athelind: (Ommm)
... well, you know; we all want to change the world.

2011 draws to a close today, and for the first time in a long time, the farewell I bid the passing year is a fond one. I know it's been a hard year for many of us, and certainly, in the Big Picture, there have been grim tidings and outright catastrophes. I hope 2012 is better for every one of us.

On the small scale, on the personal scale ... 2011 has been a good year for Your Obedient Serpent. I haven't mentioned it often, but I finally landed full-time work that taps at least some of my science background, and while there were a few rough patches mid-year, I think I've settled in solidly now. Better yet, it looks like I'll be getting to do even more sciencey stuff in the upcoming year.

As for me, personally ... well, as Gloria Gaynor once sang, 2011 was the year that "I grew strong, and I learned how to carry on." I'm not the person I was, and for the first time in a long time, it feels like I'm starting to become someone I want to be.

So ... thank you, 2011. I know you won't be hearing that from many people, but you did right by me.

As for the Shape of Things to Come:

If the theme for 2011 was Crawling from the Wreckage, then 2012 is Building from the Wreckage. I've found my place to stand, precarious as the footing might be (it is on a pile of wreckage, after all); now it's time to get my levers into place and see if I can move the world, just a little.

Really, it comes down to Extropy, and the Extropian Ideal: Live your life to improve the human condition ... starting with the local human. I'm still assembling a solid foundation for Maslow's Pyramid, but I can at least start sketching out the higher levels.

So, here's the Outline for 2012. If you don't like calling them "Resolutions", think of it as a TO DO LIST ... )
That seems like a good start.

Again, my best wishes to all of you, and I bid you all joy and hope for 2012.

footnotes )
athelind: (cue howard)
Last year, I posted an LJ entry that said that the defining moment for our generation wasn't when man set foot on the Moon, but when we turned away.

Most of my commentators, bless their literal souls, thought I was just talking about the space program, and at that stage in my recovery, I wasn't quite up to clarifying the symbolic and metaphorical dimensions of the statement.

I picked up a copy of Fight Club last week, and [livejournal.com profile] thoughtsdriftby and I plugged it in on Friday night. This is the quintessential movie of my generation.

It comes closer than anything else to explaining exactly what I meant.

Preach it, Tyler:
I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables — slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. We're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.


You are keeping tabs on the Occupy Wall Street protests, aren't you? If not, check out http://boingboing.net, and, as the Good Book said, consult your pineal gland.

Fnord.



EDIT: The first comment on the post has forced an addendum, hopefully early enough in the morning to catch most my Loyal Audience on their first read-through:

I really do appear to only be able to communicate half of what's going on in my brain at any one point.

I said Fight Club was "the quintessential movie of my generation". I didn't say "Tyler Durden is a Divine Prophet."

[livejournal.com profile] notthebuddha was close -- Tyler's rant is HALF the truth. Pahulnik, in this speech, succinctly describes the malaise afflicting Generation X. We came into a world of progress and potential—we were literally promised the Moon—only to have it ripped away from us.

"Ah, never mind that. Here, have a crappy job and an apartment full of cheap furniture. Oh, wait. We're shipping the crappy jobs overseas. Why aren't you paying for your cheap furniture anymore?"

Fight Club is, in many ways, a cautionary tale. Sometimes, we all find ourselves in Tyler Durden's headspace, entertaining fantasies of just randomly beating the crap out of someone, or blackmailing your pissant boss, or taking your hands off the wheel as you ram the accelerator into the floorboards just to see what happens.

You can deny that and repress it and end up like the Narrator, or you can face it head on and channel it.

When you subtract the explosives, the beating the crap out of each other in basements, and the long-term goal of hunting moose in the vine-covered towers of the city, Tyler's idea of "zeroing out the credit system" sounds a hell of a lot more rational and productive than bailing out the banks for using fraud and doubletalk to rope thousands of people into mortgages they couldn't afford. The banks wound up with the houses and the money; if the bailouts had gone to the swamped homeowners themselves, the banks would have still gotten their money, and we'd still have an economy instead of a shattered, broken population.

At some point, you've got to take a stand. You've got to get angry.

