Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Holidays!

Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas lights in Baltimore.

This started with one house,

and then all the neighbors on the block joined in.

They have decorated with their own Baltimorian flare.

This is the hubcap tree,

and the beer ornaments.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Life of Pi

I was going to write a deep post about how sometimes people get overwhelmed with the problems in the world and don't do the little things because they can't do everything. But, I am on an unfamiliar computer and it took me forever to upload these pictures, so I'll just get to introducing the cuteness that started these thoughts.

This is Pi. I found this little kitten outside on my mom's picnic table a couple days ago. It is part of the posse of feral cats in the neighborhood, and we think it got abandoned because it was sick. My mom told me to get it out of the house immediately, but it had taken me 20 minutes to catch this wild cat and I wasn't going to just put it back out in the cold. (It was very cold.) I took slow motion hunter like steps towards it until I was close and enough to reach out and grab it. I think I only caught it because it was sick. I brought it inside, and it was flattened out to the floor and scared. As you can see, it warmed up to me pretty soon. Pi was falling asleep in this picture.

I think I was there for it's first human induced purr. I pet it's back a couple times and it was like it's motor started for the first time. It looked surprised. It started purring this loud purr that didn't quit the whole time we had it. Eventually, after I started crying, my mom came around and let me keep it in the house and helped me find some people to help it. (I am a stranger in a strange land on Christmas vacation.) I don't think this kitten had ever eaten food besides nursing so it took it awhile to eat the cat food and cream of wheat we gave it.

It was very happy to be held, and very sad if I ever left the bathroom where we kept it, (so it wouldn't pass along whatever sickness it had to our cats). Sandy, the cat healer and rescuer, took it and assured me she would heal it up and then find Pi a home. Most of the animals we've had have been rescued and were/are part of our family. I hope Pi has a nice life. Whoever gets this playful and loving kitten will be lucky. Oh yeah, and just because you cannot save all the stray cats in the world doesn't mean you shouldn't try and save one.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Following threads

I went to find out what was new with UU, and I found a beautiful post by Hafidha Sofía which led me to a poem by William Stafford. This is the first time I heard of him, but I love the first poem I found.
Look: no one ever promised for sure
that we would sing. We have decided
to moan. In a strange dance that
we don't understand till we do it, we
have to carry on.

Just as in sleep you have to dream
the exact dream to round out your life,
so we have to live that dream into stories
and hold them close at you, close at the
edge we share, to be right.

We find it an awful thing to meet people,
serious or not, who have turned into vacant
effective people, so far lost that they
won't believe their own feelings
enough to follow them out.

The authentic is a line from one thing
along to the next; it interests us.
Strangely, it relates to what works,
but is not quite the same. It never
swerves for revenge,

Or profit, or fame: it holds
together something more than the world,
this line. And we are your wavery
efforts at following it. Are you coming?
Good: now it is time.
—William Stafford

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Veil of Anonymity

Emily Summerhays, one of the regular contributers to Feminist Mormon Housewives, introduces herself and writes a lovely article about being anonymous:
I am a proud member of my clan, and I have always wanted to do honor to my name. I would like to think that I have lived my life in a way that makes my family proud (or at least, not ashamed) to share my name. My father, in particular, always seemed so tickled when the accomplishments of his children would appear in some newspaper or another, and he never batted an eye when I did not change my name upon marriage. He raised his daughters (and his sons) to be strong, independent, thoughtful, and active—to do what we believe to be right, and do it with our heads held high. And so it was a great blow to me when my father said, upon my announcement that I would be participating permanently on FMH, “You won’t be using our name, will you?”

The 100 best novels by the Radcliffe Publishing Course

When it comes to fiction, many people are not to be trusted. (Check out this reader's list and you'll see what I mean!) I'm still searching for a good book to read. I've read the books in brown. (I may have read others in school, but I only counted the ones I could really remember.) I can already tell this list is not to be trusted, there is John Irving and no Amy Tan. Ok, what we really need, and it is probably out there, is a service which connects you with other people who have the same favorite books and then you can see what their other favorite books are, and thereby get useful reccomendations.

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
9. 1984 by George Orwell
10. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
13. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
14. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
22. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
31. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
32. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
34. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
35. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
37. The World According to Garp by John Irving
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
39. A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
40. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
41. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally
42. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
43. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
44. Finnegans Wake by James Joyce
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
46. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
47. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
51. My Antonia by Willa Cather
52. Howards End by E.M. Forster
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
54. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
56. Jazz by Toni Morrison
57. Sophie's Choice by William Styron
58. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
59. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
60. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
61. A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
62. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
63. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
64. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
65. Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (This is one of the top 100?)
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
68. Light in August by William Faulkner
69. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
70. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
71. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
72. A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
74. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
75. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
76. Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
77. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
78. The Autobiography of Alice B. Tokias by Gertrude Stein
79. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
81. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
82. White Noise by Don DeLillo
83. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
85. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
86. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
87. The Bostonians by Henry James
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
89. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
90. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
91. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
93. The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
94. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
95. Kim by Rudyard Kipling
96. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
98. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
99. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
100. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Simple pleasures: being read to

I love being read to! You can have one chapter from each of the seven Narnia books read to you at the Chronicles of Narnia online. I wonder if I will like the stories as much as I did as a kid, or if the allusions to Christianity will be too much for me?

Monday, December 19, 2005

NPR : The Best Music of 2005 Countdown

Top ten things I love about the end of the year? Well, one of them has to be all the "best of" music lists, where I discover a lot of good music. I love All songs Considered on NPR. You can listen online to theirNPR 2005 Countdown.
All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen counts down listener picks for the ten best CDs of 2005, with NPR music reviewers Will Hermes, Tom Moon and Meredith Ochs. They also share some of their own favorites from the year and take calls from listeners. This program originally webcast live on Dec. 16, 2005.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Beautiful Woman in Disguise

