Archive for July, 2008

Two words; Many thoughts.

Posted on July 31, 2008. Filed under: Games, Musings, Philosophy |

This has been a thoughtful probe into the inner workings of your host’s mind. No, I have not been the victim of alien technology, nor a surgeon, but have been tagged, by the lovely CuriousC of Idea Jump. :) She instructs me to complete each two word phrase below, and create a new sentence about myself. It was self-indulgent, fun, and more challenging than I thought it would be. As she did, and as did her tagger, I’ve left the blank meme at the end for you to fill out, if you care to. Thank you, C, for tagging me, and thanks to those of you who read this!

I am:  enormously blessed.
I think:  way, entirely, too much. But I so love to!
I know:  I can’t know things. But I suspect that reality unfolds as we imagine it.
I have:  an amazing life, filled with beauty, people, color, and music.
I wish:  it would be a tad easier for me to let go of wishing for things.
I hate:  No. I don’t.
I miss:  my parents, my Aunt Mags, and, sometimes, the ocean.
I fear:  I’m wrong about some of my most cherished beliefs.
I hear:  birds, the wind, the sound of my keyboard clicking, and my busy, noisy, thoughts!
I smell:  right at the moment; Lavender essence, which I keep on my desk since I’ve discovered how nice it is.
I crave:  OK, honestly? Pizza and potato chips, but I’m working on it! :)

I search:  for enlightenment. Which, as long as it’s searched for, will not be found.
I wonder:  if we will ever really understand how the Universe works.
I regret:  some of my past actions, in spite of the fact I did the best I knew how at the time, as we generally do.
I love:  much of what I see around me, and hear, and feel…
I ache:  occasionally.
I am not:  my body, my breath, my soul, my personality…shall I go on?
I believe:  in everything, and nothing—and no, I’m not just being flip! :)

I dance:  in gratitude.
I sing:  nearly all the time—inwardly, when outwardly is not appropriate.
I cry:  when reading moving blog posts, and at animal videos, apparently. ;)

I fight:  hardly at all, anymore.
I win:  just by being.
I lose:  my composure, upon occasion.
I never:  (hardly ever), say “never” ;)

I always:  refrain from saying “always”. ;)

I confuse:  my thoughts for beliefs, and my beliefs for truth (at times.)
I listen:  to you, to the most wonderful music, and to the underlying pulse of life.
I can usually be found:  either in front of this beastly machine, singing with a chorus, or on a hike.
I am scared:  when I think I am in control, and it’s not working…
I need:  not really anything. My body needs food, clothing, etc., but I am more than my body.
I am happy about:  friends, beauty, and being of use.
I imagine:  the entire Universe!
I tag:  those of you that wish to share yourselves in this way. While I enjoy being tagged, not everyone does; so I’ll just say that there are some of you who come to visit here regularly (which I appreciate!!!) that I’d like to know these things about. If that description fits YOU, consider yourself tagged! :)

and here’s this list for you to cut and paste! :)

I am:
I think:
I know:
I have:
I wish:
I hate:
I miss:
I fear:
I hear:
I smell:
I crave:
I search:
I wonder:
I regret:
I love:
I ache:
I am not:
I believe:
I dance:
I sing:
I cry:
I fight:
I win:
I lose:
I never:
I always:
I confuse:
I listen:
I can usually be found:
I am scared:
I need:
I am happy about:
I imagine:
I tag:

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My blog as a work of art

Posted on July 28, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Games, Health, Travel |

I had a busy and emotional weekend (including in the blogging world) so I’ll post some lighter fare to start the week. I thought I’d save you all some time, by letting you read my entire blog all at once:

Here's my blog, all at once

Here's my blog, all at once

I learned of Wordle from Deirdra. It’s a lot of fun to play with.

I found this gratitude dance video over at yogini‘s place. Do check out her video page, she’s got lots of really uplifting videos there. I’d posted about the Gratitude Dance, and how fun, silly, and heartening I thought it was. This one travels all over the world, is even more wonderful, and as I watched I said to myself “I know a blogger there…and there…and there!!!” I’ll bet you find Gratitude Dancers in your city or area. This is moving, on so many levels; some of them political; some social. The smile never left my face for the entire four minutes…I just love the world! :) (Be sure to click on “watch in high definition”.)

