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6th February 2016
31st January 2016
24th January 2016
17th January 2016
3rd January 2016
27th December 2015
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - initial thoughts (with spoilers)
Overall, I liked the movie, and plan to see it at least one more time. I didn't have the sinking "oh, no, they messed this one up" feeling I did with the prequels, and it was fun to watch. :
Some general thoughts:
( spoilers-included review below the cutCollapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/233461.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
28th September 2015
Panarama of lunar eclipse
Here's a series of pictures I took of the lunar eclipse last night. These were taken using a basic digital camera, nothing extravagant. Click on picture for full size @ Flickr. :
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232739.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
10th August 2015
Mid-august garden update
Our vegetable garden (in southern Maryland) is doing its usual August thing of putting out cherry and Roma tomatoes on an almost production-line level, plus one or two peppers every week. We have a couple of raised beds, which is good enough for our 2-person family size. I've lost a lot of the Roma and most of the full-sized tomatoes so far to cracking, which I suspect is because we had a long stretch where it rained or thunderstormed every day, then the last few weeks has had barely any rain at all, and AFAIK that combo is a big contributor to cracking even with the timed irrigation watering system we use.
The lettuce was coming up gangbusters when we were getting a lot of rain, but then just started to tail off and bolt when a groundhog visited and decimated it; we have a couple of old apple trees which are having good years, so we think it was attracted by fallen apples and decided to diversify its diet while it was at it. My squash was also heavily chewed sometime in the past week, I'm suspecting the same fellow. But, on the plus side the leeks are doing very well, and there's a rogue watermelon that sprang up from my experiment last year at growing a small globe variety (but too seedy for my tastes), so we may get an unintentional watermelon or two this year as well.
I'm also trying South African gem squash in three different places, so far so good (they're still too small to make good. I'm hoping I'll get something off of those before the first freeze.
Finally, this is a Cosmos bipinnatus, its the first flower to come up in a new butterfly garden that I seeded in the spring. I'd worried that the whole bed had been taken over by weeds without any flowers coming up, but this is a hopeful sign.
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232523.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
5th August 2015
The need to write
From : an interview with playwright Michel Tremblay, circa 1982.
This resonated with me, in both good and bad ways:
"The need to write? You can say what you want, you write to be loved.
I've had an internal belief for a while that the primary purpose of art is to communicate; that may be with oneself, but if it stops there, is it really art, is it really self-expression in any meaningful way? I think that's been contributing to my reluctance to write, though, as well. It can be a problem, because whether one's expression ever finds an audience is to a large part out of your hands. That's not to say one shouldn't do one's best, I think one always should for its own sake because one is able to, but expecting to reap what is sown in any measure is a sure way to a broken heart. In a way, I suppose its like love, in that how well you love is no guarantee that you will be loved back; that's the tragedy of unrequited love (and the Wizard of Oz has it completely wrong, in my opinion, when he says "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others"). But laying aside the expectations is hard, since a lot of motivation tends to be tied up with those expectations, at least for me.
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/232267.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
31st July 2015
Sine wave moods, and "depression lies"
The past couple of weeks were pretty decent ones. I felt...well, if not great all the time, then at least level, keeping busy at work and at home, working on planning for a couple of trips I'm really looking forward to, etc. The sine wave patterns my moods had descended into, up-and-down in patterns of a few days during the worst part last year, then a week up, an week down, had seemingly started to lengthen, which was good news considering what it's been like for the past year or so. So I figured "Great! Finally turned the corner! Back to normalcy, or whatever passes for it for me!" :
Uh-uh. Not so fast.
I had a few midday meetings at work this week that knocked me off my regular exercise schedule, and the past couple of days my insomnia* decided to make a return visit. That's all it takes, apparently, for my emotional well-being to take a crash. And its funny, in a way, to feel it happening...its not quite like a shadow coming over my consciousness, that's not a great analogy, but something akin to that.
And when I get like this, I can see the symptoms emerge as it comes on. I get slightly more irritable. I feel worthless. I start ruminating over things like "why am I bothering doing /fill in the activity/chore/job I'm doing/, it doesn't matter in the long run anyway." I start obsessing over little things, trying to interpret some kind of deeper meaning over something - might be someone's silence, or trying to figure out intonation or double-meanings in a email where there's no cues to make even a reasonable guess, things like that. There's a lot of overthinking (or in the vernacular "making a lot out of nothing").
And I know, in the reasonable, adult, detached part of me, that I'm being unreasonable, that its my lack of sleep, my depression, my lack of exercise, doing the talking to myself, and that drawing conclusions from it is just a bad idea. Depression lies...that's true.
