2 3 live&learn&rejoice: December 2011

December 24, 2011

more ho-ing, less eating

. . . no gluwein, no egg nog, no fudge (insert all chocolates here), no dressing, no bread, no grazing, no desserts, no sweet potatoes with dessert toppings

. . . no weight gain to bitch about next week & beyond


December 22, 2011

celebrate winter solstice

more daylight coming to a city near you soon

December 20, 2011

dele

to all the folks i've offended by editing their work in the past, pls take a moment to view a galley proof by honore de balzac . . . editing really is your friend. . . .

December 19, 2011

not just another pretty face

male wood duck
in lithia park upper pond
does life get any better than this?

December 18, 2011

curious?

One central argument of Curious?, a new book by the psychologist Todd Kashdan, is that it's possible, in principle, to develop a sense of curiosity about anything at all - and that doing so may be the only viable path to fulfilment. This isn't always going to be easy. But it's not particularly hard when talking to Kashdan himself: his curiosity-piquing job title is director of the Laboratory for the Study of Social Anxiety, Character Strengths, and Related Phenomena at George Mason University, Virginia. Apart from anything else, I was curious about the width of his business cards.

Curiosity, Kashdan writes, isn't about "whether we pay attention, but how we pay attention to what is happening" - an orientation that seeks what's novel in a situation, rather than what's pleasant, and embraces uncertainty, rather than struggling for closure and control. (He cites numerous benefits, including tentative evidence that exercises to inculcate curiosity may stave off Alzheimer's.) The book is full of studies such as one in which an 18-year-old bodybuilder, among others, is induced to try crocheting. The researchers' conclusion: when asked to focus on the novel aspects of an experience they believe they'll dislike, people are more likely to return to it, voluntarily, later on.

We all pay lip service to the value of curiosity, but it is usually only lip service, especially in the world of self-help. Because if curiosity means being open to the unfamiliar, and to whatever emotions may result, then arguably any strategy for achieving happiness - for guaranteeing happy feelings, rather than sad ones - is intrinsically incurious. And such strategies don't work, Kashdan says, because we're socially and genetically hard-wired to adapt to experiences, whether good or bad. Create a life that thrills you, and the thrill will fade as it becomes familiar. Work on developing curiosity, by contrast, and you'll stand a better chance of resisting adaptation - because to become curious is, precisely, to train yourself to seek what's unfamiliar.

Crucially, though, this needn't mean pursuing the most bizarre experiences possible: you can avoid becoming the kind of person who boasts of travelling to ostentatiously obscure locations, or whose hobbies take 15 minutes to explain. Curiosity is a quality of attention, not a property of specific objects. "We don't realise that curiosity doesn't have to be about, say, waiting until we meet some really interesting person who's wearing a T-shirt of a band I love," Kashdan told me. "Instead, I can actually wield this curiosity, and seek what's intriguing about my world ... about people I think I know everything about, or someone I've been married to for 20 years."

That's not to say exciting experiences don't have a role. One of the most striking findings in Curious? is how much more lasting marital satisfaction couples report after undertaking novel, exciting activities together - from meeting new people to jetskiing - than after pleasant and relaxing, but familiar activities. The point, it seems, is that there's novelty in every situation if we look for it, but there's no harm in making the task easier by remembering to do plenty of new things. "As long as something is novel," Kashdan says, "we are still in the process of finding and creating meaning." And "finding and creating meaning" may be as good a definition of fulfilment as I've yet encountered.

oliver.burkeman@guardian.co.uk

And if you are still curious about being curious, check this out: http://ceicuriosity.tripod.com/

tis the season

  • Gliding. Start out marching, then stand on two feet and let yourself glide. Once you’ve mastered the two-foot glide, start transferring your weight to one leg at a time and picking up the other for a one-foot glide.
  • Stroking. Now that you’ve mastered the one-foot glide, start alternating back and forth. This is called stroking. A good ice skating tip for beginners at stroking is to start with short, quick glides before you try to balance on one leg for long.
  • Swizzles. This easy skating technique involves propelling yourself forward without bringing your feet off the ice. Start with your heels together, toes pointed forward and out. Slide your feet apart, then bring your toes together. Repeat the motion so your path looks like an hourglass. Master these forward and backward.
  • Crossovers. Designed to help you skate around corners, you can practice these in a hockey circle by placing your outside skate over your inside skate as you glide around the corners.

