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Wed, 10 Mar 2010:

Don't trust me on this ... I've been wrong before.

The difference between good friends and bad shows itself when you're wrong - when you're wrong and you don't know it. Sure, misfortune is a true test, but it hardly comes around every day and I'm glad it doesn't. But try being wrong about something. And you'll notice a strange fact.

These days friendships are too shallow. We're too independent to really need them. No, I'm not decrying the current times from the chair of age. I'm talking about the way my life's taken. And I notice that I've stopped being wrong - there was no wrong way to live my life. For a while, I thought it was because I finally had life figured out.

And I was wrong. Wrong on both counts. And people have noticed. I've been insulted. Told off by people that I was an idiot. But I didn't care for insults. They've never been a way to make me comply with anything. People have tried shame on me for years and failed. I've rarely got anything to prove to anyone but me.

A friend would've told me why. Felt comfortable enough to sit me down and outline the flaws. Because I'm not my mistakes, I'm more. Friends have got stuff to salvage, the snipers from afar don't seem to. There's a world of a difference between "He's such an idiot!" and "Don't be an idiot". And I react very differently to both.

Like I said, I've been wrong before. And I see no reason to stop now.

Well, you know what to do. Also, bring popcorn.

The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind.
              -- Albert Camus

posted at: 03:19 | path: /philosophy | permalink | Tags: , ,

Mon, 08 Mar 2010:

You & I both know there's no We here.

As I write down blog entry after the other, I've come to realize that there's only one person I can talk about with any sort of clarity - me. I can't speak for anyone else. Everything is as I observe, as I experience and as I feel - all mixed up into a general pile of nothing. To draw out a clear & coherent thread of thought out of that requires me to unravel a bit of myself in the process.

Self reflection leaves its own smudges in my thoughts. The searchlight of my mind leaves shadows, of contrasts & comparisons with itself. The similarities just merge into the backdrop, the differences stick out like a sore thumb. The edges & cracks appear, just like on a lake in winter, when the fluidity of thought is frozen into something solid.

And the words, like charcoal rubbing on paper, merely picks up what stands out. Everything in black & white, clearly marked out. Makes for a pretty picture, but is hardly what really exists.

Frame it up, hang it up and sign my name. And call it a blog.

My mind not only wanders, sometimes it leaves completely.

posted at: 03:32 | path: /observations | permalink | Tags: , ,

Fri, 05 Mar 2010:

It all started with the petty battles, with a collective comedown on a cultural philistine like me - one without taste in music, art, literature or topic du jour.

What they looked in each other was not for glimmers of intelligence, but for a bit of something shared. Something to set them apart from the rest, the secret handshakes, the shibboleth to exclude those of a lower culture. Respect doled out for abstract obscurity, while clarity was despised. The vaguer it got, the easier could everyone trot out their pet ideas without stepping on each others' toes.

I could've been a mute spectator to all that. But then the challenges appeared on my table.

I never did define my identity with things external. Rarely was it propped up with books, music or art. Something reprehensible to embellish yourself with someone else's creativity. To listen, read, collect it. And dole it out instead of your own. There I was, with life's experiences and I thought that was all that remained to be said about me. What I do, that is where my fount of self is rooted on and with some sort of gratitude, I pour myself back into it.

Never felt the urge to defend my choices, in anything that fed my mind. But I almost fanatically defend the choices I make, when it comes to actions. What went in seemed far insignificant to what eventually came out. My principles, ethics and the path I tread in life, those are up for criticism - always have been.

There was no point in responding to those challenges - to be beaten down just for someone's pleasure. For them in their world to feel superior. Maybe that's what gets them through their day, but I've got no time or energy to fight these petty battles. I've got things to do.

Culture intrigues me. I'd rather learn than fight about my personal opinions. Bizarrely, the same people fighting for their opinions object to others sharing theirs. What they always craved I guess was smug superiority, not to convince. Popularity of their niche seems to be their enemy rather than a sign of success.

The world of high culture is full of people who'd love something, yet dissuade the world from sharing it. In a sort of self destructive selfishness, they cordon off their niches. Watching them over the years, I've seen these hypocrites slink away from the bright sunlight of popular attention. Not revel in the new found wisdom of the world or applaud at its good taste.

