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Julian Woodrobin
09 March 2010 @ 11:58 pm
In regards to teaching, and especially to the question every student seems to ask after they've skipped a day, "Did I miss anything important?"

poem by Tom Wayman:

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Julian Woodrobin
19 June 2009 @ 06:29 pm
It's time to get the federal government out of the business of enshrining the limited and limiting beliefs of right-wing Christians as laws the rest of us are forced to abide by. Establish a federal recognition of domestic unions and get the government out of the business of rubber-stamping some religions' rites of union and not others.

I firmly believe that empowering the religious ridiculousness of the few over the rights of the many contributes to the kind of thinking that the kind of people who shoot doctors exhibit: the idea that somehow their ideology is more important than the basic rights and even life of other human beings.

Enough is enough is too much, for far too long.
Current Mood: stressedstressed
Julian Woodrobin
30 April 2009 @ 12:57 pm
A short list of books, stories, etc. I would write, if I could find the time:

1. "Hence Fwang: Tales of Onomatopoeiac Exposition," a connected series of detective stories centered around Hence Fwang, Private Eye.

2. "Fui Schweng," a book describing ways to improve the energy flow of your home or business through the proper arrangement and alignment of naked gay men.

3. A spy novel starring an ex-translator for Army Intelligence who uses her wit, wiles and uncanny skill with languages to uncover a plot to impose Sharia-like laws on women in the United States by seducing the spouses of the conspirators. Extra pun points for guessing the working title. :-)
Current Mood: sillysilly
Julian Woodrobin
31 March 2009 @ 04:06 pm
I am currently suffering through the process of trying to acquire a MCSE certification. This being a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, people who know me and the degree of my affection for GNU/Linux are no doubt asking "Why?" As in "Why would you willingly subject yourself to the intellectual equivalent of a colonoscopy performed with a camera coated in habanero sauce?" Simple answer: because my employers have told me I will be 'regretfully let go' if I don't. Please note they're not paying for the exam vouchers, just threatening to fire me for not having an MCSE. Yes, I'm not happy with them. Not at all.

I'm also none too keen on Microsoft, who developed a rep for having very easy certification tests, then apparently reacted by making them harder. Harder as in "make up the most absurd questions possible, then stretch them to three or four paragraphs, and be sure they deal with situations so obscure as to be nearly insane."

I eagerly await the day when Microsoft drowns in a sea composed of their own duplicity and greed. Until then, does anyone know of any tech jobs? :-)
Current Mood: draineddrained
Julian Woodrobin
18 January 2009 @ 05:22 pm
New rules for coffee shops (applicable, I'll grant, to other venues):

1. You are not at home.

I know this one seems obvious, but it needs to be said, apparently. I know you feel comfortable, but you are not in your living room. You are in a public venue. Therefore, reading very loudly from a book, farting, picking your nose, scratching your genital region, or other activities you might feel perfectly comfortable doing on your living room couch may be frowned upon.

We'd all like to have conversations that we can hear over your exposition of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" to your toddler. You could perhaps have done that at home, couldn't you?

2. I am not your babysitter.

You pay a babysitter to put up with your child's charming eccentricities, odors, habits, actions and presence. When you are out in public, you do not automatically get to enlist every adult without a child sex conviction (as far as you know) in your immediate vicinity as free entertainment, child minders, audiences for impromptu song and dance routines (or bodily functions) or any combination of the above.

This goes triple for movie theaters. If you can't afford to hire a babysitter, you can't afford to go to an R-rated movie with your baby.

If your child requires constant entertainment to remain well-behaved, or constant monitoring to avoid getting into mischief or disappearing altogether, please cough up the money to hire the aforementioned babysitter.

Edit: I may be amenable to babysitting your child, if you pay for my coffee, or at least offer to, or maybe just ask me to keep an eye on him or her. If you assume I'm your free babysitter just because I'm here, we have a problem. Just wanted to clarify that a bit. Thanks, Urth, for showing me I hadn't fully expressed my thoughts there.

3. I am not you.

I do not necessarily share all of your opinions, beliefs, values and/or priorities. And yet I am still allowed into the same establishments as you. Shocking, I know. Try to deal with the shock. I am not your shock absorber, however. Do not expect me to refrain from being extraordinarily verbally vicious should you choose to interject yourself into a conversation that you are not party to in order to lodge your outrage at my existence and the degree to which it does not parallel your own.

That is all.
Current Location: Lola's
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Julian Woodrobin
15 January 2009 @ 04:16 pm
Obviously, I don't really use this LiveJournal account very much. Why? Basically because I never kept a diary (and if I had, my Mother would have read it and brought its contents up in an argument at some point . . . trust me on this). To me, LiveJournal feels like a collection of diaries left relatively open on the internet for passersby to read.