Mmm... Once again, a fellow (sister?) blogger has sparked a blog post. This was part of my response to The Happy Feminst's post GULP: A VERY LONG AND PERSONAL POST "ON ONCE HAVING BEEN A CUTE GIRL."
...I too can relate. When I was 20 and 21, I was asked out and complimented constantly from boys 16 to men 80 plus and everyone in between. I hadn't been asked out in high school at all and it was overwhelming and flattering. It was also at times very aggressive and some men did expect that since they wanted me, it was an affront to their manhood if I did not want them. Men who I could tell were not sexually attracted to me also asked me out, I think just because, as a pretty woman, I was a status symbol...The very worst part though was women who were jealous of me. They could be fairly vicious. I wanted to tell them that, contrary to their view, I was not always popular, I was not rich, I was not a cheerleader in high school. Please just let me enjoy this time of popularity without malice. I found growing older and plainer an immense relief. I gained about 20 pounds and became pretty enough to get occasional attention and pretty enough that other women wouldn't ridicule me for being ugly, but plain enough not to provoke jealousy or turned heads in the grocery store. Looks are such a mixed bag. What I wish for now, is a world in which all kinds of beauty are valued and we are all free to shine to our fullest without negative repercussions.
I would sometimes like to reveal myself. I would sometimes like to just let myself be as beautiful as I can be, even decorated. I wish all the men in the world were wholesome enough for me to feel safe enough to shine. But I don't want to be the "new Venus," I want to be seen for who I am. So, I often enjoy going out without makeup and with very basic outfits, but still I am not really seen for all of who I am. There is a part of my identity that is "beautiful." It sometimes feels like a characteristic that is true no matter how I look. People who look at me and don't see that I'm beautiful just don't see very well, I think, they can't see my secret, that despite how plain I may look, I am still beautiful. When I was younger, I was exposed for all the world to see, but now I can go about secretly, a beautiful woman in disguise.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Mood Cure

The Mood Cure by Julia Ross really saved my bacon after I ran a marathon in 2004. I thought I just had the after-a-big-event-blues, but it turns out that it is not uncommon for people to feel down after a marathon because people use up their mood producing amino acids. (It's an even worse scene for ultra-marathoners.) That's right, sometimes you don't have to dig deep into your psyche to find out what is wrong with you, you just need to pop a supplement, and that's ok.

The Mood Cure explains how you can spot a "false mood" and what nutritional deficiency that might be caused by. There are people who have structural damage to their brains which can cause personality changes, but for most people false moods or moods of any kind are caused by chemicals in the brain. You can also affect your mood with your thoughts, and with your environment (like getting enough sun,) and your behavior (like getting enough sleep,) but they affect your mood via chemical changes in your brain and "surprisingly brainlike areas of your heart and gut." The idea in the Mood Cure is that if you are severely deficient in a nutrient, you cannot produce the necessary chemicals to keep your mood steady even if you are thinking good thoughts etc. Julia Ross recommends supplements. For people who are deficient in certain nutrients because of diet, they will only need to take supplements for awhile while they are getting their diet back on track. For some people who have trouble creating certain chemicals, they may need to keep taking certain supplements.

This is one of my top 5 recommended books because it can take your experience of life from very miserable to just fine in as short a time as a week with some very simple changes in your diet and some fairly cheap supplements that you can find at any health store.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Walking home

Last night was my last class for my master's degree. Oh, I still have a final to turn in electronically, a paper, a portfolio, but I had my last class. First, I found a church where I can be myself, then I found a grad program that fit me so well. We were eating pizza last night and a classmate's reminiscence reminded me that every week during the first semester, with amazement, I would say to myself, "I made the right choice." "This is the place for me."

It makes me think that for some people, life is like getting dropped off in the middle of the woods, and then year by year, gradually walking home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

We "save the world" types

My response to Laura's response to Steve's post about fixing the problems in the world.

Hmmm.. I agree with both of you. I think we should all be like medical doctors and first do no harm. After that, I think there is a lot of room for variation. I am one of those save the world types that I think Steve and Laura both are. However, the world would be very boring if there weren't the decorate and make things pretty types and the look at me aren't I beautiful types and the I'm so charming types. (I'm sure we all have a little of all of those, I know I do. Tounge in cheek aside: As Max in Sound of Music said, people aren't good or bad, they are charming or dull.)

That being said, I do think a call to action can sometimes be very healthy. Some people may need a call to action. It's all about balance. If you are a save the world type, I think it is wise to follow Laura and S. Covey's advice and focus your efforts on your area of influence rather than your area of concern and then your area of influence will grow. But first, do no harm and be kind. We save the world types can sometimes be pretty hard on other people and ourselves, at least I know I can.

"My bravest post yet," or "there are times when I wish this blog was totally anonymous"

Actually, I wrote this post awhile ago, and never published it, but since Jo brought it up again...

If you love me, but you think you might not love me if I annoyed you, stop reading now. If you don't love me, or your love could never fail, by all means continue!

Does anyone else have a huge fear of admitting you are gifted? Who do you tell that to? I have a mostly ANONYMOUS blog and I am even worried about putting it up. I have been alluding to it on my blog lately, but not coming right out and saying it. I told my mom and she sounded skeptical!! :) She did agree emphatically that I was an independent and divergent thinker though. (What she used to call "sassy.") And I did remind her that I had read every book in the house by the time I was 10, including her college textbooks.

I just don't want to put anyone else down by implying that I'm better than them. It's taken me so long and so much work to FIT IN, that I don't want to use some word and put myself in another category. On the other hand, I'm proud of my abilities and I think I try to subtly show off sometimes, which I'm sure is annoying. On the other hand, I really do think everyone is gifted in the sense that everyone has amazing gifts! I wish there was a more value neutral label for the cluster of traits we currently call "gifted." On the other hand, why is it ok and not alienating for people to be gifted at sports in our society? I am proud that I learn almost anything, including sports, quickly. I like to call myself "apt." That sounds less pretentious than "gifted" to me. I am really glad to have found some other gifted people (and thank you for commenting on my blog!) and I am so glad to have found out that traits I just thought of as weakness are in the same cluster as the traits I'm proud of, like my extra sensitivity. I wonder what exactly is going on in our brains, probably chemically, possibly structurally? to have such a broad effect? Hmmm...

There I've just outed myself in more ways than one. What do you think? (Do I have to say a bunch of smart stuff now?)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?

A quiz result, but hey, I haven't posted one in a while.

What Christmas Carol are You?

You are 'Silent Night'! You really enjoy Christmas, and you like your Christmases conventional. For you, Christmas is about family and traditions, and you rather enjoy the rituals of going to church at midnight and turning off the lights before flaming the plum pudding. Although you find Christmas shopping frustrating, you like the excitement of wrapping and hiding presents, and opening a single door on the Advent Calendar each day. You like the traditional carols, and probably teach the children to sing along to them. More than anyone else, you will probably actually have a merry Christmas.
Take this quiz!

Found via Ministrare who is getting in the spirit.

Google humor

From BiddiesInMyBrain:

1. Go to Google

2. Type in: French military victories

3. Click 'I'm feeling lucky'

Sunday, December 11, 2005

"So You'd Like to...go from poverty to prosperity."

