Monday, February 28, 2005

What does this add to the debate?

"This" is the sort of thing that makes me angry about politics... not that it surprises me.

What difference does it make to the issue of Social Security proposals- if AARP supports or doesn't support gay marriage? !!!!

This winter drags on... and I whine...

I find myself looking for an external source to lift me out of this grey sky filled gloom I have been feeling at the edges of everything for weeks and weeks... while knowing all the while that "it" will not be found externally, but rather internally. That is - I know I am both the source and the cure for this mood that overwhelms some moments.

Worse yet, I know I am seeking a reason to simply drop everything for a while- shut out deadlines, places to be and people demanding my time. I feel confined, imprisoned, being dragged along a path I didn't expect to be on and am not sure I like... and difficult to admit- I am feeling neglected and used up. Every single one of those things is entirely my own doing. I lost some balance somewhere and need to find it again.

How many can you recognize?

I got 15 out of 20 correct on recognizing the difference between real smiles and fake smiles. Before I got the score, I figured I had done much worse. I took one of these sorts of tests in an introductory psychology class several years ago. I did slightly better than 75% then. Interestingly the facial part I used most (or was most aware of using) to tell if the smiles were real was not one they mention when they discuss the differences.

BBC Science & Nature- Homan Body and Mind- Spot the Fake Smile

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 108

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. You’ve got a friend:: "close your eyes and think of me and soon..."
  2. Immigration:: Ellis Island records
  3. Waitress:: "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" but I was thinking about the character "Flo"
  4. Snickers:: Not one of my favorite candy bars
  5. Recognize:: to be cognizant of; I am who I think I am, plus who you think I am, plus who I think you think I am and variations of that ad infinitum, plus all the unconscious areas I have and haven't discovered that include who "they" wanted me to be, who "they" thought I was, who I thought they thought I was and on and on for every being that has touched my existence...
  6. Concept:: organizing principle
  7. Birthday:: an annual celebration for showing gratitude about someone's existence
  8. Told you so:: terrible thing to say to someone
  9. Unlikely:: fairy tales seldom come true, but hope dies last and puts up a fight
  10. Extension:: useful add on; sometimes harmful file; more useful -need time...
Want to play? Go to Unconscious Mutterings.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


"Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage." ~ Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday." ~ Don Marquis

"Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday." ~Napoleon Hill

"Procrastination is suicide on the installment plan" ~Anonymous

Why is it that I find myself doing ten other things that need doing but aren't critical, for every one thing that is?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

ah... yes, sounds so familiar...

"When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago" ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's still raining...

The official rainfall totals in downtown LA- for the year (from July 2004 through now) are over 31 inches. I am sure the Foothills, Sunland in particular, have received more than that ("upslope areas", yada, yada, yada). Normal rainfall for the year measured from downtown LA (July to July) is about 15 inches. It won't be an earthquake that sends LA into the ocean, it will be too much rain and we will simply slip, slide away (now I will have Simon and Garfunkel on my mind all evening ;-) )

News Photo/Images:
LA Times image gallery at the side along with rainfall totals etc. (requires registration and is free but sends out spam/ad mail) similar story, photo gallery etc. along the side (is free and no registration)
NBC4 ; image links scattered within the story body.
CBS news, national has some interesting photos within the story.

I need rainbows, sunlight and an end to this rain. I am sure there were more rainbows today, but everytime I went looking they weren't on display for me. This rain may stop by Wednesday night or Thursday, but "they" are already talking about another storm coming in next week.

Free Mojtaba and Arash

From Andy to the BBC, to Google to find the site of course, then to various other sites (news and bloggers; CNet, BoingBoing, GlobalVoicesOnline, WorldChanging, numerous others) who ran a bit on the Committee to Protect Bloggers request for action from the blogging community designating 22 February, 2005 as "Free Mojtaba and Arash Day" - 'twas an interesting journey. (CNet has the most detail about both the jailed bloggers, the exact incidents and the Committee To Protect Bloggers.)

