Sunday, July 9th, 2017 01:58 am
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Am just now watching a CNN series on the 1980s.

The first part they showed was about MTV. I didn't know that MTV refused to play black artists in the beginning. Back then we were living in Germany, and the only American channel we got to watch was AFN, the Armed Forces Network. I didn't get to watch MTV until 1985 or later, when we were back in the U.S. But nonetheless, it seems like nearly all the music that was popular in the 80s is among my favorite music, even without me having seen the videos for those first years.

There was a segment about the space shuttles and the Challenger disaster on Jan 28, 1986.

I had a memory of being at home, listening to my radio in my bedroom, and hearing about the Challenger accident on the radio... as if I was hearing it live*, or right after it had happened. The apartment/bedroom of my memory matches the year, 1986. Both the year before and the year after, I lived in other places. So the memory must be at least partially true.

But I just looked it up, and the accident was on a Tuesday, at 11:39am in the same time zone as I was. So surely I would have been at school when it happened. I don't remember hearing about it at school though. If I was home that day, what could the reason have been? Even if the school day ended fairly early, it wouldn't have been that early. So surely I must have been at school, gotten home at the normal time, and then heard about it on the radio after the fact. Unless we had a half-day for some reason...

Surely if I had been home at the time of the launch, I would have been watching it on TV, not listening on the radio? Or were space shuttle launches not televised live back then? ...

When a national disaster unfolded live in 1986
If you were an American kid in 1986, you probably remember exactly where you were: That's because so many classrooms were watching the shuttle launch live via a special NASA satellite feed to showcase what would have been the first American teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe.

No, I don't remember watching it live in school. Gah, no way to verify my patchy memories.

*I do think it likely that I listened to the launch live, probably on PBS, because I was into astronomy and NASA and things like that. Maybe we didn't get CNN at the time, or maybe I didn't know it was being televised too. I remember listening to other launch attempts on the radio, including aborted ones. (But as this post shows, I no longer trust such old memories. Maybe I only heard replays, not live broadasts?)

This morning I was lying in bed trying to figure out how long ago Qiao bought his house - was it 2 or 3 years ago? And how long ago was his accident? 2011 or 2012? And when was my brother living in my house? etc., etc. All that only within the last 7 years or so, and I'm already getting it all mixed up in my mind. At least now I have ways of looking up what happened when in my life. But not for 1986. I did occasionally write in a diary back then, but not about the space shuttle.

Update (7/10): I think I figured out why I was not at school that day. According to historical weather sources, it was a very cold day. In my area, it was under 20 degrees until 9am, and didn't go above freezing until the afternoon. Such weather is not usual in the South, and school was probably cancelled to keep kids from having to walk to school or wait for the school buses in such cold.
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Back in high school, we had to choose a scene from Macbeth, memorize it, and later recite it to the class. I chose one of the shortest scenes I could find, because, while I was good at remembering things, I wasn't particularly good at memorizing long strings of words.

I'm not sure if I ever recited it to the class; as much as I dreaded having to speak in front of the class, I usually ended up not having to do so. I never volunteered to go first (or 2nd or 3rd, or ever), and so the class usually ran out of time before getting to me. (Though in retrospect it would have been good to have more practice at public speaking. And it probably was a tiny bit of a let-down, getting all worked up at having to speak, and then not having to speak after all.)

As with the few other things I've memorized, I remembered it for a long time, because every so often I would recite it to myself. I didn't remember it perfectly - over time, I may have swapped in some wrong words here and there - but could still recite most of it.

Lately I had noticed that I could hardly remember any of it, except the first line. But this week at work, while standing at my desk, for some reason I started reciting it in my mind, and I remembered the whole thing again! The words flowed without a break.


It's the part with the witches talking, Act 3 Scene 5, that starts with "How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth in riddles and affairs of death..."

But actually, reading that link, it turns out that in the intervening years, I had completely forgotten the 2nd half of it. I thought it ended with "thither he will come to [meet] his destiny". But I used to have the rest memorized too. "I am for the air" ... "my little spirit, see, Sits in a foggy cloud, and stays for me." Yep, I liked those parts!

Heh. And now I learn that the scene I memorized probably wasn't even written by Shakespeare. The above link describes the scene as "un-Shakespearean". This page says: "Some literary critics believe that these [sic] scene is way too hokey to be Shakespeare's work..."

Heh, hokey! You stick your left foot in, you stick your left foot out, you do the hokey-pokey and you shake it all about!

And that's another example of me remembering something, but not remembering it quite right.

*It's like how sometimes people's names are easy to recall, and sometimes not.


