flwyd: (Trevor baby stare)
More interview questions, this time from [livejournal.com profile] 477150n.
1. What do you think made Kaleigh such a good mentor for your high school group?
Background: Kaleigh was the first "tech maven" at New Vista High School. Under her guidance, and continuing under later leaders, students (AKA The Admins) were responsible for the school IT and AV work.

Kaleigh put a lot of trust and power in The Admins to make good technical decisions and handle administrative power responsibly. She would gently reign us in if we started going out of bounds and she made sure each of us were learning and growing. Very few high school students get the amount of responsibility and hands-on sysadmin experience that Kaleigh and New Vista afforded us; I know a few years after I graduated, student admins had a lot less power. I think some of the freedom we got from Kaleigh was because she had some personal issues she was dealing with, so we were often left without an adult in charge, but everybody was impressed with the results from The Admins.

2. How do you answer people when they say something like, "Wow, I've never met anyone who actually grew up here! What was it like to grow up in Boulder?"
I think of many visits to the Boulder Public Library, seeing interesting people (like a guy dressed as Yoda) on the mall, and spending a lot of time in parks. My preschool had a garden and a rooster, my elementary school had regular field trips to the planetarium and nature trails, and my high school let students design their own paths to graduation. I think the main advantages to kids growing up in Boulder are the wealth of educational opportunities and the freedom for personal expression.
3. What rituals are important to your day-to-day life?
The eight months I took of from work were an interesting opportunity to step back from daily ritual and see what patterns I naturally fall in to. While traveling, Molly and I often had a daily self-care ritual, eating in the dark, brushing teeth under the sky, checking in with each other on emotions and plans. Back at home, I found that without a ritual structure, I spent a lot of time on the Internet (a lot of it was job search related, a lot was reading interesting stuff, none of it was particularly structured) and not a lot of time hiking. The ritual of weekly or monthly social events -- game days, drum circles, cruiser bike rides -- keeps me from spending too much time computing. Now that I'm employed and once I get a place to live, I need to make sure to work out rituals that ensure exercise, fun, and fascination.
4. If it were up to you, how would you arrange the laws about marriage/civil union (broadly defined)?
From a legal standpoint, I think marriage should be generalized to the concept of a "family unit" providing for things like shared financial responsibility, power of attorney and joint tax returns. It should be open to any set of people who live together (or plan to start doing so right away), including straight couples, gay couples, polyamorous groups, siblings, best friends, etc. I think the process for attaining family unit status should emphasize the rights and responsibilities entailed -- a lot of people who get married don't understand the full ramifications. When you get divorced, both parties have to list their assets and incomes, decide how to split property and handle current responsibilities; it seems like making people figure this out before they get married would be a good idea too.

Moving from hetero-only marriage to gender-doesn't-matter marriage is a process full of political challenges, but not many legal ones; only a few words of law have to change, a few forms need wording tweaks, and Bob and Bob are your uncles. Expanding further to the "family unit" idea requires a little more work. Should there be a limit to the number of parties? I think it's important for a triad to have the same rights as a couple and four sisters living in a house should have just as easy a time with joint ownership and taxes as a couple and their two kids, but would FLDS-like setups lead to abuse? I.e., benefits like tax reduction shouldn't be granted in linear proportion to the number of people involved. Of course, if every person in the current family unit had to approve new additions, prior wives would have a veto on new ones if they felt the husband wasn't caring enough for the wives he already had.

On the casual and religious side of things, I think social groups should develop whatever traditions they like. If your church doesn't want to recognize polygamy, gay marriage, divorce, or interracial marriage, that's fine and your members are free to follow those rules if they want. Socially, adults should be allowed to set up whatever romantic and living situations they want, regardless of whether they apply for legal status or not.

Bonus: The gay marriage argument flowchart.

5. How does constant internet access change people's creative process?
If you have a clever idea like a pun or a band name, you can quickly find out if anybody else has thought of it. You can easily connect with people around the world with similar interests, letting creative collaboration happen regardless of geography; literary movements tied to a location (like Paris a hundred years ago) seems a very pre-Internet concept. In some situations, constant 'net access might be a detractor to creativity; given easy access to everything, people won't have to seek creative solutions.

If you'd like to participate in the shower meme, ask me for five questions in the comments. Answer them in your journal and invite others to solicit questions from you.
flwyd: (spiral stone)
Hey kids, it's time once again for the shower meme! [livejournal.com profile] vvvexation asked me the following five questions. If you'd like me to ask you five questions that you'll then post (soliciting interviewees as well), leave a comment on this post.
1. What's your favorite Hitchcock film?
Alfred Hitchcock has an impressive résumé of outstanding films, but Rear Window is my favorite. Like many of his films, it's got great acting, psychological inquiry, shot composition, and suspense building. Rear Window goes beyond the others as a technical masterpiece of storytelling and storyboarding, setting the entire movie in a single room, focused through the titular rear window into an apartment courtyard. While North By Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds are more typically Hitchcockian, I smile the most when I think back to Rear Window.
2. What programming language are you digging the most these days?
I like to say that my favorite programming language is the one that's best suited to the task at hand. I really like Ruby's way of thinking, mixing Perl convenience with Smalltalk object orientation, functional programming encouragement, and enough ninjutsu to make execution painless... or very painful. I've felt a bit let down in Ruby's API offerings on topics that aren't related to Rails; things I want to build on seem half baked.

I really wanted to like Scala, but the "tutorial" I read spent a lot more time showing off cool programming modalities and not enough time showing the reader how to do basic stuff like manipulate collections. So when I encountered the section on right-associative operators and list folding, I stomped off in a huff. I suspect this is more a problem with the documentation than the language itself, so I'm willing to give it another try at some point.

I like some ideas in Google's new Go language. I'm interested to see what folks start doing with that. I'm also interested in Haskell, but its syntax is obtuse to the untrained eye. I'd like to go on a few dates with it and see if we're compatible.

3. What species of animal would you modify, given the chance?
What sort of modifications are we talking about? I like to modify chickens by removing parts of their carcass and subjecting them to heat...

Assuming you mean changes to a species' core DNA, I'd like to debug a few human body problems. For one, our backs are pretty fragile, especially when we do a lot of sitting. For another, some of our social instincts are better suited to small groups and tribes and show flaws in urban settings.

It would also be nice to modify certain types of mosquitoes so they don't act as vectors for malaria. While we're at it, we might want to tweak some megafauna to adapt to human-introduced environment change, though I'm not sure what changes you could make to an elephant to survive habitat and food source loss and still call it an elephant.

4. What would you miss most if you moved away from Boulder?
It would probably depend on where I moved. If I moved to San Francisco, there would still be plenty of smart and creative people. If I moved to Norway, there'd still be plenty of mountainous outdoor activity. If I moved to New Mexico there'd still be plenty of sun and nice weather. If I moved to Hong Kong, there'd still be plenty of interesting world cuisine.

What I missed about Boulder when I was living in the Denver suburbs was bikeability. I learned that I'm not very good at motivating myself for recreational bike rides, but when I can ride across town in half an hour, I'm a lot more liable to hop on a bike than drive my car. Plus, there's a weekly excuse to ride around town and bring smiles to peoples' faces. I also missed the college town/intellectual atmosphere. In college, I would plan my semester's social calendar around the International Film Series on campus, but in the past five years I've watched very few movies. So I'm excited to be back around IFS, CWA, and people who work for CU, NCAR, NIST, and other exciting abbreviated entities.

5. If you were asked to design a monument, what would it look like and who or what would it be a monument to?
The most powerful monument I've ever visited is the temple at Burning Man. It combines beautiful craftwork with powerful statements to build a place which simultaneously provides solitude and community and supports grief and joy. It's typically focused on people who have passed from this life, but it's open enough to allow all kinds of release.

I think it would be interesting to apply the same sense of beauty and community involvement to a living monument of changed places. With a key theme of natural areas destroyed by human development, it could feature maps, images, stories, and facts about the way parts of the world used to be and how they're changing today. Participants could add their own memories of visiting a place and stories passed down when their grandparents moved from the old country. People could expand the idea of changed places to talk about the culture of their old neighborhood, the house they grew up in, and BBSes back in the good ol' days of online communication.

I think such a monument should have an interactive component shared over the Internet. People who can't attend in person can submit their stories and pictures. Periodically, someone would create a video tour, exploring some of the many contributions. People could contribute their stories in audio and video, adding oral history to visual and architectural homages.

