Sep. 18th, 2014 08:05 am
rebeccmeister: (bikegirl)
So now I'm reading Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. What that means is that I just finished a book about the lead-up to World War II, and now I'm reading a book that was a direct result of that war. The idea to read the book came from Rowdy Kittens a while back (although I seem to recall a specific post with more detailed discussion), stemming from the thought that perhaps there are other ways to think about life beyond hedonism or the pursuit of happiness. Which is a trifle amusing, because the author of Rowdy Kittens often writes under the guise of "happiness," even though I don't think her goal is strictly happiness per se. Anyway, tangent.

It's hard to set down a book about the Holocaust. It's hard to read any story about genocide, especially one so painfully and eloquently recounted by those who survived. It's clear that Frankl's every word has been carefully and painfully chosen as he seeks to recount the experiences in Auschwitz in a way that will allow him and others to derive something out of so much suffering and loss. I picked up the 1992 edition from the library, and found it especially interesting to read Frankl's introductory commentary about how he hadn't expected the book to be so popular, but how its popularity speaks to a shared deep and driving need to understand our existence here on this planet hurtling through space. So despite the difficulty of the subject matter, clearly many of us feel compelled to seek it out and learn from it.

I'm not sure what I'm going to read after this book.

I've gained a greater appreciation for history as I've gotten older. I think I just didn't understand it especially well back in high school. I wish we'd had more occasions where teachers had handed us a collection of primary documents and asked us to reconstruct a history around them. At the same time, I know that many of my history teachers did a perfectly wonderful job of exposing us to as many different facets of history as they could, under all the constraints at hand.


Apr. 30th, 2014 10:54 am
rebeccmeister: (bikegirl)
I'm trying to get the hang of this rss feed-creation business. So, today I made [ profile] sytharin's webcomic into a feed, [ profile] sampsoncomic.

Let's see how that goes.

This was partly inspired by reading today's [ profile] xkcd_rss, heh heh heh.

I need to re-write and reevaluate my "projects" list sometime soon. I keep having thoughts about going back through the 10 years of LJ posts, to tag things I've been lazy about, and see if there's anything I want to make of the 10 years of blog.

But there are a couple of other compelling projects to work on:

-Rip the rest of my CD collection
-Catalogue my analog recipes

...and others that I am forgetting. Move house, for instance.

I'm supposed to be going up to Nebraska sometime soon, but my collaborator has been really quiet lately. Once I have a better sense of that trip, hopefully I will be able to lay out my near-term plans more clearly. It's hard to have so much of life be up in the air, with no end in sight.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
After a quite brief respite, I'm back to reading about agriculture. Yesterday, as a little reward to myself for surviving my committee meeting, I went to the library and picked up a copy of The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry. I think my father had recommended the book some time ago. But I was too tired to do more than read the Foreword. Berry's writing has been inspirational for a lot of the thinkers I admire; hopefully my reaction will be similar.

I keep thinking about expressions of one's life's work recently. I've been toying around with the idea that one's life-work could culminate in a single thing like a book, as though the entirety of something can be captured in a set of pages. Book-writing is often seen as an academic capstone. But I am particularly trying to answer the question of what I would write if I were to write a third-person narrative about myself, and you can be certain that it wouldn't be academically driven.

The "tag cloud" of this journal style is perhaps one way of viewing myself externally and getting an idea of what subjects are most important to me--more frequently used tags are in larger print. In contrast, many people keep blogs that cover a particular theme, whether it's cooking or politics or bicycles, and perhaps by thus focusing they attract a broader audience (for better or for worse).

But the messy tension of talking about everything all together is important--could it be succesfully included in that third-person narrative? I might risk boring more audience members by doing that, though. Perhaps it would be equally interesting to couple the views of an external observer with my proposed external perspective of the internal. Thus my narrative complexifies [sic] itself.

What it all gets down to is that I won't be writing this hypothetical book any time soon. Now I return you to your regularly scheduled program.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
For the third time in the past week my friends have tried to get me to join some additional profiling website or another. First it was MySpace and Facebook (and multiple people tried, all pretty much at the same time!), and now Twitter must be added to the list.

I'm still opposed to the idea. I would like to think my recalcitrance is because I value personal narrative above profiling and instant-messaging, and because I don't like the popularity-contest nature of many such sites. LiveJournal shares some of the qualities of the above sites, but I like to think that it's different somehow--smaller, more personal. Mostly, I'm just not interested in composing and maintaining a bunch of different profiles, none of which will really portray who I am. I tried Friendster, but it got old quickly. I spend enough time on the internet as it is. And I'd rather not have students find out more about me on the internets without going through the trouble required to find this blog. It's not extremely well-hidden, but you have to know a few key pieces of information to track it down. One such thing is enough.

Well, back to grading.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
Here's an interesting post on moleskinerie about the State of the Blogosphere.

Last night I introduced D and J to the term "navelgazing." I was kind of surprised they'd never heard of it before.

All I can say is, I believe my navel is well gazed.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
A blogger on my friendslist recently wrote a post about deciding to not sign up for a myspace account. As with any technology, the internet has both benefits and drawbacks, and I tend to think this holds true of sites promoting different forms of self-expression on the internet as well. As I wrote in my reply to this blogger's post, I tend to think that blog-style sites=good, while basic profile-style sites=bad. But perhaps that's just because I think I get a better understanding of how a person thinks from reading his or her writing instead of reading his or her laundry list of interests or friends or whatever. Blogging also tends to take a bit more commitment as well.
rebeccmeister: (Default)
This morning I found this post on blogging, which reflects some perspectives I agree with. Here's another writer discussing the same subject.

The discussion of the use of photographs in blogging was particularly interesting to me, as were the comments on the nature of blogging as simultaneously personal and impersonal.


Feb. 15th, 2006 05:52 pm
rebeccmeister: (Default)
taken from the slog.


rebeccmeister: (Default)

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