My weekend

Mar. 1st, 2009 04:38 pm
karlht: (Default)
I have shaken hands with Ursula K. Le Guin. And had a few very brief, very meaningful (to me, at least) conversations with her. She was gracious, warm, very human.

Yeah, Potlatch was worth the price of admission.

I'm still floating; you can probably tell. All I can think of is "At least I got to tell her thank you, and know she heard me."

Thank you again to Molly and Mara for urging me to go. This was a lovely experience.
karlht: (Default)
If you're reading this, I'm thankful for your presence in my life.

And [ profile] sylvan? I love you, too.
karlht: (Default)
[ profile] charlotte_buff asked:

1. What are three of your favorite things about where you live?

2. What's worse - 2 full weeks of constant crowds and people talking to you nonstop or 2 full years of absolutely no interaction with another person.

3. I can't believe that I don't know this about you but... do you have any pets? If so, describe them to me. If not, why?

4. Do you remember the first book that you bought with your own money? What was the title and why did you choose it?

5. When was the last time that you laughed so hard your sides hurt?

And I answered ... )
karlht: (Default)
1. Leave me a comment saying anything random, like your favorite lyric to your current favorite song. Or your favorite kind of sandwich. Something random. Whatever you like.
2. I respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better.
3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and offer to ask someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be asked, you will ask them five questions.

[ profile] arliss asked me:

1. You suddenly acquire an income more than adequate to meet your needs. Liberated from the need to earn a living, what profession or avocation do you pursue?

2. You spent part of your childhood in the south. What makes you nostalgic? What are you glad you escaped?

3. You're having a celebration. How large a party is it, and who do you invite? Do you include people from work and the neighborhood and the grocer from the corner store? I don't need a guest list, just an idea of how large or small your celebration would be.

4. If you could change one national government policy, what would it be?

5. One week with unlimited funds; what do you do?

And I answered:

1. The answer to this one terrifies me with how easily it slipped into my mind: I start a church. I turn no one away: no denominational requirements. I invite pastors, priests, rabbis, imams, bodhisattvas, anyone who will help. And we preach love, forgiveness, love, resistance to evil, love, mindfulness, love, tolerance, and a bit more love. Until they came to take us away.

2. What makes me nostalgic: The sounds of thunder in the summertime (rare out here, but much more common there). The sound of a young black waitress asking an older white man in a wheelchair, "What can I get you, baby?" (I do not know whether they were previously acquainted -- I've been away too long to differentiate the 'baby' one uses with strangers from the one used with friends and family.) Talking to you; hearing the softness of those North Carolina vowels, coupled with the natural warmth of your voice. The sight of fireflies, so common in the east Tennessee summers, unheard of in my portion of California.

What I'm glad I escaped: The almost-ritualised homophobia, and the air of casual menace that Southern males project towards people they see as interlopers. The deep mistrust of intellectual pursuits, although there's quite a bit of that out here in supposedly-enlightened California as well. The 95F/95% humidity summers. The American exceptionalism, the feeling that somehow the landed white males are superior to everyone else by God's grace.

3. The door is open, and all are welcome. But I've only invited about a dozen people. If the grocer happens by, we'll greet her from the porch and invite her and her kids in for a bite. I live in a household of five, so we can switch off the hosting duties -- I can go hide in the back room as it's necessary, without fear that people will feel unwelcomed.

4. Universal health care. Right bloody now. Emphatically including medical and psychiatric care for the veterans and victims of this clusterfuck of a war. As important as it is to end the war, and as much as I'd like to do it, this trumps it by a long way.

5. Unlimited? Pay off a staggering number of bills. Contribute another staggering amount to the bank accounts of various charities and associates (friends in the fannish community, Buffistas, etc.) anonymously if possible. Rent a truly silly minivan and drive my entire household and their mates up to Harbin Hot Springs and laze around for a week. Wire money to any of my far-flung family-by-choice (Buffistas and otherwise) who want to join us. Give my mother enough money that she can retire comfortably.

Go nuts, y'all.
karlht: (Default)
I can't begin to thank you enough for the comments on the last entry. I've been feeling a little self-conscious, a little unseen and unheard, a little hermity.

