Saturday, September 20, 2014

Change of plans

Hello everyone. I only had one idea for this email that I thought would be any good but then I decided it was condescending and dumb. Also I found out the night I'm writing this (well, about a half hour ago) that my girlfriend of almost four years may be ending things with me very soon and I'm pretty depressed. I haven't had to deal with this before. I don't want to be alone. I wish I had made different decisions. I'm guessing I'll feel better within a few days. I hope so, because it's really raw right now.

I don't want to waste my opportunity to send out a Listserve email though, so I'll give you some of my favorite quotes.

There is only one way to achieve happiness on this terrestrial ball, and that is to have either a clear conscience or none at all. -Ogden Nash, poet (1902-1971)

In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -William Butler Yeats, writer, Nobel laureate (1865-1939)

Most people think that shadows follow, precede, or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories. -Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)

The high-minded man must care more for the truth than for what people think. -Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE)

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. -Flannery O'Connor, writer (1925-1964)

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. -Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

There comes a time in a man's life when to get where he has to -- if there are no doors or windows -- he walks through a wall. -Bernard Malamud, novelist and short-story writer (1914-1986)

Hopefully some of those are meaningful to you. Thank you for reading.

Fairfax, VA

Friday, September 19, 2014

If you like marriage or Leonard Cohen (also if you don't)

Spent most of your adult life away from your family? I have.

I live a few thousand miles away from my birth family, so having another family close by is a welcome gift--I married into one, for certain values of "married"--but it's a gift I'm still learning to appreciate, since I've been living this far away from my birth family since I was 17 and only got engaged much more recently.

I guess the only thing that makes this all noteworthy is that I'm gay, and obviously so is my fiance, and we're going to get married in Hawaii at the end of the year because our families will both be there at the same time. Also gay marriage is legal there, but that's kind of irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, we can just do it in California first and then have a stress-free ceremony on the beach in Oahu since we'll all be there anyway. It's also all because of Justice Kennedy's opinion in Windsor, ultimately, I guess. So bravo, Justice Kennedy, and the senator of the same name that stopped Bork and ended up getting you nominated in the first place, way back when.

If you've read this far, I salute you, since that is saccharine bullshit. It's all true, too, but I'm also thinking of tossing myself in a mental institution for a week or so in the coming days. I have that thing white people get where we all get sad starting in the fall, but out here in San Francisco September is actually our June (followed quickly by several versions of our November and then a June again), so it's really unclear when fall starts. I have other problems too, but that's the main one in this particular case. I'm not really that fun I don't think.

So I guess here are my requests for people to internet-hang-out-with:
--People who want to help write a novel about the CIA response to China finding lots of oil in the international part of the South China Sea
--People who have experience with depression and how it makes you stupid and shit
--Anybody who wants to talk about math
--People who know me
--Or just whatever, send a kind word, I could use it.

Anyway, thanks for reading,


I guess I have a few words left, so here's a poem I didn't write, by Leonard Cohen:

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

San Francisco

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My listserve birthday wish

Hello everyone on the listserve!In my brief time with you, I have two things I'd like to ask you to help me with.

First thing, you're getting this just around my 32nd birthday (10 Sept). I've never really liked my birthday and I'm sick of feeling miserable every time this day comes around. As a child my birthday was so close to the start of school that it often was forgotten by all my friends in the hubbub. As an adult my birthday has been over shadowed first from year after year of memorial reporting about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, than as my grandfather passed away right as I should have been celebrating 30. Help me reclaim my birthday, please!

Second, I'm about to graduate with my MBA with a marketing concentration and am now looking to change my career path with my new degree. I'd like to break into marketing research or data analysis, but am finding that even with the MBA, everyone wants related work experience, even for entry level jobs. Any tips would be much appreciated!

Thank you all for reading and thank you all for posting. Now that I've spent time looking at the e-mail saying I'm selected, I understand how hard this is.

In conclusion, please remember that you are loved. Sometimes I forget, but I hope you don't.

Pennsylvania, US

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

something (or How I learned to stop worrying and love making things)

I’d like to encourage all of you (myself included) to make more things. I don’t care what kinds of things you make, but make something. You can do it by yourself, or you can work with someone else, or you can make something based on someone else’s work. Here are some suggestions of things you can make:

A bowl of pasta with homemade sauce and meatballs
A robot that you can play catch with
A story about a girl and her pet rat
A webpage that generates new, exciting, and sometimes nonsensical jokes about noses
An edit to wikipedia about a topic that interests you
A quilt for someone you care about like a pet
I enjoy every part/phase/stage of making.