Friday, October 2nd, 2015 11:18 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I could have made brownies. I could have watched a movie. I could have washed the dishes.

Instead I wanted to get this task I was working on for work, working. Because it was one of those coding/testing/figuring out/tweaking/trying again/failing/getting a little further/thinking of a new way of trying again/etc tasks that's hard to walk away from.
Now it's 11:30pm and is it working? NO!!!! The zipped files aren't working; the gzipped files aren't working; the compiled stylesheets don't seem to be making any difference; waaaaahhh! phooey!

It keeps raining and raining and raining. It was a fine mist most of today.

At the Little Oktoberfest in Munich, when I was a kid in weather like this, they sold Dampfnudeln (steamed dumplings) with a plum filling and vanilla sauce. I remember them as being so big. But they can't have been that big; I must have been small.

And then I do a websearch and find out that the Little Oktoberfest was in July, not October, so the weather couldn't have been all that cold and damp. Though it was Germany, so yes it could.

My aunt made green Wackelsalat with vanilla sauce.

Now it's 12:30am, and at least one of the 3 things I wanted to verify were working, seems to be working, maybe. Yes! It does! Woo-ha!
darkoshi: (Default)
I'm half-way through reading a PDF book, The Authoritarians. It's about the mindset of "right-wing authoritarian followers", the people who allow right-wing authoritarian leaders to gain and keep power. It's educational in that it puts into words many incomprehensible things that I've observed of some people, and tries to explain them.

I have a weird feeling like I'll get to the end of the book, and it will say "Now that you've read all this, if you believed it, that shows how gullible you are. This was all a psychological test.".

I was curious whether I myself would be pegged as an authoritarian follower or not. I am very rules-conscious. I dislike breaking rules. As a child, I recall breaking rules not feeling fun and exciting, but rather anxiety-inducing. In many cases I agree with the rules, such as vehicular speed limits, or with voluntarily declaring and paying use taxes on items I buy over the internet.

Yet if I disagree with a rule, I probably would break it. I don't consider myself likely to stand up to authority, yet I did in my own way when my company ordered everyone to work mandatory overtime.

The book mentions that children may end up different from their parents based on experiences during adolescence. If they broke rules and found it fun and exciting, that could reduce their respect for authority. If they broke rules and experienced trauma, that could increase their respect for authority. If their parents said certain groups of people were bad, but they became friends with people in those groups, that could reduce their respect for authority.

Based on the first survey in the book, my authoritarianism score is very low (24 out of 180). My religious fundamentalism score is the lowest possible (no surprise, considering that I'm agnostic).

In my case, I don't think I broke many rules as a kid*. But I grew up in a low-authoritarian and non-church-going family, so perhaps that influenced how I turned out. I don't view my dad as having been the "head of the family"; my parents seemed to have an equal relationship. But they separated early on, and I don't really remember much from when they were together. Neither of them seemed very strict or domineering.

*Maybe I did, but it was so early on that I don't remember well. Maybe I ignored rules that I felt were silly or which inhibited what I wanted to do. Did my parents ever tell me not to climb on the kitchen counters, or not to play in the woods? My mom made me wear dresses against my will; I suppose that may have reduced my respect for her authority.
darkoshi: (Default)
It's so easy nowadays with the internet to look up information and to share information with others.

When I was a kid, if I wanted an answer to a question, I'd have to ask people, or look it up in the encyclopedia or dictionary that we had at home, or go to a library and search through books. But even if you did all that, the answer might not be found.

That isn't to say that I spent much time as a child searching the library for answers to hard questions.

But still. Even if you had a whole library of books, where would you look up the answer to a question like, "Why do my shoes squeak and creak, and how can I make them stop?"

Sometimes you can figure out answers by yourself. In the past, when my shoes squeaked, it was usually due to friction between the tongue and the top of the shoe, or due to small holes in the sole. I found ways to prevent those noises.

This time, the culprit was neither the tongues nor the soles. Internet searching provided some answers I hadn't thought of. The foam layers on one of the insoles* were coming apart. So I glued them back together with silicon sealer. That fixed one of the squeaks. I also sprinkled talcum** powder under the insoles, and after a few repetitions, that got rid of most of the creaks. One of the creaks kept coming back, which I now suspect was due to a thick thread that was under the insole, perhaps letting air in. I trimmed the thread. For the time being, the squeaks and creaks are all gone. Yay.

*I originally thought that insoles are glued in, but in many cases they aren't, and you can simply pull them out.
**Corn starch didn't sound like a good idea, as it might get pasty when wet. Nor did I want my shoes to smell like baby powder. Luckily, I found that non-baby-scented talcum powder can be found in the pharmacy foot-care section. The one I got smells like wintergreen!

