frequently updated in reverse chronological order
on 22.09.02 I uploaded the first of my frequently updated in reverse chronological order personal thoughts onto the defenseless, but fortunately oblivious, electrons of cyberspace. that is, on 22.09.02, I started my blog, or my proto-blog, generator of chaos, with this entry:
the weevils of anxiety
"generator of chaos" consisted of soundbites from the notebooks that I tote around to coffeeshops and fill with scribbles and lists of things to do. I created it using adobe goLive, but the reverse chronological format was awkward -- I had to shift all of the existing elements down in the table to put new items at the top of the page.
(yeah, yeah, I know goLive has an icon in the advanced tab of the hidden options palette that links to the chronological tool (the icon that looks like a caterpillar spinning a cocoon, or maybe it's father time's beard in the process of growing) which, if you hold the option key while clicking on it, puts things in reverse order, assuming you've defined all date tags correctly using the magic slipper tool from the..., oh never mind.)
blog-O-rama came along a few months later, after I had decided to learn some html with the aid of an out of date version of the complete idiot's guide to creating a webpage that I picked up cheap at a used book store on cape cod. when I got to the chapter on creating forms, I created the instant friends page. it took gruesome amount of time to get working because I had forgotten to close the quotes inside the link to my homepage at the top. I was so pleased/relieved when it finally worked that I added a dated entry about learning how do forms, which seemed to call for another dated entry, and another. I had a blog.
I finished the complete idiot's guide but my interest in writing rapidly eclipsed my interest in developing my web skills. I never progressed to DHTML, and didn't go back and really master goLive like I originally intended. I'm still coding this by hand -- new entries are added to blog.html and the entire file is uploaded, and uploaded again, and again. this is why 'instant friends' remains the only way of leaving feedback and comments about blog-O-rama posts.
write for your audience.
I hauled out that old canard every semester that I taught a freshman seminar at vanderbilt. the problem was the only audience that students were writing for was the gradebook, I knew it, they knew it, and I knew that they knew it, and they knew that I knew that they knew it --- it was the rare essay that escaped from this recursion with a clear voice.
a blog is an inherently public document, with an implicit, if amorphous, audience. judging from my occasional paddling around in the blogopshere ('surfing' is too active a verb to describe this behavior) the audience for many blogs is other bloggers and/or personal friends. I don't interact regularly with any other bloggers (and if I had a surfeit of friends than I wouldn't need to recruit them online, now would I?) so when it comes to my blog, I confess to not having a clear idea of my audience at all.
(hello? is anybody out there? or is this whole blog thing just a time delay device that lets me talk to myself without seeming crazy? has anyone figured out that there's no one on the other end of the cell phone?)
even so, it seems to me that the defining characteristic, and a large part of the appeal, of writing in my blog is having an audience. or the spectre of an audience, anyway. I'm just not sure how because I don't take my own advice --- I don't have an audience in mind when I write, at least not consciously. it's more like a vague sense that cyberspace is full of people pretty much like me, who think that the things that I think are interesting are interesting, who find the things that I find funny funny, and who, if they don't already think that gw bush is a dangerous warmonger, will come around to that point of view soon. having an audience, even one created by me projecting mutliple copies myself onto the electronic void of the internet, encourages me to write things that are shorter, funnier, more polished, and above all, finished.
it's all about me
when I visit other people's websites/blogs one of the first things I look around for is an 'about me' page, or at least a resume or cv. (is "know your author" the inverse of "know your audience"?)
the discerning reader will note that my own website lacks an "about me"
in the preceding passage I claimed that writing a blog is basically a convoluted method of talking to oneself, so I've decided to write an "about ann" page so that later I can read about myself and decide if I'm the kind of person that I'd want to meet or read more about.
