Bad decisions on purpose, narcissism, and Apple’s AI

I think I can’t finish Insomniac Cafe right now because I’m missing a critical element. Of course I am also busy and distracted, but I’m also mulling the book kinda constantly, and I’m thinking about a couple things that I’m missing. I don’t know where to fit them. The end is going to fall apart if I do the order I think I need to do.

That’s so vague, sorry. I’m just trying to solve a Rubik’s cube right now. I’m getting close, but there’s still a few spots all fudged up.

Also: I tried to pierce my own ear, and I was successful! In the sense that I got a needle through the ear. But then I couldn’t get the earring in. Predictable, I guess. I do visit a professional piercer I love, and I understand all the risks of self-piercing, but at this point it’s kind of a fetish for me and I’d prefer to do the simpler ones on my own. Yanno? Self-mutilating for fun and profit Fun?

Anyway, I think I need higher-gauge needles. I’m gonna work it out and punch a few more holes in my body. I’m trying to be as sterile as I can without an autoclave. Hopefully I’m not back in a few weeks/months with a “whoops, I did a stupid and now I have a nasty infection” post, but I am prepared to eat crow if crow must be eaten.


Business Insider calls out gentle parenting, which is a new an innovative criticism I’ve never seen before (other than a million billion times). They point the finger at gentle parents for driving teachers out of school (rather than being underfunded and over-worked), poor mental health for kids (rather than living through the mass death event of a pandemic), and generally bad behavior (rather than having numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences related to the world/communities around them – or simply the fact that kids are developmentally uncooked and getting up to trouble to some degree is normal).

I have no idea why critics think gentle parenting is parenting without boundaries. We don’t allow bad behavior either: we draw lines around safety and consent and agency.

The main idea of gentler parenting practices is that your kids are full human beings deserving of agency. Adults don’t like being yelled at, ordered around, or derided, and neither do kids. Your kids need to have safe and healthy habits but they don’t have to respond to authority for the sake of authority. That said, you still have a parental responsibility to them, and you can’t let the monkeys run the zoo.

The article talks about how “time intensive” gentle parenting is, and I just can’t imagine a kind of parenting that isn’t. You have kids so you can spend time with them. Don’t you? Even if you didn’t intend to have them, life throws lots of curveballs, and there’s just no avoiding the fact that small humans need help. Why are you complaining about the fact your kids need guidance and attention?

I spend time with my kids because I like them a lot. I treat them like full humans because they are. They aren’t always the easiest people for adults who think kids should sit down and shut up, but I don’t think they’re meant to be. They’re kind, intelligent, undercooked people who just need guidance, and to be mostly left to their own devices otherwise.

Harsh, authoritarian parenting that doesn’t recognize the wholeness of a kid’s humanity is a great way to have no relationship with your adult children.

While the dynamics between parents and children are generally a private matter, their implications are not. When a child’s immediate desires become the lens through which they’re expected to treat others, and vice versa, that framework becomes everybody’s business. When gentle parenting goes wrong, everyone takes note.

Parents who claim adherence to any method can experience this. Kids aren’t bad because their parents care about their feelings, trust me.



I found this Psyche article on narcissism really interesting. My main takeaway is that narcissism can be “cured.” It’s not like some forms of depression, where it seems to be hard-wired — an ongoing disability that needs to be tended. Rather than a neurotype, narcissism is a pattern of behaviors, misaligned values, and poor coping mechanisms that can be repaired.

Good luck getting certain narcissists into therapy though.


We’ve got more details on Apple’s inclusion of AI. (Quartz) It sounds better than I expected? They’re enabling ChatGPT integration, but you can skip that too. They’re doing a model of on-device AI that uses your own information. So, you know, basically what they already do, but with a more complicated algorithm. You’ll need a more advanced device to do it because it’s not leaving your phone. They talk about privacy more than I feared, which is good.

I hate how we’re labeling everything AI right now because not everything AI is created equal. We need to functionally distinguish between the AI that is content-stealing and rights-destroying and what is simply a continuation of the same algorithmic whatsis we’ve been working on for now.

I just upgraded my phone and will probably be using it until 2028 or so. I’ll have lots of time to see how this unfolds before I decide if I’m exiting the Apple ecosystem or not. Right now, it’s not an immediate escape plan.

Here’s a full list of the things Apple announced this year. (Engadget)


Alas: the virgin mother stingray doesn’t seem to be pregnant anymore. The poor lass is sick. (Smithsonian Mag) A rare reproductive disease has caused miscarriage. That’s not the news anyone wanted.


The Film Stage has a list of the twenty best films of 2024 so far. I mostly watch mainstream movies, and my new movie watching has been lacking this year. It looks like a solid list though. Quite a few of these, I do hope to catch — especially I Saw the TV Glow.


You in the mood for a Practical Magic sequel? (Variety) It’s a multigenerational story about a family of witches, so there’s ample room for it. This is one of those things where I’m going to have to wait and see how it’s executed before drawing conclusions.


How novel! IKEA is testing out things like giving employees money and benefits to keep them at work. (Quartz) Weird! Revolutionary!

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