31 January 2006

Did you say something?

Did I say something? Where were we?

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28 January 2006

The Sleeper Must Awaken

I confess my ears perked up when I saw the ads for the impending release of the extended edition of Dune on DVD. The cool one by Lynch. Yes, I concede black rubber for stillsuits in the desert don't make good sense, but they look cool.

See what they look like here.

I already have it on VHS, complete with glossary. You've got to love a film that's so involved they need to include a glossary with it. Well, maybe you don't, but I find it very amusing. And yes, when I first saw it, my brother explained a lot of the back story to me from the book.

"Fear is the mind-killer" and "without change something sleeps inside us and seldom awakens." Still true after all these years. I was so moved by the latter that I used it as the basis of my high school graduation speech.

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26 January 2006

Either I've still got it, or I should be insulted

I was approaching the doors that lead from the galleries to the front lobby when a man entered, saw me and stopped. He had the air of someone who worked at the museum, but the same dated sticker I was sporting was affixed to his sweater.

"Are the others coming?" he asked me.

I surmised that he was referring to the busload of high school students I'd seen walking around, but I was stuck for a moment pondering how to reply.

Finally I said, "I'm not one of them."

"Oh, I'm sorry."

"S'ok."

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25 January 2006

Seriously?

I've always found the people in the Match.com ads solicitous and annoying, but with the addition of Dr. Phil, the ads now seem creepy. He strikes me as some friend's lecherous uncle full of advice on love and relationships.

Maybe part of it is the white background. They've found each other, but where exactly? They talk about meeting and their happiness, but we never see them anywhere real. Instead it looks like some cyber-fantasy brainwashing attempt.

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23 January 2006

Skepticism

I'm off to something of a slow reading start this year. I finished my first book over a week ago, but I'm not really done with it (though I may be by the time I'm done writing this post). Setting Your Genius Free: How to Discover Your Spirit and Calling by Dick Richards is a book I viewed with much skepticism. Richards accounts for that possibility within the book and suggests the reader suspend her disbelief to engage in a thought experiment. Being most certainly within The Search and having found few answers, I figured it was worth trying something different.

His use of the word "genius" annoys me to no end and is really just another name for "core process," a concept he encountered at someone else's seminar and extrapolated from. Basically, the idea is that everyone has a unique way of interacting with their environments which when honored is their special gift to themselves and the world.

The thrust of the book is naming one's genius, thereby recognizing one's own driving skill or process, so one can take better advantage of his or her natural ability. Richards' rules for naming seem convenient to me, derived to ensure results that support his theory. A person can have only one genius because his naming rules say so. The name of a genius must consist of exactly one verb (ending in -ing) and one noun. Even if no two people he's worked with have come up with the same name for their respective geniuses, that's not proof that everyone's genius' name will be unique. If we generously suppose he's heard 100,000 distinct names of genius, his sample group would still only be .00155% of the world's population, hardly conclusive.

I suppose my biggest problem with the book is the idea that knowing the name of my unique genius will help me discover my unique mission in life. Again, "unique" is a source of trouble. When I imagine a world of people each pursuing a unique mission according to Richards' edicts, what I see is ultimately chaotic. However, the crux for me is this idea of mission. When I finished the book, nothing seemed more clear to me than the fact that I don't believe my life has an intrinsic purpose.

So, can this book be of any use to me? I'm not sure. It seems to me a person's core process, their genius, will manifest regardless of what their job is. That's sort of the point of core process: there's something that you (your brain/spirit/soul/whatever) always do when you encounter sensory data. Some environments will be more beneficial to certain people's processes while others will work against them. Given that, there may be something yet to be gained.

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22 January 2006

Pro-choice

Today is the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the US. Bush v. Choice is marking the day by asking pro-choice bloggers to join them in a day of activism for choice.

For me, it's always been a simple issue. It's my body, so it's my choice. To deny me that choice is to deny me freedom.

An abortion isn't a course of action to be taken lightly, but it should be each woman's right to decide what is best for herself without government intervention.

I'm registered, I vote, and my vote goes to pro-choice candidates.

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21 January 2006

Note to self

Old people like to fill up on petrol on Saturdays. Also, if the hose can reach round the long way of an SUV, it will certainly reach round my sedan if I park with the tank facing away from the pump in the future. (This particular gas station is one-way and it seems 90% of cars have their tanks on the right side.)

