Thursday, May 30, 2002

Working on setting up the "ENTRIES" menu for now. It'll take a bit of time.

In the Meanwhile

Actually I haven't done much work on the "ENTRIES" section today. Just the most recent entries. Work has actually kept somewhat busy. Go figure.

I've spent some time on the Web, however, as things have gotten odd w/ our connection. Wanted to do some of my own, but no trouble has appeared. Oh well. Always a good thing when trouble doesn't strike.

While doing some surfing, though, I found an interesting article, titled The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. I haven't read the whole thing. So far, though, Richard has come up "The Creative Index", wh/ rates cities on the degree of creativity they foster; and he also notes th/ corporations conform themselves around the creative prospective & current employees. It has grabbed my attention so far, & I look forward to learning how creativity in cities contribute to their health.

Crazy. Reading the article & totally identifying w/ it. Guess I can count myself as part of the creative class.

Still Climbing th/ Hump

1st off, just want to say th/ article I've mentioned rocks. It gave me some great ideas for my thesis & such. Nothing I can use directly, but the ideas mentioned in the article got me thinking in some good tagents.

Moving on, though: I printed out the entry from yesterday so as to have bttr "navigation" ability. Kinda interesting to think how paper, itself, works bttr for navigating & browsing through text for me; whilst editing over the computer allows for speed & general efficacy, at least if the editor has a windows-type interface. But I digress.

I have to admit, I've got some urge to procastinate, wh/ I guess I somewhat by continuing to type abt procrastinating. Guess I just have a fear of it taking another two years or so to write a 7 - 10 page paper. It took th/ long to write the 1st paper. But now I've got th/ disclosure out of the way.

Now I need to figure out what to do w/ all the ideas & themes th/ I wrote down yesterday. I guess I could start by pointing out some similarities & contrasts th/ The Dispossessed has w/ The Handmaid's Tale. For one, they both address power relations & the place an individual has in society & how much power th/ society has over the individual.

Contrasts lie w/in these similarities, though: Offred knew th/ she had absolutely no power, & the power th/ she had came from the information she gathered from around here & the kind of bare influence she could "convince" to come out of other people. It had some basis of "game theory"/rationality to it even if the society itself had gotten based in some very irrational ideas. The ideas had some horrible base to them th/ if thought abt, made horrible sense while the day-to-day ways to "corrupt" the citizenry of the Republic & gain power had something of a rational basis to once someone had gained the right kind of information.

Shevek, on the other hand, had a certain kind of power b/c he had theoretical information or at least potential theoretical information. He lacked the kind of information & ability th/ Offred possessed, however. In a sense he had power from this kind of ignorance b/c he could come up w/ different ideas, not fear as his fellow citizens did, & desire growth to a certain extent. Even as he could gain knowledge & create new information, he hadn't the wisdom to implement it in the way th/ he would have liked. This part here doesn't make total sense to me, either. I think it will start making some sense when I write a ton, though, & sort through it.

Shevek gains much wisdom throughout the novel. The novel pretty much surveys the first 50 yrs of his life, w/ most of the survey style happening on his home planet/moon while the novel uses a more focused, detailed narrative for his year or so on the other planet, wh/ his home planet orbits.

Both narratives have something of an upside down bell shape to them. He starts off pretty naive of the situation, w/o much information abt the social situation, thus not having much wisdom abt it. As he experiences more, he gains more wisdom, becomes disillusioned, acts throughout the whole time -- both trying to learn more, fulfill old needs, then finding himself somewhere wholly new, finding himself w/ something of an identity th/ almost formed itself, then leaves himself in a position in wh/ he can only act in certain points, dependent on the decisions & acts he did in the past, wh/ further gets influenced by the other people, the society, the history of the worlds, wh/ can exponentially affect to the nth degree, depending on how much these factors affect other people & to a certain degree, the kind of willpower th/ these other people have to remain themselves -- wh/ some have probably argued th/ they don't really have such willpower b/c their environment makes them who they are, but I don't really want to get into th/ one b/c I don't believe a person can get defined w/ "is"s & "are"s & so forth. People act, they don't exist as some sort of infinite being.

Well. . .crap. I think I've started to make some progress in this rambling, even if it works in a circle @ the moment. Sometimes history works th/ way, maybe in th/ Rousseauian fashion, the individual juggling of ideas does the same. =)

W/ th/ above topic of the upside down bell shape, my mind moved to another one of the themes (or maybe 2 of the themes), the existential suffering but deserving the world of joy & pleasure, & also the idea th/ individuals should do what they love & find a way for it to benefit society but also do drudgery for the survival of society. If a person survives both, pleasure & suffering can act to develop & mature a person, build character, fill them w/ joy, provide prospective, while also bettering society. Shevek, himself, demonstrates this fact, the one th/ if one challenges oneself & pushes for introspective & extrospective then one can grow, understand more, & gain "power"/joy through the further wisdom. & like in the upside down bell where so many factors came together to create a situation of identity in wh/ all the factors in th/ situation grew so large th/ it became incalculable & powerful, this introspective/extrospective choice th/ everyone could make would do the same, but in a way th/ increases the growth, understanding, wisdom, & "power"/joy th/ everyone in a given society would possess.

