Great, I’m Gretchen’s Project Now

This semester I’m taking Religion and Culture, a 100 level Philosophy class which fills in a required “humanistic thought” elective. During the first day of class, we were asked to introduce ourselves and say something regarding our religious background. My heart was pounding as I told what should now be a familiar story: I was raised in a conservative Christian home, and when I discovered I was gay, I was ex-communicated and shunned for a period of nearly two months. The class was appropriately shocked to hear that shunning is still practiced outside of the Amish community, and we actually had an interesting, albeit brief, discussion of primitivism and traditionalism in religion.

After the second day of class, Gretchen approached me with this consolation:

“I just think it’s terrible what they did to you. How old are you? I’m dating a guy from Bluffton [my hometown] now, and he told me about this cool non-denominational church! Do you have a church now?”

When I informed Gretchen that I’ve been in a period of atheism or agnosticism for the past few years, her face fell and she mumbled, “oh, that’s too bad.” Never fear, her chipper desire to do god’s work wasn’t deterred. “Well, if you’d like to check that church out sometime, I’d be happy to go with you!”

Look, Gretchen, I’m sure you’re a nice girl and I’m sure you’ll make some one very happy some day. But really, even if I was going to go to church (which I won’t rule out), I’m not going to drive to Bluffton of all places, and I’m definitly not going with some chipper evangelist I just happen to have class with.

Today she sat next to me in class, and after class asked if I’d thought about the church in Bluffton. I calmly responded, “I have and I appreciate the invitiation, but I don’t think I’m interested in returning to Bluffton on a weekly basis; if I decide to go to church, I’d like to be involved in my local community now.”

Really, Gretchen, let’s just leave it at that.

date:2004-08-31 10:46:02
category:my life

Camino 0.8.1 out… and boy is it fast

I read that Camino 0.8.1 was released on Mozillazine the other day and decided to try it out. After using it for a few days, I can report a few things.

First, it’s a huge improvement over past versions of Camino (although I think I’m probably referring to the Chimera versions). I first tried Chimera in the days before Firefox, er, Firebird, er, Phoenix, became stable, and at the time, it suffered from weird rendering bugs and intermittent crashes. No more.

Second, it’s fast. Really, really fast. Up to this point, Firefox has been my primary browser. Safari was only fired up when I needed to test a website, or needed to log in to a site as two different users, simultaneously. And every time I fired up Safari, I was a little jealous of it’s performance. Firefox isn’t a dog, exactly, but it is, well, pokey. You know, not so slow that it really pisses you off, but slow enough to notice when compared to other, better performers. That’s one problem Camino definitly doesn’t have.

Finally, Camino puts a close button for every tab on the tab label, exactly where it should be.

Of course, you can’t have it all. MozCC doesn’t work with Camino, since Camino replaces the XUL front end with a native, Cocoa front end. So even though it’s a great performer, there doesn’t seem to be any analogous extension mechanism. Even so, it’s enough of a difference to make me change my behavior. Until Firefox catches up, that is.

date:2004-08-31 07:22:03

Summer, er, Fall, Reading List

I go into every summer (actually every “break,” be it summer, christmas, etc) thinking I’m going to catch up on my reading. It hasn’t happened yet. So I just finished Joe Trippi’s excellent “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” It reminded me how exciting it is to be young (hey, I am, relatively!) and engaged in changing culture and society. So here’s my current reading list (that is, things I’ve purchased, and have yet to read):

* “We the Media”, Dan Gillmor (in progress) * “The Anarchist in the Library”, Siva Vaidhyanathan (in progress) * “Copyright in Historical Perspective”, Lyman Ray Patterson * “Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid”, Douglas R. Hofstadter * “A Hope in the Unseen”, Ron Suskind * “Fast Food Nation”, Eric Scholsser * “Personal History”, Katharine Graham * “The Rise of the Creative Class”, Richard Florida

Last night we were killing time in Barnes & Noble before our movie began, and I had to resist the temptation to add to the pile. Is this an addiction?

date:2004-08-30 11:14:57
category:my life

I blame Paige Davis

One of the largely overrated joys of home ownership is home improvement projects. I say that slightly tongue-in-cheeck, but the fact that my fingers ache as I type makes the statement all the more believable to me. Last week Garrett and I purchased new furniture for our basement entertainment room. Our television, one of the Tivo’s, DVD player, etc all live down there, but they’re largely underutilized because of the amazingly uncomfortable built-in bench seating. The plan was to tear out the bench, buy new furniture and lounge in comfort.