Human Rights Watch has these stories:
Iran: Journalists Receive Death Threats After Testifying

A page of various stories about crackdowns in Iran

Iran: Web Writers Purge Underway (Nov.2004)

Monday, February 21, 2005

A short break in the storms.  Posted by Hello

AP Photos
of some of the damage and turmoil around Los Angeles via Yahoo

More photos at the Los Angeles Times

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 107

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Dirty work:: thankless task
  2. Shopkeeper:: Shopgirl and NY152; hard to find owner run stores
  3. Goodness:: "Goodness is the only investment that never fails." ~Thoreau
  4. Yearning:: for a kind of caring, sharing and honesty that doesn't disappear
  5. Show and tell:: Storm images
  6. Trapped:: cage
  7. Malcolm:: Forbes: "Men who never get carried away, should be.", "You can judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing to them or for them."; Malcolm X: "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
  8. Season:: "Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each."~ Thoreau
  9. Bestseller:: "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." ~ G. K. Chesterton
  10. Desk:: study, work, computer, play; walnut with drawers, oak with hutch and cabinets
Want to play? Go to  Unconscious Mutterings.

Friday, February 18, 2005

"...but girl don't they warn you, it pours, man, it pours.."**

Rain, hail, lightning, thunder.. and flooding...

We have had rain all day, heavy thunderstorms and hail all afternoon. Just before 3PM, the intersections along Foothill Boulevard in this lower part of the "foothills", were all flooded. Water runs from approximately the La Crescenta area downhill to us. The street that connects to our culdesac was also flooded in several places including near the local elementary (and of course, also our intersection). People were attempting to drive through (school had just let out) and getting stuck, which brought out the fire department to effect rescues and keep the kids out of the water, which brought out the news media.

We still have helicopters flying over and reporters on the street along with LAPD. It is very, very unusual to have reporters here. For that matter, LAPD isn't such a visible presence much of the time either. Other places nearby are also flooded- the south facing slopes are getting the worst of the storm cells.

In various places around LA, there are hills and homes sliding, trees falling, roofs collapsing and other flooding. The rainfalls are record this year and this storm and the one behind it have much more rain yet to give. The ground is so saturated that I think the worst is yet to come.

I have a graduated 5-8 inch deep pond between my living room deck door and the garage- covering the entire space, complete with floating objects and submerged pots and planters. I keep trying to contact my son who is driving a little low to the ground sports car. I was hoping his girlfriend could or would drive him home (in her SUV). If the rain doesn't stop, his car isn't likely to make it through the streets, but he isn't answering. This mom's worried.

Channel 2 has online some video of bits of Sunland flooding as well as other places all around LA in their "Storm causing problems in the Southland" story.
So does ABC7 in their "Storm Track Images".

Later update- early evening: son made it home ok; the waters receeded a bit from the deck/patio area and also from the various streets around town; we do have some mudslides and road washouts; the next big wave of the storm is due in around midnight and they are expecting this microclimate area to receive up to a foot of rain by Tuesday. We will need boats to get around long before then. ;-)

**from song: It Never Rains In California

Harvard, Summers, the Transcript; and Tangential Wanderings..

The transcript of the January 14 remarks by the president of Harvard University at the NBER Conference, are now available on the Harvard President's web pages. It is useful to also look at the two letters that he wrote - on women and science written 19 January at the start of the public hoopla and the letter to faculty written 17 February.

He does appear (to me) to dismiss socialization as a strong factor, but I think it is open to interpretation... one of those slippery things that might require one know him personally or had dealings with him to have a clue about intention and meaning (and that 93% to hear tone, see body language and all the other sensory impressions that give clues to meaning).

Personally I think no one factor is the cause, and no one factor will be the solution. The president of Harvard seemed to be saying biology is the bigger factor while also saying the commitment women are willing to give isn't the same. I don't agree, but the results aren't in and won't be for generations past me.

