Saturday, January 31, 2004

tinywords haiku

night rain
between the wind chimes

-Ann Schwader


The responses for the above haiku at tinywords, are interesting too.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Nourish soul.

While googling "nourish soul", I came across someone who had used my Monday question in a newsletter (quite some time ago) and posted the responses. Also found in the google search was Amura, a site that looked interesting for its soothing qualities and eastern leaning teachings, and from there wound up at Yin Yang prints from which is an interesting site to wander all by itself for the pleasure factor.

Nourishing one's soul, means different things to different people. I liked this definition of what is nourishing to the soul from Amura: "The things that make you feel whole, alive, and one with the universe (or God)". I am not sure that "one with the universe" feeling is always attainable, or at least not for me. But each of the activities that feel like nourishment to me are things that connect the whole of me to something larger, even if only in small ways. Sometimes it is only a phrase in a book or words in a blog; Sometimes it is standing silent taking in the beauty of sunset; Sometimes it is standing in the wind and really feeling all of its touch.

Positive psychology...

Where happiness lies.

Authentic There are various tests that are meant to be used with the book..

I can't type toningt.. sleep beckons.. desperately needed... more later.

Edit: For some reason, I felt the need to post the above long after I should have been sleeping. Added content this morning below:

I have had the Authentic Happiness link up since the beginning at Corner, and I had discovered Seligman before my textbooks began to mention him. There are numerous questionnaires/indicators on the site which can be used without the book to give a general indication of how one feels in relation to other people who have taken the test. The VIA Signature Strengths survey is located at the top of the page on the left corner.

The site is set up such, that clicking on the wide blue bar with the test name will give you the test, while each one of the links in the paragraph below the questionnaire name goes to a book review.

They are self surveys, which give you indications of how you are feeling this moment in time. They are not indications of how you will feel later but can be useful if you are honest with your answers, to give you an indication of what areas might be giving you a spot of difficulty. There are NO right ways to live and NO right ways of coping. There are just individuals. Some skills that can be learned are more useful for some than others.

Seligman's views happen to fit with a few of my own views. I do believe that often if we change how we think- how we frame the views, what we say to ourselves - about something, we can alter feelings about it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Until the week slows down.

"I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm." -- James Thurber

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Dr. Seuss

From Quotes of the Day

Monday, January 26, 2004

One question.

What did you do today to nourish your soul?

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Sunday perusing.

There are already several posts for today, so I think that this one will be the sort of linkblog entry of things that I come across in between laundry loads. I will edit and add as the day progresses, if I can.

This- Moondance: Celebrating Creative Women- Columns: Voice Lessons, by Anne Kelly-Edmunds -is thought provoking. From its conclusion: "So, now, I wonder how accurate my voice is today. I am fifty-four years old. I have seen a lot of life; I have faced its challenges. I have lived a lot of life with its loves and losses. Do I speak my truth? Do I live my truth? These questions stay with me as I seek to do so."

I liked this from The Obvious : "May my fuckedness grease the wheels for future lack of fuckedness to come" which was linked to where I found this quoted from a post at BarlowFriendz: "Among the beliefs that he and I shared was a conviction that making public the intimately personal is a revolutionary act in an atomized society where many feel compelled to play so close to the chest that they can't read their own cards. Being emotionally naked before strangers extends to them a permission for self-revelation they badly need if they are to loosen the shackles of their own quiet desperations. It is a blow against the pursuit of loneliness.".

These folks are surely creating "a context in which other people can think".
(Edwin Schlossberg)

Unconscious Mutterings Week 51

Unconscious Mutterings
"I say and you think:"
  1. Political:: Campaign. Bush gone.
  2. Concentration:: Intense. Frequently followed by interuption.
  3. Fish:: Baked, fried, eaten. Pets: tropical. Not in a long time: with a pole.
  4. Lunacy:: Seldom. Craziness is something else.
  5. Red:: Mother's favorite color. Valentines Day, also the day she died. hmmm never thought about that combination before.
  6. Imply:: Everything between the lines; Sometimes keeps company with assume, which has its own problems.
  7. Recognize:: Acknowledge presence as in beauty, gratitude, joy.
  8. Sexist:: Difficult to eliminate. Know more than a few.
  9. Commercial:: For profit. Advertising everywhere.
  10. Stricken:: Seldom ill. Often by awe.

"Obsolescence of Happenstance"

Checking in some of my less frequently read folders at bloglines, I happened upon this post: Anil Dash: Obsolescence of Happenstance.

The post and the comments triggered numerous thoughts in all sorts of directions, one of them being that I am not so sure "happenstance" is becoming obsolete. I don't think that we are shutting ourselves off from those chance meetings that can create new connections and even change lives. I think the chance opportunities still exist, but may happen more often in new places and spaces. There could actually be more opportunities than before- but we have to be slightly more active in seeking them out. We have more choice about when to place ourselves in spaces that allow these chance meetings. And all of that is possibly easier for some people than others.
...Something to think about anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

On Weblogs and blogging.