Anyway, I was thinking about the above, and also thinking about what will happen to that kind of data over time. People die. Then what happens to the data they've posted to the internet? If they had their own website domain, and if no one takes over paying the domain fees or web hosting provider fees after they die, their website will be gone. If they've posted data on other sites, then it will depend on how long those sites stay around. Websites are not permanent, and most will disappear or radically change over time. Some data may get archived on various sites. But the Internet Archive, for instance, while it has old webpages, isn't very searchable in the normal sense. Google's cache is sometimes useful, but I'm not sure how long Google maintains cached data, once the original websites are gone.

So the answers that I can find today while doing an internet search, may someday no longer be there to be found. Or may no longer be found in the same places. New people will have to post the answers in new places.

Another useful piece of info I found today is that if your Lotus Notes locks up for a long time whenever you paste rich text from a webpage into an email, check the Lotus Notes proxy settings. Make sure it doesn't list an old proxy server which is no longer valid.

family history

Sunday, October 6th, 2013 11:45 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
After my aunt died, my mom kept some of her documents. I've been going through them, looking for details to help in filling out my family tree. Among the papers are letters that my mom wrote to my aunt in the years before and after I was born. Reading them is like being able to go back in time.

A few items of general interest:

1970 - a description of what paper plates were; they must not have been widely available yet in Germany.

A surprising statement - "im Alabama gibt es keinen Alkohol" (in Alabama there is no alcohol).
Looking this up, I found that even nowadays there is still one county in Alabama where all alcohol sales are illegal.

Feb 1974 - It cost $9 to make a 3-minute phone call from the U.S. to Germany, and $3 per minute after that. $9 was the minimum charge (that's equivalent to $42.70 in 2013 dollars).
Feb 1972 - It cost $3 per minute plus 10% tax for phone call from Vietnam to the U.S.

Items of personal interest:

I had chickenpox before my 2nd birthday! (I was always under the impression that I'd never had chickenpox, and that I therefore might still be able to catch it. But this means that I could instead get shingles.)

If I had been born a boy, my name would have been "Bryan Patrick".

My dad was stationed in Vietnam for one year, and was over there when I was born. He oversaw helicopter repairs or something like that, and wasn't in an actual war zone or involved in combat.

Apparently I wasn't a well behaved little toddler.

When I was 1 and a half years old (translated from German):
She climbs around energetically - most preferably onto the table - up and down; no dishes, no letter being written, nothing is safe from her.

In the garden she digs holes with D*** (the dog) and heaps sand on him; in the house - oh God - she falls down stairs, bangs herself badly on everything and therefore constantly has swollen bruises on her head, legs and even her butt. She clears out all the cabinets; scatters sugar, cookies, cocoa, anything she can reach; every day she tears the backing of the carpet a little more. She feeds D*** the expensive dog food all at once (normally we only give him one piece of it a day and the cheaper food otherwise). Besides feeding her own mouth, she also feeds D*** bananas and cookies, and the bad thing is - spanking does not help with her, and my mouth is worn out from saying "No, no".

When I was 2 years old:
She eats like a little pig and gets herself so dirty that onlookers are amused - clothing, hands, arms and hair - usually all full of food. She starts to eat very pretty and neat, but as soon as you look away for one moment, she starts to play with the food, even when she's still hungry. D*** always has to be on the leash now or outside, as otherwise she throws him a lot of good pieces high in the air, and shrieks with joy when he catches them.

mood triggers

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 01:16 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I know that reading or watching films about certain topics* is almost guaranteed to leave me emotionally/mentally wounded. Doing it fuels my depression, makes my mind hurt, brings a dark mental cloud more to the forefront. Those feelings tend to linger in my mind, and take a while to fade away again.

And yet, I often have a morbid curiosity that makes me want to continue reading or watching those things, even after I've realized that they are going to affect me in a bad way.

Sometimes, I am able to stop myself at the outset... by not clicking on a particular link, by skipping past the material in question, or by switching the TV channel. (Because yes, I already know it is bad, and I don't want to expose myself to even more details of how bad it is, when I'm already too horribly aware of how horrible it all is!)

But once my curiosity has been piqued by something, I'll often keep watching or reading, and even actively searching out more information. Why is it that I do this, even when I know it is going to hurt me?

One might say that I got my fill of the topics in question at an early age. By reading too many National Geographic magazines, watching too many documentaries. Too many "real-life" stories and biographies, too many news shows. The depression that starting coming over me during my teen years may be related to why those topics trigger me so badly. The topics helped shaped my world-view, which helped shape my depression... Then again, maybe those topics are bad enough that I would feel the same way about them even without a history of depression; I don't know.


