Friday, January 30, 2009

How to use Reddit.com

This morning, I looked at the news website, Reddit, and was annoyed, as I am everyday when I look at it. I was annoyed because about half of the news articles were amazingly stupid, immature drivel/twaddle that didn't interest me in the least. I was annoyed because what I was looking for was news, but what I got was fluff and not even the sort of fluff I'm interested in. Most of the articles on Reddit unfiltered are things that appeal to 20-30 something male computer programmers. [Which isn't to say that some of the things that appeal to those folks don't appeal to me, but there are definitely a bunch of things in that category that are not my cup of tea.] But, I finally realized how to make it work for me. I already have an account and had already selected the categories of reddit articles I wanted to read. What I didn't realize was that I don't actually want to see all of those things jumbled together. There are times when I enjoy watching silly videos or looking at photos, but in the morning when I'm reading the news, all I want to read is serious news. Luckily, Reddit allows me to do just that. I just went back through my preferences and got rid of "Reddit.com", "Funny", "Pictures", and some other things that I don't want anymore, and now "My Reddits" only include news -- pretty much just politics, science, environment, and health news. Ah... so much better. Now, when I'm checking the news in the morning, (after checking Common Dreams and The New York Times), I can count on finding the interesting, relevant articles I'm looking for. If I want to read silly articles, the links are all easy to access, right there at the top of the screen.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Getting To Know You

1. When did you get up this morning?
2. What did you eat for breakfast?
3. Have you had any caffeine? What form was it in?
4. Where are you?
5. Have you had lunch? If so, what did you eat/drink?
6. What are you wearing?
7. What is your pulse?
8. Have you read the news today?
9. How many people have you spoken to today?
10. What are your plans for the rest of the day?
11. What would you like to do that you can't do today?
12. What sort of advice would make your day better today?

(me: 1. 7:50am; 2. Banana; 3. Yes. Black tea.; 4. Sitting at my desk at work; 5. Nope, it's only 10:00am PT; 6. Jeans, black v-neck t-shirt, sneakers, light blue fleece zip up jacket; 7. 48; 8. Not yet; 9. 9; 10. Work until 5pm, Rehearsal for Volti from 7-10pm; 11. Take a walk in the sunshine somewhere pretty; 12. "Don't take yourself so seriously, Pam. Lighten up.")

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Law and Heat for the Poor

Who else thinks this power company should be held responsible for the death of a 93 year old man who froze to death in his home after his power was cut off when the temperature outside was 32 degrees below zero?

Monday, January 26, 2009

How to be an adult

I just finished reading a little book called How to be an adult: a handbook on psychological and spiritual integration by David Richo that was pretty darn good. What I like most about Richo's writing style is that he is pithy. The book is divided into three parts: "Personal work", "Relationship issues", and "Integration".

The first part talks about the sorts of childhood issues we need to work on in order to grow up, how to develop assertiveness, and the major challenges to adulthood: dealing aptly with fear, anger, and guilt. He ends the first part with a set of affirmations that show the direction in which he leads his readers:

"I accept full responsibility for the shape my life has taken."
"I let people go away or stay and am still okay."
"Until I see another's behavior with compassion, I have not understood it."
"I live by personal standards and at the same time -- in self-forgiveness -- I make allowances for my occasional lapses."

Part two starts with a section titled "Maintaining Personal Boundaries in Relationships" in which he says, "Our first growth realization was of separateness. Our first task was letting go, i.e. acknowledging a personal boundary: I am separate and so are those who care about me. This was a departure and a struggle... Adults learn that separateness is not abandonment but simply a human condition, the only condition from which a healthy relationship can grow."

In the following section titled "Intimacy", he describes the opposing fears of engulfment versus abandonment, how to recognize each where they exist, and useful strategies for coping and processing.

He ends the section on relationships with a list he calls "The Givens of Relationships: Antidotes to Unrealistic Expectations" in which he shatters every fairy tale with the following statements:

"Only at rare moments is the love in one partner the same as that in the other."
"No one is loyal or truthful all of the time."
"You are ultimately alone and ultimately able to make it alone."
"There is no one person who will make you happy, keep you fascinated, love you as your favorite parent did, or give you the love you missed from your parents."
"Most people in relationships seldom know what they really want, ask for what they really want, or show what they really feel."
"Most people avoid or fear intimacy, consistent honesty, intense feelings, and uninhibited joy."
"Letting go of blame and the need to be right heals a relationship most efficaciously."
"Jealousy and possessiveness, though not desirable, are normal human feelings."
"A relationship is a spiritual path since it consists of a continual shedding of illusions."

In the third part, in speaking about integration, he says, "We are hard on ourselves when we demand total elimination of our shortcomings... Integration is a human not a mechanical process. It has a unique timing over which we have no control... If our self-actualization means that our inner work must all be done and we must be perfect, we are choosing never to be happy." He also talks about the role of the subconscious in integration, in terms of recognizing and dealing with the shadow side of the personality and using dreams in a Jungian sense.

