March 26, 2007

getting going, more specifically

specifics of my current plan for getting going: (in contrast to the abstract ideas I wrote in "strategies for getting going" that anyone could apply)

1) Quit smoking. (I've thought about this a lot recently, and I think I have how smoking works and how to quit figured out. I won't post all about it, at least not until I prove it in action.) Smoking gets in the way of wanting and doing and feeling satisfied in a natural sequence. Smoking gets in the way of adequate exercise and undoes some of the benefits of exercise.

2) Bicycle every day, or at least get out for a walk if weather, soreness, or mechanical problems prevent bike riding. The human body needs exercise. Bicycles don't occur naturally*, of course, but a bicycle has high efficiency and happens to allow exercising and getting around in my current circumstances. Going out at least once a day would prevent the result of what I did before: trying bicycling sometimes, then taking rest days that continue indefinitely into another period of depression. Once I get out on the bike, I can decide how far to go that day according to how I feel.

3) Whenever I feel nervous, go out and walk or ride, anytime of day or night. Bodily energy bottled up causes nervousness, which leads to depression. "The prison of civilization" involves such obvious physical restriction of activity by social convention. The criticism of civilization as a prison by modern Gnostics and Primitivists doesn't say the world just magically acts like a prison in some invisible way. The imprisonment has physical reality, the locks may not. In various theories, "the prison of civilization" remains that by how we look at it and what we choose to believe.

4) Get fresh real food every day possible. Real food means paleodiet food: food that by nature does not need to be cooked to render it tolerable for human consumption, although having control of fire, we may well choose to cook our food, to neutralize bacteria that artificial handling has introduced and to render it yet more easily digestible to make up for the loss of nutritional value due to artificial handling.

5) When resting, read and study seriously, as should come automatically and enjoyably when energized and physically tired from exercise. The alternative of amusing oneself pointlessly on purpose seems to appeal more the more one lives removed from natural health and guilty about it.

*-The idea that nature includes everything, therefore we can make no useful distinction between natural and artificial, spouts from know-it-alls who don't have the slightest idea of the insidious deadliness of that idea, or they do, which makes them evil.

in short, my proposed regimen:

instead of smoking,

every day, bike out and get some meat, eggs, fruit & veggies, cook them to taste, and enjoy!

I thought of this beginning some time ago, last year, but it seems so highly experimental compared with what most people do and choose, and with the limited degree of freedom of choice of lifestyle that most people allow themselves, that it has taken a while for me to evaluate it as a perfectly reasonable, acceptable choice.

March 17, 2007

word wrap for Firefox bookmarklet

Firefox displays each paragraph in a plain text file (txt format) as a single line, if long running off the right side of the window. That doesn't seem optimally useful.

I asked for help on it at MozillaZine forums and got the advice to right click on the page and click View Page Source, which has a word wrap option. That works, but it seems unnecessarily complicated. I wanted the text displayed in a better format in the same tab it was opened in, in one click or less.

At that forum, I also found a JavaScript bookmarklet that was recommended for dealing with a similar problem, text without spaces that needs to be have potential breaks inserted so it can be word wrapped:

javascript:(function() { var D = document; F(D.body); function F(n) { var u, r, c, x; if (n.nodeType == 3) { u =\S{45}/); if (u >= 0) { r = n.splitText(u + 45); n.parentNode.insertBefore(D.createElement('wbr'), r); } } else if ((n.tagName != 'STYLE') && (n.tagName != 'SCRIPT')) { for (c = 0; x = n.childNodes[c]; ++c) { F(x); } } } D.body.innerHTML += ' '; })();

The raw code intrigued me. I already knew about bookmarklets but I'd never written a new program in JavaScript. I thought I could figure out what was going on and write my own program to fix it anyway. I ended up spending all night learning a little JavaScript by experimenting and reading some definitions of some elements of JavaScript at DevGuru and came up with this:

txt to html v6

javascript:{var x, c; x = document.body.innerHTML; if (x.substr(0, 5) + x.substr(x.length - 6, 6) == '<pre></pre>') {document.write('<HTML><BODY>\n'); x = x.substr(5, x.length - 11); var textline = x.split('\n'); for (c = 0; c < textline.length; c++) {document.write(textline[c] + '<br>\n')}; document.write('</BODY></HTML>'); document.close();}}

Just cut and paste the above paragraph into the "Location:" field of a bookmark "Properties" window, open a txt file, click on the bookmarklet and watch it do its magic.

