Friday, May 07, 2010

A Week Without Worry - Part II

Two years later, having for the most part let this blog lay fallow, I returned to check in on it after having received several strange comments in non-Latin languages. Perhaps posting again is not the way to deter this behavior, but the comments were cause for a reexamination of where I am today.

I think "A Week Without Worry" (published 29 January 2007) is probably my favorite post of the few I've managed to do over the past four or five years. Why? Because it was written at the peak of a highly introspective time in my life, and still speaks to a part of me a few years later: the fragment of my personality that steers me away from indulgence. By "indulgence," I don't refer to the tawdry or gastronomical sorts; I intend to call to mind those things that are indulgences for the soul, returns to nature, and fulfillments of the most innocent desires.

I still do not give myself enough permission to indulge.

My resolution? To grant a little latitude to myself in the coming years. To write a little more frequently than once every two years - for pleasure. I already read quite a bit for recreation, and I never brought out the dusty old Amiga 2000, but I did find a Wii buddy to pal around with on the weekends when we feel like a little Super Mario Wii or Lego Batman/Star Wars/You-Name-It. I've made several sinful deserts, but did not consume the entirety of any of them. Rather, I shared them with friends.

Perhaps I'm further along than I realize in my life's journey - but not far enough to say that I have fully taken my best friend Anita's advice to heart to the point where I live her wisdom a little bit each day. I don't say that to deify her (though she is a goddess and God-send), but because I'm stricken by how right she is.

To whomever reads this - if anyone besides a bot: I hope you take some time for reflection as I did tonight and give your "reset" button a little press. Indulge yourself a little... just for me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A la bibliothèque

Six months later, having been over-immersed in work drama (and work itself), I'm rising for air. My latest distractions:
  • Nicholas Nickleby - Dickens' third serial novel. I'm in the process of reading the entire compendium of his works. It's something I've wanted to do since falling in love with A Tale of Two Cities and Oliver! (the movie and then the play, and now the novel).
  • Worldchanging - The text I'm using in the fall to teach EarthSmart, a freshman seminar course on sustainability. It's the self-proclaimed "environmental handbook for the iPod generation". I have to agree - it's quite engaging and something that is easily picked up, plopped down in the hemp hammock while you nibble on a locally grown peach and ponder the purchase of your plug-in hybrid, dabble with your blog on your Mac... and picked up again.
  • The Modern Mind - The philosophical equivalent of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States of America. Peter Watson expertly and prosaically guides us through the complex evolution of human ideologies, discoveries, & political experiments of the last century. I felt like I really got to know some of the personalities, and wished it continued through 2008. I want to know how America got so stupid so fast. (Fine - I'll be a liberal apologist... On second thought, screw you for wanting me to say "I'm sorry" in the first place.)
  • The Nintendo Wii - It really is as cool as the empty store shelves would have you believe it is. I'm still in awe over how sensitive the controller is, and miffed that my virtual bowling game is no better (and has the same wobble to the right) than my real-life one. At least I can't bowl into the wrong lane, although I think it would be funny sometimes to be allowed to "wreck" the virtual players' games.
What are your divertissements?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I borrowed this from Anita, but really liked it!! Thanks, m'lady! ;-)

Bold and Blue - the ones I've done and am glad I did
Light Blue - the ones I've done and am not proud of
Shaded to Gray - the ones I haven't done and don't want to do
Bold and Red - the ones I haven't done and want to do

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with dolphins

3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid

6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone

8. Said 'I love you' and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris

12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game

16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars

20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster

35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing (do the rock climbing walls count?)

49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them (does it count if it was in an airport?)
54. Visited Japan

55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie

74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch

78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Gone white water rafting

82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently

95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars

99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over

101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking

103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived.
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse

119. Had surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours

123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey

135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language

141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream

142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Trop de seins (Too many titties)

Ummm... Yeah. I'm sure you're shocked to: a) see a posting from me after nearly eight months and b) read that a gay man thinks there are too many boobs in the fabulous "horredy" - that's horror + comedy - Blood Car. I'm shocked that you're a) reading my blog, as after all, I tend to abandon it until it whines at me like a puppy at the back door, waiting to come back in after being forgotten for... well, eight months. Seriously, I don't think I ever had any "readers", but it's still fun to write from time to time. I have creative juices (minds out of the gutter, kiddies), and they need to be let out (à la Cat Stevens - I can't keep it in). Let's start a new paragraph without sexual innuendo.