& so the CD ends. As such, this entry of ecstasy will end, too.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

I've spent most of my free time making it so the entry links on the right work. Blaugh!

AN ATTEMPT TO CHANGE PACE

Yesterday I had one of those mornings of frustration th/ can come to me aft a long weekend or taking a cool vacation. Partly I got motivated to have my haircut yesterday b/c of my frustration.

Largely, though, I had one of those moments in wh/ I realized th/ my current situation doesn't satisfy me. Not th/ I dislike or hate my situation. I have nothing abt wh/ I find any worth to complain. I generally try not complaining, anyway, as we largely created our current presents ourselves & have by and large the biggest influence on our own fates.

Pretty much I can see something bttr th/ I want, & I don't have th/ in my current situation. The main thing I see now: me w/ a bachelor's degree. I will attain all my other visions aft I get th/ degree. As such I plan on focusing this BLOG more on the thesis th/ I need to write to graduate.

I won't get too deep into explaining the thesis, itself, since I have yet to figure out a thesis for my thesis. Argh. The subject, though: Utopian/Dystopian literature & historical communities. The historical communities all come as Utopian attempts (since I doubt anyone wants to directly create a dystopia).

To figure out exactly what I want to figure out in the end w/ all of this writing, I'll explore the themes/"meaning" behind three novels: B.F. Skinner's Walden II, Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossesed, and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I also will analyze the success/failure of 3 Utopian community attempts to see if th/ will elucidate anything. These communities include Brook Farm, a Transcendentialist community in West Roxbury during the mid-1800's; a Kibbutz in Israel during the mid-20th century (amazing how th/ can get sd); & Jackson Meadows a "hippie" commune located in south eastern VT during the late 60's to early 70's.

Also I have in mind a novel called The Lost Republic. Aft giving this BLOG the current name, I figured th/ these two endeavours have become linked in some way. As such, I decided to use this BLOG to log my progress for this thesis. I'll also probably use it to do some massive brainstorming.

I've already written the rough draft to The Handmaid's Tale and a rough draft of the prologue of The Lost Republic.

The Next Hump to Climb

I need to start writing the rough draft of the paper abt The Dispossessed. Time to just throw down some ideas: altruistic liberterianism introduced as anarchism, suffering -- we all have to bear the weight of existential suffering, working together makes it th/ much easier; a journey doesn't finish until the person on the journey returns, everyone deserves everything (all the good joyful things th/ life has to offer) but on the other hand they don't deserve anything (all the painful things th/ happen in life), society v. the individual: b/c of the existential suffering & deserving everything/nothing, every individual should have to do hard/drudgery labor while also having the ability/time to do & accomplish the things th/ they love; 2 kinds of power acts as evil: pure coercion in the form of violence & guns to oppress those th/ oppose the Powers th/ Be then there's the evil power of societal conformity -- whereas everyone should have to do drudgery for the sake of society, society shouldn't force them into only drudgery & destroying their individuality & expression & power to change/improve society/themselves; true revolution in the self & the power to know thyself & have the ability to express the self & even mold the rest of society so as to allow for th/ expression?

OK. . .inductive brainstorm done. Productive, if you ask me. I'll have to do more w/ it later. Now, though, I've got some dishes to do.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

A WARNING TO FRIENDS & ACQAINTENCES IN THE ORDINARYSCAPE

I got something of a major haircut. At least I consider it major compared to the haircut th/ I had b/f. I went from hair down to just abt my chin to something akin to high & tight. I now understand why girls can get into getting haircuts. =)

Friday, May 24, 2002

SO MUCH MAKES SENSE NOW!!!!

I'll just say it involves girls. Nothing more. Even though I have the feeling th/ in a few months or a year or so, I'll feel flustered abt the whole girl thang. I just have to remember th/ they have individual personalities & histories, too.

Well thank goodness I've got Bad Mr. Tripp to help me w/ my flustered feeling. =)

& Just Something I Find Annoying

I get annoyed when 1 industry appropriates the technology & vocabulary of another industry, using it pretty for the same thing, just more specialized, for something particular; & the new industry doesn't stick to the definitions of the definitions as used b/f. It really just annoys me b/c I've had a past w/ the earlier definition & this industry just jumping on a bandwagon for its own ends goes & bastardizes a vocabulary already established. & besides, I've got my habits. . ..

An Epiphany

After writing up a rant abt the situation mentioned above, I came to a realization. It all comes down to trust and consideration. Maybe not all, but the fundamental base of good relationships come from such a strong foundation of trust & consideration. @ least I came up w/ th/ theory aft going off & off abt th/ situation.

