09. January 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Politics, Rant · Tags:

I really try to ignore politically-oriented posts on my Facebook newsfeed, but some days I really cannot stand to see what comes across there. I know I’m friends with some conservative-minded individuals, and I respect that. What kills me is the myopic approach they take with so many things. I constructively can come in and provide enlightenment on the situation, and it’s a crapshoot on what I’m going to get back out of the whole thing. On rarer occasions, I will be praised for my critical eye in examining information, but that’s usually when I’m not outright contradicting something s/he may be arguing. The rest of the time, it’s a chronic battle of disinformation through obviously biased sources (simply on the labeling of the sources alone).

I like to think that I try to search for the least biased data/information possible. If I cannot, I will try to source multiple articles in order to gain as many varying viewpoints on the information to collect the core of the data/information, and leave the rest to postulated speculation. Granted, I may be serving into my own bias towards progressive attitudes, but I really don’t go looking for sources of this nature specifically, so I honestly don’t know if I’m coming off that biased or if I am really that biased. It’s like trying to see past the intentional veil of experimentation to not bias your results. Except I don’t know if there is one.

Anyways, today was especially difficult. Such a post was proselytization from a congressional candidate (of another state) regarding the foundations of this country’s government, and where it has become today. I see more and more comments saying, “this isn’t a republic!” or “we’re on track to socialist agendas!” and I just want to throttle them for not understanding what the hell they are talking about! The commenter today raved on about how we’re becoming a “mob rule” country instead of a republic, and I had to clearly demonstrate just want kind of a government we live in today. We live in a republic governed by representation. Yes, we have democratic appointment of many officials. Hell, more than we did during the foundation of this country. S/he spouts beliefs as if his personal rights are being infringed upon, and I’m sure s/he believes that they are. Unfortunately, that’s not the byproduct of the government we have; that is a byproduct of the officials appointed. There is no “mob rule”: the populace does not decide law, our appointed representatives do. However, by extension, if s/he really believed that the appointment of representatives by the populace is source of the “mob rule” that is coming to be, then the most obvious solution would be to take the power to elect officials out of the hands of the populace, which the way I understand it essentially is a socialist republic. So in principle, s/he is unwittingly and naïvely being a proponent for the exact extreme they claim to execrate.

I really try to keep my opinion out of politics unless it’s asked for. I taught my college speaking class that winning an audience’s attention is achieved by appealing to three things: pathos, ethos, and logos. Bipartisanship these days seems to put such an emphasis on pathos. Long gone are the days when logos has a place in politics. People now are predominantly won on emotion, not logic. Emotion is fueled by passion. Passion is often irrational, and even less often sensical. Why on Earth do we want emotion driving a superpower such as a governmental body? Please tell me why.

I do not believe emotion belongs in government. It has its place on rare occasion, but government should first be run by logos, then by ethos: make rational, logical decisions for the ethical best treatment of its citizens. Why oh why are we so fixated on cramming our idealogical pathos down everyone else’s throats to satisfy that our sovereign opinions reign supreme?

We are a country of many. We must govern many. We must accommodate the many. We should not deliberately alienate anyone, or rob the weak of their fundamental rights. I understand that is what a republic is to do: protect the rights of the citizens. However, so many of these attempts to “protect” individual rights is endangering or violating others. We are on a see-saw of pathos, torn from side to side over people’s petty appeals to just themselves.

A republic is a government of the people for the people. Why then are we demanding they appeal only to each one of us, and not the republic as a whole? I wonder how many people have forgotten what a republic really stands for…

I keep telling myself lately that I know what I really want, but day to day, it seems to effortlessly change and sway in my head. One day I want to live in the city outskirts; the other I cannot fathom leaving the city centre.
I want to wake up early and watch the sun rise, have coffee, migas, and spicy home fries, let my mind relax, and then nap in the late morning sun; other days I want to stay up all night, entertaining my racing mind that rarely knows when to quit.
Pick up a book and read all afternoon, or put on record after record and lay on the floor listening to them; hop on my computer and play Minecraft, or blow things up on Diablo III, or listen to some crazy plots working through Borderlands 2.

