516 and Shoot the Puck

There is a Canadian comedy called Letterkenney that has absolutely won my heart. It has snappy writing that shines through characters that are given real depth over multiple seasons. It’s funny as shit and absolutely vulgar. I couldn’t recommend it more highly. It’s about a small town living and being a hick, but that’s almost besides the point.

The show had an ancillary character, Shoresy, played by the creator of the series Jared Keeso ,who is a foul mouthed hockey player. Shoresy was spun out into its own series and recently premiered. I binged it over the long weekend with my husband. I won’t spoiler any of the plot, it except to say it’s got one of the strongest season endings I’ve ever watched.

What started as a truly disgusting bit of scatalogical humor ends up being the basis for a show with real heart. I found myself getting teary eyed as a story of teamwork unfolded. There is some classic underdog (literally the team is called the Bulldogs), tropes but you genuinely don’t mind. The emotional journey still works.

I’m a startup person so I’ve got a soft spot for watching something messy come together. And nothing is messier than a team that is dysfunctional. You root for them. As teams coalesce and a sense of identity forms, you cannot help but root for the improvement.

I’ve got a theory that the emotional rollercoaster of that process makes you prone to latching into aphorisms and simple wisdom. Its got something to do with the humility that comes from learning shit and being being bad at that shut. I suspect because everything is so chaotic when it’s new. The process of “becoming” so simply do mind shattering that koans and just-so story pearls of wisdom have added weight. They anchor you in the chop of uncertainty.

For Shoresy, the aphorism that tugged most on my heart strings was “you can’t score a goal if you don’t shoot the puck.” A simple sports metaphor so evocative you probably saw it on Naval’s Twitter account. Well ok maybe in just in second stringer venture capitalist sincere post. Clearly Ted Lasso isn’t the only sports sitcom show that can teach us something about becoming our most best empathetic selves.

Emotional Work

Day 515 and Rules

I’d never really thought of myself as a rules follower. I wasn’t a particularly troublesome kid but I had a healthy disdain for authority. I made a lot of teachers really miserable and confused the fuck out of my parents with some fairly radical choices.

And to my parent’s credit they just absolutely rolled with the punches. My mother was a champion at the sport of coping with teenage girl shit. Which lets be real should absolutely be an Olympic sport.

But I do think I give way more deference to social mores than I fully appreciated. I’ve got plenty of shame about how I’m not doing things right and that I’ll be judged by everyone for utterly failing. So I try to abide by certain expectations so that I won’t be judged.

I’m sure this is wild to plenty of people that know me who don’t see any of this shame or fear. I’ve got a big loud public persona. Im a shitposter. I’m not exactly going along with a lot of popular opinions.

But I am still strangely really worried about being seen as too radical, too much, too angry, too crazy, too weird. I don’t want to follow all the rules but I am afraid I’d I deviate too far something bad will happen. Though what I am not entirely sure. And that’s probably an assumption worth questioning for all of us.

Emotional Work

Day 514 and Get Your Mind Right

Back when I was in my twenties Gawker was at the height of its power to anoint local stars in New York City. There was one personality I just thought was the funniest and most incisive judge of the human condition. She was woman whose slogan was “Girl, Get Your Mind Right!”

Tiona Smalls had a column on Gawker and eventually turned it into a burgeoning self help empire with tv shows and books. It looks like she is now a realtor so maybe internet game is fickle. I didn’t see any of her later pop culture work. But I did read her Gawker column religiously. I liked her no nonsense attitude.

The premise of her first book, which landed her the Gawker column, was that you’ve got to stop doing shit that isn’t getting you what you want. Hence “girl, get your mind right.” It was nominally a dating advice book. I mostly took it as a basic kind of self help.

I feel like I could use Tionna right now. I’m just emotionally so fucked by the last month. Granted I’ve made some pretty major life decisions in the last thirty days but it doesn’t feel like I should be so wrecked. I am absolutely blaming the flu for kicking up chronic inflammatory shit. Watch out for long Covid folks! Viruses have a weird tendency to go latent. But like really being sick isn’t an excuse to have a bad mental state. I’m practically professionally sick so this shouldn’t phase me.

I’m thinking of maybe going to Europe for a bit. Enjoy that the turmoil in the markets means things are a bit slow for work. While everyone figures out how much to freak out about a recession I might as well reset my central nervous system with some down time. But whatever happens I’ve got to get my mind right.

Chronic Disease

Day 513 and Pain Myopia

It’s a testament to how excellent my health has been for the past five months that I’m absolutely indignant about feeling shitty today. Last year feeling shitty wouldn’t have been a surprise. It was more like my default to be in constant pain.

Today my brain was fogged, my energy was low and much of that is tied to my pain being just unrelenting. I’ve been riding between seven and ten on a ten pain scale for the past two weeks. Infections tends to set off all of my chronic issues. My pain is tied to the legacy of old illness. If you think long Covid is bullshit, I can assure you that many significant infections leaves behind post-viral bullshit that can fuck your long term quality of life.

