Culture Politics

Day 1296 and Mandate of Heaven

If you’ve been educated in the Western Cannon you are probably familiar with hubris. One does not defy the will of the gods.

The evolution of hubris from ancient Greece to modernity has extended our understanding of the prideful ego’s journey to arrogance. To be arrogant suggests a break with reality.

The term arrogance comes from the Latin adrogare, meaning “to feel that one has a right to demand certain attitudes and behaviors from other people”. To arrogate means “to claim or seize without justification… To make undue claims to having”

Who can claim the Mandate of Heaven? To even dare to do in many faiths suggests hubris. The breaching of limits and violations of the natural order suggest that Man should not suggest he knows the will of God.

And yet we push against the natural order all the time. Sometimes it is even demanded by the mythology of our moment. To make bold claims is to be sure you have a right to make them.

Watching the American mood witness invoking the will of any god is heady stuff. It is from the land of myths and those programs run on old operating systems. It’s not very hard to crash systemically when running on old programs. But I’d guess that is obvious to more than a few of us.

Culture Politics

Day 1295 and The Politics of Envy

Wanting what isn’t yours is very human. Monkey see, monkey do. Coveting always struck me as one of the most reasonable taboos.

Envy is an ugly emotion which deprives you of the joys you already have in your life. And yet so much of politics seems dedicated to stoking the suffering of unmet longing. The politics of envy may win votes but it can never produce a real policy.

I’ve been thinking perhaps too much about the consent of the governed. The state is granted a monopoly on violence through our consent. I fear a politics of envy because it eventually produces policies that will rely on not just on coercion but violence.

I don’t know where we are headed in America but I fear where envy leads us. It’s not simply about material things. One can envy power, prestige, cultural capital, beauty, intellect and countless other blessings.

Some of those things can be earned surely but many are providence. Those blessings cannot be taken as easily but they surely can be envied. I don’t wish us to follow those dark roads in search of riches which cannot be granted.

Emotional Work Politics

Day 1294 and Like Shit

I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that I’d been breaking down crying at regular intervals since the assassination attempt against Donald Trump.

I’m not a Trump supporter. I am and will remain a small government libertarian and I can’t see that changing short of fundamental shifts in material reality. Which is possible but human nature doesn’t change much.

I feel like absolute shit physically and emotionally about where we are at. The rapid changes that are proceeding in the wake of this violence cannot be undone. We are here.

I feel incredibly stupid saying this which is almost always a sign I should say it.
I’ve been breaking down into tears every couple of hours since the assassination attempt on Trump.
My emotional metabolism isn’t up to the acceleration unless I let myself feel it a

We are in a chaotic time and even I do not feel up to the rate of change. I’m afraid of what will happen no matter the outcome of the election.

I don’t think we should underestimate the trauma of political violence. A fellow citizen died for exercising his fundamental rights. He’s not the first and unlikely to be the last.

I want to feel less impacted emotionally but I can’t just stuff these feelings. I wish I could write more and at length about all of this but I’m simply not there. It’s all too painful.

Community Emotional Work

Day 1293 and Pollyanna

I’m a millennial who was mentored professionally by Generation X. Boomers rarely factored into my early work life. Even when I reported to the C suite and a board it was still mostly Gen X.

My Gen X mentors had a watercolor landscape of gentle layered cynicism that painted a picture I just didn’t quite see. I don’t have the temperament to see the worst in people and I still believe I could reshape institutions. I felt the biggest difference between myself and my mentors was that I was a bit of a Pollyanna. Many Millennials are earnestly optimistic.

That’s kind of a funny statement as I’m known amongst my social circle for my interest in what happens when things go wrong. I live in Montana in a small farmhouse with a solar grid. My husband who works in Bitcoin. I named my venture fund chaotic. My revealed prefences don’t scream “belief in the future” at first blush. I was taught that being prepared is how you end up with good outcomes.

Cynicism clashes with my belief that good outcomes are possible. Not only can we get wins but have to do so. There is no way out of our problems that is not through.

And I’d rather face that reality with a smile and a belief system in my fellow man. Better to endure regular disappointments than to never know the joy of things going well.

