What is hate like?

image from http://dangerousharvests.blogspot.com/2010/06/hatred-love-and-dhammapada.html

I wonder … what does it feel like. I can’t remember anymore. I’m not sure I ever knew what it feels like. I do remember being extremely angry at people who did me wrong when I was younger, but it was so long ago. I don’t remember ever hating anyone that I didn’t even know, but I see a lot of people that hate others because of what they see. Without working side by side, without eating together, and without even a word spoken.

I don’t understand such hatred. Some people seem to hate, blindly, anyone and anything that they don’t understand or that isn’t familiar. I have always been curious, perhaps too curious at times, and I revel in different languages and cultures. I love to try to figure out what is important to people who did not grow up with the same priorities as were present in my household. I suppose this serves me well as a teacher, but it leaves me with so many questions.

hate (from ye ol' Dictionary.com)
verb (used with object)
1. to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.

Is it fear? Is it the fear of being wrong or the fear of not understanding the situation? Is it just the fear of something different? What makes a man look at another man and fear his skin or his eyes while concurrantly vehemently denying that there is any fear at all?

In my brief (brief means wikipedia for me…) reading, I found mainly allusions to the urge to withdraw from something that is bad. But what is bad about people who speak a different language or eat different food or have a different color. In some religions, it is only ok to hate evil. But that leaves things wide open to interpretation. What is evil? My interpretation is that there is very little evil on Earth. Evil lives in the human heart. Evil is mostly an illusion. Animals are not evil. Plants are certainly not evil. Only people can be evil … or good for that matter. And maybe dogs. At least that is what my anecdotal observations seem to convince me is the popular understanding.

This might explain why so many people ‘hate’ other people, but do not seem to have any particular emotional revulsion to poison ivy or mountain lions, both of which are arguably more dangerous that a person speaking another language. The people that hate don’t seem to hate oleanders or cobras, which are easily more dangerous than a person with lighter skin.

Is this a cultural leftover from our hunter/gatherer tribe days? Does it come from one bad experience that gets passed down through generations? Is it simply born out of ignorance? Many of the people who proclaim to hate others do seem fairly narrowly educated, but I’m not fooled. I’ve seen a few, and I believe there are many more, people that hate that are well educated and current with world events. They are just good at hiding it. And for good reason. I live in the United States, where it is becoming much less popular to hate other people. This is a drastic departure from the past.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/03/daily-chart-6

But in other parts of the world, I’m sure it is quite different. I saw a chart the other day that was about the percentage of women who feel that a husband has the right to hit his wife and to my great surprise, there were countries where over 90% of women think that it is ok for men to beat them up. Now I don’t think this is the same thing as hatred, and I’m not trying to compare this cultural view in any way, but it was a wonderful reminder of how drastically different things are in other cultures and how much I really don’t know. I cannot really understand what it is like to live in another country, but I’m trying to learn, to understand.

I don’t really believe that love and hate are opposites, either, like some people seem to claim. They do not seem related to me. Hate does not seem like anti-love. I think they come from a different place in the heart and soul. I think it is just convenient to portray them as opposite. It seems more likely that compassion or understanding are the closest things to the opposite of hatred.

So what is hate? At this point, I’m no closer to figuring out what causes such a debilitating affliction. It could be a holdover from religious conquests, an ancient fear originally designed to protect, or just a bunch of idiots with closed minds and dead hearts. Maybe I’ll find the answer some day. Until then, I live and learn.

A little poetry … yes, poetry

We are soft; we are fragile

We wear the shells to protect our hearts and our flesh

But we are endangered still

Hiding behind; they might sneak up on us

If we hide below we risk the footprints of the world

Still we seek safety

We fear; we dread

Avoiding the intimate caress of the sunshine

We shun the intangible braveness of friendship

We hope; we learn

Being naked and eye to eye with fear, we find courage

We connect through compassionate vulnerability

– Me on a spring break friday

*********************************************************************

inspired by a fabulous researcher/storyteller named Brené Brown

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We Will Create – 2012 – February

All the good wire stuff just about ready for the smoke test!