10 things about me, in no particular order.
okay, so that's only 9 things about me, but that leaves room for personal growth in the future. I'm planning on writing about them one at time, and compiling them into a single page later.
rdlipay elvivnog sapm
I first saw this at languagehat on 13.09.03, the meme propagated quickly, and it showed up on slashdot a few days later. a link to the original source and more commentary appears at Uncle Jazzbeau's Gallimaufrey. lerfjhax has a program that will scramble text for you (however, it doesn't work in safari, I used netscape instead.)
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.
I get a lot of spam with deliberately mispelled subjects and made up names, some quite amusing really:
but the spam filter on the mail program in OS X usually catches them, I think on the basis of the contents. today I got some spam got through with the subject heading "a Get on esay Sertet wkcnht." here's what was inside:
I can't wait to Ricevee a new Dotocrate from a non esxientt utiversiny.
what do ladybugs eat?
ladybugs eat aphids, right?
ladybugs also eat people.
it started by crawling on my finger, gnawing ineffectually on the tough skin underneath but now it's found a nice soft juicy spot on the flesh between my thumb and forefinger. it feels like I'm being pricked repeatedly with a tiny pin (ow). I can see a speck of blood on my skin in the first spot that the ladybug tasted. prick, prick, prick. it's making a hole in my skin, biting the same spot again and again.
it's a bit bigger than the ladybugs I'm used to, and more of a dull orange than a bright red. maybe it's not the regular kind of ladybug, the kind that mean you'll get some new clothes soon. maybe it's some kind of weird mutant ladybug recently blown over from a nuclear reactor somewhere in pennsylvania, a flesh eating blood sucking mutant ladybug, the kind that means you will have a small hole in your flesh surrounded by a small welt surrounded by a pink patch of skin ~1 cm across soon.
note to self: add ladybugs to the list of creatures that I am really glad aren't any bigger than they are. already on the list: daddy long legs -- their venom is very toxic but their mouths are too small to pierce human flesh; and grasshoppers -- have a look at their mouths and heads next time you see one and you'll know what I mean.
left to its own devices how long will this
ladybug continue to consume my flesh
ladybug, ladybug, fly away...
PS: I wrote the description above sitting outside a coffeeshop on state st., enjoying the last of the summer sun. I asked matt about mutant ladybug species when I got home. he said that it sounded like a nonmutant asian lady beetle. like ladybugs asian lady beetles are voracious predators. according to matt, though, this one probably didn't conceptualize me as another living being, but was probably thinking more along the lines of "yum! salt!" also he says that while asian lady beetles do occasionally bite they don't usually eat holes in people's flesh because people brush them off.
clean rooms are dirty
for 20 years the silicon valley toxics coalition has worked consistently to expose the myth that high-tech industries are cleaner or more environmentally friendly than their smokestack and rust-belt predecessors. the ny times recently ran a series of op-eds by bob herbert detailing the catastrophic health problems suffered by IBM workers exposed to toxic chemicals on the job, an issue that the sv toxics coalition has helped bring to light. I've put them up locally and svtc has a permanent link to the articles as well.
The semiconductor industry has reacted with near paranoia to any suggestion that anyone has gotten sick or died from working with these chemicals. The manufacturing processes have improved and safety is less of a problem now than in years past. The last thing the industry wants to hear about is the possibility that large numbers of workers have already died and many others are desperately sick from chemicals in the semiconductor workplace.
read the complete series of articles.
more from dudjom rinpoche
I found dudjom rinpoche's counsels from my heart to be extremely helpful, straightforward and profound at the same time. so much so, in fact, that I decided to read it again, taking notes, right after I finished reading it the first time.