December 16, 2011

rip

“I sympathize afresh with the mighty Voltaire,” Mr. Hitchens wrote in Vanity Fair in October 2010, “who, when badgered on his deathbed and urged to renounce the devil, murmured that this was no time to be making enemies.” (per washington post story 12/16/2011)

Shortly before he died in Paris, Wilde quipped to a female friend: "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go." (much disputed quote, but true per story in cnn.com and really let's all just go with it, it's fun)

"Et tu, Brute" . . . Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

December 14, 2011

be kind

. . . whenever possible.
it's always possible.



dalai lama

December 13, 2011

lillian schwartz

wave



lillian schwartz exhibited her digital art at moma in nyc in 1968.
she continues to create digital art and has also used her knowledge of colors and pixels to restore old italian masters.
it's all quite a story.

December 12, 2011

freezing or frozen?

Freezing fog occurs when liquid fog droplets freeze to surfaces, forming white soft or hard rime.[22] This is very common on mountain tops which are exposed to low clouds. It is equivalent to freezing rain, and essentially the same as the ice that forms inside a freezer which is not of the "frostless" or "frost-free" type. The term "freezing fog" may also refer to fog where water vapor is super-cooled, filling the air with small ice crystals similar to very light snow. It seems to make the fog "tangible", as if one could "grab a handful".
Frozen fog (also known as ice fog) is any kind of fog where the droplets have frozen into extremely tiny crystals of ice in midair. Generally this requires temperatures at or below −35 °C (−30 °F), making it common only in and near the Arctic and Antarctic regions.[23] It is most often seen in urban areas where it is created by the freezing of water vapor present in automobile exhaust and combustion products from heating and power generation. Urban ice fog can become extremely dense and will persist day and night until the temperature rises. Extremely small amounts of ice fog falling from the sky form a type of precipitation called ice crystals, often reported in Barrow, Alaska. Ice fog often leads to the visual phenomenon of light pillars.

The phenomenon is also extremely common in the inland areas of the Pacific Northwest . . .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fog

December 11, 2011

a next thing

a new way to merge print and video, stay tuned to the end of the clip to see super cool examples, http://vimeo.com/32880682

but is it art?

google chrome has a store & in that store there is a sumo paint app & in that app there is a symmetry tool that is great fun to use & wouldn't it be more appropriate if the word were spelled syymmettrryy?

December 7, 2011

December 6, 2011

dis or un * interested

A bored person is uninterested. Do not confuse this word with the much rarer disinterested, which means “objective, neutral.”




December 5, 2011

winter solstice 2011

. . . in the days of great change we will each go through being put into the great sieve and shaken up, letting everything that does not support your highest self and greatest good fall away. Not one of us can escape this.

sanitary bathrooms

December 3, 2011

December 2, 2011

too cool for school

justice afghan style

this is the government that the USA is supporting in afghanistan

NY Times
December 1, 2011
For Afghan Woman, Justice Runs Into Unforgiving Wall of Custom

By

KABUL, Afghanistan — When the Afghan government announced Thursday that it would pardon a woman who had been imprisoned for adultery after she reported that she had been raped, the decision seemed a clear victory for the many women here whose lives have been ground down by the Afghan justice system.

But when the announcement also made it clear that there was an expectation that the woman, Gulnaz, would agree to marry the man who raped her, the moment instead revealed the ways in which even efforts guided by the best intentions to redress violence against women here run up against the limits of change in a society where cultural practices are so powerful that few can resist them, not even the president.

The solution holds grave risks for Gulnaz, who uses one name, since the man could be so humiliated that he might kill his accuser, despite the risk of prosecution, or abuse her again.
       
The decision from the government of President Hamid Karzai is all the more poignant coming as Western forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, underscoring the unfinished business of advancing women’s rights here, and raising questions of what will happen in the future to other women like Gulnaz.

Indeed, what prompted the government to act at all was a grass-roots movement that began after Gulnaz was featured in a recent documentary film commissioned by the European Union, which then blocked the film’s release.

Supporters of the filmmakers charged that European officials were shying away from exposing the sort of abuses Afghan women routinely suffer for fear of offending their host government.

While Gulnaz’s pardon is a victory for both Clementine Malpas, a filmmaker who spent nearly six months on the documentary, and for Kimberley Motley, an American lawyer here who took Gulnaz’s case on a pro bono basis, it also shows that for women in the justice system, the odds are stacked against them.

The banned film, “In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail,” which was seen by The New York Times, profiles three Afghan women who were in prison. One was Gulnaz, then about 19, who gave birth to the child of her rapist in prison, after initially being sentenced to three years. In a second trial, her sentence was increased to 12 years, but a judge on camera offered her a way out: marry her rapist.
A second woman in the film was abused by her husband and ran away with a man she fell in love with; both are now in prison for adultery. The third woman was a child of 14, who appeared to have been kidnapped but was held as a runaway and has since been returned to her family.

