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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in magster's LiveJournal:

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Monday, January 7th, 2008
4:19 pm
local news
I have been feeling an urge to reconnect with my local community by subscribing to the local newspaper so I have started reading it online. (Well, I subscribed to the RSS feed but it only gives the first sentence of any given article. Dumb.)

I ran across a letter to the editor about how IU and Bloomington ought to be ashamed of themselves for being opposed to children's healthcare in Indiana. What heinous crime did they commit, you may ask? They banned smoking, which decreases tobacco sales (theoretically), which decreases the amount of tax revenue made on tobacco sales, and that tax revenue is partially allocated to subsidize children's healthcare programs.

Oh the twisted, twisted logic.
Sunday, January 6th, 2008
1:44 pm
101 Things Final Report
Well, time is up on my 101 Things in 1001 Days. I think cincodemaygirl beat me hands down but most of the stuff that's left I either am currently working on or don't care about anymore.

The final count:
61 completed
8 made some progress
32 didn't happen and I'm okay with that. About half are things I'm not longer interested in and about half are great goals that I will continue to think about in the future.

101 Things to Do in 1001 DaysCollapse )
Thursday, October 18th, 2007
3:15 pm
strange encounters
So I work in this office center that houses a bunch of non-profits and often I'm the only one there working. It's not uncommon for people to wander in randomly and say "Hey, what is this place about?" Sometimes they're genuinely curious and interested in volunteering but other times they're just weird.

Today a man wandered in and looked at the poster about the Dalai Lama coming to speak at IU. He asked me where the Dalai Lama lives and without thinking, I said "Tibet."

He said "No he doesn't. He's forbidden to go back there. [pause] He's such a phony. He wears a watch. I bet he lives in a penthouse in New York. And the Pope is no better. You know, he was off touring and do you know what he did for 'leisure?' He watched a soccer game. Wanted to see those cute young boys run around. Blech."

And then he left, before I could think to say. Which is probably just as well.
Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
8:46 am
7x7 meme
I was tagged by bbick

1. List seven habits/quirks/facts about your significant other.
2. Tag seven people to do the same.
3. Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag whoever wants to do it.

1) His default word when he can't remember a word is "ninja." As in, "Have you seen my... ninja... anywhere?"
2) Like most of my previous roommates, he can not find things in the refrigerator if they are in the drawers.
3) He makes an awesome frittata and is a good cook when he's cooking for both of us but would probably live on ramen noodles and hot dogs if left on his own.
4) I'm not sure he could survive more than 48 hours without his computer.
5) He likes to make up random songs about what we're doing like "Maggie's making cookies, yeah!" and when I tease him about his lyrics not rhyming, he points out that "cookies" rhymes with "cookies" so really he just needs to repeat every line.
6) One of his talents is to "win" conversations, which happens when he comes up with bizarre enough tangents and arguments that the other person stops talking.
7) He is very good at making me laugh, even when I'm horrified by what I'm laughing about (I'm afraid this will sound even more horrible over lj but lets just say that two of his favorite topics are "punching" and "kittens.")

Okay, and the seven people I'm tagging:

Thursday, September 13th, 2007
5:09 pm
last names
Will & I are planning wedding stuff again and got on the subject of last names. I don't particularly want to change my name, but we did discuss that we could both change our names to something different, just for fun. Like secret spies. And then we came up with the perfect new last name: Zawesome.

I think our kids might kill us, though.
5:04 pm
Space Camp
I got Netflix. So of course I've been adding lots of crazy stuff to my queue. The first movie I watched was Space Camp, which was an enjoyable kitchy 80s family movie about kids at space camp who accidentally get sent into space for real. The true message of the movie was that all adults are jerks. And robots are awesome.