I do know that among the various factors is a societal attitude about individuals, families, communities and WORK that is still unhealthy for the whole. Women are still the primary caregivers of family and children and IF that is in large part nature (which hasn't been proven, but isn't as far fetched sounding to me as it was in the seventies) then something has to be adapted to allow for that. I also don't believe that most men prefer or would choose willingly, 80 hour plus weeks and careers that require them to be thinking about their work at all moments, leaving no time for family and socialization.

And this gets back to a point that others have made much better than I can. It IS NOT all fine and good for businesses to be only concerned with what will make the bottom line larger (or academia to only consider the number and amount of research grants, or the citations in journals which lend them prestige, and so on). Businesses operate within a society, a community, a political system and so on; and their impact on those is as much a part of the healthy or unhealthy long term continuation of the business as is the strictly monetary bottom line. The short term monetary success has little long term value if it destroys individuals and families in the process and devalues the potential contribution of women or men because they aren't willing to give up their other roles. Maybe quality of life and impact on the larger whole can't be measured exactly in monetary terms (which is a fond argument of some people from certain disciplines and has to do with an inability to come up with concrete and agreed upon quantifiable pieces and suggests a concept/view problem rather than a reason to ignore those elements), but if society unravels because individuals and families aren't valued over money, then businesses will fail as well.

It is more difficult to see and certainly to quantify things from a whole systems sort of perspective, but it is way past time for businesses to shift their frame of reference to be looking at their role within and how to improve the whole.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

"Perhaps it is not cold enough"

From an email today from a long time friend:

" is bright and sun-shiney and the birds are chirping outside of my window...but i know when i go outside that the sunshine is false because it will be around 34 or 35 degrees and the birds are crazy for being this far north when nothing keeps them from flying south to where they should want to be.

people are like exactly...i'm here and i can't overcome whatever it is that keeps me here even in my unhappiness...perhaps it is not cold enough."

I think we often resist changing things that don't feel right or that make us unhappy, because it is "not cold enough" to make the effort or to overcome our fear of the unknown.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Interesting self exploration exercise

Andy posted an interesting exercise he found at Fragments from Floyd.

I started working from the template Floyd provided and am stuck in a few places- possibly because there are too many things on my mind (papers due, clients to see, monthly notes to update, projects to finish and an endless list of "to-do's" it seems), along with a dental ordeal today with Novocain gone awry (never had my eye and the muscles become numb before) that left me completely done in and mentally fuzzy... but I have it on my desktop and plan to work on it in bits and pieces over the next few days.

I might never come up with something as wonderful as Andy's or the ones at C.A.R.T.S., but the exercise is useful from so many angles. I hope you try it for yourself.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Need, Love, Life- Buscaglia

“We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.”

"We think to be a grownup, we must be independent and not need anyone. That's why we're all dying of loneliness."

"A person who loves himself is someone who realizes that you can only give away what you have."

"Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love."

"Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life."

~Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Unconscious Mutterings Week 106

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Judge:: decide, determine, calculate; label
  2. Detroit:: cars and Motown
  3. Hyphen:: compound
  4. Get it right:: sounds like a harsh directive or a fervent hope
  5. Pulsating:: star
  6. Yoga:: centeredness, focus, flexibility, strength
  7. Memorable:: in 52 years- lots
  8. Financial advisor:: need a larger cushion of disposable income to afford one
  9. Ten million:: might be enough to want one of the above ;-)
  10. I:: Descartes- "Cogito, ergo sum." In a completely different direction and language: No entiendo su silencio. Es muy triste.
Want to play? Go to Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Words to remember

I surely identify with these words: "this sense of closed in grey dampness beats at the mind and the heart and could lead me into a spiral of depression if I were to focus on the obvious of rain and low cloud" at AnimatedStardust : Hearts Desire.
I think I said something a week or more ago about how much more sensitive I seem to be this year to our more than normal amounts of rain and grey days.

