Friday, May 3, 2013


The Meyers Briggs test may not mean anything but I will describe my thought processes over the years quite well as an INTJ. I have found most of the literature on Meyers Briggs (MB) to be somewhat opaque and my desires as an INTJ (as I'll show in a moment) for organisation and logical conclusions didn't quite grasp what the whole thing is about.  I will therefore explain as best as I can from my personal perspective what this framework means to me and how it works (for me).

The first place I'll start is "N" or "Intuition". Right off the bat, they've missed the mark because intuition begins with an I. But "Introverted" is already taken for "I" in the formulary, so N it is. This word was always the hardest for me to grasp because it doesn't mean what you and I think it means in the MB formulary. I will explain how "N" works (for me). The supposed "opposite" spectrum is the unfortunately-named "Sensing" (or S) which is an even worse word than using "iNtuitive" to describe this dimension in the MB formation.

I am extremely intuitive and I test highly on the MB scale for N. I am easily 90+% "iNtuitive" on these tests. The opposite parameter in this dimension would be "Sensing" and I rank at less than 10% for that dimension. What does that mean, in practical purposes? For me, it means that I use leaps of faith or invisible processing ideas or data. This means that when I'm confronted with a challenge or a question, I often find myself jumping ahead or looking at the end results without stopping to consider the middle (or sometimes even the beginning. This seems strange to an outsider who knows me as very logical and organised. But internally it is consistent because these "leaps" come from a place that I trust to experience or knowledge even if it isn't visible to me.

As an example, when confronted with a maze on a piece of paper with an entrance A and exit B, I will often look at B and start to process the path backward.  Or, if I am forced to start at A, I'll immediately get impatient and say to myself, "yes, yes, start at A, who cares, let's see what's going on at B." In extreme cases, I might even dismiss the entire maze itself and say, "I'm out of the maze at B! Why do I care how to solve the maze? What's next!" The internal processes that I use to make decisions and calculations are the maze and my conscious mind just sees an idea start at A and end at B and I trust it. I don't check how the actual path from A to B works. Or, embarrassingly, if it works at all.

To give another illustration of how intuition works for me, take a scenario where I'm presented with a trick question. The trick question is designed to make you think along one line of thinking and then switch to another (perhaps in the use of a pun or obfuscation). I generally am not deceived by the tricks these possess because in many cases I'm already planning ahead for the outcome. When I was younger, I had fine-tuned this process so well that I would subconsciously finish people's sentences in my head. I would grasp how the ideas were forming and map out how the words would flow into the person's mouth as they spoke. I would only be right about 50% of the time, but the other 50% of the time I could magically deduce the end of an idea or sentence from its beginning.

Let's also consider a node (which in this case is just a circle) with an arrow pointing into the circle. There are three arrows pointing out of the circle in other directions. Label the inbound edge A and the outbound ones B, C, and D. I will often look at this scenario and say "Aha, D is the right answer." How do I know this? How is it possible? Often, it will just "seem right". Someone else might say, "But how can you know it's D? Why not B or C? What is different about D that you choose it?" I don't know. I'm not bothered by this missing information. D is right. I intuit it. It matches some experience from a previous memory. It has a similar shape to something I'm imagining. It "rings a bell".

This intuition works well as long as I stay within my direct experience and meet problems or questions I've solved before. But it also does help in the opposite direction, or in the negative space. For example, just as I'll say, "D looks right" I can also say, "B looks wrong". How does it look wrong? What is unique about B that doesn't match my internal wiring? How can I magically deduce B is wrong? I don't know, ask someone else. I'm busy looking at how D leads to another edge R.

And what happens when I'm wrong about D? Often, I'll have to be forced to see the error of my ways. I'll make an excuse like "Oh, I thought it was this..." or "It reminded me of that..." or "I guess I didn't notice that..." or "I forgot about this..." I then have to reorganise my thoughts a bit by analysing the problem again and re-classifying the scenario so the next time I see it I won't be tripped up. For example, I'll say to myself, "Ok, so if A goes to B, C, or D, it's D usually except if B comes first, then it's B. Got it." And I'll happily choose B next time except that the correct path will be C then. And I'll just fine-tune the model one more time.

The best part about the node illustration is that a "Sensing" person will often be stuck at A. I will be quickly rattling off discussions about why B and C are bad choices and clearly D is correct while most people are still wondering why they have to start at A and what does A mean anyway?

As a consequence, I often find myself having to work problems backward. I spend about 10% of my time intuiting an answer from vague starting conditions and then spend 90% of the time trying to make the solution match back to the original problem. Even if I'm correct about my intuition, others around me are not able to follow the logic and I am not able to express how the logic plays out. I don't like to use the terms "rational" and "irrational" (unless we're describing real numbers) but to others it seems irrational that I could jump to a conclusion with a leap of faith that sometimes seems quite large.

