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Neko

Thursday, March 31, 2005

What's real love like? 


How does it feel to have true, deep, lasting love for someone? Not lust, not infatuation, not romantic idealization, not obsession, but REAL love? Most people had at least one early relationship, more likely several, in which they were SURE they were feeling true love, that with hindsight they can see was/were only infatuations, just like the adults in their lives condescendingly told them; more mature love feels very different, but does that means it's real love? Being older isn't insurance against self-delusion, is it? After all, older people have relationships that fail all the time, and if a relationship fails it wasn't real love... yes, I know that many young people, and some older ones too, will howl in dismay about that, but, in the same way that you don't stop loving biological family members, if you get that bone-deep love for a romantic partner, it DOES last your entire life.

A few years ago, I saw a movie in which I heard a line that floored me, which totally explained how I felt about my husband; I repeated the line to him, and he thought it was the most special thing I'd ever said to him, and that it was the perfect description of lasting love, of how, when the euphoric getting-to-know-you phase fades, and life together is mostly doing chores, coexisting, and arguing, with few moments of the intense enjoyment we as a culture are deluded into thinking are what a relationship should be made of, people who truly love each other still would never consider being apart. This is the line I'm talking about:

"My love for X resembles the eternal rocks beneath--a source of little visible delight, but necessary."

If you can substitute the name of your partner for "X," congratulations; you've got the relationship brass ring... real love. If this describes how you feel about your partner, then you'd never want to break up with them even during bad times, any more than you'd want to give up your kids when they're putting you through hell; true love endures, whether it's romantic or familial.

The quote is from "Wuthering Heights," and I'll include the extended version here, because it gives the contrast between real love and the fake version that most people are fooled by, and because it'll add a little clarification:

"My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath--a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He's always, always in my mind--not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being."

I don't think I go 5 consecutive minutes without having some sort of thought related to my husband on most days (sometimes I'm insanely busy, of course, but that's the exception); he's so deeply permeated into my life and, as the quote says, my being, that it's unavoidable. I don't rave about him, because he's a flawed human being, and I see him clearly as such, rather than seeing him as "wonderful." He's got all the disgusting male habits, and I don't gloss them over in my mind, and so don't see him as somehow superior to other men. What makes him special is that he's the right person for me; he's my "eternal rocks." When you think about it, doesn't that sound better than the wine and roses our culture programs us to want?


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

If you were to die today... 


... what would your obituary say? Think about it; imagine that you're famous enough that the papers would run a story about you when you died, and then imagine that you died today... what would they write about you? Would they describe all your services to the community, and the grief of your many loved ones, or would they mention only business accomplishments? If they interviewed your family, would they tearfully detail the many wonderful things you did, or would they acknowledge that you were a good provider, because all you did was work? Would the article have to be a long one to list all of the aspects of your well-rounded existence, or would they have to mention your passion for watching TV and eating corn chips to pad it out? Would the paper be able to pick and choose from many people eager to sing your praises, or would they have to beat the bushes looking for anyone with a kind word to say?

Would our fellow bloggers all be posting about what a loss you were to the world, or would they be saying that no fuss should be made over your death because you weren't an admirable person, or even a particularly nice one?

This isn't a very comfortable thing to contemplate, and you probably haven't actually done it, or not done more than assure yourself of how devastated everyone who ever knew you would be upon your passing, but it's a useful exercise, because it can show you something you don't normally ponder... an overview of your life as others see it.

What brought this idea into my mind, and you knew something had to have, was a fascinating bit of trivia I learned recently about Alfred Nobel, the man who invented dynamite as well as endowing the Nobel prizes; when his brother passed away, a French newspaper mistakenly printed an obituary for Alfred, in which he was referred to as the "merchant of death"... and this unpleasant realization of how he'd be remembered spurred him to create the Nobel prizes, so that he'd be remembered for them instead. You can read more about him here:

http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa120202a.htm

The modern world is so intricate and fast-paced that all too often we don't see anything beyond what we're doing right now, much less the big picture; although it's unlikely that any of us have done anything that'd give us the notoriety that Nobel almost died with, we'd all do well to ask ourselves honestly what an objective summation of our lives would be, should the need arise for one.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Am I about to become a grandma? 


Given that I don't even have any kids (unless you count my husband, lol), how could I ever be a grandmother? I'll grant that it's stretching a point, but:

A tiny squirrel has been hanging out on my property since early last summer; recently, I've been able to hand-feed and even pet him (see my post of 1-24-05), which, since my husband and I love the little darling with all our hearts, has been a big, BIG deal. Squirrels undergo various degrees of hibernation in cold weather, and ours had been emerging 1 or 2 days a week and barricading himself in his burrow the rest of the time; when it warmed up, he started coming out more and eating like a maniac. He started getting bigger. And BIGGER. The formerly-svelte creature got SO big that we were saying, "Gee, if we hadn't seen his little male parts several times, we'd really be wondering if this was a pregnant female."

Our little angel-boy didn't come for several days, and then, when he DID show up, he was MUCH thinner; I got several minutes of footage of him with the camcorder, although he uncharacteristically wouldn't come to the door to get walnuts, and my husband looked at it tonight, and compared it with the next most recent footage... and I'm not imagining it, he IS alot thinner.

I'm trying desperately to not get my hopes up, but the only explanation we can come up with is that what we thought were little male parts in the long fur of the squirrel's nether regions were actually some other form of anatomical protrusions, and thus that the naughty and rambunctious creature that we've always assumed was male is in fact a female who just gave birth within the past few days... and that means we're going to be getting SQUIRREL BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ground squirrels typically have about 8 babies, which emerge from the burrow at 6-8 weeks of age, depending on who you believe; I don't know how I'll make it over the next couple of months, not knowing for sure if there are babies, and if so if they're ok. When the time comes, though, if the much-longed-for swarm of itty-bitty squirrelettes shows up on my patio, I'm going to consider myself their grandma, just as pet owners (mostly female ones) often see themselves as the grandparents of their pets' babies.

Will I in fact have the inexpressible joy of loving a bunch of squirrel babies? Stick around and see; we should know for sure by the end of May.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter 


We nearly missed it this year; if a friend hadn't asked me on Friday what we were having for Easter dinner, I think we honestly wouldn't have remembered until my husband tried to go to Home Depot on Sunday and found that it was closed (yes, that actually happened). We DID manage to have a good dinner, thanks to my friend's reminder, but barely; my husband had to hit every grocery store in town to come up with a decent roast... it was a VERY close call, since he didn't find one until this afternoon.

Unfortunately, despite a little advanced warning, our home showed a distinct lack of baskets, bunnies and chicks today; as always, I was held hostage by my husband's refusal to dig the boxes out from the floor-to-ceiling "storage stacks" until the night before a holiday, and, because he ended up going to some worthless punk show at the last minute, and refused to do anything when he got home (don't get me started on that one, grrrrrrrrrrrrrr), I couldn't get my Easter decorations out AGAIN this year. I'm not overly sentimental, but I've got some eggs that date back to when I was a little kid, and they're almost all I have that's that old, so it's dismaying to never get to SEE them.

The REALLY sad thing about today is that we didn't have any Easter candy, because we didn't even think about it until too late; it just didn't feel like Easter without being able to eat anything egg-shaped and sugary. My husband's going to swing by Godiva tomorrow morning and see if they have some leftovers on sale, and they probably will, and there'll probably be other good stuff on sale at the general and drug stores, but... it just won't be the same.

You know you've gotten to be TOO geeky when you can't even keep track of major holidays, lol.

It wasn't that bad of a day, though, because we got alot of the backlog of chores handled, and the roast was really tasty. I discovered several of my husband's singleton socks, which, since he usually has about 20-30 unmated socks at any given time, is always a welcome occurrence, and we dug out a couple of piles of his clothes that had sat out of circulation for so long that he didn't know if they were dirty or clean... I made HIM smell them all, of course, I'm not a masochist. Finding these clothes explained why it used to seem like he had so many spare hangers; I say USED to, because I took all of them as I got new clothes... and now, he has no way to hang up his stuff until we get more. {snicker}

I caught Joel Osteen's Easter sermon; his main theme was that you have unlimited power within you, and all you have to do to tap into it is BELIEVE. Granted, he asserts that God put that power there, and it's God you have to believe IN to access it, but conceptually it's the same idea that keeps coming up this year; if you believe that power can and will come to you, from whatever source, that very belief will bring the power to you. It seems too simple, but there's gotta be a reason that karma keeps sending me this message, so...


Sunday, March 27, 2005

An odd new fantasy 


I was flipping through a magazine today (they'd sent me a free one, in a failed attempt to get me to subscribe), and something unexpected caught my eye; the word "fossils." This isn't an unfamiliar word to someone who reads science articles, of course, but this was a fashion mag, and the article was about decorating, not paleontology; I read the rest of the paragraph, and discovered that you can, if you're willing to spend enough $, procure tiles made of sandstone that's full of little fossils... REAL fossils. There apparently IS a fake version of this for far less $, but the author of the article said that the fake just wouldn't be the same, and, although I think that most of the frenzy for high-priced original whatevers in decorating is pure snobbery, I think she was right; nothing manmade can compare to sandstone with fossils that are millions of years old.

Just thinking about having some of that gave me CHILLS.

It's not like I've never had access to fossils before; I've spent more than my share of time in museum gift shops, and I've had a rock with a fossil fern imprint since I was a kid and never thought much of it. There was just something about the scale of it, the thought of having a WALL of fossil-bearing rock, that really appealed to me on some weird, deep level. I started thinking about it, at first using the bathroom idea from the article, and imagining going even further to having one of those grotto-type tub setups like you see sometimes in photos of rich people's homes, but I don't take tub baths, and would never want to, so then I started imagining...