A bit later she says: "This morning as I stared out into the gloom of another grey low cloud day I was aware of how much light there really was filling the valley. It brought back something I had read a few days ago which said this ‘Deferred life inevitably means lost opportunity’. When I read this line it made me really stop and consider how much of my life has been put on hold for various reasons and if any of those reasons were steering me away from my hearts yearning and a way of life that echoes and interprets this in my day to day living.

Here in this valley I have object lesson in joy, which is what I would see as the opposite of deferred living. ..."

Her indirect prescription and inner reflection are worth reading the whole and for me a reminder that I need to continuously reframe the way I look at these kinds of days.

Clever story

I don't know when or how I stumbled on this blog but it was in my "newest wanderings" file on bloglines. ("newest" in this case means that it might have been as long as six months ago or as recent as this past month.)

At any rate, this piece Cards and Women made me smile. A short snippet:

"I have known many people and all of them have influenced my life in one way or another. Six women, however, have had more impact on me than all the rest combined.

When I was a little boy my mother handed me a deck of playing cards.

"What am I supposed to do with these?"

"It doesn't matter." she replied "All that matters is that you enjoy playing with them. Whatever you decide to do with them, I will always love you. I love you for who you are. Not for what you try to do with your cards... Not for how well you do it... Not for whether you succeed or fail... Even if you decide to do nothing at all with them, I will always love you."

I ran off to play with the cards..."

read the rest...

Friday, February 11, 2005

Not wearing khaki

I am on my way this morning to the Metropolitan State Hospital for a group field trip.

We were told not to wear khaki, so as not to be mistaken for patients. I am not sure why that is amusing to me.

The sky has decided to rain again which ought to make the 35 mile drive interesting.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Search engines and ....

The Scientific American article Seeking Better Web Searches mentions an interesting search engine found at The engine uses what are called "clustering techniques" and the clusters are presented in the form of visual subcategories (nodes around a central core), that can be used to further refine the search. Though I don't think the clustering idea is new, the presentation of the results is possibly useful.

The article talks about different engines and the various methods they use along with speculations about the future directions and needs of individuals for different types of searches. The idea that customized searches using a profile of the user that tracks her/his interests, behavior and interaction with common applications, concerns me from a privacy standpoint. "As a person opens, reads, plays, views, prints or shares documents, engines could track his or her activities and employ them to guide searches of particular subjects. This process resembles the implicit search function developed by Microsoft. PowerScout and Watson are the first systems introduced capable of integrating searches with user-interest profiles generated from indirect sources."

It sounds like something that could work well, but subject to lots of potential privacy bleeding and ultimate nefarious uses by persons and entities unknown.

Last night I was attempting to find something that mentioned amount of or ability to play and correlations with the amount or degree of intelligence in mammals- something that is stuck in my head having been theorized- but I can't find any mention. Using Google, I tried different terms, syntax, etc. etc. and either it was too late for me to figure out the correct search terms or there are no studies or serious statements.. I am inclined to believe that it was my error. Using the Mooter search engine (and after some sleep), I begin to come closer, but still no joy. I am reminded of a quote in my files: "I want to know what good is a Web search engine that returns 324,909,188 "matches" to my keyword. That's like saying, "Good news, we've located the product you want. It's on Earth."

Perhaps the whole premise of my search is bogus; maybe labeling what the dolphins were doing with the silver rings as "play" is part of the problem. Possibly it would be better to label the activity as creative, not essential to survival behavior.

When will we figure out their language so that we can ask them specifically what it might be?

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mystery of the Silver Rings- Dolphin Cognition and Play

Not that we necessarily needed more proof of how special and intelligent these wonderful mammals are but:

"The young dolphin gives a quick flip of her head, and an undulating silver ring appears--as if by magic--in front of her. The ring is a solid, toroidal bubble two feet across--and yet it does not rise to the surface! It stands erect in the water like the rim of a magic mirror, or the doorway to an unseen dimension. For long seconds the dolphin regards its creation, from varying aspects and angles, with its vision and sonar. Seemingly making a judgement, the dolphin then quickly pulls a ..."