However, it was not the movie I thought it was. In fact, I had never seen it. I thought I was getting a different movie, of which I only remember one scene. There was a group of kids and one of them was in a wheelchair. His favorite time was when they got to go swimming. They put him in a little inner tube but when the adults weren't looking, he slipped underwater to experience weightlessness. Unfortunately, a lifeguard looked over and thought he was drowning. The lifeguard dove in and hauled him to the side of the pool, which totally ruined his happy weightless experience and made him start choking on pool water. And there was space camp in there somewhere, I think.... Ring any bells?
Friday, August 24th, 2007
5:27 pm
down in the pawpaw patch
I was out at the farm today. Steve & I got up early to beat the heat (ha ha!) and pick vegetables for market. We came in about noon to shower & have lunch and then we hopped in the car and drove down to Steve's super secret pawpaw patch.

For those who don't know them, pawpaws are a fruit also known as the Indiana banana. They grow on trees in the woods and ripen sometime between August and October depending on the variety & climate & all that. They are about fist-size and look like a blockish egg. There are usually between 2 and 6 fruits on a tree, so it takes a lot more trees to get a worthwhile amount than if you're picking, say, apples. Oh, and the preferred method of picking is to shake the tree vigorously until the fruit fall and then pick them up off the ground.

It hurts when they land on your head. A pair of them smacked me right in the nose and that was about the time when I was ready to be done but we traipsed through the woods for another half hour or so while I fine-tuned my theory about ripe pawpaws being most frequent in stinging nettle patches.

It was fun to do a little hunting & gathering after our stint of more traditional agriculture. I would call it "gathering" but somehow that makes it sound really easy, like they're just lying on the ground waiting to be scooped up into a basket. It was really more like hunting - creeping through the woods, looking for the right trees, peering up to see the fruit, shaking them vigorously until the fruit fell, and then searching wildly to see where they fell.
Thursday, July 5th, 2007
8:24 am
talk about marriage
Will has been following some threadlist somewhere about marriage and asked for my two cents so I thought I'd post 'em here as well.

>Here's what started the whole thing:
>" Recently--and three guesses why--my pondering has shifted away from
>comparing Marriage as a Legal and Socially Sanctioned Declaration of Love
>and Commitment versus a Committed Lifelong Loving Partnership that does not
>have the legal stamp on it. Now I am deeply considering the relative
>desirability and value of Lifelong versus Not-Lifelong relationships.
>I am really grappling with this and I want to know what you think about it.
>If a person is not religious (and doesn't care about sanctity/sin) and not
>planning to have children (and therefore isn't trying to provide a stable
>parenting dyad)--
>Why is a *lifelong* romantic relationship and partnership the ideal?
>What is it, exactly, that makes a lifelong commitment--whether through a
>legal marriage, non-legal ceremony and celebration, or a verbal or even
>tacit agreement--so important in American/Western mainstream culture? Why do
>most people search and strive for singular, lifelong monogamy rather than
>serial monogamy? Why is it the goal to have *one* partner and *one*
>relationship that lasts til death? Why (and how) is that "better" than
>having multiple romance-partnerships throughout your life, letting each one
>last for as many years as it seems inclined to? Why do so many people
>believe a lifelong relationship is more meaningful, more special, more
>important, more satisfying, more [fill in the blank] than a shorter one that
>just ends when it ends?
>...I'm really not interested in cynical responses or sniping criticisms of
>other people's choices. And I am well aware of the historical roots of
>marriage to control women, etc, so you needn't dredge that up. I want to
>know what *you*, personally, truly believe. I want to know why *you*
>want(ed) lifelong commitment, or why not if you do/did not."


My guess is that most people pursue a Lifelong Relationship because it is what we are culturally programmed to do. That's the model we see the most often, largely because it has the backing of most major religions, Western tradition in general, and there is still that idea out there that the goal ultimately is to have children so people are seeking that parenting dryad.

For people who actually stop and ask themselves on an individual basis if they really want a Lifelong Relationship rather than Serial Monogamy (and are not constrained by religion or the expectation of raising children), I expect 50%-75% still want a Lifelong Relationship. Why? Because it seems safer and easier. (I would say this is the explanation for why so many people choose a 40-hour job with benefits even if it doesn't quite fit their dreams and aspirations.) Being with one person forever means you always have that person to count on and plan around/with. You don't have to worry about "When is this going to end and then what will I do?" You don't have to worry about the heartache of breaking up and the trauma of dating after X years in a steady relationship.