You can read my previous answers to shower meme interviews. You can participate by requesting five questions in the comments to this entry.

flwyd: (Trevor baby stare)
Cleaning out my inbox, I remembered [livejournal.com profile] clarsa had asked me five questions a couple months ago. In case you're new, the shower meme involves answering questions. Readers can then leave a comment and ask for five questions from me, which you'll answer in your journal with an equivalent offer for interviews.
1) If it were possible to make a tv show of your inner life, what would the target demographic be for your advertising sponsors?
A TV show about my inner life would be made possible by viewers like you.
2) If you could swap any fictional character for any real person (at any point in history), who would it be and why?
I'm trying to come up with a good replacement for Joseph Stalin. It's a shame that the biggest experiment in wide-scale capitalism alternatives was run for a long time by a paranoid schizophrenic mass murderer. Most of the rulers I can think of from literature are either antagonists (Emperor Palpatine), don't seem well-fitted to governing Russia (your basic king of a Greek island) or are ordained to rule, which is antithetical to the communist program (Aragorn, King Arthur). I guess a ruler who always does everything right and a nation where everyone's doing well doesn't usually make a good story. Taran Wanderer, maybe? Though we don't really get a chance to see him in action as a king.
3) What would you like strangers to think when they look at you?
I've noted before that I don't really have a third-person perspective of myself. I don't look in the mirror very often and when I get dressed I think "These pants are comfortable, this shirt looks cool, and I feel like wearing that hat" without really considering what they all look like together. This probably means there are days when I look ridiculous, but since I don't realize it, I don't mind. Since I don't usually think about what I look like from someone else's perspective, I don't usually care what they think. I hope that my bright colors and funny hats make people smile. Ideally they'd think about dressing colorfully too. But if they think I look stupid, I don't really care. Score one for the autism spectrum.
4) Please describe the ideal Trevor-friendly world.
All the every-day places (work, game store, interesting movies, good restaurants) are all within bicycle distance. The the air is clear and the sun shines warmly even when it's cold at night. People hug in greeting and parting. There are semi-natural places to walk (creeks, hills, random trails between neighborhoods...). There's public WiFi and people use it as an excuse to work outside. There are lots of students and intellectuals around. People do what they enjoy -- playing music, making art, being weird, playing games, run small businesses with awesome goals. People are free to be themselves and who they are is diverse, funky, and fabulous.
5) When you go out socially (to a party, etc.), what do you hope will happen?
Usually I hope some group of people get involved in a long conversation about topics they have some expertise in. Alternatively, I hope everyone will get involved in a big game of Fluxx or Apples to Apples or Titan ;-) Oh, and there's very tasty snacks and good beer.
flwyd: (red succulent)
In a few months, the shower meme will have been making the LiveJournal rounds for six years. In case you're new, here's how it works:
  1. [livejournal.com profile] slyviolet asked me the following five questions (that I almost forgot about).
  2. I post the answers in my journal.
  3. If you want an interview from me, leave a comment.
  4. I'll respond with five questions.
  5. You'll post the answers in your journal with an invitation for more interviews.
1. I've just handed you a spacetime machine. You can go and observe, but not interfere with, one event and then return. Where do you go, why, and how much of what you saw do you share with the rest of the world?
Am I observing with my body, or would I be able to observe without any Heisenberg/Shrödinger ramifications? I think it would be totally awesome (literally) to observe the formation and operation of a black hole, in part because "black hole" is (so far) an undefined argument to the "observe" operator.

I'd also like to observe the moment in the primordial soup when the first thing we could call "alive" came about. (I'd need to not be in my body for that one too; there was nowhere near the right chemical balance in the atmosphere and oceans for a human to survive.) This would be really interesting information and it could lead to all kinds of cool experiments. "In this room, we're accelerating evolution in Europa conditions so we can send a delivery there and have vegetables ready to eat when our spaceships arrive." Also, it might get Creationists to STFU and use The Bible for mythic storytelling and personal inspiration, not factual interpretation. Just maybe.

2. What is your favorite flower, and why?
Do I get extra points if I say a violet? ...

I'm not particularly into flowers. I'm one of two LJ users with an interest in genus allium (onions, garlic, shallots, chives, leeks), but the flowers aren't why I like those plants. I like dry leaves, tall grasses, dead tree silhouettes, fruits and berries, and succulents (which lack flowers most of the time). I guess I never get into flowers because they're pretty but temporary, like checking out a pretty girl on the other side of a restaurant. My parents' house has a row of sunflowers which entertainingly imposes on one's ability to reach the front door and we (used to?) have a patch of poppies. Our crabapple tree and lilac bushes are filled with beautiful flowers for about a week each year. I used to pick dandelions and count the petals on daisies in the yard, but I never developed a "favorite" flower.

3. If you could instantly acquire one skill that would seem "frivolous," what would it be?
Aside from all the frivolous skills I already know like D&D, fantasy card games, and speaking in lolcat? I could learn to write in Tengwar perhaps. I'd say programming in Lisp or Haskell, but it only seems frivolous to people unlikely to learn it. I was almost passable at riding a unicycle five years ago and then got a flat tire and haven't practiced since. Juggling, perhaps.
4. The supervillain has captured you as you were breaking into the secret lair. She stands between you and the door. What do you do?
"Oh, hello. I think I left my sunglasses here last week. Mind if I come in and find them?"
5. Which do you want, telepathy or telekinesis?
Telekinesis would help me be lazy. I could put on a CD without leaving my chair. I could move my mouse without my fingers leaving the keyboard. Or knock down frisbee tosses without being next to the receiver. I could do helpful things too like pick fruit no one can reach and unlock doors for urban exploring.

Telepathy doesn't seem as cool. Language is so much fun I'd rather speak or type than project thoughts. Unless I had really long-distance telepathy and could talk to folks in California while I'm on a hike in Colorado instead of having to be at home and hoping they sign into an instant message network.

flwyd: (tell tale heart)
As part of the shower meme, [livejournal.com profile] supereggo asked me five questions. You may post a comment requesting five of your own, which I shall provide. You will then post the answers in your journal and make the same offer to ask questions.

1) What's the absolute longest you would ever let your hair grow?

It stops on its own at my waist. This is fine by me, since otherwise I'd sit on it and hurt my neck.

2) What's your favorite "non-holiday" holiday? Why?

Today! The beginning of Daylight Saving Time means I'll be able to enjoy the ambient light and pleasant heat of the sun for a full hour more each day. This year is especially cool because I get several more weeks of sun.

Today the weather celebrated as well. I read about Nikola Tesla naked on the porch. I took a walk in a T-shirt around Columbine High School. Even though I couldn't get to sleep until four or five and was in bed until noon, I don't feel like my day was incomplete. Compare to yesterday when I had trouble getting off the floor.

3) Your collection of "stuff you really like" needs to shrink - what do you give away? What do you get the next time you see fit to add to said collection?

I have a lot of books I probably won't get around to reading. I could probably shed some of those. There's a lot of stuff on my hard drive that could probably go. Music that isn't very good, pictures I took that are fuzzy, programs I downloaded and don't run. But those aren't really hard decisions.

I find very attractive the thought of driving around for several months with nothing but food, water, camping gear, a journal, and a road atlas. It'd be weird to go without a computer for a whole summer, but it might be liberating. This fantasy always concludes in starting a new and interesting software development job. I can put down my debugger, but you'll have to pull the algorithms out of my cold, dead brain.

4) What is one of the most impacting rituals or circles that you have been a part of?

I can't overstate the awesomeness of my circle in college. Over the course of four years we experimented, learned, shared, supported, struggled, and rejoiced together. Even though one woman was the key force in starting the group, she made it clear that she didn't want to be "the leader." The group did an amazing job of acting by consensus. Everyone took turns leading rituals and did so in their own style as they developed their ideas and practices. We stuck together through seasonal scholastic cycles, intense conflict between members, mental, physical, and emotional challenges, and members who left for several reasons. We've gone our separate ways now and I miss everyone a lot. I often think I should contact folks, but I usually don't follow through.

I tried to start a similar group with the Potluck Tradition when I moved to Jefferson County. We had a few promising biweekly gatherings, but when I was out of town a few times nobody picked up the torch and led, so the group didn't gain momentum. Maybe I'll try again soon.

5) How many times have you participated in this meme? And what's the best question you've asked and answer you've received?

I've just gone through and tagged all my shower meme entries. I went several rounds in 2003 when anoisblue came up with it in the shower. (Interestingly, the meme outlasted her journal.) It then periodically crept up again. This will be my tenth post tagged with "shower meme," you are my fourteenth interviewer.

I don't remember most of the questions I've asked. If anyone remembers thinking hard about a question I asked them, post a comment.

6) Are you aware that you are a contestant on this season of American Idol?

Yeah. I heard I lost in a late round. Maybe I should try for American Idolater next time.