Below the link is a tiny, tiny snippet from a post that has a great deal of food for thought and takes me on a zillion tangents. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Wonderchicken:
"Weblogs are a party, damn it, and sometimes they're publications too, or instead, and sometimes they're diaries, sometimes they're pieces of art, sometimes they're tools for self-promotion, sometimes they're money-maknig ventures, sometimes they're monuments to ego, sometimes they're massive wanks, sometimes they're public services, sometimes they're dedications of faith, sometimes they're communities. Always, they are a public face, one chosen and crafted to varying degrees, of the people who write them. They are avatars, masks, or revelations of our deepest selves. They are political or philosophical, merrily inebriate or sententiously sober. Do not listen to those who would tell you what they are not.
These people will destroy your soul. Classification is for insects. "

Friday, January 23, 2004

Atom feed.

Blogger has added Atom feeds to Blogger and Blogspot, so I posted a link in the sidebar to mine. Now I am off to see how it actually looks in an aggregator/reader.

How to change site feed settings

Unexpected Returns.

There is an unexpected bonus from my recent days of internship- one that I feel a little guilty about finding. While I think it is important that I do a lot of serious introspection about all of the various tangents to that, I thought I would share the general outlines of the feelings.

I have always felt there is a sort of optimal balance that ought to be present in everyone's life-- that it is different for each of us, but finding that right balance for each, is important. I don't mean balance as in exactly equal, but balance that "feels right" to self. All things that one does in life, including doing for others and doing for self, are part of this individual optimal balance, as are the rewards that one gives and gets in one's life. Speaking strictly of giving, it is my feeling that it should be done without thought of reward- freely without expectations of anything in return- simply because you see a need or want to give.

I don't think that there is anything wrong for example, with giving kindness and hoping for kindness in return. It is "expecting" kindness in return and being disappointed when it doesn't come back in the manner you wanted, that starts problems. And though I am just like everyone else and have my own set of expectations and desires, I do make an attempt to give of myself freely and not to expect any particular response to be given back to me. People are who they are in any given moment and what comes back is different at different times. The world seems a better place if I keep that in mind.

And now for the guilty part; I think that I "got" more than I gave this week. I felt very good about my little ripples of help- that I was able to do anything to help. I spent the time being fairly outwardly focused. I won't go so far as to say it was zen like, but being fully present in each moment for the moment and not thinking about my role in it, dealing only with those things that were happening right then, helped me to help others.

The bonus and the guilty part were that at the end when there was time for self reflection, I felt larger rewards than I deserved- the returns for doing and giving were larger than my efforts. I did do all that I could do in every interaction, and it might not have been perfect, and certainly wasn't without mistakes or hesitation, but it was the best of me that was present. I know that I did the things that I did because I wanted to do them, because they were what I felt was needed at the time, not because I expected any praise or recognition. It was rewarding enough to self, to know that I gave the best of me and could see results that told me the things I was doing were helpful on an immediate level.

But I also know on different levels from different folks that it was appreciated. They either told me or demonstrated to me (depending on if it was staff or clients), their appreciation of my being there and for the various things I did- they appreciated the "me" that was present in each of the moments.

Being told or having it demonstrated was a huge reward, maybe larger than seeing the results on an immediate basis, and I don't think it should be ... and that makes me feel a little guilty.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Should have made a wednesday post.

It was a busy day today, filled with wonderful experiences in the first real day of working (a little bit of real work) at the internship and I have plenty of things to say, but no time and energy to say all of them.

Working with the people today was a very rewarding experience. I also felt I made tiny ripples of difference here and there.. tiny moments that had a postive effect. IT is a very good feeling to do that and most especially for never having done quite the things that I did today.
Happy Thursday everyone.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Little updates.

The internship observation day went well. I am still processing the experiences, but everything was positive in nature. Getting up at 6AM and being on my feet for more than half the time at the school, takes its toll on this boomer gen body. Since my class this evening was cancelled, I can't exactly imagine what tomorrow's long day will be like as it will start at the same hour and be fairly non-stop until I get home after 9PM.
On another note: I mentioned a couple of days ago that it would be nice to see the blogroll as points on a map of the planet.. And there IS a way to do that if everyone in my frequent read blogroll list had geo tags in their blogs.
Anyway- Mikel at Brain Off posted the link in my comments to put the blogroll list in one of his WorldKit maps.

See WorldKit Geo Roll.

Actually there is a whole page of things, examples and applications of his program at the link in this sentence.
Cool stuff.
I will have to put a geo url tag on the side of the blog or below- maybe it will stir a little interest. It isn't my exact pinpointed location on the planet- rather within a half dozen zipcode zones, give or take.

LA county is a big place- something like 4000+ square miles.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Loss and Gratitude.

It sounds so trite to say there is pain and an empty place where there used to be something patched solid. But there it is. Maybe because this was a patched place and not whole to begin with, things feel a little differently this time. I know that a new patch will grow over it, is growing even now, like all the other losses large and small that one encounters with this much life and time. The pain will fade and the memory of the loss will remain, but the new patch will hold. Underneath for a while, will be the empty place, but it will almost or even completely fill over time. Age has an advantage perhaps. I know this place and have experience with patches and holes and pain.

I have such gratitude and feel such immense fortune that friends rushed in, coming forward to prop me up a bit after I fell, then stood and wobbled. They didn't ignore or erase the empty place or the pain, knowing that pain must work its own self out, but they helped to form the patch and reminded me just by their presence, that there is more that exists and life still ... that time and love heals almost all ... and that I am not alone.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

A New Find.

This is a wonderful story- go see for yourself: BrainCrayons: A Fish Story.

Unconscious Mutterings.