Granted, there are no guarantees that your marriage will actually be a Lifelong Relationship. Either of you could change your mind somewhere down the line and decide it isn't working. One of you could die. But I think for a lot of people, there is a lot of reassurance in the idea that both of you are commited to making it work forever. The trick is for both partners to understand that it's a shared goal and that you both have to work for it. The fact that both of you are committed to a Lifelong Relationship doesn't make it easy to do. There will be lots of compromise and negotiation and reevaluation as you each grow. I believe it's possible to make it work if both people are communicating and still committed to each other. But it doesn't happen automatically.

Is there anything wrong with Serial Monogamy? No, I don't think so. I can see where it might be the better choice for some people. I think most people don't even ask themselves the question, which is a shame since at the very least it gets people thinking about what marriage is before they decide whether or not they want it.

For me, I want a Lifelong Relationship because I feel that provides a lot of stability. I want to buy land, build a huge garden, get some pets, have some children. I don't want to have to worry about how all that will be divided up if/when my relationship ends and where my life will go from there. I want to have a partner I can count on for the rest of our life together. I want to be able to have 50 years of intimate knowledge of each other so when we're old we have a million inside jokes and a million tiny things we appreciate about each other. I fully intend to have a life of my own separate from my partner and to have friends who come, stay, and go over my lifetime but I love the idea of having one relationship that stays forever.
Thursday, June 28th, 2007
3:30 pm
I make a lousy hippy
There is a fly in my office that is driving me batty. Why does it have to tickle so much when they land on me? And why do they love tickling me so?

On the plus side, there are only a couple other people here today. I share a building with a number of non-profit groups and sometimes the place has an overwhelming odor of unwashed environmental activist. I mean, I'm not the most hygienic of people, but if you're going to spend time in an office with no windows, you can't do the shower-free deodorant-free things. Or at least I can't handle it. Guess I'll never be a true hippy.
Monday, June 25th, 2007
8:23 pm
notes from the farm
I was at the farm last week, hoeing some eggplants, when I heard a rumble in the distance. It wasn't thunder and it grew louder as I stood to scan the cloudy sky. Four army helicopters appeared, low in the sky and slowly cruising over the farm. I felt like a peasant in a rice field watching the Americans appear. It was bizarre.

In the late afternoon, we spent several hours picking green beans. Picking beans is truly miserable work. It's very hard on the lower back as well as the wrists and it takes FOREVER to fill up a bushel basket. We filled five. I was feeling pretty grumpy. The owners told me that picking green beans is miserable but they do it many times over and over every year because it's relatively lucrative. All I could think was "That's crazy!"

But then I drove home and on my beautiful drive through the countryside I thought "Well, it wasn't thaaat bad...."

And so the insanity begins.
Saturday, April 7th, 2007
10:21 am
local economy
I was handed a copy of "Yes!" Magazine a few weeks ago and finally got around to reading it. I was inspired by this particular issue, which focused on localizing the economy. They gave some examples of how to start sorta mainstream local businesses but they also talked about the "informal" local economy where people trade goods and services in a rather more low-key sort of way. It really clicked for me, partly because there are SO many things I'd like to do and partly because it makes it super easy to keep things small-scale and personal. It now seems totally feasible to trade typing services for organic eggs and run small workshops on solar cooking and hire myself out as a sustainability lifestyle consultant and sell herbal salve and trade childcare for massage and anything else that seems like a good fit. Whereas before I kept focusing on how to create one or two businesses that would be strong and safe and provide enough income for me to buy anything I wanted.

