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burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness
 
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Sunday, June 13th, 2004

Time Event
12:17p
Am enjoying the nice weather muchly. Was 90ish Tuesday and Wednesday, but around 9:30 on Wednesday night as i finished watching Mulholland Drive (which is overrated, btw) crashing thunder and light-up-the-sky lightning. Weather in the 60s? More like spring than summer, but given that it’s barely even mid-June yet i am much okay with that. I really should go for walks more.

Thanks to DVD Special Features, my father says now he always thinks “6 French horns” when he hears the ST:TNG theme (and so of course i do too now).

Thanks to my father i now think WilliWear every time i see Original Starfleet Uniforms/Starfleet Uniforms Created by: William Ware Theiss in the end credits.

After i watched “The High Ground” (3.12) i found myself thinking about how it’s interesting that while of course we’re supposed to side with Picard throughout this series, we frequently hear people arguing that perhaps they aren’t really in the right. In this episode, for example, Finn makes very good points about history being written by the winners and how they’re fighting a war for independence and by aiding one side and not the other Starfleet is essentially taking sides and so on. (Similarly, even though Rodenberry invented the Prime Directive, Picard definitely fudges it on more than one occasion.)

So much of S3 i remember the episodes. I still can’t remember what’s going to happen in advance (except in rare instances) but often something will happen and i know i’ve seen it before. I wonder if i started watching that year. I was 6 years old, so i don’t think there would be that much of a difference between how much i retained versus the previous year if i’d been watching since S2.

Jonah, i saw the episode you were talking about.
spoilers for The Offspring - TNG 3.16Collapse )



I went to the JBCC wrap-up party on Friday to help mop my mother up off the floor (i keep forgetting it was the anniversary of her father’s death recently, and even without that, she’s been at the Baker since 1982 so a trip down memory lane includes lots of people who are gone if not dead). She was actually pretty fine. I got introduced to lots of coworkers i’ve heard her talk about and some i had met back when i was very young.

The speechifying was pretty okay. One hour total for about 10 people. Most either didn’t run over their allotted time or if they did they were saying interesting engaging stuff so the audience (by which of course i mean me) didn’t notice/mind.

One Manville parent spoke and mentioned an essay on ADD called “Welcome to Holland.”
You plan to go to Italy, read all these books and get maps and guidebooks and study the language and all that, and then you get off the plane and you’re in Holland. And if you spend the whole time mourning what you’re missing by not being in Italy, you don’t enjoy the wonderful things in Holland. I liked that.

Al introduced Bob Selman as a “professor of psychology and other things.” That’s the kind of introduction i want if i ever get famous. Not exactly like that, but that spirit of irreverence and deprecation. No one wants to hear 10 minutes about how wonderful the upcoming speaker is, and then it puts this tremendous pressure on the speaker to say the most insightful thing you’ve ever heard.

Bob talked about going to a conference in Philly and being given Bill Beardslee as a roommate. “His office was 4 doors down from mine, but we’d never talked before, since we’d only worked there for about 8 years.” Tee.

When Susan came up and spoke she did Audrey Duck (Susan does puppet therapy, and Audrey is a brash young’n) and talked about leaving the old building and how we’ll miss it but we take with us the memories and we’ll do good things in the new building and so on. And there was much praise of my mother, which was well-deserved. (Other people may come up with brilliant ideas and write books and give lectures and stuff, but my mom’s the one who actually runs everything and makes sure everything actually gets done and performs miracles on a daily basis.)

Someone called the Baker the best-kept secret in Boston. There are bookmarks that say Judge Baker Children’s Center: Strengthening the promise of young lives since 1917 One of the speakers talked about the history the Baker going back to Jane Addams and Hull House in Illinois in 1899 because that was the start of the movement “to help, rather than punish, delinquent youth” (as the bookmark says) and Judge Baker (for whom the Baker is named) was one of the first to do that in Massachusetts. Pretty illustrious pedigree. In addition, one of the former directors of the Baker is Julius Richmond, who helped invent Head Start. (He gave the ending “anchor” speech.)


Oh, and how could i forget getting hit on my way to the Baker. I’ve been home for what, three weeks now? Clearly i need to get out more. To those of you new to this journal: i frequently get hit on by middle-aged men while i’m home from college. Less than 24 hours is the record for shortest time interval between arriving in the suburb and being hit on by a sketchy man.