But there's a problem with "depression lies," and its this. Sure, I can know that my perceptions are off, that its probably the mental equivalent of a hallucination...but, that doesn't make it any less real, in the moment. It reminds me of the movie "Take Shelter": yes, the protagonist *knows* he has a family history of mental illness, that the things he's seeing may not be real...but that doesn't help much, because its not like there's an alternative track of "how things really are" one can just flip a switch and jump to. It seems real, therefore it is real, regardless of how much (or how little) correspondence it has to reality.
So, depression lies...yes, true, but perhaps not as helpful as one might hope.
Anyway, I did my usual exercise routine today and I feel...well, not as bad. I don't know if "better" is quite the right word, since that implies "problem over, issue closed!" But its more evidence that I can know that my sleep and exercise patterns have a clear and demonstrated correlation with my mental state, absolutely know this, and still fall into the trap. Again, its not as easy as it seems to keep it up every day, even knowing I really need to - things happen, schedules get changed, and sometimes life just throws a curve ball in. And you'd think I'd be able to just say "oh, this is just a reaction to not getting enough sleep" and just abide in that - if that seems just stupid not to do, and it may if you're not someone who goes through this, then reread what I wrote above. When you're in a particular mental state, expecting clear, rational thought may be too much to ask.
* - I note that a bad habit I've gotten into is picking up my smartphone and checking my email when I get up in the middle of the night. What tends to happen is that I'll read an email and my brain will "turn on" enough to start ruminating about whatever's in the email, with my subconscious often putting the worst possible spin on what's in it, and off my head will go on the hamster wheel for the rest of the night. Yeah, not good, but often my curiosity will get the best of me.
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/231958.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
Current Mood: uncomfortable
17th April 2015
18th February 2015
Notes from a trip to New York City
Just some random notes I took while on a trip to New York City for a two-day conference at the United Nations, followed by an overnight stay at my parent’s place on the way back. :
( Read more...Collapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/231224.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
31st January 2015
Super Bowl V: what was lost, now is found...
From the "yet another Internet subcommunity you didn't know was out there" file... :
So, tomorrow is Super Bowl XLIX (or for non-football fans, "the day all the cool new commercials come out."). Well, way back in 1971, Super Bowl V was played, between the Colts and Cowboys...
( Video and notes behind the cutCollapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/231066.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
23rd January 2015
* It may be my Philly-area roots coming out, but nothing quite hits the spot when you're driving home and hungry than a soft pretzel, still soft and salty but not too salty, preferably warm but still OK if not. Yum. Mustard optional. I also reflect on the parallelism of going to a WaWa for random sundries growing up, and now living in an area where I do the same thing going home from work. :
* I need to be a more aware re: monitoring how my joints react to bad weather coming in. My body was noticeably achy and uncomfortable all day, perhaps in anticipation of the storm system we're supposed to get smacked around by later tonight. Would be helpful to know if there's actually a correlation, rather than it just being "one of those days" at random.
* I think adding an electric blanket at night has been a big quality-of-life boost for me. Granted, it makes getting *out* of bed more grumpily difficult in the morning, but I don't miss waking up in the middle of the night with cold joints in pain, not one bit. (the cats like the auto-warmed blanket perhaps even more than I do, to be fair).
* A thing I take its absence for granted now, but also don't miss one bit? Cockroaches. My family lived in an apartment that had them until I was about 6, then I experienced them again in the summer apartment I had in Bowling Green while finishing my MA, and *all* the apartments I had while at Ohio State had them, also (to various degrees of crawlingness). You do learn to stop thinking about things creeping around at all times while living with it, in my experience, but really, its too easy to take a pest-less house for granted. Sidebar: also don't miss sleeping in places where one wakes up to a series of spider bites inflicted overnight, either.
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/230680.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
9th January 2015
VIA personality assessment results
I took the VIA personality assessment at : http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Charact
( Results behind the cutCollapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/230509.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
21st December 2014
General life notes (from December FB)
These were made on different dates on Facebook, if you read me there you've probably :
already seen most of these. Sharing for those who don't FB, and for life archival purposes.
( Read more...Collapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/230123.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
17th December 2014
Gratefulness posts (from October)
Back in Oct., I made the following series of gratefulness posts on Facebook. I wanted to share them here, for those who didn't see them as well as for archival purposes. :
( Continued after the cut...Collapse )
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/229758.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
14th December 2014
Tap, tap. Is this thing on? :
(mostly a post to check whether the mirror from Dreamwidth.org to LJ is working for my account...it appears I may need to post at DW first, then hopefully it gets echoed over at Livejournal. Still figuring how this works...)