I like this little game of weekly word associations. The instructions say that there are no rules- words, phrases, paragraphs- whatever the words bring to mind for you is all that is important. I also sent in a list of a few words that I thought would be interesting to see the results from, but I didn't give it a lot of heavy thought- just tossed off a few that I thought would be interesting but simple.

If you want to play- go to Unconscious Mutterings and copy the list (or you can post in my comments- it doesn't require a blog post to play- the nice thing about no rules).

Here are mine for the week:

  1. Berry:: strawberry- juicy, sweet or sweetened; also blue, black and raspberries; lip stain/gloss/balm and kissable.
  2. Fiendish:: plot, plan, agenda that deceives.
  3. Bar:: barrier; sometimes necessary, often only imagined.
  4. Frank:: honest; often used as a preface to other words to signify that one will not like the next thing one hears.
  5. Bend:: willow and other trees in the wind; lessons the wind and trees taught me.
  6. Fanatic:: rigid beliefs but also one track mind.
  7. Belch:: excuse me.
  8. Flagrant:: huge violation done intentionally. There ought to be a category for this in Hockey, as in flagrant illegal checking.
  9. Burden:: the expectations of some taken onto self unwillingly
  10. Flimsy:: excuse.. but also fluttering light as a feather fabric draped as scarf or worn as a body covering which isn't; which leads to flirtatious which leads to...

Saturday, January 17, 2004


My mind is wandering many places tonight. After giving up (for the moment) trying to write something meaningful but not too revealing about the events of the week for public view, I began reading blogs that were in my recently read folder- a holding place I set up in the bloglines list.

"Winged" caught my attention. L a u g h i n g ~ K n e e s

Friday, January 16, 2004

Beyond Text.

I really need a linkblog, but am just not up to having one more place to post. This, from December 23, is a very interesting account of voice connections via internet.BarlowFriendz: Entering CasualSpace...

Haloscan comments added.

Comments should now be working again, but with no email notification to me when someone responds. With two blogs, I am going to have to think a little before paying an annual fee for each of them primarily for that feature.

It was very nice of Haloscan to import all the old comments and create the accounts for Blogspeak users.

Blogging Maps, Connections and Neighborhoods.

I am pretty sure I have posted a link before somewhere to The World as a Blog. But reading this post again and thinking in linear fashion this time, I remembered seeing the map linked above.

I think it would be cool (at least momentarily) to take geo meta data from the favorites in one's blogroll list and use it with a map like 'The World as a Blog'. I think the connections would look very magical.

It might be more visually satisfying, and a better representation of the romance and imagination of the post that triggered the thought, if it were only points of light on the map, rather than as excerpts of blog posts or if there were some way to toggle between the two. edit: It doesn't always show posts and there is a way to "log in" and see who is looking at the map... and it can be looked at as 'points of light'.

Along the same vein one can generate a representation for "neighborhood" at here. It is not as visually pleasing to me as the thought of all those points of light on the map in Andy's imagination.

But all of the connection thoughts take me to all sorts of tangents.

Edited 6:04PM: Actually the various things one can do with Touchgraph looking at neighborhoods, expanding and contracting some of the nodes is fairly interesting with lots of potential practical applications, unlike my suggestion which has no practical application at all.

Comments, Blogspeak, Haloscan - update.

Halo Scan now says that the accounts and comments are imported and they are waiting for the owner of Blogspeak to respond before "proceeding with the instructions and mass mailing". I was about to simply open two new accounts with them, but I can wait.

More on Internship.

I forgot to post that I did get the official call of acceptance today (Thursday afternoon) about the internship. I start Tuesday by walking and observing in a group tour that my contact will lead and then as an observer in a few meetings and classrooms.

On Wednesday, I will be doing some of the actual work, which will be in a field I know something about- working one on one as an academic tutor and also part of the day with the students in their computer lab. I earned a Master level International Tutoring certificate at the community college and in addition from my CS/IS student contacts, fell into a job working to set up online instructional material, as well as showing folks how to use it. So both of those things are within my ability and experience. It is a good fit.. there were a few future plans discussed... all in all a very positive experience.

I have to learn how not to stay up so late though. I will need all of my faculties in full working order to be of any help to anyone.

On a different note, I only have one of my own classes to attend next week. The first two days are cancelled, so that is nice too. Only reading to catch up upon and even that isn't too heavy.

I may get a chance to work on one of the first assignments for the Foundations of Special Education class.. more about that later, because one of my choices is to simulate a physical disability and go out into the world to experience it as well as videotape it. We do have a camcorder so all I need is a blank tape and to enlist the help of the husband to accomplish the thing.. I am debating choosing visual impairment/blindness because it is a possibility (cataracts that can't yet be operated upon) in my future. I really want to catch the other people's reactions on tape instead of only my own (because that is as interesting to me as it is useful to understand a tiny fraction of what it might be like to function in the world without one of the things we take for granted). I don't know if i can borrow one of those canes and the wraparound glasses that hide the eyes under which i will put a blindfold.

Happy Friday everyone!

Writing and Attention Seeking.

Why do we write? Why do we write and post it online for the world to see? Why, if we aren't a writer or an aspiring writer, do we use the process of written word and then "publish" it online?

Is it attention seeking or connection seeking- or a little of both? Is it because we have thoughts to share and want the possibility of being heard? Is it all vanity? Is a little attention seeking bad? I think we should examine the social norms that are imposed, before we automatically assume that seeking attention in all ways is a bad thing. I am not sure it is, unless it is the completely shallow, look at me, center of attention, never a real connection, sort of thing.