You don't have to go mad and tear everything down. I brought Occupy Wall Street into the end of the post to say, "this is Project: Mayhem done right." It's not a riot. It's not terrorism. It's taking a stand. It's an ever-increasing circle of people gathering together and saying, "We've had enough. No more."

Take a look at the icon I used for this post. I know exactly how things ended for that guy, too. But sometimes, things reach a point where you've got to listen to all the Mad Prophets, all the Tyler Durdens and the Howard Beales, so you can see what drove them mad and make it stop.

You don't have to go mad to say you're not gonna take it anymore.

Fnord.


athelind: (ouroboros)
The last panel of today's Shortpacked! sort of capturtes how I've been feeling lately. I need to snip it and resize it for an icon, if the text will still be readable at 100x100.

"We're finally growing up?"

"Screw that. We're finally catching up to all those bastards we know on Facebook who are having their third kid."



I need some kind of tag to indicate "This is a good thing, really!"
athelind: (Ommm)
Reading my friends list this morning, I saw one post that immediately made me think of responding with lines from Max Ehrmann's famous poem.

And then I saw another.

And another.

And I realized that I could use a reminder, myself.



Desiderata
Max Ehrmann, 1927

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.


I know that when YouTube has videos available, I usually post them, but, oh my stars and garters, Les Crane's 1972 recording is Pure Concentrate of 1970s Badness. Can't we get Leonard Cohen or someone to do their version?
Please don't link to the parody in the comments.

athelind: (Eye of the Dragon)
And so, another year ends, and Your Obedient Serpent will be more than happy to be shed of this one. I bid 2010 adieu with two upraised middle fingers and a shout of defiance.

It's time to face forward.

I've mentioned that sometimes, the radio talks to me, that the station I most often tune to has a tendency to play certain songs over and over again, and sometimes, the songs that cycle into that repetitious rotation are ones that directly address my moods and circumstances.

Back in November, as I was preparing to move a lifetime of belongings out of [livejournal.com profile] quelonzia's garage, this one played nearly every day.

I was going to post it tomorrow, but it played again, just minutes ago.

This, then, is my New Year: No Resolutions, Just Resolve.

I've got a world and a life and a future in front of me.

And it's mine.






I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams ... )

Happy New Year, one and all!

athelind: (hope)
The solstice has come around again, as it does every season.

The darkness has grown over the last six months, and for some, it weighs heavy on the soul.






If I never loved, I never would have cried. ... )


This year, the Longest Night brings with it a fleeting extra shadow—but even shadows bear beauty and promise.

For those lucky enough to have clear skies tonight, you'll be treated to the first Solstice Eclipse in 456 years.

And after this long night brings tomorrow's distant dawn, the light will come again.

The spring will come again.






It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance ... )


A Joyful Solstice to you all!

May all the gifts of Blessing, Renewal and Redemption find their way to you in the coming year.

Remember, no matter how dark and cold and long the winter night might seem ...

There will always come a spring.


athelind: (far call)
I just watched President Obama's speech at Kennedy Space Center.

My distillation:

He wants to move beyond the "Business As Usual" stagnation of the Shuttle era, but he doesn't want to go back to the days of token high-profile publicity stunt-flights. He wants to set up a long-term program of expanding and extending the human presence in space, and improving the technology to get us out there and let us stay out there. He wants to establish a space infrastructure, and not just one in LEO: one geared for long-range, deep-space exploration.

I don't think he ever said the "C-word", but I might have heard it there, between the lines.

Neil doesn't like it, but Buzz does—and, frankly, between the two, I trust Buzz's opinion more. The guy who advocated the Mars Cycler is not the type to say "we should keep doing it this way because we've always done it this way".


athelind: (cronkite)
Am I missing something?

Apparently, "striving for nuclear disarmament" by rattling sabres at Iran and North Korea, "supporting international bodies" like the WTO, the World Bank, and other corporate bulwarks, and "rekindling hope" by Not Being George Dubya Bush qualifies a man for the Nobel Prize, despite what Your Obedient Serpent perceives as a continuation of all of Bush's most rephrehensible policies, at home and abroad.