The only problem I've found using it is that when it's used on ordinary web pages, it strips most of the formatting, and when used extra times, it adds extra line breaks. That is, it's not foolproof. But you can just hit the "back" button to fix any problem.

Regarding this as an example of the increasing complexity of civilization: I find a lot of humor in it, how complicated it gets to deal with the simplest formatting issue within the complexity of modern communications. If it keeps going this way, pretty soon many common formats will be almost useless, like scrambled cable, when not viewed on matched devices and software, and too tricky for anyone to crack, not because they will be designed for copy-protection, but inadvertently because of rampant complexification.
 Updated May 16, 2012: More efficient word wrap bookmarklets were provided by Mardeg at Bugzilla@Mozilla forum in 2009. Either of these is what to use if you just want to change the view mode of an unformatted page displayed in Firefox to word wrapped temporarily, without changing the font or other page data:

shorter "Wrap" bookmarklet

even shorter "Wrap" bookmarklet

Mardeg also provided an undo which works for either of the two bookmarklets above, since the back button doesn't undo them:

"refresh" bookmarklet

By contrast, the "txt to html" bookmarklet I wrote mungs an unformatted page such as a txt file of plain text into a quirky minimalist html formatted page, which will then be displayed word wrapped by default and in your browser's default html font, and which you may then save as an html file. The "txt to html" bookmarklet doesn't seem to require a "refresh" bookmarklet because Firefox seems to treat rendering the newly munged page as navigating to a new page, which results in the back button having the effect of undo. I use the word "mung" since rather than convert the page data in a standard way, it's a work-around that strips the page data using the ill-advised "=document.body.innerHTML" trick and crude string manipulation, and I use the words "quirky minimalist" since rather than following standards for complete html formatting as determined by w3c, I merely used the minimum of tags that seemed to work for the purpose.

So if you use the "txt to html" bookmarklet and save a page you're viewing that way, be advised that it will insert the tags <html> <head>
<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1"> [or some such according to whatever format and character encoding Firefox sets as the default] </head> <body>, a <br> for every blank line or end of line in the original, added line breaks that divide resulting lines over 132 columns into max 72 column lines [only visible in html source but done by Firefox when saving as html, maybe for backward compatibility with older text editors], and the close tags </body> </html> into the saved page.

A particular advantage of the newer "word wrap" bookmarklets is that if you also need to apply the "word wrap for text without spaces" bookmarklet in order to word wrap really long sequences of characters without spaces, you can apply both in either order. Though you won't see the reallylongwords wrap until you click both. With "txt to html" you have to apply the "word wrap for text without spaces" after converting to html, because the "word wrap for text without spaces" bookmarklet that this all started with does a sort of html formatting when used on unformatted page, which makes it no longer a plain text page that "txt to html" can reformat. (An extra element that makes this subject confusing is that Firefox has various levels of telling what html is actually in the source of the page and what html is taken as read or is imputed to the page because of Javascript. The "View Page Source" option seems to be fairly accurately the source that the page was generated from, from the start of a navigation step or JavaScript action that can only be undone by the back button. The "Inspect Element" option then "HTML" button seems to give closer to the html that's currently taken as read. Neither one gives you exactly what you'll get if you save the page.)

March 16, 2007

strategies for getting going

Today I wrote myself a list of strategies for getting going. They included, more or less:

1) Raise my standards immediately, so I choose to do better things all day.

2) Just make sure to do what will improve my health and energy, such as exercising, and let doing better things follow in a more relaxed way.

3) Set myself free of the fear of criticism for doing too much. - I thought of how I feel afraid inside of potential criticism from family I see sometimes or from strangers for having a plan to do more or for keeping busy. Really, in my experience, when people see you doing something different or keeping busy, they ask why. It often seems to disturb them. If you give an explanation, they may restate or exaggerate the explanation in a silly tone, to mock it as pretentious or stupid. For instance suppose you're drawing. They ask "Why?" You: To learn to draw. I might do something with the skill. They: "Oh, I'm going to be a great artist. Look at me. I'm so great." Even if people don't mock so directly, it takes a thick skin not to read that into what they say, when you know that they mean to tell you not to be proud and not to expect fame or fortune, because that would be a crazy expectation. At least that's how people react in the culture I grew up in. All I could think in response while writing today was the desire to say something hurtful in reaction like, "I know you hate me and you want to criticize anything I do so that I won't do anything and I'll be depressed."