If you love the horredy genre, you simply must watch Blood Car, a film my best friend Anita and I saw at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama in September. It was a runaway hit with the audience, who had stayed up late and skipped the first part of that night's after-party in order to take in the flick about a vegan kindergarten teacher who is in passionate pursuit of a solution to the gas price crisis and accidentally discovers that blood will run a gasoline engine. This film violates every filming rule, breaks every social more, and will have you picking your jaw up from your living room floor once you get past the audacious film maker's take on our unnecessary dependence on oil. Oh - and the vegan kindergarten teacher is a sex maniac. There - ready to watch yet??

I ended up crushing on the lead actor, Mike Brune, while watching the movie, and by sheer coincidence met him in person at the after-party later that evening. In continuing the Blood Car tradition of violation, I broke my own "if-I-ever-meet-a-famous-person-I-won't -choke-on-my-words-and-say-something-stupid" rule. Let's just say that my performance was by far outdone by Mr. Brune, whom I left standing alone because I was too sheepish and bumbling to stay and risk saying anything else that would betray my graduate education. Nothing less than a gentleman, Mike personally responded to an email I later sent to compliment him on his performance in the movie and wish him well in his film career.

Oh yeah - the boobs. If fun bags scare you, don't watch this movie. There are plenty of unnecessary and gratuitous shots of them, and if you're a straight male or a lesbian (or impartial, like me), you won't be let down in any sense of the word. I gave Blood Car as Christmas gifts to a few select family members, including my mother, who likes to "preview" (read: unwrap as soon as she sees) her gifts for any occasion. About a half-hour into it, she turned to me, said in an alarmingly casual and familiar tone, "Let's turn this off. There are just too many boobs for me," and then returned her boob-thirsty... er, blood-thirsty eyes to the screen. Thirty minutes later, we had to turn it off because we were exhausted from a day of work. And at that point, I'd seen enough boobs to meet my millennial quota.

Check out The Casual Critic for a more cerebral review than mine. You'll love the site.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Clearly Canadian? Certainement décevant!

My partner and I leave for Nova Scotia this Friday, and are driving the whole way. We had planned on staying in a B&B in Dartmouth, just across the harbor from Halifax, but abandoned plans quickly after the female proprieter asked if I would be staying alone for the week.

"No," I replied, "my partner will be along with me."

Silence on the line.

"Is that a problem?" I asked, bracing for the response.

Another short silence.
" no, not really. I mean... uh... well, we do have two children, you know. But that should be okay because we live downstairs and the guest rooms are upstairs. So no, no problems."

"Fine, then." I replied, "I'll make a deal with you: My partner and I won't have sex with or in front of your kids if you promise the same. In addition, we'll restrict our breakfast chit-chat strictly to the weather rather than our favorite sexual positions and how much we can't wait to get our hands on the kids."

Okay, so I wasn't that reciprocally disrespectful, but I did say that we would not be staying with them and hung up. I suppose I didn't expect all Canadians to be liberal and open-minded.

We ended up using and found a three-star hotel in the heart of Halifax for $77/night - a room that normally goes for $150! And to think that the B&B chumps could have had their hands on nearly $700 US - and maybe learned some tolerance. Acceptance would be asking for too much, eh?

Monday, March 12, 2007

Il y a dix ans...

Okay, I’ll bite. Anita borrowed this list from someone named Josh, so I’ll fill it in for myself. It really caused me to take a second look at where time has gone, and it is hard for me to accept that even ten years ago we had already been through nearly two years of college. WOW.

