Many things

So we’ve been up since 2am. Matt’s boss asked him to work European hours because the Italian project he is on was having a bit of trouble and he would come online just as the Italians were going offline. As wife and cheerleader (as well as the unemployed half of the couple) I didn’t think it was very fair that he get up at 2am while I stay snug in bed, the unemployed slacker (aka the deadbeat). So I’m getting up with him.

A few things of note have happened:

I got the first two volumes of Joseph Campbell’s Masks of God books. I read just a few of the first paragraphs of the first book and I noticed something about myself. It felt really nice to be reading scholarly nonfiction again and to be dealing with big words and complex sentences. It felt like I was dusting off the old brain and starting her up again. I’ve been reading mainly fiction (Lord of the Rings) and nonfiction, but the nonfiction has been gardening books. Gardening books don’t really stretch the brain. “Plant the seed at this time at this depth. After the seed germinates and gets its first set of real leaves, it will need fertilizing with fish emulsion at half strength every week for three weeks.” Important information but not a real mind-bender.

While purchasing the respectable Campbell books, I also got…… “Tarot for Dummies.” Yes, you heard that right “Tarot for Dummies.” And it is set up exactly like a Dummies book. It’s so funny. This is supposed to be arcane knowledge that deals with otherwordly psychic powers, and it’s in Dummies format.

Carla and I want to have interactive games on our website and we thought we would write a little program that reads your tarot cards. It seems like a simple enough concept. Randomly choose the cards and, with if/then statements, display the appropriate message. But it turns out that there are a TON of sites that do this little game. But that’s okay… we’re going to write our little program anyway.

The reason I got the Campbell books is that I have to set up the “religion” of the witches and wizards and dragonriders etc etc. I thought I would make both the witches and wizards wise, but the witches deal with mother earth, nurturing, plants, herbs– that sort of sisterhood and motherhood. And the wizards sect would teach about power in an Eastern religious sort of way. Hmmm…. I’m going to have to come up with better wording than things like “sort of way.” 🙂 Anyways, these “teachings” already exist, but I don’t know much about them. So the research begins. 🙂

A couple more things about the Tarot book. It was in the New Age section at Barnes & Noble, and, both while I was looking at the books in that section and while I was checking out at the cashier, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed whenever someone would pass me in that section and would stand perfectly still until they passed, relaxing after they were gone. My chosen group of friends and my family all ridicule, often in a very base manner, all forms of fortune-telling. Astrology, tarot, tea-leaves, palm-reading. Now, I agree with my family in that I don’t think any of these things will tell the future, but I was soooo embarrassed to be seen with a tarot book. I was one of those people that we all make fun of.

Another observation whilst in the New Age section of Barnes & Noble: the witch books section is big. All the other New Age topics– crystals, animal spirits, Indian shamans, I-Ching– they only got a book here and there or a shelf at most. The witches get an entire bookshelf (about 5 shelves). Witchcraft is popular. And there were a couple of books concerning the topic of being a teenage witch. All those books had the same anachronistic quality that the Dummies tarot book did. For example, they had the famous “Book of Shadows” (several copies) as a paperback with a modern cover. However, whenever you see The Book of Shadows in a movie, it’s always this huge dusty tome with everything written in calligraphy, not typeset. I think the next movie should have the witch getting her books from Barnes & Noble, not handed down from her great great grandmother in an old wooden box.

Okay, final observation: my 12-year-old cousin wrote a fantasy story. We’re probably going to post it on our Wizard Moon site. You can find it at: http://www.fanfiction.net/read.php?storyid=610132 Now, here’s the observation… actually there’s a couple of observations. First observation: At the age of 12, she already has the language of stories understood. In fact, she understands it so well that she can create her own story using the language and format that we have developed as a population (Americans). She can mimic children’s books of that genre so well that I think, with a little editting, she could be an author of children’s books or of major studio motion pictures.