& strangely enough, I know th/ I've got the groundwork to have th/ knowledge & understanding to myself. I tried to find out more on the Web. Aft seeing the links th/ came up, though, I knew had the beginnings of a good understanding of the whole thing. Now I just need to get more experience.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Why You Don't See Much (at Least Not Yet)

Other than actually doing work, I spent most of my day doing the early stages of making this entry (i.e. making up the entry to the left in every actual entry). The rest of the time I browsed the Web looking for some solution to a minor headache I've experienced most of today and many other weekdays.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Score One for the BLOGGER

I've furthered my "evil" ends just a little more today. I made it so when you click on the button up there in the upper left corner that reads "E-mail Me", you'll get a new window with a form to fill out. Then th/ window will send me the information you put into it and close itself. I love efficiency, especially for my readers.

& Another!

Also look up there & see the button to the Mailing List option. Click on it to find out more.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

A Need to Learn

I seriously need to learn some more coding languages for Webpages. Every time I enter a new entry into this BLOG, I have to make a ton of additions to each page. Ugh!

Then again, I think I need to sign up to a server that will also allow me to use CGI scripts & such. I have the feeling using that kind of coding will make things easier for me & this BLOG. Or maybe I'll just outsource my CGI needs.

A Minor Epiphany

I've just realized something. I don't care incredibly much abt getting a readership for this BLOG of mine. Kinda helps, I guess, th/ it essentially comes free. The actual epiphany, however, comes from just plain understanding th/ I totally appreciate just constructing this huge beautiful BLOG site w/ a whole bunch of features & know th/ I can do something cool and constructive. When I run out of features, I'll probably just get off of getting a whole bunch of entries, thoughts, stories, rants, and rambles down & such. Just a bit text of me, or something of the sort.

I need to act selfish sometimes. I'll have this BLOG as one of those times. BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! =)

Monday, May 20, 2002

Not so Great Day

I now find myself in an annoying mood. My eyes hurt. One of them even twitched. They haven't done that for at least a month now, when I had stopped having so much caffeine in my diet. I find myself not extremely happy w/ my job. Nonetheless, I think this moods comes from tiredness. I just need some exercise, stimulation, & sleep. That's all.

My Curse

I think I shall have to face the eternal curse of having a lot to say (or at least write down or type) w/o having the time to get it out there in the world.

Friday, May 17, 2002

What Has Happened to my Roommate?

I think my roommate has entered the Witness Protection Program. Or maybe a cult. Earlier this week (or maybe during the weekend or the end of last week) he told me th/ he would go out to some midwest city come this week to train some people for his company. The morning he leaves, his mom calls repeatedly to make sure he has left. The Internet goes out at our home (I don't know if it has to do w/ AT&T or if our little server box has decided to go kaput or what). Even more interesting: I try sending an e-mail to his work e-mail, & it gets sent back as an invalid e-mail addy. Hmmmmmm. . .what has happened to him? I want to know.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

OOOOPS!!!!

Well I did something kind of funny. I accidently deleted the May 14 entry b/f even going through the process of posting it. Th/'s something new. I think I remember what I wrote in it, though. I'll just put the important part in later.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

I've gone & done it. I changed the layout to this crazy BLOG. It took maybe 1/2 my workday on-and-off to do it, too. I feel just a bit guilty. Ah well, a part of me believes th/ I wouldn't have gotten so much "real" work done if I hadn't my BLOG to distract me.

I like it. I like it quite a bit. It hasn't turned out the way I had originally planned. You know what, though? I think it actually looks bttr than I had planned. I feel quite good abt this little venture of mine. I think I've learned just a little bit & bttred my paltry Web design skills. I've done good over the past cpl days as I've worked on this here BLOG.

Now get ready for more changes as I adapt the Old Skool & the New Skool together. Just bear w/ it. I know I will. =)

Monday, May 13, 2002

A Study in Abject Normality

Young adulthood has come to frustrate me, possibly even moreso than adolescence. Things feel a certain degree more intense. The intensity probably comes from the fact th/ things mean more in the sense th/ I have more of a past backing giving them more color while also having a bttr grip on how different things th/ happen can effect the future. All the while, I can't depend on my parents for money & other forms of material support. All the while, however, I believe th/ I pretty much have a good deal of the same kinds of emotional needs as th/ of an adolescent.

Having all these needs kind of confuses me, though. I had needs & such back during my adolescent years, but I had a very different reaction to them. In a way I have the feeling th/ my responsibilities & requirements other people put onto me really unbalances me. Back during adolescence (my teen years, at least), I know th/ I had a lot less responsibilities & a ton more free time to do whatever I would pretty much like.

Actually I just read something on the Web abt emotional maturity -- and all types of maturity/age issues. For some reason I found myself identifying a lot w/ its description of a dependent personality. I guess I can kind of agree w/ my identification, since I have had much frustration w/ other people's reactions to some of my dependent inclinations & habits. I kind of reacted in an immature way, I think. I pretty much shut off myself & my availibility to other people.

