Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Return of the King and ...shopping???

We saw the movie tonight. It was very good, just like the first two. This one left out much more of the details including how Gondor learned that its King had returned, the healing of Faramor, Eowyn and the others along with the cleanup of the Shire when the heroes returned.. It was heavily focused on the battle scenes and deficient in my opinion on some of the other goings on. I was a little disappointed in that, but I suppose at 3 hours they couldn't do much more. STILL, in its entire 3 installment form, it was pretty much everything I might have wished for in a film version of the tale I loved so well in my teens. We will be buying this one too when it comes out, because they are all worth re-seeing and two without the third is not complete.

What is the world coming to? I am about to blog about shopping?????? Oh my, oh dear... my head has taken a giant vacation... should I be worried? ....
... nah..
I have five more days of all play if that is how I wish to spend them...

I did a little shopping while we were at the mall waiting for the movie. The husband was patient and very much on almost "date like" behavior mode. I was very careful not to abuse that mood.

Though I am not particularly fond of shopping malls, I did have a couple of gift certificates - one for Victoria's Secret which got crowded and I left with only two items purchased and the majority of the gift certificate still to spend- and one for a unique tiny little silver jewelry shop (that is a favorite of mine on those rare occasions I find myself at the mall). At the silver shop I found two different pairs of earrings to satisfy the feminine side of me that likes wearing jewelry that is slightly incongruent with the normally tailored dress or classic casual to downright boyish wear. (Both pairs tasteful, but not for the timid - big fat sculpted oval silver hoops, and black onyx South American/South Western Native influenced, dangly ones- not chandeliers but difficult to miss). I also gave into an entirely impulsive (decided and on my wrist in less than two minutes- something rather out of character for me) purchase of a pewter bracelet engraved with a Celtic design -which called out to me as I passed by and feels like it has always been mine.

There is a side of me that isn't externally expressed often enough- especially in a house full of males and a group of friends that includes more males than females..
I don't like New Year's resolutions much, but if I were to make one, it would be to make sure that I play enough in the new year (something desperately missing from the past year or so) and use all the sides of me- including the one that likes occasionally indulging in purely feminine pursuits.

yourDictionary.com Top Ten and.

Top Ten Words of 2003 - and top ten of 2003: names, phrases, youthspeak; Top - mispronounciations by Bush, best new product names, worst product names, Enron inspired words, internet words, sports related words, word trends....
There are many amusing things here.

Monday, December 29, 2003


Plumbing occupied much of my thoughts on Sunday. It was laundry day for the entire household and I am the washerwoman. We had extra laundry from the holiday, plus some things that I knew would be needed in the weeks ahead. There were about double the normal loads to wash.

In the afternoon after several loads of laundry had been done, I started to walk into the half bathroom that is located next to the laundry room and immediately had soaked socks and feet. Water covered the floor of the bathroom, the carpeted hallway entry to it and part of the laundry room. Looking for leaks I couldn't find any, but cleaning it up I found the wastebasket next to the potty had a bit of water inside it as well. Towels, rags, and a large bucket-full later, it was semi drying in the bathroom, but hopelessly soaked into the hall carpet.

Something like this happened several weeks ago- a single incident with a tiny amount of water on the floor and we thought perhaps the toilet seal was leaking, but it didn't happen again so we decided to simply keep an eye on it. It was only a few paper towels and a little sponging to clean it up- not a big deal.

The husband and I puzzled over the source early Sunday evening, but couldn't come up with a good answer. Because it seemed to be under control, we returned to our previous activities.

A little later I was on the phone to my father and I heard what might have been the washing machine draining, but it was quite loud so I said I had to check and there were massive amounts of water overflowing the toilet- washing machine water with soap!! I have no idea why or how and don't know a thing about plumbing. I shut the water off. I shut the washer off. The water pouring out of the toilet bowl finally stopped, but it wouldn't drain- not even using a plunger. Finally I turned the washer back on and let it start the spin cycle and everything in the bowl returned to normal- by itself. We plunged out the rest of the water so it was very, very low in the bowl and left the water in there shut off.

The entire rest of the night, I spent checking the bathroom every time the washer drained. More water came in, and was plunged out when the washer was finished with each load, but it never overflowed again.

I guess we will call the plumber Monday (it is Monday, but I haven't been to sleep yet- so somehow that makes it still Sunday). I keep thinking that the little quake must have shifted something in the pipes and perhaps that was what happened a few weeks ago, only now it is worse. I can think of no other reason that the water from the washing machine would drain and come into the bathroom instead of going out where ever it is supposed to go. I don't grok plumbing at all. Give me something electronic, or electric motor driven and I can figure it out. Give me something mechanical and I can figure out how it works too... but plumbing? Not a clue.

I convinced the husband that we need an expert to take care of this. I don't want to be cleaning up overflowing potties again- even if it is washing machine water!

It was pretty comical though.. two agitated adults watching the water pour out, standing in the little bathroom trying to figure out something to stop it, trying not to get too wet -but being totally helpless. And something about running to watch the water in the bowl - attentively- every time the washer drained, is also amusing to me now.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Operation Dear Abby.net... Send a Message to Our Troops

Operation Dear Abby.net... Send a Message to Our Troops

hiccup in Diamond Bar

Though it was only a teeny little 3.5, there was a quake a few minutes ago in Diamond Bar- a rather large distance away from me to the south and east. I felt a single brief hiccup here. Here it was only a single shake enough to make the big glass door thud, but exactly the sound frequency that gets my heart pumping.
Recent Earthquakes for Los_Angeles

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Return... No place like home, but my sister's is a close second.

I love spending time at my sister's home and the holiday was no exception. Even though it rained, the scenery out the window and from the house side of the patio was impressive. They have a heavy spanish tiled roof with a large overhang onto a portion of the patio area. The rain falling from the roof to the concrete below caught the light in the streams of evenly spaced water. It was like strings of crystal prisms pouring down in waterfall fashion.

The days and nights there were wonderful. We stayed up too late; we (I) ate too much; we talked about too many things to remember and probably didn't say all the things we should have . At one point it became my turn to say a blessing or toast and so I thanked the universe for all of us being together and all of the good things that have happened this year.

Wandering blogs and catching up on everyone's posts as well as clicking on a few blogrolls I stumbled upon this pre-Christmas greeting:

I thought it was quite well done.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Twas the Net before Christmas

Twas the Net before Christmas. Version 1.1 and 2.1. Via Whiskey River.

And also this: Norad Tracks Santa

eve before the eve of the holiday.

Everything is wrapped, bowed, tagged, and some things are packed and new traveling music is loaded into my MP3 player in case the husband wants to not talk during the trip down again. His stress, inability to talk about anything
other than superficial, or wishing to not talk at all will not affect me. I refuse to let it.

I spent the evening with Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Santana, Gwen Stefanie and No Doubt, Rob Thomas and Matchbox twenty and Kid Rock.... though it was primarily Clapton... Though it is "old", I recently purchased "One More Car, One More Rider", the 2001 live tour double cd. (Clapton at some of his best!)

Had my son been home this evening, I would have embarrassed him by dancing around and rocking out while I wrapped presents. I have also been known to play an air guitar riff or two now and then or air drums, though I play guitar for real.. a little bluesy and folksy acoustic. :) I haven't been really dancing with a partner in so long- I honestly can't remember the last time... Husband who has the sensitivity of dirt- says that once you marry the girl, none of that stuff is necessary any more.. I don't know where he got that baseless completely irritating point of view. Dancing is a prelude to all sorts of happy feelings.. dancing of any sort!

MUSIC makes me happy... dancing music, listening music, blues, rock, a little Latin rhythm (Santana style and a few others), even a little tiny bit of rap. I confess here to the world of liking the politically incorrect Kid Rock song "Cowboy"... I know what the lyrics say.. I still like it.. and occasionally I like a few of his ballads. I also like some country, lots of classical.. but when I want a mood lift- blues and rock are my favorites... always (I wish Stevie Vaughn were still alive and putting out new stuff).. But no one beats Clapton for the best guitar around.

If you want to impress me, offer to take me dancing. Let me loose in the passion of a song, hold on to me to do a little partners dancing.. a little disco, a little old fashioned late sixties dancing and a little bit of ballroom. I follow well with a firm hand on my back. I tend to use that Zen focus to zero in on the music and my partner- and no one and nothing else.. getting lost in the music and a partner is on my list of perfect activities- add an early dinner, a nice sunset walk on the beach and that is my idea of a perfect date. I used to say that I could tell how a man might be in bed by the way he handled things on the dance floor.. it isn't completly true, but it was a nice myth to believe in..