* There are many such triggering topics: Wars, the military, the Holocaust, mass killings, individual killings, rape, torture, unjust imprisonment, industrial pollution, clear-cut logging, environmental degradation, radioactive waste, factory farming, slaughterhouses, animal experimentation, pesticides, genocides, the Inquisition, African-American slavery, unjust treatment of Native Americans, racism, sexism, gender-based inequality, police corruption, government corruption, dictatorships, child soldiers, modern day slavery, just about any nation and place on Earth because they've all got horror stories in their histories, and more.

(no subject)

Sunday, February 15th, 2009 01:14 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
I am not who I was. I am, and I am not. I do not do the things I used to do. I do not feel the things I used to feel. My memories are only memories of memories, not memories of real things.

A memory of a memory of a memory...
Here in the South as a child, in the evening walking into, or maybe it was out of, a movie theater with my dad and his girlfriend. The vivid contrast between the cool quiet interior, and the *alive* warm humid outside... the warm thick enveloping sweet-scented air and the gentle sounds of crickets; the magical world outside.

But even when I go outside, it's not there anymore, the magical world. I'm not sure it ever was.

Were things really more vivid back then? Is there some cloak over my brain? Or were things really always like *this*, and is it those rare memories which deceive?

something else, something...

what was it?... thoughts flicker in and out... dreams?... what was it?... brownies cupcakes shower tags flowers what what what... oh yes

It was in the 8th grade, when I first remember memories of feeling depressed. Of sitting on the steps outside the apartment, and crying. Playing raquetball by myself, hurling some of my anger against the bouncing rubber ball. But I also remember one time in the 7th grade, when I cried, alone in the hotel room in Cairo, during our school trip. But that memory doesn't have as much an aura of depression about it. It might have been hormones; puberty. It would have been around that age... menstruation started in the 5th or 6th grade and stopped in the 7th or 8th (amenorrhea), and started again in the 9th or 10th. I don't remember any great feelings of depression before the 8th grade, anyway. But was life still vivid, back then? Could it be that crying and feelings of depression brought some kind of chemical cloak down over my brain, which never retreated?

more vids

Sunday, May 4th, 2008 01:16 am
darkoshi: (Default)
I was able to get my flogger vid to upload, after converting its format:

Also recorded a couple short vids this evening of just of me talking, not that I have much of anything to say, but I wanted to upload something other than me dancing.

I have started reading a book, "What Becomes You", written by a friend of someone on my LJ friends list. So far, I have been relating with much of the author's description of their childhood. When I was a kid, I didn't really expect to grow up to be a woman... I don't remember what I expected, but...

Well actually I do remember one imagination I had when I was a kid, it was of me trying to order food at a fast food restaurant for a bunch of kids (mine, I suppose) including at least one set of identical twins, and trying to make sure that each kid was given a choice as to what they wanted to get (and how complicated that was)... although part of this imagination, perhaps the more significant part, was of me being one of those blond-haired twins.

So, if I partially imagined myself as the mother (?) of those kids, does that mean I imagined myself as a woman? I don't remember. Maybe I imagined I had adopted them. Or maybe I wasn't ever the adult in this imagination, maybe I was always one of the kids... memory is so subjective and uncertain, sigh.

Then, there was another imagination, of me as an adult in a house. It was next to a cornfield. I was a farmer, and grew corn. And there was another imagination, of me being a postman... postal carrier.. delivering mail. These imaginations were part of trying to figure out what job I might possibly want to do when I grew up, since adults had to have jobs.

(no subject)

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 01:28 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
This vegan ice cream line (Wheeler's Black Label) has a lot of flavors. I wonder where it is sold.

The Scientific American website has a lot of interesting articles. I seem to remember reading some of their magazines when I was a kid. I might have had a subscription for a while; I can't quite recall. I do remember the National Geographic subscriptions my dad paid for, as well as a subscription to an astronomy magazine which I believe I signed up for myself. I bought StarLog magazines at bookstores.

I find myself uncomfortable when I read a scientific article and am finding it interesting, and then it mentions animal experiments being done or having been done, as part of the research. I am against animal experimentation when it involves forced confinement, mutilation, induced illness and/or death. If it's not right to do certain kinds of research on humans, I feel it isn't right to do it on animals either. Yet I do find some of the results of such experiments fascinating... or rather they seem fascinating before I realize what was involved in gleaning the information; afterwards it merely seems interesting. I'm not against learning things and improving the human condition, but personally I feel we could be doing research and learning without treating animals as our disposable test subjects. We might not learn as much as quickly, using alternative research methods, but I think we would still continue learning.

