Thursday, October 24, 2013

Back on the Blogosphere?

Maybe, maybe not. I'm currently working nights, which leaves me with some extremely anti-social awake times. You'd think that would inspire me to new heights of intellectual brilliance and blog-posting but it has in fact done the opposite and I seem to spend most of my free time wishing I was inspired and doing nothing to inspire myself very much. This should change. A lot has happened since April. I have gone places and done stuff. I have learned things and taught others, I have had some ups and some downs. I keep coming back to this blog and thinking I should update more often. And in the past I have said I would. I've said that so often that I'm pretty sure my handful of readers don't believe me! :) And today I am not going to say anything incredibly ambitious like 'I'll post once a week from here on out', because it's not fair or true. One day at a time, one post at a time, time will pass. I tried giving myself what I hoped was a multi-part project with the Partisans article, but after I posted the first post I felt I may have said too much of what I was thinking, and maybe the world at large didn't need part two. I'm considering posting some pics from some of my travels on here, because with a visual cue I think it might be easier to write. I've considered writing seven posts on one day and robo-posting them. I still might try that some time. We'll see...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Religion and Partisans (Part One)

So, I'm working on a class project about the partisan movements of the Baltic countries during and directly after WWII. It's both fascinating and incredibly depressing. Many (but not all) of the people I'm reading about had a deep and abiding love of their country, despite the incredible dangers and hardships they faced. Not all of them shared the same ideas as to how things should be done. The best of them protected their weaker neighbours and harassed the enemy invaders of both sides who tried to eradicate them at every turn. The worst of them were violent and sometimes bigoted individuals who shot whoever they felt like or didn't like under the auspices of patriotism or while collaborating with the occupiers dejour. The best and the worst are worlds apart, yet they both get considered as partisans by the outside world. And now I'm going to make an imperfect analogy, but one that feels very natural to me. When I was ten, my parents started attending the Tridentine Mass. I will be the first to admit that ten-year-old me did not appreciate it as much as I perhaps ought to have. At the very beginning, I was actively hostile to the idea, insofar as a ten year old could be actively hostile. I didn't want to go. It took forever, it was in Foreign, it did not feel the least bit edifying and the old ladies pinched my cheeks. After Mass, there were sometimes, but not always, social gatherings in the parish hall. And these were more interesting to ten year old me, because they were in English, for one. And for two, the people at these social gatherings were always interesting. They were mostly older, some the terrifying old ladies who pinched my cheeks, some the cranky grandfatherly type, some people my parents' age who always seemed a bit peculiar, a handful of older teens, most of whom didn't ever stay very long or talk to ten year old me. But there were books to read, some of a 'usually out of print' nature and some of an 'out of print for a good reason' nature. These books intrigued ten year old me at least a little bit and I read some of them and I listened to the conversations of various grownups. From these books and from those conversations I came to the following nearly inescapable conclusions: 1. Once upon a time, this is what everyone did. Everyone prayed in Foreign and went to the church hall to speak in Local (and sometimes the Other Foreign, as appropriate to the ethnicity of the majority of the congregation). 2. Something Bad Happened in the 60s and everyone stopped doing what they had been doing. 3. Those who objected were ruthlessly kicked out of their home parishes which were then wreckovated to oblivion. Many of them were forced to attend Masses in hotel conference rooms, without the knowledge of their bishops, who were almost universally Bad Guys, or if not bad, then intimidated by pant-suit wearing nuns. 4. We, the attendees of this liturgy, were a small group of faithful people who were going against the larger group of people who had either tamely accepted everything the bishops had said and done as Word of God, or had left the church for various Protestant denominations. From ages 10 through about 14 these ideas merely percolated. I still didn't particularly like the TLM, but the thoughts were there. Around age 14, I started to feel that even though I didn't _like_ the TLM, it was more spiritually beneficial for me to attend it. At age 16, I read the Silmarillion, which made a profound impression on me and to this day I don't know exactly how my brain tied the Silmarillion and the TLM together but it did. I actually started to enjoy attending and tried to puzzle out the Latin with varying degrees of success. Around 16 or 17, I started flirting with the ideas of sedevacantism, a sort of back-burner thought process that continued up through freshman year of college. To Be Continued...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

On having many great ideas...