Now that I've explained the situation in enough detail for readers who may have different cultural assumptions, I see that this is an example of a message in a specific culture that is a sickness of culture that people constantly communicate to each other without necessarily realizing they're doing it or necessarily feeling hate or envy for another person's activity. This criticism of activity and putting down others for pride is part of the subculture I grew up in. It's a result of certain strains of Christianity, probably influenced by failure-oriented television, and maybe by lower-middle-class class envy. My finding this phenomenon without looking for it, but incidentally in the process of trying to improve my life and doing self-analysis, tends to verify for me a lot of what Nietzsche wrote about Christianity.

4) Try everything at my place every day, a little sample of every hobby I could do, and see what catches on. (You know, instead of letting it gather dust. A pile of stuff. Who needs it? Use it or lose it.)

5) Act like I'm at camp. (I went to a week long summer camp each summer for a few years when I was growing up. They were Christian camps, so there were daily religious services, but it was a great escape from family where there was playing and a variety of activities all the rest of the time. The sort of religion is negative, and the camps luring parents into giving up their children for a week by enticing children is negative according to the religion, but a double negative makes a positive.)

The last three strategies come under the same general strategy of choosing to do a lot of whatever I think that's reasonable, instead of letting it stop me that others who know me might say it's crazy.

Please don't take professional psychiatry seriously. They would say "trying everything" is definitely manic, and the other strategies are at least hypomanic if actually practiced. It's worse than that: If you can go out every day to do something you choose, and you have any energy left over or are speaking quickly, they'll diagnose you with mania or manic depression (euphemism: bipolar disorder) and prescribe something awful to slow you down, regardless of a lack of any of what they would call "irrational ideas" such as the above strategies. A few years ago, I was complaining quickly in a few minute visit to a psychiatrist that I was busy and having trouble starting college because I was staying up late doing homework and sleeping in, out of habit, and missing classes, so that psychiatrist changed her diagnosis of me from depression to manic depression. That doesn't make any sense, and I haven't trusted psychiatrists since.

There have been some news articles about the opinion in a book by Dr. John Gartner that famous creative individuals and typical successful people are hypomanic. There are some people who make money off gimmicks for treating mental illness who are critical of that perspective because it trivializes more serious diagnoses, e.g. Play Attention. Someone who identifies herself as having "hyperthymia," a replacement term promoted by author Dr. Peter Kramer for normal-range mood between average and hypomania, made a brightly colored webpage: Sharen's Outa-Sight Site

(Writing this is going very slowly, because I'm not energized today, and I like correct details. But I think it's important to keep going because the subject might have something to do with how much one can get done in life.)

Then after writing notes on paper on the above strategies for myself, I also wrote the following, with the intention of posting it on this blog (which makes it an experiment in the style of paper and pencil to Internet writing too):

"I'm already doing the best I can do."­-Everyone does, in a sense, but whenever you choose to do something physically, you're following some of your ideas and not others. How do you know which are "the better angels of your nature"?

If you're doing less than you could because you're afraid of being busy, then you can change that by changing your mind about it. Consider the truth of the following saying:

"If you want something done, give it to a busy person."

If you're avoiding doing more in a day than you're used to doing, because you're superstitiously afraid it will be too much and you won't remember it all, or that it isn't time to make a big change in your life, then you can realize that's a superstitious fear, maybe a fear you're holding onto because at some time in you life doing a lot in a day became associated with causing yourself pain, then you can change your mind about it and decide to do a lot of things you want to do.

I'm not talking about pushing yourself to keep busy with things you don't want to do to keep your mind off your feelings. Follow what you want. Play. Enjoy life.

Then tonight I found that Jack Trace has new posts for March on his blog, after a break since December, and his "12 March 2007"/"Imagine life where you cared not what you did." goes into the subject of fear in more depth of psychology and cultural critique than what I've mentioned here about fear. He subscribes to the Jiddu Krishnamurti (not the same as Krishna from the Bhagavad-Gita) teaching about desire that comfort leads to fear and becoming fearless turns desire into joy.

March 14, 2007

About to blog more often...

I’ve made 15 blog posts in 1 1/2 years, and had 11 comments: one spam I deleted, 6 comments from 4 readers, and my 4 comments in response to each of them. So I want to try to blog more often for at least a while, to see what happens.

Daily blogs that have new content plus news links on a subject that has a blog community seem to have a chance of becoming well-visited. I know that those blogs easily get to the top of my links list for each subject I browse regularly.

Seeing if this post goes through from 43 Things to Blogger forms part of seeing what happens. The main part of seeing what happens: Can I keep up writing and linking interesting things, or will I run out? Then if I keep it up, will I get more comments?