Friday, September 03, 2004

Just a reminder - you can now find me at http://www.livejournal.com/users/ddr_ho .

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

For the past few months, I've been using LiveJournal as a mirror site, so that my friends there would have an easier time keeping up with me. As it turns out, I've ended up liking LJ a lot more than Blogger, and I've decided to make the move completely.

I've had this site for a few years now, and it's a little sad to abandon it to the dustheap of dead blogs. All around, however, LJ is way better. The archives are easier to maintain, and it's easier to keep up with comments. I also love that the comments threads are message boards, so dialogue is encouraged between the commentors, not just between the owner and readers. I love that some of you here have tried that, but the format makes it awkward, so I'd love it if you'd all follow me over to the new site.

There are a few ways to comment. One is anonymously, which is fine, but do try to put your name at the bottom if you can remember.  The other is to sign up for a LJ account. They're free, and you can have fun playing with icons and that sort of thing.

Follow me to http://www.livejournal.com/users/ddr_hoSee you there, I hope! 

Monday, July 19, 2004

In six days, I leave for Italy. I can't think of a trip I've gone on where I haven't suddenly decided a few days before that I don't want to go. I'm kind of going through that now. Of course, I do want to go, and I'm not going to change my mind, but I'm suddenly nervous.

Mostly, it's just the thought of all the things I need to do, but there are also thoughts of bad things happening while flying, missing my friends, not having practiced Italian enough so far this summer.

Things I need to do....

Pack - Things to wear for three weeks, so I have to wash a lot of clothes. Also need things to keep me occupied during downtime, so I'm thinking in addition to reading, I might also finally get around to writing a quest for D&D. I can't decide whether to take music, and if I do, how do I choose which ones?

Register - I haven't signed up yet for fall Italian class. I still don't know what my work schedule is going to be when I get back, so I've been putting it off. I guess I'm just going to have to take a guess, and hope it's the right one.... and hope classes haven't all been filled up yet.

Wedding prep - I'm psyched, because it turns out I'll be getting back in time to go to my friend Mary's wedding. Just barely, though. I'll be getting in Friday the 13th at 6pm, and Mary's wedding is the next day. So I need to figure out what to wear before I leave. There's no way I'll be able to get it together in a rush through the haze of jet lag. Anyway, coming home from trips is usually kind of a let down, so it'll be cool to have that to look forward to. The wedding present will just have to wait until later.

Call landlord - I think maybe 8 months is long enough to put off getting your kitchen sink repaired, so I'll get them to come fix it while I'm gone.

Completely off subject, but my appetite just kicked back in. I didn't eat anything yesterday but potato chips, and didn't much feel the need to. This morning I figured I'd be ravenous, to catch up, but a piece of toast was enough. Now I'm hungry. Rawr.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

I was thinking about selling my copy of The Great Book of Amber, the Roger Zelazny collection, on eBay, so did a search to see how much it was going for. I found this book instead. It's a collection of photos and a history of all the ways amber has been used throughout history.

I thought I knew pretty much everything there was to know about amber. I didn't think I was an expert, but I assumed there wasn't much more to it than amber was sometimes used for jewelry, and you could find ancient insects petrified in it. I had no idea, however, that it was used for shrines, monuments, and generally just incredibly beautiful and intricate art.

So I spent some time researching the history of amber. Fascinating.

In the process, I also found the amber alert web site, and I'm debating putting an amber alert ticker on my site. I can't decide, it seems like people would just ignore it after a while.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Okay, here's a big confession, one I haven't shared with anyone at all. Not my family, not my friends, not my closest friends, not even the ones who I think would respect me more if they knew it.

This post is really hard for me to make, because it changes my identity to a degree, both in how I see myself, and in how I choose for others to see me. Sharing now is motivated by a few of my other friends' recent posts about their struggle with religion and spirituality, and I don't see a reason not to be as honest about who I am.

My confession is this: the more I explore my spiritual beliefs, the more I doubt the existence of a God of any kind.