So on that definitely un-holiday note (pun intended), Happy Holidays to everyone! This aging LA gal is in an up mood -Clapton is in large part to thank.. and just the general sense of being done with everything I need to do for this moment.

I will raise a silent toast to everyone who has touched my life this year.. there are quite a few of you here and scattered in various parts of the country and out of the country.. YOU know who you are. HUGS to you all.. and by the way, I like mistletoe too... feeling up, racy, not quite howling at the moon sort of thing, but definitely wishing there were someway to share my mood with everyone or at least a someone very special. Alas, this will have to do.

Happy Holdidays -I wish you all joy and love. Be back in a few days.

Listen when you hear the wind, Greyowl- maybe especially for those that drift in after sunset.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

People watching.

When we complain of cold here in Southern California, we are really not usually talking about the bitter kind of cold of the northern states. A lot of us put on winter coats when the temps hit the fifties (F).

It was probably in the lower sixties today and sunny, warm enough for me to be wearing only a long sleeved turtleneck and a pullover sweater over my jeans while I stood in line with some last minute purchases. The man in front of me had on hemmed cutoff jeans, a t-shirt, short ankle sox, sports shoes..... and a heavy winter coat. For some reason, I also kept wondering if he had gloves and a scarf in his pockets to complete the picture.

Paso Robles, San Simeon, Cambria etc. are in Central California and I didn't feel the 6.5 quake today, though the women in the dentist's office swore they felt it. It was felt as far south as Orange County.

I was getting several shots of novocain at the time and was entirely focused on not being focused. I heard the news from the dentist when he came back in the room a few minutes later and he seemed quite excited. On a side note, did you ever wonder why dentists wait to ask you conversational questions until they have their hands and dental instruments in your mouth? I guess the alternative of a silent dentist would be worse.

6.5 is a fairly large quake and at least two people are dead. The center of town with its old buildings looks a mess. They were not up to current code and many of them collapsed. I feel sorry for those folks up there with this happening just before the holiday.

I haven't felt any large quakes in Southern California in quite some time. Perhaps I should say that with a whisper.

USGS Map of Recent quake activity in Nevada and California.
USGS Map of San Simeon area of 6.5 quake and aftershocks.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Contest winners?

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | The best of British blogging. I checked out some of the blogs mentioned. I know some that are better written, but I don't know what the judges were looking for.. and I guess at least one of the winners has stirred a little controversy.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

More finds...

"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed." - Carl Jung

"Our life is what our thoughts make it." - Marcus Aurelius

More: Refdesk.com - Thought-of-the-Day Archive

The RefDesk is a potentially useful site too.

Winter Solstice.

The winter solstice starts at 11:04PM PST on the 21st. There are some interesting facts and speculations about celebrations of the solstice at Ancient Origins: Solstice.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

reverse dictionary

While wandering other sites (looking for recent blog posts about the UFCW strike) I found the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. One never knows when something like this might be useful...

Amusing waves.

There are times when I find myself in a similar flow with other bloggers, either because something they said took me on a tangent, or from a random chance and surfing find that I was thinking or doing the same things. It is amusing when I find that I was involved in similar thoughts or doings, because I am reminded that while each of us is unique, the odds of a single person and no one else in the world thinking, doing or feeling something is almost non existent. I am sure this is called by a clever word or term that crosses all disciplines- that I simply don't know... Please enlighten me if you do.

On that note I wandered here: Sketch Blog of the Day: De-Clutter, via Ripples and what amused me is that in the last few days I cleaned my computer desk/hutch area and two collection counters in the kitchen. I have several "piles" of things elsewhere winnowed down to the point that I might be able to see the surfaces underneath soon. And there are other areas that have been cleaned of dirt and clutter.

There are still several stacks of books and notes that are behind me on the floor in various piles that I was using a couple of weeks ago and I have been eyeing those wondering how I will find a place for new bookshelves. But all of this has been done because my mind is sluggish and because I don't have so many irons in the fire this moment- exactly the sort of reason that other bloggers were talking about. There are mostly the mundane things left to be done. I didn't follow the line to see how many other people were clearing out clutter- literally or figuratively.

Mind sluggish

I kept up a routine of posting pretty much daily for several months. The exercise of writing and trying to be either thoughtful or finding something thoughtful or humorous to post about on a daily basis is useful..

But since the quarter ended, my brain has been turning to mush. Of course I can blame it on the finals and final projects, the flu, the season, the little bit of shopping or any number of things, but since I managed to turn out academic essays with all of those things going on, surely providing a few lines to a blog can't be that difficult.. I figure I will simply concentrate on writing something, even the mundane, to get myself back to thinking about writing daily.

It has been a strange week. I have been trying to catch the person at the dentist's office who handles the determination of copayments with my insurance. She was never there. The dentist had said that he wouldn't treat me until she had determined what I needed to pay. I got fed up and called the insurance company directly. They emailed me a 12 page schedule that I will simply take with me on Monday to my appointment. I was very happy with how easy that was.

But then I discovered that I had forgotten a payment to someone and it cost me a pretty sum in late charges. And I found the note that had the list of things that needed appointments and realized that none of them will be able to be accomplished during this break, except for the dental stuff.

My son with the timing usually attributed in jokes to insensitive males, has broken up with his girlfriend of many years. He gave her an anniversary gift, a birthday present and then a few days later said they were done. I guess that means no holiday present.

The reasons have mostly to do with her wanting to think about the future and him not feeling like he ever wants marriage and family, though he allows that he may change his mind in ten or twenty years. He says since she wants what she wants and he doesn't, it wouldn't be fair to her to continue dating, so he ended it. He says there is no one else he wants to date. She said there was no one else she wanted to date. It was a serious relationship. They have been a couple since his sophomore year in high school. She was a nice gal and I will miss seeing her, but there is no way that I thought either of them were ready to be settling down to a marriage.

Ups and downs- all of life is always ups and downs... The trick I guess is to make sure we are present in the moment, so we recognize the good moments when we are having them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Lord of the Rings.

I wish I could say that I have seen the last film of the trilogy, but alas I haven't... not yet anyway. The first two films were everything that I wanted from this visual telling of the tale that I so enjoyed. I read Tolkien's work in 1967 or so, beginning with the Hobbit. I was enraptured by them at the time and they did give me a taste for fantasy tales that endured. Jordan, Goodkind, Martin** are a few of the authors I read today, though the stories get a little old and I forget from one to the next which characters and what fantasy worlds they are living in.

John Yatt has a different take on both Tolkien's trilogy and the film which didn't occur to me, but should have after the diversity film class I took -with its required critical eye for racial depictions. Guardian Unlimited Film | Features | Wraiths and race.

I am still eagerly anticipating seeing the film.

**Authors/Book series: Robert Jordan- The Wheel of Time; Terry Goodkind- Sword of Truth; George R. Martin- A Song of Ice and Fire.

Monday, December 15, 2003

It will never be nature alone.

Strangely enough most of the research mentioned in the most recent postings at brainworld are items I have run across in various other studies as well as in a class I took on emotions and motivations. They may be new presentations, but they are building on established ideas in psychology and neuroscience.

Neuroscience/neurochemistry only explains a part of things, it really doesn't have the entire answer any more than any other aspect of brain or psychology studies. We can figure out what parts of the brain are activated, and what chemicals and neurotransmitters produce what general affect, but there is the ever elusive component of what finally makes someone act one way with a similar balance of activity, and another person act another way.

Interpretation and the "patterns" of cognition that we learn through our experiences and by observing the actions of others are ultimately the final arbiter and those are unique and individual just as the balances of body chemistry are individual. Thoughts and emotions can be changed simply by deciding to change them. I can't see that we can ever predict or know what someone else is thinking- perhaps at best only the generalities about it, or maybe sense the emotions they are feeling at any given moment. Mostly I think that is probably a good thing.. though there are times that I would like to be able to read someone else's mind.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

CBC News Indepth: Heinlein

Seems a long lost first novel of Heinlein has been published, titled "For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs".

I read "Stranger in a Strange Land" too many years ago to count. Michael Valentine Smith is a character that stuck with me a long time..... as has the word "grok", which I find useful now and again as the only word that can explain a certain kind of understanding.
CBC News Indepth: Heinlein

Friday, December 12, 2003

Humor from Calpundit


And if you like cats, he had an amusing link to a cat user's manual in his December 12 posting along with his Friday Cat blogging.

Going to dual post this one.

Go check out Ryan Walters.net, in particular this one about his take on Clark with some very good links to read, and this one entitled "Give Cheney Something To Do". I like the way this man thinks, which if you read the impressive curriculum vitae, isn't too surprising.