Of course my questions on this were prompted by this post at Older and Growing.

My thoughts have gone all over the place and I have made many attempts to write them down. But nothing comes out concisely enough to satisfy my inner critic (ok to laugh, because I know that I ramble a lot of the time). I keep wondering about the difference between a writer keeping a blog and a dabbler like me keeping a blog... and what about blogging too personal.. and blogging the journey ups and downs and the little revelations--- and their value to others if we don't censure too much of ourselves.

From a psychological perspective, sharing one's thoughts in a public way, even the more personal mundane of thoughts and journey, seems to have useful potential. A need for self expression is satisfied and our comments, thoughts, words and feelings are sent out where they might be heard and possibly understood (for connection and attention). Our need to share information or seek information may also satisfied. It can also give others a chance to see that they are not alone in their human-ness- in all the ups and downs of living life. When they choose to make a comment or blog about something we might have said, it starts a conversation... and then it becomes ripples of connection.

I am still turning all of this over in my head. I must admit that it is flattering that there are a few regular readers of my two blogs. It is attention, and it is nice to know that there are people - most of whom have never left a comment or tracked down the email to talk to me- who found something I said worth returning again, if only for the curiosity factor. At the same time, the concept of "audience" can be intimidating. A speech professor told me that one must always consider one's intended audience.. but that is seldom my first thought when blogging.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Ah ha! Blogspeak to be aquired by Haloscan.

I wondered a few times, why the Blogspeak (link will take you to the notice) commenting system has been down, but kept forgetting to look to see if there was a notice. I added a guestbook over on the side links, to leave general comments or to use when comments weren't working. Apparently all comments are going to be transferrred to Haloscan, so I am not supposed to lose anything. Hmmmm... There is no date about when this will happen though.
(dual posted to Corner)


I spoke to my contact at the foundation and it appears that two directors are interested, so I am now waiting only for a date for an orientation and observation day.
There are also possibilities for future internships that will involve more of the vocational rehab aspects of things, so that is encouraging too. I am quite pleased.

A great deal about how one may feel about things has to do with the attitudes of the people one surrounds oneself with or the people one is surrounded by. The attitude of my contact there is positive and upbeat along with very supportive and encouraging. She makes it easy to be enthused about this internship. I only hope that the staff I will be working with will also make things as easy. I can certainly find my own attitude to face the world with, and I do have my own focus for things and usual positive attitude that is mine for the world, but the people one comes in direct contact with, can make all aspects of life and work so much easier and happier. It can make a huge difference.

Especially in new situations, most people are more concerned with what they see from you about themselves and what you are thinking about them, rather than making all sorts of judgments about their impressions of you. I try to remember that when dealing with new people - especially when I am in the helping or supervisory mode, but it is really nice to have it returned--
Come to think of it, it is nice to have it returned in all areas of life. And I have had more than one example of that lately.
Thank you.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Edge: World Question Center 2004. "What's Your Law?"

The Edge: World Question Center 2004: The question: "There is some bit of wisdom, some rule of nature, some law-like pattern, either grand or small, that you've noticed in the universe that might as well be named after you. Gordon Moore has one; Johannes Kepler and Michael Faraday, too. So does Murphy.

Since you are so bright, you probably have at least two you can articulate. Send me two laws based on your empirical work and observations you would not mind having tagged with your name. Stick to science and to those scientific areas where you have expertise. Avoid flippancy. Remember, your name will be attached to your law. ..."

This is wonderful. I am clicking around reading the various people's "laws". There are 164 contributors to this from all sorts of disciplines. I haven't read them all, and it was hard to pick one as an example, but here is one:

Bharucha's Law (Jamshed Bharucha)

"To understand what people are thinking and feeling, look beyond what they say. Language does not capture the full range and grain of thought and experience, and its unique power enables us as easily to mask our thoughts and feelings as it does to express them."

"I wish you well"

(Alternative Title: On Receiving an Angry 'Dear Jane')

"I wish you well"; An opposite subtext and cold knife
cutting away pieces of resolve, and inner strength;
cutting, slashing away pieces of me.
An ending.

The energy to project the positive 'can do' in all other endeavors...
is seriously missing.
Only in this moment. ....
How long? This moment.

I am trying.

all, everything, nothing.

So much else to focus upon, to do.
Need to do? Do I need to do?
It springs forth from the depths.
And a why do I need to do, now comes to mind.

But no inner reserves spring forth.
And no enlightenment is forthcoming.
No answer to the desire to curl up and escape this place...
this place that I created ..
this place that I fell and feel pushed into...
unwilling, unexpected, unwanted.

And no thing to move in another direction sticks for long..

And a part of me wants to scold the part that can't move out of this moment.
It is not useful to scold a part of oneself.
It has no function.

I know, I know...
until conscious thought follows actions, It only takes repeating- to simply do.
Be, but not examine.
Focus on other, anything, forward, up, out, around, diversion, distraction,
hope elsewhere, look elsewhere.
no hope, no need. No backward glances. No examination.
Raw, doesn't have to be examined this moment.
Do. Be. Make the motions. The mind will follow.

Later examine that knife and those bruises
and those slash marks into deep recesses of self.

Ah, but the little me voice says,
injury needs examination right now.
All animals lick their wounds.

(edited 1/14/04, also 1/15/04)

Monday, January 12, 2004

Another Monday.