Shower Meme, Take N

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 08:28 pm
flwyd: (Trevor shadow self portrait)
In the summer of 2003, an LJ friend of an LJ friend came up with an idea in the shower: ask LJ friends five questions, have them post the answers in their journal, and then invite people to ask the interviewee for questions. I hadn't seen this meme for at least a year, but it's popped back up in my neck of the LJWoods, so here we go again. I think there were a few people who asked me for interviews in mid-2004 just before I severely cut back on internet use (on account of dating [livejournal.com profile] tamheals who didn't have an internet connection at home). Please comment again and I will ask you questions for real this time.

This set is from the buzzing [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz.

1. Do you feel that subscribing to a spontaneous spirituality means you are not set on believing in anything at all? If not, what are your steadfast spiritual cornerstones?

My spirituality is mostly about what I experience, suggest, and metaphorize (sure it's a word, it's like "metabolize" but with your mind). Most of the things I believe in are scientific (I believe in the Big Bang), philosophical (I believe the best way to live is cooperatively), or optimistic (I believe I will find a wonderful place to live).

I find that the best way to be spontaneous is to create a basic structure which provides boundaries and suggestions for spontaneity. To that end, my spiritual cornerstones are maxims like "If religion isn't fun, don't participate," "Every tradition has insight," and "If we always do it one way, queer it up just a bit."

2. What is the meanest thing you've ever done?

When I was around 10 and my brother was around 5, a friend of mine came over. He created a game involving lots of rules my brother had to follow, and when he broke them he got spanked hard with a book. I mostly played along with my friend's leadership, but it was my responsibility to speak up and say it wasn't okay.

3. What do you feel about your impending death?

Right now? Nothing. Sometimes I think about it a lot, but mostly I'm down with the fact that I'll die at some point in the future, probably between when I'm 73 and 103 (but maybe when I'm 37 in a freak accident involving a large wooden badger). I hope that my body is able to decompose and continue to play a part in the cycle of life. I hope that the things I do in my life benefit those who live on. I hope my funeral is fabulous and full of fun music and games.

4. Okay, Senator, we all want to know: how can you have such mystical and magical attachment to your body hair, identifying with it part of your personality and how you are perceived, while maintaining a non-superficial view of humanity and mammality in general? Or, rather than me insinuating certain hirsute allegations, hows about you define your attachment to your facial hair (please suppress any reference to keratin, sulfide or hydrogen bonds, ke thx kekekeke).

I have long hair in large part because I'm lazy. My freshman year in high school, I kept putting off going to the barber, so I finally decided to let my hair grow long. I started high school with a bit of a mustache and the rest of my facial hair came in without the itching and awkwardness of most boys. Since my dad hasn't shaved since the early '70s there wasn't any family pressure to learn how to shave... or indeed requisite materials.

As time went on, not cutting my hair became something of a badge of pride, Scottish style. I could impress people who were amazed that I hadn't a haircut in over ten years and that I'd never shaved or trimmed my beard.

Beyond that, my hair (like the rest of my clothing) is warm, comfortable, and shows people that you can buck social trends and still look cool.

5. If you could immediately upload three skills or abilities (mundane, real, super-heroic or fantastical), what would they be?

Can I know kung fu? ...

I've always wanted to be able to fly about fifty feet off the ground. Not necessarily at jet speeds, but fast enough to get across town in a reasonable amount of time.

An immediate upload of Chinese language would be really neat, because I really don't have an easy in otherwise.

I'm not sure what a good third option would be. I'm avoiding the temptation to say something like LISP since I can pick that up without too much work normally. Something artistic like cinematography would be neat, but I'd need lots of resources to use it for much. There are lots of things I'm not very good at (like sexual intercourse), but I'm not particularly interested in most of them. Can I upload the ability to upload more skillz?

kay kay

Participate! If the world needs something, it's more knowledge about the personal lives of people who use the Internet.

Post a comment asking to be interviewed.
I will respond with five questions.
Answer those questions in your journal.
Provide the same invitation for people to ask you for questions. (The Copyleft clause.)
flwyd: (cartoon abi-station.com/illustmaker)
For those of you just joining us, at the beginning of last June, LJ user "anoisblue" concocted the following meme. Its brilliance is its depth and openendedness. It allows the author and audience to interactively expand knowledge of the journaller. Any person can participate many times, allowing the meme to spread epidemically. It is so resilient that it seems to have outlasted the creator's LiveJournal account.

I speak, of course, of the Shower Meme, so called because inspiration struck in the shower. To participate, simply post a comment asking for five questions. Answer the five questions I give you in your journal, along with an invitation to readers to ask you for five questions.

These five come from [livejournal.com profile] clarsa.

1. To really understand you, a person should be familiar with what book(s) and/or movie(s), and/or activity(ies)?

Nobody's written any books or shot any films about me, so there isn't a Bibliography of Flwyd yet. And I don't live by the book, so I can't footnote and cite what I do. The life of Flwyd is not largely a work of reference.

To understand my jokes, a person must be widely educated and familiar with American idioms. A punversation with me might range from European nobility to math terminology to Zen to classic American cinema to sex to computer science to public television to artificial sweetener. (Example of the latter: [livejournal.com profile] flwyd It's been Splenda talking with you. [livejournal.com profile] mlechan Our conversations have no Equal.)

To really understand me, perhaps, a person should be familiar with Boulder, Colorado and the educational opportunities therein.

2. Have you ever been in a situation that caused you to wonder if maybe you were not a nice person? Explain.

I sometimes think I should give more money to panhandlers. There've been times when I felt I should've stood up for somebody on (life's or school's) playground, but remained silent. I'm often not particularly nice when a telemarketeer calls.

3. What instantly attracts you to someone? What instantly repels you?

Online, I'm instantly attracted to clever prose. I'm repelled by sloppy spelling and grammar, though I try to look past that.

What attracts me to people in person varies from person to person, in part because different people attract me in different ways. I'm physically attracted to women who are comfortable, confident, and playful in their bodies. This is highly correlated with the no-makeup look and clothes selected for expression and comfort.

Intellectually, I'm attracted to people who play with ideas, words, and conventions. Big breasts may be sufficient to grab my gaze, but to hold my heart you must hold your own in a philosophical argument.

I find instantly repelling almost any sales pitch, ironically.

4. What are your goals for yourself, spiritually, physically, vocationally, emotionally, and socially?

I would like to develop strong bonds with a group of people with whom I regularly practice. (This is my goal for the Potluck Tradition -- more on that later.)
I'd like to get in better shape. Some upper body development would be good (I keep forgetting to look for hand weights). I want to ride my bike more often; maybe I can start getting up early enough to bike to work. I'd like to figure out how to cook better so that I can eat better. (I'm doing a fairly good job, all things considered.)
I'm in the "get lots of experience developing software" phase. I suspect that I'll end up back in graduate school again at some point. Once I've mastered the principles of professional software development, I'd like to work on some open source projects.
I'd like to be in love again. In the last three years or so schoolwork was a trump priority, so I would've felt bad about the amount of attention I could've committed to a relationship. However, I don't believe work is a valid excuse for not pursuing romance.
I'd like to make more friends in the Denver area. Coworkers aside, almost everyone I know here I've met through Pagan events and Collectible Card Game tournaments and gatherings. I certainly want to keep up with rituals and play more games; I'd also like to enjoy the outdoors with folks, watch more movies (especially with folks who are open to directors like Brakhage, Bergman, Hitchcock, and Ozu), and be generally weird with. (Anyone down for improv games on the 16th St. Mall?)

5. Loved, respected, safe, admired, trusted. If you could only be one of those things, which would you choose, and why?

I'm inclined to say admired -- think historical figures. Safe is out because many things worth doing (speaking out against injustice, for instance) are dangerous. I would rather have my ideas scrutinized, picked apart, and built upon than for what I say to be taken as true because of personal trust. The kind of respect I'm keen on is really a combination of trust and admiration; I don't particularly care if people treat me with respect. Between loved and admired, I lean toward the more utilitarian. I'd rather be admired for being an asshole with great ideas than loved as a nice guy who got everything wrong.

6. When mixed with the right amount of water, cornstarch will behave partly like a liquid and partly like a solid. Flour doesn't do that. Why? (That's not really an interview question, but I've been wondering about it for about 15 years.)

I'm neither a kitchen witch nor a scientist, but this might answer some of your questions. As for why flour doesn't do the same thing, I suspect that it bonds with water, creating a solution, rather than the liquid-in-solid behavior of cornstarch.

Shower Meme #++

Sunday, September 7th, 2003 11:51 pm
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)

-- Philip Glass, "Koyaanisqatsi"

Shower meme questions from [livejournal.com profile] adrukor. If you would like to be interviewed, leave a comment. I will give you five questions. You will post the answers in your journal with an invitation for others to ask you for questions.