This last one has “been around the Internet” a lot lately, so you may have seen it. If not, and if you like animals at all, I dare you to watch it without shedding a tear. I know some of these kinds of things may be staged, but it surely looks genuine to me. [21/2 minutes]

I hope this has helped to put a little happiness into your day. [This post is graphically intensive, so my apologies to you slow loaders. (By that of course I just mean your Internet connection; not you, personally! :razz: )]

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A year in the life of a blogger

Posted on July 25, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy |

So, it’s my bloggiversary today. I’ve had this blog for a year, now, and I am a changed person for it.

When I first started the blog, every time I posted, I quickly clicked on WordPress’ “Latest Posts” section to see my little avatar and title there. ;) I found out you have to be fast, because there are a lot of posts coming along. Then, I’d check out a WordPress category my post should be listed under, to see how much of my post would show up. I fantasized being a blogsurfer there, and tried to figure out if I’d want to read my own post. :? I don’t do these things any more (well, hardly ever), but I do check my stats, like, 12 times a day, and then promptly forget what they are!

Every single time I hit that “Publish” button, a thrill—of fear and anticipation; of accomplishment and fulfillment—goes through me. Even if the post’s just a quiz or a meme, I still have that reaction. If it’s something I’ve poured my heart and soul into, even more of one. I have to actually get up and leave my office for a few minutes, and not look at the latest post for a while in that case. I thought this reaction would eventually wear off. While there is nothing quite like that first post on a brand new, clean blog, I haven’t come to take posting for granted. Before MusEditions, I’d played around with a couple of “home pages” on my email client, but never really took to it. I’d never tried social networking, either.

Quite honestly, I didn’t come here to be social. I’d guessed, correctly as it turns out, that seeing my writing up on a “website-looking thing” would stimulate me to write more than I had been, and I wanted to do that. I saw some other people’s posts getting quite a few comments, and others not many. I vaguely wondered if people would comment on my posts, and what I would do if they did. I didn’t realize that this sort of interaction would change my life (yet again) and that I’d take to it like a duck to water!

The manifestations have often been startling:  Blog friendships come and go. Now, while this is not news, the “how” of it all has been fascinating to watch. Some blogships burn brightly for several weeks or months, and then just quietly burn out. With others, we find we no longer meet each other’s needs/expectations/moral standards/world view, and you—or I—move on. Then there are those who start off blogging with great enthusiasm. They post and exude and I’m fascinated, and think “This one’s a keeper!” After a while, blogging loses its freshness; its initial appeal. Perhaps it becomes more time consuming than they thought, or their topics don’t interest them as much, or they have writer’s block or a shortage of ideas. Often, they’ve gotten a new job, a new relationship, or a change in the state of their health. For whatever reason, they either drift off, or just stop abruptly. I find these the saddest, somehow.

Certainly no one is obligated to blog. It’s an outlet for some, an experiment for others. It’s not for everyone. I know plenty of people who just don’t get it:

Well, are you like, a journalist, or something?

Isn’t that just putting your personal diary up on the web for all the world to see?

Why don’t you just write your thoughts in a word processing program and then publish them or something?

What do you mean, comments are cool?

As I said, it’s not for everyone. I don’t collect coins, for instance, but I can see why someone would value that activity: join a club; go to conventions; meet other coin enthusiasts. I have some interests like that, too. With blogging, though, we can share all our interests in one place. As I’m basically an introvert that can spend many happy hours alone doing various things on the computer, it just suits me. I’ve written before about how amazingly wonderful it is to get to know people from all over the world I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The magic and wonder of that opportunity remains.

So as I complete my first year here on WordPress, I’d like to acknowledge some of the people who have contributed greatly to my experience. These first are those few who were around when I first started blogging, and remain my blogging companions a year later:

cjwriter.  What can I say about cj? He’s an old soul in a young body, as you’ll see if you read his poetry and stories. He’s a good and supportive friend. He’s also given me more tips about blogging and life than he realizes.

davidya. A spiritual seeker who writes so well and so convincingly he actually gets me to reconsider my position! He investigates many things which interest me, and presents them eloquently.