Of course, two things happened. First, we decided the furniture wouldn’t look right with the walls their current color. Second, we tore out the built-in, only to find the carpet didn’t extend underneath it. Now, it’s not like we really liked the carpet to start with, so we decided to tear it out and put down ceramic tile. How hard can it be?

After three days of hard work, I can report that it is that hard. But entirely achievable. We found ancient vinyl tile under the carpet, and after three hours of trying to remove it with putty knives and scrapers (and only getting 20% done, at most), we rented a tile stripper. By the end of the day yesterday, we had repainted most of the room and laid 90% of the new tile. Tonite, we cut the edge pieces and grout on Thursday.

I blame Paige Davis, host of TLC’s Trading Spaces, for this project. The actual conversation we had at the home improvment store went something like “If they can do a room in 2 days on Trading Spaces, and Hildi can do it in Prada heels, how hard can it be?” I think Paige’s unwavering chipperness is the result of either a high tolerance for pain or an incredible drinking habit. And the two may be related.

I’ll post pictures when feeling returns to my fingers and I find the digital camera.

date:2004-08-30 08:35:42
category:my life

Big Changes

I haven’t blogged much since OSCON. Not because things haven’t been happening or haven’t been interesting, but because sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation or impetus to write about things.

Last Friday, August 13, was my last day at Canterbury. It was strange, much more so than I anticipated. I’ve been balancing Canterbury and CC since the beginning of July, and yet it was so strange to walk out for what felt like surely the last time. I’ve already been awarded a contract to implement a content management system for them, but it’s not the same: in so many ways, I grew up there. Twice. First when I attended high school there, and graduated thinking I could take on the world. And again when they offered me a job, after I’d found out how tough an opponent the world could be. They provided me with an environment where I could explore new ideas and new paths. I have a feeling that Canterbury’s rather unique in this regard: not only did they provide an environment for me to grow professionally, where they essentially subsidized my education (formally and informally), but I was also able to grow personally. Between the diverse faculty and the flexible schedule that accomdated my psychotherapy, I was richly rewarded. So leaving seemed, well, scary.

I’ve spent the week adjusting to working from home full time. I’m getting tired of hearing how lucky I must be. It is nice, in many ways. But it’s also incredibly boring sometimes, when there’s no one to hear my stupid jokes or to commiserate with. I think I’m actually looking forward to the start of classes next week; maybe I’m just not cut out for simplicity, maybe I’m happiest when my plate is overflowing.

As it stands I’m sitting here listening to Bruce Hornsby, reliving memories from my time in West Lafayette, half a dozen years ago. I’m facing off again with my perpetual rival, depression. Just when I thought it might be time to stop taking meds. I’m incredibly jealous of everyone who lives in a loft apartment with a view, or in any city, or even just near friends. The Indiana rain outside my window matches my mood, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully at my feet, so I guess I have something to be thankful for.

A resolution, then: this semester, I’ll do something that scares me every week. Lately it seems that things that scare me are also the things that make me grow the most. And god knows, I still need to grow.

date:2004-08-20 14:05:32
category:my life

I’m Paying Them to Treat me This way?

Garrett and I recently consolidated our health insurance, and as a result I’m switching physicians. I just called their office (First Care, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, so you can avoid them), and was told I needed to be accepted by as a patient. “Accepted,” of course, was said in the most condescending tone possible. Fine, I gave my information. The scheduling nurse then told me that they would review the information and get back to me. When I asked when I could expect a call back, I was told “Oh, well, we can’t possibly give an estimate. Whenever the doctor has a chance to talk to the nurse about it.”

So basically I’m paying an inflated premium, in addition to a deductable, will probably never see the Doctor on time (regardless of when I arrive), and you have to “accept” me? Well, I guess I’ll have to make sure I “accept” that statement before writing a check, too. Does anyone else ever wonder why there isn’t more street rioting by consumers who are treated this way?

date:2004-08-12 13:08:45
category:my life

The Sweet Taste of Victory

Last night our volleyball team, now dubbed the “Big Shots,” played our first matches of the second summer season. After a rocky start, I’m pleased to report that we WON! And it wasn’t even a forfeit. Not only did we win, we came from behind to beat a team I’ve dubbed “Jaba and Her Minions.” An explanation may be in order.

We play in the “C” league. Basically the non-competitive, play for fun, drink some beers, have a good time, league. JAHM approach every game like they were in the “B+” league (yes, there is such a thing, and yet no A league… whatever). They serve agressively, spike in people’s faces and are general an unpleasant, and yet suprisingly obese, lot.

And we kicked their ass. Of course, let’s put this in perspective: we played 4 games and won 1. But we WON!

date:2004-08-05 08:51:12
category:my life