Wednesday, December 14, 2016

achieving escape velocity

Edited to add around 10:30:

* Put in seeds to cold-wet stratify for next semester's re-run of the experiment (the inland sea-oats had spectacularly bad germination, and on the package it noted some 89% of them were "dormant" seeds, so hopefully this will do the trick. And thanks, Don, if you're reading this - your orchid post jogged my memory about needing to do this).

* Saved alllllll the important stuff to a new flashdrive (my computer was doing some weird stuff on start up a while back and I worry about losing all my files). New flashdrives are MAGICAL - the one I have now is almost 30 GB. Not KB, not MB - GB. I was able to easily save all the folders containing all my teaching stuff to it, plus the folders with my volunteer work stuff, photo folders, folders of .pdf files of articles I've downloaded and even patterns that aren't stored in my Ravelry library (mostly knitting patterns purchased from before the advent of Ravelry, or from merchants who don't cross-list with them). The flashdrive is coming with me just in case. It lives on my keyring now, ever since the Prairie Conference when I worried about Amtrak not letting me carry on my poster tube. (They did, no one batted an eye at it)

* Student had left a message with her phone number, so I called her and got the issue she was worried about straightened out. (I am her advisor, it was an advisement thing).

* And last thing: talked to Ben Meadows about the chemicals for the refill of the SCL-12 soil test kit (item number R1985-04, future me). They don't normally stock it because this is OLD stuff but we can't afford the newest set up with brand new colorimeters, so a refill for the old kit is what we can do. (I am putting this here mainly to remind future me - if I still have a job teaching Soils and if Blogger blogs still exist in some form - of what I had to do to arrange for the order of the replacement chemicals)


* I have nine bags of raked leaves from the front yard (and the side of the house where they blow up and accumulate). Not sure what to do with them as bulky waste pickup was last week. I MIGHT stow them in the garage after I pull out for the last time before leaving so they don't present an attractive fire hazard or wind up blowing around if we have bad wind.

* I wound off some yarn last night and gathered some other yarns. I've decided I'm going to take the two sets of unfinished socks, yarn for another pair of Hermione's Everyday Socks, yarn for a pair of Hermione's Everyday Mitts (a modification of the sock pattern by the same author). Also some plain sockyarn. And probably the Hagrid sweater but not Raven, because Raven is really close to done and I think I'd rather try to finish Hagrid. And some toy patterns.

I'm debating taking my German books and trying to study a little German over break as well as the regular reading I'm going to be doing.

* I have that odd, pre-break feeling that almost always happens at Christmas break - part of me is excited to go and see my family, and (hopefully, if the weather isn't too bad) get to do some different things, and be able to live on a slower schedule (though I've done that these past few days). But also, I feel like I'll miss my own little tree and sometimes I miss my own quiet house where the tv is on only if I want it to be on, and having my own schedule, and being able to decide to go out to the gourmet shop or go antiquing or whatever just on my own. I mean, I'm not longing for a time when I spend Christmas here (because that will mean my parents are gone), but.....I guess it's that I wish we lived closer and I could just pop over to their house for the festivities and stuff. Or to bake Christmas cookies in a bigger kitchen with a better oven. Traveling for 16 hours and having to plan to have pretty much everything I need (in case they get a ton of snow and don't want to go out in it) is no joke. 

* We're supposed to get the big chill the rest of the country is and there are hints of freezing rain which concerns me but hopefully by 1 pm tomorrow it will be too warm for anything but bridges to be at all risky. (I have to cross the Red, but that's about it. I'll just have to remember to be careful).

* I do have some embargoed posts for while I'm gone. Mostly Christmas stuff, so I apologize in advance if you're tired of seasonal cheer.

* A random thought: there's been some discussion other places about the whole "Happy Holidays"/"Merry Christmas" divide. Where some people say there's a war on Christmas (I dunno, I've read enough about the old Soviet Union to think the people's bar for "war on" is pretty low) and others say that it's essentially an insult to wish someone Merry Christmas unless you are 100% sure they are a believing member of a Christian congregation and I don't know. My general inclination is if I know what someone celebrates, I wish them a happy THAT one - so I will say "Merry Christmas" to friends from church or my co-workers that I know go to a different church but who do go....and if someone says "Merry Christmas" to me I will say it back to them. But if I don't know, I might say "Happy Holidays." (Or if I know someone is Jewish, and it's close to Hanukkah, I might wish a Happy Hanukkah but I think I'd be more likely to say good wishes close to the Jewish New Year which is actually a bigger deal to most devout Jewish people).