I guess my latest frustration comes from recently trying to open up myself more & not getting the results th/ I want. Also I've received some signals from people th/ I've correctly interpreted too late & other signals th/ I just plain don't know how to interpret. Even though my life continues onward quite well (except th/ I don't work in a job th/ I love nor have I graduated from college) on an external level, I feel the things happening to & around me as quite chaotic, simply b/c I can't fit these things into the comprehension boxes th/ I have in my head.

People have always praised me for my ability to think deep & also for my "knowing myself." Further, I consider myself proficient in handling abstract issues like mathematics (when I get up to practice) & handling symbols in literature & poetry. Well, you know something. . .? I've gotten sick & tired of having all this self knowledge & having the ability to talk deep & having the ability to perform abstract functions & connect abstract thoughts.

Or put more accurately, w/o good interpersonal skills, I've grown sick & tired of having all these great abilities of knowing myself, growing, & manipulating symbols. Like people who have all the benefits of superficial and/or intimate interpersonal relations & complain abt not having enough else in their lives, probably more specifically in their intrapersonal relations; I've developed enough of my intrapersonal life and want the benefits of a more intimate interpersonal relationships -- I guess somewhat like I had in my adolescence, except I would like more intimate of relations now than I had then.

& th/'s really about it for now. I go home from work soon. Yay! =)

Friday, May 10, 2002

I smell the beach!!!!!! And I don't even have a beach near me. Closest one: Walden Pond abt a 1/2-hr or 3/4-hr walk from here.

What beautiful weather we have today in the Greater Boston Area! I get to wear a short sleeve shirt outside, & it has just turned 10 AM! I could probably use a light jacket, but man! I love the weather right now. Not too cold, not too hot. Yay!

Too bad I have to stay inside until 5. =/

Selfish Me

Over the past three or four days, I've written a ton of entries but haven't taken the time @ night to post them onto my BLOG (wh/ I just found out today means 'Web Log'. Get it? "--B LOG"? Huh? Huh? Yeah. . .I didn't know what it meant for awhile, either, even though I used it). But I guess w/ TV, writing, running, & the latest slew of socializing w/ friends for the fun of it & to celebrate my 24th b-day, I haven't really had the time to actually post the stuff. After all, life, it's all abt me! Well. . .only kinda. =)

The 2nd Installment of My B-day Festivities: Dinner @ the Grasshopper Restaurant

Last night the culmination of some great plans came together. I gathered 12 people from my UU church's youth group, & we all went over to the Grasshopper Restaurant in Allston for some good vegan asian food.

I had such a good time! If anyone who went reads this entry, thank you so much for coming & providing such good company! But man. . .the other vegetarians & I (I think the only full out vegan present) really appreciated the huge amounts of options from wh/ to choose. We could order anything on the menu & not worry abt getting meat or dairy or eggs. It felt great to have such freedom, but. . .we had somewhat of a hard time handling the choice & responsibility, we have gotten so used to getting marginalized to one section of the menu. Sometimes I forget some of the advantages to such superficial marginalization.

But oh. . .I haven't felt so full in awhile, probably a week or two. I had at least one sample of all the appetizers, except for the spring rolls. The appetizers included: dumplings, tofu rolls, & you know what? I forget what else. Tasted great, though. Then I had a sweet & sour dumpling dish w/ pineapples & vegetables; coconut juice w/ some coconut meat in it (hah hah, enough of th/ joke); &. . .& CHEESECAKE!!!!!!! Mmmmmm. . .. A cpl people had some dishes they didn't like. Overall, though, everyone felt satisfied.

A good time had by all. We couldn't even leave the street curb aft we left, we enjoyed each other's company too much.

So now I've got a cpl more activities left for the b-day festivities:

- Dinner w/ friends from hometown.
- A housewarming party @ a friend's apartment.
- A meeting in western MA tomorrow w/ the group of people who want to form a sustatinable farm.
- Possibly either a spring fling @ church or a creative sharing party @ a friend's house tomorrow night aft the meeting in western MA.
- and Going out to visit my family for Mother's Day on Sunday.

Whew! I've got a lot going on, I guess. Someone told me birthdays should work this way. I'll find out over this weekend if I like it to work this way or not. Guess I can't complain, though, since I did schedule the dinners over the past cpl nights.

Nonetheless all of this celebrating & such kind of works as a kind of defining independent adulthood for me to a certain degree since I now have a job th/ pays well & allows me to have financial independence. Yay!

The Death of Dr. Mark Green

So aft dinner last night my roommate & I came home. We arrived @ abt 3/4 of 11. Good thing we've got TIVO! Otherwise we would have missed one of the more intense ERs. Dr. Green, the 2nd to last original cast member (unless you count Sherry Springfield, but she had a looooonnnnngggg hiatus for the show, so she doesn't really count) to leave the show died from brain cancer.