Reading kind words from people I care about is truly a wondrous thing. Thank you so much.
karlht: (Default)
As seen in a couple places on my FL:

We all have things about our friends that make us slightly envious.

Not in a bad way, but in a 'Wow! I wish I had that person's hair/eyes/money/relationship/toenails/whatever.'

So tell me what about me makes you envy me. . . then if you feel like it, post this in your LJ and see what makes me envious of you.
karlht: (Default)
I never knew how he did it. Maybe just his manner: all the good bits of Southern gentility, without the racism or pomposity. There were always at least four girls sitting with him at lunch, loudly razzing him, vying for his attention, or just soaking up his kindness. He didn't date much that year -- his sweetheart was a year older, already at college. But oh, how they loved him. And for one sweet, blessed year, I sat with them, trying like hell not to make a fool of myself as I learned what it was to be a gentleman.

Job update

Feb. 17th, 2005 06:26 pm
karlht: (Default)
They went with the other guy.

Turns out maybe I was right to be afraid to want it this much.

I'm sure it's a sign, but of what I don't know.

I've turned off comments on this entry for the moment, because I think I'll just crack wide open if I get expressions of sympathy. I may re-enable them later.

Thanks to each and every one of you for your good thoughts and vibes.

On edit: Comments now re-enabled. Thanks for your patience.
karlht: (Default)
This year is going to be all about devoting time to what's important to me. But I can't do that until I determine what's wheat and what's chaff. So I expect to spend a significant amount of the winter in contemplation and meditation, asking the questions "What is really important to me?", "How does this help me live the life I want?", and all of those other horribly philosophical quandaries that sound alternately like I'm a navel-gazing yuppie or a neo-Classicist wannabe.

The thing is, the yuppie lifestyle just doesn't appeal to me. I'm terrible at being a materialist, I despise television with a passion that almost frightens me, and I don't believe in the power of unfettered capitalism to solve the world's problems. Hell, at this point, I'm not sure the world's problems can be solved.

So why all the introspection? Mainly because I'm tired of being depressed -- I've been in what feels like a hibernation-state since active development on my last real project stopped in March of 2003. The economic struggle has sapped my will in so many ways, and I'm tired of giving it that kind of power over me. So I want to rediscover my passion for things, for ideas, for people. Because I'm not going to get to do this again, at least not in this body and with these opportunities.

I expect that my contemplation will follow these general guidelines:

1. People are never chaff. Certain people may not be ideal to be entangled with, but people are never objects to be gotten rid of. I know it sounds simplistic, but it's a moral value, if you will.

2. Wealth and security are not synonymous. I'm not sure security really exists here and now, although compared to River in Baghdad, we're all pretty damned secure. I had an opportunity to work hard and neglect my family and brown-nose my way up once, and I didn't like the feel of it. Wealth in this country feels too much like keeping the boot of progress on the necks of those less fortunate.

3. Love is the most important force in my life. This has many ramifications; it also puts me seriously at odds with what seems to be the prevailing spirit of the here-and-now. Learning to say "I will not hate you, but I will not participate in this activity that I see as destructive to others and incompatible with loving my neighbour" may be the single hardest lesson of my life. Jean Chr├ętien's "We will not participate" may in fact be the most moral thing I've seen a politician do in the past decade. I expect I will be returning to this topic many times over the coming year. It raises all sorts of questions, mostly having to do with how many steps of the causal chain do I need to feel personally responsible for, and how can I make ethical choices in the midst of a society that endorses such practices as factory-farming and near-slave labour simply by its economic structure? How much of that can I bite off at once?

4. Technology has widely unacknowledged second- and third-order effects. While the widespread use of computers and the Internet has made possible at least part of Bertrand Russell's dream of unfettered communication between ordinary citizens around the world, those same computers are being used by oligarchies and economic powers to maintain their hold on the levers of power. As a technologist and a humanist, I feel I have a responsibility to benefit the little guy more than I benefit the big guys -- the big guy can get along just fine without me, but the little guy needs all the help he can get.

There, that's a good place to start. Comments welcome; I hope to refine my thoughts out here in this semi-public forum, and thoughtful criticism is always a help.