117K 0:43
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223K 1:20
“Hello friends, I'm running out for lunch, running away from work, where I just had a meeting that was supposed to be half an hour; went an hour, 20 minutes of which at least were spent discussing something the manager had said -- at the beginning -- that we would discuss next week. And one of -- the new guy challenging one of my teammates on why something was a priority, when 5 minutes before, our manager had said in the meeting this was a priority... culminating with him saying "I also volunteer to be scrum-master, whatever that means." Now, not that everyone needs to know what one is, but... Oh my gosh, somebody give me a hug. But it's a sunny day, even if way windy, and I'm doing okay. I'm running out to my eye doctor and everything's fine. I'll grab lunch; I'll be okay. I hope all my friends are doing as okay as they can be today and I'll catch you another time. Bye-bye.”

Transcribed by: squishydish
In between getting to Philadelphia on Friday night (normal length trip) and coming home from Philadelphia on Sunday (over 7 hours due to very unfortunate timing with heavy wet snow on 76), we also drove to NYC and back, and saw two plays with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan (and Billy Crudup and Shuler Hensley), with a tasty dinner at Zen Palate (vegan?) and walking around pretty, decorated, lit-up, *very crowded* Manhattan in between.  The NYC trip was a whirlwind belated birthday outing for one of our party, so I didn't even try to see my NYC friends.

Harold Pinter's No Man's Land was the matinee, and my favorite of the two plays.  Stewart and McKellan were a joy to watch interacting in both plays, but I found this play more interesting than , in what happens.  We discussed it a lot over dinner, trying to figure out who was fooling whom at which parts.  The title seems to refer to a frozen-in-time place, in a desirable? way.  Stewart's character proclaims at one point, "In my day ... nothing changed!" (like he missed that nothing-changing time).  Also, comfy English parlor setting.

I think I've seen Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot before, but had forgotten much of it.  Maybe the high school? version had cut some of the uncomfortable parts -- NML had some uncomfortable parts, too, but I  much preferred the parts with Crudup and Hensley in NML to WfG (due to the difference in the plays).  OTOH, I liked the vaudeville bits/references in WfG.  They are in some sort of a rubble-strewn limbo where events repeat (not exactly) but only Stewart's character seems to remember much from day to day (nothing meaningful changes?), so to me the plays were connected thematically.

I studied some for an upcoming test in the car trips while there was light and when I could refrain from getting sucked into conversation.  On the drive back towards my car in Maryland, once it got dark, lionessprite (thank you for driving!) and I got into a far-ranging conversation about the plays, heaven, purgatory, the Presbyterian doctrine of predestination, existentialism, creating meaning, being good not being about getting to heaven, Buddhism, the difference between feeling connection to others and attachment to outcomes for others, Schopenhauer (the more we understand about ourselves, the better we understand how connected we are to each other and everything in the universe), quantum mechanics, actual quantum mechanics v. woo-woo handwaving qm (hello, anarchist_nomad!), and mudita (Buddhist concept, kind of like compersion only broader) and looking to others' joy/happiness to be happy for them, maybe share joy/happiness, or at least be reminded of the possibility of not dwelling in the sad.

That was fun.  And once again, I'm reminded of Schiller's Ode to Joy.

Books and Chi and Dreams

My review of India Black, the silly but fun first in a new historical romance/intrigue series (1870's England intrigue).  BTW, the new LJ link editor sucks (default action trashes the text I'd selected).  It had its flaws, as I cover in the review, but was much better than Elizabeth Boyle's *And The Miss Ran Away With The Rake* regency romance, which did a bait-and-switch to get me to buy the book (people fall in love via correspondence), only to find out that hardly any of the letters are shown in the book, and it turns out the two main characters decided the people they'd decided to marry via letters were prigs anyway, based on their letters, of which we never got to see more than a few lines.  What??!?!

The Tai Chi class I'm taking with my sister is going ok -- I missed a couple of sessions, but more or less kept up with it this morning.  I think the movements are good for me, anyway.

Thinking of trying [edit: acupuncture; got recommendation] for my thigh that keeps paining me (pins and needles after sitting), since massage has only been a temporary relief.  Any recommendations?

Two more nightmares this week, though none since we started back to work after the shutdown ended (ended for now, anyway).  I may also be having good dreams, but they don't stick with me as much.  No solid news yet re possible offer from federal contract winner (my potential new employer), though we're all supposed to hear one way or another by the end of the month.

Nightmare Strategy

Had a job-related nightmare last week (posted to FB), and woke up with another one today.  This morning's wasn't directly job-related: it seemed to have to do with the good, not-too-scary mystery I finished up last night (Flavia is an informer in Roman times, following in her adoptive father's footsteps), with a shapeshifter twist.  However, the shutdown and [edit: related employer frenzy] are no doubt getting to me, even though I'm situated to ride things out for a while.  I don't usually have nightmares.  These haven't shaken me up too much, but I don't like 'em.  I am unconvinced of their utility as a coping strategy.