A room that would help me get in touch with the primitive part of my brain. A room that would take me back to our ancient oneness with nature. A room that would lift me totally out of my normal life. A room with glass walls and ceiling that would let in sunlight and moonlight, which would be supplemented by hidden fixtures that mimic natural light; ferns and such in hanging planters would make the light dim and green and hide the ceiling, and more plants and little trees would hide the walls. There'd be a water feature starting near the ceiling, zig-zagging over lots of rocks to make plenty of "water noise," and ending up in a little pool, which would have water lilies and fish. I'd want a sound system with speakers all around that could play one of those CD'S with rain forest sounds (exotic birds and such), possibly alternating with Gregorian chants, and certainly recordings of the traditional chants of native peoples if I could find them (the soundtrack to "Koyaanisqatsi" might do in a pinch). And finally, around the pool and partway up one wall, would be the sandstone with the fossils, where I could touch it and lean against it and sit on it and meditate looking at it and... commune with it, how strange of a thought is that?

The thought of being able to escape to this room and absorb the ambience is... well, magical.

Because my husband and I are geeks, if we were really wealthy it wouldn't change our lives much; all we want is a pile of computer equipment and a few basic comforts, and we've already got all of that... sure, I always figured I'd get some furniture that'd be too cool to ever use, some art to put in rooms we wouldn't go into much, etc, but nothing grand. Now though, for reasons that I haven't quite figured out yet, if I ever get rich enough I have something I want that'd be worthy of inclusion in an article in one of those glossy magazines that cater to the constantly-redecorating-with-giant-budgets crowd. Go figure.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

Vacations 


Where did the idea of vacations come from? In our most primitive days, we couldn't even have a day off from the desperately important task of finding food. When we got a little more advanced, we might have been able to store enough food that we could visit friends and family who lived in other areas, but that wasn't exactly a vacation in the modern sense. Fast-forward a big chunk of years, and the well-to-do would be able to tour Europe or the Orient, but they'd be gone for MONTHS, and saw it as part of living the good life, not as a vacation per se, and of course those without serious $ couldn't even imagine taking those sorts of trips. Somehow, we got from that point to where all but the poorest of us want and EXPECT to be able to take at least occasional vacations, by which we generally mean leaving our city or town and going somewhere else for other than a family get-together... but HOW did we get to this point? I haven't a clue.

I myself have NEVER been on a vacation. My family of origin was inordinately cheap, and even trips to see family were extremely rare; I hated travelling so much on the rare times I did it that it never occurred to me to do it when I was old enough and had my own $. My husband and I live life at a dead run, and can barely contemplate getting it together to go out for a couple of hours for things like birthday dinners, much less taking time off to do something, even if we made local plans to avoid having to travel; as a result, we've never gone anywhere except for family duty visits, and that's done with now that the last loved one we were going to see has died.

I can understand busy people wanting to just hang around the house and do nothing for a week or 2 (although it's never possible to actually do NOTHING unless you have servants), but to use your available time off to pack a minute % of your stuff, travel, stay in hotel rooms, and march around doing activities in another place... WHY? I have a beautiful home, lots of nice stuff, a comfortable bed, and a thousand times more things I want to read, watch, listen to and study than I'll ever get to; in my wildest dreams, I could never imagine wanting to abandon all of that to "go on vacation."

Is that the secret? People go on vacation because there aren't enough things they love to do to keep them busy and emotionally satisfied, and/or because they have too much stuff they'd rather get away from? I can see needing a break when your job or daily life aren't happy-making, or to reconnect as a couple when you've got kids, or to give your body a rest if you do hard physical labor, or to go somewhere beautiful if you find where you live to be ugly... but, if none of that applies, would you still want or "need" to have vacations? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm......


Friday, March 25, 2005

A message from my mailman 


I've had a slew of outgoing mail go awry in the past couple of months, including, naturally, the only 2 bills for which they do NOT send out "reminder bills," because they make big $ from late fees; the mortgage and homeowners association (they both excused the late fees since I have perfect payment records, luckily, but it was still upsetting). Since I got within a whisker of getting a 30 day overdue notice, which would have wrecked my credit history, I figured it was time to take some action; because I'm one of those fortunate few that has a really good mailman, I made sure I was here one day at the time I knew he'd be coming, and told him what had been going on. Naturally, there's nothing he could do about it directly, and he's made it clear that the powers that be at the post office honestly don't CARE as long as a small enough % of mail fails to be delivered that they don't get in trouble, but he DID have some helpful hints:

1) The scanners that read the addresses on the mail don't work all that well, so, unless you can print VERY clearly (forget about using cursive unless you LIKE your mail to vanish), type the addresses on the envelopes, or print out mailing labels.

2) Be sure to use the full 9-digit zip code if you can, it DOES help.

3) There's a flood of mail going out on the first of the month, since so many people send out their bills then, so try to NOT send anything out at that time, as the higher volume of mail having to be processed for the day makes for way more mistakes with the scanning and barcoding machinery.

4) Monday is the worst day of the week to send mail, again for volume reasons, so try to avoid sending anything out on that day if you can.

5) Sign up for online banking, and pay every possible bill that way. No, that's NOT a joke, as terrifying as that is; my mailcarrier believes the post office's track record to be so scary that HE does all his bill-paying online, and recommends that everyone else do the same!! :-O

As you might imagine, I've decided to following all of these tips; I'm nervous about what disasters could befall me if I try to deal with $ online, but I've still signed up for online banking, and am sorting out which bills can be paid that way. I deeply resent that I'm going to have to be monitoring my checking account from now on to make sure that whichever bills still have to be mailed actually arrive at their intended destinations; now that I know that mail is going astray, what else can I do? I also resent that I have to muck around with all these websites to get $ to those companies that DO take online payments, especially since I'm betting that if they're no longer sending printed bills that makes it easier for them to screw up... no paper, no proof.

Why is it that the richest, most powerful nation in the world no longer has a postal system that can be trusted to get people's bill payments where they need to go, not even in a large, affluent city like mine? grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


Thursday, March 24, 2005

A sad psychic incident 


A much-anticipated DVD came in the mail today, and my husband and I had agreed to get caught up with enough tasks that we could watch it together this evening. When the time came, I told him that I was going to run to the restroom and then we'd get started; I was coming back down the hall, all ready to start watching... and I found myself detouring into the computer room and dialing a friend's #, with the semi-formed thought that I hadn't talked to her in a while, and I should find out how her cat, who's had cancer for about a year and a half and has had trouble keeping enough weight on all that time, was doing. Here's how it went:

Friend: Hello?
Me: Hi, it's me.
Friend: OH MY GOD!! You really ARE psychic!!
Me: Why, what happened?
Friend: I just this minute told my husband that I wasn't going to be able to handle calling you tonight.
Me: Uh-oh...
Friend: No, I'm glad you called, because you deserve to know; I had to have Kitty put to sleep today.
{exchange of grief-related commentary omitted}
Friend: We're going to get a cement cat statue and put it out in the yard...
Me: {thinking that the statue should have a lizard tail stuck to the mouth}
Friend: ... near the tree where she used to catch lizards, and eat their tails.
Me: I was just thinking that the statue should have a lizard tail stuck to its mouth!!
Friend: Why am I not surprised?
{protracted discussion of Kitty omitted}
Friend: You KNEW, didn't you? How do you always know?
Me: I've always been extra-psychic where you're concerned, for whatever reason... I'm sorry to have called at a time when you weren't ready, though.
Friend: I can't really explain it, but you and Kitty had a special relationship, so I just couldn't call you yet, but it's good that you called ME and took the decision out of my hands, because I needed to talk to you.
Me: That's ok, then; I know you'll need to talk alot about Kitty over the next few weeks, so now that you've told me, you feel free to call me whenever you need to talk, even if it's the middle of the night... I understand how you felt about her.

There'll be many, MANY calls during the grieving period for Kitty; my friend had had her for 2 decades, and that cat was like her child. During this time, I'll freak her out several times by calling her just as she's about to call me; I've been able to do this with overwhelming consistency since we met in college. I've also been able to predict the future to her in detail, including nearly word-for-word conversations she'd have with people... and she's just ONE of the folks I have this sort of history with.

People are quick to call things like this coincidences, even when it's utterly ridiculous to do so, such as in reference to elaborate precognitive episodes, but there's GOT to be a point beyond which you can no longer say, "Yeah, so you've done this 100/1000/10,000 times, that doesn't mean they weren't all coincidences"... right? When someone asks me how I can believe I have psychic abilities, I give them a lengthy list of incidents, and then ask, "How can I NOT?"


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dr. Wayne Dyer 


Normally, I don't watch any of the shows on PBS that feature someone standing around and talking, but tonight, for reasons that would be beyond me if I didn't understand about the workings of karma, I felt the odd urge to put on a 4 HOUR program featuring this guy I'd never heard of, who, based on the description in the TV guide, sounded like one of those goofy motivational speakers... but I somehow knew he wasn't one of those.

The central concept of his ideas about how the universe works is "a field of energy that we connect to," which he calls "intention," and which, based on his description, I'D call "karma"... yet another example of people from different backgrounds coming up with the exact same ideas as I have, and just calling them different names.

His major points included things like how what you think creates your world, how if you ask for things they'll come to you, how if you focus on something it'll be drawn into your life, and therefore if you dwell on the negatives that's what you'll receive, and if you focus on how things are they'll stay that way, how you can make things happen by visualizing and otherwise focusing on them... all common themes on my blog.

