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Archive for July, 2013

computerhuh?

I don’t usually post on consecutive days because who really wants to hear my little rambles that much? But I’m confused about something and I wanted to get it down so I remember it as it may actually come up in conversation — given the rabid geeks I associate with now and am likely to in the future. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this morning on labor practices as they relate to outsourcing American jobs, which necessarily led me to some interesting reading on labor practices in less Democratic countries, which further led to labor issues in general, which finally led me to the distinct differences between capitalism as a system of labor and communism. So here’s where I’m confused: if Marx and Engels really believed that a capitalist system would necessarily lead to a massive gap between the haves and the have nots, and that this would always and ultimately lead to a revolution by the underclass, which they most certainly did as this philosophy is what led to the Communist Manifesto, why did they feel the need to spur the revolution on? In the beginning of their Manifesto, they say this:

“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”.

But then later, they’ve decided that — I guess? — the inevitability of the revolution isn’t enough so they need to force the issue and incite the conflict:

“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”

Perhaps I’m a dolt — or perhaps this has been covered and I missed it in the Manifesto (Confession: I didn’t read the whole thing, in this sitting or in undergrad when I should have) — but if you know the sun is going to rise, don’t you just have to sit back and wait for it to happen? It seems to me that FORCING a revolution is bound to fail because conditions aren’t ripe or the revolution WOULD ALREADY BE HAPPENING. I suppose the only argument is that they couldn’t bear to watch the working man continuing to suffer, which is rational. But if that’s the case, is it better to watch him die in a bloody revolution? If things rapidly change following the revolution then I can see it, but since that’s never happened, can we finally put it to rest that Marx and Engels intellectual progeny don’t give a holler about the working man?

What a crap philosophy. I’m going for a run.

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Hard Rain

With apologies to the Mohel, I’ll be talking briefly about dancing. He says, “You’re funny Sarah, and a good writer. But you talk too much about dancing.” Well Mr. Anti-fabulous, skip the next graf…

Last night’s class was fantastic. My body is naturally made to move in that loosey-goosey contemporary way, despite always wanting to be a more technically proficient dancer. When I took ballet and pointe as a kid, my arm positions always left something to be desired, and I’m a way better stomper in tap than a broadway chorus line rockette-style tapper because I can throw my upper body every which way, which is just how I feel comfortable dancing. It’s the same with jazz and contemporary. I love the technique of my jazz class — and it does remarkable things for the body to train your muscles in that way — but we were doing things last night that don’t have names (a particular leap in the air from the floor comes to mind) and I just really, really like the ability to make some of that stuff my own. So looks like I’ll be taking both classes from here on in. H St. is a hike for sure, but that’s how much I like the dance y’all. Okay, waxing poetic about God’s athletic activity complete…You can come back now Mohel.

I’ll be heading to the Hill shortly to hear Senator Cruz discuss defunding Obamacare. I’m sure I’ll write about for someone somewhere, but in the meantime, read this. Not to be too much of a woman over here (as my friend Charles would say), but I wonder what it feels like to have so many people think your biggest and most ambitious idea is such a stinker they’d like to toss it on the fire. It must really smart the old ego. And for someone with an ego the size of Texas, that has to be painful. But here’s the thing — when you try to ram something down people’s throats, and shame them into supporting something their logic tells them makes no sense, and criticize their mental acuity for not jumping on the lemming train, they’re likely not to care so much about whether or not your ego is bruised when they have the power to make the decision to rid themselves of something they never wanted. All massive egos do is remove your ability to negotiate when the time comes because no one likes taking a meeting with an asshole if they don’t have to. Just sayin’.

Following this kind of stuff fairly closely

Everyone’s seen this as well, right? I asked my dad the other day if things were worse in the 70s under Carter (I was alive but very little so I only have flashes and no context) and he said yes, in some ways, they were. But that the difference was Carter was just inept and he’s not sure that this situation is about ineptness. That perhaps there’s an agenda, which sounds paranoid because it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting the kind of joblessness outlined in that piece. But Pops has been around so I trust his ability to ferret that stuff out and, to his credit, he acknowledges that it’s really hard to determine those kinds of things and, in the end, it doesn’t really matter because the result is the same.