Deirdra. I started reading her blog before I started blogging. She showed me what a blog could be and how one can express through it. I don’t think she knows she showed me that—she does now.

Felipe, a spiritual quester, is a curious, talented (he can dance! he can sing!) seeker who knows more about travel and life than I can assimilate in one lifetime.

MrGnome is a scientist and musician (a great combination in my opinion!) He’s interested in a lot of spiritual things, and in finding out the truth about governments. He drops in now and then with his engaging humor and insight.

Poetman. Our friendship started over a misunderstanding, and has since unfolded like a flower.

raincoaster is queen of blogging, forum queen, and queen of pretty much anything she wants to be. She has helped me with my forum questions and entertained me endlessly on her own blog.

Rich, of The Sacred Path. Originally a forum friend, his quiet spirituality remains in the background of my thoughts.

Rikard must first have found me in the comments over at Deirdra’s place. He’s a terrific game designer and musician, but I most appreciate his philosophical perspective. (And I love to hear him play his horns.)

sulz. An amazing person in many ways. So much so, that I used my invited guest post on her blog to talk about her.

timethief. We initially found qualities we liked in each other, and were able to support each other through some emotional turning points. She is now diversifying; she still touches my life.

yogini just showed up one day. From whence I do not know. She inspires me, challenges me, and reassures me. For this I am grateful.

Anthony North, B0bbyG, dissfunktional, ellaella, joanharvest, joyfulseeker, Kate, katm, kaylee, Magik Quilter, Ronnie Ann, stonehead, teeveebee, thebeadden, walkingbetween, Will Rhodes: I now cannot imagine my blogging life without you—You just are of slightly more recent vintage! :)

There are a few folks I’ve been aware of for some time, but we’ve interacted more recently:

Ian, of Letters Home to You; Moonbeam McQueen; and Grace of The Wild Pomegranate

One or two have been somewhat “missing in action” lately. I miss them, but there are signs they may be back:

abbydonkrafts (my first commenter!) Colourful Vision (who taught me some French!) Juan (who agrees with me about human interaction!) Netty Gritty (who makes me laugh. a lot.) RubyShooz (who continues to teach me about peace.)

And there are a few folks I’ve just met very recently. I don’t know where these will go, but that’s part of the fun of blogging: abritdiffernt, Creative Expressions, CuriousC, kyknoord, and Shane

I’m looking at changing some things on this blog in the next few weeks, and I’m actually considering joining a couple of social networks. (gasp!) Thank you, all of you, for enhancing, enriching, and enchanting my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined just a year ago. Bloggers rock!

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I like dirt!

Posted on July 24, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Science, Travel |

Dirt, of the archaeological kind, not so much of the celebrity gossip kind. A few weeks ago I wrote about visiting the mountains of northern Arizona, and happening upon a more-than-thousand-year-old residential site recently discovered on land which had been inhabited by the same family for 130 years. The family never knew it was there!

Just this month, while doing construction on a new park for a nearby town, a 700-year-old site was found. The park now needs to be constructed around the ancient site, which will be preserved and become part of the park. Remains of bodies buried there have been claimed by the local tribe; and rightly so. It’s interesting that the bodies of dogs were found at the site, and that no one knows quite what that means, other than that dogs must have been important to the people, as they were carefully buried. I’ve heard of cats buried and mummified in Egypt, but this was the first I’d heard of dogs. I plan to go see the site when it’s open. Officials, and local native leaders have identified the site as belonging to the same people who built the largest and best preserved southern Arizona Hohokam tribal structure.

I feel deeply connected to the earth, and I think these ancient sites have a lot to tell us. I’m not an archaeologist, amateur or otherwise, but I’d liked to find things in the ground from a young age. I’d come in from the back yard or the beach; the park or the playground covered in dirt, which displeased my mother, but “Look at this Rock I found!” or “Shell!” or “Bone!”  Besides, there were people who would travel north of us, to a hotsprings in the Napa Valley, and pay good money for a mudbath! I did this for myself for free! (I had great skin as a result.)