Sounding very much like Joel Osteen talking about God, he talked about the infinite bounty of "the source," as he generally referred to the energy field that powers everything (karma, in other words), and how there was no end to all you could have if you'd just ASK for it and believe you were going to get it... and here we are, back at my first spiritual epiphany of the year (gotten from the movie "Magnificent Obsession"), that, as long as you're doing and being good (Dyer makes a repeated point about the importance of doing good deeds and of being kind to people, aka creating good karma), if you BELIEVE that good things will happen to you, everything you want and need will essentially fall into your lap, even things that seem miraculous... and all you have to do is go with the flow and collect it all. He even made reference to that most-favored phrase of new age-y Christians and the recovery community, "Let go and let God," the idea being that you don't have to hammer away at things, you can just plug into the greater power and it'll all come to you; I've delved into this idea a few times, and, although it goes against the grain of my Puritan work ethic, it DOES seem to actually work for those who do it, whether it be in a deliberate way, by asking for God (or who/whatever) to handle things, or indirectly, by drifting through life assuming that everything will be handled for you... which is my husband's way, and it's always worked well for him, even BEFORE he had ME to take care of him.

Dyer's well worth checking out, should you see his name on your TV schedule; his marathon show is going to be on PBS late at night a couple of times over the next few days, and I'll probably tape it and re-watch it to see what more I can get from it... there's a limit to how much I can absorb in one session, especially a 4-hour one, and he has alot of interesting stuff to say. He's also a great example of how to effectively talk about this sort of thing, because, again sounding like Osteen, he uses humor, personal anecdotes, and appeals to our caring nature to keep his audience riveted and emotionally connected; he actually had everyone in TEARS at one point, when he recounted the true story of a learning-disabled boy, and how his presence allowed a group of "normal" boys to become better people than they probably ever had before. You can read the story here

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/g/godsperfection.htm

and I chose to use a URL from a site dedicated to debunking exactly this sort of thing so that you can see that it IS a true story (unless the rabbi who vouches for it is lying, which is obviously unlikely). There's more to this story than just the tear-jerking element, so do read it even if you're not the sentimental type; the lesson it gives is that those who seem at first glance to have less going for them than the rest of us in fact have something MORE than we do... the ability to bring out the best in us, to teach us the value of kindness over such lesser goals as winning a game, and to remind us of how much joy we should feel about the things we take for granted.

And that brings us to another of Dyer's big themes; if you want to have a happy life, make a point of telling yourself over and over, "I want to feel good." Does it work? I'll let you know.


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Love beyond words 


On 8-21-04, I blogged about the most astonishing example of love I'd ever encountered; a man in the Philippines promised God that he'd be crucified 15 times if God would save the life of his baby daughter, and, as the girl WAS saved, he's been enduring crucifixion every year since then. I didn't expect to EVER see anything to top that, but my friend Rhyncus, whose wonderful blog is here

http://rhyncus.blogspot.com/

posted the URL to the following story:

"Woman ends life to donate eyes to blind sons

A 37-year-old mother, dejected at being unable to locate eye donors for her two blind sons, ended her life so that her eyes could be given to them.

Tamilselvi was found hanging at her residence in Kodungaiyur in north Chennai on Saturday. The police rushed to the spot and recovered the body, which was later sent for post-mortem.

Tamilselvi had got herself registered with an eye bank in Chennai and had stated her wish to donate her eyes to her sons, who are studying in a school for the visually-impaired in the city.

The eye bank authorities removed her eyes as per her instructions. They will conduct the operations on her sons soon."

http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/mar/20eye.htm

Are you as overwhelmed as I am at the amount of love, and the degree of willingness to sacrifice, it's possible for a human being to have? We hear so much about the evil that people do to each other that I wanted to share this story illustrating the finest qualities of humanity.

I read somewhere about an episode of one of those medical-drama shows that had a father committing suicide in order to be an organ donor for his daughter; since this real-life version happened in India, the writers of that episode will probably never hear about it, but imagine the chills it'd give them if they DID.

I also read a child-related story today that was mindboggling in a totally different way:

"ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A 5-year-old girl was arrested, cuffed and put in back of a police cruiser after an outburst at school... the 40-pound girl was in the back of a police cruiser, under arrest for battery. Her hands were bound with plastic ties, her ankles in handcuffs."

You can read the rest of the story here:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050318/ap_on_re_us/child_arrested

I'd really like to know whose idea it was to call the POLICE to deal with a kindergartner, wouldn't you? Even more, I'd like to know whose idea it was to ARREST a child that young, and finally what pitiful specimen of humanity bound that little girl hand and foot, as if she were a serial killer rather than a tiny child. What a DISGRACE!! I can only imagine how thrilled the citizens of Florida must be to know that their tax dollars are paying for school officials who are incapable of handling a tantruming 5-year-old, and ARE capable of such atrociously bad judgment, not to mention paying for police officers who feel it necessary to treat a child who still needs to stand on a stool to brush her teeth like a dangerous criminal.

What an extraordinary species we are...


Monday, March 21, 2005

The amazing Moken 


On "60 Minutes" tonight, there was a story about "the sea gypsies of the Andaman Sea," aka the Moken, a people who've "lived for hundreds of years on the islands off the coast of Thailand and Burma," of whom it's said, "of all the peoples of the world, [they are] among the least touched by modern civilization"... which is FAR better than saying "primitive," the word usually given to non-white peoples who haven't adopted a lifestyle based on technology (I always put primitive in quotes in this context, because in many ways, such as with social cohesion and spirituality, they're FAR from primitive). Although the focus of the story, which you can read here

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/18/60minutes/main681558.shtml

is how the Moken, who are exquisitely attuned to the sea, didn't lose ANYONE in the tsunami, despite the fact that they "live precisely where the tsunami hit hardest," what blew me away were the too-few comments made about their language... a language like none other, as befits a culture like none other.

For example, they have no word for "when"; stop and think how much of your existence hinges on WHEN things will happen, WHEN you need to do things... and try to imagine life without all that. The Moken have nothing like our concept of time, in fact they have no concept of time at all; extend your previous imagining to encompass an existence with NO looking at the clock or the calendar, no thought at all about the passing of time, or what will happen in the future. As a result of their timelessness, the Moken don't know how old they are... as compared to Americans, who're OBSESSED with age, what we're old enough to do, too old to do, age differences, and reaching "round # ages" like 30 and 40. Can you imagine THAT?

Another astonishing word they don't have is "want"; I don't know if it's even POSSIBLE for an American to imagine never wanting anything, never expressing wanting anything, not even grasping the concept of wanting what one doesn't have. As a tangent to that, the Moken have no concept of, and no desire for, wealth, and no wish to accumulate things; they're nomadic, so that makes sense, but to the minds of people dedicated as a culture to accumulating as much as possible, and who worship wealth, this is just mindboggling.

Last, but far from least; they have no word for "worry." How long do YOU ever go without worrying about something? Your health, your weight, your kids, your job, that funny noise your car is making, your credit card debt, the amount of hair coming off in your brush... we worry about countless things, large and small, every day. What would it be like to NEVER worry?

Imagine living somewhere where time is meaningless, where you want for nothing, don't care about wealth or possessions, and you never have to worry... where does that sound like? Heaven. I'm not saying that metaphorically; it sounds like an excellent description of the Christian idea of heaven. If the Moken wore white robes and played harps, it'd be just about dead-on... other than their living on boats or in huts instead of on clouds, etc.

To someone like me, who's CRUSHED by the mad racing of time, the constraints of time, who worries as much as 10 normal people do, and who's driven by wants for things I may never reach (as the elements of "The Truth" aren't exactly being auctioned on eBay), their culture seems like a dream, their mindset like the purest bliss. There was no mention of their spirituality on the show, but I did a little research; my best guess was that, like so many cultures that are deeply in tune with nature, their belief system would be some form of animism, and I was RIGHT. Some people turn their noses up at spiritual beliefs that don't include sacred books and houses of worship, but my view is that the Moken, who have no written language and live on their boats at sea most of the year, have a deeper understanding of the spiritual realm than most arrogant, "civilized" white people could ever dream of.

As passionate as I am about the pursuit of spirituality, in this instance the thing that's overwhelmed me isn't my accurate intuition about what the Moken people might believe, but the idea of going through life without wanting, without worrying about time, and in fact never worrying at all... wow...


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ask your doctor 


Yeah, right.

You know what I'm talking about; you see an ad for some sort of medication, and they say something like, "Ask your doctor if Brand X is right for you." There are some problems with this:

1) Unless you're one of the rare few who still pays a doctor directly for their services, you've got about as much chance of getting them to take time out from their frenzied schedule to advise you on which brand of aspirin to use as you do of getting them to write legibly when they're filling out a prescription for the meds on which your life might depend... none whatsoever.

2) If it's a new drug or brand, whether prescription or OTC, the likelihood is that your doctor doesn't know a damned thing about it; they're all SUPPOSED to keep up with their reading about new medical breakthroughs, procedural as well as chemical, but the scary reality is that few of them do. Frankly, they don't know much about ANY sorts of meds that have come out since they graduated med school, and all too often are vague on the details even of the ones they WERE taught... especially with psych meds.

3) Unless you have some sort of special health concerns, what do you think your doctor COULD have to say to you that would be meaningful, assuming you could somehow get an answer out of them and they actually knew something about the med in question? There's not going to be any reason why you CAN'T take the med, and it'd be a ridiculous waste of your time to sit on hold for half an hour to hear them say, "Yeah, feel free to take Brand X aspirin for your headache." In the case of prescription meds, again, if you have no health issues that affect what you can take, you can take ANY med for your condition; whether your doctor gives you that med or a different one will be based on...

4) The doctor's whim; sadly, this is what the vast majority of prescription choices are based on. They give you whichever med they're most familiar with, even if there are a dozen newer and better ones, or the med from whichever drug company sent them the coolest goodies recently, or whatever med their buddies mentioned on the golf course most recently... a doctor who even knows what all the choices are, much less analyzes them to come up with the best choice for their patients, is as rare as one with a penmanship award. (As a side issue, if the doctor's working through an HMO, they usually have contractual limits on which meds they can prescribe, but that's a whole other rant.)