So my sis-in-law has challenged me to make Wolfy my little sous chef so I have to make something this week that I don’t ordinarily dash off. Something new. To the extent I have a favorite style of cooking, Mediterranean ranks pretty high (just after real Southern cooking because low country boil, and squash and zucchini sauteed in butter, and cornmeal dusted pan-fried catfish with black-eyed pea salsa, and all of this are goddamn delicacies. I’ve had the fried chicken at Mary Mac’s by the way. They speak the truth.) so, I think I’m going with this. Y’all know my thing about keeping it simple. I could never be a French pastry chef. Anyway, I have a million things to do this week but I’m going to make the time…for Wolfy and Gabriel.

Getting ready to interview this guy. Let me know if you have any questions…

Heh. “Convivial society.” I know I’m 12…

I like the idea of wearing a gown like this to a black-tie event. It would be slightly inappropriate but sassy enough to keep em talking…

Okay, your morning music. It’s a Dylan kind of day.

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Christ, it’s early. My sleep cycle is all jacked up because I haven’t been sleeping very well lately so I’m exhausted by about 6 in the evening and awake by 3 or 4. And it begins again. This happens to me only when I have a lot on my mind that, at least to me, feels unresolved. But there are exciting potentials on the horizon, particularly in the professional realm. I’ll let you know how all that shakes out but suffice to say this may be the first time I’m facing potentially having a choice between two possible directions. Too early to declare that officially but it’s looking interesting. And both paths are pretty attractive. Not a terrible problem to have. So, that’s sitting in there somewhere, keeping me from relaxing enough to drift off to sleep until I’m just overcome with exhaustion.

And then there’s the other thing, best summed up this way: at risk of offending, I really miss having friends. I have a bunch of acquaintances but only a few people that I trust to watch my back, and that’s only supposition because I’m still getting to really know them. There are some amazing potentials there, too. But the flip side of that, the wolves masquerading as sheep, is just bringing me down lately, man. It occurs to me that part of the problem is one of common values. I think there is nothing more destructive than spending time with people who have a different value system than the one you have. There’s a certain moral flexibility around more often than is comfortable that makes me feel very, very dark inside. And I don’t mean as regards a person’s physical desires. While I think that should be held in check lest you cheapen the act, I know many fine people — very good people, in fact — who are pretty liberal about their sex lives. Not really my speed, but no one’s getting hurt so I’m not judging. No, the moral flexibility I mean has to do with manipulation and half-truths and operating behind the scenes. All the things that — I guess — help you get what you want. But that are so ugly everyone immediately recognizes them as destructive, even if they cheer for the tactic because they’re into that kind of thing. And I get that weird panic button thing where I recognize that I’ve been exposed to and damaged by that kind of thing before and it’s critical to never allow it to happen again. I mean I’ve spent literally years negotiating behavior like that, believing it an anomaly instead of what it actually was: a pronounced, and rather sad, character flaw. There was the best friend and roommate in college who was sleeping with the boy I loved for a year, all the time telling me — when my suspicions were aroused — what a terrible person I was for thinking she could EVER do something like to me, HER BEST FRIEND. There was the job where the underling smiled and cajoled his way into my good graces, all the while hatching plans and searching for information he could use to advance by getting rid of me. And I’m not even being paranoid — these things happened. And others. And I look back and get a good chuckle now and recognize them as the learning experiences they were, and am in many ways grateful for them. But when the behavior presents itself again, I admit, it makes me nervous because while it’s all funny now, it’s hell going through those things while they’re happening. We all have these stories, don’t we?

So, I think, in the interest of finally learning a lesson, I’m not putting up with even a glimmer of that kind of thing when I see it pop up again (as it has recently). It has to be eliminated. Sometimes logistics makes that difficult, but that’s a challenge easily met, if not immediately met. But I will say this: if, in the pursuit of what you want, you try to embarrass me, or inappropriately insert yourself into things that have nothing to do with you (and never will), or put me down in front of others, or just in general act like a bullying, spoiled, petulant, sneaky little brat, you’re out. No negotiations. And that’s really too bad for you, because I’m a great friend.

realizing-you-terrible-for-me-breakup-ecards-someecards

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Hey oh. So, you’ll have to forgive me. I’m reading speech transcripts and, fascinating as all that is, I need a break. There’s only so much blather I can take before the dam bursts and, when it does, this is the place I hide. Or vent. However you want to see it. Lately all I want to do is hide out and vent. That’s probably not healthy…I’ll just say that sometimes the revelation of someone’s true character takes a minute for me to process. Because then I have to think about how I want to deal with them during future interactions and how I’m going to have to just remember that discretion is the better part of valor and etc., etc. People just break your heart don’t they? And I’m negotiating that at present. It’s personal and probably silly in the grand scheme of things. But it informs this page so, apologies. Let’s move on.

