Monday, February 19, 2007

Decluttering the study

Another sign our house is too big - we found another space full of clutter that we hadn't though of before. This time it was the "study". This is a bedroom that once held all the computers and some desks, and we spend nearly all our waking hours in there, pre-children.

Today it's Reid's bedroom, but still full of stuff from those days. We thought he might like to put his clothes in there

- A big box of VHS and print porn and in storage there. Gone.
- Julie's old SLR camera. 9+ years unused. Given.
- Blank paper. In notebooks, pads, loose, etc. What is this for? Donated.
- A whiteboard w/ markers, eraser, and cleaner. Given.
- Dozens of "home improvement" magazines. Recycled.
- 7 milk crates that were holding all this and more. Only 2 are holding anything any more.
- PC speakers with subwoofer that may or may not work. Need to find a home for these.
- Family photographs. Saved.
- random CDs that were missing their cases, and cases that were missing their CDs. Matched & ripped; ready for storage.
- and much, much more!

Now the closet is almost completely empty. I'm not sure where the milk crates will go.

I also decided to get rid of about 1/2 of the books I own. That's not a huge difference, as previously all my books fit on one shelf. Now they share a shelf with other books.

Damn, it feels good.

Next up:
- the "cat room" was the victim of random accumulations ahead of the babies' birthday party. Need to clear that out.
- Still a few "junk boxes" that need to be sorted out

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Birthday walk

On the babies' first birthday, I took them for a walk. The idea was that they would fall asleep in the stroller, and then be well-rested when the guests started arriving.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Great journalism of 2007: Women living alone

Check out this article entitled Watch out, men! More women opt to live alone. It says that 51% of US women are not married.

Let's temporarily assume that we live in a world where everyone is heterosexual, and where the population is evenly split between men and women. Bear with me.

I have to ask, "to whom are these women not married?" Close to 1/2 of men are not married, too, right? Why is the fact that many men are not married unworthy of a headline warning women?

And why are women chosing it? Isn't marriage a mutual decision? If 99% of men made the choice to stay single, then just as many women are going to be single, without having made a choice to that effect.

And why is it a problem for men? Am I supposed be disappointed that women are choosing not to get married? If I were single & looking, I might be glad that women aren't expecting me to commit to a life-time.

And what's with this "living alone" bit? Don't unmarried couples often live together? Don't married couples sometimes choose to live separately? Don't people live together when not in a marriage, as roommates?

And back to by original assumption: isn't this article a bit absurd when you consider that not every woman can legally marry her partner of choice, even if they're both willing?

So it's valentines day. By tradition, today we buy sugar for our sweeties, as well as roses, which often create serious health risks for the people who grow them (due to the chemicals used). I think I need something romantic that still aligns with my values.

How 'bout: drop me a line if you want to get horizontal. Boobs preferred.

That should do the trick.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I want Wiki! (Part 2)

The more time I spend on wikis, the more I wish wiki-like functionality was available elsewhere. 
For example, I've been reading through the Q and A section on the Ishmael site.  People have sent Quinn a lot of questions, and the questions with answeres are posted on his site.  I read a question, try to formulate an answer in my head, and then see what Quinn has to say.  I'm not just checking if I have the "right answer", but instead trying to understand what the differences in our answers mean.
In some cases, I feel like I could provide a richer answer than what is there - an answer that would be helpful to readers.  In those cases, I wish for Wiki.
Q: My chosen profession has begun to look like "part of the problem" rather than "part of the solution." I'm beginning to feel obliged to abandon it, as a matter of conscience. Do you see it this way?
A: You're wondering if we wouldn't be better off if your chosen profession didn't exist at all. A young film maker once expressed the same reservation to me (unknown to the general public, film-making is a tremendously pollutive business). I told him what I'll tell you: WHERE WOULD WE BE IF EVERYONE WITH A CONSCIENCE GOT OUT OF HIS CHOSEN PROFESSION?

We MUST HAVE film makers like him---and people like you in your profession! We must NOT cede key professions to people who care about nothing but profits.

This happens in plenty of other contexts, not just filmmakers who have been infected with Quinn's ideas.  For example, a few years ago when the debate about gay marriage was reaching a crescendo in the news media, I remember a lot of folks who were feeling frustrated talk about moving to Canada.  Similar to the case that Quinn describes, fleeing the USA because of politics you disagree with will just allow the politics to move further from what you're wanting.
But if I had wiki-like functionality on this page, what I would add is this:
 Don't assume that DQ is telling you to keep doing exactly the same job you're doing today.  You can change how you do your job, to address these concerns.  You can also change jobs in the same profession.
To consider the filmmaker example, you could direct your efforts to support making films that help your audience ask questions about Mother Culture.  You could help reduce the waste produced by the film projects you work on.  You could quit your job (but not your profession) and start a new film studio, organized as a tribal business (as suggested in Beyond Civilization).  You could do all three!
On the other hand, if you picked your current profession because it would bring you money and power, even though you hate the work, then switching professions may make good sense.  Trade money and power or something much better.


I want wiki! (Part 1)

I've been exploring the writing on Wikipedia regarding Daniel Quinn.  These are complex topics, so it's not a given that the writing there would be on target.  So far, it seems to be in reasonably good shape.
A particularly interesting article to me is New Tribalists.  It has twice as much content in the Criticism section as in the rest of the page.  It appears that a Criticism section is an important part of Wikipedia's attempt to produce a " Neutral Point of View".  What you'll often see is a paragraph describing a critcism, followed by a paragraph of response. 
That's good news in this case.  When you don't understand what a sensible person is saying, it will usually seem like nonsense.  You criticise, and then the speaker has a chance to respond with clarification.  It's a dialog that is somewhat similar to much of the dialog in Ishmael and My Ishmael
I'd like to make a few minor contributies to this article, to hopefully improve its value, but apparently I've been blocked!  It looks like someone with an IP address close to mine did something damaging on Wikipedia, and an admin has blocked an IP range in an attempt to stop them.  Unfortunately, they got me, as well.
I'm new to Wikipedia, so I'm still figuring out what's going on, but I don't see my IP in .  *sigh*

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Someone who gets me...

Apparently The Lacatvist is being sued by the pork industry for a T-Shirt. Some people's priorities are clearly backwards ("let's make more money by abusing pigs, at the cost of children's health"). Must suck to be them.

Her Cafe Press store includes this fine example.
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