I haven't believed in mean-smiting-God-in-the-clouds for a while, not since I was a child. But then that turned into a sort of Force-ish belief, a sense of connection with the world made up of energy and visions of all these mingled souls. When I meditated, I felt really connected. I felt like I was a part of something so much bigger and greater than myself.

But lately, I've been poking at this a lot more, exploring different religious concepts, figuring out which resonate more with me. I find that the God concept means less and less to me, and that the more that happens, the more important moral judgments become. Back to that in a minute.

I've been meditating a lot more regularly than I ever have, and it's still a wonderful feeling, but I realize I've been projecting a lot more onto the experience in the last decade than might actually be there. It's a time when I'm incredibly relaxed, more in touch with my body and my sense of self than usual, and that's such a great feeling. But the euphoria that I've been interpreting as a sense of connection, of something More, is basically really just feeling good.

It's kind of like when I'm out at a really good concert. Sometimes there's a feeling of everything clicking, in those moments when everyone is swaying to the same beat, singing along with the same words. But that feeling isn't really about everyone else, either, it's about my perception of the events. I'm as likely to be drained by being around so many people as to be charged up by it. (More likely, really.)

So, in examining my beliefs, I am beginning to see that a lot of it has been nothing more than wishful thinking.

So far, this hasn't troubled me as much as I thought it might. I don't feel the universe is any less of a beautiful place, that life is any less of a beautiful experience. As I began above, the idea of morality has actually become more important to me. It's not about changing my value as part of a spiritual whole, but it is still a spiritual concept to me. It's the idea that I touched on a few days ago, that by choosing to be better people, to treat our fellow human beings better, we can live happier lives. I think that's a really special idea, whether as a part of something greater or not. That, in itself, on the smallest level, is a great thing.

Being human seems like the greatest experiment to me. We have so many chances, every day, to become the kind of people we'd most like to be.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Wow, have I been feeling crappy today. Crying and whining and feeling sorry for myself like you would not believe. Okay, maybe you would. But you know, there's something that feels really good about it. I cried all day, even while I was clipping my grandmother's hedges, even while I was reading my pre-New-Age book, even while watching Stargate. Then, suddenly, I stopped. It's like that part in Forrest Gump where it rains and rains and rains for days, and then the next minute, it's stopped and the sun is out.

I feel sort of ... new. Clean and fresh. Like I just took a shower in tears. (<- Oh, I am quite the poet.)

The bad part is that now I feel a bit weird about things I said earlier in the day. I was in major drama mode, and now I kind of want to pretend it didn't happen. Oh, well, next time I'm in the middle of a crying fit, I'll try to remember not to talk to people.

And one of the elders of the city said, Speak to us of Good and Evil.
And he answered:
Of the good in you I can speak, but not of the evil.
For what is evil but good tortured by its own hunger and thirst?
Verily when good is hungry it seeks food even in dark caves, and when it thirsts it drinks even of dead waters.

Do you believe in evil? I just can't believe people can be inherently bad. Perhaps this is a weakness, but I believe that the beauty of humanity is our ability to choose the right thing, and that that very choice makes us better. Is that so wrong?

Monday, July 12, 2004

Well, it's a shame I'm dead, because I had a really great weekend, and would have liked to build more on the bonding created over badger sightings, slasher-movie jokes, hot tub games, pillow forts, and cheap books. Oh, well.

And since I'm dead, I won't get to go to Italy, which kind of sucks. I had been looking forward to that, you know, just a little. Also, I won't get to complain to my friends for the next two weeks about how I don't have money because I spent too much this weekend. And even worse - perhaps worst of all - I won't get to scrounge around my apartment looking for stuff to sell on eBay for gas money. I mean, what is the afterlife worth without eBay?

I also will never get to finish the Song of Ice and Fire series, but let's face it, the chances of that in life were pretty narrow anyway. But then there are the Cartoon History of the Universe books that Micah bought me at Book Heaven the Book Fair.

I wonder if I can watch D&D from the afterlife? I'd really like to know if Tracy's Al wanders off to the woods alone again toward certain death, or if Mike's Tallendar will ever join AA.

Anyway, I'm sorry I'm dead. I should have known it would be giraffes. I should have known.

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