It is good to be able to catch up on some of the reading I have been missing in the end of the quarter rush.... now off to the dentist.. they tried to cancel my appointment this morning and agreed to see me this afternoon after I protested..

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

All papers finished, only one test to go.

As of a little while ago, I finished the last large paper for the sociology writing class. The paper was about a little tiny observational study done on public appearance management (grooming and preening behaviors in humans). It is a very small sample, collected in two and a half hours one afternoon in the middle of a week, while sitting in a restaurant.

As it turned out, my figures are different from what the few studies of this activity have found. The others have shown women engaged in more of these behaviors than men and while in part that is somewhat dependent on the way the variables are operationalized, and the exact nature of appearance management being studied, none of the research that I located was done observing these kinds of behaviors in full public view. The most public of these by observation were done in the common grooming areas of public bathrooms (gender segregated) and by interview. The rest were mainly by questionnaire or interview and about appearance management, but not public appearance management.

I managed to obtain a reasonable scattering of five different age group categories, including a reasonable amount of men and women over 55 who came in for an early dinner and sat at tables and booths in the restaurant.

My figures show men as engaging in more total and more different kinds of these behaviors than women. Though the 18-24 year old female group was more prone to hair grooming behaviors (including smoothing, flipping over shoulders, pushing behind the ears and other hair touching, grooming behaviors), men were also observed doing this with a high frequency. Face touching or stroking, mouth wiping, clothing adjustments and other behaviors were part of my observations.

One of the things I found interesting, was that both sexes tended to increase the number of these behaviors if they were with people of the opposite sex, though men were just as likely with some of the behaviors to do them when they were alone. The opposite sex result was anticipated, though I tried to be objective when observing.

It was a very tiny study, one whose results don't really mean anything because it was so small, but it was interesting just the same.

AND it is so very good to be finished with all the figures, charts, field notes, analysis and discussion! It turned out to be longer than I figured it would be and the finished project plus abstract, references and transcribed field notes, comes to 32 pages. Hopefully I planned, analyzed and discussed the findings well enough to earn a decent grade.

I turn that in at 10 AM on Thursday morning, and then have the rest of the day to study for a final exam in my theories overview class at 4:30PM. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so I will not attempt to drive home on Los Angeles freeways. I am much safer and less likely to run into problems if I simply stay on campus. When I am finished with that multiple choice exam, I am finished for the quarter. YIPPEE!!!!! and then I get to go to the dentist, work on holiday things and catch up on cleaning-- BOO!! ;)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Professor Rios on failure.

I prefer to view the failure to reach a goal on the first try or even several subsequent ones, as a temporary setback. It may require that I rethink my approach or work differently to reach it, but unless I never try again, it isn't a complete failure. When faced with a new obstacle, I might for a moment be dismayed at yet one more thing standing in the path I have chosen, but giving up isn't an option if it is something that is important. It might take longer, require more effort than I thought or require something new that I have to learn first, or require that I postpone it until after I take care of something else, but if getting to the goal is important then I will keep going. That isn't to say I might not bitch along the way, but overall, it doesn't stop me.

My Behavioral Counseling instructor, Jose Rios, sent out an email today with these words about failure:

Had a long talk last night that went into the early morning hours. The discussion went from subject to subject, but centered on failure.

We all fail, sometimes more than we succeed. While failure isn’t always something to cherish outright, we should recognize its inevitability and, a very subtle way, embrace it because of what it can teach us.

Failure is part of what we are and what we do. Our behaviors do not always produce the consequences we expect or those that we once wished for. We may put in a lot of time, energy, expectations, suffering and hope into an endeavor, and the results are less than stellar. We may fail and then attach blame to ourselves for the failure. That’s probably a very human trait.

But if we look at failure as a learning experience, we can grow from it. If we expect occasional failure and if we do not see them as failures of who we are, we are not so devastated by them.

Failures can teach us how to behave. What tactic s worked and what needs to be discarded. We can learn what should have been done better and then, we can get up and struggle again. It is when failure’s lesson is to give up rather than to fight that hinders us.

Whenever I face a precipitous mountain climb on my bike, I know that failure is possible. But I also know that if I fail the first time, then there is always something to learn from that initial attempt. I then go into my “obsessive” state in which I only think about what I can do to improve my performance because I am not going to let one failure stop me. To date, even at my advanced age, I have not yet faced an incline or a mountain pass that I have not been able to conquer. I remember years ago, in Laguna Beach when I was staying there, I climbed a very steep series of hills that lead above the city. I made it about half way and was devastated by the inclination. I fell from my bike (at such a slow speed, the fall was not much) and became ill from the stress of trying to climb it. I was quickly departed from my morning coffee and croissant.
Sadly went back to the hotel. Marie asked what happened and I told her. Later than afternoon, she saw me eying the distant hill and knowing me as she did, said that she knew that those hills were all I was going to think (and talk)
for the remainder of the day. The next morning, I tried again and made it to the top. The next day, I did it twice in a row just to prove that I was not going to be defeated. If I had not that initial failure, it still would have been a hell of a struggle to make it, but the subsequent climbs were exceptional because of I knew I had failed and was not going to have that occur again (and if I did, I was going to continue to obsess until I succeeded).

Failure then, is not a negative when we learn and adapt and when it gives us the need to reach the top of the mountain. We are where we are because of failures and what they have taught us. We will continue to have an occasional failure and to have a let down now and then. But when we do, we have to stare intensely at the mountains and recognize that we have not been defeated and obsess on getting back to the top.


His "advanced age" by the way is younger than mine by a few years.

And this isn't related to final exams. I don't have any fears of lowering my 3.96 (out of 4.0 possible) GPA this week, though it is possible that one class could drop it a point or so if she uses the expanded grading system. I just thought I would share his words and see what ripples they create.

Monday, December 08, 2003

semi missing for a couple of more days..

I am battling flu, papers that must be done and studying for finals... in between wishing to sleep to let my body repair itself.. but that isn't a luxury I can afford right now. In addition, though I haven't a clue how it happened, I woke with a chipped tooth that I must do something about in the midst of all of this. I don't know how one chips a tooth while sleeping. It is a strange little mystery.
I will get back to the regular blogging in a couple of days.
I hope everyone's week is a wonderful one.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Where did I leave my mind on 12/03?

Still not asleep, I read over the chicken broth post from 12/03 and realized that I should never have posted at all that night. If anyone wants to see how I use a can of chicken broth as medicine and comfort when I am ill, leave a comment and I will send you the how to's. Of course the best thing is to have someone else prepare homemade chicken broth and serve it to you, preferably with soothing directives to drink up and then rest.


Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.
-- Marston Bates

It is after midnight again, but I get to sleep late in the morning. I am ignoring the flu.... And by some miscalculation on my part, I wound up with two extra days to finish sorting the data and write the paper for the sociology project.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

1.5 and .5 seconds...

There is a fascinating post that I stumbled upon describing research from twenty years ago, about the time between when the brain activity starts to change (as seen on EEG) before performing an action and when subjects report "thinking" about performing an action and the actual action itself. The differences are interesting. I didn't look up the original research, but found it discussed here: Free Will Starts...Now.

I am too tired to think deeply about it now, but I wanted to preserve it for sometime after Thursday of next week.... or when I recover from this final assault for the quarter.
A brief check of other posts at The Loom, finds some other interesting food for thought in the neuroscience, biochemical areas.

thanks for the link go to Butterflies and Wheels.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents.
-- Nathaniel Borenstein

If computers get too powerful, we can organize them into a committee -- that will do them in.
-- Bradley's Bromide

While searching for information on the authors of these two that came in my Quotes of the Day I stumbled upon this one at House of Quotes:

Multi-tasking - Screwing everything up simultaneously.
--- Anon.

I never did find anything about Bradley's Bromides, but Nathaniel Borenstein is listed alternately as a Programmer and a Chief Scientist and is apparently still publishing papers.

I am still working away on the last of the major papers due in one week, but as is evident, I turned to looking for diversions of anything that could create a smile or laugh. I want those happy neurotransmitters to be the last ones circulating before I go to sleep. ;)

Monday, December 01, 2003

I meant to go to sleep.

My head is emptied of all rational and logical thoughts this early AM and I am splashing about helplessly in the shallow end of the pool of what remains. I have been writing and revising almost all weekend on academic projects. I am heading for sleep (or maybe I am already sleeping), but if anyone is looking for a way to unwind and waste a little time there are plenty of assorted little amusements on ze's page. I was especially amused by dtoyvsbyokal which is a kaleidoscope, and the scribbler, but there are plenty of other flash toys to play with.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Mapping the Internet

These images by Opte are really quite beautiful.