Crossposted from http://tagryn.dreamwidth.org/228753.html where there are comments. Comment wherever you prefer; anonymous comments are allowed on DW only
1st November 2014
25th October 2014
Flash essay: Style vs. Substance
a.k.a. "When is it OK - even necessary - to be an a-hole, and when are you just being an a-hole?" :
A friend of mine at Facebook linked to an essay written by Chris Kluwe on the GamerGate controversy. You can read it at that link - be warned, he has some rather NSFW language. Chris has a definite perspective, and I think it comes out very clearly in his writing. What's interesting to me isn't so much the debate itself - its been burning on Twitter already for weeks if not months - but I did want to write a bit about my own reaction.
( Read more...Collapse )
19th October 2014
27th September 2014
I Am Not I
I am not I. :
I am this one
walking beside me whom I do not see,
whom at times I manage to visit,
and whom at other times I forget;
who remains calm and silent while I talk,
and forgives, gently, when I hate,
who walks where I am not,
who will remain standing when I die.
- Juan Ramón Jiménez
( possible interpretation + graphicCollapse )
10th August 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy
We saw "Guardians of the Galaxy" today. Great fun - we both really enjoyed the humor as well as the music (mix tapes!). I didn't read much of the GoG comic as a kid - the only character I was acquainted with was : Drax the Destroyer, and that from his appearances in "The Avengers." The Kree I remember from "Captain Marvel." I find it interesting that the Skrull haven't appeared in any Marvel movie yet (apparently for legal reasons) considering what a catalyst the ongoing Kree-Skrull war was in so many Marvel storylines. Bonus: the trailer for the next Hobbit film is in the previews.
27th July 2014
Books I'm currently reading
: "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" (Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan, 1992) - I'm only a little ways through Chapter 1 so far, but I can tell this could be a transformative book. I've been having troubles with doing the work in my writing, and these have been growing for a long time. "The Artist's Way" is about unblocking the creative process, and while the "spiritual" part in the title might be offputting for some people, the author explains why that part is there but in a way that most people can probably work with. For me, I can only go through at most a half-chapter at a time before setting it down for the day, which is usually a sign that I'm being challenged and am starting to fight it and gettting defensive. When I sense that, I just set it aside and let my subconscious process the ideas for a while, then come back to it again. Thanks to Liralen for the suggestion to try this book.
"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" (Peggy Noonan, 1994) - This is a reread for me, I think I first read it a few years after it came out. Noonan came to prominence as a speechwriter for the Reagan White House; this book deals mainly with the period around the '92 election when G.H.W. Bush was running for reelection against Bill Clinton. Its interesting from a retrospective stance, in that the author makes a fair number of observations as to why Bush's campaign was headed towards failure, what kind of president Clinton would be, and so on, but it is told largely in stories and talks between other people and herself rather than as bare prose, which makes it much easier to read. To me, there's also a lot of wisdom in what Noonan writes here, and some of that may have to do with our sharing similar backgrounds of coming from traditionally Catholic households, going through the standard Catholic education system (albeit 20 years apart), and so on. While she was living in New York City at the time, she was also spending a lot of her time commuting down to DC, and her observations about the life here are also interesting to me after having lived in the general DC area for the past 8 years now. Noonan was also in the midst of a spiritual reconsideration during the period she writes about, which I also find easily relatable: doing the math, she was age 43 when the book came out, and I'm age 44 now, so its not surprising I'm finding myself nodding and drawing a number of parallels to many things she mentions that I wasn't doing to nearly the same extent when I read it in my 20s. I hope some of her later works have a similar personal/observational touch to them, but I haven't had a chance to explore them yet.
"Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision" (Roberta Wohlstetter, 1962) - I'm only just into Chapter 1 in this one as well, but I already have a sense of "the scales falling from my eyes." This book is universally regarded as the definitive analysis of the intelligence failures that led to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In some ways its unbelievable, yet at the same time entirely believable, that the work of pulling together all the different sources of material to put together a coherent picture of 'who knew what, when did they know it, and how did it all fit together?' was done not by the Navy, but by an analyst at the RAND corporation. As a study of military history, its interesting; as a study of human nature, its deeply fascinating. There was an immensely complex lattice of 'this person knew this piece of information, but because they were in position A reporting from country B with perspective C, this other person in position X in country Y with perspective Z who could have acted on it wasn't disposed to think it that important.' And so catastrophes happen.
21st July 2014
Super Bowl XV - a retrospective
crossposted from : http://www.wingheads.com/index.php?show
For a slow week before camp opens, found this on YouTube, the highlights of Super Bowl XV:
( Read more...Collapse )
In any case, the 1980 team will always be "my" team, probably to the end of my days. Coach Dick Vermeil remained a positive role model for me during the rest of my time growing up, both as an example of the value of hard work and preparation, and then as an example of how a lack of balance in one's life can lead to burnout.