Well, here you are... You have tried everything that you know to get ahead, thrive, and build a future and it isn't working. All you are now doing is surviving, check to check, moment by moment, emergency by emergency. It's just not the way you want to live your life. You're right, you can do better.
Thanks, Joel. You know why I like Amazon? All the reviews. That was a genius move on their part because that's the reason I go there. I got to Joel's list from the book How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis, which I am now going to go get at the library.

Update: I went and got the tape at the library and it is good so far, but he wants me to track all my spending. Damn! Why is awareness always the first step?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Got some bookreaders on that Christmas list?

Check out the list of critics picks at Reading matters.
It looks like Ian McEwan's Saturday and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go topped the poll, with four votes apiece.
Personally, I have to thumb through a fiction book really carefully. I don't read much fiction any more and have the bar set really high for a world I am about to get absorbed in. I am willing to go to an alright movie, but it better be a 5 star book (fiction that is.)

Forget 2005, what is/are your favorite fiction book/s of all time? (Please! I need a good read for my long pre-Christmas travel day!)

It's taco salad all over again

I am an inventor. It's just that so far I haven't been a fast enough inventor. I invented taco salad as a young child. I vividly remember sitting in the cafeteria, my hard taco shell kept falling apart with lettuce and other taco innards falling. With a flash of insight, I put my taco on the plate and mashed it up. "Look!" I exclaimed, "I invented taco salad!" (You have to admit, that was a brilliant idea.) The girl accross from me said that she had eaten taco salad the week before. "That's impossible," I said with true incredulity, "I just invented it."

Well, tonight I invented another in my long string of already invented items: a tag based calendar, like unto I figured that someone else already thought of it, they did, and they already built it too. Check out Eventful. Oh and there are other tag based calendars on the way. I'm sad about losing the possible fame and fortune, but I'm glad my idea turned out so well. :)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

This was a homework day...

Instead I've been looking up organizing and personal knowledge management tools on the web left and right. I really really like Getting Things Done, but due to a glitch in my Outlook software, just as I was sailing along with my system, I can no longer use the GTD plug-in. Getting organized... here's how one naturally neat man does it. text

How fun is this:Check out this page which shows all the categories I have posted to in a graphical representation. Funness. (Who knew I posted so much about art?)

Overcoming procrastination

Wow, a simple idea I can use, from D. Keener
If procrastination keeps you form being as productive as you want or need to be, there are some tricks you can use to overcome procrastination. These tricks involve making the activities you procrastinate on

* More Simple
* More Pleasant
* More Interesting

Monday, December 05, 2005

You're killing me here

Lady, that is some good writing.
In the last few days, however, you’ve shown so much more interest in doing it yourself, and your father and I have screamed ourselves hoarse trying to encourage you. The other night you were walking back and forth between us when the dog came upstairs to see what all the unnecessary screaming was about, couldn’t we be quiet because he was downstairs in the dark putting on black mascara and dying his fur with Koolaid. When he saw you coming at him upright with your E.T. waddle he whipped his head around to give me a look that said, “You’re shitting me. When did this happen? And why are you letting her do that?”
There's more. And it gets better. "putting on black mascara and dying his fur with Koolaid"?! Yes, yes, exactly! Ok, she's brilliant.


Loneliness was the theme of Grey's Anatomy this week and the theme of the post over at Starling Fitness.
...don’t let Hollywood convince you that being fat means that you have to be lonely. Loneliness is caused by isolating yourself from people, not from your body shape. If you are lonely, it'’s not because you're fat. Promise yourself that you will do something today to alleviate your loneliness (join a club, call an old friend, volunteer your time). Then, when you get to goal weight, you won't have the shocking discovery that thin people get lonely too.
Like, Laura, my aunt R. often speaks truth to the lie of fat equaling loneliness. She tells me about friends she has that are lonely and think they need to lose weight to find love. The truth is, lots of people with fat on their bodies have love in their lives. Whatever your many flaws may be, and don't we all have a lot of them, don't wait. Don't wait to reach out to someone, don't wait to do something you really enjoy, don't wait to go swimming in the ocean or dancing. Ok?! Don't wait! Love yourself, and let someone else love you, now.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Free software for inner peace

Wow! Someone is already out there doing a version of what I want to do! Check out this free self help software for inner peace. Very cool idea. I've tried one so far and it was very simple, but did make me cry and that must mean something.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Very cute story, I wish they had video

Who knew French Toast Girl read Dooce? If you love Seseme Street and cute pictures, check out this story, destined to be a family classic.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Musical Notes and Insulting Remarks

  • I highly reccomend Prairie Home Companion. It is listened to by people all over the country every week. In my family it was a tradition to listen and I still listen to it. Not only do they have contemporary music, the show gives the real flavor of many types of average people in America. (You can listen to the archives online and listen to the current show Sat night and Sun morning.)
  • In Utah I listened to KRCL. Because the DJs are all volunteers, they have an eclectic mix of music.
  • NPR has a music show called All Songs Considered. They are also starting a new feature where they are podcasting their Open Mike which is a program which features unsigned artists. I haven't listened to Open Mike yet. Their tastes are pretty current, so it might take some getting used to if you like the classics. In the archives, you can listen to the staff and listener picks for the best songs of 2004.
I sent these links to my proffesor. He was talking about music and media in class and how there isn't much variety the public has access to. I thought to the contrary. I have to wonder about myself sometimes. At one point in the conversation I actually said "Now you sound like my Grandfather." I don't know why he brings out the feisty side of me!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

FrontPage Tutorial - Creating an Image Rollover

I'm just reminding myself where I can find out how tocreate an Image Rollover in Frontpage.

Checking it twice

This is the time for cataloguing. What I have (Thanksgiving.) What I want (Christmas.) Who do I love and what shall I give them? Today I am also gathering up all my projects for an online portfolio, and more importantly, gathering up my list of skills, my list of favorite job characteristics, my list of what companies I want to work for, and the names of who I will contact at those companies. Soon it will be New Years and time for gathering up my favorites from the year, my memories, my hopes for the future. I like gathering and listing. Well, I dread it, but then I feel better. Like everything is squared away and finally, a little less chaotic.

Monday, November 28, 2005

This Shit Is Bananas: a critical analysis...

...otherwise known as Braidwood is procrastinating again. Seriously, though, have you ever wondered about these Gwen Stephanie lyrics? Then check this article out and put your nagging doubts to rest.

Just in time for the holidays: My Christmas Wish List

A list of wants that are buyable, 'cause my family keeps asking.