About unconditional love, he says:

"In a very real way, we are who we are because of the love others have shown us. Our every adult asset began as a gift from someone who loved us as we were and thereby encouraged our unique self-emergence."
"The most perplexing and elusive mystery about love is that we can show it totally and yet we can never really know how much we love someone or just how intensely we are loved."
"All the while it has been here within us and here everywhere around us. The only search is for that which is always and already ours."

Although the title is a little funny, it is pretty appropriate. Richo guides the reader through the essentials of what one must learn in order to live as a healthy adult, as opposed to someone who continues to live life with unrealistic, childish expectations. He makes the work of "becoming an adult" seem important, challenging, even noble and he leads the reader on a clear path to attaining this goal.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Chloe's bill



I just learned this morning that there is a bill on the docket in Illinois that seeks to reform puppymills. The bill, called Chloe's bill would:

- Limit to 20 the number of unaltered dogs a breeder may possess
- Ban anyone convicted of felony-level animal cruelty from acquiring a dog-breeding license
- Prohibit wire flooring in commercial breeding facilities and create guidelines for appropriate heating, cooling and ventilation
- Require pet stores and breeders to provide customers with a dog’s full medical history
- Establish penalties for violations, ranging from fines to animal seizure and license revocation

According to the ASPCA,

"Sponsored by State Rep. John Fritchey and State Senator Dan Kotowski, Chloe’s Bill is named for a young cocker spaniel—rescued from a Macon County, IL, puppy mill—who was present at Sunday’s press conference. Now living with one of the animal control agents involved in the raid on her kennel, Chloe is the sole survivor from her litter. Like thousands of other commercial dog breeders in the U.S., the owners of Chloe’s kennel focused on producing as many puppies as possible with little regard for the physical and mental health of their animals. The dogs found at this puppy mill were matted with feces and urine, and infested with fleas and internal parasites. Many suffered from deformed paws from living their lives on wire-floored cages.

As Rep. Fritchey explained to the media, 'We are not trying to do anything drastic; we’re not trying to do anything radical. We’re trying to implement standards for what is humane care, for what is decent care.'"

Just as was the case with CA's Prop 2, what's asked for here seems very reasonable, what is minimal to achieve humane conditions. What disturbs me is that these types of regulations haven't been established already and that things are so bad, they have to put a bill like this into place. I'm not naive. I know there is much to be done to protect animals or the ASPCA, Farm Sanctuary, and other animal protection organizations wouldn't exist. It's just always unsettling to me when I am made aware that any sentient beings are suffering -- especially those who are at the mercy of a caregiver who is indifferent to that suffering.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's Inaugural Address

What are your favorite quotes from Obama's address?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Obama Celebrates Holiday With Service

Getting To Know You

*If you're new to my surveys, put your answers in the comments section by clicking on COMMENTS at the bottom of the post*

For Tom, who is running out of surveys to do...

1. Did you have a piano in your home growing up? Do you have a piano in your home now?

2. Which of these TV shows have you seen?: Firefly, Father Ted, Facts of Life, Family Guy, Family Ties, Fawlty Towers, Flight of the Conchords, Flipper, Fraggle Rock, Freaks and Geeks, Full House, Futurama.

3. What is the last thing you ate?

4. Do you now (or did you ever) own a recording by any of the following artists?: ABBA, The Animals, America, Alabama, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Anonymous 4, Austrian Radio Symphony, Arleen Auger, American Bach Soloists.

5. Are you wearing socks?

6. Which of the following places have you visited?: Carmel, Cannes, Camillus, Cazenovia, Cuba, Chile, Chad, China, Calgary, Czech Republic.

7. Are you listening to music right now? If so, what sort of ensemble is it?

8. Which of the following foods have you eaten today?: mochi, mozzarella, mackerel, mint, mayonnaise, mustard, melba toast, mango, mushroom.

9. Who's the last person who called you on your phone? What's the last text you got on your phone?

10. What do you think FACM should stand for?

(me: 1. yes. yes.; 2. all of them.; 3. Mango mochi ice cream.; 4. Just Arleen Auger.; 5. No.; 6. Camillus, Cazenovia, Calgary, & Czech Republic.; 7. Yes. Violin and orchestra.; 8. Mochi, Mango, and Mushroom.; 9. A bride whose wedding I'm singing next weekend. "Break them!"; 10. Festival of Awkward Clown Musicians.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yay For Funny Friends

I am so lucky to have so many funny friends. I don't know what I'd do without them. I was just reading my friend Jonah's blog today, entitled Don't Cry For Me New York City and realized that I'm not sure I advertised his blog after putting it on my blogroll. Jonah is a great storyteller. That reminds me, when we were students in the Master's program at NEC together, I randomly (and accidentally) captured him on minidisc telling me about a dream he had about me and John Moriarty. I'll have to find that. From what I recall it was really bizarre.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Happy Friday!