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19 January 2006

4 years, hot flashes, and meds

If her test results come back all right, my mom will have been cancer-free for four years. There won't be any celebration or "Rah! I survived!" sentiments. If it's fine, she'll most likely forget to tell me.

I remember when she called five years ago to tell me her diagnosis: uterine cancer. I had just been home for Christmas a couple weeks before, and I was annoyed that I'd been left in the dark while I was home. I was living in Tallahassee at the time, but I offered to fly back. She told me not to worry, not to come, but she sounded upset despite her best efforts. I wanted all the details, but she didn't really know them. My questions unsettled her and her ignorance alarmed me.

At work the next day, my mind was consumed with what would happen next. I had a good deal of free time that day, so I read everything I could find about it on the web. Diagnostic procedures, types of uterine cancer, stages, treatments. The more technical the medical jargon became, the more thankful I was for my liberal arts education. If she had endometrial adenocarcinoma and the biopsy showed growth of a small enough amount, then the proposed surgery would be considered curative. When I called back, what she had found out meshed with my research. It had been caught early enough, so radiation therapy wouldn't be necessary unless it recurred.

That was five years ago. She chooses not to think about it, but she hasn't really been the same since. Her awareness of her mortality colors her moods, decisions, and opinions. As a result of the cancer, she had to discontinue hormone replacement therapy which threw her headlong into unabated menopausal symptoms. Her doctor (whom she likes) is male and clearly has no grasp of daily life with hot flashes. He's been telling her their severity would dissipate for years now except that they haven't. I understand and respect his unwillingness to prescribe hormones that could re-trigger cancer growth, but his female physician assistants had told my mom there were other things she could take for it. For over a year, I've been telling her to see someone else or to at least convey to him that her hot flashes are not some simple blush but rather full-on sweat attacks.

At last it seems she took my advice and talked to him about it. Of all things, it seems an antidepressant might do the trick. "Because then you won't care," mom joked.

I smirked and shook my head because I understood quite well her opinion of "mood altering drugs." I'm excited by this development though, and I think the choice of an antidepressant was deliberate for additional reasons. It was her doctor who asked her what she thought about making it four years cancer-free, if she had any ritual or plans to celebrate. It may be just the thing to shake out the low-level depression that lurks in her system.

Having mixed feelings about my past experience on meds, I know it's more complex than that. Even now, my dear friend Splice thinks depression is getting the better of me, but what I'm trying to figure out is not something that meds or therapy can resolve or fix. Besides, I hated being on meds and ultimately found them more cumbersome than helpful. I can only hope that my mom will reap the benefits I've seen in many others. I'd just like to see her happier.


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18 January 2006

Flood

Yesterday there were eleven inches of snow covering the ground. After a night and a day of hard rain, it's nearly all gone. Despite the dampness, it felt nice to me when I went outside, balmy even in the low fifties.

The creek has risen into a small raging river. Upstream from the bridge, tree trunks previously on the banks are now within the stream's flow. Just a bit more and water will be spilling over the bridge.

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17 January 2006

The Turn of Obsession

At first, I thought it was cool when I came across a blogger hack for recent comments, but the past few days have spiraled into obsession. The comment hack was a little funky in Safari, so I read several other hacks which were all more complex than I felt like dealing with. Finally I just downloaded and started using Firefox in which the hack works great. Firefox's live bookmarks caught my eye, so more reading and customizing ensued.

Then I made drop down menus of my archives (reverse sorted) and of my recent posts, adjusted the headings, and changed their background colors. Reordered stuff in the sidebar yet again. Just realized I forgot to take out the long list of recent posts, will get to that. Started tagging posts, and tagging some old posts. Found various ways of making categories that involve different skill levels and time commitments.

All this and I started to wonder, am I actually better off now that I know all these other things are possible? I mean really... I've been driving myself half crazy with a lot of information I understand to varying degrees. The catches are the features I see on other blogs that I like. Features no doubt easier to implement or enjoy with a paid account of some sort.

But now that I know there are workarounds for Blogger, am I beholden to use them? Of course not, but I suppose having time on my hands makes me feel like I don't have an excuse not to.

(Links to hacks are listed in the sidebar.)

This feels like the worst thing I've written on ttat. Like the mind of the template coercer is not the mind of the writer. Rest assured I will look for her.