Right up until the point that I have internet access for a significant period of time. All week (sometimes all fortnight), I have great, clever ideas rushing through my brain, some of which are actually fit to be posted for general consumption of friends/allies. And then I have a period of time imposed upon me (in this case, getting my car's oil changed) when I have FREE internet access- and a sudden total lack of ideas. Argh. It seems unavoidable, but I realise that there are probably some good/easy workarounds, like keeping a list somewhere on my computer of the things that I think of when I don't have internet. Or of setting myself a challenge to write something every day for a week even if I don't have internet access and then posting it back-dated once a week. Or, if I'm really stumped for ideas, just write about the last movie I saw (The Tunnel, it was pretty good but I liked Max Manus (last-but-one movie) better). Or I could talk about future plans and projects, like my prospective Nano in November (provided of course, that I am still here in November and not in Parts Unknown). I have a beta reader who is poking me in the direction of a sequel to last year's nano but I'm not sure I'm up for that yet... it'll depend how many edits must be made to last year's... Incidentally, writing historical fiction requires a LOT of research and I don't recommend writing stuff that will require you to do research in languages you don't speak. Not that this has ever stopped me... >.< I suppose I could always ask the Readership what they would like to see on my blog, so consider yourselves asked, people! ;) What do you want to read about? Daily life down here, my con-lang, future plans, fan/original fic, whatever comes into my brain at random? Other things to write about... I suppose I could write about past travels. I might do that. It depends on how much effort it'll be for me to upload all of my Lithuania or Switzerland pics. So yes. For now, that is all. If I'm still online in another hour or so, maybe I'll start something...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

4 Year Anniversary (Approximately)

So I was feeling a little out of sorts recently, nothing big just a nagging feeling of depression/anxiety/ick. And it occurs to me that maybe I shouldn't be blogging this. But I'm going to keep Auntie Seraphic's maxim in mind, this will be something that could be read at my funeral with hopefully the minimum of embarrassment to the living. And then I remembered. Approximately four years ago I graduated (better people than I can remember the exact date- I'm going with 'it was June'). That seems like a million years ago and no time at all, all at once. It's very, very strange. And of course when I started thinking about graduation a wealth of memories came up. It's so strange to think that one of the happiest days of my life was followed by one of the saddest/most frustrating (NB: I realise that this is not THE saddest day of my life and nor is it likely to ever be among the top five. I'm reserving those spots for the death of loved ones etc, but take it from me, it was/will be probably in my top ten). I felt like my world had bottomed out and there was nothing I could do. I went from having a plan and direction and a sense that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing to 'world-bottomed-out' in less than 24 hours, with a longer term and indirect result in my current career path. I'm trying to think of what I can take away from this that's profound, but I'm having trouble. I suppose the simplest and most obvious take-away is that the world didn't end. It was lousy for a little while, I was semi-homeless for a little while, and it took me about 6 months from world-bottomed-out to swearing-in. My second take-away from the whole mess is that I have very good friends. When I needed it most, I had friends who gave me sound advice, friends who gave me a place to stay or a lead on a place to stay, and friends who prayed for me that I might figure out what the heck I was supposed to do with my life. Four years later, I still can't thank all of you enough. I don't know what I would have done without you all. I don't want this post to be anything more or less than a sort of placeholder. I remember what happened. I try to remember it as objectively as possible which isn't ever easy. But this post isn't meant to be a sad/angry rant OR a 'Everything's Great Now' post. It's just a post.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Red Curtains and Falling off the Internet

So... instead of waiting for something profound to come to me in perfectly formatted and amazing blogworthy awesomeness, I have decided to just write about random stuff which is what I seem to do best. Right, so on the title... My dear readers (all 3-5 of you) probably already know as I have alluded to previously that I have had my working hours switched to what normal mortals term anything from 'pretty odd' to 'downright ungodly'. This has afforded me some unique opportunities, not all of which I have taken advantage of. But I have learned a thing that I am posting on here because I am quite pleased with myself about it, even though it wasn't my own idea and was in fact suggested to me by someone else but hey, it worked and it's awesome so I'm blogging about it. I'm talking about red curtains. I had a brief look around, not at all comprehensive, looking for when and where red curtains were first used by people who had to work odd hours and sleep during the day but I struck out. Svenska reliably informs me that this is a done thing in Scandawhovia, although she also is striking out on the historicity of it. Anyway. When you're on a ship the lighting in berthing (except for during clampdown/inspection) is red instead of white because there's always a day sleeper or two (trying to catch forty winks despite said clampdown noise, inspection noise, flight quarters/man overboard/general quarters being called). Your eyes don't process red light and white light in the same way. So at a tip from a saltier sailor than myself, I invested 20 dollars into red sheets that completely and utterly clash with the rest of my decor (which tends to be refrigerator white, haze grey and navy blue- and the saddest thing about that is that it's _voluntary_). These delightfully clashing red sheets screen my windows and permit me to sleep during the day without the aid of an eyemask/my pillow/pulling the sheets over my head and boiling. It's amazing. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I put them up with a quantity of packing tape which I figured would annoy my landlady less than nails although I've decided in the interests of keeping it up I will have to alternate packing tape and a few carefully placed tacks. So yes. That was not at all profound. The second half of my post title is not the same as the first. I am not referring to myself when I mention falling off the internet although I have done that in the recent past... I'm referring to a writer whose work I thoroughly enjoyed years ago when I followed every update s/he (it's the internet- I'm pretty sure it's a 'she' but not certain) made with bated breath. This author had read something I'd written and liked it, and then went on to write a long, incredibly awesome play and credited me with partial inspiration for it. I was amazed. And then I got too busy for many things that once held my attention on the internet and even though their project wasn't finished, I stopped checking for updates. About a year ago, I remembered this project and I had to check again. I did and I found that nothing had been updated, _and_ I found the link to the author's blog and started reading. I don't really know what to say. Their blog was a compelling, incredibly painful read. As I read it I felt as though I was reading something that I myself could have written had my life taken a different turn in my teens. I felt I had so much in common with this person who had a deep love for Tolkien's Silmarillion, and then that there was this enormous gulf between us where I'd chosen to keep the faith I'd been raised in _despite_ my parents, and this person had suffered incredibly and not been able to keep his/her faith. Not only had they not been able to keep it, they were going around attacking it for good measure. It was such a strange read. Anyway. Today I checked again for updates, no luck. Worse, the site that had originally hosted the project was not in good repair/recently updated. I found a mirror and was able to get some of the project and I'll be checking back until I can get everything that was up. And I thought about how you don't know what happens when people stop posting where you're used to seeing them. Sure they might be somewhere else, or using a different screen name or something. They might be just fine but no longer have the same interests. But not knowing and silence on the line can be a bit worrying. Why should I worry about this total stranger? I've read their writing, and that's more than I've done with the majority of people I work with or see eery day. It's a little different somehow than a total stranger. Even if the ideas I have about this person are completely wrong, I feel like I should pray for them and I hope they're all right (now would be a good time to point out that the artificial invention of single pronouns for persons of unknown gender is irritating to me yet I do wish that like some languages we had a nongendered way of referring to one person.. it would be handy in rare situations like this because saying 'they' and 'them' when I really mean just one person rather than more than one is driving me nuts). I know, I know how many people in Real Life who I'm praying for already, or should be praying for and haven't thought of it yet, and I'm going to add one more person to the list? Well. Yeah. And, dear readers, I would like to ask you to pray for this person too. We might never know who they are or what if anything happened with them, but that's life. That's something I'm working on, trying to realize that the small things count, and that it's all right if we don't know how or why that works in this lifetime.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Watch This Space

