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Thursday, September 5th, 2013
7:18 am - Atheism 2.0
So out of the six (six!) of you who now read this journal (right? Small enough that I can keep track of readership), I've already told exactly half of you about the "Religion for Atheists" book I've been reading. But I'm recording my thoughts here anyway.

So "Religion for Atheists." I think it would actually have been better titled "Religion for Secularists." I'll get to why in a moment. It basically posits that Atheism 1.0 was "fuck sky-cake! We don't need no stinkin' superstitions or divine overlords! Throw out everything!" de Botton (the author) alleges that this was throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and ignoring all of the wonderful things which religion can grant (like days of Atonement and forgiving, community, moral guidance). He talks about how we might start reincorporating this into secular life, in structure, without having to believe in skycake to do it. (Think Sunday Assembly over in Merrye Olde Englande)

As a schoolteacher, I am tasked not merely with imparting Latin (whether you agree with it or not), I am also tasked with engaging students in developing character, moral code, whatever you want to call it (as even Horace observed so long ago). So I'm reading this with an eye to how we develop these things in a classroom, in a secular way, rather than atheistic, because I'm not precluding anyone else from believing in skycake, I'm just not using skycake to convey these purposes.

-*Nick

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Wednesday, September 4th, 2013
7:13 am - Decorating my Classroom
So this year, I got a pretty sweet upgrade at school: I've gone from a windowless office next to a copier which everyone asks me to fix for them to a corner first-floor classroom with seven floor-to-ceiling windows. You've probably heard me mention this. I'm pretty excited. Not only that, my new roomie in the class is pretty awesome. He's Canadian, and happy to have moved from rural Maryland to JP. 'Nuff said. Today's the first full day of classes. I had to decorate.

Decorating my classroom was an interesting project for me.
I decided that:
1: it should have elements of *me* to it.
2: it shoudln't scream *BOY!* (all the other men have sports all over)
3: it should feel pleasant and alive.
Complications:
1: I have few decorations, Latin or otherwise.
2: There isn't a whole lot of wall space.

Solution: Plants! I'm very proud of myself. I went to Home Depot and picked up four little $2 plants which need minimal watering (so I can leave them there over the weekend). They're not flamboyant, just green little things. I hope I can keep them alive. Dan (the roomie) thinks we may have to repot one or two of them soon, actually.

I'm gonna keep working on it. Work in progress. I may have to ask Historia non Vulgaris.

-*Nick

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Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
7:21 am - Daily Practice
So, shock of all shocks, when you practice in an organized manner with a set list of things to do every day, you get a whole lot better a whole lot faster than if you half-ass it while socializing once a week.

I mean, I know this is true, but I've been absolutely shocked by *just how true.* At this past Wildfire, in August, I took an amazing class with a newcomer to the Boston scene (or re-comer), Wondo. Now, the class itself wasn't spectacular, despite the fact that he's a great teacher. Nothing super-flashy was taught. Nothing even amazingly fun. But as an Advanced class, it made me feel as though I *can* do Advanced Contact Staff moves. And that was a pretty big breakthrough for me. And it taught me transitions between what I already know for Contact. And most importantly, the class made me realize just how bad I am at Contact given the amount of time I've been doing it while simultaneously showing me how good I *could* be.

That has inspired me to practice daily. It's made a huge difference. I've mastered most of the stuff from that class after a mere two weeks, and cleaned up a whole lot of other things which I've been working on. Not only that, I've also *accidentally* learned 3 other really hard moves. Having learned these moves, I've been empowered to ask for more things to work on from Wondo and Cookie and from my MCP DVD. I've also started collaborating more and more and sharing with other staff spinners at SpinJam to get myself even better - both they and I have had things to offer, making it all better!

This all then feeds on itself in a positive loop that then gets me to practice more things, get more creative, and practice more often. Practice -> Get better -> Confidence -> Accidentally learn new things -> Get more Confidence -> Share Things -> Get taught -> Have more to practice... It is almost literally spectacular. So the real challenge is going to be that come winter, I need to keep practicing, but where? I'm gonna try for at school, now that I'm not driving the bus.

-*Nick

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Monday, September 2nd, 2013
11:10 am - Kathleen Hanna
Um, what? Kathleen Hanna... has a new band?