I want to approach the future as one that I can personally shape. Being allowed to contribute to a network that works collaboratively appeals to me because it’s fundamentally an optimistic vision. We can coordinate through all kinds of mechanisms for consensus.

Despite the cynicism of Gen X I am confident I wouldn’t have the dream of networked collaboration if their hackers and engineers hadn’t shown me we could build something better. Maybe that’s not cynicism but realism. And I hope that the realist camp contains lots of Pollyannas. Don’t stop believing and hold on to that feeling.


Day 1292 and Well Heeled

Kayfabe is the art of being a real fake in professional wrestling. You are cast in a role and it is maintained for the audience. Many fans would agree that the most role is the heel.

A heel isn’t exactly a villain but they are antagonists and rule breakers.

 “The role of a heel is to get ‘heat,’ which means spurring the crowd to obstreperous hatred, and generally involves cheating and any other manner of socially unacceptable behavior.”

The Art of the Heel – Baffler.

When we can no longer agree on a hero, it is the heel who moves opinions. A personal mythos is more easily punctured than Kayfabe in the internet age of total recall. You step out of your assigned role and the hero’s journey is revealed to be a fraud. But a heel is always breaking rules.

We are in a well heeled age. Everywhere you turn is an antagonist. Cheering and jeering, we the audience long to see our heat applied. The heel relishes it and we relish their antagonism.

Would you rather be loved or feared? Machiavellians can debate but the audience loves a heel because they fear a world where no rules can ever be broken. His freedom represents their own.


Day 1291 and Gabby, Steve, and Donald

I started getting coded as right wing sometime in the last four years. I found this confusing. I have significant public opposition to Republican policies and Donald Trump in particular.

I’ve been small “l” libertarian for most of my adult life. I’ve vote for quite a few Democrats as I opposed neoconservatism. I registered Republican as the Democrats went from embracing business and technological growth to opposing it. I didn’t see free enterprise as a threat but as the engine of our progress.

I vote for Biden as I sincerely thought it was the best choice after a tumultuous four years under the ostensibly Republican Trump where I saw nothing but a bigger government and frayed norms around containing that government’s authority.

I don’t like a large state apparatus in principle and feel America is the nation that most sincerely pursues the liberty of its citizens. The state has been granted the sole monopoly on violence. That monopoly must exist for civilization but necessarily must be constrained by the rights of the citizens who consented to be governed.

I’m proud of the American experiment as a citizen, a Christian (in particular a Protestant) and a capitalist. That may sound conservative to some but in practice tended to get me left coded as I support less government involvement in nearly everything.

Drugs, sex work, reproductive freedom, medical freedom (which ranges from vaccines to sex & gender choice), speech (which includes compute), religion freedom and commerce are liberties best decided upon by responsible adults of good conscience.

We have codified this in our constitution and democracy is the working progress of finding a way to agree to be governed together. Whether it leans left or right is hardly the point. Each generation reacts with the choices it inherited from the one before it.

The political fight is to remain a citizenship that consents to be governed. America isn’t a monolith. We respect the liberties of our fellow citizens who have agreed to respect each others rights. If we disagree we arbitrate that through the government we’ve consented to be governed by. That is only possible insofar as we respect each others fundamental rights.

Violence is not meted out by individuals. The state alone has that monopoly and it ends at our personal rights. No citizen should ever claim the mantle of irreversible violence. Violence against those who we choose to govern us considered the most unacceptable to all citizenry. Political violence is never acceptable.

When we discuss a crisis of democracy and invoke mortal or existential threats we override the bonds that make us Americans. My respect for my fellow citizens must be in equal measure their respect for me. We are responsible for ourselves so that we may be responsible amongst and to other.

When I think of the violence that we’ve seen in the political process of deciding who represents us in our state I am furious. It is unacceptable that any of our representatives have been subject to violence. Since 2011 we’ve had three attempts at deadly political violence against Gabby Giffords, Steve Scalise and Donald Trump. This is terrorism and untenable.

The shock I feel today after witnessing an attempt on Donald Trump’s life last night substantial. I probably should have felt it more intensely for our Congressional representatives. I have taken so much for granted as an American.

The liberty I’ve felt to articulate my own views is unprecedented. We as a nation have tremendous capacity for disagreements. The political is a negotiation and we all accept compromises. All three of those politicians have positions I find to be unacceptable infringements on my liberty. Which is why I speak my case and vote for my positions.