1. If you could remove any slang word from existence, what would it be?

I think most slang words serve a useful purpose. I would, however, like to remove the insult form of "gay," as in "honor running is really gay." I'd like to use "gay" to signify happiness. More things rhyme with "gay" than "happy."

2. If you were to invent a programming language, what would you call it?

In high school I joked that I wanted to create Bitchin' Operatin' System, or "BOS." I'd want a programming language I invent to reflect the language, possibly through some acronym, like ENT if it were designed for easy tree navigation. But without knowing anything about this language, it's hard to know what I'd name it. However, there is only one programming language - Ada - named after a woman, possibly because there are very few women famous for a contribution to math or computing. Athena is a security system (I think), but a choice goddess might be a nice choice. Would anyone care to program in Baba Yaga?

3. What would you say is the most interesting historical fact to you?

I'm not quite sure what counts as a "fact" versus, say, a trend or an event. I also tend to find most facts fun or neat, but interest applies at the level of areas, periods, cultures, and so on. Some of my favorite historical facts are calendar-related -- like the fact that there is no year 0 between B.C. and A.D. (fortunately I celebrated the millennium on time because I use BCE and CE). Some of the events that most interest me include the Hiroshima bomb, Leif Ericsson's journey to America, and the U.S. government's elimination of Indians. Now that I think of it, the most interesting historical fact is that the U.S. has broken every treaty it's signed with an Indian tribe. (Or at least until the 1970s or something. I didn't read about any recent treaties.) Despite the wonderful John Zola in high school, I haven't done any history in at least five and a half years. I should add some good history books to my (rather extensive) reading list.

4. If you had one vision for the future, what would it be?

Environmental consciousness. If humans are to survive for much longer, we need to pay more attention to local and global environments. I'm not just talking about virgin forests and striking vistas. This includes urban environments, home environments, social environments, the Internet, etc. If the environment is properly set up, a lot of work becomes easy or unnecessary. Furthermore, consideration for the environment allows for genes and memes to have a chance of survival without severe mutation (hence decreasing their similarity).

5. Name the greatest movie of all time. You can only name one.

Koyaanisqatsi. Which is playing, BTW, for free with the director in person on Wednesday the 23rd at IFS. The next two days they're showing Powaqatis and Naqoyqatsi.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
When you know the day is ending all too soon
You're just two umbrellas one late afternoon
You never know what you will say
This is your favorite kind of day
It has no walls, the beauty of the rain
Is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls

And there's nothing wrong but there is something more
And sometimes you wonder what you love her for
She says you've known her deepest fears
'Cause she showed you a box of stained-glass tears
It can't be all, the truth about the rain
Is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls

But when she gave you more to find
You let her think she'd lost her mind
And that's all on you
Feeling helpless if she asked for help
Or scared you'd have to change yourself

And you can't deny this room will keep you warm.
You can look out of your window at the storm
But you watch the phone and hope it rings
You'll take her any way she sings
Or how she calls, the beauty of the rain
Is how it falls, how it falls, how it falls
How it falls, how it falls, how it falls

-- Dar Williams, "The Beauty of the Rain"
The shower meme continues. You may ask me for an interview. I'll ask you five questions. You post the answers in your journal. You tell people they can ask you for an interview. And the meme marches on. (If you get intimidated by the verbosity of exchange by Sun and I, page down to the horizontal rule.)

From [livejournal.com profile] blazingsun:

1. How do you (and others who know you) think you are different from and similar to your brother? What kinds of things have you learned about yourself from your brother?

People often express disbelief when they learn that my brother and I are related. I have long straight hair; he has a giant orange afro. (You'll be able to verify this when I post my Santa Fe pics.) So that's an obvious answer. But we're different in a lot of other ways, too. I'm much punnier than he is -- I view a sentence as something to be poked at, perverted, and used to the full extent of blunt literalism. Harper is (or was) pickier -- for many years he refused to eat very many foods, while I've always eaten just about anything. He's better at social organization -- he often marshals his friends for games, spelunking, or other events. I, on the other hand, am not very good at getting people to do things they aren't already excited about. I'm much more likely to plan an event in advance and see who shows up than to call a bunch of people and say "want to hang out tonight?"

There are lots of way we're similar, of course. He's an artist and I'm a programmer. Getting good at either requires doing art (or writing code), but it's not practice like sports where you do the same thing lots of time. However, I write programs with a clear goal in mind; he often lets art evolve as it comes from his pen.

I'm not sure what I've learned from him. I've spent a significant portion of my life around him, so it's hard to think of specific things.

2. If you were a heterosexual woman, what kind of man would you find most attractive (both in terms of looks and personality)? Would the kind of man you imagine finding yourself attractive to as a woman be any different if you were a homosexual man?

Well, it seems most women are attracted to gay men and most gay men are attracted to gay men, so I'd think the answer to both would be "gay men!"

It's difficult to come up with a good answer to this question because it's not much like the question "If you were a girl, what sorts of books would you read?" Female attraction is governed in large part by genes and hormones I don't have, so answering this question involves more than imagining myself clean-shaven and in a skirt. Furthermore, I find a lot of women attractive and they span many kinds.

So Trevor the Straight Girl might be attracted to boyish muscly guys or rich older guys or geeky goth bois. Or maybe all three. But she'd probably care more about personality than looks or status (since Trevor the Straight Boy does). She'd probably be into educated witty expressive guys. Which are the sorts of girls I'm into, so it might be a bit of a copout.

Trevor the Gay Guy is easier to consider, since I have most of the right genes and hormones. When I've seen a guy and said to myself "He's pretty hot," it's usually been a fairly bulky clean-shaven outdoor enthusiast type. (Much unlike me.) The partner I'd like would probably be someone physically attractive who I'd also like as a friend -- sharing common geek domains and activities. Roommates with benefits, so to speak.

3. If you were to create a movie (assuming you had plenty of money and the power to make all the major decisions about it), what would the movie be about? Where and in what time period would the film take place? Who would you choose to direct it and who would you choose to act in it? Would it have a happy or sad ending?

I've got various movie ideas running around in my head. I've got a neat idea for a contemporary film noir (of the Sunset Blvd. style more than the Third Man style) about a mailman and a dissatisfied wife.

I think it would be cool to do a silent film. Film technology and technique has improved a lot since 1927, but it's lost some of its universalism and physical expressiveness. Slapstick is almost a lost art and melodrama ain't what it used to be. So I'd like to help silent film make a comeback. The ultimate challenge would be to make a character-driven silent film without any titles between shots. (There are, of course, lots of films without words -- the Qatsi series, for instance. But they typically aren't about characters and relationships and human activity, which is what I'm talking about.)

I think it would be very powerful to make a movie version of Romeo and Juliet set in contemporary Jerusalem. I don't think I know enough about either culture involved to take much of an artistic role in such a project, but I think it should be done.

I think it would be neat to make a short film with dialog in English that's subtitled in English. The subtitles would express the meaning characters intend subtly. For instance, "No, I don't mind." [Of course I mind, fucker.] It would also be neat to make a movie about some intense interactions between some people, but shot from a cat's point of view, so there's all this crazy stuff going on in the periphery, while the main attentional focus is the bird feeder or something.

There's a Borges story where he describes an author who wrote a story where the first scene is later explained by three different possible antecedant scenes. Those three are then explained by their own three past scenes, creating a three-level tree with nine leaves. He predicted his imitators would stick to two-way branching. I think this could (with two-way branching) adapt itself well to a movie. I think the first scene should be a trial in court, but I've yet to come up with a good crime to trace back.

Other ideas are less well formed. A movie about a day in the life of a kid. A post-apocalyptic movie. A movie exploring philosophical theories (set in a Kantian or utilitarian society; starring a Nietzschean hero; featuring a brain in a vat; climaxing with a runaway trolley...).

In all of these cases, I don't have particular directors or actors in mind -- the overall concept is more important. I'd probably want to be both the screenwriter and the cinematographer (if not the director), possibly sharing the role with an expert.

4. Think of five people you admire who you have personally known and associated with during your life. Now think of one characteristic for each individual that stands out in your mind as the characteristic you like most about each of individual (for you personally). Wait until you've done the previous two steps to read this next step: now describe how you would be a different person, and how your life might be different if you possessed/displayed each of those five characteristics. What characteristics of those five do you think you already have? Which would you most like to have that you don't have?