There seem to be a lot of new finds lately, including in one of the richest archaeological areas, Peru. Just recently, a thousand-year-old mummy was discovered there, as well as a ceremonial plaza dating civilization there back to 3500 B.C.E. Can you imagine?

I like to visit sites such as these (I haven’t been to Peru yet, but I want to go) because when I do, and allow myself to become quiet, I really do feel a connection with the ancient peoples. I find it heartening to know that these ancient sites are still being found, and in many cases, preserved. The “western way” used to be to build new cities and highways and parking lots over these things. Now, we’re a bit more respectful.

How about this? A man out hunting one day in looked down and found this rock, in 2004, in New Mexico, USA. It has a reverse carving of an image exactly like a crop circle found in 1996, in Oxfordshire, England. He finally, just this month, allowed the rock to be tested; the results are here.  I draw no conclusions, but it certainly gets me to think…

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Happiness in a pill? No, but…

Posted on July 22, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, Musings, Philosophy, Science |

I was astonished to read a mainstream media article about psilocybin mushrooms the other day. Astonished because the pendulum seems to be swinging back (from the over-reaction of the 60’s and 70’s, when many “recreational” drugs were made illegal) to an honest investigation of the qualities and benefits some drugs may have. The mushrooms have long been used in religious ceremonies by certain indigenous peoples.

This post is partly a continuation of the topic of yesterday’s, “Happiness“, along with some political and social implications of a “contented society”.

I recently watched a television documentary, The Summer of Love, about the San Fransisco Hippie movement in 1967. (Hard to believe that was over 40 years ago!) I’m a native San Franciscan, and I grew up with that legacy. For three years, I attended a private school run by people who came of age during the Hippie and Civil Rights movements. Some of my relatives till refer to it as “that hippie school you went to”. I was failing miserably in public school; I didn’t have the attention span nor the interest in being a cog-in-the-wheel they were looking for there; so friends of my parents recommended this school. Apparently I still am a Hippie, as my quiz results show. ;)

The first part of the documentary portrays, very well, I thought, the the innocence, joy and hope of the early hippie movement. We got to see Timothy Leary intoning his famous “Tune in; Turn on; Drop out!” speech. There was free food! (People would gather up leftovers from local restaurants and markets, and distribute it in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.) There was free clothing and free furniture at the Free Store! Free medical care at the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. (Still going, by the way. It’s a phenomenal place.) The older people were scandalized that the younger people did not want to work. I can relate to not wanting to work! Work is great if it’s fulfilling and engaging and makes a contribution. So much of our work today, though, contributes directly to consumerism instead of sustenance.

So, what did these young people do if they didn’t work? They ate their free food. They hung out and played music. They helped each other find a place to sleep. They might have had sex with a random stranger (“Make Love, Not War!”) or even with their own boyfriend or girlfriend. AND, they used drugs; mostly marijuana in the beginning; harder, scarier drugs later on.

Whatever you may think of the morality of all this, ultimately the community became too large and unwieldy to sustain itself. As the documentary shows, by the time the “Summer of Love” actually came to pass, most of the original “happy hippies” had left. Remaining were young, homeless runaways, and older hopeless drug addicts. These remnants were NOT what the movement was about.

I think the original hippies—offshoots of the beatniks—had some good ideas. Should we trust authority JUST because it’s authority? What’s wrong with feeling good?

In discussing the psilocybin article with my friend, we were struck by the apparent sustained benefits people found months and years after ONE dose of the substance in a controlled environment. Most of the experimental subjects reported continued well-being and greater contentment long after the study concluded. My friend asked how our economy would sustain itself if we all were as content as that? We might not want/need the shiny new car/house/TV/fill in the blank_______. After all, many of the things we purchase go beyond fulfilling our basic needs.

I’m not saying we should worship at the altar of frugality; we all deserve a comfortable life filled with beauty. But, beyond that, it seems that what sells is a vision of filling a perceived void in our lives. If that sense of emptiness could be lessened with one dose of a “magic mushroom” so that we’d spend our time valuing people more than things, who’s to say we wouldn’t be allowing our world to be better, more joyful, and more abundant in what truly matters?