Pretty intense, even if sappy @ times. I found myself near to tears @ times. Kinda weird. I guess when a show has a character & th/ character enters my life @ least once a wk for 7 yrs, it almost becomes a friend of sorts. Kinda like th/ feeling I get when a real good character in a novel dies or plain when the novel ends.

And also they made it a good bittersweet kind of death. It happened slowly, so it gave the Dr. time to try fixing the mistakes th/ he had made & the problem of not spending valuable time during those rites of passages w/ his daughters. Then it becomes even more intense b/c over the last 7 yrs, we saw it all happening, esp. during the 1st cpl seasons. So all this stuff from something like 5 yrs ago came to nip him in the bud. They did a good job b/c from everything I read abt death & dying, his dying came off as realistic, especially the wanting to fix most of the mistakes he made during his life. I think this process of trying to fix the mistakes, & the people around him (especially his daughter) not accepting the death & trying to reject the whole thing as happening. Very heart wrenching stuff. . .. =(

A Community of BLOGs

I found a website dedicated to the BLOGs in the Boston area. They even plan events for BLOGgers to attend & times to hang out. Sounds like fun, another community in wh/ to take part. I think I'll see what it has to offer & possibly join. If it strikes up your interest, goto the Boston BLOGS Website.

As The Workday Comes Close to an End

1. The Running Thing I don't want to use health & exercise to make myself live longer. I want to use it to make my time here on this Eart as enjoyable as possible. Running counts as exercise & something th/ betters health. Thus, I run, stretch, exercise, etc. to make myself feel th/ much bttr. The complaining abt not having the motivation to do stuff like this most of the time will come later. =)

2. The Community Thing I didn't really come up w/ any good answers for this one. Sucks, too, b/c I should have had them by tomorrow for the meeting. I kinda came up w/ the idea at the last one, then it became homework. Oh well, I think I'll just have to ramble a bit. I've got some rough ideas up there in my head. Something about affective/effective relationships, wanting to get challenge & encouraged @ the same time, & also shared responsibilities so th/ I can have some time to do the things th/ I love w/ most of the time given to me. Hopefully something else will come from it.

Now I hope I don't do the same w/ the latest idea I just gave to the group. . .. =(

I don't have any other big thought processes th/ I had started but didn't finish. Thought I did have more. Oh well. Not bad really. Almost like a conversation in real time -- starting an idea but then getting sidetracked by other ideas & things happening around me.

Done for the Day

I've finished this entry. Time to send it to myself. Then I go home, take a jog, shower, go to dinner w/ a bunch of friends, then go to a party. Yay!

Just get ready for some changes in the look of this place.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Change of Format

Well you'll notice something of a change. At least for this group of entries. See, things have changed a bit since I changed jobs & everything. It all has to do w/ the workstation available to me everyday & the realization th/ I don't have to use a disk to transport the entries back & forth b/w work. I can just type it up @ work -- or at least just type up a bunch of ideas th/ I get during the work day -- then e-mail the entry to myself to utilize later.

For the past cpl days I've made up a bunch of entries, but I either haven't had a chance or the motivation to code up the text & post it up here. I figure I'll just post all the entries together in one big write-up. Not sure if I'll do something w/ them later. I want to do something abt the navigation of this site sometime later. I've even gotten annoyed w/ the site when I tried to navigate around to find a topic.

But alas. . .this BLOG really comes at the end of a list of priorities. *sigh*

Fun, Fun, Fun

Last night I kicked off my four-day b-day activity celebration activifest. I went out for dinner & hung out w/ some old co-workers from a publishing company where I had temped. Things hadn't changed much, at least they give me th/ impression. Or at least nothing much has changed except for the responsibilities I left behind, so someone had to pick up them. Sorry! I had to move on w/ my life, though.

Tonight I go out to a vegan restaurant w/ some people from church. Tomorrow night I go out w/ adolescent friends to a mexican cafe/tequila bar. Then @ 7:30 Sat morning I meet up w/ someone @ the T station nearby to make a trip out to Western Mass for a meeting to plan for the sustainable farm th/ a friend of mine has dreamed about & has gathered people together to realize it. & somewhere in all this mess, I've got to do my laundry & buy groceries. Like I sd above, Fun, Fun, Fun!

SO CUTE!!!!!

This morning my alarm goes off @ 6:15, pretty much like any other weekday morning. I pretty much blocked it out of my mind for a cpl seconds as I opened my eyes. This amazing phenomena occurred b/c as I opened my eyes in reaction to the alarm, I saw a big lump of fur curled up into the other pillow, almost snuggled into my neck, or maybe I had splayed out my arm & the cat just made himself comfortable in the nook of my arm. I saw this scene, & my heart immediately warmed up everything. I wish I could wake up to something so heartwarming every morning.

Cool Radio

I've had my moments of disliking Harvard University. This dislike comes mostly from some uneducated emotional ideals, such as having something against Harvard for not giving their janitors a living wage, buying out just abt every building in Harvard Sq, then there's something th/ they don't stand as the sole organization th/ has guilt in this world for doing it: violently experimenting w/ animals to make scientific discoveries.

