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Hard Drive (LCARS) Revue 1: trust, truth, logic, and a bit of nonsense

Here is the first in a series of blog posts that will be partly serious and partly crazy, culled from my hard drive (LCARS) as I attempt to put it in some better order, and also just get rid of some of it. There will be no theme, no order, and little to no sense to the imagery. There will be photos and materials extending back at least to 2003.

The text here is from February 16, 2017.  Little has changed in two years. The photos and images were taken or collected in 2011. The photos of me are from February, so just about eight years ago, shortly before I would leave my east coast home for...this place, and also shortly before peri-menopause began. All indications point toward that being over after exactly eight years, in June. A lot of me has changed since then, but I plan to at least get my 2011 figure back by the end of summer. Reflection
"Last night when I pointed out one small but important distinction between our former president’s immigration policy in 2011 and the one employed this weekend, the reply, from a complete stranger with whom I’d had no previous discourse, was “you hate trump so you want to believe wrong things!” That’s nearly an exact quotation. Probably you said a different word than things, which is a habit word of mine.

"To my way of thinking, this is akin to me saying, “Well, some ketchup doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup in it,” and you replying with, “you just hate hot dogs!” Funandgames
"At first I dismissed the idea that we could have any sort of rational conversation, you being a little keyed up and unwilling to consider some middle ground or examine motivations objectively.

"But what if we could do that? Here are some ideas and points I’d like you to think about and consider. Kellyprofile
 "Suppose you learn of an important event in world news and you want to learn more about it, so you Google it and see a list of links to read. If you are an objective curious person, you’ll choose several of them, and not just the one at the top, as someone likely paid for it to be there. But you won’t just launch into reading the page. First you’ll see who wrote it, and who sponsored that writing. What do you know about them? What is their background in policy education or journalism? And then as you read the material, you’ll think about whether they are citing what we call “primary sources,” with links to those sources, or whether they are repeating words written by someone else who got them from someone else. EgyQJ
"You’ll also think about whether the language in the piece is objective, or whether emotional or inflammatory words and phrases are used. Is the writer attempting to make you believe something, or is he or she stating facts backed by primary data? Has the writer also drawn from more than one source of information? Are conclusions drawn at the end of the piece, or has the writer concluded only with a summation of what he or she presented? If there are conclusions, do they logically reflect the information offered? Do they insist that you draw the same conclusion, or do they leave it for you to decide on your own? HQKIa
"In reading the several pieces you’ve chosen, do you find yourself searching for a point of view you’d like to see represented? Do you automatically dismiss writing which indicates either a different point of view, or facts that would negate the one you wish to be correct? 

"How do you decide who to trust? Are you generally a trusting sort of person, or do you tend toward suspicion of others, particularly others with a different point of view from your own? Wasabibaconmartini
"There are two very general reasons people mistrust others. First, because the others make them uncomfortable. This might be due to previous experiences that ended badly; we’ve all had our share of those. The brain employs a defense mechanism when it perceives a threat, warning us against it, and that is a good thing. But sometimes our brains are kinda superficial excitable organs, picking up inessential details and forming a picture with them that isn’t really very accurate or that doesn’t leave room for variables we don’t yet know. It’s being overprotective, and that isn’t a good thing. When that happens, we have to slow down our words or actions and make sure we’re not letting confused feelings get in the way of critical thinking. But how do we recognize when that’s happening? Back to that in a minute. Funny_wonder-woman
"The other general reason people might be mistrusting of others is because they have a habit of being untrustworthy themselves. It’s not nice to say, but it is a reality. If you steal things or tell lies, you will decide other people do, too, because you want to not be the only person who does these things, and also because you spend a lot of time covering for your words and actions, and you are always looking to see if anyone else is suspicious of you. You become suspicious of them, as a result. You might even end up seeking out other people who do lie or steal, because you’re more comfortable with them. Then as a group, you might collectively decide that’s just how most people are. We prefer to think most people are like us, because we want to like ourselves as we are. Merbelle
"I would prefer to think most mistrustful people are like the first group, instead. I like to think well of people. I don’t think poorly of people because they look different than me, as a simple example, and I wouldn’t want them to think poorly of me for looking different from them. I can understand that if someone who looks different hurt you, the scared overprotective part of your brain might wish to assume others with a similar appearance are also dangerous, but you have a rational side, too, which should tell you that different appearance wasn’t the reason you were harmed.

