Songs are offal.

The songwriter has already done her part, has already exposed her emotion or philosophy or spirit. If I ignore the words, she won't ever know. It's not what it's about for her. I don't specifically factor into her goal.

So I ignore lyrics mostly because people can't write well and inevitably their songs are about the same mundane offal as everyone else's. I'm listening to the music for the same reason I'm doing anything else: to build my narrative. So I use it how I see fit, take that creative license. I identify with what the music is saying, what the vocal tones are saying, and don't pay much mind to the words. Even when I understand what the singer's singing, and can get the message, and even if I sing along, and even if I might identify with it a little, it's mostly by virtue of how the lyrics fit into the experience. I'm unlikely to read them by themselves.

Anger has a place.

There's a reason (probably several) we evolved a capacity for it. I don't know why, though I'm sure we've got some guesses. Let's say, though, that we strip away connotations, let anger be just as valid a response as glee or trepidation. You're free to be as angry as you want, whenever you want. Except? Yeah, except you've got a budget. Like dopamine and fat, anger has a utility but too much probably isn't doing you any favors. Moderation. But holy hell, guys, moderation is tough, requires a lot of patience and nuance and I don't know about you but I'm trying to figure out so many things all at once that please, Moderation, you could be a little easier, dude.

Mom is out.

It's Friday night. The good kind, with five days of paid pantomime behind and two-and-then-some days of awkward ambition ahead. Two blokes of obvious disrepair, mental-like, sit on opposing couches, a milk crate filling the divide. "No good" is how they'd later describe, probably in unison, what it is they're up to. For some value of "good".

We begin as pulses of electricity.

Patterns develop. Stimuli arriving in near-simultaneity become linked structurally. Impressions are formed, impressions in the physical structure of the brain, affecting the strength and reach of signal passage. The brain grows in sophistication, in connectedness. Basic if not simple functions, those coded for in DNA, are used as the building blocks of yet higher connections and functions. We bend the brain's capacity to detect visual features, like vertical, horizontal, and diagonal lines, into the ability to recognize a chair or a face. We feel pain, associate it with the visual and spatial attributes of the stovetop, and learn to avoid it with our fingers.

On December 12, 2010, I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in mathematics.

I'm still trying to figure out what I think about that. I started in February of 1998, studying physics at Miami University (Ohio), and soon after decided that I might as well pursue a dual math/physics major. Some years later, logistical practicality prevailed, and I chose to study only mathematics. I'm still skeptical that I ever did.

People and me, we're a hot and cold thing.

I get lost in a flesh-colored sea of mundanity, and feel powerless by virtue of membership. I may be awed by a feat of community, only to be horrified by the quickness of depravity. Hot and cold. Hidden somewhere in my DNA is whatever code whose execution makes me need community. I don't pretend to understand it, and I'm nearing the end of my too-cool aloofness toward the idea of sharing my concern with others, even putting theirs above mine. Each time I roll my eyes at Christian goodness expressed as a bumper sticker, I'm hoping someone sees it. I want to share my weak outrage, cleverly if possible.


My name is Daniel Black. I am on the internet in several places, including Twitter and Tumblr. I am a person. I am a father and a husband. I am was a university student of mathematics. I am a less formalized student of thinking, of philosophy, of writing, and of how to make decisions.

Continue reading about me if, you know, you're curious like that. It's okay; no one's watching. You could also subscribe to the RSS feed, if you swing like that.