Go read the rest at Project Delphis.

Thanks for the find go to bird on the moon

a little levity...

Because it's late and I need a smile or two before I sleep:

On the State of the Union address:

"President Bush was interrupted forty times by applause and twice to look up a word in the dictionary." ~David Letterman

"Tonight in his speech, President Bush introduced his plan for Social Security. His plan: take the security part out of it." ~Jay Leno
That one is too true to be really funny, but it was a good line.

"Yesterday evening I went upstairs to find my wife flipping through the channels, hoping to catch a rerun of "The West Wing." I asked, rhetorically, "Anything on tonight?" "Nah," she said, flipping. "just the State of the Union Address. But I'd rather watch the fake president than the real one." ~Terry McCreary

And not political, from Stephen Wright, describing my current week::

"When I'm not in my right mind, my left mind gets pretty crowded"

My left mind is pretty crowded.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

general chatter

Tonight and tomorrow night are midterm exams. I don't know how well I will do as I have allowed myself to get sidetracked several times (including now!). I don't usually "cram" for an exam, because if I haven't got it by now, it isn't going to stick in my head. But there are occasions when going over my notes has managed to reinforce one or two more things that were needed for an exam. Most of the time about half of any exam covers things that no one will ever really need again or if they do, they can look up easily enough. I doubt my professors feel that way, or surely they wouldn't give exams like that?????

I registered for some of my spring classes:
Sociological and Cultural Factors in Counseling (lecture)
Group Counseling (lecture)
Counseling Practice (Internship)
and I am thinking about taking Child Maltreatment and Family Violence (lecture). That would make it 15 units which is a lot of hours. It would be nicer to take it easy for a quarter if I could, so I don't know. I have three weeks to decide.

I did make a list (nice excel workbook) of all the courses I would need (and when they are supposed to be offered) for a dual masters, and for various certifications in things like Career Counseling and Higher Ed counseling. It wouldn't be overwhelming to do, just a little more time. If I am not going to go for the Psy.D. then I think I really want the dual masters (Master of Science in Counseling, with Rehab and MFCC, plus a couple of certificates). We'll see. I am almost done with the Counseling core and the Rehab courses. Rehab only courses could be completed by next Fall.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Tug of War

Grey skies today
Resisting the tug; Balancing
Between slippery, shadowed walls on one side;
Open blue patches and sunlight
Calling on the other

"The only real obstacle in your path..."

"The things you want are always possible; it is just that the way to get them is not always apparent. The only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be a considerable obstacle because you carry the baggage of insecurities and past experience." ~ Les Brown

Sunday, February 06, 2005

We will see what shakes out

Bush Budget Aims to Cut Many Domestic Programs

Ah, yes. In his last four years, he wants to keep the faithful happy- keep all those promises he must have made to be reelected- and cut as many programs as he can to shape up government spending and the budget- that HE screwed up.

So he will pick on the poor, the elderly, the less organized - all the usual targets of Republican budget cutting. It is a little late to be finally thinking fiscal restraint, but this way when the Dems balk at cutting so many social programs and non-defense budgets, the Repubs can make their usual outcries during the next congressional campaigns; "See all those irresponsible Dems trying to spend all that money we don't have". It would wise for the Dems to have a strong counter prepared ahead. It is easy enough for anyone to see what is coming.

dual posted to Corner and Tangents

Patriots win again

Well, well.. the Patriots win again. I heard a lot of angry yelling at times from upstairs as the two Patriots fans in the house apparently were at odds with either plays run or offical's calls and were probably biting their nails at the beginning of the third quarter. But in the end they were happy.

I meant to watch the halftime show with Paul McCartney, something I remembered earlier in the week but forgot today. Oh well.

The hoopla surrounding this annual event is something I accept, but after all these years still don't understand.

