169 tagged with #daily

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Robots Have Feelings

When I needed to prove to myself that I was capable of owning a fountain pen, I picked up a cheap technical liner with replaceable nibs and cartridges, and ordered myself not to lose or break it for a year. It survived multiple backpacking trips and dayhikes, daily bicycle commuting, and an international flight without great mishap. Once, I loaned it to someone who was ham-fisted enough to split the brittle plastic nib, but those were easy enough to replace. When the year was up, I allowed myself to fall in love with a Lamy Studio.

It's the Lamy that's defied death but continues to bring trouble. I've blown countless nibs from carelessness, events from simple butterfingering to leaving it in a classroom for days and recovering it from someone who did not understand that fountain pens should contact the paper with a very specific angle and pressure.

After one bad month claimed every single fountain pen I owned in a month, I bought a three-pack of plastic clicky-pens as punishment. For months, I dealt with greasy clots and hand cramps, until the Lamy turned up through mysterious circumstances. I retired it to desk-use only and forbade myself from buying replacement fountain pens; two others came into my possession through other mysterious circumstances. I broke one in the process of reconditioning, and the second I've allowed as a carry pen.

I declared my Lamy-carrying ban concluded after I no longer felt bad about it, and tucked it into my shirt pocket on my way to class. It took no more than three minutes before an irresponsibly enthusiastic bounding up a flight of outdoor steps ejected the pen from my shirt, sending it flying through the air until it crashed into the concrete.

It still writes, but not well. Maybe I'll buy a new nib.

20 March 2014 19:14


"Look at the weather," I told myself. "It's beautiful. Put on your shoes and go running."

The moment I left line of sight of the building, the rain started, and I burst out laughing on the spot. When the rain grew, I wheeled back for my jacket. I didn't bother taking it on my way out, thinking that the skies wouldn't dare open on me today, but I love when I am proven wrong. Who am I to think otherwise?

19 March 2014 19:26


Part of a response to my father, when he asserted that there is a hard cap on everyone's innate ability to do something as a reason for why he doesn't feel like working on improving his go playing in order to keep up with me:

I think you will never know how good you are capable of getting if you stop working on it, though. If you don't really know what 10k even feels like, how can you say that you don't think you'd be any better? The way I see it, I know what 7k is right now, and I know what I have to work on to get to 6k. When I reach 6k, I might know what I need to get to 5k. I can keep inching forward until I get to a point where I no longer know how to proceed. I reached this point a few years ago, around 14k, and thought I was basically done improving, but after some time to back off and start with a fresh approach, I've started improving again. I think I can keep doing this basically indefinitely; the only limiting factor for your skill is where you choose to stop improving. So, if you think you've reached that point, then you really will never get better. But there's no harm in staying at that level and working on it anyway, right?

Sometimes I underestimate my own capability for nauseating optimism and resisting fatalism.

18 March 2014 12:27


"I'm having an extremely surreal day," he starts, a look of resignation on his face as he's about to ask me something he knows is strange. "But my key won't open the door to the lab."


"It's like glued shut or something."


"Just come with me. I want you to watch me try."


And he wasn't kidding. The key turns in the lock and the door flexes inwards slightly before it sticks with a curious plastic stretching noise. The door had been recently painted, and I can see the edges of latex pulling strands like melted cheese.

"We have no choice. We'll have to break it down," I announce with mock gravity.

"I was hoping you'd say that," he responds, before giving the door a hefty kick.

17 March 2014 17:48

Page of Breath

Sweeping is an act of breath. More than pushing around little specks of dirt, it's about a steady control of airflow with the broom, with your steps around the floor, with your breathing, with careful direction of the wind to convince all the hairs and feathers and particles of clothing to gather in clumps big enough to sink to the ground in an orderly pile in the middle of the room. When you're not careful with the vacuum, they spray everywhere and you have to start over.

My throat feels scratchy and my neck swells as I breathe in the stirred up wastes of a dog, two colds, months of living out of down jackets, dinner parties, and the consequences of living a life. Soon, we will take the plastic off the windows and be able to mop again.

16 March 2014 22:16

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