I was walking down Huntington Ave from Ruggles, not yet at Mass Art. I had a red light at a cross street, so i was just waiting there for an opportunity to cross the street. A guy, probably middle-aged, who’s been standing on the corner comes up to me and asks me if i’m from this area, says he just moved here and has a job but needs a place to stay, do i know any places for rent. No, sorry, i don’t. Then he starts talking about how his job sucks. I sympathize. Note to people who wanna pick me up: i will sympathize with your bitching because i am a generally kind and polite person, but it does not particularly endear me to you. Then he’s asking me for my number and i can see out of the corner of my eye that i have the light, so i manage to make an exit and continue on my way.
12:20p
intentionality
I was talking with my mother recently about her and her mother being nice to Pastor Bill while he was in the hospital even though neither of them particularly likes him. My mom talked about her own instinctual rooting for the underdog. I pointed out that Pastor Bill had people rallying around him all “You’re God’s chosen one, He will heal you.” Mommy pointed out that from Bill’s point of view it was still a bad place to be. I do appreciate that since becoming disabled he has toned down the “God will heal you” aspect of his sermons.

Mommy had said how important it is to get mail and have visitors when you’re sick. I said there’s no way i could have sent Pastor Bill a card because of my obsession with honesty and the power of words and all that. I don’t like him and had schadenfreude. There was no way i could have honestly sent a card that said anything like “I was sorry to hear about your illness” or “I hope you recover soon” or anything like that. I laughed/twitched whenever i was in church and George (not my brother) would say things like “We’re all praying for you, Bill, hoping you get better, blah blah blah,” because I was like, “Hi, i’m sitting here and i don’t care if he ever gets better and would in fact be right pleased if he never came back to pastor this church,” though i do have enough tact that i only actually said that to my parents.

I do appreciate the thoughtfulness of people sending cards, calling, visiting, and there’s something to be said for the power of such gestures even if you don’t really mean them, but ultimately i would say don’t do them if you don’t mean them because it makes such gestures meaningless if people just do them because they’re expected to.

Similarly i get upset by the social convention of “Oh how good to see you, we must get together again,” because so often people don’t actually mean it, and i think that’s dishonest and hurtful.

Grandma was complaining that no one was at Ruth Hartshorn’s funeral on Saturday. Her surviving husband is at that age where you’ve outlived most of your friends, but she thought church people . I told my parents that at my funeral, or rather a funeral at which i was the chief mourner, i don’t want lots of random people showing up. If you cared about the dead person and have come to pay your respects, fine, but don’t show up just to offer your sympathies and support to me if you don’t even know me. Then i’ll just get weirded out and be extra-upset ‘cause you’re intruding on my mourning. My father made me laugh with the image of a velvet rope and a bouncer.
12:21p
"Thinking isn't agreeing or disagreeing. That's voting." -Robert Frost
sigrun was talking about fandom a while back and said "There probably isn't a fandom that's actually calm & productive more than three-quarters of the time, is there?" I responded and talked about the various ways of engaging with fandom, but i also thought about how politics is like fandom for me in the sense that it's so often filled with obnoxious unthinking immature people (and i'm not talking about politicians; i mean the people who engage in political debate, with whom i have to engage anytime i'm looking for news information, whom i have to listen to because they surround me, with whom i sometimes argue) who ruin what can be so good about the involvement. Both fandom and politics are arenas i care about engaging in, and it frustrates me when people make them bad arenas for me to be in.

I’ve been debating with a couple people recently and i’m learning that i need to not think of it as trying to change the other person’s mind (because people don’t want to change their positions) but to make the other person understand my position (or whatever position i’m arguing really, since Lord knows i devil’s advocate). Humans will always be disagreeing, but if we can actually understand where each other is coming from? i think we would be a lot better off.

"I admire the fact that you make well-balanced and respectful arguments. Thank you for that. *smiles wryly* It is not an arena to which I am accustomed."
-theatre_pixie to me, after we'd been debating at length

The other debate has been through e-mail with a a nice Christian fellow with the unfortunate name of Mike Moore. *cough* One of my first thoughts upon reading my first e-mail from him was "Well it's that time of year i suppose."