The big one, in descending order of cost
  • Ecologically built house in a co-housing neighborhood by the mountains and the sea, in the country near a city, close enough that I can ride to it on a bike, or a train. :)
  • Ecologically built house
  • House
  • Townhouse
  • Condo
  • Very small condo
Technology (may add specifics later)
  • New computer! A tablet pc (sorry mac, but I want a tablet.)
  • Printer
  • Scanner
  • Video camera
  • Digital camera
  • Voice recorder
  • A combo CD player, tape player, and radio that has good quality sound and is fairly small.
  • A tempurpedic mattress. (I have one of the pillows and I like it, but I think I need a softer one.)
  • A softer tempurpedic like pillow.
I can live without but would be nice if you happen to win it in a contest
  • New fuel-efficient, part-electrically powered car
Other car stuff
  • Oil change
  • General check up
  • Air conditioning
  • CD player for my current car
  • Tape player for my current car
Highest priorities from my Amazon wish list
  • The Five Keys to Permanent Stress Reduction by Neil Fiore
  • The Science of Fitness with Tamilee: I Want That Body! by Tamilee Webb -ok I couldn't wait, I just bought this for myself today. A steel butt by Christmas! Actually, I did start using this over two years ago. I paused the video during the intro to look at Tamilee's little half moon butt on the TV screen. I stared at it while thinking positive half-moon butt thoughts. She used weights during the piddly 15 minute work out. I was training for a marathon at the time and could not get through the whole 15 minutes even without weights! I swear to you that within 3 or 4 times of doing the video I lost 3 inches off my booty. And I did eventually get a perfect half-moon butt! It was amazing. Then I had to stare at my own butt in awe. A friend told me with true feeling in her voice that she loved my butt. I eventually moved to the longer Firm videos. Now my butt looks like a large ballooning doughy lump of dough, starting to dribble down the back of my legs (seriously, this all is more than I intended to write) and I don't have the time or inclination to do the whole Firm videos anymore, so I'm going back to my half-moon roots. (Hey! If I ever start a production company, I can call it Half-Moon Productions! In honor of my booty's glory days!)
  • Making Friends with Death : A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality by Judith L. Lief
  • Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis by Joan Bolker
  • City Comforts: How to Build an Urban Village, Revised Edition by David Sucher
  • Creating Optimism : A Proven, 7-Step Program for Overcoming Depression by Alicia Fortinberry
You can find the cheapest online prices for books including shipping costs at Fetchbook.

Hair Products (Thank you to the great site Curly Links for the list)
Surprises from the Heart

I have a friend who usually does not want anyone to give him conventional gifts. He thinks they are too commercial. He often gives handmade gifts and requests the same. For his birthday he asked for homemade gifts from the heart and got some great gifts. So, besides books, an ecologically built house, and styling gel, I would love homemade gifts or other gifts from your heart.

Most of the things I get complimented on were gifts from my gracious family. Their generosity is everywhere.

(planning for) Christmas!

Want to create your own wishlist without all the copy and pasting? Here are some wishlist sites (untested by me.)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cool Mozilla Firefox discovery of the day

I can search my bookmarks! You can too! Just open your bookmarks and type the word you are looking for where it says "search!" (I know, not exactly a hidden feature, still very cool when you are racking up the bookmarks.)

"How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do."

Wow, check out the rest of this refreshing take on belief by Penn Jillette on NPR.
Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Blogger Hacks

Soon I should have random quotes to go along with the re-purposing of my blog. Thanks to Dave Goodman at Blogger Hacks.

You don't have to be a lone warrior

Thank you to Catana, whose comment on a previous post reminded me of what I learned when I was around people whose stated values seemed very different than mine.

I remember when I lived in a small town where some people were prejudiced against other races, religions, and environmentalists, (which they used as a dirty word.) I used to argue with my friends about EVERYTHING. I thought they were lucky I would be their friend. Then I realized that I was lucky they would be my friend! I was the odd duck out and they still befriended me. I decided to pick my battle and let beef eating, hunting, environmentalism etc.. go and only speak up strongly to any kind of hate speech. I thought of this as a compromise, as a nod to the part of me who yearns to be accepted socially. Maybe if I was stronger and was willing to be alone, I could fight all of the battles.

Well, I'm glad that I yearn to be one of the people, because I am one of the people! (As idiotic as I think some people are sometimes.) I now live and associate with people who are more like me, and that is less stressful, but I learned a lot from those friends who were different. A, they were a lot of fun! We had fun in the mountains of a small town. They enjoyed life. Amazingly, even though their words could sometimes be prejudiced, I learned a lot about tolerance from them. I mean, they were friends with me, even when I was arguing all the time. They accepted people as they were. You could be eccentric, very eccentric, and still belong. My philosophy was more tolerant, but it could sometimes be as a "sounding gong" in practice, as I constantly, and I'm sure annoyingly, set people straight. Thankfully, through my self-imposed diplomacy, I was able to get close enough to really get to know those neat people. I developed a new philosophy of tolerance that I could use in practice, and when I use it, it serves me well.

My goal is to love people and be for people, instead of holding off and feeling like I have to fight against people. When I feel love for people, it's like people just flock to me and I don't have to do anything. But I still get afraid, especially if I think other people just don't understand something and it is urgent that I tell them. I have seen a reappearance of my battle fighting self at school lately. In fact, just this morning I had a dream that I was at a long table and kept interrupting people to correct them. It was a compulsion. Everytime I did it, I knew it wasn't the best way. I put my head down on my arm and sighed.

This is for anyone else who gets a savior complex every now and then. This is for me. So, here is what I have learned since having buddies who took me digging (driving a truck in deep mud,) called me over to watch their goslings hatch, played WWF (wrestling) on mattresses in the livingroom, argued with me about milk, and thoughtfully did not kill any animals when I was along for the ride:
  1. Everyone has something valuable to give, even if it is not apparent at first. So, pre-emptively giving people respect will be the most accurate approach.
  2. Assume that people have good intentions and are intelligent when you are trying to understand them and you will usually understand people who have very different opinions than yours much more accurately.
  3. Tell yourself, "I don't have to fix everything. I do not have to be the savior of the world or even of the people in my immediate vicinity. People will eventually get it," (whatever "it" is to you.) "They will be ok." (This is the part that takes faith, opposite of fear kind of faith.)
  4. No matter how sensible and enlightened your values and opinions are, people will not want to be around you or listen to you if you are angry, miserable and treat them with contempt.
  5. And a positive version of the statement above: People will listen to you and want to learn more about your ways if you live a joyful life and love them. That is an easy, joyful way to be influential.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

"T" is for Thank you

T is for Thank you. I have quite a lot.
H is for "O Hell," the things I forgot,
A is for aneurysm, so worry no more,
N is for NASA! Go out and explore!
K is for kumquat. I'll love you kumquat may.
Y is for you you, on Thanksgiving Day.
O is for opal, expensive and shiny.
U is for "Uh oh! Now I get to say 'Hiny!'"