This is the February update for my WeWillCreate project for 2012 … and only a little bit late. The first post with complete description is here.

My brainstorming led me to a good plan, but I had to adjust some of the months for the projects. I think I’ll be adjusting a few others so that they fall during time when they fit best.

My computer decided to go to the great circuit board graveyard in the sky last month, so I had to adjust a little more. Since my goal here was to build something electronic, well, why not a computer. So I’ll put off the solar charger to a later date and build a computer. It has been probably 6 years since I completely made one from scratch. Things have changed a bit. Memory sure is cheaper … eight gigs for 20 bucks … wow.

Fry's bargains! Got a snazzy working computer for about $180!

Well, anything involving electronics or computers means a field trip to Fry’s Electronics. People who don’t have a Fry’s nearby just don’t know how much worse their lives are. You can eat lunch in a 1950 convertible while you shop for just about anything electronic. That store is just perfect computer geek bliss, and when they are selling Girl Scout cookies out front I just cry. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

The new motherboard ... control center for the new epic pc of cheapness!

So I guess this post isn’t as exciting or eccentric as a solar iphone charger, something that would lead me on long hikes in the wilds of SoCal without losing touch with my GPS, but it’s something I’ve always enjoyed and that’s the goal of this project.I started taking computers apart and fiddling with them around 1981. Before that, I took apart everything else. I think that’s why I ended up fixing cars and computers for money for a time. I just took apart everything and found the things people will pay for. I mean, really, nobody pays for you to take apart the desk lamp or the oven, but computers and cars can make you some good money.

One fun new thing I got to do was to make a USB install boot disc for Windows 7. I have never done this before but it was very much easier and fun. Installing Windows 7 was much quicker and it is handy to have a thumbdrive I can boot up with next time I need to mess with stuff.

// begin technical geek computer stuff here …

I got lucky and found this case that must have been sent down from heaven for me. It was on the clearance table for what said half price. A nice case with a 600 watt power supply would usually be over a hundred bucks. These guys at Fry’s let me have it for $20.00 because it was a display model. The side panel and all of the mounting screws are missing. I have enough of those screws at home to pave a driveway with, so that’s not an issue. And the best part? I always leave the side panel off of my computer so I can get in there and fiddle when I feel like it. So this is just perfect.

Many useless cables and things that I save "just in case"

They always have some motherboard/cpu combo deal that is on sale. No disappointment here. For $100 bucks I got an AMD (now firmly 2nd best behind Intel, but who cares) cpu and mb. I found a smallish 500 gig hard drive for $60. Add $20 bucks for 8 gigs of ram on sale and I’m in business. I almost bought a dvd writer, but the $15 price was on the wrong spot on the shelf and I wasn’t paying $30 for one. Lord knows I don’t need a mouse or keyboard or any cables. I think I have enough extra cables to build 5 volleyball nets and have extra

… end of technical dribble //

So I had a really very fun time building a new computer. It’s running cool and quiet and serving me well. The built in video card has got to go for sure, but I’ll live with it for now. It was relaxing to put together.

Fiddling with all the settings and dip switches is cathartic to me and seeing it all come to life and work gives me that sense of accomplishment that only comes from fixing things. I took the utter demise of my lovely 2 year old Mac Mini as an opportunity to do something that I have always enjoyed … Create!

Some of the things I know for sure at the start of this journey I will find foolish and completely wrong at the end.  – me

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Happy Birthday, Mom

It’s been about 20 years since you passed away and my life is still so changed every day by who you were and how you lived. My memory is sadly failing more and more when I try to remember you, but I keep trying. I think I’ll always have a little empty place in my soul that you used to fill with your joy and love of life. I love you and miss you.

Some of my earliest memories are of my mom cooking for us. I used to set my stubborn little feet and say, “I hate green stuff, I’m not eating it.” She would never give in, not ever. I would have to sit there until I either ate my food or convinced the dog to eat it when she wasn’t looking. One time I found out that you can lift up the plant out of the pot, if the soil is dry, and that it offers a wonderful spot to hide brocolli.