10 Years Ago...
1.) How old were you? 20
2.) Where did you go to school? Auburn University
3.) Where did you work? Harper Residence Hall (as a Desk Assistant) and Camp War Eagle (summer orientation counselor)
4.) Where did you live? Auburn, AL
5.) Where did you hang out? All over the place. Road trips were in, and camping at Mount Cheaha over Memorial Day weekend was the best!
6.) Did you wear glasses? Contacts
7.) Who was your best friend? Anita, Rhea, Addie, Peyton, Jennifer and Chris Milan among others. I had lots of friends ten years ago. Anita and I have always had a very close bond since high school, but were actually a bit estranged at the time because she had gotten married and I didn’t make it home as often.
8.) How many tattoos did you have? None – and never!
9.) How many piercings did you have? None, but I did have piercing envy for a bit.
10.) What car did you drive? 1987 powder blue 2-door Chevy Cavalier, nicknamed The Heart of the Ocean. She set sail for the last time in 2000.
11.) Had you been to a real party? Depends on what “real” means. At the time, I thought so. The future taught me I was mistaken.
12.) Had your heart broken? Many times over… I was not out yet and had plenty of unrequited crushes.
13.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: Desperately single.

5 years ago...
1.) How old were you? 25
2.) Where did you go to school? University of South Carolina
3.) Where did you work? Orientation and Testing Services, USC
4.) Where did you live? Columbia, SC
5.) Where did you hang out? My favorite places: The Salty Nut, Delaney’s Irish Pub, the Speak Easy, Revolution, Art Bar… Can you tell I was in grad school? lol
6.) Did you wear glasses? Contacts and glasses
7.) Who was your best friend? Anita, Rhea, Lisa, Becca
8.) Who was your crush? I had a crush on one of my classmates and a new recruit to my program
9.) How many tattoos did you have? still none
10.) How many piercings did you have? still none
11) What car did you drive? 2000 Ford Focus, deep blue, nicknamed Pierre
12.) Had you had your heart broken? Many more times over… I still wasn’t out, but would be the following year.
13.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter: Single and bitter.

**March 2007**
1.) How old are you? 30
2.) Where do you work? Auburn University
3.) Where do you live? Near Montgomery, AL
4.) Do you wear glasses? Glasses that are out-of-date (the prescription, not the frames! Horn-rimmed is still cool, right?)
5.) Who's your best friend? Rhea, Anita, and Rob
6.) Do you talk to your old friends? I’m so bad about it… No on lives near me, so I hardly see any of my friends anymore. I do miss them!
7.) How many piercings? I think it’s safe to say that this will always be NO.
8.) How many tattoos do you have? Still none.
9.) What kind of car do you have? 2004 Ford Focus, “light tundra” lol, nicknamed Jean-Pierre.
10.) Has your heart been broken? Yes, many more times over, this time from actual relationships, one gone especially bad at the end.
11.) Single/Taken/Married/Divorced/Bitter? Taken and happy! He’s a sweetie and cares very much for me!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Feeling Jung Again

On Anita's recommendation, I took a derivation of Jung's personality type instrument, and - no surprise - turned out to be ISFJ. Here's the description:

The primary desire of the Protector Guardian is to be of service to others, but here "service" means not so much furnishing others with the necessities of life (the Provider's concern), as guarding others against life's pitfalls and perils, that is, seeing to their safety and security. There is a large proportion of Protectors in the population, perhaps as much as ten percent. And a good thing, because they are steadfast in their protecting, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can insure the safekeeping of those in their family, their circle of friends, or their place of business.
Protectors find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden and can deal with disability and neediness in others better than any other type. They go about their task of caretaking modestly, unassumingly, and because of this their efforts are not sometimes fully appreciated. They are not as outgoing and talkative as the Providers, except with close friends and relatives. With these they can chat tirelessly about the ups and downs in their lives, moving (like all the Guardians) from topic to topic as they talk over their everyday concerns. However, their shyness with strangers is often misjudged as stiffness, even coldness, when in truth these Protectors are warm-hearted and sympathetic, giving happily of themselves to those in need.
Their quietness ought really to be seen as an expression, not of coldness, but of their sincerity and seriousness of purpose. Like all the Guardians, Protectors have a highly developed puritan work ethic, which tells them that work is good, and that play must be earned-if indulged in at all. The least hedonic of all types, Protectors are willing to work long, long hours doing all the thankless jobs the other types seem content to ignore. Thoroughness and frugality are also virtues for Protectors. When they undertake a task, they will complete it if at all humanly possible; and they know the value of material resources and abhor the squandering or misuse of these resources. Protectors are quite content to work alone; indeed, they may experience some discomfort when placed in positions of authority, and may try to do everything themselves rather than insist that others do their jobs.
With their extraordinary commitment to security, and with their unusual talent for executing routines, Protectors do well in many careers that have to do with conservation: curators, private secretaries, librarians, middle-managers, police officers, and especially general medical practitioners. To be sure, the hospital is a natural haven for them; it is home to the family doctor, preserver of life and limb, and to the registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse, truly the angels of mercy. The insurance industry is also a good fit for Protectors. To save, to put something aside against an unpredictable future, to prepare for emergencies-these are important actions to Protectors, who as insurance agents want to see their clients in good hands, sheltered and protected.

Here's another interpretation:

ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their "need to be needed." In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them; however, most ISFJs find more than enough with which to occupy themselves within the framework of a normal life. (Since ISFJs, like all SJs, are very much bound by the prevailing social conventions, their form of "service" is likely to exclude any elements of moral or political controversy; they specialize in the local, the personal, and the practical.)
ISFJs are often unappreciated, at work, home, and play. Ironically, because they prove over and over that they can be relied on for their loyalty and unstinting, high-quality work, those around them often take them for granted--even take advantage of them. Admittedly, the problem is sometimes aggravated by the ISFJs themselves; for instance, they are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself). (And as low-profile Is, their actions don't call attention to themselves as with charismatic Es.) Because of all of this, ISFJs are often overworked, and as a result may suffer from psychosomatic illnesses.
In the workplace, ISFJs are methodical and accurate workers, often with very good memories and unexpected analytic abilities; they are also good with people in small-group or one-on-one situations because of their patient and genuinely sympathetic approach to dealing with others. ISFJs make pleasant and reliable co-workers and exemplary employees, but tend to be harried and uncomfortable in supervisory roles. They are capable of forming strong loyalties, but these are personal rather than institutional loyalties; if someone they've bonded with in this way leaves the company, the ISFJ will leave with them, if given the option. Traditional careers for an ISFJ include: teaching, social work, most religious work, nursing, medicine (general practice only), clerical and and secretarial work of any kind, and some kinds of administrative careers.
While their work ethic is high on the ISFJ priority list, their families are the centers of their lives. ISFJs are extremely warm and demonstrative within the family circle--and often possessive of their loved ones, as well. When these include Es who want to socialize with the rest of the world, or self-contained ITs, the ISFJ must learn to adjust to these behaviors and not interpret them as rejection. Being SJs, they place a strong emphasis on conventional behavior (although, unlike STJs, they are usually as concerned with being "nice" as with strict propriety); if any of their nearest and dearest depart from the straight-and-narrow, it causes the ISFJ major embarrassment: the closer the relationship and the more public the act, the more intense the embarrassment (a fact which many of their teenage children take gleeful advantage of). Over time, however, ISFJs usually mellow, and learn to regard the culprits as harmless eccentrics :-). Needless to say, ISFJs take infinite trouble over meals, gifts, celebrations, etc., for their loved ones--although strong Js may tend to focus more on what the recipient should want rather than what they do want.
Like most Is, ISFJs have a few, close friends. They are extremely loyal to these, and are ready to provide emotional and practical support at a moment's notice. (However, like most Fs they hate confrontation; if you get into a fight, don't expect them to jump in after you. You can count on them, however, run and get the nearest authority figure.) Unlike with EPs, the older the friendship is, the more an ISFJ will value it. One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for "sulking," the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided "good manners." An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ's unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with." Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem.

These two articles describe me and my inner workings only too accurately. If you want to take the test, check out this link.