And I thought writing books was hard.

I did an interview with Sam Hurt once and he said that one of the reasons that he enjoyed teaching children more than teaching adults is that children don’t have their self-editors working in high-speed yet. Adults edit everything we create to the point where it’s hard to create. Children let things come forth without inhibition or self-editting.

I’ve tried to turn that editor off and I can’t. Try it. Try to draw a cartoon or write a short essay without constant self-editting. It’s really hard. As adults, we are crippled by a lifetime of judging other people and worrying about how others will judge us and what we create. (Or at least that’s my theory.) I think it’s a handicap that you can overcome, but I don’t think it’s easy to overcome. At least, I haven’t overcome it yet. 🙂

Second observation: Kels uses Japanese names a lot. I love anime and manga, have studied the Japanese language and culture, and have named my dog with a Japanese name. (Niko which is hard to explain. Niko niko suru means to be smiley. In manga, when a character is all smiley and happy, they write the word niko a couple of times around them.) But Japanese cartoons are all the rage right now. Take a look at Cartoon Network and count how many of the shows they air that are Japanese. Or even Saturday morning on the four major networks– lots of Japanese cartoons. And they use the fact that they are Japanese as a marketing selling point. Japanese stuff is hot right now. I don’t think I was the only influence in her young life that led her down the anime road.

Her story follows all the elements of a children’s fantasy book with mainly fantasy names that follow Western phonetics, except for the occasional Japanese name. I just find that interesting.

Boy, do I overanalyze or what?! C’mon, throw something at me. I’ll disect it, add a couple of fancy words, and give it back to you– broken apart and labeled for easy consumption. Omigod! And I’m about to read Joseph Campbell books! You think I overanalyze now….

Oh, last observation: on the site where Kels posted her story there were thousands of stories posted. Writing and telling stories I think is a human trait, not a personal trait.

Hmmm… it’s now almost 4am. The day is about to start.

March 25th, 2002 | General | No Comments -

Dreams and reality

Damn! Why do I surf the web? I feel so small and…. typical. Surf and peruse, read people’s words, look at people’s art…. we’re all the same. I’m one among MILLIONS. I should strip my name and tattoo a big barcode on myself. From this point on, I’ll be #359174.

….. sometimes it doesn’t make sense. Will my dreams become reality? Do I have what it takes? Part luck, part inspiration, part work, part dedication. I feel like I’m so mediocre at so many things, and yet I have to pretend that I have talent… that I can achieve these goals. If I am to have even a sliver of a chance of achieving any of the things I want, I have to slip into my thin suit of confidence and proceed forward.

Now where did I leave my willpower? I’m sure I had a second ago….

March 11th, 2002 | General | No Comments -

Up late

Matt and I are up late tonight. We procrastinated today so now we are up late. He is working on some time estimates that his boss needs tomorrow morning. I have a possible interview for an Oracle developer position, so I’m up late refreshing my Oracle knowledge. I installed Oracle on my machine, and now I’m installing the Application Server on Matt’s little server. Then I have to play around with Reports and Forms 6i, but I probably won’t do that tonight– too late.

I think I would be able to do the job I want to interview for, but I don’t think they will hire me. I don’t have all the experience they want in my pocket already. I only have about half of it. But, after loading this stuff on the machines and reading over stuff on Oracle’s technet site, I don’t think the job is beyond me– I’ll just have a learning curve. But I don’t think they want a learning curve. We’ll see. I’m talking to the recruiter again tomorrow.

I heard once that men don’t say “I think”, that they are much more definitive with their statements. So then I tried to strip “I think” from my conversation, but I couldn’t. It sounded too forceful, and I wasn’t always sure of my statements. I didn’t want the listener to think it was definitive if there was a chance that it wasn’t. But that’s where men differ– even if it’s not absolute, they will still state it as absolute whereas women won’t. Or that’s what I heard.

