I'm happy to report I have a good, full night's sleep last night. W00t! I even had enough energy to do some preliminary writing today. I'm now rewarding myself with catching up on some recorded shows. First you rest your brain, then you use your brain, then you waste your brain.
Some time ago I had a bout of insomnia, which I associated with the whole implosion of my job situation. It's a chicken and egg scenario: my health was shit making me hate my job making my health go to pieces making my job impossible. Now I've had little to no sleep the past 2 nights, and I'm worried it'll turn into another hellish insomniac week. I don't feel too bad right now, a little tired but still alert, so it might be nothing. I hope so, since I do not relish the thought of becoming the walking dead, wandering about searching for tasty tasty brains. The cats get nervous about that. As if I'd get satisfied with their little pea-sized brains.
Update on the freelance negotiations: I got the job. Basically the guy ran out of time to find someone else, so he capitulated. So I'll be writing stuff for the next 3 weeks. Lesson learned: say "no" then wait 'til your opponent gives in.
You know when you wake up from dreaming all night, and you can remember that you had a long interesting dream, but when you try to remember details or describe it the images or word just flit away from you? It's like trying to grab something very slippery, or trying to look directly at those protein molecules floating in your eyes. The more you try to grab it, the further away from you it drifts.
We found out about the Sasquatch Festival this week and decided what an awesome thing to do this weekend. The website and ticketmaster didn't have any Sold Out notices, so we planned a 5 hr drive each way to get to the Gorge in Washington.
Then we tried to get tickets.
Ticketmaster didn't have any. Grr. Sasquatch website still has no Sold Out notice, but won't let us buy tickets either. Grr. Craigslist to the rescue! There are two whole pages of Sasquatch sale ads on the Vancouver Craigslist site. Hooray! We email/call all the sellers of Saturday & Sunday tickets. Then the people selling the 3-day passes, even though we only need 2 days. Only 4 people respond, and they each say they sold their tickets. Grr grr grr. Seattle's Craigslist has 3 pages of sellers. Not a single one responds. Why oh why do people leave their ads online if the tickets are no longer available?!?! Use the freakin' edit/delete function, people!
So we're not going to Sasquatch. That really sucks. We figure its not worth driving 10 hrs round trip to try to buy scalped tickets and have the same luck down there. But I was still tempted.
In retaliation for the lame-ness, we bought Pemberton tickets. And Madonna tickets. I shake my fist at the concert ticketing gods!
I am tired of being pessimistic about the future when it comes to city planning and sustainability. We know as a society that we need to live in vibrant communities that include our workplace, our commerce, our schools and our recreation, in order to live in an environmentally-friendly way. But we don't have the political will to make it happen. Instead, I have to work out a way to lessen my own environmental impact in a region that hasn't planned itself well at all.
The first step was to move out of a completely car-dependent city, to one that actually had a public transit system that works. Then we had to find a neighbourhood that let us walk to get daily shopping and recreation etc done. The trade off was living in a city that priced us out of owning our own detached home. It's a decision I can live with, as is the decision to remain a one car family. Now that we are looking to get a slightly larger place, I have to find a location with similar requirements but try to include a proximity to a new workplace that I haven't yet found. Try looking for gainful employment that lets you work in your own neighbourhood or is a bike ride away or ideally work from home... and get an inkling of how frustrated I am. Sure I can find a McJob anywhere in any neighbourhood, but it doesn't mean 'gainful employment'. And it certainly doesn't help with the larger home affordability.
But stepping away from the environmentalism idea altogether, why wouldn't our population be clamouring for better neighbourhoods in general? A truly vibrant community would mean less crime, better community involvement, nicer places to live and play, more localized business, thus a more thriving local economy. It would feed off itself in so many ways beyond a smaller environmental impact. Why does that kind of place have to be a pipe dream? I hate seeing more and more housing developments being built all around the Lower Mainland without any community planning done simultaneously. All it means is more car-dependent pockets of suburbia where people hide from their neighbours. Hate it hate it hate it.
I'm doing a bit of freelance writing work. Or trying to. I'm getting stopped up by some legal issues. Perhaps I am being unreasonable, or the client is. I can't tell yet. Basically I figure if I am writing something for a particular project, I own the product and deserve to be paid for its use. It would be completely different if I was a staff writer working as a company employee. In that case, I'd be contractually obligated to provide writing for the company, which the company would own outright at the end. As a freelancer, the product is mine, thus the copyright would also be mine. I could sell the copyright with the writing I suppose, but I think the pricing would have to reflect that. Here I was, pricing my work on the low end of the scale, offering a bargain... but with the proviso if the client wanted the work for different projects, I'd negotiate it separately.
Maybe I should just make them hire me on staff for the length of the project. :)
I finally sat down and watched the 2 hour Zeitgeist web documentary, after it was recommended to me by multiple peoples. I'm still not quite sure how I've ended up feeling about it. The set-up is this:
Part 1: The origins of Christianity in pagan mystery religions
Part 2: An examination of 9-11 as a conspiracy perpetrated by international power brokers
Part 3: The origins of the US Federal Reserve bank and its consequences on individual liberty
At first glance, and at first watching of the film, the three parts have no real relation to one another. One could watch the 3 parts separately as individual conspiracies, and I see from Google and YouTube that a lot of people do watch them individually.