I'm not going to make any promises in regards to trying to break that habit, but I am going to make an effort to do so. Not posting thoughts and observations here feels like it stems from thinking that other people couldn't possibly care what I have to say about anything, and that's just plain unhealthy.

No promises (especially the kind that sit around for two years and embarrass me when I come back here and reread them). Working on thinking I have something interesting to say, though. We shall see.
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
Julian Woodrobin
31 October 2006 @ 09:15 am
This entry is a bit of a placeholder. I have several times bemoaned the fact that I never seem to post here anymore - in fact my last post to this blog was on January 3, '06 cc.

My reasons? Well, I've never kept a diary, so that aspect, writing posts about what I've been doing recently or how my day went, never really resonated with me. I wanted to aim for a more issue-oriented blog, or to be more basic, I wanted to write essay/rants about various things that caught my eye or ticked me off. That began to feel to me a bit like swimming upstream, as most of the LiveJournal pages I've seen seem to be more toward the diary end of the spectrum - which is not a criticism, but being forthcoming in that way is not really something that I do by intent, or at least not all that often. Having said that, this paragraph is obviously an exception.

My second reason was frustration. Frustration with a lack of readership, as perhaps three or four people were actually reading my LiveJournal posts, all but one of them being people I see on a more or less regular basis in person. That made the whole posting process feel more than a bit masturbatory. By contrast, my pseudo-blog of Stumbleupon page comments is visited by several new people a day, and I have about 60 mutual 'friends' who view the pages I recommend mixed with those of their other friends and vice versa. While that's a bit more impersonal than someone who adds me as a LiveJournal friend purely because they want to read what I write or because we're already actually friends in person, it does give me a feeling of what I'm writing reaching a wider group. Perhaps that's a bit vain, but I don't blog for my own consumption, as I already know what I think, so I don't think it's entirely unfair to want this to reach an audience outside my immediate social circle.

Frustration also came from setting an unreasonable goal. I promised myself that I would post something to LiveJournal every day, to prevent myself from just joining to please Turtle and then abandoning the account to gather dust, which, given my tendency to procrastinate, was a possibility. I have a Care2 account that I don't think I've ever posted anything on, and don't know if I ever will use for anything other than signing online petitions, for example.

This post is a promise, to my friends and to myself, that I am going to start making time for my writing again. Not on an artificial or unreasonable schedule, as I did last time out with this blog, but organically, naturally.

These three things I am promising, to myself and to my friends:

1. I will value my writing for itself. I've realized that, in part, not thinking that writing about myself was important was really not thinking that I was important nor that anyone would care about writing that was primarily about me. That's negative, self-limiting and just plain wrong. It ends today. That's a promise.

2. I will value this blog and those who read it. Whether or not this ever reaches a wide audience isn't and shouldn't be the point. Not valuing it because only a few people I already know might ever read it isn't the point, and though I never meant it that way, sounds like I don't value sharing things with them beyond the things we talk about in person. That's vain, unintentionally insulting, and, again, self-limiting. It ends today. That's a promise.

3. I will take the time to express myself, in this blog and elsewhere, in writing. I will, as Turtle says, "Write It Down" (tm). I've allowed myself to procrastinate, avoid writing and convince myself that there isn't anything wrong with that. It ends today. That's a promise.

I may try to be less of a drama queen in future posts, too, but that's not a promise. :-)
Current Location: Sitting in class.
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
Julian Woodrobin
From The Left Coaster:

Originally Posted by: The Left Coaster

There is no doubt that coal mining is dangerous work. There is also no doubt that the coal mining industry has been one of the big beneficiaries of the Bush Administration’s lax attitude towards environmental and safety requirements, and has rewarded Bush and Cheney with large campaign contributions.

Today, 13 coal miners are trapped in a West Virginia mine as a result of a mine explosion, and face death despite desperate rescue efforts tonight.

And yes, the coal mine in question has been given a wink and nod over repeated safety violations by Elaine Chao’s Department of Labor, for the type of violations that lead to mine explosions like today’s. Want proof?

A coal mine where 13 miners were trapped after an explosion Monday was cited 208 times for alleged safety violations in 2005, up from just 68 citations the year before.

That’s 208 citations, one year. And yet Elaine Chao’s Labor Department still didn’t close this mine, and now 13 miners and their families may pay the ultimate price for this negligence.

Read the full article here: Coal Mine Of Today's Accident Cited 208 Times By Bush Labor Department - In One Year - But Never Closed

I'm assuming the next we'll hear from Washington will be something along the lines of "Chaowey, you're doing a heck of a job!"

