A book meme (stolen from Wolfdaughter, Mistressnaoko, etc.)

You’re not supposed to think too long or too hard on this one.

List 15 books you’ve read that will always stick with you – list the first 15 you can recall in 15 minutes. Don’t take too long to think about it.

It might be tough to remember that many books. They tend to blur together after a bit, but I'll try.
1: The Belisarius series (about 7 books, but I'll count it as just the first one)
2: Tales of the Black Widowers by Isaac Asimov
3: Legacy of Herot by Larry Niven
4: Convergent Series by Larry Niven (the book and the short story in the book)
5:The Wizard of Oz by I forget whom (I'll add it later)
6:The integral Trees by Larry Niven
7: The "Foreigner" trilogies (all three of them) By C. J. Cherryh (how do you pronounce "Cherryh"?)
8: The "Acorna" series by Anne McCafferey
9: The Bible by multiple authors
10: Rubbish: the Archeology of Garbage by William Rathie
11: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
12: The Velveteen Rabbit (I forget the author. Will look it up later)
13: Wizard's First Rule and the rest of the "Sword of Truth" series by Terry Goodkind
14: The Wyrd Sisters and other books from the "Discworld" series by Terry Pratchett
15: Dragon's Kin by Anne McCafferey and her son, Todd McCafferey

There could be more if I tried, but I think I've covered the major bases here.

The Velveteen Rabbit was by Margery Williams.
The Wizard of Oz was written by L. Frank Baum.
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About Bravery

"Brave"