An explanation : New Scientist: Internet mapping project weaves colourful web .

The Opte project pages give more detail about the project. There is a link for "view and generate maps" and one that says "find yourself".

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Home again.

We are back from San Diego County, where we had a wonderful time with my sister and her husband- good food (she is a great cook and hostess) and good conversation in a relaxed atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, but it is also nice to be back home.

Their home is on one peak of a set of hills forming a circle around a tiny valley in a larger zone of rolling hills. The geology of the area about ten miles away, looks like uplifted and eroded bedrock, very likely from ancient fault activity. This set of hills has a house on approximately each peak, and is filled with fruit tree groves. The whole area has the feel of being out in the country without being too far from civilization. When arriving, we saw a baby coyote out in the daytime as we traveled down the road that leads to their drive. There was no mother coyote in sight and though it moved up the hillside into the edge of the tree line, it didn't seem frightened, only curious, which was odd. But it served to reinforce effect of being out in the country.

We grew up in the country on a lake surrounded by forests, farmland and rolling hills, some of the largest in Indiana and some of it formed by similar ancient geologic activity. I have always felt most at home in Southern California in these same kinds of foothills and rolling hills. I suspect my sister has the same feelings and need to be located slightly outside and off the beaten path. I accomplished this to some degree, by moving to a town like area with a National Forest and mountain range behind me, rimmed by foothills and smaller ranges on the other sides that separate us from the larger bustle of Los Angeles valleys. I am too far away for coyote to venture into yards, but a 10 minute walk puts me in bobcat and coyote territory. Several minutes more and I am in mountain lion and bear territory.

Lately I have often thought about the fact that my sister is the only person in the world with a long shared history and background. We are at once very different but also similar. My uncle has known me longer, but not as well. My father (we share unbreakable emotional and legal bonds, but not genetics) has really only been around about a year longer than her and probably knows me from a different sense. I have been around all of her life, and have watched most of her changes, but she is short 5 years of being around all of mine. It is an odd feeling as time continues onward, to think in these terms. Perhaps others do it sooner, but for me this is a new concept of measurement and I am pretty sure that it is an age related frame of reference.

I wish we lived a little closer, as I would like to simply pop in my car and see her whenever I felt like it- not for us to reminisce about growing up, but to keep current, to weather the changes of age together. Unfortunately it has to be a planned event, not a spontaneous one. Maybe that will change at some point in the future.

I completely enjoyed seeing her, I always do, but it is also good to be home.

Home is where my pillows are exactly the ones that can be scrunched to fit my neck and shoulders the way I like them. Home is where I know what is in the refrigerator and the pantry cabinet for that late night snack, and where the utensils are located for fixing it. Home is where my old, frightened, grey cat comes out of hiding because we are back and he can relax and eat now and then snuggle up against me. He looked at me reproachfully earlier as he smelled the 5 dogs and 3 cats from my sister's on my clothes, but still snuggled up because that is our routine and that is where comfort is found. Home is where I can put on clothes that don't match but are comfortable and two pairs of sox instead of shoes when it is cold. Home is where chaos and disorder reign, and the nagging sense of things that need to be done is often a part of my mental state. But surrounded by my things, even in the state they are in, home is also where I can truly relax and feel completely comfortable. That feeling has probably increased as an age related thing too.

Going away for an overnight visit with my sister is wonderful. Coming home after is perhaps even better.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.

It is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.
To all who are celebrating, I wish them a day filled with good food, loving family and friends. Cheers!

To missing friends and those far away, I will be thinking of you too, when I raise a glass.

I consider it a time to gather with family and friends, not to celebrate anyone's oppression, but there are those who don't agree. It does no good for anyone to hold hatred and resentment towards others for things past. It isn't forgetting history to forgive where forgiveness is needed. Honor yesterday by working to fix the present.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Clever words.

A follower who has not yet obtained all that he expects to get.

Gentle reproof, as with a meat-axe. Friendly warning.

An ingenious instrument which indicates what kind of weather we are having.

In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.

--Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
Warning from the website: "Since the material here represents the view of one individual and was written in the early years of this century, there will no doubt be material here that you will find sexist, nationalist, racist, or just generally offensive. Proceed at your own risk."

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

A quick find before leaving home.

Interesting little discussion here: languagehat.com: "THE" PLACE NAME.

An opposing view of counseling.

Theodore Dalrymple reviews Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi: "He argues, in my view convincingly, that the extension of belief in 'therapy' is both symptomatic and productive of a profound change in human relations, and not for the better."

hmmm.... On the one hand I do see the dangers, depending on the therapist's views of the goal of therapy. But I also think that there are perspectives that take into account the need of humankind to be connected to others, have positive relationships, build communities and be and feel a part of something larger. I don't think that individual choice and self autonomy are exclusive of community, relationships, and shared values, but the cautions might make this book worth the read.

Monday, November 24, 2003

And a Monday Comes and Goes.

There are some things done, some things closer to being done and new problems to solve. I moved through this day a bit slower than some days for a variety of reasons that are mostly all my own doing.

I wandered blog to blog for a while, into Conscious-Living, and found a treasure of short things to think about.

From there I followed a link to a blog I read regularly (gassho) because I found it one time in one of these wandering sessions (now that I think about it, t'was a wandering mood not session, because I know exactly how I found it I think).

An entry that caught my eye contained the line: "innovation occurs at the intersections of communities", which is attributed to another place, but I would swear I have read it somewhere else. I just can't remember when or where....

... which led me wondering about my memory, as I do forget some small things fairly frequently, and then to thinking and wondering about how many things are probably buried and forgotten until something like this triggers them and even then what I get back is only partial. Is it only partial because I encoded it poorly to begin with? Or is it only partial because it wasn't used? Or because it is old? Or all of those things? What happens to all the information we never get back to using? Does it fade away over time to make space for other things? ...

... and back to the original thought, which was what does it mean really- innovation occurs at the intersections of communities? I think it can... but I don't think that is the only place it occurs. Innovation occurs in a lot of different ways for a lot of different reasons- by accident that is found to work or just does- survive, perform better; by need because there was no way to get there from the here that existed; by need when there is a way, but the resources aren't available.. and on and on.. at the intersections of community yes, but also in isolation, at random, by choice, by invention.

It is time for sleep. I would say something about tangents, but it would be redundant.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

SRF Temple experience.

By their own admission, the Self Realization Fellowship is a "religious organization". The professor said that it was a spiritual organization, specifically that it was not a religious one.

I believe there is a big difference. The various dictionaries don't make quite as large a distinction as I do though.


The part of me that has strongly ingrained American beliefs, was troubled by this assignment. No public university should require the completion of something like this unless offering a non-religious alternative or else if it were for a philosophy or religion class. I don't have a problem with it as a voluntary or extra credit assignment. I was offended (and my ancestors on all sides would be offended) that it was forced upon us.

But I went with the notion that I would find something of value in the experience. I chose the group meditation rather than the Sunday services, which are lectures.

A portrait of the founder (also on the webpage above) and Jesus took up center stage above what can only be described as an alter. There were four other large portraits there, including one of Gandhi, I think. The exhortations were to meditate on God. The song/chants were all about God. The "minister" wore vestments. The whole thing ended with "amen". The setting reminded me of every other religious fellowship worship service I have ever attended.

But overall, the experience this morning was ok. I enjoyed the meditation part even
if I was slightly uncomfortable to begin with sitting in standard church pews and listening to people sing/chant short bits about God. The time allotted for silent meditation was slightly longer than I normally spend meditating, so it was a little more difficult to come back to the usual level of consciousness. The manner of signaling the end of the meditation was interesting. There were tones played in a slightly increasing volume. This may be somewhat standard in group meditations, but since I normally meditate alone, it was unique for me.

I think I will create a CD or a tape of chimes or temple bells- first with decreasing volume and then a timed silence and then with a similar rising volume to signal the end. I stay in meditation for however long I stay, but it usually winds up being about 20 minutes, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer -depending on which of the various types of meditation I am using on any particular day. I am not sure that having a timed sequence is beneficial.. but it was a pleasant enough experience to return that way, that I may try it at home.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

November 22, 1963.

I was in the sixth grade on this day in 1963. Our teacher was called outside the room and predictably we all started talking, only softly because he was fairly strict and no one wanted to be caught doing something wrong upon his return. But when he came back into the room, he didn't actually see us. His eyes looked strange, his face was grayed and he was subdued beyond anything we had ever seen from him. "The president has been shot", he said. "Our president has been shot." After all these years, I can still see his face as he said those words.