How to reconcile these leap of faith with my hard-edged determination to be correct and infallible? That is where the T comes into play which I'll describe next.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm an Asshole

Dennis Leary sang a song about "I'm an asshole".  I thought that was funny.  I couldn't help remember that song when I saw this email (with your Author's subliminal responses throughout) below:

Just in case anyone forgot J Please take a few minutes to post on the Social Events Facebook wall and share how you made it matter for someone today!

I certainly will not!  That smiley does not command me!

[link redacted]

If you’re still trying to think of something to do, here are some ideas:

Here are some ideas for how you can act the retard fool if you can't think of any yourself.  We know you are incapable of any thought so here we will spoon-feed your mind with aimless drivel to replace the already aimless drivel floating in your skull.  We're just as vapid as you are, but at least we gathered a list from FB to send you.

Compliment a stranger

"Excuse me, Mrs. McFluffinstuffin.  You look extremely nice in that uneven black skirt with white top and Kentucky Derby hat.  I'm sorry?  You're not wearing a hat?  Oh dear."

Give someone a handwritten Thank You note

In floral cursive:  "Dear fuckface.  You suck.  The end.  Love, Pascal."

Pay for the coffee/toll/bus fare for the person behind you

"The guy behind me is a real asshole.  He said you looked like a Berkshire pig ready for the slaughter painted with lipstick.  I know, right?  Please get him a cup of whatever he wants and spit in the cup for me.  Here's a fifty for your trouble."

Let someone who seems rushed cut in front of you

"Oh, no, you're in a rush.  Go ahead.  You are obviously more important than I am.  Go right ahead.  Oh, I'm sorry, you tripped on my foot and then my foot spasmed and I kicked you five times in the ass or the head (I can't tell which is which).  I apologise profusely."

Call your parents and tell them you love them

"Ma?  No?  Who's this?  Oh, the prison warden?  Oh.  Can you patch me through?  I have to come in person?  Mondays or Wednesdays from 1pm to 2:30pm?  Never mind."

Bring cookies or a meal to your neighbor

I hope you choke and die, asshole.  Just to be sure, I used cyanide and lye.

Let someone have your seat on the bus or subway

"Sit down, handicapped privileged asshole.  You think you're less able bodied than me?  Fuck you.  I can stand.  I'm an adult healthy human.  Go ahead, sit in my seat fucknose.  It's warm and wet.  You like that?  You like that?"

Check out the FB page throughout the day to see what others have done!

I strongly and stenuously decline.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Logo Ergo Sum

I write.  I write a lot.  Even when I don't have a pen or a typewriter, I write.  The lines type across the back of my head when I stare at a wall. I don't see things, I narrate them to myself and translate the action into words.

She sounded tired.  Her head tilted to one side though her mouth was smiling.

He [I] stood motionless, waiting for the moment he would have to move, waiting for the stranger to look at him questioningly, waiting for the embarrassment to build so that he could move.

We cannot complete this journey without every preceding step.  Every rock, tumble, fall and back sliding incident.  It is important to keep a journal so we don't forget.

Sometimes it doesn't make sense, though.  Peter goes to lunch with Lumbert.  Yes, it's funny.  So what?  What does it mean?

It's like talking to the camera for five minutes and realising you haven't hit record.

It wasn't a neck problem.  It turns out it was a scapula and rib problem.

I think I'm lucky though.  To have a notepad with a bunch of drawings and scribbled pictures might make me mad.  With prose, it's less crazy -- he's just taking notes for work.  He's just writing lists for shopping.

But then I transcribe the conversations going on around me and I can repeal them like a law, And he commanded that the son could apply his degree for each career opportunity that the son wanted.  Verily, the son did roll his eyes and proclaim loudly that his major had already been set by year three and that the son could not participate in the teacher's credential program unless the son had signed up from the first day.  The father was admonished by the daughter who was protecting her brother that he should 'Stop talking about it Dad.'

I couldn't have dealt with that, by the way.  I don't like sons.  I think my son wouldn't be able to live up to my image of him.  He would constantly be under my withering gaze.  You aren't strong enough; you aren't smart enough; you aren't manly enough.  He would cringe and wince and whine even more, which would incite my anger.  Don't be gay, don't be a pansy!  All this because I hate myself as a son.  It's better not to be a bad person to a child.  No one wants that on their conscience.

I didn't notice fonts until recently when the author finally decided to get himself published.  I really like the italics in this font.  I like it a lot, even though I learned not to use them over the years.  I finally got convinced to use the Oxford comma in lists of one, two, and three.  I'm about 90% used to it now.  One habit I can't shake is the double-space after punctuation.  That one is going to be hard to break.

Weekly writing output

Wordcount graph
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