So anyways, I tried to change my habits (and found the new habits uncomfortable so went back to the original ones) because I didn’t want to seem unsure. My friend, Cindy, did a similar thing. She read that men will take up both armrests on a plane, and women will give them up. Since she read that, she always takes up the armrests.

So here’s the conclusion to that thought: why do some women try to change their habits to be more like men? And do some men change their habits to be more like women? I guess it’s not so much a conclusion as questions sent out into the universe. When I was younger, my desire to be as strong as men drove me to be quite a tomboy. Men seemed to have all the power when I was that age. Then, as I grew up and wanted men to be attracted to me, I found out that many of them like feminine women, not tomboys. I found the strength of men, but at the cost of my own femininity. Now that I’m in my 30s, I’ve realized that men and women each have their own strength. I’ve also been hanging out with the feminine side of myself a lot more lately too. It’s been fun.

So I once again noticed how many journals there are out there, and once again it freaked me out. I felt very small in a very large world. I look into the infinity of the night sky and I don’t feel that, but surfing personal websites and realizing how many of me exist– it just really freaks me out.

I also am glad I’m no longer a young geek. The pressure is tremendous to be cool (in geek terms). To work with cutting edge technology, to speak in a hip manner, to be witty. I’m glad I’m not there anymore. As I start tending plants and caring for my husband, and fall into very ungeek habits, I feel relieved to be out of the circle. I could never compete. I never had the passion that my friends did for computers and programming. I liked it… a lot. But I didn’t program freeware for Mac PDAs in my spare time or disect other people’s code to figure out some nifty thing that it did.

Matt has finished writing his document and wants me to proof it before he sends it to his boss. Nite, all.

March 4th, 2002 | General | No Comments -

Very pleasant day yesterday

So yesterday was one of those days that was extremely pleasant even though you were expecting just an ordinary day. We went to lunch with our friends who worked with us at Viviance. About once every three months, the ex-Vivis get together to have lunch and chat. And I had a very good time. Then, when we got home, both of us were sooooo sleepy for some reason. So we took a very decadent nap in the middle of the day on a Friday. Then, when we woke up, we played with the dogs and spent time with each other. Then Matt made the most amazing and yummy dinner. And then we played EverQuest until 2am. It was such a fun day.

But now we are working today. 🙂 Matt’s impromptu day off on Friday means that he works today. But that’s one of the sweet things about working contract– you can switch a Friday for a Saturday without any problems.

The dog and cat play with each other. It’s a lot of fun to watch. The dog is 2-years-old and quite hyper. The cat is 13-years-old and very mellow. So she tolerates him for a little while, playing with him and getting him more and more excited. And then when she’s had enough, she swats him hard a couple of times. This time she backed him into a corner when he wouldn’t leave her alone. It was really funny.

March 2nd, 2002 | General | No Comments -

Procrastination…. or is it?

So I’ve been doing things that are very hard for me. I’m not an artist, but I’ve been drawing the little characters for Wizard Moon. I’m not a writer, but I’ve been trying to write my Great American Novel. And I don’t have much confidence. Matt is my primary confidence, and my friends are my secondary confidence. They all constantly say “Your work doesn’t suck.” That’s got to get old for them after awhile.

Since these things are hard for me and I don’t have much confidence, I procrastinate about half the time. I clean the kitchen or surf the web or play Spider Solitaire (the game for procrastinators) until enough time passes that I start feeling like a loser and work on Wizard Moon or Belief and Code.

Complete change of subject: my cat loves catnip. I pour some on the floor and she rolls in it and gets it all over her fur and then licks it off. She will sniff out the catnip box, wherever we have put it, and claw at it with her little paws. So, among the zillion of seeds I bought, I bought catnip seeds. I got them for Raven (my cat), but I also got them because we have a ton of cats in this neighborhood. It’ll be fun to see general kitty reaction to catnip.

March 1st, 2002 | General | No Comments -