In general, I loved her cooking. She made the best meatloaf, fried chicken, tuna casserole, tamales, and barbeque that I ever had. She was a wonder with desserts, too. Some amazing cookies and pies came out of that kitchen. It was such a wonderful time. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have, but what kid can?

I tried to come help sometimes in the kitchen, but I understand now just how unhelpful a hyper 10 year old boy can be. She would chase me outside to go play. She got me working, that’s for sure. I think it was from her that I first understood what a ‘work ethic’ was. If I wanted some Star Wars toy or some such thing, I would always have to work for it. Mow the grass, paint the garage, trim the trees, or something hard working like that. Later on, I developed more valuable skills. I would fix the roof, plumbing leaks, electrical stuff, and eventually fix her car.

And she would reward me for the hard work with love, kindness, understanding, and even tools. My dad had a few tools around the house, just basic stuff, but it is my mom that bought me the tools I used to rebuild my first car engine. It was my mom that got me jobs from her friends. If someone needed brakes done or a water pump installed, she would recommend me. It always made me very proud. Some of the people, I’m sure, were just letting me do this stuff to make her happy, but my confidence swelled. I learned that I could do amazing things that nobody else dreamed of if  I took a chance and tried my best.

Later on, when I was about sixteen, she drove me to the machine shop where I was learning about the craft of engine building. I would take the engine parts in and talk to the guys about what repairs they needed – cracked head, groove in the crankshaft, ridge in the cylinder, whatever it was – and she would wait around this dirty, tool infested place for hours sometimes while I learned and got the stuff I needed. And she hated tools, really. I never saw her even use a hammer. But she saw my interest and drive and went with it. I ended up becoming one of the best ASE certified auto techs in the city. I had people coming to me with all of the problems that nobody else could figure out. Most of the shops on SPID knew me for a time and called me regularly. It was a strength built through her love and attention.

Other wonderful times I remember were when I was sick. Now being sick cannot be fun, but the care she put into making me comfortable when I was sick was amazing. She would tuck me in on the couch and bring me crackers and a cool towel for my head. She just made me feel like everything was going to be just fine. And she was right.

I remember she hated bugs. She just hated them. But she would let me collect them in jars in the kitchen to see what would happen. She loved seeing me stretch my brain and learn things. After my career as an engine rebuilder, which I had to cut short due to wear and tear on my knees and wrists, I went back to school to study science. I had never really stopped studying science, thanks to her. She had been buying me chemistry kits and letting me nearly burn down the garage (Mary did it! It wasn’t me!) with my experiments for years. I think it is in her honor that I am now a science teacher and I get to feel the joy she had for teaching and learning mixed with my interest in science.

I remember she had an uncanny way of knowing about people. She could look at somebody across the street and just know they were a jerk. With one look, she could look into their soul. I didn’t really notice much of this until later on, but when I was little, I remember her telling me things about my friends. She just knew about people so well. And I know now that all of the people that she liked ended up being good friends and the ones she didn’t like ended up being the leeches and bums.

One of my last memories was of her holding my first daughter. I remember the joy in her eyes. I remember hearing her do the baby talk to Kayleigh and feeling it was so familiar and comforting. It was one of the best times of my life. She was proud of me. I had a great job rebuilding engines. I had a wife that she loved and a new daughter that she cherished.

Not long after that day, she got sicker again. And not much longer after that, she was gone. My life turned upside down for a few years. I felt so angry and alone in those days, even when loved ones were around. It always seemed so unfair that someone as wonderful as her should die so young while the jerks of the world live on. But as time passed, I felt the pain subside and the memories she left me get stronger and stronger.

For years, I have tried to model my life and parenthood after her. I haven’t always done as good a job as her, but I try to be a parent in her honor. I took care of my little girl when she was sick and gave her everything I could. My young son has interests that, frankly, aren’t that interesting to me, but I take the time to get involved and make sure he has a chance to try things out. I let him know when I’m proud. I also make sure that the kids have to work for things and that they get lots of hugs and encouragement. I think all three of my kids have a great work ethic, they care for other people, they are honest and loyal, and they do things I am proud of. Living after my mom gave me what I have that I give to them.