  • Emily's Playful wit
  • Michelle's Self-aware goal-recognition and pursuit
  • Heather's Caring helpfulness
  • Morgan's Outgoing exuberance
  • Clover's Quiet reliability

I already have playful wit, though sometimes it isn't expressed as often as I'd like. I'm fairly reliable and I'm not particularly loud about it. I do have some work to do on following through on everything I agree to do, though. I'm pretty self-aware, but I don't have very many goals, and I'm content to let life take it's course rather than working too hard to achieve those that I have, figuring I'll end up meeting the important ones anyway. I can be pretty exuberant, especially in front of lots of people. Morgan's exuberance, though, is mostly displayed with individuals and small groups of people -- situations in which I'm often rather quiet. I'm often helpful, but it doesn't usually arise from care for the other person but either a sense of duty (part of being an RA is helping people out) or from being a nice guy.

In each case, I have a version of the virtue, but in most I don't express it in the same way the person in question does, and I'm not sure I want to. Because of the way the question was asked, these virtues are fairly personal and bound in my mind to the person in question, so it's hard to imagine me expressing them without being a lot like the person.

(Interestingly, three of the people have bright orange hair and another considers herself a dark redhead.)

5. Imagine that the human species was decimated by a virus. The *only* survivors are you and one other woman. You and this woman find each other and move onto a large mixed-fruit and nut orchard where you spend a few leisurely hours each day tending your garden, chickens, and goats, and making food to sustain yourself. The rest of the time you spend reading, having sex, and doing what ever else seems fun. One day, your female companion confronts you with the fact that it will be up to both of you to ensure that the human species does not go extinct. Assuming this woman doesn't have to be super savvy about survival skills, who would you want this woman to be (If you can't think of a particular individual, than describe what she would be like)? Would you choose to have children under these circumstances (assuming you were both fertile and you could)? Why or why not?

Now that's some interview question. I've entertained many a stream-of-consciousness fantasy beginning with "she and I are the only ones around," but usually it's a deserted tropical island or something, not a postapocalyptic scenario. I also get the sense that this is a question my interviewer has thought over in her own mind.

Now, if we're the last two humans alive, I don't really have room to be choosy so who I'd want her to be is rather academic. Characteristically, we'd both have our pedagogical acts together to have any chance at success. She'd better not be carrying problematic recessive genes, 'cause I foresee a lot of inbreeding. Reproductive health would be important too -- success requires offspring production until at least one boy and one girl come out, and redundancy would be a good idea.

Incidentally, "maintaining the human race" requires more than baby production. Culture is arguably as important, if not more important, in the makeup of the human race than biology. I don't know if a rich culture can be passed through a two-person bottleneck. The culture and society that emerges after a few generations would be fascinating. Unfortunately, there won't be any grant funding left to study it.

More from [livejournal.com profile] falcondreams

1) You're pretty well read, but what's your candy bar for your brain? You know, the junk you shouldn't be reading but crave every now and then?

LiveJournal! I actually haven't read very many books in the last six years or so, which I find rather disappointing. I have, however, read a whole lot of words on the Internet.

2) What mental image gets you through an average day?

∅. I don't get many mental (visual) images. I certainly lack recurrent mental images. I do often get a song stuck in my head for several hours, and that helps sometimes. But most days I don't need help getting through. I just go with the flow and the day goes by like the river.

3) What song do you feel shapes you even though you haven't grown into it yet?

I just got back from my first tango class, so I'll pick a tango at random.

It's getting close to ten years since I heard "And then one day you find / Ten years have got behind you / No one told you when to run / You missed the starting gun." I told myself I'd look back ten years from then and hope I'd picked up on the starting gun. In some ways I have, in some ways I haven't. So in a way I'm always growing into Pink Floyd's "Time," because it's always the case that "The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older / Shorter of breath and one day closer to death."

4) Tell me about your favorite character you've ever role-played. Live action or table top, you choose.

On December 31st, 1999, Keith Baker ran an "End of the World" LARP. I was cast as Focker McLeod, a less-than-sane scientist who recently emerged from the asylum hungry for revenge. During the game, he was trying to build a device to steer an asteroid into the planet to kill them all, provided he could escape. He connected with some aliens and, in the intense final moments of the game, made it on to the porch, letting the rock end the world. The three previous versions of the game didn't end in world destruction (there were other ways the world could end), but we agreed that it was an appropriate result for the Y2K game.

Anyway, that role kind of set me up for my real favorite role. Keith later ran a Cthulhonic LARP. Various characters had differing knowledge about what was going on, and most of the "good guys" were trying to stop the "bad guys." I was cast as a guy who lived in a mental hospital who'd been invited to the reading of this guy's will (like everyone else). My psychiatrist came along. Throughout the game I'd get odd memories that helped link things together -- in the end it turned out that some terror had once messed up my mind.

I played the insanity to the hilt. I walked around all game in a rain coat telling people it was going to rain soon. I'd burst into Singin' in the Rain frequently. I had a couple packs of gum that I'd hold out to people and say "Cigarette?" even if they were clearly talking privately to someone else. I kept putting sticks of gum in my mouth without removing the previous wad. My character description said one attendee seemed familiar, but I couldn't recall why. So every time I saw her I'd say "You seem familiar... is your name... Sandra?" "No, it's Adria!." By the end of the evening, she was actively avoiding me. By and large the plot unfolded without my interference or awareness. I had a blast. Everyone said they loved my character.

A month or so later, I came over for Keith's regular Wednesday night gathering and one of the participants of that LARP was there (it was her first Wednesday). I came in and she said "Are you... really insane?" I was impressed and pleased.

5) What do you dream about at night, that you can remember?

I remembered a lot of dreams in the last few years. A couple weeks ago I dreamt that my brother was pregnant...

So that's more of me. I'd like to get to know you -- ask me for an interview. (Or, if you've asked for one and I didn't give you questions, remind me.)

flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
I'll be helping my brother move to College of Santa Fe until Sunday, so I'll take a message and get back to you later. In the mean time, here's more shower meme. Incidentally, it's the Shower Meme because [livejournal.com profile] anoisblue came up with it in the shower. It's also acceptably known as the Interview Meme. The rules, if you haven't been paying attention: Ask me for an interview; I'll send you five questions. Post the answers in your journals and invite others to ask you for an interview. If you'd like to know some answers, you can also feel free to ask five questions as [livejournal.com profile] shadowpryde has done...

1) Have you ever read D'Aulaire's Norse Gods and Giants? If so, did it affect you as much as their Book of Greek Myths? In what ways?

I did a report on Norse gods in 6th grade based on that book, but I got it from the library, so I didn't have the "read it every other month" opportunity that I did with the Greeks. I thus have a passing recognition of the Norse gods and some of the major stories, but not like the Greeks. However, since I also did a report on Leif Ericsson, I have a better understanding of Norse history than I do of (non-Philosophical) Greek history.

2) What plans do you currently have for your life post-graduation?

Travel around, find a place to live, and get a job there.

I want to leave Colorado but probably stay in the West, so likely candidate metro areas are Seattle, Portland, San Fran, LA, Vegas, Salt Lake, Phoenix, Tuscon, or government-installation-in-the-middle-of-the-desert (Los Alamos, frex). I welcome comments regarding these locations and their environs (or other places I've missed that might host interesting software opportunities). Aside from a week in Santa Cruz and a week around Moab, I haven't been very far west of the Continental Divide, so I need to visit each of these places and catch glimpses of their soul and their surroundings. Can I stand a place that gets more than 15 inches of rain per year? Can I keep my cool during a week of 110 degrees? Is the ocean too wet for me?

During the Multiple Drawing Down I talked with the Lord and Lady and clarified my search procedure -- I need to be vulnerable, I need to ask what I want to know, I can't be afraid to change. Thus shall I find the heart and soul of the people and the place. On Saturday I asked for blessings from the Sun God as I travel the deserts and from the Horned One as I trek through the forests. He said he'd send me a sign -- a bird -- and when I saw it I would be knocked speechless.

3) Rattle off the names of a couple of fictional books that affected your spiritual outlook and explain why they did so?

I can't think of any. When my spirituality has been affected by books, it's been by philosophy (e.g. Tao Te Ching), myth (e.g. D'Aulaire's) or nonfiction (e.g. The Alphabet vs. The Goddess). I think RPGs have affected my spirituality, but mostly through playing and thinking about playing rather than, say, connecting with a particular Garou tribe. Most of my spirituality has come from nonrational internal sources, arising spontaneously through emotion or through play. Of course, my affiliation as Pagan is probably influenced by my love for fantasy books.

4) How did your workshops at Dragonfest go?