Anyway, there's still lots to figure out. I think I might start by posting an ad in the IDS looking for someone to teach me how to cook Indian food in exchange for... something. And perhaps I could start asking around about what it would take to create a "Barter/Trade" section in the H-T Classifieds. The possibilities are endless.
Friday, February 23rd, 2007
12:37 pm
interviews are weird
I had a job interview this morning with 6 interviewers and the whole process lasted 15 minutes, with the last 5 minutes being me asking questions. It was bizarre but I've come to the conclusion that the interview process is inherently bizarre. I am particularly tired of the semi-standard interview questions and am tempted to come up with new answers.

How do you deal with interpersonal conflicts in the office?
Well, I believe pistol duels are a very useful means of conflict resolution, as well as helping weed the office of unfit employees.

Please give example of how you have been a positive role model.
As a petsitter, I feel I have positively impacted the lives of dozens of cats and dogs in the Bloomington community by allowing them to bask in my awesome presence.

What sort of experience do you have in contract negotiation?
Being an avid gambler, I have a lot of experience in money management techniques, effective bluffing, and avoiding debt that I allegedly acquired.
Tuesday, February 6th, 2007
12:53 pm
101 things update
cincodemaygirl inspired me to post an update on my 101 goals for 1001 days. I have about 56 things left to do, and about a year to do them in. Hmmmmm. Sounds doable, although I think I may change a couple more of them that don't really resonate with me anymore.

101 Things to Do in 1001 DaysCollapse )
Saturday, December 30th, 2006
3:51 pm
Los Alamos
Here I am in Los Alamos, celebrating the holidays with terror_firma's family. We got some hiking in early in the week and then came the snow....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Monday, December 11th, 2006
7:07 pm
jobs jobs jobs
I reactivated my account on Monster a couple weeks ago and have had several headhunters contact me about jobs. (Note: I mean placement agencies, not cannibals.)

One of them left a message saying he had three possible job openings but when I called he said he realized after he called that two of them were jobs I have already held and he figured I wouldn't be interested in returning there.

Another got me an interview with a very cool engineering firm in Indianapolis. I had a good interview where we talked about how I have dreams of work that really doesn't exist in Indiana but they would love to have me on-board and would try to get me interesting projects. They seem like great people but I'm still hesitant to jump back into the world of environmental consulting because it's long hours and often really boring work. Anyway, the headhunter called today to see how the interview went and then proceeded to try and HARD SELL me on the job. It was really bizzare. She was asking all these questions like "Well, don't you think it would be a good move for you professionally? Wouldn't some of the people there make great mentors? Surely this work would look great on your resume!" and when I was not sufficiently enthusiastic, she put her supervisor on the phone to ask me another line of questions.

It was rather surreal and I started feeling really manipulated. I finally told them that yes, the company was good but I still haven't decided whether I want to move to Indianapolis and get a high-stress high-pay job or stay in Bloomington and take what I can get from the tight job market while doing lots of extracurricular things that I feel are important. At the end, the supervisor told me I seemed to have a great head on my shoulders and he felt like I was on the right track, but I still think he would have been happier if I had said "please do everything in your power to get me that job and take your $6,000 fee (or whatever it would be)."

Anyway, that was my excitement for the day. I have a couple interviews in town this week so we'll see how those go. Or perhaps I'll move to some remote island where I can live peacefully off coconuts and dried fish and never think of money again...
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006
11:27 am
novel writing month is coming up!
Hello Friends!

You've been challenged by magsterama to write an entire novel in the month of November.

Think you're up to the challenge? Come to http://www.nanowrimo.org and prove it!
Monday, September 25th, 2006
5:43 pm
As per usual, I come up with lots of things to post on livejournal when I'm away from the computer and they all flitter away when I sit down to log in.

I went to Sarah's wedding this weekend and had a fabulous time. It was a short, sweet ceremony in a cute little church right next to a farmer's market. The bride and groom were nervous but fairly calm. The audience started giggling at one point when they were obviously discussing how the next part of the ceremony was supposed to go, while the preacher was preaching.