Believe it or not, I was going to write a serious post about everything I'm grateful for, but when you title a post "'T' is for Thank you," what else can you do?

Happy Thanksgiving to you, you and you!! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stealing from the past

Remember my Jazz at Night girl? Remember how I used to do art on this blog? :)

Car songs

DA Da Da Da! Yeah, I may look like a soccer mom, but I feel like the jammer I really am when I hear da HEAVY beat! :)

This morning while dropping a friend off at the airport, I heard three good car songs. (Luckily I heard them during the alone parts of the journey; the best time to turn up the radio and pretend I'm tough in my four door wagon.)
(The music links will take you to Amazon, if you scroll down, you'll see where you can listen to a thirty second clip.)
  • Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes better known to me as "I'm going to WICHITA! DA, da da DA DA"
  • Possum Kingdom by the Toadies a song that gives me a guilty rush of pleasure to sing. It's a bad song, but it feels so good. :)
  • Que' Onda Guero by Beck first time I heard it, but destined to be a good Dance Jam song if nothing else.
Yeah, I rock it like I rock it when the coppers right behind me. I'm runnin' from the tow truck I know he will never find me. I look like a soccer mom but the headies start to fly, when they see my rockin' ways and see me wave goodbye. (Add heavy beat and cool music, nod head vigorously.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

What Should I Do With My Life?

Back in 2003 I finally did the exercises in What Color is Your Parachute. I had a list of exactly what I wanted and no idea what kind of job would have those characteristics. It felt awesome to feel clear about my wants though. Because I had such clarity, when I heard about my grad program, I was able to make a quick decision. Now that I'm going to graduate, I need to clarify again. It's hard for me to stop in the middle of all my life tasks and do the neccesary writing and thinking to get clear. It feels like it will take too much time and I need to HURRY and LOOK FOR A JOB. (panic, panic.) However, I know from experience that being really clear about what I want will speed my search up. Ok, deep breath, calm down and go write...

What Should I Do With My Life?'ll be a lot happier if you aren't fighting the value system around you. Find one that enforces a set of beliefs that you can really get behind. There's a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Too much time on her hands

Oh Yak of the Yakvilles is showing her nerdy prowess again. She has just figured out what the most typical name for a United States state would be. Confused? You probably don't make elaborate patterns from telephone numbers either, do you.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hi, I'm alive

I am just done with a big project that took hours and hours and hours of my everyday. I even had a Gilmore Girls backlog on Tivo! Not right! Although I made up for it today. I keep taking unexpected deep breaths. (One down, a lifetime to go. :)

The Rosedale Diet update
I am liking it. The biggest problem is that I have to plan, and because of the nature of the diet there are not many convenience foods except nuts, which I have now had enough of. I'm going shopping tonight.

The upside: I can see my shape starting to take shape (yahoo,) having to plan forces me to shop and cook in advance which is really nice come hungry, busy weekdays.

Sidenote: I am getting into one of those interesting mindsets that I don't often occupy where I enjoy the discipline of not eating certain things. Weird. I imagine that this is how people with eating disorders live their life. On the other hand, not so weird. I enjoy the discipline of other things. You can't have a game without rules.

The confession: Three times now I have gone off the diet. I had the best of intentions and just ended up in situations where I was hungry and there was nothing else to eat. (see: big project... hours, and hours, and hours...) Hey, I like discipline, but a girls gotta eat.

Best to ya'll!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Now presenting... THe Balancing NEEDS

Jo over at Overexcitable asks "How can we give all gifted people acceptance and meaningful work in modern western society?" Like many people who answered her question, I don't think it is a question of giving gifted people something. I think it is a matter of gifted people learning to give something perceived as valuable.

There are a lot of other factors besides being gifted that affect where and how a person can best fit in and give to society. To maximize the fit of all those variable that make up a person, it's important to
  • know your self,
  • be clear about your intentions, and
  • be able to regulate your self.
Yes, being different throws in a few more challenges. (And probably everyone knows what it's like to feel different.) For instance, I often run across the probably common challenge of being in a meeting and wanting to get the best possible outcome for the goal. If I present my ideas and no one has a better idea, so I take control and push my idea, than I lose several of my bigger outcomes. When I'm clear about my real outcomes, which in the case of meetings are usually a goal outcome that works, and happy relationships which will facilitate an effective community, than I will approach the meeting very differently. It is annoying to have to reign myself in, but that's being a mature adult.

Where self-knowledge comes in is putting myself in situations that most value what I have to give. I think that is good advice for everyone. If you give something perceived as valuable, you will be valued. (Maybe that is part of Jo's question. Where will gifted adults most be valued?)

That's my practical answer. I think in reality, sometimes you are bursting at the seams to give your gift, and you must give it, whether or not it is valued. I'm thinking of Van Gogh, and a thousand other musicians and artists and writers. The thing is to know yourself, and be clear about your intentions. I don't think it will work to tell society, "Please value me!" Nor do I want to do that. I do think that it is reasonable to provide support for everyone to help them learn how to balance their needs, including self-expression and belonging.

How do you balance your needs for self-expression and your need for belonging? Do those needs converge in your life or do they pull you in different directions?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Deathly Satire

You can read the rest of The Death Of Rosa Parks at The Onion - America's Finest News Source:
It is often difficult for young people to understand the segregated United States of the mid-20th century, when black citizens often lived in poverty, had substandard housing, were given poor-quality public educations, and were disenfranchised as voters. With the passing of Parks and the fight for racial equality that she symbolized, such subjects are now relics of a bygone era.
Ok, now back to work. (For me! Not you! You go ahead and meander and do no work you lazy... oops, I've just officially read too many Onion articles.)

I'm Very Interested In Hearing Some Half-Baked Theories

I have this long project I'm working on. To help myself stay motivated, I do what Neil Fiore suggests in The Now Habit, and focus for 30 minutes and then take 10 minute breaks. It really works and I get a lot more done. This small break is brought to you by The Onion.
Now, if you have a half-baked theory that you'd like to disclose, please be so kind as to skirt around the issue. I'll only listen to your elaborate webs of presumption and hearsay if you promise to veer unexpectedly and pointlessly off course at every opportunity. Prose density is part of what makes a half-baked theory fascinating.

