June 18th, 2004


Universal shield

I recently have noticed a disturbing (and new) aspect of myself.. something that wouldn't be disturbing to many of my friends, at leastfor them, but it's weird for me to have it. It seems to be anotherthing I've absorbed.
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Sometimes one finds a strange disjunction between values, between thechildren of some values, and the children of others.. Not all values comefrom the same place -- some are more biological or emotionally based thanothers. I believe I have the strength of personality to hold thecontradictions within myself, and to still hold as important values thatI identify with intellectually that struggle with the emotional values..but it's hard. It doesn't make it easier that I don't have the help-each-othersolidarity of people who share my belief that what I'm struggling with issomething that should be struggled with. It would be seductively easy tojoin them. And no, this isn't about religion. I'm still as atheist as ever :)

My new DSLmodem arrived in Pittsburgh today, and I barely ended up missingit. I wish that FedEx/UPS would, when a package makes it into town of therecipient, give them a call instead of just trying to deliver it. I amusually not home (I spend a lot of time at the Coffee Tree, work, and havea number of other things I occasionally do that fill my time). I can usuallyarrange to be home if I know roughly when delivery is due, and if I had theopportunity to direct the package to Coffee Tree when I know I'm going to bethere, that'd be wonderful. Instead, I get those damned yellow tags. So,tonight, I'm going to make a late-night trip out to a place near Timbuktuto get the kit so I'll have internet this weekend. Oh well.Amusingly, Speakeasy, my new ISP, had the following note with their serviceprogress meter:

If there is software (CDROMs, etc), included in the packaging for yourDSL hardware, please DO NOT install it. This software is not necessary forthe operation of the hardware or your DSL service. In fact, use of thissoftware could potentially impair the proper functioning of your serviceor render it inoperable, resulting in a billable technician dispatch.

Isn't that wonderful?

I've been starting to ask my friends in Pittsburgh, many of whom are fromEastern Europe, what in Eastern Europe is worth seeing.. I'm starting tothink that I might like to have my first real vacation for a long time.I'd like to see a lot of pretty scenery, and also historical sights relatingto the October Revolution and World War 2. Here are my notes (I tend to writeto myself in a mix of languages.. this is slightly Anglified) ..

Russ Leningrad Moscow * note: dangerous for foreignersPolen Krackow - Museums - Oldest Universitat - Monument Warsaw - Resistance Movement Auschwitz Tatr Mts ZakopaneOsterreich Wien - On DanubeHungary Budapest - Also on DanubeTscheck Rspbk Very pretty

Yeah, that covers a huge area -- I'm figuring that if I do this, I'monly going to be able to give it about 1.5 weeks, so I'll probably needto trim it down. Someone at work suggested I get some kind of Eurorailpass to save money. I'm still in the early figuring-things-out phase,so I don't know if it's even going to happen, and have no idea when,but it does sound fun. Moscow and Leningrad are definitely a must forthe trip if it happens.

Yesterday, at the Tree, I was reminded of one of my pet peeves, whenpeople stand in a parking spot, or put something there, in order toreserve it for someone. It probably didn't help that this was asoccer mom cheerfully waving others away from her spot for about15 minutes until her husband came with a huge SUV.. it bugs me in thegeneral case though. I occasionally, when people don't even stand there,remove things that people put out to reserve such spots. Grr.

Last night, the Generalists, the philosophy group I'm part of, met again,this time to watch a kooky movie made by wackos, this time from the left-wing,claiming that NASA is part of a Nazi plot for world domination. Interesting,yes, but mostly from the amusement value. The only thing that was in therethat didn't seem crazy was a concern that the Military-Industrial Complexis a self-justifying group that influences politics in a bad way. Anyhow,as the lab room we were in to watch the DVD didn't actually have a DVDplayer, we all visited my apartment. It was nice -- it's both newly cleanand I haven't had guests for awhile (apart from a brief visit by K). As R,who I've known for awhile now, didn't have a DVD player, I gave her my spareone. It's really good that finally it'll get some use apart from collectingdust in my closet.

I'm haunted by some conversations I overheard yesterday at the Tree --people talking about relationships, one of them finishing a messy divorce.Partly it was weird because I was forced to spit back out some delusions thatI swallowed, for the sake of harmony, recently, and partly it was hard becausethey were touching on some subjects that are very sensitive for me.
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Anyhow, I'm going to a dinner party tomorrow that promises to be fun.Hurrah. I also, for reasons I won't explain, have a large amount ofnew music to listen to, and decide either to keep or toss. This makes mehappy.