But - and this is a big but - I think it's unfortunate that we have people taking offense over either "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." Or whatever. I once had someone lecture me about how wishing people a happy Solstice was a better thing to do because it wasn't a religious holiday and so everyone could celebrate it and I just kind of stood there silently and made a mental note to kind of give that person a wide berth on other holidays. (It wasn't so much the "I celebrate Solstice instead" as it was the lecture).

And it makes me wonder: could this, somehow, be related to the tendency I see that seems to be rising about believing conspiracy theories and the problems with fake news stories and all that? And the problem is people don't operate under Occam's Razor. (That's one spelling of it; it was stated back in the 14th C. before English spelling was standardized; I have also seen it as Ockham's Razor). Fundamentally, the way I learned it back in some intro science class is this: the simplest explanation that fits all the data is correct. (A longer description with more detail is here.

So, by Occam's Razor, if someone wishes me "Happy Holidays," what I assume is:

a. They do not know which one I celebrate - whether I am Christian or Jewish or Hindu or some other path and

b. They want to give me well-wishes but don't know which one to offer.

NOT: "they hate Christmas and want to erase it" or some other conspiracy-tinged thing. (Another possible "a" is "They work for a corporation and have been told not to be specific in their greeting")

I will say I have had former students who know I am Christian offer me a "Merry Christmas" when I buy something from the store where they work, so maybe that second "a" isn't in operation so strongly here. (And in this part of the world, "Merry Christmas" is probably going to be the correct greeting for 95% of the people. Still, like I said, if I didn't know for sure....)

But anyway. I feel like life is hard enough without looking for things to take offense at. And I've had a past of enough people being rude or cruel to me that I prefer to look at "neutral" situations like "Happy Holidays" and figure the intent actually IS neutral to positive rather than hostile. (Maybe I've just gotten better at recognizing the sort of half-masked hostility that some people do, because of past experience with kids teasing me so it didn't sound quite so bad to the grown-ups, or the "mean girls" with their backhanded compliments)

 If someone at some store wished me a happy Hanukkah or a happy Solstice or whatever, I'd probably just smile at them and say "And the same to you."

(I also think of the line from My √Āntonia, where Jim's grandfather commented "the prayers of all good people are good." - the Catholic Shimerdas had offered prayers to the Protestant Burden family. But I think that can be extended farther, though I also recognize how "strange" and "other" the Shimerdas were out on the prairie).

But I wonder if that "looking to take offense when none reasonably seems to be there" is related to the idea of believing that whatever current conspiracy is circulating is part of it. Maybe a desire to be special? Some of the people I have known who went in for the goofier conspiracy theories seemed to almost have a certain Gnostic bent, in that they seemed to feel good to think they possessed "secret" knowledge that the lumpen mass of humanity did not (or did not believe). And I wonder if a desire to take offense from interactions not designed by the originator to be offensive is also a way of feeling "special." I don't know.

(I guess I'm silly: I feel special when someone wishes me well.)

That's not to say there aren't people out there who want to make others feel bad; I've dealt with a few of them (I still think of the now-former-admin who made the "the female Sheldon Cooper" comment to me, which is one of the more offensive things someone's said to me but also one of the less-perceptive things because if he REALLY knew me, he would know that I may have a lot of things that annoy me like things that annoy Sheldon, but that I also keep my mouth shut most of the time because I realize my annoyances are petty and no one really cares). But I don't go looking for it.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

I am with you and view Happy Holidays as a way to acknowledge the time of year without it being offensive. And I find people who find it offensive are just people who want to put you in your place. I had one woman give me a dressing down at work for saying Happy Holidays to her. (we work with a large number of people who are Jewish. I thought it was the easiest thing to say not knowing her religion.) Since she gave me the dressing down I have looked and found that like over 30 religions have different holidays from November 1 to January 15th. (I admit I don't remember the exact number right now, but I was really shocked at how many there were) and I stand by my Happy Holidays sentiment. I want them to be happy for all their holidays. Not just the ones I celebrate. People who give you the dressing down are just enjoying picking on you. And I don't have time for that.