I’ve felt perhaps wrongly that living my own freedom was politics enough And that means I have to speak when I see unacceptable things. We cannot continue to escalate the stakes.

I want America to remain a United States. I recognize I hold positions others disagree with. I may disagree with you. I don’t know how I’ll be coded from here and I don’t care. I am committed to being an American. I remain committed to the protection of my fellow citizens full liberties.

That Americans would die for them has been made more than metaphor too many times. Let us do all we can to prevent that so we can continue to live together in freedom. Let the blood of patriots remain imagery so we can continue to live united.

Biohacking Medical

Day 1290 and Covid Experiment

I caught a case of Covid at the very end of May that took me down hard. I’d been struggling with “long” symptoms

So I tried an experiment. A pretty crazy one at that suggested by my osteopath and supervised by a doctor.

I am using going to use a 7mg slow release nicotine patch (of the type made for smoking cessation) for the next 3-5 days to see if it impacts my over-stayed their welcome Covid symptoms. I started my experiment at 9am Saturday July 6th

Day 1283 Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs)

The principle was pretty simple but not proven yet in clinical trials.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have been proposed as potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19. Research suggests that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein may interact with nAChRs, potentially influencing the disease’s pathophysiology[1].

Nicotine and other nAChR agonists could modulate inflammation and the immune response, offering therapeutic benefits

Please do go read the original post with lots of caveats as nicotine is an addictive substance and this is not something to try without consulting your doctor.

I was unable to do the full 7mg but cut the patches down to 3.5 to 5mg over the five days. The side effects included headaches for the first day or so and a persistent queasiness.

Within a day I was lifted out of my exhaustion (which you’d expect from something modestly stimulative even though it was a low slow release dose). By the end of the second day my persistent coughing lifted entirely. I’d been struggling with congestion and coughing after even modest exertion like a walk outside.

I was functional on the fourth and fifth day like I hadn’t been since I got Covid. You can see me go into the red on my first day (my HRV dropped significantly but my RHR was only up by a few BPM). I slowly felt better and saw better recoveries even while taking on a little bit more exertion. I pushed a little too hard and found myself back in the red on my last day.

My Whoop recovery and strain chart for the five days of experiment beginning on the 6th and ending on the 11th of July

I was really relieved to stop the patch by the end. The last day of treatment I had overextended myself so I was in the red and feeling it even as the nicotine pushed my system up. I wanted to rip it off and did eventually cave at the end of the day instead of doing it all night.

My symptoms seem to be at bay. I feel decent enough so days after wrapping even as I began menstruation this morning. I hate to report that it also improved my usually debilitating PMS which typically includes intense migraines.

I would do it again if I got Covid. I cannot imagine ever using a nicotine patch consistently. I didn’t not enjoy the extra push of energy except insofar as it got me out of the exhaustion of the illness. I feel like it would be too much if I were otherwise feeling healthy. I have no cravings or side effects after.

Honestly I’m still wrapping my head around how well this worked. A part of me is confused, indignant and angry that a substance I was taught to fear has therapeutic benefit. Updating your mental models around long held beliefs is an uncomfortable process. But it’s a heck of a lot better than long covid symptoms.


Day 1289 and Gap Lounge Pant

My favorite item of clothing is a pair of cotton straight leg lounge pants from the Gap.

A light but body skimming 93% cotton to 7% elastane blend with a simple tie that never felt constrictive. It retailed for $29 and was sold under their “Love” which loosely merchandised with GapBody.

Gap Lounge Pant in Black

They were perfect. I bought two pairs every year and simply never worried about comfortable home wear. Which was a big deal as I had a few years of being quite sick so these pants were life savers.

Gap seems to have stopped selling them sometime in the past two or three years. The core product number is 539570 if you are curious. The last time I was able to buy any was November 2020 and I purchased four of them.

The holy grail of bought pants

If you click into the old product page you will see 1500 reviews. It was a popular item. People on Reddit are looking for them. Mutuals of mine gave them at friends gift events. Leigh was wearing them when she tweeted me that.

Leigh and her friends love them.

