Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Old and New

I'm told that the tendancy to use the New Year to consider your life is a cultural one. Taken for granted in North America, people make resolutions for improvement. I think I've mentioned, even here, that I like to stop and consider things more routinely. But this tradition of contemplation and New Year's resolutions still makes for a great time to talk about such things.

Spend your year asking your friends for "the meaning of it all" or such and you'll be labelled as melancholy. Discussing resolutions, however, is more socially acceptable. Although even here, resolutions are often personal, and responses and comments need to be strictly limited.

Person1: "I'm planning to hit the gym more and get in better shape."
Person2: "Oh, I know a great gym in my neighbourhood and they are running a special right now."

This is socially acceptable.

Person1: "I'm planning to hit the gym more and get in better shape."
Person2: "So you're feeling fat, eh? Good, I didn't know how to mention what I'm stuck looking at."

This is not.

It's a shame, really, that we don't discuss more openly our motives behind things. Resolutions are proposed solutions to problems in our lives. We discuss those, but rarely the underlying motivating problem. Oh well.

In the coming weeks and months I resolve:

  • To study my Dutch and attempt the tests to show I know it because there are things I want to do, but I need a passport to accomplish them.
  • To go back to the gym, because my cardio fitness is lacking and I would like to loose some fat.
  • To get a good job, because in a couple weeks I'll be unemployed and that's probably not good.
  • To visit my mom, because her health is bad and I should be there for her.
There's more. Personal stuff. But that's the main part.

This really is a time of change for me. It isn't just due to the calendar or a holiday. It's actually kind of crazy, the total amount of change coming at once. But that reminds me of one more "resolution" I've choosen.

I resolve to keep smiling.

Happy New Year everyone! Don't stay up too late tonight. ;-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Eye for an Eyelash

CNN is making me feel sick this morning. Please, as citizens of this shared world, pay attention to what's happening in Gaza. Have an opinion and speak it.

My opinion is that after decades of creating the world's largest prison, Isreal is trying to combat criminal activity in that prison with indescriminate airstrikes. AIRSTRIKES people! Not Seal missions infultrating the enemy HQ and capturing the leader... airstikes with massive bombs dropped from F-16s onto apartment blocks in a prison filled with innocents.

Meanwhile an evangelistic preacher on Larry King Live is talking about "How to serve God" or some other version of "Here's what God wants You to Do." I don't spend a lot of time listening to the message of many evangelists, but what I notice is it is all about the individual and God... or the individual and Jesus. Never about the individual and everyone else.

Do you want to know how to please God? Start by being good to everyone else. Done, period. Every religion, every denomination and every chapter/branch/sect agrees. That's the start.

I think, if we use military aircraft to bomb women and children born into a prison, we aren't ready to know any more about "what God wants."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas to all....

My apartment smells so much like Christmas that I keep expecting my mom to step into the living room at any moment. It's the turkey carcass boiling into soup that really makes the difference. And believe it or not, I really made the turkey.

Cooking the turkey is a bit of a special thing in North American culture. I think traditionally passed on from mothers to daughters, it can include great conflict when passed to a daughter-in-law. People outside or new to the family just don't know the right way to do it. Their stuffing is always wrong. Good, often delicious, but wrong.

Such are the mysterious ways of the turkey. Oh, and more so, the stuffing.

Men learn these things from books. It's written down in little formulas... so many minutes per pound for turkey A, given a maximum weight less than X and a stuffing_variable set to yes. Then you wait (ignoring time) until you get that rich "turkey almost burning" smell and you're done. Easy.

And delicous.

I hope everyone enjoyed celebrating the spirit of Christmas (eating too much with family/friends) as much as I did. Merry Christmas all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Poverty part 2

I reread my Enjoy Poverty post and it made me think. It tied in nicely with some of the other conversations I've had this weekend... perversity, revolution, glass making. Renzo was derided as "cruel" because his message was to tell the poor to "enjoy poverty" since their situation wasn't going to change.

How much more cruel is it to tell the poor that if they work hard enough, they too can be millionaires?

Monday, December 08, 2008


I heard my first bits of David Sedaris' writing just recently. Specifically, his bit describing Sinterklas is, in my opinion, hillarious.

I've seen it. It's true. I never know what to say. It's like Santa, right? Well, no. But he's about Christmas and wearing red and has helpers. Written back in 1823, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" could never have held this many politically incorrect references. The Dutch have had hundreds and hundreds of years to desensitize themselves to this tradition.

I've even seen it myself. As I said, I never know what to say, so I asked to take their picture.

There is an absurdity to it. Which makes me think of the work of David Sedaris. I would love to write in that style. Except. Is it a style or just clinical depression? Either way it sounds funny. I wonder if he has a different personality he puts on at night or on weekends? I hope he does. I don't think I would want to live my life depressed for the sake of writing better. Especially since writing makes me happy. So I would constantly be hitting writer's block... I'd write, feel happy about it, not be able to write more, then get depressed and write about it. Oh my.

Maybe I'll just stick to writing my own way. Stories about squirrels and chipmunks are for David to write. I'll just let you know about the funnier bits. Like Sinterklas and his 6 to 8 black men.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rabbit Rabbit

Happy December!