cultivating & crashing

an organic collection of notes, observations, and thoughts

Tag: learning

Things I’ve learned this year

As 2015 draws to an end, here are some things I have finally learned in the past little chunk of life. Most of these are super obvious, pero más sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.

  • When making sharp turns on your bike, you’re supposed to extend the leg that is on the side toward which you are turning. For example, if turning right, lean right and extend your right leg.
  • Cotton really does suck to sweat in. This year I befriended wool and synthetics.
  • Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t line dry your clothes anymore — just do it inside. No idea why this had not occurred to me until I read that Germans do so.
  • When in a bad mood, listen to metal.
  • Once you have an emergency stash, do NOT save money unless you’ve paid off your loans (unless your savings interest exceeds your loans interest, which is highly unlikely). This is basic math.
  • It is more enjoyable to have fewer things. Not sure why.

The scarlet scatterplot

Around the time I decided to embark on learning Python in earnest, I realized it was early January. The beginning of the new year always a surge in neat tidiness; in my case, this was a heightening of OCD-like behaviour. I decided to track my progress. My intention had been to spend some time learning Python every day, thinking this was a sufficiently specific goal to set for myself (spoiler: it wasn’t). In an attempt to get myself to actually sit down and work through some problems on most weekdays dorénavant, I am posting a shameful chart showing just how much I did in the first month.Image

That’s a whopping total of six days. Not good. So far February has been even worse, so hopefully there will be solid block of blue dots in the latter half of this month’s chart. I know I’m not supposed to use shame as a motivation to learn or do something, but until I figure out a better method I’m going to post incriminating charts of myself on the Internet.

IPython Notebook

IPython Notebook is a beautiful thing. The universe is truly beneficent.

Impossible love

things I’d devote myself to studying if I didn’t have to work on selling
myself as a worker in the capitalist system:

hebrew + converting to judaism
liberal arts
reading more

I’ve been thinking about this because in class last night our prof told us to go out and do the thing we’re afraid of, the thing that is not sensible, but be happy doing it. today, as I saw people walking by with that energy of the first week back to school, I remembered when the thought of learning new things filled me with excitement rather than the worries I have now about the “real world”, paying my rent, graduating in less than ten years, having enough time to cook and do laundry and go running, taking care of delicate university friendships, et cetera. oftentimes I try to set down a short list of things of
ultimate importance that I promise to commit myself to so that I do a handful of things well instead of doing a mediocre job on many trying to stretch myself too tight. but this approach leaves me unsatisfied. this ravenous love of books and learning is the thing that I’ve most neglected, and because of it I think I’ve lost sight of some of the things that were once so important to me. I find it crazy how so many great, idealistic, passionate, and accomplished people have been avid readers. that is the kind of thing I was going for before, and have gotten a little bit lost along my way when suddenly faced with having to survive in the world we live in without great independent wealth to fund my studies at St. John’s or even more than twelve credits per semester at Concordia.

partially because I think there is no merit to live entirely isolated from the real world, partially in order to convince myself not to lament so much the fact that it could be no other way, I take it as positive that I am faced with the challenge of trying to strike a balance between this yearning for highly cerebral and lofty culture and the need to find a way to take care of myself.

(but to be perfectly honest, it’s mostly rationalization to mitigate my bitterness at missing out on living ensconced by the act of making love to knowledge at my dreamy radical liberal arts university.)

Lust for learning

L. told us this last night:

Marx, Engels and Lenin are asked whether they would prefer to have, a wife or a mistress. As expected, Marx, rather conservative in private matters, answers ‘A wife!’, while Engels, more of a bon vivant, opts for a mistress. To everyone’s surprise, Lenin says: ‘I’d like to have both!’ Why? Is there a hidden stripe of decadent jouisseur behind his austere revolutionary image? No – he explains: ‘so that I can tell my wife that I am going to my mistress, and my mistress that I have to be with my wife…’ ‘And then, what do you do?’ ‘I go to a solitary place to learn, learn, and learn!’

The article by Zizek looks good, too.