5) Here's the big one; even if your doctor has an encyclopedic knowledge of all meds, what good does that do you? In many cases, all of the available meds are about equally as good, so there's no real reason to prefer one over another, and, even in those cases when certain meds ARE better for some people than other meds might be, with the standard exception of if you've got special health concerns, there's no way for the doctor to KNOW which med will be best for YOU. How could they? It's not like they're running genetic studies or anything on you, and even if they DID, what would that tell them? One of the grimmest aspects of Western medicine, especially for psych patients, is that there's simply no way to tell in advance how a given med will interact with a given person's system; all the doctor can do, if they're not just making a knee-jerk prescription of the med they're most familiar with, is give a blind guess... so what do you gain by asking them if Brand X is best for you?


If you're pregnant or nursing, do please be fanatical about finding out exactly what meds to take, and the same goes for if you have any remotely significant health problem, but other than that, take whatever OTC med you can get the best price for, and do some research on your own on any prescription meds you might have to take, so that you can make an informed request; taking responsibility for your own health care is every bit as important as anything your doctor will ever do for you.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Would you summon the devil? 


How about a lesser demon? How about a malevolent spirit? I've been watching one of the many movies for which this is a central theme, and have been wondering; who, if anyone, would actually TRY to bring these sorts of entities, assuming any of them exist, into their lives? The crazy, of course, and those who are both wildly power-hungry and arrogant (you'd HAVE to be arrogant to believe that you could control beings of this sort if you called them forth, or even prevent them from turning on you and those you love), perhaps some who are so desperate for miracles that they'd allow themselves to believe that evil beings would EVER do good deeds, whatever oaths they gave... and who else? We've all seen/read tales of people who sold their souls to the devil for $, success, the sexual partner of their dreams... but would anyone actually BE stupid enough to bring powers of this sort into their lives to give them the things they should be working to earn?

I'll take this a step further; what if you had the ability to summon a benevolent spirit, or even an angel... would you do it? Don't answer too fast; if such beings exist, and are willing and able to do favors for humans, how can we be SURE they're really "good" in the way we define goodness? Even if we ARE certain, although we probably shouldn't be given the unlikeliness of them sharing our morality, any more than we share the morality of amoebas, we still have to understand that beings with that sort of power could harm us without meaning to, in the same way that we might accidentally crush an ant that we were carrying around, or might wipe us out in a flash of anger (being virtuous doesn't preclude anger, right?), or have a momentary lapse of judgment that destroys our lives. Even if they gave us whatever we wanted without incident, what makes you think they'd withdraw from our lives afterwards? How would you feel every time you had sex or went to the bathroom for the rest of your life, knowing that you were probably being watched? Even worse; if there are good entities, that suggests that there are also evil ones, and, if the good ones take an interest in you, wouldn't it be likely that the evil ones would notice that, and also turn their attention to you, and those you love? What's to stop them from messing with you, even if only to aggravate the good guys? What's to stop them from spending the rest of your life trying to find ways to trip you up, to cancel out the favors you were given? What's to stop them from terrorizing you just for the fun of it?

Although I'm eager for answers as to the true nature of reality, I most vehemently do NOT want entities of any kind to show up bearing revelations, because I don't want to take a chance of becoming a focal point for the attentions of anything(s) superhuman, whether "good" or "evil" or even "neutral"; as I learned the hard way via my experiences with poltergeists in my younger years, no matter how glamorous and exciting it seems to interact with otherworldly creatures, the reality is scary and totally undesirable. As seductive as the idea of seeing deeper into the well of karma would be, nothing, NOTHING, could ever persuade me to ask non-human beings to come into my life; I'm just not willing to risk being the ant.


Friday, March 18, 2005

That old loved and lost line 


"It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

HUH?!!

Isn't that sort of like saying, "It's better to have eaten and gotten food poisoning than never to have eaten at all?" I can't imagine any food so fabulous that the pleasure of having eaten it would make it worth it to have food poisoning, and I can't imagine any relationship such that the pain of losing it would be worth enduring to have had the relationship... after all, the better a relationship is, the more agonizing it is to lose it (the obvious exception here, technically, would be if you were with someone all your life, or at least a big chunk of years, and they pre-deceased you, but this is NOT what's normally meant by "loved and lost").

If it were up to me, every relationship I've ever had and "lost" would have never existed, so that I could have used the time, energy and opportunities to do other things... things that might have lasted and enriched my current life. What might other people be looking at in THEIR ex-relationships that makes them feel differently? I can see being willing to have loved and lost if you got something out of it, such as a child, or maybe a house, or if there was something that only that person could have given you, and if your ex was awful enough that you had to break up but has still somehow remained your friend (I've NEVER understood that one), that'd be some compensation, but *I* sure never got anything from any of my past relationships that'd make it worth it for me to miss an episode of "Queer as Folk," much less to suffer the pain of a breakup... and having gotten some tangible thing from the relationship isn't what people mean when they say that line anyways.

What about the emotional rewards of being with someone? Sure, there were things that were fun in my ex-relationships, times when I was very happy, blah blah blah, but, since I have a life of my own, I would've had fun times and happiness withOUT the exes being there, and, without being involved with them, might have met other men with whom I would've had MORE fun and happiness, or even met my husband sooner, so, again, there's nothing about any past relationships that made it worthwhile having them, and then suffering their loss, when looked at from my current perspective.

Everyone else in the world seems to disagree with my assessment of this type of situation. When I ask people what exactly they got from THEIR exes that made it better to have loved and lost, etc, they talk about the good times; when it's pointed out to them that they'd have had good times anyways, possibly with someone they'd still BE with, they hem and haw, and all I can get from them is the idea that they're somehow SURE they'd have had grim lives without that person having been there, although they have no actual reasons to believe that. When pressed for an explanation of why being with that person that they now usually dislike was better than anything else they could have done with their time, energy and emotions during that period, they give the standard answer of people who know they're being illogical for no reason they can point to; "Well, I can't explain it..." Swell. This leaves me to conclude that either the madly-in-love part of most relationships (which I've never experienced-I'm too analytical to ever see anyone as that wonderful) is such a spectacular feeling that it makes even the worst heartbreak seem minor by comparison, or everyone is brainwashed by all the lovesongs into believing that's the case when it's not, or of course it could be both... I don't suppose I'll ever know.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

To tell or not to tell 


How many times have you heard a female say, "I tell my mother/sister/best friend EVERYTHING?" This sounds like a wonderful declaration of closeness, a wholesome and good thing... until a girl hits puberty, and "everything" increasingly includes intimate details of the boys, and later men, in her life, and this is where the dilemma arises:

Which is more important; protecting the privacy of one's sexual partner by keeping sexual and other intimate details a secret, or maintaining a tell-all policy with other loved ones by in fact telling ALL?

Most people have a quick and strongly-felt answer to that one; the problem is, it's not always the same answer. Men may occasionally brag about sexual conquests, but will RARELY give bedroom details about the women they're actually INVOLVED with, much less descriptions of private conversations about relationship matters... and it horrifies them to realize that it's common for women to tell their loved ones (and often near-strangers too, sad to say) everything about them, from their penis size to transcripts of every argument to a detailed sexual scorecard. The women who're doing all this talking make the case that they NEED the feedback of their loved ones to navigate the relationship landscape successfully (which benefits the man, too, although probably not enough to compensate him for the lack of privacy), and, since the other loved ones are far more likely to be with them forever than the man is, it's more important to keep those lines of communication wide open than to shield the man from ridicule... the latter excuse often stops being used once the relationship gets really serious, I hasten to add, but the big picture is that women DO tend to share all the gory details, and to think it's ok.

MY take on this one is; in matters that are non-sexual, and not in those areas of finance and health that are no one's business, it's ok to pass info along as long as it's not a secret that you do so... if a man's got no reason to be ashamed of what he does and says, why would he object, and if he IS ashamed, or knows he SHOULD be, that's a REALLY good time to make SURE other people know what's going on. Is there any gray area with the no-tells? I think you need to be pretty hard-core about respecting how your partner feels about privacy in the health and $ areas, but it's an accepted thing these days that you'll say SOMETHING about your sex life; you can make a case for SOME sexual commentary to be passed along, for example a close friend recently confided the sexual schedule she and her husband had followed to get her pregnant so quickly this time around, but if what you share with your friends/family leads them to refer to your guy as "Minute Man" or "Mr. Teeny Weenie," you've gone TOO FAR.

The other side of the "should you tell?" coin is; should you tell your partner EVERYTHING, even those things that you know the ones involved want to be kept secret, or should you, and your partner, accept that there are some things people don't want passed along to someone's other half when, as is usually the case, they do NOT see that person as a close friend? I think that most men would be thrilled to NEVER hear your friends' secrets, because they usually don't CARE, but I think it's ok to pass along most minor things, as people tend to assume that we ARE sharing them anyways, but for big secrets, which can be identified by the "Don't tell anyone this" or "I haven't told anyone else this" that prefaces them, you should NOT tell, unless you think your loved one is in danger and you need your partner's advice on how to help them. Not everyone is following this rule, though, so if you're the one telling the secret, use some sense; if the person you want to tell it to has a romantic partner, ask them if they'll agree to not pass it along, and base whether you tell them or not on whether or not they agree... and then, expect that some of the people you're trusting will tell anyways, and REMEMBER who did so that you don't tell them secrets anymore.