I think I’ve mostly come to find peace now. I realize that I was lucky enough to have her while I did. The way she loved everyone, the way she truly cared for us all, really made a bigger difference in our lives than any amount of time. She wasn’t just part of a family, she built a family. She put in the effort. She made us strong and proud. And now, in a way, we have her with us again. My little brother just had a daughter and named her after our mom. It’s nice and I can’t wait to see that little joy growing up.

Becoming Fearless! (And a secret gift!)

Continued from Becoming Fearless! (No. 1)

“I’m sharing a few, more for me than for you … If you value this mess, then I’ve been a success!” – me

# Fear of Living

Well this started out as an introspective look at how fears have molded my life in the past. I’ve had a feeling for the last few years that I passed some important mark and I guess I was looking for just exactly what it was. After I wrote a few of these posts about becoming fearless I noticed the pattern.

Ok, so I’m sure a lot of people noticed this a long time ago. I’m kinda a blockhead and I didn’t have many adults telling me the important stuff when I was younger. But anyway, the obvious pattern that stands out to me (finally!!!) is this:

Fear is the illusion that I have some control over the bad things that might happen to me.

So many bad things happen and there is really nothing anyone can do to make any difference. We are all just tiny complicated mixtures of atoms that happen to have discovered a sentience along the way that gives us a wonderful advantage. But this advantage is a double edged sword and creates things like fear, greed, and worse things. Once I admit that sometimes horrible things are going to happen in this world and that they are completely out of my control, there is no fear. The mirage melts away. This is what I was discovering that was relaxing me so much.

Writing about it also opened up a secret gift that I didn’t see until now, which is this:

Once I stop spending energy trying to prevent things I have no control over, I have a tremendous amount of energy to focus on the places where I can make a difference.

There are so many things I do everyday that make a difference to me and to others in my life. So many of our moments touch each other’s lives in ways we don’t even see at the time. Concentrating on putting energy into things that DO make a difference has kicked things up a notch for me. I do a better job at everything I do and I have much more spare time to relax.

I know it gives people a bad impression sometimes when something very important is going on and I’m simply not concerned at all. It annoys them quite a bit. But if there is nothing I can do about it, then I have just chosen not to devote time and energy to being afraid. If that seems odd to some people then so be it. Reminds me of a line from Firefly where Jayne says, “Gee, I’ve never been in trouble with the law before.” It just isn’t going to affect me.

Not only that, but the fact that it doesn’t affect me anymore make me so giddy that I can even be happy about it. When something stressful comes up, and I have figured out that there is nothing more I can do, I relax and move on to the next thing. I think about the horrible times and I’ve very pleased indeed that this isn’t one of those. It could be worse!

So this great list I had that I was investigating is just so many worthless words. They are all the same. I still don’t understand where fear comes from, but it is clear that everyone has it as some point. So maybe it is the remnants of some primitive reflex system that kept us alive before we had the ability to think about things clearly. It doesn’t serve much purpose most of the time, since our lives are so safe and there are so many layers of technology between people and nature now. So it has taken me a little adjustment and it has been a fun ride.  

ADD recipe for spaghetti sauce

English: A glass of Orange juice. Esperanto: O...
Image via Wikipedia

The most important thing we do everyday is eat.

I’ve never been a particulary good cook, perhaps because I never follow the recipe. I tend to want to embellish and experiment, more often than not degrading an otherwise perfect dish.

Once in a while I find greatness! I made ribs in 1997 that were the best I’ve ever had. I have no idea what I did and I search for the answer still. I made pumpkin bread in 1992 that cannot be rivalled. I know not how. This week I made spaghetti sauce that was better than most. I’m not saying it was incredible, but I wanted more until it was gone. I thought maybe I should try to remember what I did exactly so this one doesn’t go the way of the ribs … so sad.