When we arrive at a correct understanding of the mind, we can see that our present thoughts are just like waves on water. At one moment they arise; at another they dissolve. And that's all there is to it: the mind is nothing but thoughts. The mind, which is empty, is carried away by thoughts that are likewise empty. This is how the mind falls and remains in the six realms of samsara. It is the mind itself that fabricates samsara, and it does so because it fails to recognize its own nature.
samsara: The wheel or round of existence. The state of being unenlightened, in which the mind, enslaved by the three poisons of desire, anger, and ignorance, evolves uncontrolled from one state to another, passing through as endless stream of psychophysical experiences, all of which are characterized by suffering.
sooooo, what have I been up to, other than surfing the web?
well, um, sleeping, and eating, and uh, drinking green
last night was the first class of 'beginning improvisation' which I'm taking (again) through UW extension, I got to be an anxious mad scientist, a bored prostitue, an anesthesiologist and one of those dome hair dryers from the 50's at a beauty salon, lots of fun.
monday, I went to the doctor. she says I'm in excellent health but I should take calcium supplements and get a mammogram. my blood pressure was 88/52, so high blood pressure is not high on the list of concerns. orelia & I went to a pilates class at the women's fitness center in the afternoon. (I've been doing yoga at home too, feels great.) also on monday, bill & I watched 'buffy: the vampire slayer' (the movie), a complete cheesefest, but the first episodes from the first season of the tv show weren't in at fourstar video heaven.
bill & I went to 'pygmalion' by george bernard shaw at the american players theater on sunday. comella had cheap tickets she couldn't use, so we got to freeload a bit. 'pygmalion' has a surprisingly large number of ideas in it, especially for a comedy. next sunday we're going for our regularly scheduled and regularly priced APT outing, to see 'the tempest.'
progress has been slow on my various writing projects, partly because I haven't been devoting enough time to them, and partly because my writing seems to lack energy, my words plod along, sullen and stubborn, as if they're participating in a 'work to rule' industrial action and refuse to do anything not explicitly specified in their contracts. everything I write seems to take an order of magnitude longer than I think it should, even my stream of outbound email, normally limited by typing ability rather than my brain activity, is trickling out like industrial sludge in december.
take this blog entry, for example. I wrote the 'surf's up' section first, that took well over an hour, not including the time I spend surfing the web in the first place. this section has taken about an hour so far, with a few detours, like tracking down an old 'sisters of mercy' song playing on internet radio and emailing bill about it, and checking to see if anything new had been posted at slashdot (I have moderator points right now.). okay, so maybe that's not an order of magnitude longer than it should have taken, but it still seems like a long time. and it's not like I'm done yet. and it's not even funny.
it's true that the dalai lama is a geek, but does he use linux?
richard stallman (who I met once at a party at magic and who refers, with good reason I think, to the operating system composed of a Linux kernel and a whole heck of a lot of GNU projects as GNU/Linux) thinks so:
two news articles about bush his war on iraq that ran in australia, but haven't been getting too much press here. the first one details how the bush administration has been backing off its discredited prewar claims one by one without ever admitting they made them in the first place; the second article details how a redently released report shows the the British Joint Intelligence Committee warned Blair that a war in Iraq could increase the likelihood of terrorists attacks on Western targets and of terrorists gaining access to chemical and biological weapons --- I've included a long excerpt below.
"Administration officials are eating crow one by one, eating smaller portions and calling it prime beef," Larry Sabato (a political scientist at the University of Virginia who studies political damage control) said.
British intelligence warned Prime Minister Tony Blair that Saddam Hussein's downfall would increase the risk of terrorist attacks on Western interests, and of terrorists obtaining chemical or biological weapons, it emerged today.
just the facts, from fox news of all places: a timeline of events in israel and the occupied territories since ariel sharon's self-serving and deliberately inflammatory decision to make a high-profile 'visit' to temple mount. the violence that predicatably ensued helped sharon win the next election with his hardline policies. are israelis safer now, three years later? is the situation in israel more or less stable? have israelis and palestinians come closer to achieving peace coexistence in the past three years?
Sharon visits the disputed Temple Mount Sept. 28 2000 to emphasize Israel's claim of sovereignty. Muslims, who call the site the Noble Sanctuary, are outraged, and widespread violence breaks out a day later. The bloodshed sparks a political crisis in Israel, leading to Barak's resignation. Sharon wins a landslide victory over Barak in Feb. 6, 2001, election for prime minister.