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8:42 am - Your Half Hour of Peace
So I started listening to a hokey half-hour recording for therapy, before bed. I listened for the first time to it last night. It's designed to help soothe away anxiety and help you sleep, teach you how to access a place where your head isn't spinning a million miles an hour... and damn. Is it ever hokey. My therapist warned me about that. He told me to try it at least a half-dozen times before giving up on it, even though it's so cheesy.

It sorta worked. My brain calmed down to like... a half-million miles an hour. It was still really really hard to not just dissect the whole damn thing all the way through though, and to try to have my brain not yell at her, mentally, every time she made an assertion of fact (rather than the, "you may," statements). I kept wanted to scream out "Citation Needed!!"

...dork.
-*Nick

And when I'm dreamin',
well I know I'm gonna dream,
I'm gonna dream about the time when I'm with you.
-I'm Gonna Be
-Sunshine on Leith
-The Proclaimers

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Saturday, August 31st, 2013
11:08 am - X-Posted: Facebook Not-Quite-Ragequit
For those who didn't see it on the Faceypagey (like heatray, a quitter), I'll just crosspost this here.

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Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
2:18 pm - To Angst, or Not To Angst
...and after that post, I see this.

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Friday, April 17th, 2009
9:06 am - The REAL Easter weekend

Anyone have anything going on Fri/Sat nights or want to hang out?

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Sunday, April 5th, 2009
5:50 pm - Terms of Debate
Upon debating with a friend about gay marriage, I remembered a key point, which I think that proponents of gay marriage ought to focus on, and change the terms of debate. The fact which changes the terms of debate?

Gays can get married in all fifty states of the United States of America. That's a fact. And the government and others can do nothing about that. A Unitarian or UCC or Episcopalian or whatever Pastor/Priest/Bishop/Minister/etc can marry whomever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want. And in the eyes of the faith of all persons involved, that marriage has happened. The problem is whether or not the government recognizes it.

This argument shouldn't be, in my eyes, about whether or not gays have the right to get married, but whether or not the government has the right to discriminate, and to recognize the marriages of some, but not of others. The question is whether or not the government has the right to pick and choose its favorite religions. I contend that it absolutely doesn't.

That being said, I shall once again espouse my solution, based upon the fact that the government doesn't have the right to pick and choose its favorite religions. I say there should be no governmental recognitions of marriage at all. That's right - I would prefer that noone gets recognition of their sacred marriage under civil law. Civil Unions for everyone!! And if your religion wants to call it marriage, so be it.

Of course, until the practice of Government recognizing sacraments (we don't ask the government to keep a registry of baptisms and confirmations, do we?) ends, they should equally recognize them for everyone.

-*Nick

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Friday, April 3rd, 2009
7:40 pm - Iowa
So... Iowa legalized Gay Marriage! Way to go, guys! You've now officially taken California's place at the cool kids' table, the vacancy has been filled. I was reading an article regarding this decision, and a guy backed it up re: freedom of religion saying that it's an absurd reversal of freedom to say that someone else practicing according to their religion is an infringement of your own freedom. Taking this to the most absurd degree, I'm thinking about this as an argument and proposition whenever I next hear the bullshit argument of "gay marriage is an infringement on my right to religion."

MAKE BACON ILLEGAL FOR OPPONENTS OF GAY MARRIAGE

Look, the argument goes like this:
Your religious freedom is irrelevant.
My religion says gay marriage is bad.
Therefore, your religion sanctioning your gay marriage violates my freedom of religion.

Let's substitute in Bacon, from the point of view of someone who keeps kosher or halal.
Your religious freedom is irrelevant.
My religion says bacon is bad.
Therefore, your religion sanctioning your bacon eating violates my freedom of religion.

It's flawless. Next time you encounter someone who says that gay marriage affects their freedom of religion, tell them they can't eat Bacon anymore. Or meat in general, for that matter, since they'd then be impinging upon Jainists' freedom of religion. I guarantee that those folks who are railing against evil aren't going to be willing to give up meat for the sake of other people's freedom of religion.

-*Nick

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
2:52 pm - CONTRACT!!!
I got my contract for next year!!

I am so happy.

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Saturday, March 14th, 2009
10:38 am
I HAVE SPRING BREAK COINCIDENTALLY WITH RESTAURANT WEEK BOSTON 2009.

CALL ME.

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Monday, February 9th, 2009
10:31 am - Girl Trouble

Ugh. I made a few girls almost cry today, and it's kinds bothering me. Normally, I'm pretty callous and laugh it off because usually it's pretty transitory, but this time it's bothering me and I'm not sure why. Mostly, I went into today's class withwhat I knew what going to be a contentious scenario, ready to compromise with the girls, and I ultimately found it fair to advance the test a week. I still think that this is more than fair, but some of the girls still disagree (point of interest: none of the boys batted an eyelash). Three of them went straight to their homeroom teacher. I'll talk to her when I can and see what they said and what she thinks. One of two things is going on here as far as I can tell. I am either upsetby the different standards of perceived fairness, or I am just really put of sorts today anyway (I am, it hasn't been a good day)

-*Nick

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Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
12:54 pm - Libido

This past weekend put my libido through the roof and I'm all shaky and don't know what to do with it (well, that's a lie I know exactly what to do with it but can't yet) and it's driving me more than a little insane and occupying an unusually high amount of my brainspace. Weekend!! Where art thou???

Upon reflection, though presently frustrating, I do realize that ultimately this is a good development.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
1:15 pm - Gifts!
My girls got me a disc for XMas, and all signed it. It makes me happy.
They even had the sense to purchase a UPA approved 175g.

-*N

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9:16 am - XMas shopping
I'm going to Newbury St to do some XMas shopping tonight, getting there around... 5:30, 6:00ish? Anyone else want to head there with me?

-*Nick

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Thursday, December 11th, 2008
8:59 am - Student Amusment
Child A) So, are there like, any other mythologies that are fake, just made up, like Greek mythology?
Child B) You mean Christianity?

I love Child B. He's hilarious. He's 13 and a total committed atheist. I only wish that I could laugh louder and agree with him when he says stuff like that.

-*N

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Thursday, November 13th, 2008
1:11 pm - Mental Image
So I walked into Best Buy to buy my two copies of Wrath of the Lich King (one for me, one for Kev), and the girl behind the counter remarked, "One of the things which I really love about selling this game is seeing all the different types of us who buy this game." I remarked that she said "us," and felt included, noting to myself, "yeah, except I don't really look that different from anyone else who's buying this game - I'm a total nerd! I'm in a t-shirt, jeans, and hoodie for chrissake!"

And then I walked into my house and reached up... to... to loosen... my... tie... ... to loosen my tie. And take off my black overcoat. And switch my khakis for jeans. And take off my black shoes. And as soon as I reached up to my tie, the full meaning of the clerk's statement and full dissonance of my mental image of myself versus the actual image of myself hit me like a ton of bricks.

Weird.



In other news, in T-2hours I lose my ability to make babies. Yay sterilization!!

-*Nick

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Thursday, November 6th, 2008
11:31 pm - I respectfully disagree, sir.
This is NOT a failcat. This is a wincat.

To use Barb's favorite phrase recently, "this is my new happy place."

http://failblog.org/2008/01/30/failcat/

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11:23 pm - Hear all the bombs fade away
Okay, so: #5 seeing The Decemberists, they always get better!! Every time! Just when I think it's not possible, it happens again! They were fantastic as always. They played some awesome new stuff, and some great old stuff, including July, July.

Some of the best moments: pulling out a cardboard Obama to pass around (he belongs to the people!) and also saying during Sixteen Military Wives, "if I were a normal sort of singer, I'd say, we need to pit the balcony against the floor on 'la-dee-da's, but there are no more blue states, no more red states, no pro-America, no anti-America, no balcony, no floor, just everyone! So we'll all do it together!" Also, a call-response chant of "Yes we can" "Yes we did!"

Then, of course, there was Colin explaining that when he wrote "Sons and Daughters" he wrote it as escapist fantasy, but now it's taken a different meaning - hope and change, now. He seemed so genuinely happy to be able to sing anew the chorus with us, "Hear all the bombs fade away."

Hear them fade away. Here's to a new era.

-*Nick

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