There’s the planning stage, where you try and come with ideas, turn them around in your mind and tweak them until you can bring it into the world.

There’s the scavenging phase where you find and bring together all of the pieces/thoughts/feelings you need to make the thing inside your head(s).

There’s the doing phase, where you take something like a blank page, an existing project, or a box of parts and transform it into something new/different/better/worse than it was before

And then it starts over again. The thing you’ve made eventually changes again. Sometimes it’s entropy as it falls apart. Sometimes it’s you, coming back to tweak what you’ve created because you had another idea. Sometimes it’s teeth, because you’ve baked a delicious cake and there’s no point in letting a cake go to waste.

You’ll be able to look forward to some part of the making process, or think back to the end result and it’ll make you smile or frown or both.

If you need help making things, or want to share the things you’ve made, or you’re looking for people who like making just as much as you do, you should see if there’s a hackerspace/makerspace/sewing club/quilting mafia/organic food co-op near you and you should get involved. We humans are social creatures.

Wesley Ellis
The internets


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

For the Tired People

Name: Cattie
Email: cattie.price[AT]
Current Location: Missouri, USA
Subject Line: For the Tired People
Email body:

So, I'm a brand-new 7th grade English teacher. I work in a school where something like 80% of the kids live below the poverty line. Many of them have families who are barely making it. Many of them wear the same clothes to school multiple days in a row. For many of them, school lunch is the only meal they will eat that day. Many of their parents struggle with drugs, alcoholism, or are incarcerated. And here I am, some 25-year-old white girl who saw Freedom Writers and wanted to make a difference. Want to know a secret? Some days, I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Yes, I do know some of what they're going through, I guess - I grew up in a similar situation, at least financially. My single mom worked three jobs while going back to school, raising me, and supporting my great-grandma who has Alzheimer's, but then she got cancer and we were on assistance for a while during my childhood. I had a grandmother who robbed my mom blind in the middle of all of this to pay off gambling debts. I've never met my dad and that's admittedly always left a bit of a hole in my heart. I know some fraction of what these kids go through, but every situation is different. I have no idea what it feels like, for instance, to come home to your mom's boyfriend holding a gun to her head. (Some of my kids do. That's tough to stomach.) And the work environment itself is tough. Because of the demographics of our city, the taxes are very low, and this translates to things like no air conditioning in the schools (temps reached 102 in my classroom this August). I'm not really complaining, because I am just in LOVE with these kids. They are truly remarkable. But it's still really, really hard.

The truth is, I sometimes feel completely snowed under and overwhelmed. Teaching is the hardest thing I've probably ever done, but I really honestly truly madly deeply feel like God has been taking care of my little introverted soul during these first three weeks of school. It's little things - every morning, hearing an encouraging song on the radio on my drive to school. When a kid comes to me for advice or just needs me to listen to them, and I'm blessed with just enough time to give them my ears for a few moments and it really seems to lighten a bit of their load. I've worked with kids for a while, in various capacities, before teaching full-time. But there is nothing quite like being in the middle of giving a naughty class a little talking-to about respect, and getting to the part where you tell them you're disappointed because their behavior is telling you they don't really care what you have to say (when they're talking while you're talking, tapping on desks, and otherwise not paying attention), and being completely cut off mid-sentence by the ten rowdiest, most ornery, most disruptive kids in the class dramatically and loudly objecting that you are, in actuality, their favorite teacher and that they can't WAIT to come to your class every day. That they feel like it's home. I almost cried in the middle of my serious talk! Here's God's honest truth: every day I internally question whether I truly have what it takes to be a teacher. And every day, there they are: the 77 silly, sweet, remarkable reasons I stay.

I say these things because I've been through just enough suffering in my short life to finally be touching the very outermost tip of a realization: that no matter what you're going through - and I mean no matter WHAT - there is always, always, always hope. That and Jesus help me get through my every day, and I hope it helps you, too.

Love from the Midwest,

Missouri, USA

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Talent means next to nothing, while experience acquired in humility and hard work means everything." — Giuseppe Baldini

There are three things that I love doing over the internet; website developing/designing, watching anime and reading other people's articles.