If people in a representative government elect the government they deserve, what the f**k did we do to deserve this?
Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
Julian Woodrobin
Bright Eyes recently performed this song on The Tonight Show, to cheers and applause (there may be hope for this country yet, folks):

(You'll need Quicktime [on Windows or Mac OS] or MPlayer [on Linux] to view the video clip of the Tonight Show performance.)

Originally Posted by: Bright Eyes


"When The President Talks To God"

When the president talks to God
Are the conversations brief or long?
Does he ask to rape our women’s' rights
And send poor farm kids off to die?
Does God suggest an oil hike
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Are the consonants all hard or soft?
Is he resolute all down the line?
Is every issue black or white?
Does what God say ever change his mind
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Does he fake that drawl or merely nod?
Agree which convicts should be killed?
Where prisons should be built and filled?
Which voter fraud must be concealed
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
I wonder which one plays the better cop
We should find some jobs. the ghetto's broke
No, they're lazy, George, I say we don't
Just give 'em more liquor stores and dirty coke
That's what God recommends

When the president talks to God
Do they drink near beer and go play golf
While they pick which countries to invade
Which Muslim souls still can be saved?
I guess god just calls a spade a spade
When the president talks to God

When the president talks to God
Does he ever think that maybe he's not?
That that voice is just inside his head
When he kneels next to the presidential bed
Does he ever smell his own bullshit
When the president talks to God?

I doubt it

I doubt it
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Julian Woodrobin
Turtle pointed me to this article from NewsHog . I've quoted the whole post here, under the Creative Commons License, but I encourage you to visit Newshog's blog as well, and if you have a newsfeed reader, I'd encourage you to syndicate it - there's plenty of high-quality posts to peruse.

(Oh, by the way, if you don't have a feed reader, my personal recommendation would be to download Firefox, if you don't already have it, and install the Sage extension. It's a very capable reader, and allows adding feeds very easily. Now, back to your regularly scheduled rant. :-) )

Originally Posted by: NewsHog

You don't have to a sociopath to be Republican, but it helps.

Republicans exhibit many of the behavioral characteristics of a sociopath or socialized psychopath-- such as an outstanding ability to charm and seduce followers. Since they appear apparently normal, they are not easily recognizable as deviant or disturbed. Although only a trained professional can make a diagnosis, it is important to be able to recognize the personality type in order to avoid further abuse.

# Glibness/Superficial Charm
Language can be used without effort by them to confuse and convince their audience. Captivating storytellers that exude self-confidence, they can spin a web that intrigues others. Since they are persuasive, they have the capacity to destroy their critics verbally or emotionally.

# Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors [as] permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They dominate and humiliate their victims.

# Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right." Craves adulation and attendance. Must be the center of attention with their own fantasies as the "spokesman for God," "enlightened," "leader of humankind," etc. Creates an us-versus-them mentality.

# Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and able to pass lie detector tests.

# Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion, it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.

# Incapacity for Love
While they talk about "God's love" they are unable to give or receive it. Since they do not believe in the genuineness of their followers' love, they are very harsh in testing it from their devotees and expect them to feel guilt for their failings. Expects unconditional surrender.

# Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge, yet testing the beliefs of their followers with bizarre rules, punishments and behaviors. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal.

# Callousness/Lack of Empathy
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them. Their skills are used to exploit, abuse and exert power. Since the follower cannot believe their leader would callously hurt them, they rationalize the behavior as necessary for their (or the group's) own "good" and deny the abuse. When devotees become aware of the exploitation it feels like a "spiritual rape" to them.

# Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others. The followers only see them as near perfect.

# Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.

# Irresponsibility/Unreliability
Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Does not accept blame themselves, but blame their followers or others outside their group. Blame reinforces passivity and obedience and produces guilt, shame, terror and conformity in the followers.

# Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle
Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future. Many groups claim as their goal world-domination or other utopian promises. Great contrast between the leader's opulent lifestyle and the followers' impoverishment. Support by gifts and donations from the followers who are pressured to give through fear and guilt. Highly sensitive to their own pain and health.

# Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility
Changes their image and that of the group as needed to avoid prosecution and to increase income and to recruit a range of members. Is able to adapt or relocate as needed to preserve the group. Can resurface later with a new name, a new front group and a new twist on the scam.

Other Related Qualities

# Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them

# Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them

# Authoritarian

# Secretive

# Paranoid

# Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired

# Conventional appearance

# Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)

# Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life

# Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)

# Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim

# Incapable of real human attachment to another

# Unable to feel remorse or guilt

# Extreme narcissism and grandiose

# May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

PS This is just my first try at this post. If you have a link that would illustrate any point better or have a major link I missed let me know. Regards, C
Current Mood: impressedimpressed