It's a funny word sometimes. I imagine people use it all the time, but the meaning varies alot. It's like that word "love" that sometimes tends to leave a distasteful feeling in me when I say it. I don't like to use the word "love" unless I believe I mean it, and I can't remember the last time I used the word "brave".
I would consider myself a brave man in most things.
Of course, I don't feel terribly brave. A person doesn't have to feel brave to be brave. In fact, I would hazard a guess that not feeling brave tends to be normal for those who are brave. It's not something you feel, you just are, like being smart (or ignorant of comma placement :] ).
So what is being brave? It's a simple question, but I guarantee you'd get lots of different answers if you ask Mr. random guy off the street / internet. So what do I think it is? Lessee... I remember from the kids shows I watched when I was young that they would say that being brave is not a lack of fear, but taking action despite that fear. Of course, that is open to interpretation, but it's mostly accurate to what I would consider bravery. I would say that it's the ability to control your fear so that it doesn't dictate your actions. A person who runs away from a spider might be brave, but if he's too busy being afraid of the spider in his room to think of grabbing a shoe and squishing it, then he might not be.
I, myself have been confronted with a rather large spider (which I was / am afraid of) which dropped down directly in front of me when entering my bedroom. My immediate reaction was to back away hastily. Upon assessing the situation, I realized that my shoes were behind the spider. My action? Jump over the spider and get my shoes. Of course I had forgotten about the invisible strand of web that was still in the doorway, so as I jumped over, I caught the web (which was still attached to the spider) and pulled the spider up into the air with me. it was a very frightening experience and I was quick to squish it as soon as I could grab my boots. Were these actions brave or cowardly? Honestly, I personally can't much tell very much difference in such small matters, nor do I think most people would care. What I do know, however, is that my first gut reaction when I realized my boots were on the other side of the spider was to stay on the side of the spider that I was on. Because of that, my inclination is to think of it as a little bit brave. Either way, it makes for fun times when I tell people about my battle with the ninja assassin spider.
Although I say I am brave, I do have my phobias. As I have mentioned, I am afraid of spiders. I'm generally averse to anything entering my skin via something sharp and pointy. I have no tattoos and I cringe at the thought of getting stuck with a syringe, though I have received numerous shots during my military career. The last time I was stuck with an IV I turned white and scared the nurse. I have a fear of heights. I have a mild fear of the dark. I also have a fear of extremely cramped spaces where I can't move my arms outwards at all. I used to have a mild fear of eating fish because of a moderately traumatic incident during my childhood. I am glad to say that I have gotten over it, because I really enjoy eating fish.
So I have fears. some of these are not terribly rational. Do I act in spite of my fears, though? I think so. I'll tell you a story about conquering fears:
You see, a good many years ago, I joined the army. I didn't have a terribly good reason for doing so. Explaining why I even bothered to listen to the recruiter is a bit of a muddled topic. Why I signed the contract is a rather messy reason involving my muddy reasons, a bit of naievete and a very specific lie told by (then) SSG Randy Walker, my recruiter. If you ever see that guy, tell him I still think he's a jerk. Anyways, I joined the army. Now what happens just before you are given the "privelege" of becoming a soldier is what most laymen call "boot camp" and what the army specifically calls "basic training". What this is is pretty much what it sounds like. All army soldiers are trained in the basic knowledge and skills that are required to serve in the army before being trained in their specific jobs. What is not implied in the name, however, is the other side of the training. You see, basic training is not only training, but also an ongoing and simultaneous test. It's a proving grounds to watch for and weed out soldiers with certain characteristics that could make them a liability in the armed forces. For this reason, conditions in basic training are very strictly controlled and deliberately very stressful. I've heard stories from both my drill instructor and my fellow soldiers about suicide attempts (one of the things both the drill instructors and the control measures are set up to prevent) and even seen a half-assed attempt by a fellow soldier. The soldier didn't really want to kill himself, he just wanted what he got. He was dishonorably discharged shortly afterwards.
But I digress...What I really wanted to talk about was a specific part of my basic training called the "confidence course". Now the term confidence course is very much a misnomer. You see, the course is specifically designed to shake the confidence of nearly everyone who goes through it. Specifically, those with a fear of heights have a particularly unpleasant time. Here's a picture of a couple of the more notable structures that I had to traverse:
Military
I saw more than one person in tears that day (one of them was standing on that structure in the foreground of the pic, too afraid to walk across the wooden lattice {no crawling allowed}). I wouldn't have been surprised if I had ended up the same way. The very first obstacle to be tackled was terrifying. It was a ladder structure. I'd guess it was about 30 feet high. What was terrifying wasn't the height of the structure. It was the means by which one had to climb it. You see, the whole thing looked like a ladder, but the "rungs" were very thick and spaced out. A person could not sit on one rung and get his arms around the rung above him to lift himself. They would have to stand on the lower rung while steadying themselves on the upper one until they could get a good solid grip on the upper rung and lift themselves up. Occasionally, a rung would be just out of reach while sitting on the lower one and I would have to gather my feet under me and balance on the rung for a moment before grasping the upper one. It was an exhausting process for me and very frightening. My drill instructor, of course, didn't help at all when he climbed up the structure with his students and began to use his body weight to rock the structure gently back and forth, a motion which I found anything but calming. I imagine that I more than used up my quota of swear words for the week on that first obstacle. I climbed to the top, though. I had to. I had to climb down once I got there, too.
The fear of that day, however, is not what stuck it in my memory. Nor did it stick in my memory that very day. it was a couple days later that it became significant, when it came time to face my fear of heights yet again. That is when I learned something interesting about fear. You see, I had faced my fear of heights several times that one day and been terrified more than once, but my sense of duty drove me to action despite my fear. By facing my fears so much, I had found it was much easier to face them later.
  Now any self help book about fears might tell you the same thing. I would say it's fairly common knowledge that facing your fear is a good way to get over it. Here's the interesting part, though. I noticed that it was also much easier to cope with my fear of the dark and my fear of spiders as well.
  The process of conquering fear is much the same no matter what fear is being conquered. The details may vary slightly, but the process is just the same.
Wow. it seems I've created a rather substantial post without covering my intended topic. It's just as well, I suppose. I'll probably finish up this thought at a later time. Goodnight.

"Wolfdaughter" gave me the idea....

For your viewing enjoyment, The results of a quiz I took. It looks similar to one I took at a grade school. Since this journal is partly about the way I think, I thought I'd put it here.


Your result for True Colors Test - A Self Inventory...

NT - Scholar (Green)

 


Congratulations! You are the SCHOLAR.


First, the bad news. On any given bad day you're most likely to be perceived as cold, arrogant, know-it-all. At times you are closed off and independent, seemingly absentminded, and have probably been told that you've got your head in the clouds. You get lost in thought easily, and sometimes you leave people back on Earth when you go off on a reverie. All of this means that you can come off as aloof and unappreciative of other peoples opinions. You know better, you're probably just smarter than them.