He read my LJ profile and wrote me in response to this paragraph:
I self-identify as queer. I was raised Protestant and am struggling with what exactly i believe. (One thing i know for sure is that Christianity and non-heterosexuality do not have to clash, but that's its own story.) Without any change in my personal stance, i appear as varying degrees of liberal or conservative depending on the issue and the people surrounding me. Labels are both useful and problematic. Sometimes i think i should come with a primer, but that would necessitate my being able to articulate my stance/beliefs on everything, and that is still very much a work in progress.
Do i sound like i’m conflicted about being queer and Christian? ‘Cause what i meant was that i was struggling with Christianity but that i knew one could be queer and Christian. Mike interpreted it differently. He keeps talking about the law being written on our hearts, and how people’s conflictedness over being both queer and Christian is proof that they know being bi/homosexual is wrong. I, of course, think he is wrong on this point and others. We’ve maintained civil discussion, though, and also gotten on to other issues, and i’ve been reminded (as i was with theatre_pixie) of things i really should research more.

I appreciate things like the end of his most recent e-mail:
I look forward to your reply, not in expectation of "I'm so sorry, you are right, blah blah you da man", but out of honest concern for your journey, and rather brave journey in search of truth. Your efforts to explore for truth is greatly commendable, instead of just hoping truth just stops by someday! :)))
I was thinking recently about principles that drive our lives, since serious discussions with people usually end with recognitions that we have certain fundamental differences in what we value or how we value things or whatever (though good discussion also usually reveals many points of agreement, of course). The basic Wiccan tenet is “And ye harm none,” and i was thinking that that actually works as a single tenet explaining my approach to everything. Clearly this is largely due to my father’s influence since he’s a big fan of fewer laws. I like the idea of keeping people from hurting others, but that you actually have to make a solid case that whatever you want to stop people from doing really would hurt others if you didn’t stop it, and allowing people to harm themselves if they so desire (though of course i’m a big fan of education). Of course i’m also end justifies the means girl. Sometimes you have to go for maximum benefit (i’d rather look at problems that way than in terms of minimal harm).
12:22p
"What non-obvious ways do humans react to humans--and to things taking the place of humans?"
Telegraph article
Love really is blind...
(Filed: 02/06/2004)


Neuroscience can at last explain why we can't see faults in our partners or children. Raj Persaud reports

the full articleCollapse )


My father sent me a link to this article, saying it was in some ways a companion to the previous article: The same "what non-obvious ways do humans react to humans--and to things taking the place of humans?"

In other news, a German study claims that regular sex helps students.
12:22p
mandatory community service for college students?
Much though i think community service is important, i want to smack Dave Eggers.
June 13, 2004
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Serve or Fail
By DAVE EGGERS

SAN FRANCISCO

About now, most recent college graduates, a mere week or two beyond their last final, are giving themselves a nice respite. Maybe they're on a beach, maybe they're on a road trip, maybe they're in their rooms, painting their toenails black with a Q-tip and shoe polish. Does it matter? What's important is that they have some time off.

Do they deserve the time off? Well, yes and no. Yes, because finals week is stressful and sleep-deprived and possibly involves trucker-style stimulants. No, because a good deal of the four years of college is spent playing foosball.

I went to a large state school — the University of Illinois — and during my time there, I became one of the best two or three foosball players in the Land of Lincoln. I learned to pass deftly between my rigid players, to play the corners, to strike the ball like a cobra would strike something a cobra would want to strike. I also mastered the dart game called Cricket, and the billiards contest called Nine-ball. I became expert at whiffle ball, at backyard archery, and at a sport we invented that involved one person tossing roasted chickens from a balcony to a group of us waiting below. We got to eat the parts that didn't land on the patio.

The point is that college is too long — it should be three years — and that even with a full course load and part-time jobs (I had my share) there are many hours in the days and weeks that need killing. And because most of us, as students, saw our hours as in need of killing — as opposed to thinking about giving a few of these hours to our communities in one way or another — colleges should consider instituting a service requirement for graduation.

Read more...Collapse )
12:50p
Okay, i'm done flooding your friendspage for a while.

Redid my LJ bio, which i'm mostly pleased about.

Am obsessing about the dynamics of LJ-friending yet again. I expect this is related to my feeling disconnected and ansgting about connecting with people and blah blah blah.
i've not learned
the acceptable way of saying
you fascinate me
i've not even learned
how to say i like you
without frightening people
away

sometimes i see things
that aren't really there
like warmth and kindness
when people are mean
but sometimes i see things
like fear and want to soothe it
or fatigue and want to share it
or love and want to receive it

-from "Poem (for EMA)" by Nikki Giovanni

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