Hi all,

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've been pretty busy, but I promise I'll post again soon. In the meantime, Ian sent me this article that you might enjoy. I did.

Cheers,
Pam

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Yuhri's blog

If you haven't checked out the new blog on my blogroll, Faulty Vision, you must. It's by my friend, Yuhri, who was a classmate of mine at Eastman about a million years ago. She used to be a concert pianist, but now she's a project manager for a software company and a new mom -- and a great writer.

Monday, January 05, 2009

TV

I haven't had a television in my house since I lived with my mother for the better part of 2006. When my mom watches TV, it's because she wants to veg out. That's her way of saying she's feeling stressed out and she wants to relax and stop thinking for a while. I enjoyed our TV time together. We'd watch silly sitcoms, the kind I might not get away with watching around certain other friends. I've always liked the fact that my mom appreciates funny for funny. It doesn't have to be any certain kind of humor. It doesn't have to have anyone's high brow seal of approval. It just has to make her laugh. If it hits her funny bone in just the right way, she'll roll on the floor with tears in her eyes. She's the person who taught me the value of comedy, that a good laugh is always worth searching for, waiting for. She taught me that a good laugh can make all of the stress from an annoying day instantly go away. So how do I find humor without television these days? Well, I do find a lot that makes me laugh on the internet. Comics, funny websites, and youtube videos go pretty far in entertaining me, but I can't say I'm actually totally TV free, because I have definitely been known to find episodes of Father Ted, The Office, and The Daily Show and watch them online. But, other than The Flight of the Conchords, the TV shows I've been most addicted to watching haven't been comedies. For the most part, they have been intense, action-packed dramas. Ian and I have rented and watched all (or almost all) of House and Battlestar Gallactica. Our newest obsession is with the NBC show, Heroes. We watched all of the first two seasons on DVD and just got the third season on Netflix (on demand). These are all shows that keep you on the edge of your seat. Each episode leaves you feeling a desperate need to find out what happens next. It makes me wonder how people can bear watching these shows in weekly installments. I can remember back in college really looking forward to Thursday night television on NBC. I couldn't wait to find out what was next for the cast of Friends or Seinfeld, and then later it was ER and the X-Files. I don't have any weekly rituals like that anymore. I can't imagine that I would have the patience for it now. And, I have to say that's one thing that might have been good about television. Television, in its natural state, makes you wait. You have to wait during the commercials. You have to wait until the next episode comes out next week. I always hated waiting, so for the most part I think having the ability to immediately download and watch something I want to see is a wonderfully miraculous sign of positive progress. But, there is part of me that thinks it's not entirely a good thing to have the world at your fingertips. I feel like I become less patient, less tolerant, less creative about ways to spend my time when I am in the habit of using my internet for all it's worth. With television, so often there is nothing good on and you are forced to turn it off and do something else. With the internet, there is always something interesting if you know where to look. I remember when I was living with my mom, around 9:45pm I'd start thinking that I wanted to take out my contacts and put on my pajamas because Will and Grace would be on at 10:00pm. Mom and I would usually watch it and then go off to bed shortly afterwards. There was something kind of nice about having a leisure activity with a specific timing to it. Without television, I don't have anything like that. For the most part, I am okay with that. Just sayin'.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Hallucismelling

Lots of things happen to me that make me think I'm losing my mind, but I think the most mysterious of them is when I smell something that no one else can smell and can't possibly exist. There have been a number of occasions when I've smelled cigarette smoke where it is nearly impossible that there was any anywhere nearby. Most recently, I was sitting at my desk in the smoke-free building I work in and smelled smoke. It was only for a moment, but I smelled it. I swear it. People are not allowed to smoke pretty much anywhere on our block because you can't smoke within 5 feet of a business entrance or something like that. Our office is on the third floor of the building and very far away from any open windows or doors. Very weird. Last night, Ian and I were sitting on the foof watching Heroes, when I smelled something fruity, kind of like melon. Ian didn't smell it and I smelled every inch of the foof and every blanket and pillow, every inch of myself and Ian and the cat. Nothing smelled like what I had smelled. This happened maybe 3 or 4 times while we were sitting there. All of a sudden, I would smell it, but then it would go away. This morning I did notice that the hallway smelled pretty strongly of perfume that smelled slightly like what I thought I had smelled the night before, but I'm sure I didn't smell it out there last night, so is it possible I was smelling perfume someone sprayed on herself within her closed apartment -- inside my closed apartment? I suppose maybe I could have super smelling powers, but then why does Ian often notice smells that I do not and he didn't smell the melon smell at all? One time a long time ago I read somewhere that ghosts can present themselves as smells. How weird is that concept? Wouldn't it be strange if some spirit was trying to get my attention by making me smell things that aren't there? More likely, I suppose, I have been experiencing phantosmia. Who knew such a thing existed?