I don't remember much about the rest of the day. I think we were sent home early. I wasn't told until I got home that the president was dead. I knew what the word assassination meant, but I thought it only happened in history books.

For a fair read about why Kennedy had such an impact on so many read this article by Ken Ringle at the Washington Post: washingtonpost.com: The Day a Generation's Spirit Died.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Other people's agendas.

I need to attend one and preferably two lectures, meditations, or prayer services in one of these temples (linked below) as an assignment for the self assessment class- or I will not have enough points (80 required) even completing all the other assignments perfectly, to pass the class. This Sunday is the only time that it will fit in before the end of the quarter (and it doesn't really fit in this Sunday either)

While there might be some value to the SRF temple visit, I prefer to work on my spiritual side in my own way and under most circumstances as a solo pursuit. I prefer sweat lodges to group meditations. I prefer gatherings of a spiritual community that mean something to me, rather than strangers. I prefer communing with nature and meditations outdoors as often as possible, rather than sitting inside a building listening to someone tell me how to practice my spirituality.

I keep repeating to myself that "I will find something of value".
Self-Realization Fellowship Home Page

In an existential frame of mind...

"We love and will the world as an immediate, spontaneous totality. We will the world, create it by our decision, our fiat, our choice; and we love it, give it affect, energy, power to love and change us as we mold and change it. This is what it means to be fully related to one's world."

"Problems are the outward signs of unused inner possibilities."

"Adjustment as the purpose of therapy means that the therapist is the psychic policeman for the society, a role that I, for one, heartily detest."

~Rollo May.

More quotations by Rollo May can be found at: Quotations by existential psychologist Rollo May.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

End of Wednesday.

Small in final form,
lengthy in thinking This day
spent putting words to screen.

Printed and stapled
foundation clarified-
but still revisable.

sigh... not quite but almost haiku..

Dashing in and more on community from a different angle.

I fell asleep an hour after I got home, woke up a couple of hours later, so it seemed a good time to toss in a quick post.

In the discussion of community that was swirling around some circles recently and in opposition to some posts I have read about the self absorbed nature of blogs, this aspect of community that I have posted about on Corner, is worth a look. It is about a dispute that is an ongoing problem for Calblog. There are several links, and it is an example of the potential power of blogs when they unite around a problem of one or more. We will see what comes of it. Justene at Calblog has my support and sympathy.

I like the idea of leagues of bloggers united around loose commonalities. The whole idea of it intrigues me. On a social/psych sort of note, humans form communities of stronger or looser ties no matter where they are and these do seem to be another example.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

quotation for today.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. -- Douglas Adams, "Last Chance to See"

Monday, November 17, 2003

Monday and I am behind before I start.

Blogging might be very slow the next few days. I didn't get everything done Sunday and the week is looking more and more tight, time wise. I enjoy the moments that I reflect about my studies and various other things here and there is a reward in knowing that there are a couple of people actually checking to see what I am doing and what I am thinking about. Thank you to those people.

Tonight was the self awareness class. Most of the time the topics are ones I have considered, but it is always good to revisit to see if there are any more layers I can expose in the understanding of self. The discussion tonight had several interesting topics, but only one stands out.

We all wrote anonymous questions that might be woman to a man or vice versa. The questions were then compiled and discussed in groups. One of the questions was 'why do women exaggerate their stories so much'. As it turns out, the questioner wanted to know why it takes so long for women to tell their stories as opposed to a man. The example was a man goes to the store to get something and if you ask him where he went the generalization is that he will tell you that he went to the store or at most he will tell you he went out to get such and such.
The stereotype is that a woman asked the same question will tell you what happened on the way there, what she saw, who she talked to and how they are doing and sort of incidentally will tell you about the item she bought, but then will probably tell you about the other item she almost bought and so on.. you get the idea of what the male who composed this question was thinking. It is a stereotype, but it also made me laugh because there is some truth to it in my experience.

I used to get these weird stares from my husband and son when answering a question. Their idea of an answer to most things is a three word maximum and will only sometimes be polite enough to listen to any longer version without demonstrating their impatience. There are more than a few exceptions to this, but I have grown used which things they want the longer answers to and try to shorten most things as much as I can. I can "do" their version of where have I been...
I guess in part that is why I blog.

RSS feeds and aggregators.

There are so many blogs that I have enjoyed a read or two and wanted to go back to in the future, that my browser was getting overwhelmed by favorite places. It takes a lot of time to check each and every one to see if there is content that I might want to spend time thinking about. There are the philosophical, the political, the eclectic, the people that I find interesting no matter which sort of content they are writing, the internal/external journey sort, the always have food for thought sort and so on. I have grown to depend on the online aggregator I use at Bloglines to quickly see if there are entries that I want to read and get the flavor of a new blog find to determine if it ought to be in a permanent category.

The problem is that not everyone has an rss/xml feed. I haven't been able to spend the time to set up one for myself and have wandered around to different places and found a few that will create one for me. The one that appears to be the best is Blogmatrix, but they won't create a feed for someone else.

Blogstreet is the next best for creating scraped feeds of others blogs. But they can't create a feed for everyone. Third choice is myRss, but their selection for a scraped feed is often whatever link one might put in their post or else it is the date only and the updates are only once a day.

Which ever one I use, I then put the created rss feed into the aggegator at Bloglines and can tell when the blog is updated and determine quickly if I want to read the entry. It is a real time saver and can be accessed from home or campus. If I were reading only from home, then I would see about one of the downloadable aggregators because their functionality might be better and I would include the news sources I read daily.

A blog I stumbled upon today is angelsandfrogs. I am still trying to create a feed but there appear to be several entries that I enjoyed enough that I want to check future entries.

I am still working on multiple papers and trying to catch up for the Saturday and Sunday morning away. We left one of our cars in the Fallbrook area to be fixed and my sister drove us home. That was 4 hours out of her Sunday. We will have to go back probably next weekend to pick up the car, and it makes no sense to drive that far and not see her even though we will be there for Thanksgiving too. I wish for the Star Trek transporters that would make it simple to get where we want to go.

Sunday, November 16, 2003


We just returned from a nice trip to the San Diego area visiting with my sister and her husband along with my aunt, uncle, father and step mother. My father and step mother drove out from Indiana a week ago to vacation a little with my aunt and uncle, and to visit her brother and one daughter. It was good to see everyone, as it has been quite a while.

It was a very nice little break, (good food, good conversation and love) but one that I will also be paying a price for, long into tonight and this week.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Letting the Day slip away.

I did do some work on my various papers this morning, but not much. I have found plenty of ways to procrastinate and some of them are mentioned at Corner of Babble. Now I have errands to run and don't know when or if I will get back to the paper and the other things I have on my mind.

Older and Growing had a post that gave me pause for thought. The passage he quotes is a very interesting read. I found myself wondering if I know of this seventh sense or if I do know and am resisting any urge to use that as my lens of perception in the end of my middle years. There is something about the tone that signals all sorts of things that seem opposite to my perception of life at this age and stage.

There were many tangents to pursue, if I wanted to (or felt like I could) use the time today that way... Two that quickly come to mind:
Life has many grey areas. We usually do learn to navigate those grey areas in a way that recognizes the inconsistencies and knows when to ignore which of them and that we are ignoring some of them. Life is also finite. We do need to learn to recognize that and accept it for whatever it means to us. Perhaps that is the greyest area of all- that it means something different about what we should do next - to each of us.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

On Perception.

"People are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them." ~Epictetus (1st Century AD, Stoic philosopher)
(as cited by Albert Ellis 1995, stated by Gerald Corey, 2001 in Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy). I remember studying the Stoics in philosophy, and thinking that it tracked with some of my views on life.

I must make some final choices for the paper I have to write describing which, what and why (from the ten most used, most well known that the course covered) of the theories that have the best fit with my life philosophies, beliefs and values. I need to limit my choices for a couple of reasons, even if I believe that in the future I will be an eclectic sort of counselor, using the tools that seem to suit the needs of the client in front of me. One is that I do need an understanding of my particular foundation(s)- the place where my subjective nature will look first and feels most comfortable. At this moment, the more important reason is that I have to complete this paper, this weekend, and not have a 30 page project.

Of course I have been making notes all along. Existential psychology probably fits fairly well with my life view except for one key component. I don't think guilt and anxiety are necessary components of the human condition, nor do I feel comfortable with the belief that we have anxiety because of our awareness of our aloneness, finiteness and our responsibility for making the choices for our life. I don't think that is a never sort of cause for anxiety, but I don't believe that it is necessarily an essential cause or that everyone has this anxiety.