My interview with Tierra Del Sol Foundation went well I think. I felt very positive afterwards, though I am sure they will do more for me than I will be able to do for them. I have some paperwork to turn in tomorrow and a TB test that I am going to try to get from the student health center today. They have to discuss it in a board meeting which should happen this afternoon. Hopefully I will be in an orientation and observation mode with them by the end of the week. They want to know what I can do for them and the question is like being thrown in the deep end and not knowing how to swim. I will probably be an aide in one of the classrooms for a while and possibly help in the computer center on some days.

They have a wonderfully set up campus. After hearing some horror stories, this was so completely, wonderfully full of help and activity and so much opportunity, education and care for adults with developmental disabilities, that the interview was worth going to, if only simply to see the campus and their approach. The client really does appear to be the entire focus!

This was edited to delete some of the excesses in description of what was developing in an intensely private relationship, that I felt the need to express that moment.. Mostly it was a childish wish that for one moment that person would read here and understand or make the attempt. Later the relationship came to a full end.

There are parts of this I am going to leave up, because they reflect one way to deal with events and people who do not respond to one in the way one would like. The best thing to remember is that we can't control how others act; we only have control of our own actions and with some effort, our own responses. NO one is in the world to live up to our expectations. The most that we can hope for is that they will sometimes care enough to try to give what we need.

There are parts of some lyrics that reflect a way I am feeling about a personal relationship today. There are words that I wish I could fling out, in the hopes they would make a difference- because of what I want, and because of a way that I would like to be treated. Actions do speak louder than words most of the time. Indifference masked by nice sounding words and pretending to care, is still indifference.

I will do without
The spaces in between
If you can tell me now
What it means to be

You have been found out
I have been deceived
Tell me why you gotta be so cold
How’d you get so high
Why you’re keeping me low
You don’t know, you don’t know
You will go without
A better part of me
There will be no doubt
What this all could mean

Matchbox Twenty (Cold Lyrics)

Now off to find some very positive humor or something wonderfully uplifting from somewhere before I head to class. I will not let events that I can't control, and people who are in the end, simply being themselves and not responsible for being what or who I would like them to be, determine the attitude in which I face the world.

edited 1/15/04

Email spam. Any suggestions?

I have seen a sudden upsurge in mail spam in my private personal and my blog and newsletter correspondence mailbox.. I think that in part it is in the fact that my email is listed in the source code for the comments.. Any thoughts on that? I can't take it out, if I want to get updates on the software and notification of the comments that people leave... but leaving it in gives a distinct advantage to bots searching for webmail addresses.. I can cut about half of them by using a filter to sort to the trash bin certain sorts of the usual terms like viagra, mortage rates, nigeria, and other related things.

The spammers have gotten quite tricky with their strange html setups that hide links that are set up with strange words inside html tags.. the tags themselves are gibberish.. but the filters don't catch those words.. and some might actually be included in certain legitimate email I would like to receive or signed up to recieve..
Any suggestions??

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Fourth Annual Weblog Awards

I think I am going to take the time to nominate a few of my favorites in various categories for this award. There are some folks that have made my thoughts soar in new directions, given me a good view of an opposing opinion (and food for thought) or helped to clarify issues that were troubling or confusing to me. I think they deserve nominations. Perhaps I will edit this post later and list them. The deadline is 10PM EST which is 7PM PST so I have a few hours to decide. Fairvue Central >> Features >> Fourth Annual Weblog AwardsFairvue Central >> Features >> Fourth Annual Weblog Awards

edited 12:20AM on Monday: Some of my nominations included Whiskey River, Older and Growing, Battlefields and Ballot Boxes, Calpundit and some others...

On Critical Thinking and Original Thought.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Beyond describing a way to live and a way to sort out which of the messages we receive that we should take to heart, the above fits a significant part of my definition of critical thinking. For me, life requires that no message of any kind - from anyone- be taken simply on face value without examining its whole.
I read someone's words a while back, lamenting and questioning if they or anyone else had original thoughts and wondering if maybe being too connected (to information) made this worse (don't remember exactly where, sorry, though perhaps many can probably relate to the thought in one fashion or another- if you know someone with a good post on this, let me know). I have had a similar thought about original thinking, though not with the despair that the particular young writer felt.

I think that often we come to similar conclusions about truths* we try to grasp or opinions we form. A thought may be original to us, but if we have been down a similar path as someone else in searching for answers, and our process has paralleled someone else's, we may come to a similar conclusion. We think we have found a revelation, but then discover that someone else found what sounds like the same one, and perhaps stated it with more clarity than we might have if attempting to explain. This doesn't make the concept we have discovered or the opinion we have formed any less important. It doesn't even make it non-original or derivative exactly. And it doesn't mean that we aren't unique, which is where I think the some of the angst of the person I was reading was coming from. What it means is that by examining the various sources we came to the same or similar conclusion as someone else- no more, no less. And it could mean that we might have stumbled upon something that has a larger relevance, maybe even something approximating a truth for our particular set of values.

If we read the same sources, the same histories, the same research, and live in similar cultures to others (with or without examining these influences on our lives), we are bound to often "find" similar truths. Even without the mass of information available to us, we might ponder the same questions and come up with some of the same answers. Perhaps more important than original thought (as in being the first), is to know the influences on where we start and to always evaluate the things we think or find with our critical eye, never accepting "truth" exactly as it is presented by another or the automatic path we travel for our own thoughts, until we have examined it from many angles, and by being as objectively honest as possible with ourselves. It doesn't matter if someone else has been there first. It only matters if we find something to be true for us.