I will post something intelligent this year.
I should have a lot of free time in which to do little but write since there will be nothing open. I'm slightly concerned that I will spend all that free time playing spider solitaire. I hope I'm wrong though. I don't want to end up being told on the Last Day, "You would have written a great novel or two if you hadn't been distracted by cheap computer games."
Later, all.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas!

.... I'm not late. I have until at least 6 January to celebrate Christmas and if I'm feeling _very_ energetic or very behind on the sending of Christmas presents, I have until February 2nd. So there.
December has gone by in a bit of a blur due to scheduling demands. Nightshift does weird things to your brain. For me it gave me very, very vivid and strange dreams when I slept during daylight hours. It also contributed a bit to my uncharitable thoughts about my neighbors (yelling during hours of daylight) and apartment maintenance (leafblowing in the afternoon...seriously not cool).
I spent my nights off awake and a little bored. A lot of things that I think should be open are closed at night, such as shops, museums, aquariums, movie theaters, and restaurants. I discovered the handful of 24 hour places, mainly 2 Walmarts, 2 IHOPs, a Subway and a Denny's. I know some people can do 'extra long days' and switch to daytime hours for their off time but I knew that wouldn't work for me. Once I switched to nights I had to make a serious commitment and I did. It worked pretty well. I was blessed to have Christmas off and was able to go to my favourie local liturgy. Looks like I'll also have New Year's off, and my glorious plan for that day is to pack like someone who's forgotten how to pack smart in anticipation of visiting Tbro and sister-in-law. It occurs to me that I either don't have a nickname for her or I have forgotten it... either way, I shall have to come up with something.

In other news, I have (sort of) come to terms with the fact that I have curly hair. This isn't exactly a revelation, but since my earliest days I have had difficulty coping with what Nature has seen fit to bless me with. I have only saved myself from years of heat-damage from straightening irons because I have been afraid of burning my ears. I have only saved myself from damaging my hair with scary, industrial strength chemicals because I am cheap and couldn't justify paying THAT MUCH for something that might result in my hair becoming brittle and breaking like...graham crackers. Or something. Graham crackers doesn't seem to be quite apt but it'll do for now.
Anyway, point being, my hair is relatively healthy and quite definitely curly. I've decided to start respecting it more. To this end, I'm experimenting with a better way to clean and condition it than the products I'm currently using. I'm just starting to think though how drastically different my life might have been if I'd figured this out as a teenager instead of going around with poofy, dried-out and unhappy hair. Well, you live and you learn. Thinking about going with a dramatically shorter haircut that respects my curls. Not sure if I can pull this off properly considering uniform requirements. Just read the regs governing hair again and I think the biggest problem might be the two inch rule plus the fact that curls are no symmetrical.
Still thinking.
Anyway... Things to clean, stuff to make ready, etc. Literally 24 hours left of work until leave!