Attitude And Opinion

Being a creator vs being a consumer (OJR)

John was always a believer in things, but not a fan in particular. He doesn't usually want to dive into somebody else's imagination and doesn't usually prefer to be in someone else's world rather than in his own. He is just not made this way. John is looking at stuff and wants to know how it is made, but as soon as he knows how it is made, he doesn't want to stay around it and have it hug him. He is a creator of things and not as much a consumer of things. For example, he watched Star Wars in 1977 in the Cinerama in Seattle and the impact was enough so he didn't have to see it again. His friend Sean Nelson on the other hand is profoundly a creator of things, but also a consumer of things and that was always a friendly tension between them both.

Tolerance for disasters (RW39)

John has a very high tolerance for disaster. Whenever something crazy is happening, he just wants it to be the craziest. Like in August of 2016, Putin was sending some tanks into Ukraine and John wished that he maybe would invade Ukraine which is not so easy to invade. Putin did that right before the G5 conference in order to play his cards in a certain way. John was calling it "The Ukraine" again and apologizes, because he had been raised with the Ukraine being a part of the Soviet Union. The same is true with Rhodesia which he also cannot stop calling Rhodesia although it is modern Zimbabwe.

John thinks that a tsunami hitting the West Coat of the US, killing a lot of people would be bad, but if a tsunami is inevitable to hit the US at some point, then why not have it happen right now while John is alive? Why not have all the inevitable things happen right now? If it happens in 100 years, he is not going to be around to see it! If UFO:s are going to come and hover over the cities, let's get that happening! Dan interjects that hurricanes are really bad and he has experienced several of them when he lived down in Florida. It is easy to take the things you have for granted. John replies that he doesn't necessarily want it to be his house being taken away, but there is collateral damage to everything.

Made in China (RL177)

John does not want to buy anything Made in China anymore, not because he has anything against China, but he just made a decision to set some limits and define the space, like you fence off the garden to keep the deer out. There are a lot of things nowadays that are made in China and deciding not to buy any of it already takes away the first decision - just a way of sorting. After that he had to make another decision: Are things Made in Hong Kong or Made in Macau made in China? When it comes to Made in Taiwan it depends on whom you ask, but John's world view supports Taiwan as an independent country, because he has some friends whose parents come from Taiwan. Macau and Hong Kong have both been their own colonies, city states that had been leased from China for 99 years by the Portuguese and the British, but then times changed and in the late 90:s China did not renew their lease and the two cities returned to China as special administration areas, and Made in Macau is now kind of a label trickery.

John used to live in an old warehouse building where the guy who owned it didn't really own it, but he had a 99 year lease and he fixed up the building just enough so it could inhabit people and work as a rent generator for him, but he couldn't redevelop the property. Maybe he could sub-sell his lease, but was going to be dead before that lease would expire.

Hong Kong and Macau have kept one foot in the capitalist world. There is still gambling going on in Macau, like in a James Bond town. Gambling is a big cultural thing for China, because older folks in Merlin's neighborhood are very much into gambling Mahjong and the like.

Taking Naps (RL238)

Merlin thinks that naps often feel like weakness and that liking to take a nap is like a secret shame that many of us share. But he loves to take a nap and even puts them on the calendar sometimes in order to make sure he actually gets some rest and not just goofing off on the Internet.

John is a long-time super-napper and shares some insight: One hour is not the optimal nap duration and quality of naps does not increase with length. When you sleep 90 minutes to 2 hours, you will break your cycle. John says a 5-minute nap has the power of a 1000 naps. It is not meant to be a Churchill-nap (where you behave like you are going to sleep), but just "dropping the spoon", just like restarting your Mac, just leaning back and falling asleep quickly. Do not seek comfort before taking a nap! John keeps a pillow in his truck to make it easy for him to take a nap even in his driver's seat with the seat belt still on and without catching the attention of the cops. The day-time naps are very necessary for John, but experiences increasing problems sleeping at night. On the other hand, he does not want to be treated for sleep apnea, so he does not like to talk about this to a doctor.

Spirit Animals (RW16)

John oscilates between the raven and the raccoon as his spirit animal. The problem is that the raven does not to want that honor. They drop whatever button they are brining and fly away. Looking up when it flies away can't be the relationship with your spirit animal. Also, ravens are very social and John is only marginally social. The raccoon is much more ackin to him, it lurks around at night. They often meet during the night and John will corner them in a way they can't get away, because he has some stuff to talk to them. They rarely hiss and try to get away, but maybe they are then going to their friends and are talking about John in a way that shows him less respect than he is due. Five times a week John gets forwarded that profile from the little girl who made friends with a raven and they are brining her little buttons and rocks and animal bones. That happened in Seattle, so those are John's ravens, but no raven has ever brought him a button!