Now that we've got that out of the way, on to the good news. You are a critical thinker and an innovator. A lifetime learner, your passion and thirst for knowledge will entertain you throughout your lifetime. You are the "ideas" person that people come to for solutions. To hell with implementing the ideas, you'll leave that for someone else to figure out. In the meantime, you're probably always eager to share solutions and wisdom with those who seek it. You're good at being alone, and probably need alone time periodically to recharge and just be in your head. You're a visionary, mentally tough, analytical and capable of meting out judgment. You are highly knowledgeable and people seek that out in you. Try not to let that get to your head.


Scholar Traits:


  • Visionary

  • Conscientious

  • Calm and patient

  • Sees the big picture

  • Serious

  • Competent

  • Inquisitive

  • Meticulous

  • Innovative

  • Insightful and intellectual

  • Adaptable

  • Can never know enough


Take True Colors Test - A Self Inventory
at HelloQuizzy

Christianity: The unofficial quick and dirty version.

Well it's 1:35 AM here and I was recently watching youtube videos of "Some Grey Bloke". Specifically, This one.
I figured that, since some people aren't too clear on what the basic tenets of christianity are, and, more specifically, what version I tend to subscribe to, I'd put a quick explanation of what I believe (or used to, as may be the case). Of course, I would never claim to be an expert on the bible. I've met a few, they know alot more about it than I do, believe me. But I do claim to have many years experience trying to find out the truth about god and figuring out the best way to worship him. During these years, I read quite a bit of the bible, so I guess that counts for something.

In any case, let's get going:
So, as I mentioned earlier, the whole thing is about god wanting kids. Now, the big thing about kids is that they're just a little bit different than their father. That and they tend to whine and complain alot, but that part comes later in the entry. Anyways, god wants people who are different, but the whole thing about being a perfect being is that you can't really associate too much with things that are wrong. That's just how the universe works. Granted, god could probably change things around if he wanted to, but the whole thing with how the universe works is that it's very complicated. After all, scientists have found hundreds if not tens of hundreds of answers pretaining to how the universe works and they're still stuck on parts of it. Anyways the thing about the way the universe works is that it's very complicated and God doesn't really like to mess around with it too much. Kind of like a house of cards that you've set up and figured out that one of the cards near the middle is messed up a bit. You could fix it, but you'd rather not go about tearing the whole thing down and rebuilding it again. After all, if it took seven days for God to make the earth (even considering he might have taken his time on it) how long would it take to build the universe?
In any case, god wants kids he can mentor and play with and having kids means that he needs to figure out how to have someone besides himself with free will. After all, it could get pretty boring for a supreme deity when all that your intelligent creations can do is nod woodenly at all of your questions and say "Whatever you say, God". So he first took one of his top angels and said "Ok, I'm giving you the power to disagree with me". Unfortunately, that didn't go quite perfectly. I can imagine the first question God asked the angel started things off pretty badly right there.
"Do you like my gift, Satan?"
"Heck no!"
So while god was figuring out what to do with his new creation, Satan started messing up his angels, probably silly things like:
"God can do anything, right?"
"Uh, yes."
"So can he make a rock that he can't move?"
Of course God got wind of this and promptly told Satan that he shouldn't be messing around with God's creations. Satan just as promptly disagreed and said he could do better. He then proceeded to try to put actions to his words, mucking up the angels even worse. Finally, God had had enough and told Satan to go away and take all the angels he messed up with him. God forced them all away from him and his angels to a place where he didn't have to worry about them.
Of course, God still wanted children, so he decided to try again. He was a bit more careful this time, didn't make them as powerful, and even made a world where they could live. For a while everything was rather happy. God hung out with his new children regularly. Of course, Satan found out about God making a replacement for him and wasn't too happy about it, so he decided to mess around with the new arrivals. The first thing he did was give them the knowledge of right and wrong, so that instead of being able to disagree with the funny guy in the white robe and beard without worrying about it, they knew that saying "no" to the one perfect being in the universe was rather silly and stupid. So instead they tried to lie to him when he asked them questions. This didn't go over very well with the keeper of universal truth. Not only did it piss God off at Satan again, but it meant that God couldn't really hang out with humans anymore, seeing as they were bad enough to lie and he was the very embodiment of truth. Instead of scrapping them and starting over, though, he decided to try and fix them. After all, Satan would probably screw up any new creations he put on earth anyways. So he gave them religion, which worked for a time, but, of course, Satan found out about that and decided he could do it better, so he made lots of his own religions to get humans to do silly things that got them hurt most of the time. Eventually God got fed up with all the religions and decided to try and fix his own religion so that Satan couldn't mess with it. So he sent a part of himself down to earth to work on it. Doing this, he managed a way to be able to fix what Satan was doing to people, but this would mess around with people's attitudes and decisions enough that he couldn't justify it as upholding free will. So, in order to maintain free will, he put a condition on the whole thing, that people had to make a choice to have themselves fixed.
In any case, that's my quick and dirty version of christianity. I'm not about to say it's accurate, but it's a good attempt at a simple explanation of things.
And now it's 2:25. Time for bed. Goodnight.