I don’t know. I’m not advocating drug use as a panacea. Certainly there are harsh realities involved with substance abuse. But I do believe that in our panic over losing control of our “youth” in the 60’s and 70’s we over-reacted; labeling all drugs (not controlled by pharma) as “bad”, and “destroyers of society”. Perhaps, with this new study and others looking into the benefits of THC from marijuana, for instance, we can sort out panic from helpfulness in an enlightened way.

For the record, I do not currently use any prescription OR illegal drugs, and have no plans to change that in the near future.
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Is Happiness Overrated?

Posted on July 21, 2008. Filed under: Health, Musings, Philosophy, Spirituality |

People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”-Abraham Lincoln 1

A lot of things have been rolling around in my mind lately, and it took an excellent post by my friend thebeadden to bring them to the forefront. Her post, and the wonderful comments to it, discuss whether we can be happy all the time, whether we even should be, and whether it’s something we can attain with work, effort, trying or any other method.

My first thought would be to define what we mean by happiness. Like virtually every word we use, “happiness” means something different to each of us. When we’re admonished to “be happy”2 many of us interpret that as “giddiness” which we associate with a sense of unrealistic expectations. As a bit of a curmudgeon, I can easily become annoyed with an overly giddy, bubbly personality. But, does that mean I’m not happy? I need to take a closer look.

To me, our world is full of way too many dichotomies: We must be happy OR sad; rich OR poor; healthy OR sick. I observe that the majority of us are somewhere along a continuum in these areas. I’m the first to say that without contrast, life would be dull indeed. Even if I could muster up the emotional fortitude, I would not want to go around “giddy” all the time. My friends would think I’d gone crazy(er), for one thing, but for another, I just don’t believe it would be satisfying to be in one emotional state continually.

Having said all that, however, I do believe there is a deep sense of overall contentment one can feel—and I do!—nearly all the time. Sure, life has its ups and downs. Do I get sad; depressed; reflective; angry? You bet I do! Do I let these things define me? Not at all, and there lies the difference between a generally happy person, and one who is not.

The tragedy I see for many is in not knowing how to be happier. For some of us, it is a learned skill. It has not come easy to me, and is still evolving. It involves more of letting go than acquiring.3 Blessed with a curious and seeking nature, I have found many tools along the way. I’ve outgrown some, discarded others, and held on to a mere handful which continue to be useful.

The results are these: I can wake up most mornings glad to be where I am. I look forward to each new day most of the time. In this state of being, I believe I can be of most use to the world. [more on that tomorrow!]

~  ^  ~  ^  ~  ^  ~  ^  ~  ^  ~  ^  ~

For a different take on “happiness” from someone who disagrees with Mr. Lincoln and who includes genetic components, see this article.

2 If you wish to be admonished, please see a rather fascinating video of the song Don’t Worry, Be Happy

3 In case you don’t KNOW if you’re happy, here are two quizzes from Blogthings: How happy are you, really?

My results: You are very happy. You know how to find pleasure in the little things…And even when life isn’t so great, you have a good sense of perspective.

And this one:  What’s your happiness percentage?

My results:

You Are 72% Happy
You are a very happy person. Generally, you feel content and that all is right with the world.
Occasionally, you have a down day – but you have the ability to pick yourself right back up.
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How I got the Music in me

Posted on July 17, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, HowTo, Music, Philosophy |

I don’t know why I acquired an affinity for music so soon in my life. I’m sure every little child likes to sing songs and bang things together. Still, though, I had a father who taught me his native country’s folk songs when I barely knew how to talk. I was tri-lingual before I was five! Unfortunately, the other two languages have mostly slip-slided away.

I shared my new-found musical offerings with the neighborhood. You’ve heard of singing in the shower? Perhaps you do so yourself. I sang while swinging on my swingset. At the top of my lungs. In three languages. The neighbors would come out and stand on their porches to hear. I was not embarrassed, I was sharing!

Then, I found other musical expression—a little bit in school, and a little bit in the religious institution we attended. There was not much money in the school system for “extras” like music and art, though.

My mother thought I ought to take piano lessons. I hated piano lessons. It seemed like such a chore; such work; and I didn’t like answering to other people regarding my music. Also, I detested performing in recitals and workshops. I have never been an “entertainer”. That’s not why I do it. Gone was the joyful spontaneity of singing on my swing (or swinging while I sing?). Instead there was the stiffness and fear of the “required” childhood recitals. It took me a long time to get over that, and learn to love music again my own way.