After the film was completed, the European Union banned its release, effectively silencing the women who were willing to tell their stories. The reason given for the ban was that the publicity could harm the women, because an Afghan woman who has had sex out of wedlock can easily become the victim of a so-called honor killing. The women had not given their written consent to be in the film, said Vygaudas Usackas, the European Union’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

But an e-mail obtained by The Times from someone supportive of the filmmakers suggested that the European Union also had political reasons for the ban.

The e-mail addressed to the filmmakers by the European Union attaché for justice, the rule of law and human rights, Zoe Leffler, said the European Union “also has to consider its relations with the justice institutions in connection with the other work that it is doing in the sector.”

Even if the women in the film “were to give their full consent,” the European Union would not be “ willing to take responsibility for the events that could ensue and that could threaten the lives of the documentary’s subjects,” the e-mail said.

Mr. Usackas said that concern for the women was central in the European Union’s decision. “Not only does the E.U. care about women, but we have spent over 45 million euros,” about $60 million, “in support of different programs for women,” he said, adding that the European Union also finances shelters for women.

Word of the film’s suppression percolated through human rights groups here to the point that many in the nascent Afghan women’s movement were referring to the victims by name and discussing what would be best for them, given the strictures of Afghan society. Some people circulated a petition urging Gulnaz’s release and gathered more than 6,000 signatures, which were delivered to Mr. Karzai.
Although human rights advocates came down emphatically on the side of broadcasting the documentary, Afghan women’s advocates were more cautious, having been stung by previous cases.
In 2010, there was widespread publicity of the case of Bibi Aisha, a Pashtun child bride, whose nose was cut off by her Taliban husband; it backfired. Conservative Afghan leaders started a campaign against the nonprofit women’s shelters, one of which had helped Bibi Aisha. They came close to shutting down the shelters, which would have been a huge loss for abused women who have no other refuge.

“When we write or produce articles or movies on Afghan women, no matter how horrible the life of Afghan women is, and we know that is the reality of Afghan women, we want to be very careful not to make the situation worse,” said Samira Hamidi, country director of the Afghan Women’s Network.

“We don’t want to block the way for other women who have similar problems and who don’t have anyone to help them,” Ms. Hamidi said.

But to not show the plight of Afghan women is to reduce the possibility that the government and the society will ever change.

“It is our position in the human rights community that one of the best ways to highlight a human rights issue is to let the victims speak and to publicize what has happened to them to a wide audience,” said Georgette Gagnon, an official with the United Nations mission in Afghanistan.

The problem for Gulnaz and the other women in the film is the deeply held belief that women uphold their family’s honor. Thus any attempt to expose abuse is so humiliating to the family that a woman who speaks out often becomes a pariah among her relatives, ending up isolated as well as abused.
Gulnaz’s case shows the power of cultural norms. On the one hand, the public campaign for the woman prompted the pardon, which ensures that she will be able to bring up her daughter outside prison. On the other hand, the fact that the only imaginable solution to the situation of a woman with an illegitimate child is to have her marry the father — even if he is a rapist — is testament to the rigid belief here that a woman is respectable only if she is embedded within a family.

Ms. Malpas said that Gulnaz talked to her about why she felt that she had to give in to requests that she marry the man who raped her, even though she did not want to, explaining that not only would she be an outcast if she did not, but so would her daughter, and she would bring shame on her family.
“Gulnaz said, ‘My rapist has destroyed my future,’ ” Ms. Malpas said, recounting their conversation. “ ‘No one will marry me after what he has done to me. So I must marry my rapist for my child’s sake. I don’t want people to call her a bastard and abuse my brothers. My brothers won’t have honor in our society until he marries me.’ ”

But, mindful of her safety, Gulnaz also said that if she were to marry her rapist she would demand that he make one of his sisters marry one of her brothers, Ms. Motley, the lawyer, said.

This practice, known as “baad,” is a tribal way of settling disputes. But in this case it would also be an insurance policy for Gulnaz since her rapist would hesitate to hurt her because his sister would be at the mercy of Gulnaz’s brother.

Both Ms. Malpas and Ms. Motley said that a shelter had been found for Gulnaz and that they hoped she would go there. But whether such a Western option can prevail over Afghan custom — and whether Gulnaz will choose it — is far from clear.

Sangar Rahimi and Rod Nordland contributed reporting.