2:00 AM is bartime in madison, wisconsin, the time at which bars are required by law to close.
2:01 AM is yahootime in madison, wisconsin, the time at which drunken hordes of yahoos are ejected from bars all over the state st. area and commence wandering the streets in search of their homes, or worse, their cars.
last thursday night, lying awake with the barks, snorts, howls and squeals of the aforementioned drunken yahoos ricocheting off the brick walls of buildings and in through the open windows, straight into my defenseless unsleeping brain, I got to thinking about ryan. a mild mannered math grad student by day, or at least by late afternoon, which was the earliest he ever got out of bed, ryan had a secret late night alter-ego, insta-soberman. he would outfit himself with a fully tanked up super-shooter water gun and ride his motorcycle through collegetown at bartime, attempting to restore the malfunctioning social awareness of drunk undergrads with a reinvigorating blast of water.
at rivendell, people are constantly coming up with funny ways to get revenge on our unruly neighbors, and I bet they think that a well armed mobile super soaker would be a great idea, but what's different about ryan is that he actually did it. now in general I'm a peace & love, compassion for all sentient beings kind of person, WWTDLD, what would the dalai lama do, and all that generating positive emotions jazz. and I don't know whether ryan, in the guise of insta-soberman, was interested in keeping the streets free of alcohol-induced stupidity or just entertaining himself on friday nights, but around 3:00 AM friday morning, still awake after calling the police at 2:15 AM about the afterbar party raging across the street from rivendell, I was thinking to myself, 'the UW has a pretty good math dept -- ryan really ought to move to madison.'
madison needs you, insta-soberman!
did I need more information streamed into my brain? probably not, but I've found a new improved way to get it there. I downloaded a free "RSS aggregator" from AmphetaDesk which allows to me to get updates on new content posted at various websites without having to go to each website individually to check. the AmphetaDesk aggregator opens up as a window in my web browser of choice (safari) with a list and sometimes a short description of the content on the "channels" or "RSS feeds" that I've subscribed to. RSS stands for "really simple syndication" and is an XML-based protocol that uses tags to feed info into the aggregator. it's basically a variant of HTML that allows for content to be processed and interpreted in a new, dynamic way. thanks to scott, one of my friendlier 'instant friends' for tuning me in. an RSS feed may be coming soon to a blog near you.
I don't look good in black. with my olive skin and has-been blonde hair black lipstick is completely out of the question. in fact, I don't wear make-up at all. I don't do hairdos. (I think I'm allergic to hairspray.) I'm getting a bit long in the tooth for nightclubs. plus I don't like vampires, no matter what sara thinks.
in other words, I am totally unqualified to be a goth girl.
but I really like goth music. I've just started listening to the goth/industrial stations at shoutcast.com. I especially like the one broadcast by KGIB MPEGradio.com. it's great to find new music waiting to be discovered on the internet, and better that it comes mixed in with some old favorites. the RIAA is trying to close down an inredibly effective advertising tool for new music in a last ditch attempt to defend the music industry's outdated business model.
some geeks are born, others are made.
bill was a born a geek, so model rockets figured prominently in his childhood. bill found his latest web-induced distraction over at slashdot: a couple of movies made by a wireless video camera attached to a model rocket. there's just something cool about beating gravity, even for a short time.
the dalai lama is visiting the u.s. right now, and I read 2 good articles about his activities so far. the san diego union tribune has extensive coverage of an interview about the world political situation. the article includes a sidebar with lengthy excerpts from the dalai lama's remarks, transcribed in his characteristic non-standard english and link to a video of the original interview.
