The Bog of Lost Scholars

March 3, 2008

A Random Thought

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 12:34 am

The world badly needs Jane Austen’s novels as performed by Cirque du Soleil.

November 12, 2007

And a Parenting Gripe

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 11:12 pm

And continuing the rant theme….

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a parent: Don’t write any checks that you can’t or won’t cash.

Or in non-metaphorical terms, if you tell your child “Stop doing X or we’ll leave”, and your child continues doing X, you’d better be prepared to haul your kid out of there.

At the very least, you shouldn’t just sit there watching your kid do X over and over again, especially when X is something that could actually harm other people. Why, a random bystander might get so annoyed at your unwillingness to follow through that they might actually yell at your kid, “Hey! Your mother told you not to do X!” in a much more attention-grabbing tone of voice.

But seriously, if that parent’s doing this on a regular basis, they’re going to receive their own punishment, because the kid is going to learn that they don’t have to obey their parents.

October 26, 2007

An Etiquette Gripe

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 6:13 pm

In the category of “this still annoys me two weeks after the event, so I might as well get it out of my system to the known universe”:

A funeral is not the place to recruit members for your organization.

But if you must let someone there know about your group, please do not interrupt or derail someone else’s conversation in order to do so.

(Why, yes, I am very annoyed that I did not get to hear some reminiscences about the deceased from someone who had known her well, because we were interrupted by someone who kept talking to the other person about this group until it was time to leave.)

August 30, 2007

Ice

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 6:09 pm

Anyone who has been around me in person in any place where drinks are served has probably figured out that I’m somewhat obsessed with ice. I love the flavor of ice; I love ice that’s softened enough to chew; I love the flavor of clean freezer frost (and in college, would pour water into the melt tray of my little fridge just to encourage more frost to grow in the freezer).

So I’m probably one of three people in the world who isn’t in the ice industry who finds this description of types of ice interesting. (And now I know what to call my favorite type of ice [flake and nugget; both are pleasant to crunch, and there are restaurants I’ll go to simply because they use it].)

If I ever win the lottery and decide that I want to blow a lot of money on some luxury item, a nugget ice machine is high on the list!

May 30, 2007

A Thought on Past Lives

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 9:46 pm

You hear about all these people who claim that they were Egyptian princesses or Aztec warriors or such in a former life. That’s not terribly interesting to me. You know who I want to have been in a former life?

Anonymous, that’s who.

No, not the unknown anonymous. The Anonymous that everyone’s heard of. Anonymous, the author of thousands of songs, stories, and poems. Now, that would be a cool former life.

“Oh, you were Napoleon in a former life? And you were George Washington? And you were a random peasant somewhere in England who lost all your teeth by twenty and were dead in childbirth before twenty-five? (Just between us, I buy your story more than I buy those other two pompous weirdos.)

“Well, friends, I trump you all. I was more famous in a former life than any of you could dream of being, for I was…Anonymous.

“You haven’t heard of me? Well, of course not, but you certainly know my work. The early English play “Everyman”? Mine. The Song of Roland? Mine. “Ring around the rosy”? Mine. The entire contents of Child’s ballad collections? Mine.

“What do you mean, how did I manage to write things in multiple centuries and countries? By being reincarnated as Anonymous more than once, of course! Sheesh, ask a silly question….”

Yeah. That would be very cool.

May 9, 2007

Attack of the LOLCat

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 10:55 pm

I have been amused by the various appearances of LOL cats, but since my cats are sadly deceased, I figured I didn’t have to worry about them wreaking havoc on the Internet.

Then again….

February 12, 2007

Sundry Thoughts

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 11:27 pm

1. Which is larger — a metric buttload or an imperial buttload?

2. I’ve realized that it doesn’t bother me that my home state is ranked stingiest in certain areas of government social spending. What bothers me is that it’s ranked worst in various measures of quality of life, for which more government social spending is one possible solution. For example, if this state was ranked lowest in amount spent by government on medical care for pregnant women, but also had the lowest frequency of stillbirths and preterm babies, I’d be quite happy with that. It’s when we have the least spending on prenatal care and the highest frequency of pregnancy problems that I start scratching my head; clearly non-governmental sources aren’t doing the job either.

