August 2006 Archives

Thirty-One

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I turned 31 today. It is much the same as 31. But you know, it marks the passage of time. Inexorable time, which eats away life. I've discussed occasionally the possibility that we might live forever. My generation. Stem cells, telomeres... and some people have told me they wouldn't want to live forever. To hell with that, I say. Sign me up for eternal life. I'm quite certain I could go on forever. Ennui? Not likely. Ennui is for the boring.

And I actually think we can do it. I don't think immortality would wreck the world. Plenty of deaths come from accidents, or diseases we can't yet cure. General suspension of aging won't literally let us all live forever.

First objection: overpopulation. I say wrong: the age in civilized countries for childbearing is on the rise. Assuming fertility stays (no reason it shouldn't) with youth, people will stop having children young. Normally age for first child will range from 40-200, or less. General rate of childbearing will drop drastically. After all, you don't need kids to carry on a legacy if you can carry it on yourself.

Immortality aside, it's been a hell of a year. Not really in a good way, but things are on the mend, in most ways. Work is good. Nice people, promising company, good pay, good general attitude (read: do not work employees to death).

There are still a lot of things I miss, or things I want to improve... but the more things get worked out, the more attention that can be paid to the things that remain.

Here's to you, world! At my most optimistic, I have the brightest vision for the future, and I love the world.

Damn you, self

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Tonight I was chatting with a friend about life, production, economics, politics, conspiracy... and having a couple glasses of wine, which go well with such a thing.

I'm still a libertarian. And it's sort of painful. You know, it's not that I'm not productive. I have an excellent career. I do well. But I'm painfully aware of what I'm not doing. I see people who have succeeded greatly - say, Mark Cuban, who proves very often that his biggest asset is drive. That's what I'm not doing.

I painted this illustration for my friend, as we chatted over Teamspeak, both having a drink, while I played City of Heroes and blew a nice Saturday night: Let's say you make $1000 a week. You spend $900 on lifestyle. You put $100 toward retirement or whatnot. Imagine if you worked 50% harder. 50% overtime. Whatever. You don't just make 50% more... because the money you spend on lifestyle is lost to you. You're really 'creating' a net $100 in the scenario... so if you suddenly make 50% more, you now are really "making' 600% more. That is, your creation, net your destruction/consumption, is 600% higher, despite only 50% more effort.

The caveat is that the extra 50% of effort is not 50% harder. Working 60 hours a week is not 50% harder than 40/week. It's more like 200% harder or something. And I've worked 90+ hour weeks. I remember my boss waking me up from under my desk, asking me why I was still in.

What would I be if I worked 16 hour days? 90 hour weeks? I was doing well as a consultant, working for myself. I claimed I couldn't do my hourly stuff AND develop my core product, but that's a lie - I just needed to up my effort level. I wonder if 5 or 10 years down the road, I'll curse myself for not doing it. No one held me back but me. Nothing stopped me but me. Not that I'm angry about it. Or even really self-damning. That is economics, that is choice. The chance at millions - and I really felt like I had it - was not worth, in terms of expected value - the time with family, the time to live, to enjoy my life and my leisure. But the thing about leisure - as with consumption - is that if hard times befall, it is easy to regret. And I really feel like I took something away from the world. How many people would I have employed? How much money would my software have saved people? I don't know. I'm good at what I do though, and I believe that my choices matter.

So this is my reason why - if the pod people of The Matrix subconsciously were aware of their predicament - that they would nontheless "choose" to remain consciously unaware.

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