Nonetheless their college radio station, (95.7 WHRB (note that they also broadcast over the I-net) impresses me. Generally in the mornings they play some good jazz. All the other times of the day, they play whatever the DJ desires, wh/ can very from classical to experimental to electronica to dance to punk to metal to alternative & on & on. Most college radio stations have this kind format, so that in itself generally keeps me happy & impressed, at least if the DJs have music tastes th/ work will w/ my own.

Over the past cpl days, though, they've surpassed themselves. At least, in so much as what I've heard since I started listening over the past cpl wks. They've started broadcasting what they call a #1 Orgy. Essentially they've started playing all the songs th/ have hit #1 on the charts since 1955 to the present. I've heard lots of great stuff like a recording of an interview of the Beatle's manager talking abt how they had gotten an event going in the states the by coincidence Ed Sullivan asked them to perform on his show, an Elton John cover of a Beatle's tune th/ sounds great w/ a mellotron & everything, the dates & length of the time th/ each song had dominated the #1 position, & a bit of history behind the occasional song. For instance, the DJ told the story of how someone spliced together a song recorded separately by Barry Manilow & Barbara Streisand, then the two of them decided to do a duet & sing it toge! ther. I couldn't stand the song nor do I think much either artist, but you know, the story behind the song really made hearing it worth it.

So last I heard -- this morning, the Orgy had reached the mid to late '70s. I wonder how far they would have gotten by the time I get home from work today. But all in all, I find how the sounds & styles of music have changed over the decades really fascinating, if not completely entertaining.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Tonight

I feel good abt tonight. I just finished doing the dishes & cleaning the floors of my apt. I've now got a plan: take a nice relaxing bath then eat a whole bunch of carbed up & fatty foods. Otherwise, I don't know what will happen, but I don't think it particularly matters. I feel fine.

Today

I LOVE THIS AREA! Or maybe I just love the city when I've got time & at times, money. Today and potentially yesterday, I didn't need money for the coolness th/ generally happens more often in a city than in country areas. But whatever. . .

The artists in the area got together & had free open galleries @ their homes, mostly. After church, a bunch of us walked all around the area (getting ourselves tired in the process. . .or as our minister got into saying today -- the Greater Boston area had its Walk for Hunger today -- darn! I forgot what he got into saying, but he went something along the lines of feet being tired but the spirit feeling rested or something like th/). We saw some great art and some great houses. I don't really know how to get all that indepth into what I saw, as I don't know too much abt art. This one place, though, had all this crazy stuff like books reading books, foam dragons, a gun case full of toy guns, & a bunch of other stuff like th/.

But now it's the end of the night. I feel a bit tired. I look forward to th/ bath. I hope everyone out there has something tonight like a bath to forward to.

Yay! Bad english.

Saturday, May 04, 2002

Sadness abt Society + Spiritual Anxiety = Social Activism

I've started again to read this book abt the social injustices in the United States (e.g., poverty, violence, socialism for the rich, & the rest of that either accepted by conservative survival-of-the-fittest types who have gone callous & the radical left -- or maybe accepted by everyone but handled in different ways by different people). I've reached the point in the book where it talks abt youth/adolescent violence.

Whereas other parts in the book made me angry, this part makes me angry, sad, and feeling a bit guilty on both an existential and a spiritual lvl. It doesn't give me a dehibilating anxiety or any kind of reaction that gives a physical symptom. In fact, reading some of the descriptions of the violence inflicted upon victims and the behavior or those acting out the violence either illicited no real response from me or almost made me laugh at the absurdity of how the those who acted out on the violence behaved. This reaction disturbs me. I've become either callous or react in complicity w/ those act out in violence. . .& I try to act non-violently and have a non-violent attitude toward life!

Well I want to do something w/ the issues arising from my social anxiety in reaction to my lack or uncommendable mental reaction of reading the descriptions of all this violence and the personal/spiritual anxiety in reaction to the paradox b/w reality, my aim to live non-violently, & my lack of action to promote non-violence in the world. I believe going a little deeper into myself will prove beneficial for trying to figure what to do to resolve this anxiety and further my personal, societal (my own and the whole of society's, maybe), and spiritual growth.

I have no idea how to start w/ the social anxiety & what to do about it, so I'll start w/ the spiritual side. Comparably I think I've lead a good life. I can complain abt things & have some validated reasons to say th/ I haven't had a perfect life. Nonetheless my life has had a very small amt of bad things that have happened. I pretty much have perfect health. I haven't had any serious ailments, wounds, or broken limbs. I've only had one actual brush w/ death, and th/ happened when I had a serious case of pneumonia during my 1st or 2nd year of life. No tragedies have happened to anyone who I have as a direct friend. I've experienced a bit of violence but nothing seriously debilitating (this may come up later). I've had issues w/ relating to my social environments but overcame them to become a bttr, smarter person. All in all, I've lived an essentially trouble free life.