Only last week, my friend Janet gave me a book that teaches how, through a diet of salmon and romaine lettuce, you can shave 20 years off your appearance. However, before we got to the hard-core salmon-and-lettuce, face-lifting theory, I was taken through a series of anecdotes, solicited testimonials, and long-winded circular logic proving the author's qualifications by citing the medical establishment's fear of his simple brilliance. It was an eye-opener.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Late night ramble, and I don't even drink

I was just thinking about the characteristics of gifted people and wondering what is going on in the brain to produce that cluster of characteristics. My preliminary thought is that there are primary characteristics and secondary characterizes. For example, I think the, probably, primary ability to see the difference between what is and what could be often leads to the secondary characteristic of perfectionism.

I love that I'm finding validating writing about gifted characteristics. As many of you know, it can be hard when the way you are is not normal, especially if you can't quite figure out why. However, some of the writing just isn't practical and elevates some characteristics that don't seem to warrant it. Some of the advice is basically: "The world should learn to value these characteristics." Well, that's helpful.

I think it is important to value and accept yourself. I also think it is important to take responsibility for yourself if you want to get the results you want. So, I propose that gifted folks just need to learn to be super self-regulators. That's what we are doing anyway when we are ultra-critical of ourselves and ultra-sensitive. I guess we just need to be informed self-regulators. Value all of our characteristics, and just know in which contexts they will get us the results we want. The prevalence of loneliness in the gifted is not right! If our gifts are keeping us from some of the best of what life has to offer, I would hardly call them gifts. Let's use our brains to get the sweetest marrow of living.

I've been wanting to take Michael Hall's workshop about personal mastery for awhile, but I'm a bigger fan of the clarity of Steve Andreas's thinking. Maybe Steve can present at Seng's next conference, and all us bloggers can go there and meet!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Me to a freakin' T

I was going to have a "day of rest" or more accurately a day of re-creation. However, I came home from church, cooked, watched Tremors (I love that movie,) and then did what I said I would not do: started surfing on the computer. I need to write my morning pages. I need to be still and think and process, especially when I feel agitated/anxious like this. When I feel like this is when it is hardest for me to do though. I did do one good recreational thing. I walked on the beach after church. Ahh... Ok now for some morning pages. Really.

Here is a list of characteristics that are common to gifted adults, sans the references. You can read the rest of the article here.
  • A broad knowledge base and seemingly insatiable need for new information that is associated with an insatiable intellectual curiosity.
  • Critical self-scrutiny and self-monitoring.
  • Verbal agility, remarkable expressiveness, and a penchant for in-depth discussion and debate.
  • Exceptionally high standards, idealism, perfectionism, and intense self-criticism.
  • Preference for complexity and novelty and a tolerance of ambiguity.
  • Excitability, multiple interests, high levels of energy...
  • Love of challenge motivated by an intrinsic drive toward fulfillment of potential, meaningful living, and self-actualization.
  • Distinct need for autonomy.
  • Heightened physiological sensitivity and sensory arousal.
  • Feelings of loneliness and emotional distance despite positive relationships and even popularity.
  • Emotional sensitivity and extraordinary responsiveness.
  • History of frustration related to asynchronous development — ability to visualize or conceptualize the desired creative product preceding the attainment of obligatory skills.
  • Compassion, moral integrity and courage, wisdom, global awareness, and potential for humanitarian leadership.
  • Saturday, November 05, 2005

    A new diet, just in time for the holidays

    I started a new diet on Halloween. Halloween!! All that missed candy!! In sharp contrast to Laura's advice at Starling Fitness, I am doing a diet which restricts my food choices. It's an experiment. I'm trying it until Thanksgiving Day, at which time I will eat everything that I want to, which will probably not be as much as I anticipate. The Rosedale Diet is supposed to turn me into a fat burning machine and make all my inside systems much more youthful. I'll let you know. Tonight I made a "pizza" which would have been much better if the recipe hadn't referred to it as a "pizza." I weighed myself for the first time today, on a neighbors scale, so that will have to be my benchmark.

    My experience: So far my biggest fear of being hungry has been realized, all because of lack of planning. I also feel a little weird. I don't know how to describe it, I don't have the icky low blood sugar feeling, but I do feel carb-deprived.

    Wish me luck!

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Happy Birthday!!

    ...she is brilliant... she also has a very earthy side and likes to run, hike, and be outdoors...

    Hey, did I mention that the other day was my MOM'S BIRTHDAY?! I didn't think so. Even worse, I haven't sent her a present yet. If you see this, D, Happy Birthday!!! Your daughter loves you! :)

    While I'm on the topic, I'll just brag about my mom for a minute. Let's see, she ran a 50 mile race this year, she came in second, which was disappointing, because last time she ran she came in FIRST!! She is brilliant and got a math scholarship to college, which she went to when she was 16. She sometimes does not think she is as brilliant as she is (see: "came in second" above.)

    She is usually pretty quiet in group settings and people find her amiable and likeable. She can become fascinated with things like bugs and genealogy; she's in touch with her inner nerd. She also has a very earthy side and likes to hike, run, and be outdoors. I know this sounds a little like a personal, but I'm sorry, she is already married. She is married to a semi-southern all gentleman who perfectly suits her. Whenever I think about him I just fill up with gratitude that they found each other. Thanks, B, for being my mom's honey. Thanks Grandma and Granddad for having my mom.


    Possible favicons

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    The Princess and the Pea (I always hated that fairy tale)

    As it turns out, part of my princessness is that I am very raw to stimulus in the environment. (Oh no! Princess and the Pea!!) And I need a breather from all that stimulation fairly frequently. You know how babies turn away when they have had too much stimulation? That's how I am at a dance after 2 or 3 dances. I used to just force myself to keep dancing, or leave early. But last time I went swing dancing, it was different. I honored my princessness. I didn't dance with people who made me uncomfortable. I sat out when I needed a breather from the intensity of one on one dancing and watched the awesome band, or talked with people. I didn't feel like I had to keep going. I had a great time, and I felt like staying longer than I usually do. It was so freeing to let how I am be ok. I don't know why it helps me to accept myself when I can identify my characteristics in a pattern, but it does.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    Interpersonal issues of gifted adults

    There seem to be five traits that produce potential interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict: divergency, excitability, sensitivity, perceptivity, and entelechy...These traits seem to be an integral part of giftedness; however, the behavioral manifestations of these traits may vary depending on other physiological and personality factors, such as tolerance for ambiguity, degree of introversion or extroversion, and preference for particular types of sensory input.