In my teenage years, two things happened. I went to choir camp in the summer! (Did you know there were such things?) And, I got old enough to be in Jr. High, or Middle School, or whatever you call it where you are—I was 13. They actually, finally, had a chorus in school! My life was changed forever because of the kindness and caring of the camp Music Director, and the school Music Teacher.

Mr. Whitney, at the camp, came all the way from a southern state to California every summer to teach us. We stayed on a beautiful ranch, had two rehearsals a day, did chores, swam, hiked, did crafts, rode horses if we wanted (I didn’t want), and had parties at night. I wanted to live there permanently! Mr. Whitney was delightfully silly, and managed to get to know each of us as individuals. He treated us with respect, even though we were young teenagers.

We rehearsed and performed serious classical music, and also some fun and modern things. We were good! He wrote two musical plays for us, one of which we took on tour all over the Southern states. I was 19 by the time that tour took place, and had gone to the camp every summer. I really wasn’t supposed to still be included at that age; the camp was for those 13-18, but there were several of us long-timers who were allowed to go. It speaks volumes to the caring and devotion we had for the group, that someone as old as 19 or 20 would want to tour with the younger ones in order to continue to experience this man and his music.

Ms. McTovey moved from the Jr. High to the High School the second year I was there. This lady was the most devoted to her students of any teacher I ever experienced. She was full of contradictions, but ever herself. Her husband was a very, very, wealthy attorney. They lived in a large mansion in an exclusive area. However their politics were extremely liberal, in fact, Ms. McT was a cousin to a presidential family (a president I’d actually have voted for if I’d been old enough). They were members of every art and opera guild in town, yet they spent their holidays serving food at homeless shelters.

When our large chorus AND our smaller chamber choir (I had passed the auditions and was a member, yay!) both were invited to the all-state choral festival, Ms. McT held extra rehearsals in her music room, which was at the very top of their three-story mansion. I had never seen such views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Our public high school district included a large area of the city, encompassing her upper-class neighborhood, my adjacent middle-class one, and several what were considered “disadvantaged” areas. This woman flung her doors wide open to large, and sometimes scary, teenagers from all walks of life; races; religions; what have you. My mother thought she was very brave. I just thought she was very Ms. McT. We all loved her. She nurtured us. Hey, we won in both our categories at the festival!!!

In my last year of high school I was having “social and psychological difficulties”. Ms. McT told me to a) take her guitar class; it would calm me down; and b) come work for her in the music library in the afternoon. She would fix it so I could get credit for an elective instead of having to take another stupid class (my word, not hers). She was right on both counts. I loved the guitar, and actually learned to play it, not just strum chords. My library work let me do something I enjoyed, as well as learn responsibility, and feel needed.

I don’t want to seem melodramatic, but I don’t know how I would have “got through” my teenage years without music and my mentors, Mr. Whitney and Ms. McTovey. Music [you may substitute "art", "crafts", "dance", "sport", "chess club", or whatever applies to you]  truly (saves?) changes lives.

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When a blogger passes on…

Posted on July 14, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Health, HowTo, Musings | Tags: |

I was touched by the story of the 108 year old blogger, who passed away Saturday in Australia. The story says she took up blogging last year and was thrilled to have made friends all over the world. This is true for me, too, as I continue to blog. I don’t know if I’ll still be blogging when I’m 108, but if I’m around, then, I hope so! It also brings up an issue that has been discussed on blogs before. How does one let ones blog companions know if one has become disabled or has died? Sometimes people just drop out of the blogosphere, never to be heard from again.

Olive Riley, the 108-year-old blogger, had a family member who was able to post the news of her passing on her blog. I imagine condolences will pour in from all over. But what if a blogger is like me? I’m the only one who knows my user name and password, and only a couple of people in my real life know both my user name and my “real” name. I’d hate to just “disappear” one day, just as I’d be distressed if you did, as well. When a blogger I’ve cared about has stopped posting for a while, so far, I’ve had an email address for them and have been able to find out that, yes, they are still alive, but they have taken a blogging break for __________ reason. That is fine. But, what if I never got an email back? The situation will surely arise one day, and unlike with real life friends and acquaintances, I may not know their real name, so could not search out a possible obituary.