3. One thing I never see mentioned when people talk about living wills and medical powers of attorney and advance directives: If you’re a woman of childbearing age who has any reason to believe you’re fertile, shouldn’t you say in your advance directive what you want done in case you’re pregnant at the time you become incapacitated? (abort, let fetus come to term, keep your brain-dead body on life support until the child can be delivered, turn you off whether or not the kid’s cooked) ETA: For that matter, given that there exist scumwads who rape incapacitated women in hospitals and nursing homes, it’d be wise to also state what you want done if you’re impregnated AFTER you become incapacitated.)

4. How much is one oodle?

January 25, 2007

On Guilt

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 7:19 pm

A friend was drawing cards from the Dreaming in Color deck for folks on her friendslist. Mine was Guilt.

Guilt, to me, is frequently a less than useful emotion.

Guilt generally occurs at the wrong time. When I do something that I shouldn’t or fail to do something I should, I feel guilt — but unless I’ve repeatedly done/left undone said thing, I don’t feel it on the next occasion BEFORE I do/don’t do the action.

It’s telling, by the way, that the first example that comes to mind is eating too much sugar-laden food. Women seem especially prone to guilt over our eating choices. And it’s definitely a case of non-useful guilt — I rarely hear someone say, “After I ate two chocolates from the box, I remembered how bad I felt the last time I scarfed down a whole box, so I put the rest away for later.” It’s much more likely to be “I knew I shouldn’t, but I ate the whole thing.” Gee, the guilt isn’t doing very much good there, is it?

And why, precisely, is it bad that you ate the whole box anyway? No, I’m not saying that it’s necessarily good. But if you can’t answer the question “why is it bad?”, that’s another indicator of non-useful guilt. If I can say, “it’s bad because eating too much chocolate at once throws off my blood sugar and my digestion, and I should treat my body better than that” or “overindulging in any food is gluttony, which is a sin”, the next time I see a box of chocolate I’m a bit more likely to remember that there’s a reason why I shouldn’t eat it all, or eat any. If all I can come up with is “because it’s bad, that’s all,” that’s not going to change my behavior.

The one time after-the-fact guilt becomes useful is when there’s actually something I can do right then to make amends. For example, if I’m feeling guilty because I said something cruel to a friend, I can pick up the phone or hit the email and apologize. But if I’m feeling guilty because I ate the chocolate, there’s not much I can do other than not eat more until dinner, and I probably don’t feel like eating more anyway. And if I’m feeling guilty over something I did twenty years ago, well, it had better be something really big to justify my dwelling on it, and even so, by now I’ve either changed my ways (and the guilt’s served its purpose) or I haven’t (and there’s a wrong more recent, and more likely to be amendable, that I should be thinking about instead).

(In writing this, I’m realizing that I make a distinction between guilt, remorse, and regret. Guilt is the generic. Remorse is rational and appropriate guilt, what one feels towards a specific thing done or not done, that one can give a reason for its being wrong, and that’s felt in proportion to the wrongness of the offense. Regret is wishing one had done something differently, but doesn’t imply that the original action/inaction was inherently wrong — I regret not going to see Silly Wizard the one time I had a chance to, but missing the performance wasn’t a sin. Regret can also be remorse that’s been cleaned of the guilt burden over time; I know that the action was wrong, and I’ve learned better, but I no longer feel guilt when I think about it.)

November 1, 2006

Catless

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 1:32 pm

After a few weeks’ gradual decline and a couple days of rapid decline, my elderly cat died last week. So I’m now catless.

He lived 16.75 years, almost all of them healthy and energetic. He survived several adventures, including three plane trips, six different households, one feline companion, being in an apartment when the upstairs neighbor’s gun went off (entirely unharmed), setting his fur on fire (which didn’t entirely teach him to stay away from the gas range), and losing the tip of his tail in a shut door. It took probable kidney and heart failure to finally take him down.

At the moment I’m not planning on getting another cat. As I’ve said to friends who asked, I’ve still got someone in my household who’s non-verbal and independently-minded; granted, he’s my son rather than my pet…. Actually, I’m finding that I miss my cat specifically, but I don’t miss having-a-cat generally yet. Whenever that time comes, there’s no shortage of kittens and cats needing homes; till then, I’m going to enjoy the central bathroom staying clean and pleasant smelling.

August 3, 2006

A Note to My Northern Friends and Relations

Filed under: Random Ramblings — castiron @ 8:35 pm

Dear friends in the northeastern and midwestern U.S. and in eastern Canada:

Next winter, or perhaps the winter after, when you hear stories of southern U.S. cities closing down due to receiving a quarter-inch of snow? Think upon this past week’s heat wave, and hold your snickers. Thank you.

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