #38

Today was a good day :)

I successfully dialed back the Worm reading and only read for a few hours instead of many hours. I was virtually social for about 2 hours, took care of some moving related tasks, wrote this shortform, and am going to bed at a decent time.

To tomorrow!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-02T05:59:20.911Z · LW · GW

Shortform #37 Obsession

Today was a decent day.

I've become obsessed with reading Worm, I'm at section 24-something. I'll dial the reading back tomorrow so that I can do things I need to do.

Be well,

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-02-01T05:58:25.941Z · LW · GW

Shortform #36 Taking It Easy

As the title says, I took it easy today. Not much physical activity nor much strenuous activity really of any kind. I continued reading Worm, being virtually social, and effectively chilled for much of the day. I'm happy I did that and feel eager for the new week to start.

Here's to a great week!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-31T05:57:49.780Z · LW · GW

Shortform #35

Today was a bit stressful, but otherwise was quite nice :) Most of the stress came from cleaning + organizing the house, there was a lot to do but it got done.

  1. I did virtual co-working for about 2 hours, though couldn't focus on anything digital during that time so I completed purely analog tasks. I've found it's always easier to focus on analog tasks than anything that requires the use of digital tools / is digital, uncertain as to why. Perhaps the immediate physicality of analog things is nice?
  2. I walked about 2.7 miles today.
  3. I wrote this shortform today.

I am utterly addicted to Worm and as of writing this am at the beginning of section 15.3, apparently around halfway through according to the table of contents.

Be well!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-30T05:49:54.068Z · LW · GW

Shortform #34 Unable to Formulate Title

Today was an excellent day :)

  1. Had a morning interview and it went well! I'm now doing volunteer software development for a cool place, and am excited for that :) It is very helpful and good experience for me to gain.
  2. My neighbor brought us over taco soup and cornbread, and it was fantastic, thank you to her!
  3. I walked 5.3 miles today, 13,263 steps
  4. I was virtually social for a few hours.

I am continuing to read Worm and am really enjoying it!

Yay for the weekend :)

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-29T05:59:22.693Z · LW · GW

Shortform #33 A Good Day

  1. I walked ~4 miles today, and consumed ~2080kcal (other physical activity included ripping rotted boards off a car trailer since we're putting new boards on it prior to actually using it to tow things; destruction like that is fun)
  2. I was virtually social for > 3 hours
  3. I wrote this shortform

I started reading Worm and it has been quite fun so far. I'm looking forward to tomorrow, lot's of good things going on.

Be well!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-28T05:58:55.537Z · LW · GW

I've been listening to Koan quite a bit lately, and was listening to their album Why? when I wrote tonight's shortform. Check it out!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-28T05:38:35.395Z · LW · GW

Shortform #32 Yay for Life Logging

Not much exciting to report, I existed for another day and that was lovely :)

  1. I was virtually social via phone calls for over 3 hours (pacing included!)
  2. I left the house to run an errand, and I will be leaving the house tomorrow to run another errand (masks on of course)
  3. I wrote this shortform instead of skipping writing it :)

I'll be back tomorrow, ciao.


Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-27T05:51:06.241Z · LW · GW

Shortform #31 VE404, Title Not Found

I'm back! A day later than originally planned, but, I have returned and am continuing to write these daily shortforms, because they are helpful and good to me. I'm writing and posting my week 3 review tomorrow evening, and there will be a shortform for the day posted after that.

Not much I want to say right now other than I'm happy to be writing these again, the two days not writing them (effectively three days because Saturday's shortform was bad and almost nonexistent) felt off in ways I didn't expect beforehand.

Writing a daily recap, even if it's bad and/or very short, feels great, is cathartic, and I'm relieved to be continuing that habit.

Y'all have a great night.

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-24T05:04:22.965Z · LW · GW

Shortform #30 Sabbath hard and go home

I'll be back Monday, ta!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-23T05:31:32.504Z · LW · GW

Shortform #29 Almost Back on the Wagon!

Today was an excellent day :) I did not stick to the schedule I put together, but writing it last night was helpful since I had it for reference today. I allowed myself to sleep in and that seems to have helped considerably in many ways.

  1. I logged my calories today, totaled ~2230kcal
  2. I was virtually social for >4 hours via phone calls
  3. I was up and active for the majority of the time I was on the phone, I spent >5 hours packing and organizing things today. (including but not limited to, boxing up all 375+ of my books!)
  4. I did not program today.
  5. I did not "formally" exercise, but did get decent activity in from the packing and organizing.

Turning on more lights than felt necessary and keeping them on was a great help today, after I move (tis soon) I want to buy EVEN BRIGHTER light bulbs than I already have (mine are around 600-850 lumen range) and get some 2000-3000 lumen bulbs to use as well. Artificial daylight is really nice, it turns out. I listened to mostly upbeat instrumental music, especially liquid drum & bass mixes, and that was excellent and felt helpful too.