I know this is a bit of a morbid topic, but in reading the news story about Ms. Riley, I got to thinking about this again. Regarding all of us pseudonymous bloggers: Should we leave a note amongst our personal papers with our log in information and a final message to our blog readers? Should we write a letter to whoever may be administering our estate about how important it is to us to let people know? What if the person doesn’t think it’s important…”Oh, it’s just their Facebook ‘friends’, you can’t take them seriously, anyway.” I can imagine that, if it’s a relative who comes upon the letter and is actually grieving for me or for you, it might be the last priority they have, and it might slip through the cracks. Many, many people don’t realize that online friends are REAL, and really do care. There would be mere acquaintances who would read about you in the newspaper who may mean less to you than some of your blogging friends.

In a post some time ago, Moonbeam McQueen created a blogger’s Emergency I.D. Card.  I thought it was a timely idea, and I salute her. Still, I haven’t done one for myself yet. I “intend” to, but, it seems kind of…scary?

What do you think? In any event, I am happy to help celebrate the life of Olive Riley, and thrilled that blogging brought joy to her last years.

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Haiku error messages

Posted on July 9, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy |

Every now and then I receive some real gems amongst all that “fwd” email many of us get. I can’t speak to the truth of any of the following, but I did enjoy the poetry. After the somber tone of my last post, I felt a lightening of the spirit was in order. There are a couple of bonus funnies at the end. Thanks to my friend The Alternate Evolutionist for making me aware of these:

In Japan, they have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with Haiku Poetry messages. Haiku Poetry has strict construction rules: Each poem has only 17 Syllables – 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the Third. They are used to communicate a timeless message, often achieving a wistful, yearning, and powerful insight through extreme brevity.

Here are some actual error messages from Japan. Aren’t these better than “your computer has performed an illegal operation?”

—————————————–
The web site you seek
Cannot be located, but
Countless more exist.
—————————————–
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
——————————————–
Program aborting
Close all that you have worked on.
You ask far too much.
——————————————–
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
——————————————–
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
——————————————–
Your file was so big.
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
——————————————–
Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.
——————————————–
A crash reduces
Your expensive computer
To a simple stone.
——————————————–
Three things are certain
Death, taxes and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
——————————————–
You step in the stream,
But the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
——————————————–
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
——————————————–
Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.
——————————————–
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared.
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.
——————————————–
#  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #  #
This proves we have become far too dependent on our computers.

1)  Are you male or female?

To find out the answer, look down….

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> Look down, not scroll down….

“This year, American taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:”

“Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
“A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

“Q. Where will the government get this money?
“A. From taxpayers.

“Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
“A. Only a smidgen.

“Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
“A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

“Q. But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
“A. Shut up.”

If you forward this to 10 people within the next 10 minutes, 10 more people may make disparaging remarks about your parentage!
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Out of his imagination

Posted on July 7, 2008. Filed under: Musings, Philosophy |

When my father decided have me, he worked hard to convince my mother it was the right thing to do. “We have the one child already,” she said, with some trepidation, (my sister; her firstborn; the one she’d had years before, without him) as she knew his response: “I need; I want the one that’s only mine!” I was conceived. Eventually. She said to him: “I’ll have another, but only if it happens within two years of the one I’m carrying.”

It didn’t, and I am semi-alone. I’m semi- a sibling; semi- a cousin: I’m the wrong generation, too old and too young.

It used to bother me. The “odd one out” is never at peace. The one who wanted me, my father, turns out not to have wanted “Me” at all, but some idea of “Me”; of who “Me” could become. He’d thought he could mold this young life into “mini-Him”. I’d take over the family business; I’d become a fine craftsman; I’d do these things because they make sense, no?

Although I do like to tinker and poke at mechanical things, it’s strictly not-for-profit. This father of mine, the one who wanted me, is long gone. He learned fulfilment in other ways. I am no longer the odd one out. I’ve become the odd one “in”, and I am at peace.  

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