Hi, my name is Eriko, I'm a 20-year-old IT student here in the Philippines. I've been watching anime ever since I was a kid and up to now I'm still doing it. I'm thankful to the internet because it gave me free access to new anime episodes straight from Japan. It's pretty awesome to still continue a hobby that I have from when I was a little lamb. I started watching anime over the internet back when I was in middle school, it's probably over 6 years ago. I pity myself back then because I always thought that I have no talent. In our family of 5, I have two older brothers, both of them can draw anime very well, same goes with my pops. Me, on the other hand, can't even draw a proper stick man. This self-pity continued up until high school.

High school came and I got myself into a forum about a particular game. The forum closed along with the game, but us users of the forum still want to continue our conversations. We decided to make a website that we can use. Ever heard of Ning? It's a website where you can create your own social network. At ning you can customize your website's CSS. That's not just for the administrator, but for the users as well. Just like the old friendster, at ning you can add a small code of HTML, and by adding an external stylesheet you can edit its CSS. It made me interested in CSS. It's funny because I first learned CSS and then HTML. After some years I finally got comfortable with HTML, CSS and JavaScript and nowadays I can create a website from scratch! It made me feel good inside because I finally got my own niche.

Fast forward to the present day. I mentioned that I like reading other people's articles, right? I mentioned all my three hobby at the start of this e-mail. I've combined all those three hobbies that I have on the internet and the result is "Kuru Anime." It's a website about Anime where users can post blog, drawings, and have conversation on the forum. It's just starting, sooner or later we'll have anime streaming and podcasts about anime. It's a website where I can do all of my hobbies. Neat, right? It might seem crazy but I'm thinking of making it a full pledge company. A small company like 9gag. If my plan succeeds, then that would be awesome.

"Talent means next to nothing, while experience acquired in humility and hard work means everything." My hard work was rewarded with 130 members, 30 of which are active. It might not be that much but it's still pretty impressive considering that I just reopened it last month. If anyone of you are interested about the website you can contact me on my e-mail and ask for the link. Thank you for reading my short List Serve! Now I'll go back to watching The Amazing Spiderman 2. Bye!

Bos Eriko Reyes
Tondo, Manila, Philippines

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Easy like Sunday... night

2) My thoughts on a Sunday night:
- I like Sundays.
-I like that football season started today and the Bengals beat the Ravens.
- I love Cincinnati. I moved away about six years ago, but I know that's where I'll probably settle back down.
- One guy I went to high school with was killed about a week and a half ago. I wish I could say he's the first. A different girl I went to high school with's son was killed by her boyfriend around the same time. He was two. If you're the praying type, Big Ant's and little Josiya's families would appreciate it. If you're not that's cool, just try to do something to decrease world suck today with them in mind. Actually, even if you do pray, try to do something concrete too.
-Slight tangent: I realized awhile back that many of the people I met in college had never known anyone who died violently, or even just died young. I once had a conversation with a girl and noted that it was entirely possible that 50% or more of our lives might be over. It didn't go over well, but it's important to remember.
- Church was good today. We just started a series called "Live and Let Die." Appropriate, I guess, given the above.
- I should be writing an exam for my ESL students right now. I got my Bachelor's in translation, but had a hard time finding a job working with people. I did not want to translate documents, so I went back to school for a TESL degree. That's where I am now. Teaching adults has been wild. I'm still not sure if I'm any good at it. They often don't tell me when they don't understand things, so it's been a little rough figuring it out.
- Fun story about how strange it is to teach in a university setting: My students did not know the word "spread." I explained it could be used for both things and ideas and asked for examples. One girl just looked at me and said, "Oh, like disseminate."
-I really want to travel once I finish my Master's in a year-ish. I love languages. I'm not always good about studying, but I have a list that I'd like to at least become conversational in. I'm hoping to teach abroad for 3-5 years. My friends keep pushing me towards the Middle East. I think I'd like it, but my mom would have a heart attack. One of my professors is pushing Chile. I've got time to decide.
-Quandary: I really want the whole marriage/babies life too. It's supposed to be easier if you start before 30, and if I travel I'm gonna be pushing that limit.
3) Things I like:
-Languages! If you speak Spanish, Arabic, Dutch, or Malay and would like to chat, I would love penpals. Those are my focus right now, in order of "fluency." If you speak Turkish, Korean, or Tagalog, that's what I'm studying next.
-Soccer! I'm a goalie. Arsenal, Monterrey, and both US teams.
-Books! I will read nearly anything. If you have any recommendations (in Spanish or English) I'm interested.
-Being joyful! Not always happy, but damned if they can take my joy.
4) Vonnegut wisdom: "I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"
Hope to hear back from everyone. Much love.

Melissa M.
NE Ohio