The question of whether to tell or not is one of those areas that the golden rule does NOT apply to; you should NOT base your decision on how YOU want YOUR secrets to be handled, because the other person may feel very different about it, and feel betrayed if you blab too much, whether or not YOU would be bothered by that same info being blabbed about YOU. Be open about what you tend to share with others, listen to how your loved ones feel about it, and come up with a mutually acceptable set of rules. If, however, a loved one wants you to keep secret their bad treatment of you, or other bad behaviors of theirs, do NOT go along with it; tell, tell FAST, and be ready to RUN if the people you trust think you need to... no one's privacy is more important than your well-being.

Last but far from least; should you tell your partner all of YOUR secrets, and in general every minute detail of your life and thoughts? Of course not!! Even the most loving and devoted man rarely wants to hear all that stuff, and it does NOT build intimacy to tell him the way it does with female friends; all it "builds" is that glazed look in his eyes, because men are just plain not socialized to wallow in personal info like women are. More importantly, one of the "secrets" of long-term relationships is keeping a little mystery, so that you can periodically feel "new" to a man, rather than seeming like a well-read book that's gotten boring... once a man is bored, other women start looking REALLY good. Finally, there are 2 categories of "secrets" that you should NEVER share with a man, even if you're with him 100 years: (1) How he doesn't measure up to other men you've known, (2) Any info whatsoever about your feminine hygiene rituals... keep that bathroom door SHUT!!


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The tragedy of American men's clothes 


You don't have to go too far back, historically speaking, to reach the times when men wore clothes in every sort of color and pattern, made of soft fabrics like velvet and satin, and even trimmed with lace and ruffles; how did we get from there to where we are now, where straight men are only allowed to wear unadorned clothes (unless pockets count as adornments) made of a narrow range of fabrics in an even narrower range of dull, neutral colors, with patterns other than stripes and plaid (ICK) being seen as highly suspect? You can still see tiny touches of the past in things like the ruffles you occasionally see on tuxedo shirts, the vivid designs that are permissible on surf shorts, and the Hawaiian shirts that are worn by a handful of men to make people cringe, but in the average guy's life, the only bit of color or style he has is on his ties... MAYBE.

Men used to express their individuality through their clothes just as much as women did, but now they TRY to all look alike; one comic summed it up by saying, "We men like it when we all look alike-it means we haven't made a mistake." How did that happen? What made men stop wanting to stand out visually? When did such a desire start seeming "girly," and wearing plain, boxy mud-colored clothing seem "manly"?

The male half of the species hasn't had some sort of major alteration of the brain structure that made them stop liking the sorts of things they used to wear, and in fact some men are so desperate to have the enjoyment of wearing pretty clothes in soft fabrics that they'll risk social death by crossdressing, so what started American men down the path from what our founding fathers wore (except for some of the New Englanders), which was often more colorful and elaborate than any WOMAN would wear today, to the current sad state of affairs, where any man wearing an innocent floral print, or even something as basic as a purple shirt, is automatically assumed to be gay?

There's no reason whatsoever to claim that certain colors, prints, fabrics and trimmings are "female"; we're not BORN with clothes on, so there's no biological connection between any of this stuff and femininity or masculinity. Now, if I could only find a way to convince my husband of that, lol...


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

My latest technical triumph 


I've gotten enough questions and comments on friends' blogs over the past few days that I think it's time to explain something; look in the sidebar right above the clock, and you'll see "A warm welcome to my visitors from"... and the city named is the one where YOU live, or, more to the point, the city your ISP is in, or where their hub closest to you is (which might not be that close, if you live in a rural area), or whatever city the chunk of IP addresses your ISP has for your area is associated with. What you're seeing is a JavaScript that reads your IP address and uses the same sort of program that the various geo-locators use to tell where the visitors to your site are coming from to create a custom message for each visitor; it's not a perfect program, as in at least a few cases it's coming up with the neighboring city instead of the correct one, and if you use AOL it'll probably show you as being in Virginia, but in general it works pretty well, and I really like the idea of being able to welcome each of you, if only indirectly.

I found this nifty enhancement by accident; I stumbled onto a European blog that had a welcome that named MY city, and, after looking around to see if by some wild coincidence the blog owner had visited here or something and was welcoming friends he'd made here to his site, I figured it had to be a JavaScript thing. It doesn't create a link, which is unusual when sites provide free use of this sort of stuff, so I had to look at the source code to find the URL to go to to get the code for myself; there are ways to get customized versions of this, and if the message changes you'll know that I've gone that route, but for now I'm too busy and tired (although I DID get a semi-decent night's sleep last night, FINALLY) to focus on tweaking such a minor item.

Just sticking the JavaScript into my template wasn't the end of it, however; the text it creates takes up the entire width of the sidebar, and that meant that it was sticking WAY out beyond the other stuff... it looked AWFUL. So, using what I'd learned about CSS a while back, which I'd used to create an h7 to format my daily quote script, I tried creating an h8 to format the welcome message... and the Blogger system ignored my h8, no matter how I tried to set it up. Some nice tech folks eventually explained this to me; the way that CSS is designed, there's no such thing as an h8 (except with Gecko-based browsers, whatever those might be). It got even better; there's no such thing as an h7, either, although IE DOES accept it, which is how *I* got fooled... if you use any other sort of browser, and wondered why my daily quote stuck way out, or was a long vertical line of individual words (Firefox), all this time, that's the reason-*I* saw it looking just fine. I'm pretty bummed out that, after figuring out how the h's worked starting from ZERO knowledge of CSS, and creating one myself, it turns out that I can't USE what I created, but at least I learned something new.

Someone told me about a way to use a div command to choose the width of an element in pixels, and that worked perfectly on my welcome text; it worked on the quote text too, but that one refused to right-justify no matter what command they told me to try, and no one ever figured out why... there's something in the Blogger template that makes it impossible to right-justify anything below the links list, for reasons that are beyond me. I finally just changed the location of the quote script to be ABOVE the links and the archives, and it now looks the way it should; HOORAY!! :-)

This is a cool time to have a blog; you can get all sorts of neat stuff for free, including the blog itself. The time will probably come, sooner or later, where we'll have to PAY to use these things; when that day arrives, I'll drop all of my sidebar doodads... except the one that extends my welcome to you, my readers.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Crushed by exhaustion 


Have you ever had that feeling? When you've had so little sleep for so many nights that you feel like your head's in a vice? Thanks in large part to my husband and I having different schedules, and my inability to get to sleep when he's up banging around, I've reached the point that it honestly feels like my body will just give out; my eyes don't want to focus, my legs are wobbly when I stand up, my balance is shot, and I feel like I'm fading away from the world. What am I doing blogging instead of sleeping? Because my husband is, as always when it's late Sunday night, scrambling to get some of the things he promised he'd do "by the end of the weekend" done, because he didn't do ANYTHING all weekend but mess around, and I'm stuck battling with him instead of getting to bed.

Does anyone want a slightly used husband, VERY cheap?

I haven't been this sleep-deprived in a long time, and I'd forgotten how surreal it feels, how hard it is to make my brain function; I cringe to contemplate how long it's going to take me to edit this post, as my typing, which is dreadful under the best of circumstances, deteriorates to near-unintelligibility when I'm this groggy. When did getting a decent amount of sleep become so HARD? There are always so many things to do, the day flies by, and then suddenly it's midnight, or 1AM, or 2AM, and I'm trying to sort out which things HAVE to get done before I'm out of touch for 8-10 hours, and my husband gets me sidetracked every 5 minutes, and... suddenly, the SUN is up, and I haven't even laid down yet. It's so easy to stay up a little longer, a little longer, a little longer... then, when things calm down, it's so HARD to go to sleep even a tiny bit earlier, much less the HOURS earlier that I'm going for; I usually have to resort to taking a big dose of melatonin, which I HATE doing... especially since the very next night, with the worst of my exhaustion eliminated, I'm effortlessly up until dawn again.

Hello, karma, are you out there? I'm exhausted. It's hard for me to get even ONE good night of sleep a week, 2 such nights in a row is rare, and 3 is nearly unheard of... and it's gotta stop. WithOUT something tragic occurring, I'd really like something to change to allow me to get back to a sleep schedule that's more like a human being's and less like a vampire's. Send me a little help, ok?


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Karma and the vibration of strings 


If you're a long-time reader, you know that I used to say that the different aspects of karma (such as synchronicity, souls and psychic energy) could be different actions by the same "stuff," OR, indicative of different varieties of "stuff," analogous to how the electromagnetic spectrum is, with the different sorts of forces all being the same basic kind of thing, but X-rays are still very different from radio waves are different from light; I gradually stopped saying the "or," in part because it got old tacking it on every time I mentioned how everything was made of the energy of karma, but also because, even though the concept made intuitive sense to me, by Occam's Razor I knew that I needed to pick the simpler idea, that there was just ONE form of karma, unless I had a good reason to do otherwise, and no such reason existed.

I was typing up my affirmations right before starting this post, and in my head I was seeing the image of swarms of strings, all pulsing and glittering in different colors, that the Nova shows had used to represent them while discussing string theory, and the thought floated into my head that THIS was probably how karma worked; the different vibrations of the strings could produce, not just different kinds of matter and the familiar kinds of energy, but also the different kinds of KARMA. Since the vibrating strings are "known" to exist (in quotes because this is after all a matter of theoretical physics, and, although pretty thoroughly proven by higher mathematics, strings can't be seen or verified to exist via experiments... YET), applying Occam's Razor gives us as the simplest way for karma to work that it follows the same pattern as everything else, with a different vibration for each different thing... which, with exquisite elegance, STILL allows all parts of karma to be made of the same thing, because it all boils down to strings.

I've gotten an amazing # of insights from the 1st DVD of the Nova series on string theory; I can't wait to get the 2nd DVD, and see what new progress I can make.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Souls, insanity and karma 


You might recall that my post of 3-3-05 was about how insane people, and in particular those who are insane AND evil, seem to not get the normal karmic feedback one would expect them to, given the intensity and ugliness of the energy they produce; at the end of the post, I asked for karma to send me the answer... and that's the last I thought about it.

