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November 25, 2010


I'm grateful for:

A job. A real, though part-time job, but still....

My daughter, who is everything IMO that any parent could hope for in offspring.

My honey, who has made me believe in love again (an uphill struggle, believe me!)...and maybe even in it lasting a lifetime.

The end of my foreclosure/short-sale nightmare, which occupied so much of the last 18 months.

My best friend of 30 years is still alive & going strong. No mean feat after being diagnosed with inoperable stage4 cancer nearly 2 years ago. Today's his birthday, so guess where I'm spending Thanksgiving? Happy 54, my bro!

My sister and brother - apart from my daughter, my only surviving family...and lifelong friends as close as blood is supposed to be.

Taken all together, not a bad life to turn 60 in.

Blessings of the day & the season to all!
('cept for the 'war-on-Xmas' dummies)

(nah, just kidding: bless them, too)

I am thankful for the usual: family, friends (both RL and e-),...

In addition to all else, the business about e-friends is important. This is a terrific community, and I'm grateful for it.

I'd also add that I've been lucky enough to get to know five or six of the regulars in person, and that's been a great experience across the board. (I'm tempted to say, with the exception of one jerk, just to keep people guessing, but it would be a lie.)

I encourage others who live near one another to try to organize some meetups.

As Bernard has mentioned before, I have had the good fortune to enjoy his company and I second his suggestion.

I'd be happy to organize some kind of get together in the SF Bay area. Now that Gary is in Oakland perhaps he can join us if we plan it nearby.

I, too, have much to be thankful for. I still have my job and my health insurance although that might evaporate.

I'm thankful that it won't evaporate until after Christmas.

I am thankful for my brother, my sister, mny siser in law and my wonderful Paul.

I am thankful for this community of posters and commenters.

And yes, pie. At our house that means mince and apple.

Merry T-day to all!

To add to the above, a healthy family, a warm house (it's cold here in the Sierras), a bit of financial cushion after several months of barely making it by, and a free country that sets aside a day for all to give thanks in their own way. Not to mention the world's best stuffing made by my wife.

And pie, of course! I can't beat the Doc's pie/eater ratio but I do sport a 16-year-old daughter that I got into pie making and she shortly surpassed me (and I'm not bad at all). In our house: an apple/raspberry (two, actually, but one goes to the neighbor for fixing my plow), and two pumpkin made with real pumpkin (why does everyone throw away their jack-o-lanterns? Don't they know Halloween is just an excuse for fresh pumpkin pie?).

Short me: bless you all, every one of you, if you'll accept my atheistic blessing.

I am thankful that I'm:
a) One of the luckiest people in the world;
b) More privileged and well-off and richer than over one billion of my brothers and sisters I'm riding with on Planet Earth today.

I'm thankful for the people who help other people.

And I'm most thankful for the people who don't decide they know who is deserving, and who is not.

I'm thankful for those who RTFM.

Amen, Gary, amen. If only there were more!

ral, perhaps we could do something in north Oakland or Berkeley. Pretty much centrally located, so even those coming from the South Bay or from east of the hills could make it without too much trouble.

I'm in. Coming from the city or Alameda, doesn't much matter where it is...

I'm thankful that I live comfortably in a lovely city in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I'm thankful that my son will have a more financially secure upbringing than I did, because even though the way I grew up was pretty great, there are a lot of things that money makes easier. I'm thankful that centuries of hard work and sacrifice have given us a world where most of us don't have to worry too much about war or famine or plague. I'm thankful for my little family here and my bigger family elsewhere (although many of them were here anyway).

This is not, by a long way, the worst 21st century we could be entering. We can do better, but we're doing okay.

I hope everyone had a lovely day. We did, hence the delayed posting. It was actually 13 for dinner counting the baby, and largely went off without a hitch, which is nice because it was the first time we've hosted it.

I too have lots to be thankful for, including people who excuse ending sentences or phrases with prepositions. We had a really nice family day -- both our daughters plus my wife's brother and his SO. Now we have delicious leftovers.

So what shall we plan? A drink? Food? Music? Oakland makes me think of jazz and there are a number of good venues. I can recommend the Piedmont Piano company (they hold concerts) -- friendly atmosphere, good music, a nice place to hang out before and after the performance. It's in central Oakland, see http://www.piedmontpiano.com/

Just a suggestion -- I'm open to whatever other folks want to do.

I'm coming over the hills (Danville), so pretty much anywhere will work equally well. Unfortunately, I'm out the first half of December (conference), but after that....

That the mrs. still seems to be under the impression that I deserve her. (She may be right; I'm not always the best judge of such things.)

That we're still young and fit enough that we can change our own tires. On Thanksgiving day. And the next day.

That I like her mother, a lot.

That I got to see all three of my sisters this year (though not all at once--that would be riches beyond the dreams of avarice.)

That the spot wasn't cancer this time.

That the union held it together this year, after a sudden death and a succession crisis, to negotiate the best contract we could have gotten.

That I met an ObWi-er in what I hilariously call "real life" and had a wonderful evening. I look forward to many more such.


I too have lots to be thankful for, including people who excuse ending sentences or phrases with prepositions.

If someone thinks an excuse is necessary, they're wrong.

Usual quote people offer unchecked variants of.

Commentary, written by Kate Wilhelm:

"Rules exist for good reasons, and in any art form the beginner must learn them and understand what they are for, then follow them for quite a while. A visual artist, pianist, dancer, fiction writer, all beginning artists are in the same boat here: learn the rules, understand them, follow them. It's called an apprenticeship. A mediocre artist never stops following the rules, slavishly follows guidelines, and seldom rises above mediocrity. An accomplished artist internalizes the rules to the point where they don't have to be consciously considered. After you've put in the time it takes to learn to swim, you never stop to think: now I move my arm, kick, raise my head, breathe. You just do it. The accomplished artist knows what the rules mean, how to use them, dodge them, ignore them altogether, or break them. This may be a wholly unconscious process of assimilation, one never articulated, but it has taken place."
So what shall we plan? A drink? Food? Music?
Among my in-person limitations, regrettably: lifelong problems following oral conversations admidst other noise; long-term worsening of problem following more than one person speaking at once. Never having been great at making out people speaking with accents or variations I'm not highly familiar with their personal version of, which is a general case of Everyone.

For the moment, at least, I regret to say that I can't participate much anywhere there will be music, or much noise, or where there's much cross-talk, but I will happily show up as best I'm able, if possible, listen as closely as I can to the person or persons nearest me as best I can, nod, sometimes cup my ear and say "what?" or "didn't catch, could you repeat that, please?" or variants, between 1-4 times and stopping, and otherwise do my best as available at the time and place.

I'd be happy to be able to show up somewhere, see everyone, greet them, and sit back and listen and watch as best I can, and have that be all I accomplish the first time. Really.

I'm a little out of practice at it.

I don't expect anyone to accomodate any of my wacky special "needs" or preferences. But if you ask me, I'll probably tell you at least once, and all are invited to ask me as many times as they like.

When I inevitably repeat my preferences/limitatoins because I can rarely keep track of who I told what when, unless it's privileged information of some sort, or I have time and ability to check a written record, please forgive me, or not, as you like.

Lastly, most of the things I say on the topic are apt to change day by day; I'm trying to stretch my current limitations, but, y'know, within limits.

Key preferences, after possible mobility issues (which may not be significant on a given day, beyond a general need to take things quite slowly! -- but don't count on that!): somewhere quietish? As little background noise as reasonable?

I love music, but currently find it almost impossible listen and follow conversation at the same time. I'll update when I notice I'm coping better. Everyone should feel free to ignore this!


I edit almost everything you see, to at least some degree.

It's a talent that applies to the written form, and at present, not so much orally.

Have I mentioned I'm on the Asperger's at a fairly consistent, though only in certain ways, and not at all in other ways, 32?

I'm very apt to not be able to remember names with a facial association, or a name at all if I'm not very familiar with it, without a written version readable and in front of me, or after repetition of meeting singly a good number of times under reasonably optimal conditions.

Which is to say that, pathetically, really large font, and I mean LARGE AND SIMPLE FONT, always visible nametags are a big help for me.

But so long as you don't mind my quite possibly not tracking who you are if there are more than three of you, and we haven't done it a few times, I'm fine.

The panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, etc., are presently far more subject to positive change and evolution than any time in three years, but I was at low baseline when I left Raleigh.

It's getting better every day in California so far, but that's all I can say for sure.

Otherwise I offer weekly and daily Gary forecasts, either as need be, or as TMI, but the reliability curve on those is under study by crack research teams, as well.

"Unfortunately, I'm out the first half of December (conference), but after that...."

I'm too busy to give this much thought, but there's little likelihood I'd be ready before December 10th at the remotest earliest, myself. I know we start pushing near holiday time for many people, so I suspect between December 10th and 20th might be optimal if we want to try for something before the New Year.

Said holidays have no direct effect upon my own availablility. I don't do Christmas, at all, in any way, other than doing my best to be courteous to others in ways they'd prefer that I find reasonable. I have no current plans for New Year's.

I sometimes notice when it's Hannukah, although I'll usually perk up when someone wishes me a "Happy Hannukah" and it's not on the right dates, but I tend to offer a thanks or other grateful response to the sentiment, and do my best to not let a correction pop out.

I CANNOT PROMISE TO SHOW UP ANYWHERE until I'm on my way out the door. Don't plan things based on any other expectation, please.

I'd be delighted to try for regular monthly get-togethers, with those three gazillion caveats.

Or simply improvising each one is fine, too.

I don't think anyone intend to take attendence, at least not with any points deducted for non-appearance.

If they do, I have a large metal object I carry with me, and you're warned.

I strongly prefer the more notice the better, but also wish to become as more and more flexible about this as possible.

Link-failure: silly only vaguely connected to reality popular, non-professional, Asperger's test. I first linked here, but it's been memed through every popular delivery system on the internet in unattributed garbled versions ever since, with a lot of renewals since Twitter, and Facebook, with my last notice being a huge burst of Friends discovering it for the first time last week, the week before, the week before, the week before, and cycling in frequency between original publication and today, and ever into the predictable future.

(Digressive onto standard button: when people don't check attributions for themselves, and accurately, and include that information which is to say, fewer than .00001 percent of online users do before passing along "information," the internet is nothing but the world's largest version of this popular children's game, which you may know as "Telephone" or any of the others listed.)

In the game variously known as Chinese whispers,[1] Telephone, Grapevine, Broken Telephone, Whisper Down the Lane, Gossip, Arab Phone (from the French Le téléphone arabe)[citation needed], Stille Post (German for "Silent Post"),Gioco del Telefono (Italian for Telephone Game), and Pass the Message, the first player whispers a phrase or sentence to the next player. Each player successively whispers what that player believes he or she heard to the next. The last player announces the statement to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first. The game is often played by children as a party game or in the playground. It is often invoked as a metaphor for cumulative error, especially the inaccuracies as rumours or gossip spread,[2] or, more generally, for the unreliability of human recollection.

In the United States, "Telephone" is the most common name for the game.[2] The name "Chinese whispers" reflects the former stereotype in Europe of the Chinese language as being incomprehensible.[3] It is little-used in the United States and may be considered offensive.[4] However, it remains the common British English name for the game and is not generally regarded offensive.[5] [....]

On the personal TMI front, among the many other things I've gotten done today, I've kludged together two different ways not previously available to me to -- this is somewhat embarrassing to say, but you already know -- practice speaking aloud and playing it back to myself, both via my phone, and via computer headphones (or speaker) and mike, then mix together voices as I wish with music, at volumes I wish, and, you know, practice distinguishing voices from each other, and from music, on my own. Additionally, practice returning my once reasonably good skills at speaking at least vaguely approximately the way I write, which I haven't done in conversation very well very much in quite some time, save for -- and this too is embarrasing -- to myself, aloud, when alone.

I don't know that I'll get anywhere practicing on my own, but now I can try.

But many more important things accomplished, too, although many more to go. But v. g. productive day/night. Many wins.

Not so much on the insomnia front, but that takes time to fix again, I know from experience, and I've also learned in Boulder that that can be fixed, too, with the right balance. So I'm doing fine on progress on that, too; that'll take some more weeks, is all.

Hope your weekend is going well! Talk about yourselves again!

My Friend, the Dalai Lama:

Neither peace nor war exists independently of us. Political and military leaders have grave responsibilities with respect to peace - but they too are members of the society that we as individuals help to create. Peace in the world depends on peace in the hearts of individuals; this depends on each of us practising ethics by disciplining our negative thoughts and emotions, and developing basic spiritual qualities.

about an hour ago

On Facebook. I suppose I have to be thankful for the good aspects of Facebook, along with the the considerable bad.

Staying in touch with my Friend, the Dalai, whom I'm sure reads all my posts, is cool.

Some might suggest it's merely "the official Facebook page of the Office of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. For more information visit http://www.dalailama.com/."

But can you get an official denial from them on this question? I think not!

I think I've proven my case.

Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, aka the Dalai Lama:

The compassionate mind is very important. Fear, anger, jealousy are based on a self-centered attitude. By developing a sense of caring for others' well-being your heart automatically opens and that brings transparency, straightforwardness and honesty, which leads to friendship. We are social animals, and one individual's survival relies entirely on the rest of the community.

Thursday at 2:38am


We are social animals, but to different degrees. Very different degrees. Some people simply love being around lots others; it energizes them. Others prefer at most a couple of others; being around a crowd drains them. Compassion is still important, no matter which kind of person you are. But how you express it is going to vary.

To some degree, I think we tend to congregate, to the extent that we can, with others who feel the same. If you love crowds, you spend your time in crowded areas -- which are mostly full of other people who love crowds. And you incline towards a job which puts you in the same kind of environment.

If, in contrast, you find crowds a drain, you spend as little time as possible where hordes of people are. And you try to find a job where there are relatively few people, and those mostly others who prefer not to spend all their time on social interactions. (Or maybe you telecommute, and spend time commenting on blogs.)

In this kind of discussion, I am reminded of a comment my father made once. He said he had often been alone, but he had never been lonely. To someone energized by crowds, that is almost incomprehensible. But to those (like, I suspect, most of those who hang out here) it seems perfectly understandable.

"Some people simply love being around lots others; it energizes them."

I'm, big surprise, a severe introvert, though once I'm comfortable with people, I can fake being an extrovert, or used to be able to, quite well for, well, a perfectly normal amount of time.

When I was healthier, I used to live in houses happily with lovers and friends, worked day jobs in offices, saw various close friends many times a week, went to parties most weekends, or was having one of my own -- for several years, I hosted a monthly get-together in Seattle for from 10-60 people a month, I've started a number of social groups, one which has now lasted over 30 years, though I appear to have been Trotskyized out of memory as the co-founder who had the idea and made it happen, but so it goes -- another of which lasted for many years in NYC, meeting at a pub, etc., etc.

(Combination of rec.arts.sf.* people, other sf fans, other online people, whoever interesting that showed up attached.)

In fact, I was thinking earlier of maybe starting a slightly more expansive blogger's meeting group in the area, but won't start getting ahead of myself. Besides, there already may be some; I've hardly begun to explore what's already Around Here.

However, that's how fast I can start swinging back towards my extroverted side -- I'll just probably be likely to be, whenever I feel done with feeling social for the night or day or evening or weekend or whatever, glad to get back to a comfy place where I'm entirely alone and the enviroment is as quiet and as much under my own control as possible.

And then, if I'm healthy, happy to go out and do it again tomorrow, but if not, whatever number of days it will take, etc.

Also: people change, some little, some a lot.

[...] To some degree, I think we tend to congregate, to the extent that we can, with others who feel the same. If you love crowds, you spend your time in crowded areas -- which are mostly full of other people who love crowds. And you incline towards a job which puts you in the same kind of environment.

If, in contrast, you find crowds a drain, you spend as little time as possible where hordes of people are. And you try to find a job where there are relatively few people, and those mostly others who prefer not to spend all their time on social interactions. (Or maybe you telecommute, and spend time commenting on blogs.)

I entirely agree.


I am thankful, deeply cry-my-eyes-out thankful that I have found a foster home for Mercy, an abandoned dog that I have been feeding.

She's blind and afraid of people.

Now I have to trap her and transport her. She may end up euthanized as too emotionally scarred to have any quality of life but at least she won't die alone in a shit-filled shack in the woods.

I am so grateful to the people who have agreed to take her. She will be fostered through Old Dog Haven, a truly wonderful dog rescue in Western Wasington.

Thank you Old Dog Haven.

I am thankful for Shackleton and Allegory (not yet pictured).

My prior link looks as if it went to Facebook, but it goes to my video of one of the two cats I'm house-sitting, and my hand and voice, for what's worth.

Gary wrote:
It's getting better every day in California so far, but that's all I can say for sure.

I'm thankful for this.

I'm a 90%+ of the time lurker at this and other sites where you do or have posted and I appreciate what you have to say and the work that you put into saying it -- both in citations and in understanding the editing that occurs between thought and post.

Also, I think your sentence quoted above would make for a great T-shirt (likely tank top given the CA theme) or the first line of a chorus to a pop or even better a blues song.


What I really dig about the Dalai Lama is that he comes out of this obscure, difficult, secretive, and kind of exclusive tradition, full of esoteric knowledge and mysterious initiations, but he delivers the fruit of that practice to the rest of us as a clear, humane teaching, presented in plain (but not simple) language.

Somehow I missed the Thanksgiving thread. But it's never too late to be grateful.

I basically have pretty much everything I ever wanted out of life. I don't know how that happened. It certainly isn't due to great foresight, or amazing diligence and care, or any other particularly deserving quality on my part.

I kind of fell into it. A way was made, and after bumping around like a knucklehead for a while I figured out how to walk in it.