Why did I choose to follow a non-violent lifestyle? Or more specifically, as non-violent of a lifestyle as possible considering the make up of the human body and the cultural norms of the United States? I don't remember the exact date or time, but I do remember the moment happened at the end of December 1999 and/or the beginning of January 2000. For three years already, I had switched off between a vegetarian diet and a general, not caring what I ate kind of diet. I had originally gone vegetarian mostly b/c I saw it as an alternative lifestyle and something worth trying out.

But anyway, to the epiphany of choosing a non-violent lifestyle: I sat down for breakfast w/ a copy of The Boston Globe in front of me. Flipping through the paper, I found an article -- I remember the article as a book review -- abt the guy who does the Doonesbury comic (as I had actually found out during the summer aft during a discussion @ my UU church). He had written a book abt finding spirituality or finding your own spirituality, something like th/. The guy in the article told this really interesting story abt his journeying through India or southeast asia, where a guru or a great buddhist or something of the sort had told the guy that he should go home & practice the spirituality he knows and understands, not the religion that they practice in India. A great point, but not the one th/ struck me.

The part in the story th/ struck me: a hardline religious group (I forget their name even though I had sd it a lot back in the summer of 2000) only ate non-violently. In addition to following a vegan diet, they also didn't eat things like potatoes, peanuts, etc. b/c these foods acted as the plant; so if someone eats those foods, they kill something. Combining my reading abt these hardliners, my experience w/ violence, and the veggie diet I had come to enjoy for the third time aft having eaten omnivorously, it struck me th/ I wanted to follow this kind of diet. I no longer wanted to advance the cause of violence in the world. Since then I've only eaten one serving of meat, purposefuly a cpl servings of something w/ egg or cheese in it, and probably mistakenly or ignorantly eaten loads of all of the above.

Contradictary as the next claim may sound, the next re-enforcement of my belief in the correctness of following a non-violent lifestyle came from my Budo class one semester @ school. For those who don't know, Budo falls under the category of an Eastern martial art. This class really questioned a lot of the beliefs th/ I had abt reality, essentially showing me th/ a lot of crazy stuff can happen by keeping certain postures, moving certain ways, breathing right, & manipulating the 'chi' in their body. All th/ stuff we see in crazy martial arts movies, a lot of it & stranger stuff could very well happen.

The teacher of the class didn't just teach us moves & how to fight. He also taught us some Eastern philosophy. I forget most of it, but a cpl things he repeated stays in my mind. Things such as in the streets & during a fight, rules don't apply, it comes down to life & death; and he also went onto say th/ w/ the above in mind, the way of Budo & a fight comes out best when the fight doesn't happen b/c no one gets hurt. Budo didn't have anything to do w/ power or domination, it had to do w/ survival. & this idea of survival, winning by not fighting, & the teacher's stress on non-violence really influenced me. In retrospect this may sound kinda stupid, but I pretty much thought this tradition of Budo knows a good deal abt stuff I don't know, & it has a lot of base in nonviolence. So. . .the physical side of Budo impressed me so much th/ it impressed onto me even more the importance of nonviolence.

I'll admit, I've passed the point of using awe to validate my feelings and lifestyle. Admitting this point, I find myself left w/ my empathy for others & a bit of rationality. I've already explained somewhat cold and dry empathy as much as I feel comfortable. I don't think th/ gives someone else a good argument, thus they may not agree w/ my lifestyle of nonviolence. I can't do much w/ th/ argument unless I don't mind get all huffy and puffy for absolutely no reason.

To convince someone & to some small degree, to convince myself, I need some kind of rational argument. This one comes pretty easy: I don't want to get hurt or shot on purpose by someone unless I give consent for them to do it. W/out doubt, as the United States currently exists, this situation could happen at complete random, I could mistakenly insult someone who resorts to violence when they want reparations for their figurative lost face, or maybe I run into one of the sociopaths th/ society has created by ignoring them and giving them messages of the OKness of violence (notice th/ I don't say it urges kids and people to act upon their urges for violences, but rather th/ all the violent TV shows, video games, etc. out their affirms to these kids, adolescents, & people out there th/ this kind of behavior is OK) as I believe could very well happen more frequently than I accept on a day-to-day basis (for some corraboration of this belief th/ I put into the back of my head just abt every day & also to let you know what I've read to inspire me to write this entry, check out Valdas Anelauskas's Discovering America As It Is -- especially pp. 229 - 281). So I guess in large part, my belief in nonviolence really boils down to a rational argument for me: I don't want to get hurt w/o my consent, so I won't do the same, & I'll actively try to discourage others to do it on a wider scale by postively reinforcing more positive behavior and solutions to issues.