    Although the traits in themselves are neutral, their behavioral manifestations make them socially and emotionally significant. For example, the trait of sensitivity can be manifested as empathy, commitment, touchiness, intensity, or vulnerability. Thus, in any individual, the sum of the behavioral manifestations may be viewed as positive or negative.
    Check out the rest of Can you hear the flowers sing? Issues for gifted adults by Deirdre V. Lovecky, (who I now love forever.) Found via A Mindful Life. And check out the PDF with lots of gifted adult stuff at Gifted Problems. I found the following quote there.
    Unique interpersonal challenges that gifted individuals, couples and families encounter during their life span include learning to interact in the mainstream world; manage expectations and pressures to fit the norm; defuse unconscious hostility, resentment, antagonism and sabotage directed at them because they are perceived as intellectually, creatively or personally advantaged; set appropriate boundaries for the utilization of their abilities; collaborate with others, and manage the daily dilemmas of giftedness involving relatives, bosses, co-workers, neighbors, counselors, teachers and other members of the community.
    Read more articles about Gifted and Talentedness :) at

    Monday, October 31, 2005

    Happy Halloween!!

    Some of the traditional practices of this multi-layered season have been made playful. We laugh in the face of death, wear costumes that play on our fears, and give away sweets to traveling bands of eager children, who threaten us with “tricks” unless we give them treats. Just under the surface of our playful pumpkins, costumes, parties and decorations, lies our biggest human anxiety: we die and so do those we love. Eventually, we will cross that veil into whatever it is that lies on the other side, —and what that is, we cannot know.
    Check out the rest of Ministrare's post about Fall and ancestors. It is really lovely.

    May you enjoy the beauty and breadth of Fall today; the bustling of costumed children, and the magic of adults playing dress-up. May the smell of hot apple cider and pumpkin spices cross your path, and may the nearness of death make you take a deep spicy breath full of life.

    Sunday, October 30, 2005

    Another Annoying Quiz Result

    This is an interesting test. It says my mind and spirit are doing remarkably well considering my dismal social life. I think it was a pretty good quiz, except I think they used my small family against me, because I would rate my family life higher. The romantic love section is sadly accurate, even optimistic. The finance and body are also about right. I'm going to give my friends and family section a hardy 7, for lots of love with room for improvement, and up my overall score to a 7. (Come on finance and love!!)

    Via: It's all one thing.
    This Is My Life, Rated
    Take the Rate My Life Quiz

    The Womens!

    This weekend I went on a Women's retreat. It was awesome. I didn't rest as much as I wanted to, but I did get to connect with a lot of neat women. I have been wishing that I had more women friends in the area. I realized at the retreat that sometimes when I feel lonely, I am just not seeing all the people who reach out to me. I was just given so much love and positive energy. It was awesome.

    Blog Categories with blogger

    What!? I searched forever for ways to add blog categories to blogger and now I find three links in quick succession. Rock on, little internet!

    Here they are:
    I was using technorati tags, but it was a pain to copy and paste them every time. I'm going to look into the methods described in the links. Liking easy, I am going to experiment with Orangewise's way first. Result: Does not give a comprehensive list of links. Conclusion: easy, but sadly, sucky.

    Does anyone know of any more ways? Does anyone have an "in" with the Blogger people so we can just convince them to make Blogger category enabled? Are you even working on it Blogger people?? (Don't get angry, Blogger-gods, I appreciate all the free bounty. I'm just askin.)

    Oh, oh, and check it out! People even have theories about categories! Check out this article by Clay Shirky on Categories, Links, and Tags. I decided to actually read it, and it's fascinating, especially if you get a little anal about your ontology.

    Friday, October 28, 2005

    All the gory details (I just couldn't tell you at the time.)

    Well, one thing I can say about getting colonic hydrotherapy, it makes you want to chew your food well. Did you know that carrots often do not get digested? And you don't even want to know about nuts and seeds.

    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Another previously unpublished Old post: (Braidwood claims brilliance) from this Sept.

    I had another brilliant idea: Churches are like floating neighborhoods in our mobile community. No wonder America is so much more religious than our European counterparts. We need our churches for stability.

    Old posts not previously published: Real Life Update, The internal world (from Aug 16th)

    Really, a lot of what I do in my life is internal. Some years when it might have looked like I was accomplishing nothing, I was actually working really hard, going to therapy and doing other internal transformation work. Many of my goals have to do with how I'm feeling and the processes I use and how I think. I feel like it's my soul journey. So, this summer I decided that I wanted and needed to focus on my soul journey again, thus began: The Summer of Transformation!

    I am making progress. Soul journey progress is always faster and slower than I think it will be. Faster because the slow and steady inner work I do can change everything in my outer life nearly instantly. Slower because I feel impatient and want to hurry and do inner work which is just opposite of how inner work goes, for me anyway. For me, inner changes are usually a result of practices, very slow and steady practices like writing in my journal or just being with myself and noticing how I am feeling. By their very nature, they can't be hurried through. One result that I am noticing is greater self-acceptance and a feeling that my desires are good. Oh, that feels refreshing. It's such a little seeming shift, but it is huge. When you know you can trust yourself, you don't have to fight with yourself. (Especially pertinant for people who relate to the enneagram personality type 1.)

    This is one of my favorite poems in that vein.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    The only thing

    A response to a video I wrote for school tonight. I'm sharing it because I think it's timely.
    Someone in class said that faith is the opposite of reason. I disagree. I think faith is the opposite of fear. Most people who have faith or religion as a part of their lives also use reason, and are willing to let other people see things in a different way. I think fundamentalism rises when fear rises, as the video showed so well. Some of the fear is a natural response to poverty, feeling powerless to become a part of the mainstream, and to a rapidly changing world. As we saw in the video, fear is often spurred on by disingenuous leaders. In contrast, I saw the leaders who were sincere encouraging and uplifting people when they spoke to them.

    I used to be confused by the religious right because they say they are followers of Jesus Christ, and yet, as a group, they are in favor of using guns and war. They often seem angry and hateful. Now I’m not confused by it. Their expression of Christianity is an expression of fearful fundamentalism, just like fundamentalists of other religions, not the expression of people following a century old leader who says to “turn the other cheek.” The video emphasized the similarities between fundamentalists from different religions when it showed fundamentalist Jewish people in Israel at a shooting range. If you take away their yarmulkes, they would look like stereotypical Christian fundamentalists who belong to the NRA.