Unconscious Mutterings Week 105

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Shelter:: from the storm
  2. Karate Kid:: Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita; good triumphs over evil
  3. Andrew:: know a few, one very dear
  4. Rib:: bone
  5. Push it:: push starting a car comes to mind
  6. Creep:: slowly
  7. Chainlink:: fence
  8. Squash:: Butternut, zuccini, acorn, summer
  9. No mercy:: rigid frame of mind
  10. Superhero:: fantasy
Want to play? Go to Unconscious Mutterings

Friday, February 04, 2005

In my head today

"It's the heart, afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance.
It's the dream, afraid of waking, that never takes a chance.
It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give.
And the soul, afraid of dyin', that never learns to live.

When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long,
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong,
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows,
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love, in the spring becomes The Rose."

From "The Rose", Bette Midler

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Why do we watch?

I was going to watch a drama tonight on television and got sidetracked leaving the television softly going in the background. The favorite of the local Los Angeles television news stations is on right now- a car chase on the freeways. This time it is a stolen ambulance. I realize it probably seems like "good action reporting" to the station- something for the helicopters to do to earn their keep- but these things are tedious to see mile after mile after mile- and of no value to show while they are going on (people in cars can't see/hear the television news usually, and people at home generally don't care). The only thing that comes to my mind is that it must be a slow news day in their opinion.

As I am writing this the ambulance has flipped on its side, and rolled over and over on a freeway bridge. They are showing it in slow motion- repeatedly.

And I turned my head to watch one of their replays!!!!! ... aggghhhhh.... I really dislike the behavior of folks who must slow down to gawk at cars on the shoulders and accidents on the freeways- what the heck made me turn my head to watch it on television? Maybe that is the reason the television stations will spend their entire news time focused on this sort of "breaking story"- because even folks like me who don't want to see this "live" will watch at some point?

Maybe not entirely socialization?

As a follow-up to the Harvard University president's outrageous statements regarding the mental abilities of women, there is an interesting supposition/ theory here about why women and men might have differences in their math abilities.

I wonder if the supposition about cognitive impairments from iron deficiency anemia, coupled with the socialization aspects that have been theorized (based on the results of studies comparing all girls math and science classes with coed math and science classes over various ages), might be a truer picture than what we know to date?

Frankly, my thoughts have always been that the differences were purely from western style socialization. I am not sure if culture studies on this by gender have been done. It isn't an area that I want to review the literature, but if it hasn't been done, it might make an interesting women's studies research project- even the iron deficiency anemia aspect might be an interesting cross discipline study.

(Dual posted to Tangents and Corner)

State of the Union- too tired to really feel

I watched pieces of the State of the Union address after I got home from class. I watched the end of one repeat on CSPAN while I was eating a late dinner (alone as usual) and the beginning of another on CNN before I unintentionally, but not so unexpectedly fell asleep. I woke up after midnight - curled up on my side, glasses on, fully dressed (except stockings and shoes) with an afgan pulled up around my neck and the cat at my back.

For now the quick thoughts on what I saw will be posted on Corner in the next day or so.

I am considering moving all the posts from Corner and the other places and putting everything here- the political, links to remember, along with the quotes, thoughts and random bits of journal or other entries and the increasingly rare short essay things from the rest of my life. To hell with trying to categorize and keep it all separate- there is already too much segmentation of my life... but I could change my mind. ;-)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

My kind of weather

The wind is strong, wild, gusty and full of sound tonight. It ought to make for a good backdrop to dreaming as long as no trees come crashing down. Maybe I will get to go soaring.

"Dreams are the seedlings of realities"

"The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities." ~ James Allen, "As a Man Thinketh", (written in the 19th century)

This little book was given to me by my grandmother when I was very young. I didn't understand it then, but little by little the basic premise became part of the framework of what I believe is true. I suspect the roots of my cognitive/existential philosophical leanings began from that early exposure as well as assisting the formation of my interest in how the mind works.

While it doesn't have the same emotional pull for me as my tiny leather bound volume with its gilded edges and title, the entire text appears to be online at the link. (I haven't checked it for accuracy against my little copy, but it appears to be well transcribed.)