*(the reality of truth- objective or subjective- is a tangent I won't follow this moment)

Unconscious Mutterings.

Last week I posted the word association game that I had stumbed upon. I received the email for this week's Unconscious Mutterings, so here are the words and my responses:

  1. Mitchell:: Martha (ooo, bet that shows my age)
  2. Mercury:: Libra in the 10th house
  3. Cycle:: motor (Son's Honda, new cycle totaled, summer accident; or black fatbob sportster, husband's custom built in kitchen; younger days)
  4. Engagement:: prior (listed in date book of course)
  5. Alternative:: always is one
  6. Gang:: bangers and taggers
  7. Emotional:: rational
  8. Skinny:: info (another dated item)
  9. Hypochondriac:: know some
  10. Insecure:: seldom but sometimes

Saturday, January 10, 2004

can't sleep... so perusing email newsletters.

I found this little gem in the quotes of the day newsletter:
"You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down." -- Mary Pickford

Friday, January 09, 2004

Internship.. maybe.

The Goodwill headquarters never returned my calls to them. But I may have finally found an internship today. I have an appointment with a small foundation on Monday morning. It is close by, less than a 15 minute drive I think. The telephone conversation was very positive, and we talked for quite some time. It is not the situation that I was hoping for, nor is it working with the population that I wanted, but it will give me an exposure to a great number of people with differing needs and requirements- primarily with developmental disabilities.

The foundation will still probably be surprised by my age when I walk in I think, but it will be fine as I usually do ok in a face to face situation. They always need help per the nice woman I talked to, are quite willing to take on volunteers without any specific to the field experience, and I need a place to begin. The more she talked and I thought about it, the better I felt about it being a good beginning place. Since it is so close (and assuming that there are no problems discovered on Monday), I should be able to add some extra time to make up for the lost week and being 12 hours behind. Their hours end prior to when I need to leave for campus so there are no class conflicts, and I ought to be able to still find a whole day alone at home -which is something I had hoped for.

So I am feeling very positive about it all working out. Keep your fingers crossed for me if you think about it on Monday.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Soul mates and deeper friendships.

Is there such a thing as soul mates? We use that term assuming everyone means something similar by it, but like all terms and words that describe feelings and connections, we each have our own interpretation.

I think that all relationships are unique - that it is what we bring and the combined reciprocity of each person that determines the level of connection we perceive. We share of ourselves what we feel is called for in the interaction, though just as often we share of ourselves what we hope to see returned in the interaction. There is another sort of interaction though- one that simply appreciates and allows without negative judgment, the other person to be who they are and expects that the other will allow us to do the same in all of our complexities on both sides.

I think our problems of perception and probably all of our problems in connections with others, lie in our potential expectations of return. Exchange theory (sociology) suggests that we only give to the level we get or give to the level we hope to get- that all interactions are exchanges of value in kind (there is some degree of that in behavioralism too- we do what we perceive as being rewarded- whatever the unique rewards are to each of us). If it is not returned, then we draw back in disappointment a great deal of the time. Those rare few who are willing to extend themselves fully, and show their appreciation of others without expectation of specific return, are perceived variously as good and kind, but often too open (as if there is really such a thing) and also by some as naive and ripe for being taken advantage of. We often withhold appreciation of others until we see some returned to us. Why?

But is it our fear of being rejected that really determines our level of interaction with others? Is that fear what holds us back from finding soul mates? Is that fear a security related issue? Is our insecurity about self - that we will be judged and found wanting- related to all of it?

The worst that can happen when we open ourselves up fully to another is that they will find us wanting- that they will judge us to be unworthy of their attention, of their affection. Is that truly a terrible thing? Or is that feeling directly related to how secure we feel at being ourselves and how much we really like ourselves? There is the other issue that others may try to take advantage of us, and use our (self perceived?) exposed vulnerabilities against us for their own gain.

We cannot be taken advantage of unless we are willing participants. We do know on some level when someone is doing that. We do know when we are being used. We only have to have the courage to believe that we know and be willing to do whatever that means to us that we should do, once we know. So perhaps there never is a real risk.

If some person rejects me because I have revealed all aspects of self, including the vulnerable soft spots (a label that I wonder about choosing in this context) - then they reject me. I am not made less by the rejection. It might be sad (even terribly sad) that they don't like or don't want to share what I want to share, but it isn't the end of me... and it does not diminish me. If someone tries to use and manipulate me in a particular way because I have revealed vulnerable and fragile ego areas that they choose to attempt to exploit, then I am not really being manipulated. I have a choice on how to respond.. and I can walk away. What I can't do if I understand what is going on is to pretend that I don't know and then later feel resentful because I have done something I didn't really want to do.

All interactions are choices. Soul mates must exist... but perhaps they are more dependent on how much of ourselves we are willing to share and reveal, and not as dependent on finding some unique set of characteristics within another, other than the same willingness to be open in depth and reveal all including the inconsistencies. It does seem that it is the security within self, that it is how we feel about ourselves, and how appreciative we can be of another in all their full human capacity, that really determines the connections we make. Perhaps it is security within and trusting another-or does one have to have the first to be able to do the second?

Is that how we make the deeper connections that most of us seek?

