A New Year, A New Practice

Many a year I’ve thought I should keep a list of the books I’m consuming for some sort of personal year end reflection, maybe even documenting movies I’m seeing (if they are lucky).  Unfortunately, this thought comes usually about five months into the year.  Not this year.  Finally, my ideas and timing coincide.  So the tracking starts today, and my future self can someday properly reminisce about the year I’m about to have.

So, my first entry: the first of January, and I devoured Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 today. In a nutshell that does not do it service, this 1953 novel tells tale of a shallow and violent future society which has traded in quality of thought for entertainment, in an arguably prophetic way that stands as both a warning to America and a love letter to ideas. It’s a classic for a reason, but it’s not just the beautifully poetic writing. The ideas contained within resonated with me so strongly that I felt essentially connected to it and the author – I feel somehow that I’ve robbed my past self by not reading it earlier, and I could give no stronger recommendation to a book.

It’s late, and has been a long first day of the year, but a beautiful start of the year. Here’s to ideas in 2016.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”  – Ray Bradbury

Selections from Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, an imperfect human like all of us, but I feel he gets me* with regard to so many things. And then I find this quote from him about Calvinism, an ideology so offensive to myself personally it literally makes me physically ill to think about it’s logical conclusions.

He wrote in a letter to John Adam in April of 1823 that Calvin was basically worshipping a demon if anything:

“I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.”


Previously in a letter to Ezra Stiles Ely in 1819, he wrote simply:

“You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know.”

Mr. Jefferson, quite the independent.

“I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.”  -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789

Could I go back in time and meet any historical figure, Thomas Jefferson would surely be my choice.


*Silly me, in reality I get him.
** Sources

Marriage Equality in the USA (and everywhere)

Firstly and foremost: Huzzah!! We did it!  I spent many an hour doorbelling and phone banking in Washington State for our own marriage equality vote (R74) and am so happy to see the tide of opinion change in this country and the country follow our fine state.

But while I celebrate, I’m torn because I really question the government or majority’s authority in this matter at all. Marriage licenses were introduced less than 100 years ago (1923) and mainly for exceedingly and explicitly racist reasons (check this out).  Individual rights are not subject to a vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority.  It’s great that “A CNN poll in February 19, 2015 found that 63% of Americans believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry” (source) but in August 2010 it was only 49% – so did reality change?  No, of course not – only opinion changed.  As a thought exercise, what happens when public opinion decides brunettes and redheads shouldn’t be allowed to have relationships on a (likely superstitious) whim?

While I’m independent, I have to agree with the Libertarian platform on this one:
Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.

So I worry, a little, in the back of my head while I celebrate this win.  I worry that while the outcome is good, the principals behind the need for this outcome is highly questionable. We are sticking bandaids on the symptoms instead of finding and treating the root cause which is limiting our liberty. We are desperate for acceptance from a bad law founded on a bad premise, and we’ll take it, but keep in mind what’s really going on: we’re getting the permission to a right everyone already should have always had.


Inputs and Outputs

Fitness boils down into inputs vs. outputs. In super dumbed down terms, your outputs have to be greater than your inputs (assuming you’re like 99%* of Americans and trying to drop pounds rather than bulk up).

OUTPUTS: My sister signed me up for a half marathon.
Yep, that’s right. Unbeknownst to me. But, I decided to put my big girl yoga pants on and try to make this happen. I am not a runner, so I did a little research and found a running plan that I think will work for me. I have a very athletic friend who hurt herself running an unprepared for seven miles so that has scared me into taking this seriously.  More on the running plan later.

INPUTS: I’ve started tracking what I eat.
Everything. I. eat. This is a pain but the “MyFitnessPal” app makes it about as easy as possible.  Part of blogging about this process is also tracking, I figured writing about it would help.

I am not gigantic but I’ve still got 20 pounds I’ve rather not have. I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past so I know I can do that. I’m lazy and nerdy so I’ve automated as much of the tracking as possible through gadgets and gizmos.

Let’s do this, self!