There’s some cool stuff below you should check out. It’s all diversionary, as usual. But it breaks up the monotony (I hope) of whatever it is you’re doing that’s boring the hell out of you at the moment. I’ll be back to my chipper little self another time when things level off. Promise.

Rejoice indeed. I really liked Man of Steel. And not just because HOLY COW SUPERMAN IS HOT. It had depth. But when he finally puts on the Clark Kent glasses at the end…good Lord…

The Mohel — who, along with his fam, I’ll be enjoying a little baseball with this weekend — tells me I have to watch this movie because I’m of the personality type that forgets to be grateful. Okay fine. But I don’t have to like it…(grumble, grumble)

This was a trailer before the Man of Steel movie and I had dreams about it for days afterward. It’s a definite for the theater. It’ll be uncomfortable but it is our future, this whole attempt to discover just what we can do out there. So, let’s explore the horror shall we?

I’d like an answer to this as well. I mean look, consenting adults can consent to whatever they wish but let’s not act like the inability to keep your shit together is somehow to be overlooked in men of power. It’s a great weakness, and should be regarded as such.

This is our year. I’m making the prediction now and looking forward to watching it unfold.

Tremendously informative.

Yes. Rock it out because you love it 8 year old kid. And for no other reason.

Heh. Social mobility is for suckers.

For some reason, today, after the 8 millionth listen over the last 20 years, this song really hit. Weird.

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Lincoln in the afternoon is only a good thing.

Lincoln in the afternoon is only a good thing.

Hola mis amigos! I was thinking about something this morning while running — because thinking is a natural byproduct of that kind of activity — that has to do with associations. I worked at my beloved alma mater (Go DAWGS!) while putting myself through grad school (full tuition remission is a beautiful thing) and the department I was in left a lasting impression on me in a very important way, primarily because it has translated to what I’m finding as I navigate the sometimes VERY shallow waters of DC: as much as it’s important to cultivate relationships wherein people will positively recommend you, it’s also important to make sure that you control WHO’s recommending you positively. Let me see if I can explain…

The department I was in (and this is in no way indicative of the University as a whole because UGA is an utterly amazing place) had this one supreme jerk heading it up, a very, very small man in a very, very big body. Most miserable man I’ve ever known. He had issues with authority, alpha male issues, issues with women, you name it, he had it. And he was no fan of mine because he asked me one day to tell all my bosses (I had 5. Sigh.) that his directives were paramount and I was to tell them no if what they needed conflicted with what he needed. Given my subservient position, and the fact that I have a father who was in the Army and is constantly warning me not to “jump the chain of command,” I suggested that perhaps he let them know that he was the new sheriff in town so when I had to tell them “no” it wasn’t perceived as insubordination. Yeah, that pissed him off. To this day I don’t know why. Sometimes — and you can laugh or call me arrogant or whatever — I think he just thought I was pretty and it made him uncomfortable. Seriously. Anyway, a friend of mine, a lifer in that department, when I was trying to decide if I should stick around and try to advance there following grad school or move to DC, was like, “You’ve already got a black mark against you on campus just for working here.”

!!!!

But…it was true. People came away from this man so damaged they had a hard time getting over it. So when I left, I left clean — I asked for nothing, expected nothing, and never looked back; all the while knowing there would be pettiness in my wake. In short, I didn’t want him to speak well of me because I figured if Patrick Bateman (the American Psycho for those who don’t like film. What’s wrong with you…?) likes you, you may not be playing on the right team.

Magnify that scenario and you have DC. Remember that whole high school thing is very true. Fortunately, I had that bit of life experience under my belt so I think I’m prepared to negotiate it. But it makes one very, very cautious and not a little frustrated when what you want to do is rise above the fray and get some real work, work that has meaning, accomplished. I suppose it’s nothing but a challenge.

Challenge accepted.

Okay then, I’m finishing up some brainstorming and light writing so I can get here later. Already intrigued by the book — although I’m not totally sold on what he’s saying — but the music would appear to also be a draw. That’s one hell of a guitar riff…

Then I’m going to attempt to walk down the street and take Ali’s contemporary class. We’ll see how that goes because I’m sure I’ll have at least one drink and alcohol and dance class really don’t work together (except for tap. Tap is a drinking person’s dance). Ali just posted this and every bit of it’s true. I particularly enjoyed the part about practicing any kind of dance in inappropriate places. Because that’s what dancers do. Hang out with me long enough and I’m doing pirouettes without thinking. Sorry.

But for now, enjoy some diversions because it’s going to be a long week for me so I may not get around to plugging anything else for several days.

The three funniest things to come across the screen today:

Seriously, eff you.

Dana Perino is my new hero. I laughed for a good 20 seconds, hard.

“There’s an evil wind ‘a blowin'” literally made me cry laughing. I needed a tissue and everything.

A good dude I know posted this piece on libertarianism and Christianity. I’m a big fan of Christianity — and not simply because I’m Catholic. It’s a groovy approach to life — so it’s pleasing to see someone embrace it and not try to dilute the core principles.

Read this. Krugman won the Nobel Prize for economics. Just wanted to remind you of that.

Stuff like this is so misleading. This says nothing about population rates, or relative income, or if people are moving out of their home city and then jumping a level. Pieces like this always feel like hit pieces with agendas to me…I hope that doesn’t make me paranoid…

Yeah, you kids need to get yo selves some refinement! Because The Philadelphia Story is one of the greatest films ever made. Truth.

Not everything this character says makes sense but it’s powerful and true enough to share. And sassy enough. We need more sassy.

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Good morning, I'd like a latte please...or I'll eat your brain.

Good morning, I’d like a latte please…or I’ll eat your brain.

I got soap in BOTH my eyes this morning in the shower and, as a result, I look like I have some nasty strain of pink eye that isn’t content to make it feel like you have glass in just one eye. All day people have been transacting with me cautiously. I’d clear it up (no pun intended) but it’s sociologically hilarious to watch them wait till I leave to pick up the money (I’m guessing after spraying it down with Lysol) I left on the counter, or use the other door so they don’t touch the handle I just touched. Bless their hearts, they’re trying to be kind by being surreptitious so I don’t see how freaked out they are by me and my zombie eyes. Who knew having fake pink eye could restore your faith in humanity?

Anyway, just a little break from the slowly dwindling to-do list (thank all that is holy that it dwindles). It occurred to me this morning — pre soap-onslaught pseudo pink eye — that there’s a fear of vulnerability winding it’s way through culture today. I get not wanting to appear weak or easy to victimize, but over the past several weeks people have gotten really angry at me for failing to ask them about things they’ve done or are planning on doing when I had no prior knowledge of their experiences, future or otherwise; i.e. I didn’t know there was anything to ask about. And rather than appear needy by saying, “Hey Sarah, did I tell you about this thing I’m doing/have done? Would love to share it with you!” they become angry at me for not inquiring after whatever thing they’ve just done/are going to do. I suppose some of that could be covered with a general, “So, whatcha been up to?” but usually that’s handled one-on-one for me — private conversations over wine or beer or dinner or what-have-you. I guess what I’m saying is: you got some cool stories you want to share? Reach out. Or let me know you’re amenable to me reaching out to you. Because you give the go-ahead and I’ll be asking all kinds of inappropriate and uncomfortably prying questions. It’s how I do. Just don’t get mad at me. I’m not good at that.

A’ight, a few things before studying up on an issue I have to interview someone about later so I don’t sound like a complete dolt (which should always be avoided):

Dramatic, lively, charming, flirtatious, seductive and gullible. Seems legit.

There is something so incredibly worrisome about this man working on these issues.

I just randomly Googled-upon this writer the other day and he may be my new favorite.

Even though I’m not likely to catch the flu and I try to limit my exposure to needles and bureaucracy, I didn’t mind filling out a couple of forms and getting shot in the arm, because I try to do my part for herd immunity. And, like I said, Emily told me to, and I figured I should listen to her because she is definitely my wife and possibly a doctor.

I’m not entirely certain what Emily does all day. I know she works at a hospital, and she’s not the janitor or the accountant, but I don’t think she’s a doctor—or at least not a doctor-doctor—either. She went to grad school for a hundred years and she wears those doctor sweatpants to work sometimes, which would seem to argue in favor of physician-hood, but then that doesn’t explain why my Lexus is short a couple wheels and says Schwinn down the side. Beats me. All I know is she works at a hospital with her buddy Jessica.

Brilliant, that.

I like this look but wonder if it’s office appropriate…

This most certainly isn’t. But I bought it anyway because Magnum and Higgins were my favorite couple of the 80s.

This just made me laugh aloud and embarrass myself publicly. Thanks Liz.

This was pretty cool, from both an historical and engineering perspective. And the GOT music is haunting. It ranks up there with some other favorite theme music, embedded below (particularly the second one. There is something about the violin/fiddle that wakes my blood up…).

I really hope the softball team will play nice with me Saturday and allow me to take a team photo with Wolfy. Gabriel would love that…

Someone asked me the other day just what contemporary dancing is. I’ve posted it before but this, this is contemporary dancing. And Miss Ali P. used to be in this choreographer’s company in Atlanta so I suspect her class will draw on some of this. Beautiful, right?

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And hey y’all. Just rolled back into town and, given the 5,691 things I have to do over the next three days, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I considered, after cleaning out the car, sitting down and starting the list in order of priority (because that’s how I do. The Sticky Note industry owes me royalties) but then I decided that, given the exhaustion after a few days with the family down South and a couple 9 hour drives, was borderline — if not outright — insanity. And to prove I was sane, I decided to go for a run. Until my legs gave me the finger. So, instead, I walked up to CoHi, got a fairly decent bottle of red wine at a reasonable price (because CoHi offers such things), switched on the All-Star game, and am hammering out a little note to you kids. It’s how I decompress, too. The thing is…I’m absolutely brain dead and have very little to offer. But I can give you this:

The family. This is roughly 60% of the crew. We may be a little rough around the old edges, but you won't meet a better group of people. (photo credit: Emily Lee)

The family. This is roughly 60% of the crew. We may be a little rough around the old edges, but you won’t meet a better group of people. (photo credit: Emily Lee)

I also had the opportunity to visit Lake Burton, where a friend of mine from High School had a lake house that we abused many a weekend. Lots of good happened this weekend. Too much to put here. Now, back to the grind…

On that note, I’ve resisted talking about the Zimmerman trial because I think it’s a tragedy that’s been politicized in a really ugly way and makes me very, very angry at the irresponsibility of some of our highest elected officials. I’ll say the following and leave it there: I believe the jury made the right call, the person I feel most empathetic toward in the entire circus is Trayvon Martin’s father, and I’m still confused and saddened by the fact that these two presumably civilized people couldn’t confront each other during a clear misunderstanding without Trayvon freaking out and becoming violent, and without Zimmerman feeling paranoid and behaving arguably over-zealously. That, to me, is the real issue we need to address. When did conversation become confrontation, and why did it escalate the way it did? Why so much fear from both actors? I have my opinions on the answer to those questions, but I’ll leave them for you to work out for yourselves.

Another work-related piece of news is an event next week hosted by Reason to discuss this book. I’m looking quite forward to it because I’ve not yet heard Balko speak or met him, but am a great admirer of his writing and thinking. So there’s that (I’m fading now).

Um, let’s see, my friend Ali P. that I used to dance with back in Athens, Ga. has started teaching a contemporary class on Mondays down on H Street and I’m seriously salivating to take her class again. She’s a good egg and an absolute athlete on two legs. This kid can move. Aces.

Finally, as I was driving back to DC today, this song came on the radio and, because a great love of mine from a past life dubbed it my song (it apparently reminded him of me. considering it’s about heroin addiction I was never sure what to make of that…), I’ve not been able to ever listen to again since we went our separate ways a million years ago. The last time I heard it, in fact, was when he and I went and saw the band play at the 40 Watt. We broke up for good — after trying for a few years — shortly thereafter and the song was quickly turned off or the channel was changed or I walked out of the room whenever it lilted through the air. I listened to it all the way through today. I’m glad I did.

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