Two nights ago, and again last night (to be sure I'd absorbed it all), I watched the 1st 2 parts of a Nova series about string theory; after the 2nd viewing, I started thinking about souls. Are they made of strings? Or, are they made of the currently-undescribed energy that strings are made of? Is karma made of strings, or are the strings made of karma? If the latter, could souls in fact be something different than everything else in the universe, MADE of something different, as so many people think they are, and thus be made out of unformed, non-string karma, while everything else is made of strings? I had nothing to base any answers on, so my mind just kept going around and around it.

Then, today, I went over to my friend Al's excellent blog

http://oldwhig.blogspot.com/

and discovered that he'd put up a post that referred to several posts of mine... including the one about karma and insanity. Karma. Insanity. Souls. Karma. Insanity. Souls.

KABOOM!! The asked-for epiphany hit. I've said in various posts that, when we refer to evil people as being soulless, we might not just be taking poetic license; the chilling lack of humanity in these individuals seems to me to very likely mean that they in fact have no souls, or at best have stunted and/or deformed souls. Souls are made of the energy of karma; you could also say that karma is made of the energy of souls (which is the same as the energy of thought and feeling, the latter of which a sick, evil person is lacking in in large part, which is probably a direct cause of the abnormal souls, come to think of it!!)... the central concept is that our souls are part of karma, and, as the sum of all our thoughts, feelings and energies, our souls can be seen as our interfaces with the greater engine of karma. So, if a person is deficient in their karmic interface, shouldn't we EXPECT their interactions with karma to be affected? How could they NOT be, when you think about it? Looked at with this new understanding, it makes perfect sense that an insane person would NOT be subject to the normal rules of karma... they might even exist totally outside of the normal flows of energy that lead to having good or bad karma, but I don't see any way to judge whether they might have a LITTLE bit of karma or not without getting to know some of them well enough to see how karma is working for them, and I do not, NOT, want to ever, EVER have that kind of closeness with that sort of person, or even to know one casually.

I asked for an epiphany, and I got it-and FAST. I even got a bonus epiphany about WHY the soul of an evil person wouldn't be normal. Do I think that the train of thought created by the Nova episodes, and the appearance of Al's post, and the timing of the 2, entering my life starting a week after I asked for answers, are coincidences? Nope.


Friday, March 11, 2005

An amusing memory 


I remember when my father decided that he would enforce a rule that I was no longer allowed to speak with food in my mouth, although he and my mother never applied any such rule to themselves; hypocrisy was nothing new for him, and my mother generally silently enabled him to pursue these random over-restrictions on my life, so her failure to prevent the rule was nothing new, either. The GOOD news was that this was one of the times when a rule was going to conflict with his interactions with me, and, as always, he was too stupid to see it, and too stubborn to take it back once it became obvious that he'd made it possible for me to use his rules against him, which I did as a matter of principle whenever I could. As a consequence, we went through any # of iterations of the following:

I'd have just gotten a bite of food into my mouth, and he'd ask me some sort of question whose sole purpose was to harass me while I was eating; slooooooooowly, I'd turn my head, exaggerating the workings of my jaws to make it clear to him, and to my mother who was always monitoring everything, that I was chewing, and look into his eyes with an expression of naked triumph at being able to safely not answer him because his own rule prevented it. He'd sit there fuming as I chewed and chewed, KNOWING that he'd created the situation that allowed me to stick it to him, but not having a valid way out of it. With more temper than sense, though, he TRIED to twist things to suit his preferences with amazing frequency:

Him (to me): Well?
Mother (to him): She's EATING, can't you see that? You said she can't talk while she's got food in her mouth, remember? Stop trying to make her break the rule just because you couldn't wait until she swallowed to pester her.
Him: Well, why does it always take her so long to chew a mouthful of food?
Mother: Probably because YOU told her she had to eat more slowly.

I'd be looking even more triumphant after this exchange, because he'd been called on his inconsistencies right in front of me; he'd usually shut up at this point, and, when I'd finally swallowed my food, I'd respond to whatever he'd said... which he didn't care about anymore, since his plan had backfired, and so would give some nasty reply to before returning to his meal or to talking to my mother. Every so often, though, he couldn't resist the urge to make his usual attempt to make everything I did into some sort of wrongdoing, and he'd change tactics with things like:

Him: Why does she always have food in her mouth when I speak to her?
Mother: Because she's EATING HER DINNER.
Him: That doesn't mean she should be eating nonstop; she should be pausing periodically.
Mother: For WHAT?
Him: To talk to the other people at the table.
Mother: I don't want her to talk to me when I'm trying to eat, and if she spoke to YOU, you'd be hysterical that she interrupted your meal.
Him: She still shouldn't just eat-eat-eat; that's not how a human being is supposed to eat.
Mother: Since when?
Him: WE don't eat nonstop.
Mother: WE are usually having a conversation; SHE is NOT, so there's no reason for her to stop eating.
Him: Yes there is; she's eating like an animal.
Mother: No, she's eating like anyone else who isn't talking eats, including you.
Him: *I* do NOT eat like that!!
Mother: Yes, you do.
Him: NO I DON'T!!.
Mother: Yes, you DO, and stop your bellowing.
Him: I don't want her to sit down at this table and eat without pausing anymore.
Mother: You can just forget about that!! I already have to wait forever for her to finish her meal so I can clean up, and I'm NOT going to wait even longer so that she can sit there not eating for no reason!! I want her to get through her meal as quickly as possible, so stop trying to find ways to slow her down, and stop interrupting her when there's nothing you need to say to her that can't wait until later.

He'd totally lost the battle once she'd given her speech, and we all knew it, and he KNEW that we knew it. He'd usually throw a hateful glare at ME at that point; I'd respond with a smug look that he couldn't do anything about. If he was done with his meal at that juncture, his humiliation wasn't quite over with, because my mother would add:

Mother: You're done with your meal, so there's no reason for you to still be sitting here, and no EXCUSE to do so just to bother her when she's trying to eat, not to mention ruining MY dinner; you leave the table, go sit on the couch, and let she and I finish our food before it gets stone cold.

She'd give him a challenging look, daring him to try to make a case that he should be allowed to keep sitting there causing trouble; he never rose to that challenge, EVER... he'd toss another glare at ME, and then slink off to sit on the couch.

It occurs to me that it might not be obvious to anyone who grew up in a normal family why this whole thing amuses me; it's that this grown man with a PhD felt it necessary to go to such extreme and transparently ugly lengths to make my life unpleasant for no other reason than that he COULD, and that the stupidity (in the lack of common sense meaning) that typically accompanies evil caused him to bungle his attempts over and over, because in his eagerness to get at me he NEVER thought through how his endless and often contradictory rules, and my mother's presence, would restrict what he could get away with... if I had a dollar for every time his bull in the china shop efforts led to him losing out due to these things, I could buy out Bill Gates.

From quite a young age, I was able to out-think him on a regular basis, and those times that I defeated him were the high points of my childhood.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Clarification of string theory 


Tonight, I saw the first 2 parts of a Nova program, "The Elegant Universe," which is dedicated to making string theory understandable to regular people... and it HAS really made it clearer for me. As I've posted before, string theory predicts that everything, all matter, all forces, EVERYTHING, in the universe is made, at the finest level, of unbelievably tiny vibrating strings of energy; this knocked me over when I first read about it, because I'd already intuitively sensed that everything was made out of one thing... the energy of thought, aka the energy of karma (since scientists still can't tell us what the energy the strings are made of IS, I'm sticking to my analysis for now).

How did they GET the idea for a freaky-sounding concept like string theory? First, there was an equation:

"In the late 1960s a young Italian physicist, named Gabriele Veneziano, was searching for a set of equations that would explain the strong nuclear force, the extremely powerful glue that holds the nucleus of every atom together binding protons to neutrons. As the story goes, he happened on a dusty book on the history of mathematics, and in it he found a 200-year old equation, first written down by a Swiss mathematician, Leonhard Euler. Veneziano was amazed to discover that Euler's equations, long thought to be nothing more than a mathematical curiosity, seemed to describe the strong force."

Second, there was a leap of genius; theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind looked at this equation, and saw that it ALSO described something like a particle, but built like an "elastic string" that vibrated, rather than just being a little dot. (Finally, an explanation for why they call it STRING theory, even though the most popular current version talks about little LOOPS of energy rather than "strings" per se.)

Next, scientists discovered, amongst the many sorts of particles that were being discovered at that time, things called "messenger particles," the exchanges of which were responsible for the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces; the familiar one is the photon, which is the messenger particle for electromagnetism. This gave them "a consistent theory of elementary particle physics, which allows us to describe all of the interactions-weak, strong and electromagnetic-in the same language," and they called it "the Standard Model."

It didn't explain gravity, though; that crucial bit of theory came in the 1970's, when physicist John Schwarz saw that the equations of the then-incomplete, and largely forgotten about, idea of string theory described GRAVITY, and this led to the realization that the strings had to be REALLY tiny (why, they don't say)... 100 billion billion (NOT a typo) times smaller than an atom. This led to them seeing that the mysterious massless particle that they'd been predicting with the theory, which they'd thought was a flaw, was in fact the graviton... the messenger particle for gravity, the missing piece of the puzzle. Schwarz believed that "if strings described gravity at the quantum level, they must be the key to unifying the four forces"; they don't say HOW he made that leap, WHY being able to explain gravity meant that strings had anything to do with the other forces, so it probably requires a PhD in physics to understand.

