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Month: November 2014

Sunday musings

Yeah, as jed mentioned in a comment, it’s definitely been too quiet around here. I hope that means everybody’s having a relaxed, peaceful Thanksgiving weekend.

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Tomorrow is the hump day in my two-month retreat. Mixed results so far. I’m glad I’m doing it, but instead of peacefulness, I’m actually feeling quite a lot of stress and anxiety. Partly that’s over decisions I need to make. Mostly it’s just a lot of “old stuff” coming back on me. Really, really old stuff. Like things I thought I’d moved past years ago.

Boring to go into, but I find myself longing for busy-ness.

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It doesn’t help that the only real heater in the house has gone out twice in the last two weeks. Both times in the middle of the night. When the temps outside have been in the low 20s. And on weekends. I swear, it’s a conspiracy.

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Sunday links

News avoidance lurches right along. Mix of nooz and think pieces today. New software (so far W*nd*ws only) aims to help activists detect and foil government surveillance. Get it here. Can’t say how effective it’s going to be, but it’s endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Amnesty International, and other big-timers in the field. (H/T MJR) Along the same lines, Let’s Encrypt aims to bring SSL/TSL to the masses by taking the difficulties and mysteries out of those pesky web site certificates. (Remember: Encryption is subversive! Or so our masters claim. Which is, of course, all the more reason to…

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Stranded in a strange world

Do you ever — have you ever — felt like an alien in this world?

I have and I’m guessing you have, too. I first became consciously aware of my alienness when I was around 11, though it was unconsciously there the first times my kindergarten teacher tried to force me into “social” games that left me like a deer in the headlights. It was there in the way my parents treated my brother and me as if we’d been left on their doorstep by a particularly bizarre band of gypsies. (Brother and I were very different critters, but we were both unconventional loners and deep thinkers, unlike my uber-social, join-everything, voted-most-popular, shallow-as-a-mud-puddle older sister.)

By the time I was in high school, I’d invented an elaborate mythology to explain how I could look so human while being so apart from my supposed peers. I was sent here as an alien spy; the physical transfer succeeded but something went badly wrong when it came to transmitting my mind across space.

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In the adult world — where there are so many more options, where it’s forgivable not to be just like everybody else, and where now there’s a whole Internet! — I’ve seldom been bothered by that terrible sense of being something irreconcilably foreign to the “normal” world. Adults can find their own “normal.” Or live outside of “normal.”

Once in a while alien horror strikes out of the blue, though.

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Mundane things (and some not-so-mundane)

Heartbroken artist with an empty house and a bull terrier gets creative. (JavaScript needed to view slideshow.) —– Some cool, fractal-like photography. (H/T SC) —– Local cranberry growers who lost their contract with Ocean Spray landed 20 pounds of their harvest on furrydoc the other day. What do you do with 20 pounds of cranberries? Furrydoc shared the bounty and instructions for drying. I took a couple of pounds and they’re in the drier now, some unsweetened and some drizzled with honey. I’m not so big on cranberries, but I do like the dried ones in salads and trail mixes.…

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Knitting for the soul

Don’t be put off by the word “knitting.” Even if you’re not crafty (and I’m not!), even if you’re a guy who’d rather build a brick wall or try for a perfect grouping with your best rifle than (heaven forbid) knit. This is about that process common to so many things.

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You know how you sometimes open a book at random looking for guidance? For some it’s the bible. For somebody else, one of those Chicken Soup things. Could be Ayn Rand or Herman Hesse. But you hope if you just open and read there’ll be a message there, just waiting for you?

I have to laugh. I just picked up Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, not because I had real interest but because it’s one of those must-read books and this is a good time. I opened near the end to a chapter about self care and the art of just being still and listening.

Then I took my old copy of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience off the shelf and arbitrarily opened to a page that heralded the value of 16-hour workdays, but with the work so integrated with free time that you can barely distinguish one from the other.

Yup. And of the contradictory two, I must admit the latter appeals to me more than the former. Not, mind you, because I’m some virtuous workaholic. Far from it. I favor the latter because the former is harder.

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Maunderings from the deep freeze

So … how are y’all enjoying the deep freeze? Seems as if it’s settling in to stay, doesn’t it? We’re just on the edge of it here in the North(currently not so)Wet — cozy compared with some of you. But it’s clear and cold and fiercely windy and I’m ready to stay indoors surrounded by space heaters. Wonder if I could teach the dogs to use the toilet? Or just encourage them to go walk in the woods by themselves? —– Though I’m still having not much darned luck with “listening to silence” (e.g. sitting meditation), this week has felt…

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