Rationale for my other choices will probably appear over the next day or so. Cognitive/Behavioral has to be among them- existential choice, plus practical ways to look at current problems; Adlerian, and others.

I have three other projects to work on for my academic studies this weekend. My father is in the area (from the Midwest) so I will be visiting him on Saturday too, driving to the San Diego area where my sister lives. It will be a busy weekend and Sunday is likely to be a late night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

A real thunderstorm tonight.

The scene in parts of Los Angeles tonight was heavy rain, hail that came down for an hour (not minutes) and an unusual amount of lightning strikes (normal average is 1 or 2 per storm; over 100 tonight) that caused many power outages. I decided to turn off my computer thinking the storm was headed my way, but it never arrived. We only got a little light rain that was intermittent.

The pictures in real time of hail piled up in yards and on rooftops, looked exactly like snow. The street flooding in some areas had water up to people's car lights. Our streets frequently flood briefly and flash floods aren't that uncommon, as we aren't really equipped for a lot of rain in a short amount of time. But it was still a very unusual event. abc7.com: Storm Track. I suspect that Thursday's entries for some local blogs will have much better pictures than ABC7. If I find any tomorrow, I will post links.

The power of nature always fascinates me. I like wild thunderstorms and strong winds, as long as I can stay close to home and don't have to drive.

Today was an entire day of studying and academic writing. Tomorrow is another long day and creativity has flown the coop at this stage. Weather is about all I can manage to write about. The goal now is an almost adequate amount of sleep for the night and hopefully some good dreams that I remember in the morning.

Rewards and reinforcements.

Being exceptionally tired tonight, I will quick post a few thoughts/notes from my behavioral counseling class tonight, and call it a day..

The primary subject tonight was about reinforcements again, the consequences of the antecedent, behavior, consequence sequence. In the context of changing (eliminating or adding) a self behavior (but it works to encourage other people too), one of the things we have to remember is to reward ourselves frequently on an immediate, continuous basis for the little progress/goals towards the new behavior. If the goal/behavior is a large one or complex, then every time we succeed at parts of it, we deserve a reward. If it is a simple new task to add, then each time we do the new behavior we give ourselves a reward.

There are several reasons for this, but one thing was emphasized and struck me as something I don't do often enough for myself- I get locked in a routine that is all work and no immediate rewards. That might work for a while as long as one keeps the end goal in mind, but enough time spent that way and life goes flat- and while we may keep working, there really isn't any reinforcement in the now for continuing.

Rewards/Reinforcements are individual, and they don't have to be huge things. I don't find enough time (none since the end of summer) for reading fiction and I have a love of reading that goes back to my childhood. I can get lost in a book and be completely absorbed and transported. For me an hour or two spent reading fiction would be a reward. In a similar vein, I like sunsets. Simply remembering to go out and watch the sunset in silence and feel the wind on my face is a reward. Another of mine is stopping at the florist to purchase a single flower. I am sure you have your own.

More on this later as my brain is pretty fogged. Not enough sleep, days that are too long and no immediate rewards, makes Stormwind very subdued.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Food for thought.


and just below it a haiku that I liked.

There are many more entries that merit mention.

Haiku interests me. I write bad haiku but find attempting to write them, to be addicting. I have noticed several different styles of English language haiku. Some follow the 5-7-5 format, some follow that format and include seasonal references as the Japanese do. Some use different structure. I have found a couple of places that are haiku blogs and a site called tiny words that will send out a daily haiku. Gassho's is very good.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Garbage in, garbage out.

"A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind."
~James Allen, from As A Man Thinketh

The nature of community and interaction via blogs.

I ran across a post at Jeremy Hiebert's headspaceJ -- Instructional Design and Technology that linked to this post and this one at blog.IT which prompted this post at Object Learning.

The topic of community interests me and I think that Brian at Object Learning makes some of the points I might have made about Evans musings as well as many that I wouldn't have thought about. The whole topic is worth some more thought but these are my initial ones and I duplicated this post to Corner of Babble. (They usually have different readers and the topic might be of interest to both)

Evan is right that a lot of the time it isn't a conversation that we are engaged in so much as a conversation about each other, though most have a comment or two to add when they link to someone else. And if no one comments on our posts or links back to them adding their thoughts, or we don't know that they have or don't feel comfortable initiating contact with someone whose posts we have thoughts about, then the community aspect is difficult to feel or see.

I think that it might have something to do with our particular motivation and approach to the world though. If we are reticent about commenting on others blogs (something I sometimes have a difficulty with myself until I feel some comfort level with who they appear to be by what they write), they might not stumble across ours and share in our conversation.

But even when we know who is linking to us, participate in commenting on others blogs and they ours, it is a loose community of interests and the bonds that might be created are not necessarily as strong as a newsgroup or BB. It takes more effort to create and maintain a connection here.

And that sends me off on a half a dozen different tangents...

I may post more about this after I think about it.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Ok, I'll play.

If you begin with Andy's post at Older and growing... but first read the history of the various bloggers on this topic,

( via Andy: The current dialogue began here, was picked up here, here, and here, and echoed in a parallel thread here.) ...

... then this is a part of my response. I don't know if I will have time to pick up the thread again, but if the topic continues I will try to keep up.

In its strictest sense one's persona is the outward self we present to the world. It has variously been called a facade of the whole person, a shell of the person- the mask we wear to face the world. Within the persona are the roles we adopt in daily life and the ways we respond to others. At times some people forget that they are neither the role nor only the outward projection they present to others. And there are some reinforcing aspects in our use of different personas in different environments.

I would suggest that there is a need within most if not all of us, to be understood in a full sense without the masks and that there is danger when we ignore the truth of ourselves that these are only pieces and not the whole. I could go on a tangent about the uses of personas and how it can be functional at times to adopt certain roles in and during the moments we need them. But those are thoughts for another time.

I think Andy is right- we must work harder online in a text only world, to reveal the things that others might see in person.

But in working a little harder, we might actually reveal more of our inner selves than perhaps others notice in person.

It is true that there are people, who are completely different in person than online, but I am not sure that doesn't also reveal something secret about the person who is perceived in that manner. For if we are very different online than off, we may be pretending online to be something we wish to be in the rest of our lives or hiding something that we don't wish others in face to face interactions, to see about ourselves or we have some hidden agenda that we don't wish anyone to see. There are likely more reasons and from a psychological perspective, they might be interesting to explore, but that is another tangent.

I have run across "fake" persons online. In some places they are more abundant than in others. We run across "fake" persons in the face to face world too. They are the con artists and manipulators of the world. They are the insecure folks who are very afraid that we won't like them. And they are the ones who want something from us that they know or think we would not willingly give.

In a world of text, the body language, facial expressions, vocal inflections and other mannerisms we use to interpret the spoken word are missing and we feed a bit of our own perceptions into the blank places to compensate. We may use other things to add some context, such as webspace design or links that the person finds interesting or the shape and color of the text they use, even the smiley faces they insert in instant message conversations. We fill in the rest of the blanks with what we think should be there- based entirely on our own perceptions about the face to face world and if we have been around a while, our perceptions of the online world as well.

I don't think this makes online "personas" more likely to be faked any more than face to face personas are faked. I think that makes this just one more place that we use masks to face the world. I think the masks might have as many holes online as off, once you get used to looking for them.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

The hard part of the week ends on a Thursday.

Well, the hard part sort of ends on a Thursday. It isn't the classes themselves, it is the driving, being gone for 11-12 hours and then studying more after I get home that cause me to call it the hard part. The part where I spend the next three days reading, writing and working on projects in between putting on my other hats to work on the routine things that make a home run more smoothly- begins now. Reading, writing and thinking are the easy parts. Time to get to it all is really the hard part.

The theories class is my favorite this quarter. I will have more to say later, but the various cognitive and behavioral perspectives will have a place in my "toolbox". Cognitive and existential fit with my views of life and our existence, but there is something of value in all the perspectives depending on the client in front of me and their needs. I still have to choose a best fit and write about it for the class, though I can choose more than one if I can explain why in the context of my beliefs. I have to start the paper this weekend along with projects and papers for every other class. There are a few more of the most used theories left to discuss in the next few weeks, and we are getting into areas that I have less knowledge about. It should be interesting.

I am just getting around to the various newsletters and daily food for thought that I subscribe to from the past week. This was in the November 5, 2003, Quotes of the Day:

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
-- Bill Cosby

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Where we meet up.

Accepting that reality is subjective and individual for each of us, no matter if there are or aren't objective truths about it that can be discovered, what interests me the most are the intersections of your reality and mine... and the dance we create when it happens.