Joined by physicist Michael Green, Schwarz spent 5 years battling the anomalies in the equations... and then, finally, in 1984, they got all their #'s to add up right, which "meant the theory was free of anomalies. And it had the mathematical depth to encompass all four forces." To quote Schwarz: "So we recognized not only that the strings could describe gravity but they could also describe the other forces. So we spoke in terms of unification. And we saw this as a possibility of realizing the dream that Einstein had expressed in his later years, of unifying the different forces in some deeper framework."

To really explain everything, of course, string theory would have to provide the link between our world and the insane world of quantum physics... which it DOES: "It's the jitteriness of quantum theory versus the gentleness of Einstein's general theory of relativity that makes it so hard to bridge the two, to stitch them together. Now, what string theory does, it comes along and basically calms the jitters of quantum mechanics. It spreads them out by virtue of taking the old idea of a point particle and spreading it out into a string. So the jittery behavior is there, but it's just sufficiently less violent that quantum theory and general relativity stitch together perfectly within this framework. It's a triumph of mathematics. With nothing but these tiny vibrating strands of energy, string theorists claim to be fulfilling Einstein's dream of uniting all forces and all matter."

With this new info, I can finally SEE how string theory came to be, and why they say it explains everything; the power, simplicity and brilliance of it just blows me away. The explanation of how one kind of string can produce everything also shows an unexpected beauty to all this science:

"Just as different vibrational patterns or frequencies of a single cello string create what we hear as different musical notes, the different ways that strings vibrate give particles their unique properties, such as mass and charge. For example, the only difference between the particles making up you and me and the particles that transmit gravity and the other forces is the way these tiny strings vibrate. Composed of an enormous number of these oscillating strings, the universe can be thought of as a grand cosmic symphony."

Ahhhhhhhhhhh....... Music of the spheres, anyone?


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Karma vs stupidity 


Sadly for the sweet-but-foolish, karma, although very powerful, PALES in comparison to the power of stupidity. If you want good things to happen to you, it's not enough to be a good person; you have to make good CHOICES, too. It doesn't matter if you're an absolute SAINT: If you pick scumbags as relationship partners, karma will NOT protect you from being cheated on, lied to, and generally mistreated. If you refuse to get education and training, karma will NOT hand you a great job. If you're careless about locking your doors, karma will NOT protect you from being ripped off. If you can't be bothered to use sunscreen, karma will NOT protect you from skin cancer. Don't get me wrong, having good karma DOES mean that whatever people and resources exist that could help you ARE much more likely to be there when you need them, but you absolutely should NOT count on this help to be sufficient to protect you from harm if you've done something(s) stupid.

What's all too often the case with people that everyone thinks are "nice" is that they can't bring themselves to kick toxic friends out of their lives, or resist drama queens and bad boys in romantic relationships, or leave dead-end jobs, or take the risks needed for real success, or say "no" to things they don't have the time, $ and energy for, or do any # of other things necessary to achieve success and/or happiness, or even to prevent disasters; despite all of that, plenty of sweet people DO have good lives, even when they're making some stupid choices, but when they don't, it's not due to karma... it's simple cause and effect, just like MOST of what goes on in the world.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The facts about opinions 


We've become VERY fond as a culture of believing we each have the right to have an opinion on every topic, no matter how ignorant we are on the subject, and that our opinions are somehow sacred; it doesn't matter if there are FACTS available, and if those facts contradict what we're saying, we still think that as long as we use the word "opinion" we have guaranteed immunity against being argued with. As a terrifying corollary to this, far too many people also believe that it IS ok to argue statements of FACT, and to hold unfounded opinions as superior to facts, with the reasoning apparently being that facts are occasionally in dispute, but opinions are beyond dispute. {rolls eyes}

Let's be clear what I'm talking about here: Facts are, for the most part, things that are provably true; although you can't "prove" that you dreamed about a cow last night, in general facts can be verified by things like math, science, reference books such as dictionaries, and accurate records of various kinds. An opinion, in contrast, is "a belief or conclusion held with confidence but NOT substantiated by positive knowledge or proof"; while there ARE certainly endless opinions that really CAN'T be validly argued with because there's no provably right view to hold, such as whether red's a prettier color than blue, or whether beef tastes better than chicken, there's nothing in the definition that says anything about opinions as a whole being unable to be disputed, much less about them being somehow superior to facts.

How does this apply to real life? In conversation, we can usually tell when someone's stating an opinion, and stating it AS an opinion, but it gets problematic when people state opinions such that it sounds like they're stating facts, because they consider their opinions to be equal to, or better than, facts; this can lead to real problems, especially with so many people getting so much of their information, or what they THINK is information, online.... for example, on health-related forums I've seen so many ridiculous and provably-wrong opinions on MEDICAL issues that were stated, and accepted by readers, as facts that it gives me CHILLS. Although readers other than me MUST know that what's being asserted is wrong in each of these cases, no one other than me ever SAYS anything... and when I speak up, the wrong-sayer will scream that it's their opinion and can't be argued with, and 10 other people will chime in that quoting doctors and researchers or otherwise mentioning the FACTS is "wrong," and that the "right" thing to do is to make an "analysis" based on no medical training or concrete information to form an opinion, and then treat it as gospel.

I WISH I was joking.

To be blunt, those of us not so seduced by the idea of our random thoughts being treated as inarguable "facts" have GOT to have the backbone to confront people and make it clear that what they're making out to be facts are NOT facts, and that opinions that are contrary to established facts are WRONG, plain and simple. Why is this so hard to do? I know, I know, we were taught not to ridicule people's opinions out of politeness; if someone says they prefer vanilla ice cream and you prefer chocolate, you're NOT supposed to say, "Boy, you sure are stupid-everyone knows that chocolate is the best flavor"... and we should certainly still follow that teaching, as an opinion isn't better or right by virtue of being yours, or worse, wrong or deserving of abuse by virtue of NOT being yours. However, we've GOT to put a stop to the ever-increasing practice of nodding and smiling at ANY statement preceded by "My opinion is" (whether actually said or just implied), or in which a clearly-incorrect opinion is being presented as a fact, because we have nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by giving up on the crystal-clear difference between facts and opinions, and the equally crystal-clear knowledge of which of the 2 is RIGHT when they're in conflict.


Monday, March 07, 2005

Paper power 


It's not uncommon for wives to leave notes for their husbands; I'm guessing, though, that not too many leave notes and lists rolled up in their husband's keyrings, taped over the monitor and the lock of the back door, laid on the keyboard and in the middle of the hallway, attached to open cabinet doors that block that hallway at eye level, the fridge, the cabinets... so many pieces of paper all told that my husband has suggested with total seriousness that it'd be a cool work of art to make some sort of montage with a hundred or so of the many thousands of them as a representation of our married life.

I've gone farther than just writing notes, though; it started with the cheese compartment, which is, as the name suggests, where cheese and ONLY cheese should be stored. My husband decided that this tiny area was the "most convenient" place in the fridge to put literally EVERYTHING; he also claimed it was easier to see everything in there, although that was provably wrong, as all he could see was whatever item was right on top. Talking to him when he's picked up this sort of habit is a waste of time, so I devised a plan; I taped a sheet of paper over the top of the compartment, with the words "CHEESE ONLY" on it, to make it impossible for him to blindly shove stuff in there... well, actually, it was only SEMI-impossible, as he figured out how to stick some things in around the edges without lifting up the paper. Determined to triumph, I made a new cover with TWO pieces of paper, thoroughly taped in there such that, although the compartment was still usable, it really WAS impossible to put anything in there without lifting up the flap, and, stubborn as he is, he just wasn't willing to invest the effort to keep putting things in his favorite spot, so he gave up and started sticking them in other places. We went through a brief period where he was putting the CHEESE in random spots all over, but the 2nd time I found that he had a half dozen packages of cheddar open at the same time because he couldn't be bothered to keep track, or to LOOK before opening a new package, he felt guilty enough about the food wastage that he went back to putting the cheese in its proper place... most of the time, lol.

The latest battle was about the top of the microwave; my husband insists on seeing it as a shelf, and, although those with very tiny kitchens might be justifiably forced to use it as such, we do NOT need to, and having dirty dishes and such up there looks trashy, so I made a big sign saying "NOT A SHELF" and hung it from the overhanging cabinet. He ignored it blatantly and simply reached around it to plunk things down. Taking a lesson from the cheese war, I taped enough paper up that it was no longer convenient to shove things up there... and he kept doing it. I put up so much paper that it was literally impossible to reach the upper surface of the microwave without carefully maneuvering between pieces; I thought that was it, until I noticed that some food packages that had been sitting around on the counter had mysteriously disappeared, and I checked behind the papers... and there they were. I marched into my husband's study and demanded to know what excuse there was for him going through so much effort to put stuff on top of the microwave, and he had the gall to accuse ME of thwarting HIM!! I pointed out that keeping him from slopping up the kitchen did NOT count as "thwarting him," but that by going to extreme effort to put stuff where it didn't belong he showed that, far from just doing what was most convenient, as he always swore he was, he was in fact actively thwarting ME... and he couldn't deny it, nor could he deny that there was simply no excuse to keep stashing things in what was now inarguably the LEAST convenient spot in the kitchen, so that battle has also been won.

They say you can't change someone else's behavior. They say a person has to WANT to change in order to alter their habits. They need to come and talk to ME!! :-)


Sunday, March 06, 2005

Spammers are getting stupider 


It's getting easier to identify spam recently, possibly because only total morons are still creating it, or because they're so bent on using new techniques to stay ahead of our ability to detect them that all they've got left are stupid ones, or... I dunno, but I'm amazed that they're still fooling enough people to make it worth their while.