Okay, not all of Bush's policies. President Obama isn't actively rude to other countries.

But, ten thousand thunders! how is it that I find myself inclined to agree with Neocon Republicans and Taliban members about this?

If Reagan was Teflon, Obama is Kevlar. His opponents are so reprehensible that I wind up aligning myself with him simply to distance myself from them. It's like he generates a Godwin Deflector Field: I'm gonna stand over here, with Barry, so none of The Stupid gets on me.

Seriously, I know there are non-North Americans reading this. What's your perspective on the President and the Peace Prize?



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor has his own take on what this represents, and it does make sense, from a certain point of view.



Update: [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four has another good take.

Good stuff is popping up in the comments here, as well; thanks, gang!



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi makes some good points On Obama.

And that guy in the Oval Office had was as astonished as anyone else, it seems.



Update: Meanwhile, The Washington Post puts it all in perspective by pointing out that the Peace Prize has also, historically, been awarded for "aspirations". (Of course, those who have a medical background know that if you aspirate something, you may choke on it.)


Most of these updates are for my own future reference, but also for interested readers.
athelind: (Default)
Am I missing something?

Apparently, "striving for nuclear disarmament" by rattling sabres at Iran and North Korea, "supporting international bodies" like the WTO, the World Bank, and other corporate bulwarks, and "rekindling hope" by Not Being George Dubya Bush qualifies a man for the Nobel Prize, despite what Your Obedient Serpent perceives as a continuation of all of Bush's most rephrehensible policies, at home and abroad.

Okay, not all of Bush's policies. President Obama isn't actively rude to other countries.

But, ten thousand thunders! how is it that I find myself inclined to agree with Neocon Republicans and Taliban members about this?

If Reagan was Teflon, Obama is Kevlar. His opponents are so reprehensible that I wind up aligning myself with him simply to distance myself from them. It's like he generates a Godwin Deflector Field: I'm gonna stand over here, with Barry, so none of The Stupid gets on me.

Seriously, I know there are non-North Americans reading this. What's your perspective on the President and the Peace Prize?



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rodant_kapoor has his own take on what this represents, and it does make sense, from a certain point of view.



Update: [livejournal.com profile] circuit_four has another good take.

Good stuff is popping up in the comments here, as well; thanks, gang!



Update: [livejournal.com profile] rikoshi makes some good points On Obama.

And that guy in the Oval Office had was as astonished as anyone else, it seems.



Update: Meanwhile, The Washington Post puts it all in perspective by pointing out that the Peace Prize has also, historically, been awarded for "aspirations". (Of course, those who have a medical background know that if you aspirate something, you may choke on it.)


Most of these updates are for my own future reference, but also for interested readers.
athelind: (cronkite)
It was a Wednesday. I was 5.

This was the fourth fifth time I'd watched one of those impossibly immense Saturn Vs lift off from Cape Kennedy. My mother insisted on watching every televised moment she could of those flights, and I was right there beside her, as much as I could. During 9 and 10, the school was dutifully notified that I was staying home, sick; I suspect that "Moon Flu" was a common strain in 1969.

I remember -- or I think I remember -- Walter Cronkite's deep, reassuring voice; I've heard it so many times since that I can't really be sure if I remember it from the broadcast, or from the LP record that CBS released and I played regularly through the '70s. I do remember, vividly, the NASA animations that played over his descriptions of the various stages of the launch and the space flight, precise and technically detailed cut-outs that would nonetheless seem crude by today's standards.

I remember the official NASA release images my father, a newspaperman, brought home, the flimsy thermal paper just off the facsimile machine, already browning. Somewhere, I may still have a notebook full of them, mostly from Apollo 13's ill-fated flight; they were in my possession as recently as my days at Cal State Monterey Bay.

I remember the excitement, the tension. I knew, even at the age of 5, that I was witnessing the single most important event of the century, the single most important event of human history.

Forty years ago today, three men leapt off the edge of the world into the Black.

I was watching.

athelind: (Default)
It was a Wednesday. I was 5.