Lucky me.

To the powers that be, construe them however you wish, I give my thanks.

Hoping to keep this thread alive slightly because I agree that there's always time to give thanks.

Russel - your comment about the Dalai Lama made me think of Obama. I'm not quite sure if I believe that he's an idealist in the sense that the Dalai Lama surely is or that his message is 'presented in plain (but not simple) langauge' but I do feel that more than most they are true to their convictions.

You also reminded me that I also am very blessed and thankful to whatever powers are powering. The way that you phrased your comment reminded me of A.A. Milne's "The Tao of Pooh" and specifically this excerpt:

One of the basic principles of Taoism is P'U, the Uncarved Block. The essence of the Uncarved Block is that things in their original simplicity contain their own natural power, power that is easily spoiled and lost when that simplicity is changed. This principle applies not only to things, but to people as well. Or Bears. Which brings us to Pooh, the very Epitome of the Uncarved Block. When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few, other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret known to those of the Uncarved Block: Life is Fun. Along with that comes the ability to do things spontaneously and have them work, odd as that may appear to others at times. As Piglet put it in 'Winnie-the-Pooh', "Pooh hasn't much Brain, but he never comes to any harm. He does silly things and they turn out right."

Er, oops. The Tao of Pooh is Benjamin Hoff. A.A. Milne wrote the Pooh stories


[...] I know we start pushing near holiday time for many people, so I suspect between December 10th and 20th might be optimal if we want to try for something before the New Year.
I think this guy is onto something. I'm feeling really up for it, myself, although most definitely the limitations on my feet still apply, as I've been only, well, not remotely as mobile as I'd like, since I got here, and less so the past fortnight, and less so the past week, and less so the past couple of days again.

But that aside, anyone still up for this?

I'll try keeping an eye out for the next open thread to repost this in, but I'm kinda busy with life off the keyboard at present, and that includes deliberately staying away for long periods of time, so I'll check back sometime between later tonight, and Monday morning, and then Take Other Steps to see of others are still interested.

I might not be quite as scary as I made myself sound previously.

After all

Right, so: if you wanted to have a gathering that was, in no precise priority order at this moment:
1) near College Ave and Alcatraz Ave in Berkeley/Oakland, CA;
2) allowed for between 2-20 people to talk as easily amongst each other as possible, as flexibly as possible;
3) indoors, presumably in a commercial establishment, probably of pubbish or coffee shoppish nature, though not necessarily;
3) were quiet, but might or might not include quiet music;
4) served beverages, if not food, and were pleasing surroundings;
5) available at the usual times that people are best able to gather, yet aren't apt to cause problems with being overly full and noisy and boisterous?
6) Making a reservation for a group in advance is probably the way to go if that will help.

Exceptions to all of these guidelines allowable; maximum options being sought at this time, to be considered, and optimized. Requirements subject to change and re-evaluation, etc.

Participants largely only know each other from writing; a gathering open to any who hear of it, but centered loosely around people who know me, Obsidian Wings, blogs, or are otherwise friends of such people, and interested in dropping by.

Time frame of either Friday night, or Saturday brunch, afternoon or Saturday afternoon/early evening, or Sunday brunch, either December 10th-12th, or 17th-19th.

Could wind up with just 3-4 people; how many more, unknown, but I think it's reasonable to plan for a max of 20-30, and not expect more than 10-14 in all probability, at most, and probably in the 4-10 range, but will have a better idea if things get narrowed down so I can pick a place and announce in the next ocuple of days.

Any thoughts at all?

I'd like to start doing something regular, if possible, but that's a future question; one experiment is enough for now, and a failure is a learning opportunity, so no worries about any bad ideas.

As previously discussed, but since no one else appears to be doing anything, I'll pick a place on my own: suggestions, anyone?

If need be, I'll just have lunch with 2 people. Or maybe even I can go wild, and meet twice in one weekend! I have offers.

And I'm subject to cancellation at the last minute for any plans, alas, so plan on my not being able to make it as at least a 50% possibility for now, to be updated in the days prior.


If I don't get enough discussion to make it seem worthwhile, I may do my own open thread on the front page on this topic by Tuesday or Wednesday evening, or may not; the longer the wait, the more likely need to make it the 17th-19th, and that's sufficiently close to the holidays that I think this weekend, the 10th-12 is better, but only if we can pick a place/time, and make a definite announcement by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, and that's closer than preferable.

I'd have prefered having settled this by now, but since it isn't, and I've done little about it, let's

Discuss here.

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