For me, Part 1 was the most enjoyable, mostly because the ideas in it are familiar -- a bit like preaching to the choir. I've always looked at Christianity (and other religions) from a historical and anthropological viewpoint, seeing how the religion developed by borrowing ideas and customs from earlier religions and cults, shaped by the politics of the current time to result in the religion as we know it now. Zeitgeist focused on the origin of Christianity as a sun-god religion in the earlier sun-god religions of Egypt, Greece, Minoa, and the Ancient Near East. I've normally taken a broader/longer view in seeing the paternalistic later religions (like in Egypt, Greece etc) supplanting the earlier matriarchal goddess religions (Astarte, Ishtar as newer names for her). There's always a corresponding shift in power when the religious focus shifts: matriarchal societies are supplanted by patriarchies when the Goddess is supplanted by the God. The sun-god religions see the same shift. New religions bring about a new power structure, usually by outlawing or demonizing the earlier religious customs or figures as 'pagan', while simultaneously adopting the same customs and figures with new labels to make the new religion more palatable to the masses. The movie demonstrates this procedure quite successfully, showing how the concepts of Christianity (resurrection, 12 disciples, virgin birth) arose from Ra, Dionysis, Mithra et al.
The cool part that I didn't know, is the reasons why all the sun-god cults had a similar theme... namely the astrological basis for the customs and symbols. Now, the film plays very fast and loose with 'facts', and it should be watched with some serious skepticism of the science behind it, but the study of symbolism is always a bit fuzzy. We all know the earliest civilizations looked to the sun, moon and stars for meaning in their lives, since they used them for keeping time, following the seasons, and knew the sun gave life to the crops on the most basic survival level. That's where the symbols of light and dark became the struggle of light vs. dark -- a duality played out in every religion. But the film looks deeper into the more complex astrology that came later, and draws some compelling parallels into the symbolism of the ancient religions. For example, the "star of the east" Sirius is followed (or aligned) with the "Three Kings" or Orion's belt on or around December 25th, the supposed birthdate of most sun-gods, not only Jesus. The film takes a bit of a leap here, saying the line of 4 stars points to the exact spot where the sun will be 'born' that morning, but I forgive it that. But the symbolism of the 3 kings following the bright star remains. As does the idea of the death of the sun over winter led to the concept of a dying god who is reborn in spring to give life to the people. Very basic symbolism here, and it's not surprising that symbolism shows up in most religions. I think the film just does a good job of pointing out these real world observations within the symbology of Christianity, forcing people to look at religion a bit more objectively as a myth and allegory instead of blindly believing the bible stories as truth.
So we come back to the film as a whole, and try to figure out what the filmmaker is trying to argue. Part 1: people who blindly follow religious teachings without question or understanding of origins are easily led by the power structure of an organized capital-c Church and kept in line through fear, and this concept translates to society as a whole. Part 2: those who hold power in society learn how to control the masses through fear, and will manufacture their own fear-causing events if need be. Part 3: power brokers use any means necessary to control society (once religion, now money), they institutionalize those means (protect by law), and use their influence to control the world for their own profit... while a blind distracted public does nothing to stop it. Do I buy it? Nope, not entirely. Do I think it is possible? Yes. So the film does its job in opening some eyes to the possibility. Probable? Particularly in the organized, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain kind of way? Unlikely. But it doesn't mean I can't be wrong. Spooky.
Sign that I'm getting too involved in the internet again: I signed up to comment on CBC news stories. Also, I've started responding to cheat accusations in Scramble. This is not a good thing. Next thing you know, I'll be back in flame wars on some forum somewheres.
I've been playing with a family tree application on Facebook called 'We're Related'. It's pretty basic and has a few glitches so I'm not thrilled with it. It has made me want to work on a proper genealogy though. I think I'll need to find a private program (like not accessible through a public site like FB) that is working correctly and allows for complex family relationships. Online so far I've found a bunch of American based family tree sites, but I'm reluctant to use those and pay for it as well. An American database won't help me too much as far as I can tell.
On a related note (ha ha), I'm fairly appalled that I don't know the maiden names of all my grandmothers and great-grandparents. What a shocking display of ignorance about my own family. There's a social commentary to be had about why women's names are forgotten/supplanted by the husband's family name, and the ridiculousness of that fact when you consider there's no way to accurately track true genealogies through a father's line. Think about it -- unless you track via DNA, children can only be proven to be a mother's and the father could potentially be anyone. Not that I suspect every woman of sleeping around. Scandal!
We're now the proud owners of hundreds of prime young red riggler worms, as part of our balcony compost bin. For $25 through the City of Vancouver we got an hour of instruction, a book and compost bin & materials, including said worms. I'm a little unsure if my black thumb translates to killing off worms as well as houseplants, but we shall see.
It's Murphy's Law that the morning you get to sleep in, something happens to wake you up early. Today it was Mischa puking up her breakfast all over my pillow, bed and floor beside the bed. All in rapid succession. Not only was it gross to have her do that right beside my (previously) sleeping face, it effectively ruined my chances of going back to sleep after seeing to her needs. Now I have to wait for the bed to dry. Sigh.
(No kitties were harmed in the writing of this post.)
I finally had the courage to order a BBQ pork bun in Cantonese today... and the counter clerk didn't even blink when I asked for a cha siu bau. Not the validation I was looking for. Maybe instead of asking for 'two', I should have said 'yee'.
It's bad enough I don't post on my home blog... now I'm creating a new personal blog to not update daily. Perhaps that is a bit defeatist. Let's start again.
I'm needing a way to harness my energies, and I think a daily or more frequently updated blog it the way to go. Consider it a resolution. It's not New Years, and I'm already on a successful diet, so it's a creative resolution. I figure once I actually get a job I like, this will fall by the wayside. But for now, I suppose it's a reason to get up in the morning. Rather than mid-morning, or gasp! later in the day. Come to think of it, this is almost assuredly going to be updated at night when I'm avoiding going to bed... but it'll give me something to do beside playing Scramble game after game.