"Big, unthinkable tragedies happen," he said. "Now, instead of keeping that and developing hatred or sense of revenge, instead of that, think long-term. The negative event, try to transform into a source of inner strength."
the dalai lama is attending a conference at MIT today and tomorrow called "Investigating the Mind: Exchanges between Buddhism and Biobehavioral Science on How the Mind Works." according to the press release the conference seeks to encourage "exchange between the Buddhist tradition of investigating the mind and the Western fields of psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and medical science." the conference website also has an interesting page detailing the dalai lama's long standing interest in western science.
Along with his vigorous interest in learning about the newest developments in science, His Holiness brings to bear both a voice for the humanistic implications of the findings, and a high degree of intuitive methodological sophistication. As well as engaging personally in dialogue with Western scientists and encouraging scientific research into Buddhist meditative practices, he has led a campaign to introduce basic science education in Tibetan Buddhist monastic colleges and academic centers, and has encouraged Tibetan scholars to engage with science as a way of revitalizing the Tibetan philosophical tradition. His Holiness believes that science and Buddhism share a common objective: to serve humanity and create a better understanding of the world. He feels that science offers powerful tools for understanding the interconnectedness of all life, and that such understanding provides an essential rationale for ethical behavior and the protection of the environment. His Holiness summarized these ideas in his Nobel prize acceptance speech:
the associated press wire also ran a story about the conference.
in the same way that getting up to go to the bathroom in a restaurant causes your meal to be served, my pointing out that bill's new book, telecommunication breakdown, had not yet arrived caused a couple of copies to appear in his mailbox the very next day. it looks very nice, even if the cover is done in orange and blue, the colors of wisconsin's arch-rival the university of michigan. rumour has it that the book has arrived at the cornell university bookstore, which is a good sign, but not of much immediate use to bill's students here in madison.
the female man
I was digging around on my hard drive, thinking about posting some old stories and essays of mine. I didn't find the stories I was looking for (uh-oh, that means shuffling through the stack of cds that is my own personal back-up hell) but I did come across some quotes from joanna russ' experimental feminist sci-fi novel the female man. I read it while I was in poland in 199(something). I can't remember much about the 'plot' but it had some great rants:
* * * * *
I'm not sure what this has to do with joanna russ' work, but the website called "useful phrases for the tourist" is quite funny.
making enemies faster than we can kill them
I came across this article, Bush's Speech: The War in Iraq is Not Over and Neither Are the Lies to Justify It at commondreams.org, then realized that I had met the author, stephen zunes, when I was an undergrad at cornell. he's now an expert on the middle east, a political science professor in san francisco, and a resident of santa cruz. he takes on bush's most recent speech with a detailed point by point rebuttal, paying particular attention to bush's simplistic and contradictory claims about the threat of terrorism.
"We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power."
echoing paul krugman's observation that "it's now clear that the Iraq war was the mother of all bait-and-switch operations," zunes highlights the bush administration's shifting justifications for the war in iraq:
"Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front."
zunes also rebuts the idea that bush's decision to invade iraq was mandated by previous UN resolutions:
The United Nations Charter clearly states that only the UN Security Council itself has the ability to authorize military enforcement of its resolutions. The Security Council, however, refused to authorize the United States to enforce these resolutions through military means despite enormous pressure by U.S. officials to do so.
it's interesting to see how william f. buckley attempts to weasel around the bush administration's failure to get UN support for the war on iraq:
It is of course not correct that we ignored the United Nations. We operated under the auspices of several U.N. resolutions. Legally, it having been established that the government of Saddam Hussein had not lived up to its obligations under the peace treaty of 1991, the old war was still in force, its sanctions continuing.
essentially, buckley says that bush didn't need a security council resolution authorizing the use of military force because the first gulf war was still going on. buckley apparently believes that "history" will prove him right, but recent evidence is heading in the opposite direction: former chief UN arms inspector hans blix now says that iraq may not have been in violation of resolution 1441 after all.