"Knowing that, rationally, would you choose to harm someone merely because they look different from you? We know the sad truth is that people sometimes do. It is an irrational behavior. Allkindsofwrong
"So how do you recognize when you’re letting emotion or your brain’s overprotective prejudices override critical thinking? I’m not an expert in these matters, but I’ve thought about it a lot as my kids grew up. We have likes and dislikes, formed from what we’re exposed to, what appeals to our senses, and our natural inclinations, of course. We don’t think about why we love a certain food; we just do. If it’s a “treat food,” which is how I’d describe it to a child, we know as adults we should have only a certain amount of it, or at certain times. We negotiate with ourselves; I will have a piece of cheesecake because I ate a great kale salad and a hearty but lowfat soup for lunch. Most of us don’t always get it right. We’re impulsive, and easily enticed by the sight and/or smell of something rich-tasting, but nutritionally unsound. Longing
 "If you are biased, as we generally all are, you will, just like the liars and thieves, seek out others who share your bias. Do your biases lean toward negativity or positivity? Then so will the mood of the group you’re sharing them with. But if you are also committed to objectivity, you will seek out others who try to be that way, as well. And those are the people who can and maybe should influence your biases the most. You must be honest with yourself for this to work. You must be prepared for the point of view you prefer to be sometimes wrong or even harmful to others, and you should be willing to change your mind when that occurs. It requires a degree of humility."

So here you go, this is what you're going to get from me for the next little while, though mostly on not at all serious topics. I just had that one sitting nearby and wanted to attach it to something. Maybe it'll help you talk to someone or idk, anyway. Atpeace

Starting out, starting over, 16 years on

A. This post is mostly about uninteresting things, but I needed to get it all down, and maybe it's good for something for you, as well. Mostly, future posts will be only about half this long, or less, and I have an idea that I should strive to make them entertaining.

I was organizing various files and computer elements in recognition that Google Plus is ending after nearly 8 years, because you were too lazy to use anything but Facebook or Tumblr by 2011, unless you’re one of my Google Plus friends, in which case you weren't, but know just what I’m saying, and anyway, I decided it was time to freshen the blogs.

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I used them less, and less as I wanted to because of G+, and that’s my only real negative point about it, other than how people treated it who weren’t there every day enjoying it. There are two blog sites, and each one has a subblog. (When I first got them, there were reasons for that, too dull to go into.)

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So I have the main blog which is currently just a link page, more on that in a sec, and the poetry/writing page. Then I have the actual main blog where I write this stuff, and this has a subpage for talking about cooking and sewing and such things, which I hope to update more going forward.

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The main blog had posts going back to 2003, from when I used Dreamweaver and uploaded everything to an FTP server. Then I had Live Journal, Blogger, Vox, and finally Typepad. So the older posts were not all formatted well, and some of the images were lost, but I kept it all as a sort of History of Ridiculous Me.


In 2015 I wanted a fresh start, so I moved over to the second main page, but kept the first one as an archive. 

It’s not fine literature. Some of it is rather stupid. But I like looking back at Younger Me and saying, aw, you. And some of it is rather good, though I do say so myself. Better still, sometimes I was even funny, before life got to weighing me down so much. At least, I amused me, and that was fine.


I tend to pick up on certain kinds of things before they become trendy, and the old blog was a chaotic catalog of some of that, as well. But now here I am, starting over, a far different person in some ways at 53 than 37. Gosh, being in your late 30s is grand. Don’t take that for granted. Anyway, so now I’m going to switch to a new scene for a few minutes and tell Angela about the fire dreams, since I can’t just send her a link to what I thought was a hilarious denouement of a lifelong mystery. Skip way down to C. if you just want this to end swiftly.


B. I dreamed of fire as a child, nearly every night sometimes, with occasional rests, from ages…3 or 4 or 5, to 17. Less frequently after that, but I still do, a few times a year. Fire that burns and burns, but never quite consumes, or of a fire-ravaged aftermath. No one is ever hurt, there is never much drama, but I would wake up hot and terrified and certain that the electric wiring in the walls was slowing burning its way to the outside, or that lightning had struck a tree outside one of my three bedroom windows, or that the fire in the fireplace downstairs hadn’t been extinguished properly.