Pain is a steady companion in my life. In five hundreds blog posts I’ve mentioned pain ninety four times. Even I’m a little astonished looking at that number. Twenty percent of my life has the dark overhang of pain. I’m in pain more than that, I’d wager it’s about half of my life if my logs are correct. But 20% is about right for when pain is so present it’s at the forefront of my consciousness.

And that’s with assiduously managing it through medications, lifestyle and nutrition. But to realize that pain on the forefront of my mind 20% of the time feels a little bleak. It seems like a miracle I’m as functional as I am. It’s a miracle anyone is every functional with pain at if I’m honest. Pain is a myopic master.

Emotional Work

Day 512 and Not So Glamorous

Remember that respite I had yesterday from the flu? Yeah me neither! I barely crawled out of bed this morning after some pretty gnarly dreams. My subconscious was going through it.

I had a three hour session of biofeedback yesterday working through some of my self limiting beliefs. It’s truly wild how you will just perpetrate the worst emotional violence on the people we love the most. Alex and I in particular love acting out various O’Henry stories in our marriage. Gift of the Magi is a particularly favorite where we will actively sacrifice something we love for the other only to discover we’ve destroyed the very thing that our partner loved. It’s a super fun cycle and every time I think we’ve found a way out of the cycle we manage to do it all over again. The problem is the glue.

So I was a bit frazzled today from working through all the emotional stuff. I need to stop giving Alex power by letting him take care of me. He needs to drop care taking me. You know standard marriage stuff. I can write whole love letters about it. Anyway I digress.

I was a bit fried today as I was recovering from pushing yesterday. I happened to have a friend that wanted to talk about how I was doing. I think he was expecting a more glamorous even sexy answer. People often think I’ve got a more interesting life than I do. Which is funny as I feel like I write about the mundane details of chronic disease with some frequency. But today I was not swanning about in Europe or writing love letters. I was in a dark cold room fighting off a migraine and some spinal pain. Because sometimes life just isn’t all that glamorous. And honestly that’s ok.

Chronic Disease

Day 511 and Respite

I didn’t feel like shit today. One of my doctors made a suggestion for how to spend up the post-viral malaise of this flu. I woke up feeling at least a little bit more human this morning.

I knocked out the first draft of my talk for Consensus. A task that has felt so overwhelming I’ve now blogged about it three times in one week. I am never prone to procrastination when it comes to writing so I know I must have been super sick if I felt I couldn’t write. That’s literally the one activity I’ve completely taken the fear out of through daily repetition.

I was able to do all the various “living” activities today too. Basic tasks like showering weren’t overwhelming. I was able to make progress on odds and ends for moving life forward. Making decisions about stuff like what to eat wasn’t hard. Basically I felt normal.

I am not sure if this is a respite from the flu and it’s aftermath or if it has fully broken. But I’m going to enjoy it with an early evening watching television and fucking off. All my downtime doesn’t have to be sick leave.

Internet Culture

Day 510 and Lifeline

Many people used social media as a lifeline to connect with others during the pandemic. The Zoom family dinners or the video hangout Happy Hours were a staple personally and professionally. We livestreamed religious gatherings and conversational societies. We set up Discord servers for our favorite topics and Telegram groups for group chats. As it turns out the metaverse is already here and we migrated there during the pandemic years.

The trouble with expanding your subjective reality to include virtual spaces, is that you have massively expanded the surface area of your life. Your world becomes much larger when it’s virtual. Living in the metaverse opens up your neighborhood to the global village.

When you are confined to physical reality as your living space, your subjective reality remains the people you encounter in your daily routine. At most this might be a cosmopolitan city, but for most of us it’s a parochial circle of work, children and basic goods and services. Dunbar’s number suggests we top out at about 150 people.

Most people are awkwardly straddling some middle ground these days. News media expands our subjective reality a bit, and we Americans almost all participate in some online virtual community. If you are creative class it is a professional obligation. But largely we live a real life in our physical communities. We know what is going on in the outside world but we mostly live insular lives.

That is until a tragedy occurs. And at the rate we are going these days that means once every week or so. Suddenly the entire world is focused on one singular horror. Even if it isn’t your own horror in your own physical community your subjective virtual reality feels as if it did.

And this can really suck if the metaverse is a big part of your life. Especially if the metaverse is where most of your social contact happens. The lifeline to virtual communities is no longer expanding your world but merely expanding the surface area of grief during a shared public tragedy.

I am skeptical there is a solution for this problem of shared surface area during a tragedy. Bearing witness is a human instinct deeply coded into our cultures. The desire to be bound together is for better or worse, our reality as social animals. Taking our communities online just takes our culture with us.