Finally today, I am getting around to some of the emails I owe to so many old friends and new ones. Please be patient. I will get to them all. Each dance is important to me.

Quotation and quick mentions that crossed my path today.

S/he* who would move mountains, begins by carrying away small stones. ~~Chinese Proverb

* yes, yes, modernized pronoun chosen by me..

Tuesday's are simply very long days for me. There were many thoughts today, yet little time to write or really sit and think....
Things I bookmarked to go back and read again included
"Pull bar to raise"
from Older and growing which I think will be a phrase I remember for a long time, and on an entirely different note, "Laughter Yoga" from Abyssal Mind.
Beyond how laughter makes us feel in the moment, there are wonderful mood enhancing brain chemicals that are released and linger in our system when we smile or laugh. There is some research (that I don't have a link to at the moment), which suggests that even faking a smile will release some of those same brain chemicals- enough that if we do it long enough, we can alter any underlying negative mood.

There were more thoughts that I tried to write earlier and thought provoking reads- tangents of course- but sleep beckons... and dreams.. which reminds me of something I found at whiskey river.. but I think you will have to discover the less obvious links by yourself. The page has many.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Abyssal Mind

Abyssal Mind :"Do what you want" is Useless: "The more interesting issue to me is not whether I should do what I want, but how can I change what I want so that life works better. By surrounding ourselves with ideas that have lasting meaning we modify our desires, sometimes changing ourselves so much it is like putting on a new mind. "

Well said and an interesting issue to examine. I agree that we always do what we want- by choosing or even by appearing not to choose and consciously or subconsciously for either. With examination of our own particular programming and doing exactly what is said - "surrounding ourselves with ideas that have lasting meaning", we can change our perceptions, thought patterns and actions completely.

"I can't complain but sometimes I still do, Life's been good to me so far".

My car (like its owner perhaps?) apparently doesn't like the cold and rain. I am home working on papers due later in the week because of a little glitch in maintenance. It seems fixed now and ready for the next round. We have gone from 100 degree temps a week or so ago, to rain and temps in the upper thirties (F) tonight. Fall has arrived in Los Angeles. Of course, one should remember when Angelenos complain about rain and cold they are talking about rain which mostly requires the intermittent setting on the windshield wipers and temps in the 35-62 F range. We whine about anything that isn't the average mid seventies to low eighties temps and sunny days. We know how nice we have it, but like the line from the Joe Walsh song- "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.."- we do. A week ago it was the fires, now it is the cold and rain that are helping to finish off the last of the fires- there is no pleasing us.

Tonight's project is one for the behavioral class. I am trying to figure out new antecedents to target to add a desired behavior - or I am trying to figure out which antecedents are the ones involved in procrastinating the desired behavior.... target is working on housework and home projects during the week. I find that I study (the bulk of the time- and I like studying), blog, answer emails read and research instead of being superwoman.

You can't eat off my floors (or well you could sometimes, but that is an entirely different meaning) or miss the fingerprints on certain windows or the clutter that seems to grow when I am not looking. And my weekends are often spent in non stop work. I don't like it like that, but I have so far found ways not to make it any easier. We can be our own worst enemies.

Lyrics "Life's Been Good", by Joe Walsh watch out this is on a purple background that does strange things to my eyes.
Elyrics4U- same song, easier on the eyes background.

Another late night.

I was going to blog about some of the particulars of an assignment that I worked on today, but instead I am going to have to think a little more about how much of them to post. It wasn't that I didn't have answers that made things difficult, or that I didn't want to explore the topics (most of them I have explored previously, but answers change over time), but rather that I had confidentiality concerns about many of them. I don't remember any assurances in this class- unlike any others I have taken in counseling or psychology- that my answers would be held in confidence exactly as if I were in a therapy session.

I am normally very open about most anything in my life- if you ask, I will probably share- but there are things and ways and then there is how one explores within oneself. I don't hide the truth, but I might not share the details in full.

There is a certain amount of angst in the primary relationship in my life. I wrote some bad poetry that is posted online on another page of mine, that expressed the state/stage of things, though not necessarily the emotions. Some of the answers for this assignment were difficult. But in the end, I also found some very positive things to say- but better yet, that I hadn't realized I felt. And that might just be a very good thing.

It is useful to explore the preconceptions and possibly even false notions about relationships, authentic love, intimacy, and identity. In long term relationships perhaps it is even more important from time to time to do it again, to make sure that one still understands these things and where things have changed.

A sampling of some of the questions from two chapters on love and relationships:

What did you learn about love in your family of origin?
How do you express your love to others?
How do you let another person know your own need to receive love, affection and caring?

It is worth it to love because-
List some of the meanings of love to you-
Think of someone you love. What specifically do you love about that person?

What are some of the ways in which you see yourself as evolving in your relationships?
Are you resisting growth and change by sticking with some old and comfortable patterns, even if they don't work? What are they?
How is the person with whom you are most intimate changing or resisting change?

Are you satisfied with the relationship you have just described? If not what would you like to change?

How did your family of origin deal with conflict? What did that teach you?
How do you deal with anger directed toward you?
How do you express your anger in your current relationships?

To what degree are you able to forgive yourself for any of your past regrets?

Complete the following:
To me, intimacy means-
The most important thing in making an intimate relationship successful is-
The thing I fear most about an intimate relationship is-
When an intimate relationship becomes stale, I usually-
One of the reasons I need another person is-
One conflict that I have concerning intimate relationships is-
In an intimate relationship it is unrealistic to expect that-
To me commitment means-

These are only a sampling of the ones I answered, but if you haven't considered them before, they are worth thinking about.
edited to add that the text and questions are from "I never knew I had a Choice", 7th ed., Gerald Corey, Marianne Schneider Corey, Wadsworth Group, 2002.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Internal dialogue.

Once again, I am up after midnight. Note to self- late nights do not work well with the schedule this quarter! I am catching up on reading newsletters, research updates and blogs and stumbled on this.

"Every time I hear or read these lyrics, I am reminded of how I pass through life. Often I realize that my worries are exactly must that...MY worries, and everything related to them (well, almost everything) is going on in my head, in my conversations with me, and that I can, in fact, choose what to say to myself...just as my self can choose what to say to me: ..." From Wirearchy: Musn't Grumble, Mustn't Grumble, Mutter Grumble .

I am mostly a glass half full sort of person, but everyone has days that test optimism and the ability to see through, under, over or around obstacles. Over the years, I found that with meditation a part of the regular routine, I am significantly more positive on those kinds of days. Of course, adequate sleep and a reasonably regular schedule for sleep and meals play a big role too.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Song that keeps running in my head.

I really like this song by Sarah McLachlan, so I had to find the lyrics online: Sarah McLachlan :: lyrics:

"Heaven Bend to take my hand
And lead me through the fire
Be the long awaited answer
To a long and painful fight
Truth be told I tried my best
But somewhere long the way
I got caught up in all there was to offer
But the cost was so much more than I could bear

Though I've tried I've fallen
I have sunk so low
I messed up
Better I should know
So don't come round here and
Tell me I told you so" ...

Friday, October 31, 2003

Dual posting; Gender Genie.

Being frequently mistaken online for male, this entry at Calblog caught my eye.

Putting in the post below, which one might think would give more hints about gender, the results were:
Female Score: 416
Male Score: 1118
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

In person, there is no ambiguity. Check it out: Gender Genie

Change and internal questions.

One of the many tangents that I was thinking about last night/early this morning was the fear of the unfamiliar and unknown that can factor into change- change of any sort, but in particular the big changes that we attempt to make in our lives and in our ways of thinking.

What will happen, what will other people think, what if it doesn't work out? What if I fail? What if I am wrong? Is this really my best direction, change, choice, path?

I have had and continue at times to have, trouble with some of those questions. My answers and reminders to self most of the time these days are: I don't know what will happen, no one does; I have to please myself first, and if it doesn't work out, I will try something else, some other direction, some other method. If I fail, I fail- and I will pick myself up and try again if it is important. I trust me to do what is best for me- there is no wrong in that scenario. There are outcomes that are more desirable than other outcomes, but if I am working from my own beliefs and not those of someone else's program, then there is no wrong.

If I don't try, and I don't make the attempt, then I am not living a life, but merely existing in it as if a place marker, or worse, existing in someone else's definition of a life. I accept that I create my own meaning and purpose. I accept that I am responsible for my own happiness and that I have choices in any situation.

Sometimes it is necessary to just turn off the questions and forge ahead. I have found myself in an overly analytical questioning mode (is this the best way for me, is there a better one, is this my choice or someone else's choice for me) that becomes a way of procrastination disguised as being introspective.