Nonetheless, I find empathy an important aspect to take into hand, too. I find it important for both my spiritual anxiety and social anxiety. To make some sense as to why the rational side of nonviolence came into discussion, I guess it has come into play from recent debating w/ myself from the importance of having a here-and-now argument th/ doesn't rely too much on emotion, unless we consider the drive for self-preservation an emotion. I believe that in the long run, unless someone has truly reached such a point of anxiety th/ they've shedded the drive for self-preservation, then appealing to this drive works as the best argument.

But onto the importance of empathy as a tool for finding a way to resolve my spiritual anxiety and social anxiety (and possibly future anxieties). Since my last entry in this BLOG, I've come to a conclusion. I have a drive to share my feelings & to have those feelings shared w/ me in passionate ways. I believe th/ in some form, we all desire to lose ourselves in passion (maybe society has OKed the passion to kill, the excitement, the rush th/ comes w/ having the power to disable, majorly hurt, or destroy someone's life). In a way, I see passion as a resource th/ comes w/ some sort of interaction w/ the experiential world. We all have the choice of whether to destroy or renew this resource by destroying or renewing the bonds th/ we have w/ all the elements th/ go into making th/ passion. Hurting and killing can stir th/ passion, but it will eventually end by destroying everything th/ goes into forming passion. Loving and constructive interaction w/ the world around us, however, renews the passion & further puts more blocks onto the resource of passion so as to make the passion stronger & more powerful the more we get exposed to it as it infinitely multiplies itself.

We could argue th/ only so much passion can get created as only a limited amt of physical resources exist to sustain the other resources th/ go into passion. I've heard a pithy saying, though, abt how love & such things take patience. Yes, I'll admit, it doesn't take a completely immense amt of willpower, force, and energy to do something violent or to collapse under pressure to do something temporarily joyful like overeat, have a one-night stand (if you know how to sweet talk the gents and ladies), or to hurt someone b/c immediately, we don't have to face the consequences. Those come later.

Building up to the passion of love, consensus, relationships, etc. can get really really frustrating b/c we have to take into account the other elements in the equation rather than taking a shortcut & feeling the rush of destructive interaction w/ the world around us, wh/ demonstrates the immediate power th/ we have but in the Karmic universe, society, and physiologies th/ us humans have, we will have to face the consequences some day. & we do everyday when we dish out violence w/out consequence on the TV, on our video games, etc. etc. to the nation for entertainment, then we have kids going into school attacking their classmates, shooting their classmates, & forming gangs fighting over territory on the streets so they can feel the passion of power.

Whereas if we have the patience to handle the frustrations of working w/ people & the elements around us, we can feel the passion of empathy, wh/ becomes all the more powerful & joyful when we combine it w/ positive present experiences, wh/ together become Love. & when I say Love, I don't refer to love as that feeling we get when enraptured w/ a beautiful new person or someone who supports us or sexual passion or anything of the sort b/c th/ kind of love can easily turn into hate & anger when the other side of the equation withholds what we want from them. I speak of Love, a combination of empathy & common experience th/ allows for all the other expressions of love in a recriprocal manner w/o the fear of some kind of consequence in the future as th/ moment won't allow for consequences or the consequences, themselves, don't come from th/ moment of passion but from the lack of Love.

On the other side of the coin comes the painful part of passionate empathy th/ involves another person's pain. We hold the potential for both kinds of empathy. We can't have one w/out the other. As Ursula K. Le Guinn wrote in The Dispossed (or similar to what she wrote), "We deserve everything, but we also don't deserve anything." In essence, we deserve to have all the good things but don't deserve to have any of the bad things. Nonetheless, the bad things happen, no matter the source, even if they come from other people or nature. The healthy empathy needs to have the capacity for the joy from good & the anxiety from bad b/c it needs to know if the resource of passion will grow or shrink. If passion becomes low, we feel bad. If passion gets all used up, we no longer exist. From here it becomes somewhat a simple argument, the more, the better; the less, the worse. I want the passion to grow, so I can feel it more intensely and more often. I don't want it to disappear b/c I don't want to feel worse.

So I guess my reaction to the readings on this topic of violence in America, especially from kids, gets complicated. It draws from many wellsprings of passion. I can empathize w/ the destructive passion of domination th/ these kids & people w/ guns & muscles have over those w/ less power than them. My empathy for their situations wh/ may encourage this kind of behavior creates a level of social & spiritual anxiety b/c I believe they feel hurt. I feel empathy for the victim b/c of their immediate situation & the future repercussions they may have to face, wh/ causes spiritual anxiety & a visceral, physical anxiety from imagining how it would feel. & I also feel a large amt of spiritual anxiety from knowledge th/ others have violated my principles & also from the knowledge th/ by breaking them, they have lowered the amount of sustainable passion & Love in the universe.

This essay doesn't offer any real world solutions to the problem. Just elucidating this all into an articulatable form has taken plenty from me. I believe it could take a bit from my readers, as well. =) I hope it urges growth in you, too. I know th/ I've grown to some degree by writing it. I think I may have to write a poem concerning this issue & my growth from it. All in all, I feel good abt having written what I've written & having reached what I've reached.