Internet Culture Startups

Day 509 and History Lesson

I’ve been working on a talk for Coindesk’s Consensus in June. I’m doing a talk for their Big Ideas stage that Alex cleverly named the InDAOstrial Revolution. I’m pretty excited about the topic as it’s science fiction & finance history and social organization. It’s basically all my favorites. A

The invention of corporations was a transformative innovation for human organizing, driving the growth of the industrial revolution. Can DAOs drive an equally explosive innovation cycle? Decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, offer us a shift towards open and inclusionary entities for marshaling resources and energy. This session dives into their potential futures, including open web public goods, the end of doomer capitalism, techno-optimism collectives, and the possibility of a networked nation state. Come for the sci-fi vibes, stay for the boomer neoliberal skepticism and get a pleasant dose of economic history in the process.

I’ve been doing a little bit of deep diving into the history of the corporation and it’s role in American history in particular. And when I was procrastinating during my flu I watched Gilded Age. Just so you’ve got an idea of my mind set. And honestly it’s been a mind fuck.

I’m not a historian but I think you can make the case that America had corporate governance before we had a functional state or federal government. In fact, this History of the Corporate Form from Fordham Law showed me the wildest fact I’ve ever seen. In America the corporation came before the state.

Other notable “joint-stock” companies, such as the Virginia Company, helped expand British control of North America. In fact, the Virginia Company established the General Assembly, which was the first legislature in North America.

The idea that some monarchy set a corporate charter up to extract commodities and that corporate organization led to a three hundred year experiment in self governance is astonishing. You really never can tell about an event’s downstream ripples. Our entire political way of life was downstream of property rights.

Of course, the reason I point this out is that how we organize and govern our resources and at what scale is what defines history. The ability to trust your goals and your investment will be executed, even if you are not personal overseeing it, is as it turns out a key innovation catalyst for all other technologies. The more efficient we are at at marshaling and deploying resources the further we get as a civilization.

The case I would like to make is that DAOs could help us unlock more sophisticated financing that enables ever further scale and coordination. If the corporation created American, can the DAO led other new nation states?

I can imagine a network state made up of sub-DAOs that provide interlocking economies. Some DAOs are responsible for infrastructure. Others are for services. Maybe we share some key responsibilities across one oligopoly for key social services like health care. The more something needs scale to succeed the more large scale collaborative behavior gets rewarded. I don’t doubt we can create some truly dystopian shit but also maybe it finally gets us to Mars.

Chronic Disease Startups

Day 508 and Deficit

I woke up feeling reasonably ok today. I slept well but checking my trackers I learned my recovery scores were pretty low. My HRV was dipping into 30% recovery territory and I had a low blood oxygen count. I’ve been recovering from Influenza A so it’s not a surprise my lungs are struggling. But I tried not to let some bad data psyche me out. Maybe I was ok. I told myself I just needed to stick to my routine as I can’t let myself get into a physical deficit.

So I went about my morning routine with some optimism. I got some coffee and made breakfast. I took several rounds of supplements. I did some basic grooming. I felt basically human. I was all excited to dive into work from the second I woke up. I was so excited I’ve been dreaming about the presentation I’m giving at Consensus. I literally woke up with talking points.

And then at around 10am I realized I’d used up all my functional hours taking care of myself. Fucking figures. I am already in a physical deficit from this flu. It’s scary for me to be in a deficit as my favorite coping mechanism is to engage in workaholism. I over prepare and over work and I make demands of myself that only sabotage the end result. It’s entirely counter productive. It just looks socially acceptable because of the Protestant Work ethic.

So I need to calm the fuck down and accept where I am and that it will still be good enough. I know my shit. It’s worth it. And I’ll deliver on better than the average midwit. Honestly even acting like this is kind of midwit. The real galaxy brains would just be vibing it anyway. But it really is amazing how easy it is to fall into midwit fear based patterns. Believing in the bigger broader math of your own life is really hard because so much of our own ego is rooting for us to indulge in our worst impulses. So I’m going to calm down, not worry about my energy deficit and continue to do the work. It’s not glamorous work. It’s mostly making good decisions day in and day out. But then compounding kicks in.

Chronic Disease

Day 507 and Better is Not Binary

A close friend of my husband and I sent me a sweet check in text message today saying he hoped I was feeling better. Our friend is a sincere and empathetic person. Because I know know he does care for me sincerely I said how I was actually feeling to him. I was feeling confused.

lol I never know how to respond to this sort of thing as occasionally I get regular person sick but I’ll never not be disabled 😂😭

“Better” is a bit of a loaded term for me. It suggests so much. Absolute improvement like my flu is over suggests better. Or perhaps improvement that will stay put forever is better. Or maybe it’s a good day in a string of bad ones and that’s better. Better can be though of in both binary and scale terms.

Default healthy people think of better as binary because once they’re good enough they are “better”. The flu passes. They get back to normal. But if you’re chronically ill or disabled then better is on a scale and you never get fully “better” but rather ebbs and flows. I don’t always know how to articulate this to abled well people.

If you have someone in your life who you think of as not being very social, I’d like to ask you to discover if it is because of a physical disability or ongoing chronic disease. Maybe they aren’t social as they can’t accommodate your pace but they would love to spend time together with you if you accommodated their pace. A lot of folks are chronically ill. And we like to be friends with you. We just need you to recognize we require some accommodations from you.