Over time I have found that in those moments, jumping in is a much better choice for me, than continuing to evaluate the water.

Anchoring and Antecedent changes?

This post at Older and Growing started me thinking about various things. First I re-read several previous entries and then back to the one linked above. I felt myself cheering Andy onward.

As often happens when it is very late in a long day, my mind swirls around several things at once. The words connect on many different levels and to different things that are part of my world.

Of course to begin with, there is the mention of NLP which interests me from what little I have read so far. But one of the things that struck me was how similar a concept the description of anchoring was to one of the behavioralist's tools for changing a pattern of behavior- the tool being to change the antecedent or change one of the antecedents in a chain.. It isn't quite that simple, and I suspect that anchoring isn't either, but they both seem to start from a similar place.

To change the "old tapes" running in our minds about our beliefs and behaviors, it isn't enough to simply know that we are in control and that we choose our thoughts and beliefs (and the associated behaviors). We are much more likely to return to old patterns, because they are familiar and we tend to keep repeating and drifting back to the things that are familiar, even when they are destructive. So anything that one does to make the circumstances different, even in very small ways, changes the pattern, and helps one to remember there is a choice that one can make.
From there I began thinking about change, and choices, authentic selves, self doubts, old tapes, and how people think- but those are unfinished notes of things that have been bouncing around for a while.. I will sleep and then see if I can do a better job of expressing them in the morning.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Fires still burning.

I posted a link to the latest jpg (3PM 10/2903) from the Federal Active Fire Maps on Corner.

The fires to the northwest of me are still about 20 miles away, but the winds have died down to a gentle breeze, so they may hold that fire. My family is all ok for now and except for the San Bernadino county fires, should be in less danger each day.

If you want to change the world.

If you want to change the world, start in small steps by positively reinforcing every instance of behavior that you see that "matches your values but doesn't necessarily affect you at that moment".

"Changing the world is no more difficult than changing your own behavior. ... You do it one behavior at a time."
(Audrey C. Daniels. 2001. Other People's Habits. NY: McGraw-Hill)

Daniels says, that in a book by "R. M. Axelrod, "The Evolution of Cooperation", has in it some advice that may help you create opportunities for deliberate acts of kindness. ... He discovered that those who are effective in creating conditions of cooperation do the following: 1. Always assume cooperation 2. Reinforce any act of cooperation 3. Do not reinforce any act of non cooperation 4. Are quick to forgive noncooperative acts.

According to my behavioral counseling professor, we all do what we are reinforced for doing. His quote: "Behavior flows where reinforcement goes." We get more of whatever behavior we reinforce. And we ourselves continue the behaviors that get reinforced - gravitate towards those people and those things that give us pleasure and stay away from those things that feel like punishment.

My pleasures and yours are unique and individual , so what is a reward or reinforcement for one behavior for me, may not be for you. Positive reinforcement might be as simple as a thank you or anything that the other person thinks of as a reward.

All behaviors have consequences and antecedents- the things that come after and the things that come before. The consequences are why we repeat a behavior the next time we encounter similar antecedents. There is some payoff for us.

Behaviorism is a unique perspective and while I think it has a huge handle on people's motivations, it does ignore what and why things become a motivating factor in our behavior. If you want to fix a bad habit or change something that has become an automatic way of responding, these are the tools in the toolbox that one would use. If you want to understand why, it will give you the first layer of the onion, but not get to the core.

If you want to change the world, start by giving out rewards and reinforcements for the behavior that you find suits your views about how the world ought to be. The worst that could happen is that you find yourself moving through your own life in a little easier fashion.

Wednesday's are catch up day.

I meant to post here last night, but my behavioral counseling class ran late and I was very hungry and tired when I got home. The good thing about Tuesday's, the long day and late return home -is that sleep is easier and often deeper. I will have more later today on several items.

On fire related items: My sister to the south and many of the members of my family to the east are less threatened by the fires now. But the San Bernadino county fire continues to march to the north threatening new members of my family. I didn't think about how many of us were here in Southern California until the fires started.

Today is the catch up day for everything- errands, housework, assignments and an assortment of thoughts to sort for the blogs if I can.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

From Older and growing...

Older and growing... : Modelling.
I frequently run across quotes that make me want to check out what a book is about, but I have to say that this one made me think about so many things in addition to that. Tangents indeed. When I have more time this week, I will see if I can post some of them.

Monday, October 27, 2003


Though it picked up a little while ago, the wind is calmer and has shifted direction a little, but it is cooler and expected to be cooler and calmer tomorrow. The fires are still burning everywhere and new ones did crop up today. My sister in San Diego county made preparations to evacuate if it became necessary. There are fires in several different directions from her home. With all the birds, dogs and cats that are part of her household, it would not be a simple matter if they were forced to leave.

Things are still fine in our little portion of the San Gabriel foothills. We are slightly less than 20 miles east or 20 miles southeast from the closest two out of control fires, with several canyons and little mountains in between.

Monday and I ...

... don't want to go to class. I am feeling slightly uncomfortable as I haven't heard back from my sister in San Diego county and I don't know what these winds are going to do. They seem to have settled down a bit with the slight movement of the high pressure region, but the winds may shift now to flow onshore pushing things eastward. Our little corner of the national forest and these foothills haven't attracted the firebugs, but the danger hasn't passed yet. What we need is a little humidity and cooler temps which are expected overnight.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Fire Maps.

JPG Map of Fires in California

I posted links to several other map and imagery sites on Corner.

Worst I can remember.

I don't remember ever seeing this large a number of different fires in different counties all at the same time- ever- in my entire time in southern California. I have seen a lot of really devastating fires that spread to different communities, forests and mountain sides via embers on the Santa Ana winds, but never quite like this.

Wind, Fires and Studying To Do.

The fires are not likely to be contained any time soon and the winds are expected to continue through tomorrow evening. The skyline is filled with smoke from the east and west of us. Scattered family members are located in or near two of the three areas of concern. The winds in my area have calmed at the moment, but I expect them to increase again after sunset. I feel so sorry for all those who lost loved ones and their homes, yet so grateful that this stretch of the foothills is not burning.

I have studying to do and it has been difficult to focus today. I would prefer to sink into a work of fiction instead of concentrating on texts and assignments. A part of me is resisting serious work, except for the weekly laundry which is in progress.

Saturday, October 25, 2003


Via Older and Growing who very frequently has thought provoking content and today is no exception, I found gassho and the interesting conversation provoked by the question: "What does it mean to be ourselves fully, unashamed, and passionate about who we are?" on Wiki Wednesday.

"To All Clock Watchers".

"To All Clock Watchers", something to consider: Alice in Wonderland, White Rabbit found via a link at Furtive Blogging.

Quote of the Day.

From Quotes of the Day for October 25, 2003:
"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think."
-- Edwin Schlossberg

I am very glad that there are people who do have that skill -and that many of them still alive, are online with blogs.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Thursday's Midterm and More on Foundations.

The midterm I took yesterday, the 23rd, despite what I noted previously (a little confusion about date, but not day), went well. There were only a couple of questions I was unprepared for and a couple that were a process of elimination, but I felt very comfortable with the material. The test was actually much easier than I expected.

And I am back to thinking about choosing a perspective for that class. Reviewing a list of statements about personal beliefs that one might have for any given perspective, along with a rating of 1-5 about agreement, sends me back to the existentialist perspective as the one with the most 4's and 5's, with Adlerian and Person Centered both coming in a close second. None of the major theories has all 5's or even 4's.

I will be able to write the paper about a single one that fits with me in a couple of weeks, but there is no perfect fit with my views and perspectives on life. Perhaps there is no perfect fit of theory with anyone, except the people who established the original theories. The key things are that I know or am learning where I differ, and why, and that I believe that clients have their own values and best solutions that may often not be mine. I respect everyone's right to be the author of their own life.

The whole gently directive versus non directive issue is murky to explain, but I understand in theory when each could be necessary. Empathy, an understanding of the client and why they are seeking help is essential to answering that question. Feeling secure enough about myself to focus entirely on the client and asking questions when I don't understand or need to clarify also seems essential.

Wind, Heat and Fires.

The trouble with two blogs and trying to keep some of the more personal out of the one that is about politics, science and news, is that sometimes there is crossover. Either I am focused on current events or as is the case today, people close to me are affected by what is happening. Corner has my tiny notes on some of the Southern California fires, with family as the markers for locations.

The trouble with Santa Ana's is that they can shift, change direction and kick up intense gusts at any time. Add intense heat and it is an instant prescription for fire this time of year in Southern California.

Santa Ana's are unpredictable and wild, which is part of why I like them, but why they are so dangerous in fire season.