This was the fourth time I'd watched one of those impossibly immense Saturn Vs lift off from Cape Kennedy. My mother insisted on watching every televised moment she could of those flights, and I was right there beside her, as much as I could. During 9 and 10, the school was dutifully notified that I was staying home, sick; I suspect that "Moon Flu" was a common strain in 1969.

I remember -- or I think I remember -- Walter Cronkite's deep, reassuring voice; I've heard it so many times since that I can't really be sure if I remember it from the broadcast, or from the LP record that CBS released and I played regularly through the '70s. I do remember, vividly, the NASA animations that played over his descriptions of the various stages of the launch and the space flight, precise and technically detailed cut-outs that would nonetheless seem crude by today's standards.

I remember the official NASA release images my father, a newspaperman, brought home, the flimsy thermal paper just off the facsimile machine, already browning. Somewhere, I may still have a notebook full of them, mostly from Apollo 13's ill-fated flight; they were in my possession as recently as my days at Cal State Monterey Bay.

I remember the excitement, the tension. I knew, even at the age of 5, that I was witnessing the single most important event of the century, the single most important event of human history.

Forty years ago today, three men leapt off the edge of the world into the Black.

I was watching.

athelind: (green hills of earth)
A year ago today, I did something I rarely do: I wrote down an explicit list of New Year's Resolutions. The other half of that tradition, of course, is to sit down at year's end and evaluate my progress.

2008 Report Card )

2009 Resolutions )
athelind: (Default)
A year ago today, I did something I rarely do: I wrote down an explicit list of New Year's Resolutions. The other half of that tradition, of course, is to sit down at year's end and evaluate my progress.

2008 Report Card )

2009 Resolutions )
athelind: (green hills of earth)
Solstice Greetings, everyone, and peace and good will to one and all!

On this, the shortest day and longest night of the year, let us remember that it is, indeed, darkest before the dawn, and in the cold of winter, embrace each other in a spirit of love, fellowship, and joy.


"Praise be to the distant sister sun, joyful as the silver planets run."

athelind: (Default)
Solstice Greetings, everyone, and peace and good will to one and all!

On this, the shortest day and longest night of the year, let us remember that it is, indeed, darkest before the dawn, and in the cold of winter, embrace each other in a spirit of love, fellowship, and joy.


"Praise be to the distant sister sun, joyful as the silver planets run."

athelind: (We The People)
[livejournal.com profile] toob just got married a few months ago, making him and his husband among the people that Proposition 8 most directly impacts.

I have nothing to say that he hasn't just said more clearly and truly:

Listen to what I am saying: they won nothing. All they did was briefly, temporarily revert California to the state it was in at the beginning of the year. But they are standing there with their thumb in the dike (Ha!) and new leaks are springing all around them.


They haven't lost -- but they are losing.


athelind: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] toob just got married a few months ago, making him and his husband among the people that Proposition 8 most directly impacts.

I have nothing to say that he hasn't just said more clearly and truly:

Listen to what I am saying: they won nothing. All they did was briefly, temporarily revert California to the state it was in at the beginning of the year. But they are standing there with their thumb in the dike (Ha!) and new leaks are springing all around them.


They haven't lost -- but they are losing.


Sail on.

Nov. 4th, 2008 10:43 pm
athelind: (We The People)

Democracy

Leonard Cohen, 1992



It's coming through a hole in the air,
From those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real,
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
From the fires of the homeless,
From the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
On a visionary flood of alcohol;
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
The holy places where the races meet;
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


It's coming to America first,
The cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway,
Imperial, mysterious, in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean;
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right,
I'm just staying home tonight,
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on....


Sail on.

Nov. 4th, 2008 10:43 pm
athelind: (Default)

Democracy

Leonard Cohen, 1992



It's coming through a hole in the air,
From those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real,
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
From the fires of the homeless,
From the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
On a visionary flood of alcohol;
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
The holy places where the races meet;
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


It's coming to America first,
The cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway,
Imperial, mysterious, in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.


I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean;
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right,
I'm just staying home tonight,
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
That Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on....


athelind: (obama that one)

Thank you.

athelind: (Default)

Thank you.

November 2016

S M T W T F S
  12345
6 78 9101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930   

Tags

Page generated May. 26th, 2017 11:24 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios