Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Pinhole of Ignorance

Once upon a time I was a naive seventh grader.  Like most people (at least those I've talked to), my middle school experience was miserable.  I was not popular, or pretty.  I was still of the a religion different than most of my peers.  I had a new best friend and for the first time in my life, I stopped hanging out with guys and having a boyfriend and instead had what looked like to outsiders as a childhood.  So even while I was mentally regressing into a childlike state, our teachers were constantly trying desperately to get us to focus and think outside of our bodies, our families, and our town.

One such teacher was my social studies teacher.  I wish I could remember his name.  I didn't like social studies and my memory for names was never installed properly.  In addition to introducing us to the shapes, names, capitals, and predominate religions of the other countries that share our globe, (did you know everyone doesn't live in North America and some of them do things differently?  Amazing!) he tried to encourage us to take an interest in the happenings outside of our little lives.  In a desperate effort to get us to take an interest in national and international news and in reading the newspaper he had us each take a piece of black construction paper.  Then we were all handed a straight pin (which most people "stitched" to their palms, or used to pin fingers together).  The pin was to poke one small solitary hole in the middle of the paper.  Then we held the hole to our eyes and used the paper to block our peripheral vision.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Score One For Moms Who Fight Societal Norms

Ok, I admit it, I'm a sucker for parenting studies and parenting as a topic in news articles.  It's simply amazing to me that the act of raising children, something people have presumably been doing since the beginning of people, is something that we really don't understand scientifically.  I find the research largely relevant, fascinating, and great ammunition for conversation with a variety of people.  Mostly, I compare it to the gut instinct I use in raising my own kids.

Yesterday BBC News posted one such fascinating article.  You can read it here, if you want.  There is lots to question in the way the study was conducted as, with most studies of parenting, it's basis is a quick qualitative observance and a passage of years.  Still the overall analysis from BBC writer strikes me as a very, well duh, moment.  Yet, as I reflect on all the parenting I know, it may not be as obvious as it appears to be, especially with the push to raise independent beings that seems so very prevalent in a large segment of the population.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Sanitation Engineer

Have you ever thought about your garbage person?  Have you ever wondered who they are and why they would chose a job that had them dealing with other peoples refuse every single day?  Aside from wanting any job with a cool truck when you were under the age of 7, have you ever really considered the job?  Or do your nasty unusables just disappear by magic?

What about the guys that put the circuits on your motherboard?  Or the people that stock the shelves in the back of the store.  What about all the little people that do all the little things that make society worth living in?  Do you ever think, what set of choices could have led them to do the things they do and why they do them, and whether or not anyone is ever truly thankful for the work that they do?  Or do you just assume all that stuff just sort of happens?

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's My Culture?

When I was little I wanted more than anything to be Native American.  I even have a Shoshone name given to me by my mother for a second grade assignment, Morning Star.  No, my mom's not Shoshone, but one of my classmate's grandma's was!  He really didn't show that he had any Native American genes, he was super pale and had red hair!  It didn't matter though.  He had culture, a history.  Customs and traditions that tied him to something very cool, something unique, something I have never had.

All my life I was taught that I am nothing.  My culture if I can even call it that, is unimportant in history, and if anything we are the cause of most of histories problems.  Ok not all, but we are the bad guy a lot.  There is no study us day.  There is no recognize your cultural differences.  Heck, we don't even have cultural differences.  I grew up in a void of culture.  I was raised as a plain American.  That's it!  There's nothing else.  Our cuisine is microwavable and full of empty calories.  Most meals of our meals are bastardizations of some other group, and we even refer to them as such.  We have no holidays other than those on the national calendar and we celebrate those as represented by the Hallmark Channel.  We have no "special language".  No going back generations.  Nothing that set us apart.  Everything that made us different, that told who my ancestors were, that gave me roots had been torn away long before I was born.  I grew up in the anti-culture.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ah Come On, It'd Be Cool And You Know It

Often I get these crazy unrealistic ideas.  Two years ago I designed a tablet (think iPad) on post it notes while listening to audio books and counting lamprey.  I still really want one, seriously, the thing would kick an iPad in the arse!  Maybe I'll type up the concept for another post, but keep in mind it's two years old and solid state hard drives were super new and so it was an option in the design, hmmm maybe I'll edit the sketches when I have time.  Anyway, that's not what I want to talk about right now.  This one is way crazier!

Were you ever in a marching band?  So many people were.  I was!  Some of my most defined memories of high school revolve around the band, and some of my least defined memories from my experiences marching in college.  In high school my band director was all about drum corp.  He wanted us to march perfectly.  He wanted us to play perfectly.  He wanted us to look professional.  He wanted us to wow the audience, making them cheer, gasp, and even cry.  We had the trophies to go with it, even though "band" wasn't the competitive thing where I grew as it was where my husband did.  In our school, band was still just that thing that happened in the middle of the football game.  Therefore my director was always looking for something that would keep butts in seats through the concessions rush.  This would totally rock his world.  Although, like the repeated requests to do a Star Wars (or even a John Williams show), he'd probably never go for it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Problem With Marriage

I'm married, and have been for the last 9 years.  I love my husband and feel I have a rather good marriage.  It has problems, we have struggles, but so far we have stood together.  There are lots of reasons for that, but for right now, my marriage isn't the one I want to focus on.  I want to focus on the institutions of marriage as seen in the United States.  Did you see what I said, institutions.  <-- Look there's an "s" on that.  That means more than one.  And that is what I mean.  There are more than one institution of marriage.  Understanding that would make the whole marriage debate as a nation a lot easier, at least in my humble opinion.

Currently, in the United States the issue of who can marry, and what that means is a very hot debate item.  It is my opinion, that in reality there are several different institutions that are definably different.  Therefore what really needs to happen to forward the debate in a meaningful way is that the contract and responsibilities expected under the term of marriage needs to be separately defined as far as the federal government is concerned.  In order to do this, I propose that the concept of marriage in a legal regard be distinctly different and independent of the many religious considerations of marriage.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Welcome to Insanity

We've all been there, or maybe you haven't?  Who are you, you freak?  Go experience some life!  Meet Insanity, peer into it's cavernous ravine.  Know what terrors and brilliance flood inside your mind that has been so beaten regulated and caged within your skull and within society.  Then you will know what the rest of us know.  That there is a place on the edge, a place where ideas come in floods and there is never paper at hand, nor hand fast enough to keep up.  A place where you grasp at paper napkins, post-it notes, and scraps as the rambling, the design, and the commentary burst forth!

In my treacherous walk, bordering the realm of the insane, I have learned the solution to so many world problems, if only we could start again, or lay aside greed.  Unfortunately, so many things have so many good valid dimensions before you even consider the selfish power mongering ones and I can see so many playing off of each other moving in real time, pulling equilibrium and sustainability through the dimensions like a man being drawn and quartered.
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