Hmm, last time I posted to Dreamwidth was to do this meme last year.  Wonder if I'll do any more blogging this year? 

Well here goes.  Not sure this is perfectly in order. 

Melrose MA
Somerville MA
Boston MA 
Paterson NJ 
Wilmington MA 
Portland ME 
Madison WI 
Chicago IL 
Arlington VA
So. Burlington VT
Chestertown NY 
Berlin Ger
London UK 
Durham UK 
Newark DE 
Morristown NJ 
Fort Lauderdale FL 

Not exactly the year of sitting in one place, some very good memories in 2014. 
1.  Explore and learn new things, constantly, fearlessly.
2.  Show your love.
3.  Strive to make where you are a better place.

As a legacy goes, it's not bad. 
I've enjoyed this meme the last few years, and got reminded of it earlier today.  Places slept in 2013: 

Melrose MA
Somerville MA
Boston MA
San Francisco CA
Walnut Creek CA
Paterson NJ
Arlington VA
Belfast UK
Dover NH
Chestertown NY
edited to add: New Lebanon NY
Wilmington MA 
Christiana DE
Chicago IL

I feel like I'm forgetting something but checking the calendar isn't revealing.
I'm a little late to Paul Graham's essay on How To Disagree.  Apparently lots of people have seen it before me, but if you haven't seen it, check it out.  A useful thing to have in mind when you are thinking about what to say to the Person Being Wrong on The Internet. 

Graham's level 0 for disagreement is name-calling.  And I think we can all agree that  "you're an asshole" doesn't really move an argument forward.  Perhaps it is the lowest level at which we can still call this interchange a discussion.  But there are two other patterns of responses, neither of them positive, that might qualify for negative numbers on the Graham hierarchy. 

The one I've heard too much of recently is "argument by intimidation". Call it Level -1, but unfortunately we can't avoid thinking about how to respond to it when it happens.   Name-calling is ugly and hurtful,  but responses that threaten and explicitly bully are outside the realm of "let's try to talk about this".  Rape threats and death threats, wishes for physical harm to the speaker, defacing of images, are all not-uncommon responses to internet conflict, and it seems particularly common as a response to women standing up against  harassment .  I don't actually recommend clicking on this link  of the responses to Lindy West's assertion that the field of comedy is hostile to women; it's stomach-turning.  Suffice to say they prove the point..

The other response that might be just sideways to the hierarchy of disagreement  is "silencing".  "Oh, shut up" is not an argument.  [comment deleted] is not an argument either.  It might be an appropriate refusal to engage with Level -1 and maybe even Level 0 comments.  But deleting arguments because you disagree with them or they put you in a bad light means that there's no chance for examining our differences and maybe learning a thing or two about each other.    If it's your blog you can discuss what you want to, how you want to, and remove all the comments you like, but there's a difference between a soapbox and a discussion.  So I don't know what to call this one.  Level square-root-of-negative-1 perhaps,  because now the discussion has to move to the inside of our heads. 

Last night, for the first time in a long time, I dreamed about my grandfather. Not as he actually was when he died, bed-ridden and lost in dementia, but an idealized version of his old age, frail and shaky but still funny and sharp and kind. I dreamed that it was the morning after a visit with him in which we played cards and joked around, and I'd gotten the news he had died. In the dream, my mother and aunt were talking about how he had left no will but I said to them, "well, I know what he would want to do."

Leaving aside how unlikely it is that we can actually know another's unspoken wishes -- dreams, after all -- there's something in my head this morning about how shared temperament and affinities can run in families. I see a lot of him in my mother, a lot of my mother in myself, time will tell how much of those traits are passed even further down the generations. In the interplay of genetics and environment, some things seem uncanny in their repetition.

Today I am remembering what were perhaps not my grandfather's best features. He wasn't much for accumulating wealth at his best; as I understand it, money flowed out of his fingers as fast as he came in. He was forgiving to a fault -- until one crossed the invisible line after which that person was dead to him. I think he was often restless, certainly pig-headedly stubborn, capable of turning his kindliness to a flash of temper at times. I don't want to idolize him. I'm a little more discerning than the child who thought he was the smartest man in the world and should be elected president, which gives you some idea of my childhood hero-worship of Grandpa. Still I miss him, as long as its been, and that's ok with me. As long as we remember, they live on.
I bet I won't get everything.

Melrose MA
Somerville MA
Boston MA
Arenal, Costa Rica
Domenical, Costa Rica
Paterson NJ
New York City NY
Plymouth Meeting PA
Madison WI
Dennisport MA
Burlington MA
Oakland CA
Portland OR
Chestertown NY
Lenox MA
Enfield CT
Belfast Ireland
Christiana DE

I have omitted airplane flights, even overnight ones.

I really feel certain I'm missing something. Possibly Arlington VA though I can't place when that was, and it's possible I'm thinking of 2011. I'll update later if I figure it out.

[Edited to add Plymouth Meeting PA and NYC]



January 2015



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