Honestly, who cares?

Just this morning, I was powerfully struck by the usefulness of the following phrase:

I don’t care enough to do anything about it.

At first glance, this may sound callous. Let me explain…

When one reads (watches, listens to) the news (especially world news), it is rare to find anything one can actually do anything about directly. Moreover, there will always be a majority of items in any batch of daily news about which one is hard-pressed to even invest much attention, enthusiasm, or emotion of any kind. We each have a limited range of things we can care deeply about, and an even more limited range of things we can actually effect.

In my experience, this leads to a kind of guilty anxiety. Take, for example, with the news that the Chinese government are crushing the Uighur in Xinjiang, essentially for being different. I must have seen several dozen articles on this recently, without ever once having sought them out. There really isn’t anything I can realistically do about it: I’m one busy Australian system administrator, and the Chinese government are notoriously impervious to foreign (or even local) opinion, sanctions, or even threats. Besides, this is one of a hundred horrible things I hear about in the world every day. Even were I Superman or head of the United Nations, I would still have to prioritise.

I feel somewhat inclined, when I read about Xinjiang for the eleventy zillionth time, to say “I don’t care”, but I don’t because it feels untrue. I do care, just not enough. That’s not a damning confession, it’s the unashamed truth: I don’t care enough to do anything about it. How much would I need to care in order to do something genuinely useful about it? In this particular case, it would need to be a lot. For starters, I would need to care enough to research the problem: What kinds of forces might move the government of China? How might I come to posess (or contribute to) such a force? Who cares? I do, but I don’t care enough to do anything about it!

The phrase isn’t just honest, it’s immensely reassuring:

  • I don’t care enough…” – This implies that I do in fact care.
  • …to do anything about it” – A statement of plan! When I reassess my to-do list fifteen times today, there is one more thing (the plight of the Uighur in Xinjiang) which I will not need to take into consideration.

The latter item is the most important part: The outcome of any given conversation or activity in my day is all too likely to be one or more things I need to do, or worse: one or more things I need to take into consideration when working out what to do. As such, any activity which concludes with a whole category of things I definitely won’t do is a massive win.

An inevtiable part of choosing one’s battles is choosing when not to fight. That choice must not involve guilt, rather we should celebrate it: It means more time to fight the ones we can win.

Today’s idle rambling was brought to you by a long thoughtful walk to the train, a lack of inhibitions about talking to myself in public, and the joyful return of caffiene to my life.

Bad Naming Ideas

Some notes on names for children:

  • Alliterative first and last names are bad. Larry Lawler will know no school-yard peace.
  • Rhyming first and last names are worse. Gary Parry had better find an awesome nickname, and sell it hard.
  • Australian girls should not be named Dianne or Dianna, unless their parents want every social encounter in their children’s lives to begin with an exhoration to “Die!”. (“Hey Die! are you free this Saturday night?”)
  • Family planning: A boy who may be an only child should never be called “Bob”. It would be a terrible shame for “Bob” to never be anyone’s uncle.

Google Shock

Google Shock” denotes the state of stunned disorientation which arises when an unexpected new Killer App crops up with the likely potential to dramatically alter some aspect of one’s life. Similarity to “Culture Shock” is intentional; Google Shock is a form of temporal culture shock.

For example: Google Maps Real Estate.

Google Maps Real Estate #2

In my youth, I spent great scads of time cycling or driving about the suburbs within a few kilometers of Monash University (Clayton) clutching a thick wad of liberally annotated rental lists which I had gathered by hand from the many faintly dodgy little real-estate agencies which cater to the student-housing market in that area.

Googe Maps Real Estate #2

Now, I am in Google Shock. Once again, I find that something I just accepted as a fact of life has been expertly hoovered up into the web.

The rammifications of this are only just beginning to dawn on me…

We are all just a web comic

Well, some of us.

If you don’t like LoTR (or even recognise the acronym (SHAME!)) and/or you don’t roleplay, you may find this webcomic mildly (or less) amusing.

If you, like me, do these things compulsively, you will probably, like me, find that you’re in the freaking comic!

DM of the Rings XLVIII: Dwarven Diplomacy

Seriously, I’m only part way through it, and it’s fantastic: I LOL helplessly at least once at nearly every strip. Not only is it chock-full of disturbingly true portrayals of roleplayers (and roleplaying games) being foolish, it also features some completely marvellous hand-picked frames from the Peter Jackson LoTR movies. Who knew that there were so many smug sh*t-eating sneers, smirks and leers to be had form the core characters in those movies? So much gurning too!

References to Star Wars, Monty Python, WoW, Lovecraft and even Nethack abound. It is gloriously nerdy. And the editorial comments! OMG!

I don’t usually post just to spruik a link, but this was simply too good to pass up.