I've tried to learn what it is about these ideas that make it special. Read Hegel & Kant, Foucault & Derida. Listened to Mozart (ooh, the 5th!), gone to Chopin recitals (thankee hyacie), observed the layered randomness of Coltrane. I've liked some, I haven't others. Perhaps arbitrarily, I don't know.

But equally arbitrarily, I've followed popular culture. I've liked some, I couldn't care less for others. I dig down into Simpsons or Futurama, I play Lady Gaga in a loop for days. Not mindlessly, I notice the nuances of timing & melody of the Gaga, the college level literature references littered in Simpsons, the secret messages written in alienese in Futurama. I notice, I enjoy and I'm not ashamed of it.

I'm overcome by an urge to share & enjoy. I think the fact that more people enjoy it, the better it was. Perhaps it takes more talent to make something the whole world can enjoy. A deeper understanding of all humanity perhaps. And I'll do my part. I can't understand how someone can enjoy something so much, but dissuade someone else from exploring. Even more puzzlingly, only seem to enjoy things that nobody else around seem to be capable of appreciating. Are you that special or is that all a facade put up?

After much thought, I've come to a shocking, but inescapable conclusion.

Show me an elitist, and I'll show you a loser.
          -- Tom Clancy

posted at: 07:52 | path: /rants | permalink | Tags: ,

Thu, 04 Mar 2010:

I have an ego. A nice, cheap and refurbished one in good condition.

And yes, I'm proud to have one. I've been without one, lost nearly all traces of it. Killed, choked it, sacrificed it at the altar of love & togetherness. Apologized for what wasn't my fault, forgave without apologies, silenced my self respect and cut off my ego from my life.

And that nearly was the end of me.

I couldn't survive. Because here's the thing - the world isn't always fair. Life's a bitch and it shows its true colours. It criticizes without reason and often without gain. To keep your course through that minefield of criticism requires a tough skin and a crumple zone. An ego is the crumple zone for your real self. It stands up to the world, in your stead. Takes a few dents, but nothing permanent.

Building myself back up from nearly nothing, there was my ego, leading the charge. Driving me, pushing me to do things I'd never done before, channeling my Id into the useful. Everything accomplished was an ego boost. Every failure hurt, but every failure challenged.

An ego strong enough to repel the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, from the inner sanctum of your self and spirit. Something to keep the material world out of the spiritual, something with an edge to cut my path through the world.

There's that bright light within my eyes again. A smile on my lips and a spring in my step. And screams that it is here to stay, till death do us part. But there's balance. Between me, my ego and my Id, I'm ambitious, curious and cautious all at the same time.

In a mirror, I see me. And I smile.

The ego is not master in its own house.
        -- Sigmund Freud

posted at: 04:12 | path: /philosophy | permalink | Tags: ,

Wed, 03 Mar 2010:

So bluesmoon wrote a blog entry on function currying in javascript. Read it first, if you've got no idea what I'm talking about.

But the example given there is hardly the *nice* one - you don't need a makeAdder(), you can sprinkle a little bit more magical pixie dust to make a maker. I remembered that I had a better sample lying around from early 2005, but unfortunately it wasn't quoted in my journal entry.

I couldn't find the exact code I wrote back then, but here's a re-do of the same idea.

function curried(f, args, arity)

  return function() {
    var fullargs = args.concat(toArray(arguments));
    if(fullargs.length < arity) 
      /* recurse */
      return curry(f).apply(null, fullargs);
      return f.apply(null, fullargs);


function curry(f, arity) 
  if(!arity) arity = f.length;

  return function() {
    var args = toArray(arguments);
    if(args.length < arity) 
      return curried(f, args, arity);
      /* boring */
      return f.apply(null, args);


Basically with the help of two closures (the two function() calls without names), I created a generic currying mechanism which can be used as follows.

function add(a,b) { return a+b;}

add = curry(add);

var add1 = add(1);
var c = add1(2);

Now, the hack works because of the arguments object available for use in every javascript function. Also every function, being an object as well, lets you look up the number of arguments (arity) it accepts by default. You can even make a full-class decorator, if you pay more attention to the scope (null, in my examples) passed to the function apply().

Here's the full code example.

Things are are rarely simple. The function of good software is to make the complex appear to be simple.
            -- Grady Booch.

posted at: 21:45 | path: /hacks | permalink | Tags: , ,