John had a lot of encounters with dogs and cats, rodents, mountain goats, moose, bear, but none of them feels like his spirit animal. Golden dragons might be his spirit animals, but those are imaginary. Owls appear to John in dreams, but you can never find them outside. Saying that the owl is his spirit animal would be failry presumptuous. An owl is keeping its own council. It would be like saying that your spirit animal is the bald eagle. Really? You are so fucking majestic? A bald eagle can grab a 20 pound salmon out of the water. You have to be Leonardo diCaprio in The Revenant to have a bald eagle as your spirit animal. Most people's spirit animals are guinea pigs or earthworms. The question is what you deserve. Maybe John's spirit animal is the marmot, a beaver-sized rodent or the marmoset, a small hand-held monkey. A pine marten is like a small wolverine that lives in the trees. John is not sure about the marmoset. But the pine marten! A ferocious, but cute little tree dwelling weasel! It is a thing John could employ.

Bathrooms with electric hand blowers (RW60)

John hates bathrooms with electric hand blowers. He feels the same about leaf blowers: although there was already the rake and the broom, they implemented this thing that hauls like a hovercraft. There is a movie theatre in Seattle with giant bathrooms, but if only one person uses the hand blower, you can’t be in that room and you can’t hear yourself think! Nonetheless, everybody uses them. Dan even calls them a hoax. He would only shake it off (his hands), but not use the blower. John says that after washing your hands, you run your wet hands through your hair which will already take care of a big portion of the problem, but Dan is doubtful, because of the potential germs in the hair. Soap, by the way, is not inherently clean, it can contain bacteria. The washing process removes them from your face, because bacteria want to cling to the soap more than to your face. But when you are washing your hands too much, you can get sick because of the germs in the soap! Soap dispensers do not have locks, everybody could put anything in there, like LSD (Drugs).

Throwback Thursday (RW61)

John finds the hashtag #tbt everywhere and notices it is used to post embarrassing photos of yourself on Instagram, no matter which day of the week. Dan argues that if you use a single letter to abbreviate the days of the week, then Thursday is abbreviated by R, because T is Tuesday. John agrees that TBR sounds like Tuberculosis or some old-fashioned sports car. John is greatly interested in pictures from somebody else’s past because it is a form of interesting self-curation. John used to have picture albums on the shelves and flipping through them was a thing John liked to do on Sunday afternoons. Unfortunately in the 90:s, John’s mom decided that three shelves used for photos was not efficient and used 600 man-hours taking the photos out of the albums and putting them into boxes. The problem is that they get scrambled very quickly and all continuity and historical context is lost. Some of the photos were even given to other people when they happen to ask for them. His mom also got rid of pictures of pets and landscape and now John has 40 different boxes with people in no particular order.

Overhearing other people's conversations (RL243)

Merlin finds it fun to listen to other people's conversations at the Apple store. He would also start interactions, like for example if he sees someone who has Airpods, he would ask them if they use double-tap for Siri or for Play/Pause. He does a bit of Thomas Friedman work and tries to get a gauge on how people are using the product. A burger place where Merlin sometimes gets his lunch has an array of tablets (like the pedalboard of Jerry from The Wrens) to take orders in different formats. For John, this sounds like something that the old Merlin Mann, the technology pundit, would be interested in talking about, but these days Merlin is just a lay person, just a farmer, just hoeing his row, or hoeing his till. Is this just a distracted interest for Merlin? Or is he still Brad Pitt or Christian Bale in The Big Shot, keeping his hands in the game. John agrees that he also likes sitting on the bus and listen to people talk, not out of a vocational need, but just watching his friends and what they are doing.

Architecture (OJR)

John has never been a fan of the South-west stucco home and calls it a fad that rubs him the wrong way. There are also a lot of Mock Tudor homes in Seattle, but John finds them repulsive because Settle did not have a tudor period. People were living in Pacific Northwestern style, Native American dwellings called Longhouses. A longhouse is where people gather from the rain, smoke salmon and have potlatches, a traditional gift-giving feast with the goal of giving away as much stuff as you could. It is one of the local cultural events that we didn't co-opt into our white-man's world.

Text messaging (RW82)

John thinks that the invention of text messaging is one of the most genius inventions in human life because he doesn’t want to talk on the phone and he doesn’t want to be in the same room with someone if he doesn’t have to. He has carried along entire relationships with people all with texts. Because John is a writer, he can communicate his thoughts and feeling pretty closely via words. He texts and he sends and then he receives and he reads and he replies and he sends.

Managing your points (RW82)

If John were somebody who managed his Starwood points and American Express points and Delta points, he would live in a land with chocolate fountains and people would throw gold coins at him. He would be getting free shit right and left and everywhere he went there would be somebody in a pillbox hat handing him a pillow. Sting from Quadrophenia would be carrying his bags up the stairs! Maybe an iPhone X would enable him to manage his points better, but John cannot imagine a worse prison to be in.

Getting sick (RW60)

John is the “Show must go on” type, even if he is sick. John avoids doctors whenever he can.

Listening to NPR (RL238)

Listening to NPR is like a dishwasher in the background. John never really listens to NPR which surprises Merlin who has gotten into it quite a bit.

Random facts

John had a pilot's license when he was 17 (RL25).
John hates going to the Laundromat (RL25).
Picture of John from his High School ID-card, Wendler Junior High 1981-1982.

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