i am, like, so busted
nathan points out, for "the sake of truth in blogging," that not only did wisconsin not lose last saturday's game to notre dame (as reported here), wisconsin did not in fact play notre dame saturday. they played akron, and won. notre dame won against washington. consequently, I am at a loss to explain the lack of observable stupidity and drunkness in my neighborhood last saturday night.
bill is, like, so busted
telecommunications breakdown, the book that bill & rick finished this year, has not yet put in an appearance at the bookstore, even though classes have already started. it does, however, have an amazon entry, which indicates a price of $49.33, with cd-rom. rick had negotiated with the publisher, prentice-hall, to keep the price "around $40." bill & rick delivered the manuscript on time, with the promise of a late august delivery in time for fall classes, but there's been no indication when the book will actually be available. maybe the headline should have been "prentice-hall is, like, so busted."
rivendell check in
last night was the first house meeting of the 'new year' at rivendell. here's a quick update from my housemates:
advice from the dalai lama
Afflictive emotions --- our jealousy, anger, hatred, fear --- can be put to an end. When you realize that these emotions are only temporary, that they always pass on like clouds in the sky, you also realize they can ultimately be abandoned.
it's 9:10 PM on saturday.
about 20 minutes ago I was sitting at my desk, surfing google news after a several week hiatus, when it suddenly occurred to me that I'm in a really bad mood.
I'm not sure where it came from, but here it is, a full blown seriously pissy cranky grumpy foul mood.
it's been a reasonable day, plenty of sleep, started the morning with yoga and another essay from Dudjom Rinpoche's book, spent the rest of the morning making slow progress on writing projects and sending out email and a bona fide snail mail letter, received several nice emails and 'instant friend' updates, spent the afternoon at a coffeeshop reading and writing a bit more, took care of a few things around the house after that, went for a walk to lake monona and the convention center with bill in the late afternoon. no cause for complaint, except maybe for the pre-football game ruckus in my neighborhood this morning. fortunately, wisconsin lost the game to notre dame, which has suppressed the usual post game howling.
I can't think of a single external cause, not one concrete source of dissatisfaction, and yet here I sit in the middle of crank city, with my brain scowling furiously inside of my skull.
I can't think of a single thing I'd like to do right now, except for being asleep already or being in a better mood. on the other hand, it's an almost victimless crime, this foul mood of mine. I managed to deliver my emotional weather report to bill without blaming him or whining any more than usual, he's been working in his studio all night and is off talking on the phone right now anyway. other than me, the only victim appears is you, whoever you are.
how do you mean, normal?
back to madison after my annual yoga & meditation retreat in NY state, and a few days visit with my parents, which means that things should settle down and return to normal. problem is, I've trekked back and forth across the country so many times in the past couple of months that I've forgotten what normal is. however, I'm pretty sure it involves the use of my laptop and lots of time sitting in coffeeshops.
body, speech, mind
mmmmm, yoga feels so good. why don't I do it more often?
diane avice du buisson, who taught the yoga classes for the retreat, is simply a fabulous teacher. a good teacher makes such a difference. I really appreciate the smooth transitions and steady movement of vinyasa yoga classes --- the constant flow helps me stay focused and present. best of all, making a concentrated effort over a short period of time at the retreat boosted my confidence and has really motivated to continue my practice at home.
I only took one book with me on my trip to the east coast, Counsels from my Heart by Dudjom Rinpoche. I read two of the essays on the flight from Chicago to New York and selected a passage with the intention of putting it up here before the retreat began. Although I didn't get a chance to post it before leaving for upstate the passage foreshadowed the teaching given by the Khenpos, Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche and Khenpo Tsewang Rinpoche, on Sunday at the retreat, which focused on the central role of the mind in controlling our actions and the corresponding importance of calming and controlling our wayward minds.
An act of body, speech, or mind is evil when it brings harm to others. ... Conversely, actions are positive or virtuous when they bring benefit to others.
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entries from 08.03