Food is a creative, personal journey

Now it could be that cooking is a creative endeavor, which I suspect is true, and the exact mix of karma and star alignments and aged spices just don’t come around very often. I’ve thought often (yes, often! don’t laugh … you think about random stuff too!) about what was happening in my life when I made memorable dinners. The ribs coincided with moving to Austin and all that excitement. The pumpkin bread was a celebration of my little Kayleigh when we had our new house with the window in the vaulted ceiling that showed the sunrise. This recent spaghetti was for my little Ryan when we had sorta a breakthrough of understanding.

So maybe these types of things just can’t be recreated, but the recipe is still gonna make you laugh.

I’m not trying to do it like that … I’m trying to do it like it hasn’t been done!

Ok, to start out with, I have no idea how to make meatballs. I wish I did, but I don’t and I’m not tryin to do all that. So I got some stew meat from the freezer and browned it with just a small amount of olive oil. Then I snuck in a little garlic powder, which I always sneak in. I then had my usual conscious thought about avoiding salt because it can lead to problems. Then I put a little salt in. I really very rarely add salt to food, so I don’t feel guilty.

This stuff simmered for long enough to do a load of laundry and watch half of a Firefly on Netflix. The original plan was to mix the meat with some rice or pasta and be done with it. So then I came back and saw that this wasn’t just a pan of meat anymore; I was feeling industrious.  So I forged ahead. I added about a quarter of a small bottle of cooking wine, which never hurts, along with some spices. About 2 shakes of oregano, a light breeze of red pepper, a heavier breeze of black pepper, 2 bay leaves, and a sprinkle of dill.

Orange juice is good for almost everything

This gave me the excuse to finish the Firefly and clean the table. As the liquid simmered down I added small amounts of water to keep some liquid going on in there. Checked my email and facebook, a dangerous activity when cooking as you may also have learned, and came back to continue. The stuff looked ready for some real action, so I took out a whole container of those cute little salad tomatoes and dropped them in with a half a cup of water. After smashing them a bit, I added a little orange juice, because we are out of sugar and just because, and let them stew a while.

Another Firefly later, and Ryan was poking around getting interested. So I told him about what I did, except for the orange juice part. He was liking the smell a lot and bugging me about how much he is starving and the starving kids in Africa feel bad for him … and all that 11 year old drama. So I must be doing it right.

Tomato paste is not made correctly in the US

Some more garlic and oregano and removal of the bay leaves (those things are creepy if you get a bite of them) and it was looking pretty smooth. The only problem, which is often a problem I have, is that this really good sauce wasn’t red. I mean, not red at all. Even the tomatoes had lost their red. I’m sure some culinary expert could explain where I went wrong, but I don’t get it. Tomato paste? Does that stuff really make a difference? I’m betting on tomato paste, which is gross anyway. Sour tomato paste … because I don’t have any.

In any event, the stuff turned out very good. I had some whole wheat pasta, because they say it has a lower glycemic index and all those goodies, sitting ready nearby. Added a little of the ‘farmer jon’ cheese and it was just really very good. If I had some mushrooms to cook in there, things would have really been interesting, but Ryan hates mushrooms anyway so I guess it worked out.

So these random bits of everything turned out to be pretty good. And it only took 2 TV shows and some laundry! I had to starve my son for almost 30 extra minutes so I hope they don’t call child services on me, but I took a chance. There is just something fun about wandering around the kitchen and putting things together while trying to imagine how it will turn out in the end. When it works, it is wonderful. When it doesn’t, I can claim I’m not a cook anyway and I don’t care.

Following the recipe is never nearly as rewarding!

Music for my eyes!

That is so interesting. I’ve never seen artwork on music before, but I love it

Chicquero


Fabulous Russian artists People Too took a “simple” sheet to the next level. Sheet music is a handwritten or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols. The medium of sheet music typically is paper and may come in different formats. I love this modern artistic twist for such a classical form of art, paper artwork at its finest.

“How can one express the indefinable sensations that one experiences while writing an instrumental composition that has no definite subject? It is a purely lyrical process. It is a musical confession of the soul, which unburdens itself through sounds just as a lyric poet expresses himself through poetry…
As the poet Heine said, ‘Where words leave off, music begins.'” – PI Tchaikovsky

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