Goals for tomorrow and proposed schedule:

  1. Proposed schedule
    • 10:30 to 14:30: practise Swift
    • Break
    • 15 to 17: virtual coworking, focus on resume writing & job app related things
    • 17 to 18: exercise
    • Break
    • 19 to 20: write daily shortform and weekly review
    • 20 to 22: messaging, be virtually social
    • 22 onward: freeeeeeeeeeedom
  2. I will practise coding
  3. I will purposefully exercise
  4. I will finish re-writing my resume in a way that is tailored for software engineering positions
  5. Have fun!

Unlike today, I've actually created calendar events for tomorrow's proposed schedule, this may help :)

Yesterday Scott resurfaced, and that was a pleasant surprise! I'm very happy that he's returned to blogging, and he left several wonderful messages in that post. Thanks for returning, I'm looking forward to reading those explorations! "So here goes. With malice towards none, with charity towards all, with firmness in the ṛta as reflective equilibrium gives us to see the ṛta, let us restart our mutual explorations, begin anew the joyful reduction of uncertainty wherever it may lead us."

May we all explore well :)

I listened to some super chilllllll but somehow still positive + upbeat feeling house music while writing this and while packing, it was great! I don't always like house music, but when I do, I really like it. There is no middleground for me with house music, for some reason. But that mix was good :)

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-22T05:57:03.660Z · LW · GW

Shortform #28 What's going on?

I woke up feeling fried, extra crispy, with no motivation and everything was grey, even the outdoors (the weather was literally a hazy drizzly grey all day, and not the good kind, was more of the bad swampy kind). What I noticed feeling yesterday and then throughout today correlate reasonably well with a depression episode trying to take root. I'd prefer for that not to happen, because those aren't fun, and I have things to do. Time for interventions! (to be detailed later in the post)

  1. I practised Swift for about 1 hour and 30 minutes today, up from yesterday at least.
  2. I did not exercise today.
  3. I did not log my calories today.
  4. I hosted today's Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup, thank you to all who came, it was fun!
  5. I applied to a really cool software engineering volunteer-work opportunity, I hope I get to join that team!

Interventions; I don't know for sure if what's been impacting me is an oncoming depression episode, but just in case I'll stage the usual interventions (it's fully possible that not exercising at all has caused my mood and happiness set point to plummet, but not exercising could also be comorbid with oncoming depression episode. brains are complicated; changing diet could be an impact too)

  1. Tomorrow I will operate under an actual schedule:
    • 9 to 13: practise Swift
    • 13 to 16: be virtually social and do messages, emails, etc.
    • 16 to 18: exercise and be generally up and about doing active stuff, this is a great time to sort and pack things in the garage, for example.
    • 18 to 20: shower, eat dinner, do a few things around the house
    • 20 onwards: Freedom!
  2. I will turn on more lights than I think necessary, and keep them on.
  3. I will play fast paced upbeat music and not listen to slow or sad music.
  4. I will focus on having fun and noticing through fresh eyes.
  5. All experiences and phenomena are temporary, this, whatever it may be, shall pass, and I will be okay!

Saturday will be somewhat similar to Friday, but a bit more relaxed, I'll detail that schedule in tomorrow's shortform. Sunday will be a rest day, no shortform that day, no expectations, nothing. Just fun, rest, and relaxation. I will write my weekly review Saturday night :)

Take care of yourselves, it's important to do that, you're important!

Note: I listened to a wonderful, upbeat, and smooth liquid drum & bass mix of Feint songs while writing this, go soak up those silvery beats and enjoy!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Houston Rationalists Virtual Meetup January 21 · 2021-01-21T23:39:53.819Z · LW · GW

Meetup is live! password is: Discussion!

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on Willa's Shortform · 2021-01-21T05:57:36.078Z · LW · GW

Shortform #27 A Day of Meandering

I don't think today was a bad day, I definitely enjoyed many parts of it, but I wasn't really a focused human being today. I didn't begin coding practice until 14:50, and I suspect that's part of why I was so less focused today. Instead of practising coding first thing after waking up like I had been doing, I instead read Hacker News, LessWrong, and elsewhere, finished a task that required some concentration, and had several interruptions. I was considerably grumpier today than usual as time passed too, which was odd.

I think my main noticed for the day is that I need to start my day with practising coding first thing, otherwise I may never really get on track for the day. Yesterday for example, I had a big interruption but made myself code for a few hours in the morning and managed to return to that and do well at it even after the big interruption.

  1. I ate about ~1815kcal today.
  2. I did not exercise today.
  3. I practised coding for about 1 solid hour.

Tomorrow I'll practise coding first thing in the morning, hopefully that'll help me be a focused human being for the rest of the day.

I wrote this shortform while listening to Zoe Keating's "One Cello x 16 EP, it's fantastic and you should listen to it especially if you enjoy cellos.

Good luck y'all,

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on For Better Commenting, Avoid PONDS · 2021-01-20T17:06:42.132Z · LW · GW

I don't comment very much, but read this post and decided to chime in with a few thoughts since I am trying to shift my default from passive interaction or lurking, to active interaction: reading a post, commenting on it, etc. I believe that defaults are very powerful and matter immensely, so I'm changing mine in response to a rapidly changing world and for improvement reasons!

I enjoy meta discussions like these, thanks for opening it up with your post.