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I was terrified to leave my bed, so I’d watch for smoke under the door, and sometimes, after an agonizing wait, carefully go over to see if the door was warm. I can picture it now; when I was in kindergarten, we took a trip to a place called something like Santa Claus Lane, and I got a little Santa sticker I slapped on the middle of the inside of my door. It could not be fully scraped away later, and was always the first thing I saw when I woke each morning. So there was the little Santa, and maybe there was fire behind it, but I couldn’t hear anyone, and I’d call quietly for Mom, Dad, both, and raise my voice a little at a time til they either heard me, or heard me too loudly to carry on ignoring.

When I was a little older, I’d make it out of my room into theirs, because I just could not go back to sleep in my own bed, not knowing what might happen. Even though I knew nothing would. 

You know, I sleep in a huge bed, and I always say I’ll never give it up because I like the heater in it, and also the sheer extravagance of spreading out my books and things all over it. But Mom and Dad’s bed was also very large, and so I did fit between them, probably not all that comfortably from their point of view, yet we were not crowded against each other. I would lie as perfectly still as I could, to not disturb them further, but I would worry for hours, falling asleep at dawn. 

I sleep very well now, or would if the schedule allowed for it. And I do like all this space. Maybe, though, it feels secure, like that part of childhood.

When the dreams didn’t haunt me every night, something would trigger one; smoke on the horizon, a thunderstorm, things like that. But I never feared actual fire; it fascinated me. Fire is awesome when it isn’t destroying something we’d like to still have around.

Sometime I’ll write again and describe the dreams themselves, but one of them I had so often when I was a child seemed like the starting point, and I wondered for many years why I dreamed it. I concluded at some point I’d seen a scene like it on TV or in a movie, as my parents were just the worst at censoring scary or violent material from my young eyes.

(The truth is, they never intended to have me after the third and fourth pregnancies ended sadly, and they were not doing all that well with each other, though they kept trying, and so I grew up being both adored and “spoiled,” and left to my own devices, kind of in the way of what all the older people wanted to do or enjoy or brood at each other about. It was odd being taken to see The French Connection, but also being told I couldn’t stay up after 9 to watch Carol Burnett. But that’s enough digression.)

No one could remember any event that might have started this dream problem, though there was some serendipity to it initially that I’ll also rewrite some other time. 

When I was 17, my mom and I lived in a townhouse and our old house was featured on the TV news as it burned to the ground because of poorly stored paint cans and an abysmal volunteer fire department. I’ve had a few dreams over the years of wandering through it in a half-burned state.

Four years ago, I looked for the dozenth time for clues on the web, thinking maybe it had to do with a Night Gallery episode featuring that guy who played John Boy being a sin eater, and licking butter off his fingers as he consumed a meal laid out on a dead guy. I bet you didn’t watch that when you were 7 or 8, did you? But I did. And I never forgot it, Mom.


You know, it’s a good thing I found it then, because the way Google searches (don't) work now, I think I never would. 

The main scary dream involved a girl laughing at her mom in a bed as flames rose up around her and she could not move. That’s all the detail you need, but I can picture it still. Because it is in this disaster of a movie that apparently re-aired on TV when I was about three years old. Yes, the mom in my dreams was Zsa Zsa freaking Gabor. Laugh as you wish. It’s okay. But anyway, now you know why I never watched Emergency! when I was a child. I self-censored; someone had to. I never saw Towering Inferno, either, until a few years ago. Funny how that movie played out like my dreams, fire just slowly, slowly taking over. Anyway. Here we are. Here is the entire movie, if you want to watch it, and certainly you do.

C. I turned the original blog into a link page to reach this one and the other two, and my Twitter account. But now that I want to use them all more, I want to be funny again, and silly, and also sometimes serious, and yes, much less long-winded, generally. I haven’t figured it out yet, though; I could go in any direction, or just back over all the same topics again. Your thoughts on that are welcome, and you don’t even need to sign in to leave them. I just gleefully delete stupid or mean ones, so it works out fine. 

PS: I found the original blog post about figuring out the fire dreams. But it's kind of long-winded, even for me. It's more complete and more visual and I think it's interesting, but then, I would, wouldn't I? Read it only if you're, uh, completionist about the naval-gazing things I sometimes write.