I'll write a Dragonfest post after I get back from Santa Fe next week, but here's a glimpse:

My workshops were amazing. 22 people attended our Math and Science ritual, moving from station to station learning neat facts and doing some neat art on paper or their bodies. It was raining as we were setting up -- which was our one potential killer -- but it let up without destroying all our print outs. I met up with the person I had in mind for our fourth quarter caller at the Trance Circle the previous night, and as I invited him another girl got excited and volunteered to do a Bosse-Einstein Condensate call. Heather's neuron dance worked, but was kind of boring, but everything else was great.

My nonverbal workshop was lots of fun as well. As usual, most folks struggled at first, but after a few minutes people started moving together. A neat pentacle dance came together, the group danced around howling like wolves, and there were some funny-yet-effectual quarter calls. After a rough morning, Aria did a wonderful job in our melodrama. But the surest sign of the workshop's success was the fact that 25 adults stood in a circle and made silly noises by moving their finger between their lips. (I believe the Welsh word for this is "berlwm.")

Workshops are a great way to meet people. I had folks come up to me throughout the rest of the fest and thank me for the workhops.

5) What do you think of the local convention scene?

I've been once or twice to each of GenghisCon, BenCon, and TactiCon. Each time my goal was gaming -- usually card gaming -- and with mixed results. I've been in some really neat tournaments. I took second place in the oddly-formatted Mountain Shogun storyline tournament, winning my final game by Enlightenment (circa Scorpion Clan Coup). A couple locals produced an improved version of the L5R Tactical rules that produced some wonderful evenings. I met my friend Keith Baker (of the $100,000 WotC challenge fame) at an On the Edge tournament and I've been playing games at his house now for the last six years. There have also been some lame tournaments -- I wiped the floor with a Kolat Geisha deck in a tournament that the TO didn't get sanctioned or prizes for. I've been in a couple tournaments where only a handful of people showed, which were fun, but not very exciting. I've also tried some new games -- rail games are neat and I'd like to play again; AD&D Living City is not for me.

Overall, I've enjoyed my convention visits. Partly it was the thrill of an adventure on the bus down to Denver. I'd invariably meet up with someone I knew who'd give me a ride home or let me crash in their room. I'd joke a lot, sleep little, and surprisingly have no appetite; a bagel, a sandwitch, and two apples would keep me going all con. I haven't been to a con in the last several years, which means I haven't gone carousing in the bars, had my own hotel room, etc. I also haven't been to anything like GenCon, which I need to rectify. I think 2004 may be my chance to get back into hard-core geek mode, since I should have both money and time to spare.

flwyd: (tell tale heart)

Standing in the shower thinking
about what makes a man
an outlaw or a leader
i'm thinking about power...
the ways a man could use it
or be destroyed by it
the water hits my neck
and i'm pissing on myself...

in the shower

standing in the shower thinking
about a man i know don't like me
he don't like the place i'm headed
same place he's headed
i know he'd beat me to it
if he could but he won't do it
but he would man
if he could...
and the water is piping hot..
the water is piping hot
it beats upon my neck
and i'm pissing on myself...

in the shower

standing in the shower thinking
is my woman afraid of me?
she's seen how far i've twisted
it's just cause i can trust her
and ever since we met
she understood so she let
me twist her good...
i twist her good...
and the water is piping hot
the water is piping hot
it beats upon my neck
and i'm pissing on myself...

in the shower
-- Jane's Addiction,
"Standing in the Shower... Thinking"
Quckies first: Debunking exposes what lies beneath the sheets.
IHNP,IJLS "Deus Ex Washing Machina"

The Shower Meme is resurfacing in my neck of the woods, and I like to take an occasional shower. If you'd like to participate in the shower meme, drop me a comment and I'll ask you five questions. You then post the answers in your journal and invite others to be your interviewees. One variation that showed up on my friends page a few weeks ago was the post that said "Ask me five questions and I'll answer them." I don't like that variation as much, because it removes the individual "I want you to interview me" request, which I think brings a lot of the power and thoughtfulness to the exercise.

This set is from [livejournal.com profile] neverireven.

1. What was the best or most meaningful part of being an RA?

The best thing about being an RA was working and interacting with the sorts of people that aren't in my usual geeky circles. I interacted with complete extroverts, highly emotional people, people who aren't good with computers, people who struggle with school, people who party hard and often, foreign students, and many other folks. This provided lots of interpersonal learning opportunities as well as a chance to share in some great energy. A group of excited RAs can build some serious energy.

2. What's something you don't have that you'd like to have five years from now, and something you do have that you hope not to have in five years?

I'd like to have a long-term job, but that's fairly simplistic. I graduate in December, so I damn well better be able to find stable employment in five years. Unless I'm back in grad. school, which is like a long-term job without the stock options.

More significantly, I think I'd like to have a girlfriend. I go through phases (not necessarily linked) of feeling lonely or independent, horny or calm, romantic or stoic. I'm rarely in a mood, however, where I wouldn't appreciate someone to snuggle with.

The second part of the question is harder, since I try to get rid of things I don't want in a timely fashion. Moving to a different state will further lessen the amount of stuff I'll keep. I'm pretty healthy, so I can't say something like "high blood pressure." Perhaps I'll go with "Problems focusing on side projects," though that seems better expressed in the affirmative.

One thing I have now that I'd like to have in five years (though it will be a different instance) is a close circle of eclectic people with whom I practice and play through ritual.

3. I'm under the impression (correct me if I'm wrong) that you grew up Pagan, which I think is a fairly unique experience for someone in our generation. Are there any specific ways in which you feel that affected your childhood or helped shape the person you are today?

It's hard to say whether or not I "grew up Pagan." One day in 4th or 5th grade, we were given a piece of paper and told to find "Classmates who $attrib" where the variable was things like "rode the bus to school" or "has a dog." One question was to find someone who was of a different religion, and I said "But I don't know what religion I am. What religions are there?" Someone asked "Are you Christian? Are you Jewish?" I didn't know. "Are you Buddhist?" "I don't think so." Fortunately, it wasn't hard to find a Buddhist kid at Uni Hill. When I hear "grew up Pagan" I think of kids who are part of their parent's Pagan religious activities -- attending rituals, learning the metaphysics, and so forth. Such an experience isn't much different than growing up Buddhist. But my parents didn't have the a regular religious practice like going to church or a particular mythos from which we drew prayers and explanations.

One of my favorite books as a kid was D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths. I also learned about American Indians in elementary school, and read native stories at home. ("That Paul Goble fellow is writing stories about me again. My attorney will Sioux.") I loved Fantasy books -- I loved the Xanth books (and only in part because of the puns), I read Lloyd Alexander's series (The Black Cauldron, etc.) in 2nd grade. I loved (and still do) Tolkien's work. If I were in elementary school today, I'd probably be all over Harry Potter. I'll admit that I'm a bad witch and haven't read any of Harry past the first chapter of the first book, but I've got a lot of neat books in my queue.

We'd mark solstices and equinoxes not by religious celebration but by explaining the science. Sometimes my mom would bring everyone into the living room and light some candles and we'd reflect and share, which is sort of a basic version of lots of (private) Pagan rituals. At holidays like Thanksgiving, we'd find a good poem from our book of Earth Prayers. One summer in late elementary school I attended week-long courses on ancient Greece and Egypt. I'd invent explanations like "Snow is God's dandruff" and when it was raining "God is peeing." We celebrated Christmas (though I doubted Santa fairly early on) because our larger family did (and it's a convenient excuse for lots of things). We celebrated Easter for the egg hunt -- I only recently learned that it's connected with Jesus (at a first pass). My dad read us parts of the Old Testament after we'd read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, because we didn't understand so many of the references.

When I was about 13 we were standing in line in the Boulder Bookstore for a Grahme Base (sp?) book signing and I noticed a heading on a shelf of books. "Taoism? What's that?" I said, pronouncing a western "T." My mom said I might be into it and gave me copies of the Tao Te Ching and Chuang Tsu (trans. Gia Fu Feng). I dug the Taoist philosophy, and after I'd read those I read The Tao of Pooh, The Te of Piglet, and The Tao of Meow. I consulted I Ching when making tough decisions, like choosing New Vista over Boulder High. For that decision I also did visualization, talked to my cat, visited the schools, talked about positives and negatives, etc. Before my first play at New Vista, I was alone in the Multi Purpose Room (in the old building) and kneeled on the stage and offered spontaneous prayers to the gods of lighting, diction, energy, and so forth.

When I was 14 I attended a week-long Naropa workshop with Johnny Moses, a healer and storyteller from several Pacific Northwest Indian tribes. I'd seen Johnny tell stories before, so I attended in large part because he was so much fun. That workshop was probably my first introduction to group energy/spiritual/healing work in a circle (dancing around, drumming, etc.). I'd been introduced to smudging (cleansing with smoke and fire) by my mom before then, but this was my first exposure to it in a big way -- we'd start the day by passing sage around, etc.