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15 January 2006

Tagged

Scholiast tagged me with the 5 weird habits meme, so here goes:

1. Often when signing my name quickly, it will look like I've misspelled it, leaving out the "i" or the "e." This drives me crazy, so I'll try to fix it if I can do so without making it look like some bad forgery.

2. I always sit through all of the credits when I go to a movie, during which I don't want anyone to talk to me.

3. I typically greet my Dad in Spanish or French even though he doesn't speak either.

4. Keeping my dirty clothes in a pile on the floor is restful to my mind since it so often pursues perfection.

5. I carry a tape measure on my key chain and use it fairly often.

I've lost track of who has already done this meme, so I'm not tagging this time around. If you'd like to play, by all means consider yourself tagged. You just need to post about five weird habits you have, explain this rule, and tag five people.

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14 January 2006

Onslaught of the 12 year olds

Do I sound like a Courtney to you? No? I didn't think so either.

To complement my 3 text messages from yesterday, I received 3 calls today.

"Hello, may I speak to Courtney?" Today I'm going with a 12-14 year old girl as my caller.

"I'm sorry, you've got the wrong number," I replied.

"Oh, sorry," she said before hanging up.

I put my cell on the desk and it started to vibrate again.

"Hello, may I speak to Courtney?" the same girl asked.

"No, this is the wrong... what number are you dialing?"

"***-****," she replied.

"Well, that's this number, but she's not here. It's the wrong number," I concluded.

"Oh, ok. Sorry."

I set my phone down and resumed reading several mind-numbing web pages with blog hacks outside of my template tweaking comfort zone. Five minutes later, my phone buzzed again.

"Hello, may I speak to Courtney?" the same girl asked.

Dude, take a hint. You're killing me here. "I'm sorry, you've..."

"The wrong number," she interjected with recognition. "Sorry."

Sigh. It's just my luck to have the number of some popular pre-/early teen girl. Courtney, no less.

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13 January 2006

Tweaked

I followed the bread crumbs over at Rarity's and installed a recent comments blogger hack. It's much better than blogger's option, but it's still a bit twitchy since it's not displaying in chronological order. At least, not on my version of Safari.

Please note that it's only able to show recent comments from the posts on the main page.

I'll leave it up for a while so you can see if you like it. Let me know if you find it useful.

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Cell spam

I turned on my cell and had two text messages waiting:
"Hey"

"That was my sis"

I looked at the phone number of origin and decided it wasn't familiar. My phone started vibrating again. I clicked the bar to answer, but it was another text message from the same number.

"I want u bad"

Am I supposed to swoon now? I have a prepaid phone deal at the moment, so I'm really not sure how text messages factor into that, and porn text messages are the last thing I need.

I typed the number into google, but nothing came up. What the hell, I figured. I punched it in and called it.

A kid answered the phone, and I realized I wasn't sure what to say.

"Hi. Did someone just text message from this number?"

"What?" the boy asked. 12 was the age that came to mind, but he might've been as old as 15 from the sound of his voice. He was distracted and not getting the point.

With greater enunciation and volume, I tried again, "I just got some text messages sent from this number."

"Oh."

There was recognition in his "oh." Maybe this kid is my culprit.

"The person has the wrong number," I continued.

"Ok."

Damn straight. So far so good.

This is the worst phone number I've ever had. It started with automated messages from a school system to which I had no connection. When I finally got through to an actual person, I had to convince her that I really should be taken off their database. Then came the wrong numbers. Calls of interest from businesses, people confirming or changing plans, typically something that makes me feel badly if I ignore it. Bah.

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Under the wire

I just discovered that this is De-Lurking Week. I'm thinking of it internationally, so that's no excuse. Please leave a note if you've been lurking, or if you're new. Regulars and previous commenters are, of course, welcome to participate.
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12 January 2006

Fuzzy puppy

Tyrone may in fact be my favorite xmas present. My puppy is brown with a black nose and is actually a very comfortable mouse wrist rest.

If the internet is being wonky, I can just rub a fuzzy ear while I wait. Good times.

Get out!

Seriously, it's almost 50 degrees out, and the sun is bright. Don't get sucked into reading blogs. Go Outside!

NOW!

Ok, ok, I'm going.

11 January 2006

twinge

If I knew better, I'd take myself off Apple's mailing lists. There's always this twinge of regret when I see how much cooler my computer could have been for the same price or less if I'd just waited 3 months, 6 months, a bit over a year.

