balmofgilead: (quirky)
Lately I've been wanting to say:
I'm the sort of optimist who sees the glass as half-empty but is convinced that the waiter's going to come by and top me off* any minute now.  Unfortunately, the lack of proactiveness implicit in that statement is accurate as part of the metaphor.  Well, maybe it'd be more accurate to say I'm convinced that the waiter's going to stop by any minute now, but I can also see the bar (however faintly) from my seat. 
*in the standard sense, not the urbandictionary sense.
balmofgilead: (Default)
A recent Stuffing Incident confirmed that I am indeed a vegetarian at heart. It's not because it's cheaper, healthier, or better for the environment, though those are all mighty good reasons that I bring up frequently. I can't really say it's for animal rights reasons either--lord knows how many chicken embryos my lab partner and I killed last spring in the name of science education.

It's because at least 50% of the time I can't stand eating flesh.

I'm not grossed out easily. I stuck my hand up inside our (raw) turkey on Thursday, I watched my housemate Tom open oysters last week, and I clean up poop and vomit at work. But there's just no way to sanitize/purify/dissociate flesh enough that I can eat it consistently. The waste products--bones, tendons, random chewy ligaments--are incredibly disturbing to me. They're not the same as grapefruit seeds or potato peels or the rinds of cantaloupe.

(That's why I don't generally encourage other people to be vegetarians, or grudge them for eating meat [though I do defend vegetarianism]. It's easy for me to stay away. I get the impression it's nothing like that for most people. )

Today I'm going through this phase where I want to shave my head or crop my hair close to my head. It has nothing to do with making an external statement. It's part of this desire to streamline and simplify myself, almost to strip expression. [Curly hair is disorderly in a way--it's never the same twice, it's not symmetrical, it doesn't stay the same from morning til night and it can't be restored by brushing. ]
balmofgilead: (Default)
Y'know what? I have officially decided that I like getting older. Lyrics of an insipid sleep-away camp song have been running through my head lately: "I wish that we could stop the sands of time..." And then I stop and think about it--no fucking way do I wish that I were eleven again. I like the sands of time.

It's not that I hated being eleven or that eleven was a particularly bad year; it's that I like the deeper capacity to understand things that has come with age. I'm not sure if it's the brain development that continues through adolescence or if it's because I've been around longer and experienced more, but it brings mellowness and peace--and I'll take that.

I remember my mind being in a perpetual fuzzy haze when I was in nursery school: did Abraham from the Bible free the slaves? what happens if my mother doesn't pick me up from school? why aren't all of my relatives' graves in each cemetery we visit? (I think I viewed it as sort of like a library, with each cemetery having its own copy of the relevant tombstones). I'm not sure if it's common for most kids, but I didn't have a great overall grasp of time (i.e. months and years), which is both wonderful and very, very frustrating.

There were other, subtler mysteries like that as I grew older--the sorts of things that even scouring reference materials or someone sitting you down and drawing out a diagram or launching into a detailed explanation can't really sort out for you. Being able to see things clearly--and furthermore, being able to step back calmly when things aren't clear and figure out a way to make them clearer--brings a great sense of security. That skill seems to develop with age, and I like that.
balmofgilead: (Default)
"Not only did they miss the boat, they were so far away from the dock that they couldn't even hear the foghorn."

-a friend of mine

this is a rant, not a carefully-constructed position statement )

And this part is: religion was wrong for me because it prevented me* from being able to feel a sense of communion with [all of] humanity. To me, feeling a basic sense of communion with humanity is a very vital thing and an important factor in living a happy and well-balanced and productive and caring life.

I wrote some things yesterday and today but they're too rough-around-the edges to post. I'll post them tomorrow.

*I'm not implying that it works this way for anyone else; I can't know.
balmofgilead: (Default)
I keep on pledging to stay away from this stuff, but it's just so bizarre that I can't help myself. It's all true, by the way.
Reasons Why I Never Fit In Well In The Orthodox Jewish Community )
balmofgilead: (christmas)

I was going to make an eloquent but probably verbose rant about the Christmas season, but then I got lazy and decided instead to summarize my key points in this less eloquent but still verbose list:

  • It's December
  • Tinsel and trees and fake snow and pictures of Santa Claus are everywhere
  • A lot of stores and other establishments play Christmas music
  • Some people wish others "Merry Christmas"
  • Many non-Christian people complain bitterly about this

  • During the winter, it gets dark and cold, and people get lonely
  • I believe that a major reason for the celebration of winter holidays is to gather together, connect with other people, and stem the loneliness and coldness and darkness with light and food and music and togetherness
  • Most Americans do this with Christmas
  • Some Americans have never heard of your particular winter holiday, or it may not occur to them that you might celebrate that holiday
  • Therefore, they may say "Merry Christmas" to you
  • This is most likely not an attempt to convert you or bash your religion, and it won't do you much good to assume that it is
  • It is probably an attempt to connect with you and be friendly, unless the person is a cashier whose manager is making them say it
  • Sometimes, it may be necessary to re-word the greeting in your head so that you are hearing the message that the person meant to convey ("I hope you are warm and happy and have people to connect with during this cold and dark winter")
  • [insert cheesy story about bus driver giving me an all-day pass (because I had made a mistake and thought they still gave transfers and had no more change with me) and saying "Merry Christmas, this is your lucky day" here.]

  • Many Christmas songs were written by Jewish people, and those songs certainly aren't an attempt to convert you or bash your religion
  • Personally, I enjoy Christmas music, though of course you're free to dislike it
  • The character of Santa Claus is based on various nice/good/generous guys
  • Materialism and commercialism, annoying as they can be sometimes, are not religion

  • Quit whining
  • If you want to be upset about someone trying to push religion on people inappropriately, go beat up on George Bush or Fred Phelps
  • Santa hats have slowly invaded livejournal
  • Modding icons to add something out of place is fun
  • Modding an icon and getting to make a rant about it is even more fun
  • For these reasons and also in recognition of my personal attitude (which seems to differ from most Jews' attitude) toward the winter holiday season, I hereby adopt this new icon

  • santahat1

(at the time of writing, my default icon was this)


balmofgilead: (Default)

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