I don't really know. I wish I did.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Blogger RSS soon and a Tuesday race is done.

Blogger Blog, the Blog for Bloggers: Blogger to have RSS soon, likely to be Atom

I was just looking at the feeds that Blogmatrix creates for me and it is only a headline.. not even the headline I choose but rather the first line of my post.. I do have a Blogstreet Feed that gives more text, but it only updates on occasion.

I talked to the man at the Goodwill Headquarters today. His boss is supposed to call me on Wednesday and then hopefully I can interview with them on Thursday. The seminar class was interesting for its background on the instructor, but not much else was done tonight. Off to sleep at a reasonable hour for me.

If I had a grant, I would study this too.

Think Tank: Just Like, Er, Words, Not, Um, Throwaways : "... By far the newest — and most controversial — idea comes from Herbert Clark, a psychologist at Stanford, and Jean Fox Tree, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who determined that speakers use (and listeners understand) uh and um in distinct ways. Uh signals a forthcoming pause that will be short, while um signals a longer pause, she said. Uh and um are not acoustic accidents, but full-fledged words that signal a delay yet to come. Of course that is not necessarily a good thing in public speaking. "It makes you look weak when people have come to hear you prepared, and you're not prepared," Mr. Clark said. ..."

and further on... " ... But it may be Nicholas Christenfeld, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego, and other researchers who have come up with the most appealing findings. He counted uhs among professors giving lectures and found that the humanities professors say you know and uh 4.85 times per minute, social scientists 3.84 and natural science professors 1.39 times, which, he said, suggests that humanists have more expressive options from which to choose. ..."

Well, uh, hmm... I find this interesting. ;)

Seriously.. the use of pause words and their function is something we obviously learn and then place layers of meaning on top of those. The pauses in and around certain topics is something counselors attempt to interpret, but it is always contextual. Culture - both broadly defined (as in the UC study) and the more narrow definition (as in the opening paragraphs of the article) seems to play a very large role in the specifics of these pauses.

Monday, January 05, 2004

And the race begins again.

Today was back to classes for me. It was as crowded in the parking lots as I have seen it in a long time. The only spaces were at the furthest edge in one of the main ones. After dark that is a long hike with dim street lamps. As a cost cutting measure the lots are not that well lit- the result of that are assault incidents that get reported in the campus newspaper now and then. A situational hyper-awareness takes over and keys stuck in my fist like brass knuckles is the way I walk to my car. It is not a very relaxing end to any day.

Today's class was Foundations of Special Education. It looks to be interesting and not too demanding though it will run the full three and a half hours. It will be late when I go home. Tomorrow is a seminar type class for Rehabilitation Services and Wednesday is a Laws relating to Child and Family Welfare class along with a one time only meeting with the advisor for the field work. The rest of my work this quarter is the field work/internship.

I did meet a man from Goodwill Industries today (in my advisor's office) and am supposed to call him tomorrow about an internship. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I called several places this morning and either got a "too many interns already" answer or I had to leave a message on a voice mail system. No one called me back by the time I left for campus. That was not a good way to start the day or quarter, but I decided that I would throw myself on the mercy of my program advisor. I already knew it would be tough to find one at the last minute. He said I was way behind- that it was crunch time for an internship.. because I have to "do" 120 hours in the ten weeks. He said I would have to start on finding the one for next quarter within five weeks- if this one that I don't yet have, didn't last beyond the ten weeks...

It is all do-able. I refuse to let self imposed stress take over. It will all work out the way it works out. Any worrying about it won't make the pieces fall into place any quicker.
To sleep now, so I can do it again tomorrow.

The draft that got lost..

Escapable Logic : The Campfire Contract: " ...I think most blogs are a little like that. As amateur efforts, most are done after work with our guard down, not as part of our personal marketing effort."

I will have to fill in some thoughts about that later as I needed sleep an hour ago. But it may be an accurate insight to many posts- and not just my own.

Tomorrow it is back to the harried life that I have chosen for this time period. I don't mind being overwhelmingly busy- it is the sometimes senseless hoop jumping that gets to me. I need several weeks off where everyone else is not home or else I need to work really hard to finish the space that will be all my own when I shut the door...

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Interesting and huge project.

edited Tues AM to fix the link- sorry. Brain "Paul G. Allen had a vision that recent advances in computer science, bioinformatics, image analysis and the sequencing of the human genome could be brought together to answer one of the most complex questions in human biology—what is the brain and how does it work? He brought this vision to a renowned group of neuroscientists and advisors, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science was born." Found via

I agree with this:

""Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Harold Whitman". Via whiskey river

Draft lost!!

Ackk... What is happening to my drafts? I posted a draft of an item from Escapable Logic about blogging late at night and it disappeared. I wanted to preserve the link to return to later and flush out some thoughts. I haven't used the draft option in a long time because this happened the last time I tried to create a draft post too. Anyone know what is happening with blogger?

I guess it is time to go back to using email program drafts as my method of saving items for later. I don't always have time to create a thoughtful post in one go around. And that will bring up the issue of getting to drafts in my email program when I am elsewhere... ... though it could be said that lately, the posts haven't been all that thoughtful to begin with. ;)

Time will tell.

I stumbled by random chance on a new blog. I checked out his other webpages and a tiny sampling of his writings and it looks promising, but we will see. I don't know if he will be political/current events oriented or personal/philosophical in leanings, so I am posting the link here for now.