I feel like I should be a freakin’ Gemini like this. On the other hand, if Pisces really is a dreamer, maybe my dreaming has just gotten too far away from me. It has become so expansive that I just want everything. Can I have everything?


Well, not quite. Not quite everything. But, I can have a lot. I can have the reasonable. I can even have the unreasonable. I can plan the reasonable. I have to be creative with the unreasonable. But really, as long as I remember to embrace them, and they’re sound of mind, I can have most the secret wishes that I crave and desire.

I’m sure this sounds vague as hell. My brain is just ridiculously aflutter with all kinds of thoughts and plans and projects and schemes for starting the next stage in my life. Moving to Toronto provides a strong opportunity to help continue to push what I start now. I need to acknowledge and refine what I know will work now. Set it in motion, and remember the most critical part of any plan: followthrough.

Some days I felt like I would never get through this PhD. Those days are in the past, as my remaining days as a PhD candidate are now limited. I survived seven years of this. If I can survive this, I can survive a lot more. Henceforth, I need to remember I can endure. To get where I want and need to be, I can endure. I can make it happen!

Wrapping up 2012 was a bit exhausting. I got a copy of the first four (hopefully complete) chapters of my thesis to my mentor just before Christmas out of town at Cori’s parents’ place. Coming back from that, we had to promptly pack and I drove the crew out to Long Island for Cori’s college friend Kenny‘s wedding. As she was in the wedding party, it wasn’t exactly a tame weekend. We were basically busy every day. Without having a lot of downtime, it at least provided me some time to decompress from the thesis writing, and play around with the replacement Nikon I picked up (as my D80 was finally on its death throes). I got a few lovely shots out of the weekend, but I learned the hard way just which focus mode I should be using (I knew I should have stuck to my old guns!). We spent all weekend hopping from domicile to domicile to hotel. The first two nights were rough and short in sleep, and the stay at the coastal hotel was far too short, especially considering the lovely view!

Coming back from Long Island, I was pretty much a zombie last Sunday. With ten hour drives back to back over that busy weekend, I needed just some raw sleep. Using that down time to recover, finally got to thinking about how I need to setup this year.

This lack of activity is killing me. I’m no longer power-walking around the lab, lifting 50–lb centrifuge rotors, or squatting down regularly to get into low cabinets and floor–sitting incubators. Writing my thesis has killed my muscles and my ass. My quadriceps and hamstrings are tighter than they’ve ever been, and I’m so tired of sitting in a less than adequate computer chair all the time. I need some steady exercise, and it needs to be doable. I have been taking roughly three mile walks to break the monotony of writing. Considering they only take about 50 minutes, I figure I can eek out at least four of these a week. Ten miles of walking a week. Hopefully more, weather permitting, but I got to get this body moving again. I’m learning the hard way what happens when you neglect to regularly use your day–to–day muscles, let alone put them through full ranges of motion.

In addition to that, I will really need to get back into a gym again at some point. I’m worried my torn calf (from November of 2011) is weakening and getting tighter. My patellofemoral pain in my right knee has flared up a bit more than usual. I still do okay lifting heavy objects, but my back needs more work supporting my upper body and arms in those endeavors. I need to do some resistance training. Free weights. Legit squats. Calf raises. Good mornings. Good ol’ bench press and cleans. Get my core back to somewhere I’m comfortable with. With that in place, shucking the pounds to get me back down to 200 (or less) should be substantially easier.

Writing needs to be more frequent. More organized. More coherent. I’m going to need to write a lot more in my post-doctoral work. I’m going to need to put it together faster and better than I am now. Anything and everything I can do to improve that, I should be. A good start would be regular blogging, much to the desensitizing chagrin of others. Doing this in the early days of Toronto should be easy. The trick will just be to keep it up! Keep it something novel. Not just day–to–day humdrum or trivial stuff. Congeal some coherent, novel writing!

That pretty much sums up what’s on my mind right now. There is more floating around in there, but those thoughts will have to be coalesced later. For now, I need to give the laptop a break, revel in the Bison having won the NCAA FCS Championship Game, and root on Green Bay to a win on this wildcard weekend of playoffs!