Ok, I'm feeling better now. There's no way I could've lasted over a year without my computer. No doubt, in three to six months they'll offer a faster, fancier version. Bah. At least now it's probably a good idea to wait and see how the new Intel powered Macs hold up before feeling too envious.

10 January 2006

08 January 2006

The Doctor is In

Myblog: A persistent condition often contracted after the 1st of the year manifesting as chronic introspection resulting in blog crisis. Bloggers exhibiting symptoms write: What is the point of my blog? How has having readers affected my content? What do I want to do with my blog now, and how can I get more out of it? If my readership reaches a critical mass, will their volume make it easier for me to ignore their influence on my writing or more difficult? If having more readers will make it more difficult for me to write whatever I want, why do I care what my hit count is? Is a blog with no readers still a blog?

There is no single, proven cure, but the following treatments may alleviate the symptoms:
Jerkification of the self in writing so as to convey, "This is MY blog, and I don't care what you think!" (Possible side effects: readers may think you are a jerk if you act like one, loss of some readers, and in extreme cases, loss of all readers- in that case, discontinue jerkification immediately and post nude pictures and porn links until your hit count returns to normal.)

Remove comments and hit counter from your blog: Write solely for yourself. (Possible side effects: loss of gratification, loss of blog community, and severe stat withdrawal.)

Blog Therapy: Reread last year's posts, and note what it is about your favorite entries you like best. Remember why you started the blog in the first place and what made it fun. (Possible side effect: you may end up with more questions than answers.)

Elements of each treatment may be combined and adapted to best serve an individual's needs.

Studies have shown that the success rate of each treatment drastically improves when the afflicted gets out of the house and does something interesting. Nearly all test subjects with interesting behavior who also participated in one of the treatment programs, as well as the control group with interesting behavior and no other treatment, blogged about compelling events instead of blog angst.

There is still much to learn about Myblog. What causes it? Why are some bloggers more susceptible to it than others? Can it be eradicated? Until we have all the answers, know that you are not alone. Many suffer from Myblog. Together, we will overcome it. Your monetary donation will ensure that the research continues until a cure is found. (Claire will accept cash, checks, and money orders on behalf of the Myblog Foundation. Make your check or money order payable to Claire.)

07 January 2006

Made infiltrates my dreams

I was the leader of a rock band on the verge of performing, but I had serious concerns about going onstage. Our set was so diverse that some songs didn't fit anywhere. If that wasn't bad enough, I knew I didn't have the calluses to survive a whole night of guitar playing. I'll just sing lead, I thought to myself. I can fake the guitar or just ditch it after my fingers give out.

Where does this stuff come from anyway?


The pieces presented themselves within the dream. Last week, I'd played my guitar for the first time in months, and my fingertips killed with minutes. The overly diverse playlist mirrors the eclectic song selections I've been downloading that I'm not sure how to arrange when I burn them to CD to back them up. And finally, I watched an episode of Made last week in which a hippy, folk-singing, outcast girl wanted to be made into a rockstar.

Yes, I confess. I don't watch it regularly, but I do sort of love Made. It's the only thing I might watch on MTV these days except CRiBs. Well, videos...do they show videos anymore?

05 January 2006

The Favorites

I finished reading all of my posts from 2005, and after a bit of weeding, I came up with the list in the sidebar. Since several of my favorites date back to the time before anyone read my blog, I've left them in chronological order, starting with the earliest post.

Subject matter and length vary quite a bit. I was amused by how short several of my favorites turned out to be.

Enjoy!

Fallen snow

04 January 2006

Saying it well

This is what I've been thinking lately, but AlwaysWrite wrote it more coherently than I could at present.

03 January 2006

Mulling

I took Neil's post from a couple of days ago to heart. I've been rereading my entries from 2005 and making a list of posts I like best.

Maybe it's weird for a blogger to admit, but there was a moment of dread before I began when I thought I might not like anything I'd written. I'm glad to be finding that's not the case, but it does have me mulling over what I want out of ttat.

01 January 2006

Wring in the new year

The crick I've had in my neck all last week went all severe on me last night and totally kills today. 2006 is going to up from here, right? Argh.

Even dosing advil and a heat pad on it all day have not loosened it up. I think the only thing to do is go watch more world's strongest man qualifying competitions on espn (seriously, it's got to be the best sports tv one can watch).