He doesn't have any commenting installed, but I sent him an email and told him that one is never too old for a radical career change as evidenced by this blogger... 31 is too young for him to think he is stuck in one choice forever. Life can be a series of endless opportunities and new directions, if you look at things from that perspective. Attitude Adjusting

Spirit Rover now on Mars.

The Spirit Rover has landed safely on Mars around 8:35PM PST. I posted various links on Corner....

My guess is that along with those links I posted, you might find better links than mine- tomorrow at Space Tramp.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

One day left.

My mini vacation is over on Monday. I still don't have an internship. I don't have my books for the quarter and I don't have a clue how this next schedule will be. I do know what classes and when I have to be at those. I have played, rested, goofed off and generally avoided thinking about anything or doing anything too serious... as is evidenced by the recent entries. *grin*

I ran across this word association game the other day and signed up for the email notification. It might be interesting and I would definitely be interested in the associations that others come up with.

  1. Vintage:: wine.
  2. Longing:: for a soul mate... does such a person even really exist?
  3. Specimen:: fine.
  4. Mock:: trial.
  5. Shit:: happens.
  6. Friday:: Friday's child is loving and giving.
  7. Cruel:: what we sometimes settle for before we know better.
  8. Insufficient:: fun, love, joy.... oh, yeah, that's something we create or choose for ourselves too
  9. Pessimistic:: husband.
  10. Grin:: did you?

Thursday, January 01, 2004

End of the first day of 2004.

I stayed up late last night or early this morning depending on how one looks at it... the tiny little buzz from the Asti wore off quickly, but my son had gone out at 10PM with a friend. He is 19 and though he lives at home while he goes to school and works, he doesn't have any curfews or restrictions as he did while he was in high school. When I was 19, I was working, had my own apartment and had dropped out of college. He is fortunately much more level headed than I was. But when he wasn't home by 3AM, I was a tiny bit concerned.

Releasing the apron strings is easier intellectually than doing so completely inside. I remember watching him trying to climb a fig tree when he was 3 or so- and knowing that I had to let him even while being close by to catch him if he should fall.... but knowing also that it was critical not to let him sense my fear for him. There were many such moments along the way and this age is but one more. All of parenthood is moments of letting go in an ever larger fashion and not passing along one's own fears, when every instinct is to protect and pull closer.

So I stayed up. He came in around 4AM (just fine of course) and then I went to sleep. I wanted to see the B-2 and the stealth fighters fly over this morning, so my husband woke me about 7:45AM and we went outside to watch the sky in the direction of Edwards Air Force Base.
I don't know how long the Reuters picture will be up at yahoo, but here is a link. That picture doesn't do the sight justice. Here are some more of the B2 from Boeing.

They are really impressive to see fly overhead. They do make noise, but in some years, the B-2 has flown over and I didn't hear it until it was overhead. It is startling to look up and see this huge black wedge flying above in such a slow fashion. They were accompanied today by two different stealth fighters and an escort- probably two. I have seen the F-117 up close parked at an air show. The other one is new to me, and it was the first time they have used it to thrill crowds. I am sorry, I don't know the designation. I think they are impressive, but I am not a military aircraft junkie exactly.

They used a flight path that took them further east than usual today, but we still saw them as they came over the San Gabriel Mountains and headed towards Pasadena. We heard the escort jets first, and were rewarded moments later with the three plus one of the escorts. We watched the one escort make a tight turn and head back into patrolling Los Angeles skies when they reached approximately the location of JPL. The stealth planes made a second pass a few minutes later heading back to Edwards. I was told they flew over the Rose Bowl later in the afternoon, but I didn't see them.

And then I came back in and slept the rest of the morning away. Without 6 hours of sleep, I am useless. I literally dreamed away a great part of the day and goofed off the rest while the guys watched football. I don't have too many of those days. It too was a treat.
Happy New Year everyone.

Happy New Year Everyone.

A year gone and a new one about to begin.... I wish I had something profound to say, but I don't. Perhaps it is the Martini & Rossi Asti I am drinking (a once or twice a year indulgence), or perhaps it is the mind still on holiday. The weather here is crisp and breezy... I love those winds and the beautiful night sky they create, but when they are cold (and I am alone in them) I find myself unable to ignore the chill for long. Yes, I am a wimp about getting chilled these days. One would never know that I grew up ice-skating in winter, once knew how to put on tire chains, how to layer clothing for a below zero wind chill and all about getting snowed in.

This post is likely to be links and wanderings (and perhaps a meandering thought or two of my own) that I edit or add to over the next two hours.

I discovered that Abyssal Mind has a new blog- more personal- at One Abyssal Mind. does a best and worst list worth perusing. adds some thoughts to the whole online relationships versus in person relationships- of all kinds... and while you are there check out If I Had To Do It Over.

Ming the Mechanic: Letting Go... "So there is a way in which we can accept impermanence and still relish life, at one and the same time, without grasping." ...YES....

The story is applicable to much more than this.. we actually have so much more when we don't hang on quite so tightly...

More from Ming the Mechanic.. on Blogger's Block.. I may come back to this one.. because I have some thoughts about it but the Asti is making the keys and fingers tangle...

Happy, Happy New Year to everyone...

edited at 1:25 AM to add this link:
I don't know how I missed this very thoughtful article about the internet: World of Ends by Doc Searls and David Weinberger. There is a response recently posted by Digital Common Sense.