Because people should know...

http://www.isaccorp.org/

It's not right, but it is a dangerous business who you trust your children to. I'm thankful not to have been a part of any of these organizations, but I do have personal experience with what can happen when the wrong people are taking care of children.

I keep seeing things like this. It worries me sometimes. I guess I'm becoming a bit disenchanted with society.
It's late and I need to get my head together. I recently read a firsthand account of one of the people who was enrolled in one of the "boot camps" mentioned here. I'll need to spend a bit of time calming down. Goodnight.
shell, glass

Writer's Block: Down on Memory Lane

What is your earliest childhood memory?
My very first childhood memory that I can recall is not strictly a memory, but a memory of remembering my first memory. My earliest real memory is being on the floor of my parent's old apartment in Melrose, Massachusetts. They later rented the upper level of what I can only asume is a duplex. It was not too far from the apartment. I still have bits and peices of the layout of Melrose in my head.

The memory that I remember as being my first memory is sitting in a chair and crying as a man with glasses hovers over me. I think my parents were there, too.
I was in a dentists office.
I still have the results of his work in the back of my mouth today. For most of my life I've had metal fillings in my back teeth. Granted, the teeth have mostly overgrown the fillings, but I can still see them there in the mirror.

One more quick meme. (ninja'd from my friend Naoko)

Who are two of your biggest fictional role models? Why?

It's a really interesting question.
Now a role model is generally someone who influences or has influenced your actions or decisions. In this case, most of my fictional role models currently are made up by myself, oddly enough. However, there are one or two from literature that simply stick in my mind as people I'd like to be like.

Bren, the Paidhi, from the "Foreigner" series by C.J. Cherryh seems like an upstanding guy who knows how to use his words as his best defense, even under fire. A good man in a bad situation trying to make the best of things with what he has. It's a great story. I recommend it. I like the guy alot because I can identify with him. I'm not a man who often relies on physical force to do things. I can't remember the last time I really swung a fist at someone. It's a lesson I learned the hard way. Being able to step into someone else's shoes and figuring out what to say and how to say it from that point of view can avoid alot of fights.

But I suppose that isn't technically a true role model. It simply coincides with an existing belief. So, what were some of my old role models? The ones that have already influenced my thoughts and attitudes.

Well, I suppose I could go the easy route and suggest some names from the bible. My namesake has a book named after him and is definitely one of my role models. The bible, however, can't strictly be considered fictonal. So we can discount it from the list.

It's difficult to think of any others, really. I don't think about the past much. In all honesty, I'd rather forget my origins most of the time, remembering only the lessons they carry with them. Many parts of my past are painful to think about. There are a few nice things that I remember, though.
I suppose as far as fictional characters go, most of the ones I obsessed over as a kid were on the television. I did read a good deal in my past, but my childhood was mostly filled with educational books and my father's science books, so the television provided much of the entertaining stories of my youth. I watched a great many 80's cartoons. As is the standard for most cartoons, the heroes tend to be pretty standard faire. Always willing to choose the difficult good over the easier path of evil. I suppose that and my parent's teachings formed alot of the basis for what I believe in today.
It's kind of a scary thought in retrospect. Some of the old tv shows of my youth could be pretty messed up. Have you ever watched the older versions of Sesame Street?