The stupidest thing they're currently doing is having the sender's name be something utterly ridiculous, like "Clarabella Finkleheimerschmidt"; when you see that name, you instantly realize that you don't know, have never known, and never WILL know, anyone with the first name "Clarabella," much less with the last name "Finkleheimerschmidt," and thus that that email is spam and can be deleted... which means that you won't be reading the email or responding to its contents (which usually include one or more links to click), and the spammer has no chance whatsoever of making $ off of you.

Even when they're not getting quite so extreme with the names, they tend to make another mistake; they include a middle initial in the name, which no actual person does. "Edward Smith" MIGHT be someone you know; "Edward K. Smith" is definitely a spammer... what could possibly have made them think that adding that middle initial would make it MORE believable that their emails were from a real person?

If they had any brains, they'd have the sender field contain only a first name, and use one that the average person will actually associate with someone they know; if you see that you've received an email from "John" or "Susan," there's an excellent chance you'll open it, and isn't that the whole POINT of spam, to trick you into opening it? Anyone who isn't bright enough to figure that out shouldn't bother pursuing a career as a spammer.

Another dead giveaway is when the sender field contains a person's name, but the subject line makes it sound like the email is from a business of some sort, with phrases like "About your account" and "Your bill is overdue"; REAL businesses, even tiny online ones, use the name of the business and/or the department the email is coming from in the sender field. Would it be so tough to make the sender field look like a business name, such as "EZ Online Shopping Site"? If they were REALLY smart, they'd make the sender field an unremarkable name, and the subject field "Re: eBay item # 4739573849"; so many people do eBay, none of whom memorize the #'s of whatever items they're buying, selling or asking about, that many, maybe even MOST, recipients would open the emails... *I* certainly would, as I get valid emails that look just like that all the time.

Another common bungle in the subject lines of spam is to use a name other than the recipient's; if you get a subject line that says "How have you been, David Johnson?" and your name is Margaret Smith, you're not going to open that email. What's worse is that they tend to use unusual names for this, so there's not even that one in a million chance that they'll get someone with that name; if they just used a common first name, and no last name, this might strike gold once in a while, but the names I've seen used have NO chance.

There are a couple of miscellaneous mistakes being made as well; one of them is using file attachments to make fancy graphics in the emails... we're all so paranoid about file attachments from unknown sources that even if the sender's name and subject line don't put us off, we delete the emails out of fear of viruses. The other one is forgetting that the use of random word generators to fool the spam filters should NOT extend to the subject line; if you see a half dozen nonsense words in a subject line, unless you have some very odd friends, you known instantly it's spam.

If spam is ever defeated, it won't be by any new twist of technology; it'll be because the spammers have gotten so clueless about how to trick people into opening their emails that the $ disappears, and they give up.


Saturday, March 05, 2005

The natural look 


I remember an interchange I had with an ex-boyfriend on the patio behind the art building in, I think, the latter half of my high school career; as a not particularly subtle poke at me, and the makeup I was wearing, he announced that he didn't like makeup, because it wasn't "natural," that he only liked things that were "natural," and thought that every aspect of a person's appearance should be "natural." My scathing reply was:

"Oh REALLY? Then why do you have those braces on your teeth, Nature Boy? They aren't "natural." Those glasses you're wearing aren't "natural," either, are they? You're wearing clothes, and that's not "natural." You've got shoes on your feet, and that's not "natural." You hair is cut short, and that's not "natural." You shave, and that's not "natural." You trim your nails, and that's not "natural." You wear deodorant, and THAT'S not "natural"... there isn't much about you that IS natural, is there, so you can keep your rude, stupid, hypocritical comments to yourself."

lol

Although he was pretty much burned to a cinder, he did his best to hem and haw and but-but-but; he failed utterly of course, because he was wrong, and in the wrong, on every level. (If you're feeling any sympathy for him, don't bother; remember, he instigated negative commentary KNOWING that I'd blast him, but he still had to do it, still HAD to be a jerk and take a shot at putting me down.)

The really sad thing is that, in a culture where standards of beauty keep escalating, to the point that even those with the greatest "natural" beauty can't compete with the heavily retouched images of artfully coiffed, dressed and made up people that we're bombarded with a hundred times a day, there are STILL men claiming to prefer "the natural look"... even though the women they DATE rarely have makeup-free faces, much less hair with neither perm nor artificial color. Is this just pure misogyny, a way to arrogantly criticize nearly ALL American women with a single phrase, a way to deflect the power of women's beauty by deriding its "unnaturalness"? I'm sure most men who say that would deny it, but, let's face it, it's not NICE to make a negative blanket statement like that, so it's difficult to ascribe motives that aren't at least somewhat negative.

Although there are certainly makeup styles that are clownish or freakish, in general makeup hides flaws and enhances the features in accordance with what men are biologically programmed to prefer, so there's absolutely NO excuse for anyone to turn their noses up at it; the exception would be if there were any men who could say honestly that they LIKE pimples, scars, blotches, dark undereye circles, pasty cheeks, dry lips, and all the other elements of the average woman's face without makeup, but of course we all know that no such men exist.

Even those men who don't take a hard line about makeup will usually, if asked, say that they prefer a makeup-free face; as any woman can tell you from experience, however, men show MUCH more attraction and interest in her if she's made up than if she's not, so... why do men SAY that, when their actions and arousal patterns so clearly show the opposite?

I suppose that men might be scarred for life by their disappointment the first time they see a woman without her "face" and realize that she's not nearly as pretty as they thought she was; then again, the first time the woman sees HIM with bedhead, puffy eyes and stubble, scratching his genitals through ratty boxers, SHE'S not thrilled, so it should balance out... and it'd be just too pitiful of a reason in any case.

Let's forget trying to explain why men claim to prefer the natural look, and ask ourselves if it's objectively BETTER; is there some innate superiority in NOT having pigmented substances on one's face? Of course not. There's a wider frame of reference in which it IS better, though, or at least would be if we could achieve it; it used to be that virtually ANY healthy woman who wasn't too far along in years was considered reasonably attractive exactly as she naturally looked, because natural was all we had to go by, the only faces we saw were those in our village or town so we didn't have much basis for comparison, and retouched photos were far in the future... imagine, ladies, making NO effort at a beauty regimen and STILL being widely considered as appealing. Boggles the mind, doesn't it? I think we'd be far, FAR better off as a culture if we went back to that older standard of looks, but it's never gonna happen.

An interesting change HAS been happening in recent years, though; with women's dollars being courted for movies, TV shows, musical acts, etc, and with the possession of those dollars allowing women for the 1st time in history to pick male partners based on attraction rather than on their ability to bring home the bacon, the standards of looks for MEN are shooting up by leaps and bounds, and suddenly MEN are doing endless primping and grooming, exercising and trying to dress sharp... the era of the metrosexual has arrived, and, though some despair of this trend, it has the undeniable benefit of it making it difficult for men to keep banging the drum for the natural look, especially with men's cosmetics being one of the fastest growing markets in the country.

I recently saw a somewhat mean-spirited program showing celebs without their makeup; one of the people featured was a plain, doughy-faced girl with stringy hair and dozens of large pimples covering her cheeks... does that sound like anyone you'd pant after, fellas? Who was it? Britney Spears. Hard to believe, but true; one of the hottest babes on the planet revealed to be, withOUT the makeup, a girl most men would cross the street to avoid talking to.

What do you suppose SHE would say about how men REALLY feel about the natural look?


Friday, March 04, 2005

Feeling the power? 


On 2-28-05, I wrote about the affirmations I'm going to do to help a loved one get his brilliant screenplay to the actor everyone agrees should play the main role; I've been doing them every day, but last night, something new happened, something which had never happened during ANY affirmations I've ever done... I actually FELT "power" being generated. The affirmation process started in the usual unspectacular way, but when I was about halfway through them I noticed that I felt... well, it's hard to explain, but the image that keeps coming to me is when you rev a car's engine and hold it at a level higher than a normal idle when you're trying to warm it up-that's what it felt like. There was no particular emotional state attached to this, other than a vague confusion as to why I was getting this feeling, which went away as soon as I realized what must be happening; I didn't feel elated, as one logically might expect me to (perhaps because it was 5AM and I hadn't been to bed yet), I just sorta went with it and finished the affirmations... and, once I was done, the feeling of "power" faded.

Was what I experienced exhaustion, delusion, wishful thinking, or a combination thereof? They're all valid possibilities, and I can't disprove any of them; my instinct, though, is that I WAS feeling the karmic "power" I was generating, and that it's MUCH stronger than previously due to the spiritual progress I've made... I sure HOPE that's it, because if it is I can be fairly confident about bringing about the desired result.

I did today's affirmations right before doing this post, and... it was even stronger today, and was accompanied by odd bodily sensations that I can't quite describe, and a faintly dizzy and headachy feeling towards the end, although I was NOT pushing or straining in any way, just typing steadily and focusing on trying to create some semblance of the proper words (I'm an AWFUL typist). Why did my brain react as if I HAD been making some huge and protracted effort, rather than just typing for a few minutes? Did I psych myself into it? I can't discount the possibility, but it just doesn't seem likely; if that were what was going on, you'd think I was getting myself worked up, but I was smart and took my pulse right after I finished, and it was SLOWER than normal, rather than speeded up as you'd expect it to be if I were eagerly creating the illusion that I was radiating power... my best guess as to why it was slower is that the process of making the affirmations involved some small degree of meditative state, but that's based on just one event, so it's not carved in stone. WAS some sort of major something-or-other going on in my brain during the affirmations? Again, I'll need more data before drawing any conclusions, but if that WAS what I felt, rather than just some side effect of the energy that was encompassing me, that would mean that a whole new "layer" is being added to my understanding of how affirmations work... or that I'm somehow able to ADD something to the process... wow....................................

I've gotta admit, this creeps me out just a little, but I'm resisting "shutting down" with all my might; this is what I've been seeking out, and now that I'm getting it I'm going to see how far I can take it.





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