It wasn't until I was 16 or so that my mom started working with some other folks from Naropa to put on public neo-Celtic celebrations. That was my first exposure to what may be the popular image of Paganism in America. That group exploded/disbanded a few years later. During the first two years of college I'd do my own thing based on how I was feeling spiritually. When I was feeling angry and in need of release, I wrote some things down, got a lighter, and went out in a field and tried to light it. (It took a lot of effort to get the paper to burn, and it took me several more years to release that.) On a few occasions when I was feeling happy and energetic I did some spontaneous spiritual dance.

I then saw some chalkings on campus for the Pagan Student Alliance. I caught up with them at Beltane. That summer some folks from the group started practicing in an eclectic Wicca style, and I've been with them ever since. In a sense, I've only been the sort of Pagan I am now since I've been with that group. Practicing with others has given me a social framework and regularity that's easier to pin down than the sampler approach I'd previously taken. However, since I had so many Pagan influences, the first word of "Eclectic Pagan" is the most important in describing my religion and spirituality.

In summary, I didn't exactly grow up Pagan. I grew up inquisitive, I grew up eclectic, I grew up outside a fixed religious framework. I brought the same sense of wonder to myths as I did to books about astronomy, I loved both spiritual poetry and mathematics. In late elementary school I learned to distinguish story from science; I didn't believe in Gaia but I believed in Gaia Theory. I now think of science as story, story that's good at accuracy and prediction, story that is yang to the yin story that touches the heart and inspires the spirit. My childhood love of play, books, and knowledge very strongly affected who I am today -- an adult who loves play, external memory, and knowledge.

4. If you could spend a weekend with any literary character, who would it be and what would you do?

I haven't spent enough time reading fiction in the last several years, so the literary character for me is probably in some tome unfamiliar to me. But I think it would be a total blast to take an American road trip with Zippy the Pinhead. We'd stop at every road-side attraction, mourn the dilapidation of quintessential American funk, and wax philosophic in diners galore.

5. Design yourself a hat. What's it like? Now, bestow it with one magical ability. What does your magical hat do?

The hat is soft and crushable, but folds into several different shapes. It's reversible, with calm and cool colors on one side and exciting and bright colors on the other.

I'd imbue the sides with energy instillery. The bright side could excite people to ecstasy while the blue side could calm people to trance.

From [livejournal.com profile] somaustralis:

1. How do you feel about those little American flag bumper stickers you see on everyone's car?

I'm not sure. I'm not sure what people intend with them. The American Flag is not a specific symbol; it has a wealth of intended meanings and developed associations, and they vary from person to person. They seem to have the effect of saying "I'm a patriot," but what that means isn't clear. Do you blindly support the government? Are you a fan of the constitution? Do you love the American people? The Amercan land? In a sense, it's modern art -- it's an image, and the audience is left to draw conclusions.

I do wonder if the irony is lost on people who wipe barbecue stains with American Flag paper napkins, but think flag burning should be outlawed.

2. Have you ever had Vegemite? If so, did you like it? If not, would you like to try some?

I might have tried some when I was in England six years ago. I had some toast with it and said "Ech. I'd rather have plain bread." Of course, I'm a fan of plain bread.

3. If you were a turnip, where would you be right now?

I think turnip season is mid-late fall, so I'd probably be surrounded by wet dirt. Mmmm. Wet dirt.

4. What is one thing you've done that you are most proud of? That you regret the most (if you have regrets..)?

I might be most proud of Cronos. Our computer science senior project was to build a computerized version of the TITAN board game, and the five of us worked together and produced a decently-designed properly-functioning and almost-complete product. (There were two obscure rules that didn't make it in, and we didn't have time for Artificial Intelligence, but you can sit down and play a game.) The same can't be said of some of the other groups who've gone through the class, and that experience showed me that I could be an effective programmer.

I don't regret a whole lot of things, more attributes. I may regret not socializing more; not keeping in better touch with friends. I regret breaking up with [livejournal.com profile] mlechan, but we've remained excellent friends and I've learned a lot about myself in processing since then, so it's not a regret like "I shouldn't have chopped off my foot." I try to make the best out of whatever situation I end up in, so regret isn't very important.

5. If a movie was made of your life, who would play you?

Whoever was cast as me.

I don't think my life to this point makes a coherent enough story for a narrative film, but I think any actor who's playful and has enough fake hair could do a decent job representing me.

So ask away! It's the meme that keeps giving!

flwyd: (tell tale heart)
[livejournal.com profile] dilemma asked five questions which I answered rather verbosely. Question 3 is probably not work-safe and may be TMI.

Read more... )

[livejournal.com profile] 12amcocktail asked some questions that didn't take so long to answer.

Read more... )

The Shower Meme is the Meme that Keeps On Giving. You can partake of it many times, each with new information conveyed. It's a true meme because when a person partakes in it, he becomes an active participant in the meme's spread. So, if you would like to be interviewed, just ask and I'll send you five questions.

Posts about my recent life and cinematic adventures may come in the next few days.

flwyd: (tell tale heart)
I am he as you are he as you are me
and we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
see how they fly
I'm crying
Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you've been a naughty boy
you let your face grow long

I am the eggman
they are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Mr. city policeman sitting
pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife
Pornographic priestess
Boy, you've been a naughty girl
you let your knickers down

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Sitting in an English garden
waiting for the sun
If the sun don't come you get a tan
from standing in the English rain

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Expert, texpert choking smokers
don't you think the joker laughs at you
See how they smile like pigs in a sty
See how they snide
I'm crying
Semolina pilchard
climbing up the Eiffel tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man, you should have seen them kicking
Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' goo
goo goo g' joob goo
juba juba juba
juba juba juba
juba juba juba juba
juba juba

-- The Beatles, "I Am The Walrus"

That's right folks, the shower meme lives on. I've taken a while to answer the questions of Dave and Emily because I'm long winded. There's some good personal divulsion, though, so fans of Trevor Stone will be rewarded. I've got another set of questions to answer from Emily Goo and I don't think I've gotten any from anyone else; correct me if I'm wrong.

If you would like an interview, just ask! If you'd like to ask me five questions, also feel free.

The curious output device that is [livejournal.com profile] sandbar asked as follows:

1) You seem to have a pretty eclectic upbringing, T. What's the background on your parents?

I've taken a while to answer this interview mostly because I don't know how long this answer will be. Let's find out.

My mom's parents were both teachers (though her dad did a lot of other stuff too). She is thus a compulsive student; we seriously have about 10,000 books in our house. She also has a Masters in Experiential Education, and was instinctively a teacher to her kids. My dad grew up as an army brat, but his dad didn't fit the hard-assed army pop; his folks were fairly easy-going. Both families were nominally Christian -- they went to church as kids, celebrate Christmas, and all that -- but I don't think my parents' lack of attendance at church in their adulthood was an issue at any point. My folks met in a mythology class in college and were married in (or near) Bouler on the weekend of Woodstock, 1969. They've lived in (or near) Boulder ever since. Boulder was a much hippier place in the '70s, so by the time I'd come along in '79, they knew a lot of funky people.

Despite their long-time residency in Boulder, they're fairly down to earth and with-it people. My dad majored in math and minored in physics, but remembers every detail he's ever learned about history and other liberal arts. He plays the banjo, was the sole employee of KGNU (Boulder's voluneer-powered community radio station) for about three years, and for the last 20 years he has been the only employee of Fergus Sound Enterprises, his recording studio in our converted garage. My mom reads a lot, and is always into several new theories, always in an attempt to understand how the world (or parts of it) works. When she was pregnant with me, she read a lot of books about pregnancy and child rearing, attended prenatal dance classes, followed a very focused diet, and was generally way into having a kid the right way. They kept me away from sugar until I was three, took me to see cool bands and storytellers, etc. My mom and I went to the Boulder Public Library regularly. I loved books and was always the best reader in my elementary school classes.

Today, they're proud of how unique I am. While a lot of my Pagan friends have trouble telling their parents about it, I can host rituals in the labyrinth in our back yard and ask my mom for information about ancient rituals and the shamanic journey process. They appreciate and inspire my puns and encourage other creative outputs. Perhaps most importantly, they let me do what I want to, but they make sure I understand what I'm doing and what the options are.

2) If a tree falls in the forest, does it hit the crapping bear? How many points is that worth?

To quote Gary Larson, that's one of those "Nature scenes we rarely see." I say it's worth a couple thousand points for humor value.

3) What do you think the purpose of (REM-state) dreams are?