    I don’t think there is a split between world religions. I don’t think there is a split between being religious and using technology or being scientific. I think there is a split between fundamentalism and faith, between clinging to the past and moving forward with hope. Pat Robinson and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and other fear mongering leaders, have much more in common with each other than they do with faithful followers of their respective religions. I don’t think fundamentalism is a matter of individual character flaws either. I think fundamentalism rises out of fear which is a natural reaction to very real outer circumstances. It is also a reaction to imagined outer circumstances. Pat Robinson gave a terrific example of fear mongering on the video, when he told his Christian audience that atheists and humanists were out to hunt them down.

    With all my heart I believe in democracy and believe that people should be allowed to worship how, where, and what they may. I think any force fighting for a theocracy is inherently unfaithful and fearful. To ensure that we all continue to be able to freely and responsibly search for meaning, and continue to have many other freedoms, I think we need to make individual changes, and policy changes. Politically, and in business we need to act with the knowledge that having “haves” and the “never-have-a chance-of-havings” is dangerous to everyone. We don’t need to be compassionate to work for a flatter world. (Although I think compassion is soul healing.) We just need to have a reasoned assessment of what is in our own self interest. I think we need to do everything we can on a policy level to allow everyone in the game. On an individual level, I hope we will all contribute to the environment of hope rather than fear. One way to do this is to see our underlying similarities and avoid demonizing other people. Another way to do this is to be careful what we put in our minds. For example, we can choose to watch real news, and refuse to support fear mongering. Education, one of my personal favorites, is also a good solution to fear, especially for the people who are mostly making choices based on imagined fears.

    Something I really admire about the British is how they responded in WW II. They were under attack and they could have easily been overcome by Nazi forces, but they rallied together as a country. They didn’t give up, they made sure their cities were blacked out, and took their street signs down so an invading army would get lost. I think their tenacity saved them. In our individual lives and as a society, our courage has saved us again and again, and will continue to do so. I think we are in a time that exemplifies the saying that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

    Knowledge Management Links

    Oh yeah, managing all that incoming and self-generated information can leave you with scattered info all over the place. What do you do with all that stuff? I save webpages as bookmarks, keep well organized computer and paper files, and cut and paste information I want to keep into my email drafts and into this blog. There must be a better way! Below are some links about knowledge management concepts and tools.

    Knowledge Management
    Personal Knowledge Management Services and Software Applications
    Going beyond personal knowledge management to group km
    Further Links

    Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    Listen and download some free music

    Rock on. I never stole (I mean downloaded) illigal music off the internet, but here is a playlist by Seb of free music. Oh yeah, Sébastien Paquet's weblog is also cool. He is a smartie, and he is interested in social software, blogs, and much more! :) Yo, check it, and maybe even build your own playlist.

    The Little Princess

    I went swing dancing the other night. Thanks to my friend C. who wrote and said I should come, and to my friend Andrea who called and said, "Proceed forthwith from your house noweth!" (I'm paraphrasing.) She knew I was in a bummer mood and wisely said I should get out of my house.

    I had a great time and I think it was largely due to me respecting my princesshood. Yes, I'm a closet princess. It all started when I was little and my family used to call me a little princess, and they didn't mean it as a compliment. I even had a shirt which said, "Little Princess" on it. It was pink with sparkles, I wore it backwards so I could see the words. I remember wearing it when I visited my step-brother in prison, and I still have it in my cedar chest.

    I also read "The Little Princess." It sparked many a fantasy and I, being jealous of the little Princess, thought she got her comeuppance when she had to go live in the attic. But then, she did treat the little servant girl kindly, and I was glad when she got rescued by the monkey. Why, oh why, couldn't a monkey rescue me?! But I digress.

    After being accused of being a little princess, I had to put my tiara and all my pink girlishness under wraps. It wasn't until I was in my mid-twenties that I started to reframe my princessness. I moved in with two other princesses. They were more clearly princesses, and one day my roommate came home with a skirt that twirled. "Oh, I love skirts that twirl!" I said. "Of course you do," she said assuringly, "all princesses love skirts that twirl." Yes, she knew I was a princess too. Believe it or not, it was a revelatory moment for me. I just sat there, (on the bathroom floor, as it happens,) stunned. I mean, my mouth was open and my eyes were wide. I was a princess too, and it was ok.

    Monday, October 24, 2005

    Your own personal DJ's

    Pandora is a cool idea. Musicians have analyzed thousands of songs based on their musical characteristics. You type in a favorite artist or song, and then they create a playlist based on the musical elements in the song you chose. The idea is that you will like similar songs. It seems pretty cool. You can try it out for 10 hours for free to see if you like it.

    I put in "Elderly Woman Behind The Counter in a Small Town" by Pearl Jam. You know, the one that goes, "hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away..." The first song they played for me was Donegal Express by Shane MacGowen and the Popes. You can give the song thumbs up or down, buy it, or make a new playlist. You can aso find out the answer to "Why this song?" The answer in this case:
    ...Because it features folk influences, mild rhythmic syncopation, melodic songwriting, major key tonality, and a twelve-eight time signature.
    Hmm. Cool! I might have another entry for my Christmas list. Now I'm just wondering what songs I should put in. Any suggestions?

    Free blog, wiki, or website tools

    Check out Blogbox! You can get a free weather report, mp3 player, and more.

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Blog scorecard or cool things you wish your blog could do

    Here's another great post on "How to Save the World" about the ultimate blogging tool. Do you have anything to add?

    Therapy & Coaching with Gifted & Creative Adults

    Have you ever noticed my URL says "my refrigerator doot?" It's a typo which turned into a joke from a URL that was meant to be: "My refrigerator door." I originally thought of this blog as an electronic version of things I would stick on my refrigerator door. That's how I'm using it today, so don't mind me :) As you can see, I'm stealing things directly from people's websites. I hope that giving them credit keeps me ethical! Apparently not; here is another pilfered article set right.

    From Gifted Adults by Lynne M. Azpeitia:
    The Role of the Therapist & Coach with Gifted Adults

    Gifted adults work best with therapists and coaches who collaborate with them. Collaborating is key because gifted adults are independent thinkers who maintain an internal locus of control and do not automatically adopt or rely on the opinions of authority figures for direction or instruction on what to do or how to do it.

    While gifted adults may respect a therapist or coach’s ability and experience, they also respect their own. Any suggestion, solution or direction offered to them will be thoroughly considered on its own merits and if selected, customized to the gifted adult’s own situation. It is very important that the therapist or coach not take this personally if they are going to work with gifted adults.
    (The colors are mine.) Check out the rest of the article at