And so I’ve set off on a mission to find out why these very popular pants have stopped being made. I’d happily purchase the pattern from the Gap if I could find the vendor for the fabric. I’d put my own money into acquiring it from the brand if they aren’t interested in booting it back up. I want these pants back in my life. I even went so fair as to email the VP of Merchandising at Gap Inc today. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she emails me back.

I apologize for the intrusion but I thought perhaps as the leader of merchandising at Gap you may be the executive who can answer a strange question. 

What happened to the cotton Gap Lounge Pant? 

They were the best lounge pants on the market. I bought them for over a decade. And they are simply gone. The product number is 539570

I very much want to buy more of them as they are my daily wear and I will pay whatever it takes to get more.  And is there anything I can do to buy any remaining dead stock of it?
Can I help your team
make a case to to bring it back? Is it possible for me to acquire the pattern and fabric from the corporation so I can have them made myself? 

Aesthetics Culture

Day 1288 and Real Fake Girlbosses

All I wanted the first time I raised venture capital was to be able to make my business case. Once I’d done that I was sifted into into the wider cultural moment of girlbossism with everyone else in my cohort.

It quickly became the way to raise money because heaven forbid gender not be important. I was no Diane Green so I better get comfortable mugging for the cameras. I’d not so secretly hoped I’d be able to offload some of that lifestyle element to someone else. Someone more suitable.

At first I figured fine whatever it takes to get the money who cares embarrassing shit like becoming avatars for the zeitgeist doesn’t matter.

But now I think maybe it did. Every time a piece of social media goes viral with women messing around at the office I think what did we do? I’d envisioned that the difference between me in 2014 and the new younger, better, more ambitious versions of me 2024 to be, well, actually better?

Maybe they are. Media isn’t reality. But I had visions of women quietly running companies and venture funds competently and without concern for their gender. Surely in ten years more would have changed?

Instead we’ve got we’ve got the simulacra version of women like me filtered through Cosmopolitan features and glossy magazine spreads into TikTok dances for a company that makes pimple and acne treatments.

And it’s all grist for the mill. People want to blame feminism and gender studies. Pffft. Cute. It’s not gender studies or critical theory that got us here. For all the Baudrillard, Foucault and Judith Butler we all absorbed, the thing is just a representation of a reality that never existed.

Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation explores the concepts of simulacra, simulation, and hyperreality. Simulacra are copies or representations that become detached from their original reality, leading to a state where distinctions between reality and representation blur. Baudrillard identifies four stages of simulacra: the faithful copy, the perversion of reality, the absence of profound reality, and pure simulacrum, where the representation becomes reality itself

Perplexity’s Synopsis

If you want a crack in the timeline go decide what the Summer of 68 produced as a culture. Maybe they were just reactionaries. Maybe I’m just a reaction to them. These girls are a reaction to me.

If you want to be a cynic there is no shortage of commentary on how media showed us culture that didn’t serve us. Those Summer of 68 men turned into Yuppie midlife crisis dads who weren’t there for their children and wives. Feminism giving depressed stifled women a chance to not regret their choices. But the choices already exist.

Your cultural war mileage may vary. Now we have cowardly millenial man children and forever princess boss bitches and endless rounds of upset every time we see women in an office doing something silly.

You can rage at critical theory all you like but this just one elaborate morality play being accountable. And no one wants that. Real fake Girlbossism selling blemish cream.

Everyone deserves better than this. I deserved better than this. The horror of contortions required to simply pursue work means you must do what media and finance require of you to succeed. Go watch Margin Call and see if you think you’d fare better in making those choices.


Day 1287 and The Long Haul

Good things take time sounds like pablum.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

Every time there is a boom cycle fools rush in. I don’t know why someone would expect that luck would be adequate to any large task. Luck is the default conditions to even get started.

Then you gotta get lucky a lot. Multiple times a year if you are aiming to lead any industry. And you have to keep doing it until one person who compounded so much effort and will that what looked like luck is simply habit and habit becomes process and process becomes results and results get sustained.

And yes decay sets in. And it gets harder. Every gain requires the energy that it requires. Leverage is often simply about being the one that makes it for the long haul. Maybe discretion is the better sort of valor but I’ve yet to meet a winner who was a coward.