The theory I've heard is that during dreams, your brain reinforces the used neural connections and lets unused ones decay in strength. I like this theory in part because it gives meaning to dreams without getting into psychic foresight and all that. We may have also evolved dreams to poke away at problems without rational control and hence "sleep on it."

4) Biologically/psychologically/ontologically speaking, why does alcohol make it easier to laugh at yourself?

It doesn't. I laugh at myself on a regular basis while completely sober. As for why it makes it easier for others to laugh at themselves, I don't know. Maybe because they do more stupid stuff, so there are more reasons to laugh.

5) Trevor, who do you most want to bang like a cheap gong?

I'd love to produce a tinny reverberation from the empty head of [livejournal.com profile] george_w_bush.

If you're curious who I've got the physical hots for, Trinity (but only from the first Matrix) probably tops the list.

[livejournal.com profile] mlechan has some questions inspired by our close connection.

1. almost every time i go out with you, (as in out in public, although the other works amusingly well too,) someone comments on your interesting hat/hair/beard/t-shirt. Do you ever have days where you wish you could be a little less visible?

There are two situations in which I would like to be invisible. I like wandering around buildings, but often have an imposing sense of "what if a security guard finds me and takes issue?" I also like watching people for a variety of reasons, but when people know they're under scrutiny, they often behave differently. In both of these cases, looking like an ordinary person wouldn't help, so the answer appears to be "No."

2. You've commented that you're enjoying 'coming out of your shell' now, but if you could go back to high school exactly as you are internally now, what one thing would you do differently that you weren't able to do then?

For those following along at home, I rarely felt emotion between, say, April, 1993 (shortly after I went off dairy) and April, 1997 (when I fell in love). Spending time with Emily, in our yin-yangy way, brought out some very powerful emotions which were very unfamiliar. Some of them were great, but it exposed me to some painful ones, like being a crab out of a shell (to pick an arthopod for the metaphor). I think I'm more emotional now than I was during my early high school years. I'm also more comfortable in social situations, I get up later in the morning, less focused, etc. I've theorized occasionally that I entered physical puberty about five years before emotional puberty.

To pick one thing I'd do differently were I to enter high school now, I'd hang out. I'd go to parties with people, talk with folks at lunch who didn't have a problem with their computer, invite friends to movies (very few of which I watched during high school, for misguided reasons), and otherwise participate in the fuzzy (as in logic) world of high school social dynamics. Despite over two years as an RA, I'm still not very good at hanging out, but I've proven that I can.

3. If you were to get one body alteration (i.e. tattoo, piercing, other semi-permanent decorative addition) what would it be, and where?

One thing I like about hats is you can take them off. I can parade around all day in my new Robin Hood get up, but not regret it later when I don't want to be Robin Hood.

The coolest body-alteration idea I've had is a crucifix. Pierced nipples, pierced belly button, and a tattoo of Jesus on the cross with his wrists at the nipples and feet at the navel. I wouldn't do this for two reasons -- first, I'm not very into Jesus Christ; second, I have far too much chest hair.

Piercings don't appeal to me, as very few are either representationally interesting or beauty-enhancing. As a Welshman, my only non-hairy spots are parts of my back, my forehead, hands, and feet. Most of these are poor places for tattooes. I can't see the first without work, the second would be regretted often, the bottoms of the last two would be too painful, and the tops probably don't offer enough real estate. The where therefore becomes "nowhere" for a tattoo.

That said, I could come up with some interesting ideas for tattooes. I'm fascinated by I Ching symbolism, so if I had tons of money and no chest hair, I could get a big symbolic scene with all those elements. Given my body restrictions, I could do a small yin/yang in an octagon of trigrams, or a yin on one foot and a yang on the other.

I could also get something geeky, like a golden ratio rectangle set, a suitable snippet of perl code, my name in hex or binary, a parse tree of a favorite phrase, or a self referential statement like "This is not a tattoo." Then there's a joke, like an accordian on my penis (the other hairless area), or sound waves coming out of my ears (another). Hmm. My inner arms aren't too hairy. I could get the fibanocci sequence on one arm and lambda calculus code to generate it on the other.

None of these seem worthy of permanent fixture. Therefore, I'll have to answer "functional wings," as that'd be a useful permanent body alteration.

4. Give a single-word association with each of the following:

LiveJournal. "Musings." Goddess. "Emily." Also, "Grace," "Beauty." Snow. "Inconvenience." Plato. One word is hard, because I keep hyphenating things like "Philosophy-guided-by-linguistic-rules" and "Very-important-but-quite-wrong." So I'll settle with a pun: "Republican." Playdough. "Maleable"

5. What is your favorite memory of our relationship (that's suitable for LJ consumption, if you think of one that isn't, send it in an email! *grin*)?

I remember sitting on an air vent under the Duane Physics crossover in the rain, not watching Shakespeare, never having kissed before. I remember passing carefully folded notes. I remember not-talking on the phone in the wee wee hours. I remember our combined genious spinning puns at an impressive rate. I remember dealing with losing you to a girl. I remember hugging in the computer lab. I remember how smashing we looked in our outfits for prom and how little I enjoyed the event. I remember our embrace after I graduated. I remember watching movies in a parking lot. I remember a special night when we got to sit on the Funky Couch, get free pizza, and not watch Citizen Kane in the rain. I remember lying in a field and meeting Thomas the Cat. I remember powerful emotions evoked and not knowing how to cope with them. I remember a forceful question in my mind and how I blew the relationship with it. I remember many nights trying to fall asleep with tears in my eye, thinking it would be less painful to not wake up. I remember remaining good friends despite some arguments. I remember feeling antagonistic toward Jason, despite intellectually accepting the situation. What is my favorite memory? I remember how much I loved you. I cannot forget, for I still do.

Most of the stuff from our relationship is suitable for a public LJ post, aside from some personal issues I don't want to share openly without your consent. However, I've included a more private perspective in the package I'm sure you're anxiously awaiting.

Shower Meme

Thursday, June 5th, 2003 12:04 am
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said "You can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away"
I staggered back to the underground
And the breeze blew back my hair
I remember throwin' punches around
And preachin' from my chair
Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
'Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin' Pin
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin
I stretched back and I hiccupped
And looked back on my busy day
Eleven hours in the Tin Pan
God, there's got to be another way
Who are you?
Ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa ooh wa ...
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
I know there's a place you walked
Where love falls from the trees
My heart is like a broken cup
I only feel right on my knees
I spit out like a sewer hole
Yet still recieve your kiss
How can I measure up to anyone now
After such a love as this?

-- The Who, "Who Are You"

From the shower of [livejournal.com profile] anoisblue comes a neat little meme. Someone posts the meme in their journal. Anyone (presumably from a direct friends list) can then ask the poster to interview them. The poster asks the interviewee five questions. The interviewee posts the answers and their friends may now ask them for an interview. In short, you may now ask me to interview you.

[livejournal.com profile] altamira16 wants to know...

If you started your own cult, what premise or values would you like your followers to believe?
I think I would like any cult of mine to be socially subversive. It would be a cult based on the fundamental value of, to quote Utah Phillips, "You have to mess with people." I would have my minions challenge social norms.\
You are known for your unusual attire. What article of clothing do you like best, and why?
Despite all my silly hats, my favorite article of clothing is my cargo shorts with 7 pockets. I can carry my keys, pens, wallet, notebooks in two pockets (which is my standard haul). Then I've got pockets for a water bottle, a novel, random paper, and whatever else I might need. And somehow they don't fall off. My clothing ideal is comfortable and functional, with silly and outrageous as an added benefit.
Though you seem sociable enough, there are a lot of people that seem to recognize you only by your appearance. Have you had any interesting encounters while approaching strangers or while being approached by them?
I do often have people approach me and try to buy (or at least find) drugs. I've also had people approach me and ask to touch my hair in a combined state of cosmic awe and alcoholic daze. When I shook the Dalai Lama's hand, he reached up and jingled the bells on my hat.
What do you consider to be the most difficult aspect of being a graduate student?
The fact that I'm still an undergraduate in many senses. I'm not technically a grad. student yet, so I've run up against some bureaucratic issues, like not getting paid to TA. I'm also still in undergrad mode in many ways. I don't yet have the discipline to get lots of research done before the last minute. (I had this discipline during high school, but seem to have lost it in my senior year there.) My routines and habits haven't changed much since my junior year. These are some of the reasons I don't plan to go directly to a Ph.D. program.
And a hokey question to mock "Love Connection": If you were a dessert, what would you be?
Some sort of funky individualized pie. Sweet, tart, and creative, all in one warm package. A pie proceeded by its reputation. (Pie Night is the bestest!)

The floodgates stand open. Others can feel free to ask me five questions as well; you don't have to wait for me to respond to your answers to my questions to you. :-)

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