The reception was awesome, and Lisa & I danced the night away. Except during the slow songs. Of course, it occurs to me that of the twelve or fifteen weddings I've been to, I think I had a date twice. And neither of them were dancers. But I enjoy dancing with a crowd of people and just having fun so that's what I did. They played mostly disco, on the theory that those are the songs most people dance to, plus a few polkas & line dances. And of course, they had to throw in some special songs - "Can You Picture That?" from the Muppet Movie, "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants, and "Manamana" by the Muppets. Good times.
Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
11:13 am
Okay, so this is a semi-trivial problem, but it is one of those tiny issues that creates a totally disproportionate amount of stress in my life, so I am reaching out to you for help.

I am currently working 2 long days a week, from 9:00 to 7:00, as a math tutor. Normally, I carefully prepare a big bag of foodstuff to get me through the day in a fairly happy state of mind. However, I have now managed to FORGET my food THREE times and it's really really really frustrating. I guess things are improving, since this time I left in in the fridge rather than on the kitchen counter, but I'm still very irritated. Today I am going to use my lunch break to drive home and retrieve my lunch, but I feel like an idiot doing it.

Can someone tell me how I can stop the madness? I spent all morning repeating the mantra "Can't forget my lunch" and it totally didn't help. Suggestions?
Sunday, August 27th, 2006
11:03 am
10-year reunion
Last night was my ten-year high school reunion. I had a good time, but it was a surreal experience. It was scheduled at a fairly fancy banquet hall, with a $30 cover and a "cocktail" dress recommendation. I was rather suprised when 23eris agreed to go with me, but on the other hand she was my prom date so there was some nice synchronicity there. We planned to attend the first two hours and then meet up with some other friends at a bar. When the time came to leave, I felt I could have stayed longer but at the same time it seemed better to leave feeling slightly unfulfilled and nostalgic rather than to stay until the bitter end when I was bored and sick of everyone.

There's something weird about being in a room full of people you mostly recognize but don't have any great connection with. Even when I could place names, a lot of times I had no idea why I knew who that person was. I'm pretty sure I talked to a few people that I hadn't really interacted with since fifth grade, but I knew them and it was fun to catch up, even in that superficial reunion way.

The guy I had a huge crush on senior year was there and he was still cute but I was disappointed to see that he hadn't matured much. In high school, I saw that he had a lot of potential and seemed to be moving towards being a really great guy, but now I don't have patience for people who are my age and still won't take responsibility for their own lives. I think the part that really bugged me was when we were talking about marriage and I said I was still playing the field (which isn't strictly true but I hope terror_firma will forgive the expression) and he said "Yeah, if I had my way, I would be too" and I was like, "What, did she drag you down the aisle at gunpoint? C'mon, grow up." Perhaps he will someday.

Or perhaps not everyone will rise to my extremely high expectations. One guy at the reunion said his most distinct memory of me was when he was hungover in class (again) and I told him that if he would just stop sleeping through class I was sure he'd have the highest grade. Another said that I always intimidated him, because he saw me as one of the smartest people he knew and the only thing that was important to him was that people thought he was smart. If I thought he was dumb, there was no hope for him at all, so he always had to be careful around me. It still amazes me to hear reflections back from people in high school, when I always thought I was unpopular & unnoticed.

I guess that's probably what I enjoyed most about the reunion - just walking into a room where people recognized me and smiled and said hi. Everyone was on their best behavior, most people seem to have matured, and nobody was overly nostalgic. We just wanted to see each other again, to feel connected in that artifical way that high school creates.

Good to see you, Class of 1996.
Friday, August 25th, 2006
2:28 pm
Okay, driving question for you. Now, we've all had that moment when we're stopped at a stoplight and we manage to get distracted by a shiny object. The light turns green, the guy behind us honks, and we go "Oops, time to go!" and return to the task of driving. Right?

Well, a couple days ago, I was stopped at a red light but I was turning right. There was a lot of traffic coming so I took a moment to shuffle through some stuff in my car and then the guy behind me honked. I looked up and the light was still red but the traffic had stopped so I probably *could* have gone. But was I really obliged to? Was he correct to pressure me into going? I have mixed feelings on this one, but at the time it was mostly irritation.

Guess it's just another reason to drive less.
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