My rant on this mess:  People who have no background in or institutional dependence on public service just don't see as much value, or have as much interest, in the gears of government working smoothly.  When those who have nothing but contempt for government programs (they do not turn a profit) and government workers (if they were smart, they'd get real jobs) can so easily funnel money into campaigns (e.g., Citizens United) to back their gut-the-government ideology, sand going in those gears seems to be just fine with the candidates they elect.  We'll see how long the shutdown goes, and whether anything is fixed before the debt ceiling deadline.


Dracula, Feminist Consciousness-Raiser

With the furlough, maybe I'll actually get around to writing about the newer books I've been keeping by my computer.  But for now, it's October; Halloween is coming, and the realtime episodical Dracula blog entries have been coming fast!  From MINA HARKER'S JOURNAL, 30 September:

"And now for you, Madam Mina, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are."

All the men, even Jonathan, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me.

I own that my heart began to fail me when the time for action came so close, but I did not say anything, for I had a greater fear that if I appeared as a drag or a hindrance to their work, they might even leave me out of their counsels altogether. They have now gone off to Carfax, with means to get into the house.

Manlike, they had told me to go to bed and sleep, as if a woman can sleep when those she loves are in danger! I shall lie down, and pretend to sleep, lest Jonathan have added anxiety about me when he returns.

Of course they put her in FAR MORE DANGER by leaving her ignorant and "safe at home" than if they'd taken her with her.  A waste of a valuable resource on their part, too: she'd already been of enormous help to them, with her research, organization, and transcription skills, not to mention clear evidence of her brains and courage.  *Dracula* (the original book by Bram Stoker) doesn't talk about this feminist perspective explicitly, beyond Mina's plaintive journal comments, but it is pretty clear for those paying attention.


Voice Post

287K 1:46
“Well, hello ... I want to write about books and all kinds of things but for now I'll just say, work is interesting. I had to refrain today from pointing out to someone today mis-using the phrase "devil's advocate" that that is NOT the same as "poo-flinging monkey". ... But there are good and interesting things happening at work too.
I have an interview tomorrow , feel prepared for that ...
We're supposed to go in tomorrow morning if the shutdown happens, to make it in an orderly way ...
will interview in the afternoon ...
I hope all my friends on LiveJournal are doing well!”

Transcribed by: selki

Images and Words

Why I want to see Pacific Rim again:
Not that there's anything wrong with seeing a movie just because it's fun!
I don't regret missing Sharknado because my guess is it's a little bloodier than I would like (Ian Ziering on what it's like to use a chainsaw to get out of the belly of the beast), but I do like this hat inspired by the movie.  But one of the things that intrigues me so much about Pacific Rim is there's a lot of visual stuff going on in it that I don't quite have the tools to grasp and analyze, more than I could get in one viewing.  In The Visual Intelligence of Pacific Rim, a guy talks about all the stuff his girlfriend, and others, caught in the movie that he simply didn't see.  I think part of this may be a matter of practice (one can get better at this kind of observation), but also some people are just more visually oriented than others, just like some are better at spatial geometry.  I am much more a person of words than of images.  But I like looking at art, and images, and reading analyses of visual presentations that show me things to think about and look for. 

But what if I hadn't run across any analyses that helped me figure out what more there was to the movie than I could put my finger on without help?  I don't think I'd be irrational to say "I think it was more than just a monster movie and I want to see it again", even if I couldn't spell out just why, any more than I would dismiss someone saying "That movie made me really uncomfortable and I don't want to see it again" even if they didn't have the tools or patience to pick out exactly why.  We're more than just our analytical brains.  Some of us are better at explaining the subtle stuff (whether visual, or behavioral, or pretty much anything beyond text) than others, but being unable to explain something doesn't mean there's nothing there.  Being open to the subtle stuff that adds up in ways we can't always articulate doesn't mean we're crazy.  It's important to delineate between coherent arguments and hand-waving feels, of course, but as long as we're explaining the sum of what we experience as a personal experience rather than trying to frame it as a fact about the universe (or about someone/something in particular), I think it's ok and often even good to speak about our experiences.  Sometimes we can help each other figure stuff out.

Nobody gets to tell me to shut up or that I'm being irrational if I can't explain just why someone makes me feel unsafe, for instance (no, this is not a random example).  Well, they can tell me that, freedom of speech and all that, but I'm not likely to consider them a friend any more.

Links thanks to LJ's Cheetahmaster, Twitterers, and Radish Reviews.