Note: I read the above linked Stratechery articles last night and found them quite impactful + thought provoking, I've been wanting to share them. Doing so in the context of this comment might have been a stretch, but "changing defaults" seems relevant both to this post and my comment since the post is asking that readers comment with a certain set of defaults underlying their comment-style / is providing suggested commenting rules.

I think that, ideally, a comment should avoid those 5 failure modes and be written with an eye to "what quality-bar makes sense given my current skill level, time availability, knowledge, and the context". I'll demonstrate what that might look like below.

Suggestions on countering each failure mode and doing the other things I mentioned:

  1. Prickly: I agree with your description of this failure mode. If someone wishes to improve their commenting "warmth" and/or avoid prickliness, they might try the following:
    • saying Thank you for writing this
    • saying "I like what you did here" or "This looks like a good effort" prior to "but, I have these specific criticisms."
    • if a post makes you mad and/or you think it is bad, take a moment to think about whether you really want to jump in and respond to it. If you decide to respond to it, then be mindful of the poster's experience level, their background, the inferential distance between you and what the poster wrote, and/or the intent of the poster (if you can't explicitly tell their intent from their post, use your comment to ask them what their intent was). Being kind but firm seems, anecdotally at least, to be a good approach in most cases.
  2. Opaque: I agree with what you said about combating this failure mode, and I think it can be combated with varying levels of time and effort investment by someone. Specificity is great and seems quite powerful, so providing specific examples or sources to support one's statements, presuppositions, assertions, and so on is usually a great way to combat opaqueness. Additionally, I think that being explicit about one's motivations, source and quality of one's evidence, etc. when making an assertion is valuable (I find it helpful to know my own motivations when doing something, and similarly find it helpful to know another person's motivations when they do something). An individual might be specific at different levels relative to their time availability, experience, skill level / expertise, the context, and so on, e.g.:
    • low time availability: "I assert x because it maps well to mine and other's anecdotal experiences, but don't have non-intuitive or non-experiential evidence to support this assertion." (then quickly share at least one personal experience example) Note that one can avoid opaqueness even if the assertion they made is supported by very low epistemic confidence evidence, it's via providing the evidence itself, source of that evidence, and confidence in that evidence whereby one moves from opaque to specific and explicit.
  3. Nitpicky: I agree with what you said about this failure mode, and don't have much to add other than: if an individual has trouble combating their own nitpicky-ness I recommend writing out the main points, presuppositions, important assertions, sources of evidence, etc. from a post so that you can view the post's constituent elements. I do this when unpacking complicated posts and it makes evaluating a post much more doable for me, leading to much deeper analysis, counterpoints, rebuttals, suggestions, etc.
    • Trying to comment about the entire gist of a post at once seems quite taxing on the working memory, and I usually can't do that so I have to deconstruct posts into their constituent elements to actively engage with them and think critically about them let alone write good comments in response.
  4. Disengaged: Mostly agreed. I will add that it's possible to write a long, detailed comment and still come across as disengaged if one does not ask good questions, explicitly state they are open to further discussion, and so on. I agree with remizidae though and believe that short, drive-by-comments can be engaging, depending on what the commenter says and how they say it: well targeted words stated succinctly can be powerful. Additionally, offering someone encouragement, or saying "Good job", saying "I liked this and want to see more", or some other nice thing in response to a post can be helpful for a poster to receive, especially if they have low confidence, are just getting started, are exploring something new, and/or might brighten their day and make them feel better about posting here on LW.
  5. Shallow: I agree, though similar to Disengaged, I think it's possible for long detailed comments to be shallow if the commenter doesn't actually address what is said in the post and instead rambles on about other things. I think shallowness looks like disengagement, just as disengagement may look like shallowness. Are these really two separate things? They can each be found through the presence of one of them and look similar is why I ask.

I definitely demonstrated having decent time availability with this comment, did I sufficiently address the other things I mentioned that comprise the "quality-bar" I asserted?

General question: What are everyone's defaults with regards to commenting here on LessWrong? @AllAmericanBreakfast, what other defaults do you have besides PONDS?

Comment by Willa (Eh_Yo_Lexa) on MikkW's Shortform · 2021-01-20T05:50:03.027Z · LW · GW

I think "From AI to Zombies" is supposed to imply "From A to Z", "Everything Under the Sun", etc., but I don't entirely disagree with what you said. Explaining either "Rationality: From AI to Zombies" or "The Sequences" to someone always takes more effort than feels necessary.

The title also reminds me of quantum zombies or p-zombies everytime I read it...are my eyes glazed over yet?

Counterpoint: "The Sequences" sounds a lot more cult-y or religious-text-y.
"whispers: I say, you over there, yes you, are you familiar with The Sequences, the ones handed down from the rightful caliph, Yudkowsky himself? We Rationalists and LessWrongians spend most of our time checking whether we have all actually read them, you should read them, have you read them, have you read them twice, have you read them thrice and committed all their lessons to heart?" (dear internet, this is satire. thank you, mumbles in the distance)

Suggestion: if there were a very short eli5 post or about page that a genuine 5 year old or 8th grader could read, understand, and get the sense of why The Sequences would actually be valuable to read, this would be a handy resource to share.