It's one of those subjects there is no easy solution to. Some people will always, and perhaps rightly so, give human interests priority over other being's interests. Like, would it be right to deny humans access to certain places such as wildlife habitats, if they require it for their own subsistence, even if it ends up resulting in certain species or groups of animals dying out? In some cases, it is us versus them; there is no way of having every being on the planet thrive without having other beings suffer and die. In fact, even being vegan, much of my current existence - the products I buy, the things I use, the places I go - has probably in some way or other come at the expense of other beings' welfare.

(no subject)

Saturday, January 5th, 2008 10:49 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
It seems like there is a core of sadness inside me. I don't always feel it, but its potential is always there, ready to erupt at the slightest thought when I allow it. Its mere existence inside me keeps any experience from feeling truly great. Not just sadness; also jadedness, alienation, pointlessness.

I don't even know where it came from, or why. I think there was a time, in childhood, before it existed. I remember it being there as a teen, but I don't recall any single incident that could have caused it. Maybe it built up over time. But why, if the same thing did not happen to everyone else? Other adults seem to get enjoyment out of being alive.
darkoshi: (Default)
grade 3:
(P.E. teacher): *** is very quiet, however, is an outstanding student in following directions and trying her very best.
(class teacher): *** is an excellent student and a fine young lady. I am happy to have worked with her this year.
(TAGS teacher): 1st report. *** has seemed a bit unsure of herself in TAGS. She often appears very uninterested in what we are doing. She seldom participates in our discussions. I know she has alot to share but doesn't seem willing. Discuss TAGS with her, I want her to enjoy coming so she can benefit from it.
2nd report. *** continues to show me her creative side, but seems very turned off and unwilling to talk about anything we do. I'm trying and I hope she will too.
4th report: *** has grown alot this year. Please encourage continued stimulation over the summer (reading, writing in a diary, collections, original mind benders). *** has a very promising future to enjoy with encouragement from us all. Have a great vacation!

grade 5 (3 different teachers/schools)
1st report: *** does very good work in all her subjects. My only concern is that she may not feel challenged by grade level work.
2nd report: *** is a conscientious, outstanding student in all subject areas.
3rd report: *** is an outstanding student in all academic areas. She is very quiet and seldom contributes to class discussions.
4th report: *** continues to do exceptionally well in all areas. However, she still does not contribute to class discusssions nor play with other children during recess time.

grade 5, psychoeducational report
Reason for Referral: *** has exceptional academic performance but does not relate to her peers, does not show emotion and speaks so softly that she is difficult to understand.
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Revised.. Verbal I.Q. 128 Performance I.Q. 129 Full Scale I.Q. 132
Discussion: *** had been encouraged by the social worker to speak up when she saw Ms. W. Apparently, she remembered without prompting as most of the time she did speak so I could hear her, although it was softer than the average student speaks. Only two or three times during the testing did I have to ask her to repeat something because I could not understand it or hear it. *** shows very little affect and as I recall, never smiled during my time with her. She worked very well in the test situation and her responses were very...

grade 7, part of assessment for placement in TAGS (talented and gifted students) program
Slosson Intelligence Test. Chronological Age: 12-8. Mental Age: 19-1. I.Q: 138.
(English/Homeroom teacher) Numbers 4, 5, 11, and 12 - I cannot accurately answer these questions. She is too withdrawn. *** comes into my room early each day, sits down quickly, and reads without moving until class starts at 8:25.
She never speaks to me or any student unless asked a question.
Unlike her classmates, *** has no friends who come into the room before 8:25 to visit her, wait for her to go to lunch, or stop by after school. She never volunteers in class and never smiles. She does her work without questions and maintains good grades.
We have a positive atmosphere, and since this is an Honors class with more motivation, more ability to learn, and more maturity, I am more relaxed and "myself," so she cannot fear me or any classmates.
darkoshi: (Default)
like trying to learn to ride a bike without having a bike
like trying to learn to swim without a body of water

i believe in the possibility of magic

i mentally envisioned a magical bug-repellant shield around me.
a golden shield...
wavering between intentions of warm calm, invisible barrier, don't tread on me, and unwelcomeness...

like trying to learn magic without...

finding ants crawling on me an hour after i've come back inside is somewhat annoying

in the 5th grade, my magic-shield visualizations were rather... (compulsive?) it was something i did during recess... while leaning against the fencepost, reading my books. bright yellow-green barrier, barrier, barrier. repelling magical attacks... shielding... brown, yellow, red, purple shields, varying in intensity. invisible to regular vision. back when star wars was fun and light-sabers were magic...