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Old 02-25-2007, 07:54 AM   #1
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Recess again

1. Name your favorite actor and actress and writer and individual
musician and artist (or if you are not into the arts, feel free to
name your favorite person in your field of passion and I realize
I didn't include directors, cartoonists, dancers, sculptors, etc.
so don't feel limited by my list.). And now here comes the
hard part; what do each of thes people tell you and us about
you? I'm hoping for long answers here.

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught
your best friend?

3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not
your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask.
Why do you need to mask it?

4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not?

5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible
sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it?


I don't usually answer my own questions right off because I don't like to influence the direction other answers might take and sometimes that happens. I'll make an exception here.


1. Actor: Johnny Depp--I like his ability to take on varying odd
characters and getting into their skin.
There is some similarity of approach to taking on a
persona. If I take one on to see what it is
like, to see if there are elements of that persona, I may
want to keep for myself., I'll do it from the
outside in. First immerse myself in what I think
influences that other person, sense what it feels
like to be in their bodies, their clothes, imagine how
they are relating to their stimuli. External,
then internal. I never thought that most of the really
good character actors were really method actors.
Actress: Anjelica Huston--an ability to show the gentle side in
the midst of a tough veneer
Writer: Thomas Wolfe -- expansive writer. I'm too sparse in
my details. I admire the breadth of what he was able to
create. He is not how I write, but how I would like to be
able to.
Musician: Neil Young--I share his irreverence, his ability to
morph and to change and to not hold himself to
any one thing, sense of irony and humor and
his repulsion about being controlled. I also try to use
him as a model for pushing the envelope
and take a certain amused satisfaction at the chaos it
can cause. I can have a similar ruthlessness.
I accept the consequences for what I do and do
not expect or seek approval for it usually. I don't
make excuses and I don't justify it and I don't feel
the need to explain it unless you are entitled to
explanation. I'm much more cautious than he is though,
more fearful. But probably, I identify with him more
than I do any other artist (even when not enthralled
with a lot of his recent stuff)
Artist: Van Gogh--an ability to see beauty in the midst of
ugliness, dignity where we don't expect to find it.

2. My best friend has taught me the value of absolute honesty
even when it makes you uncomfortable
and she has taught me that the ability to feel is not a sign of
weakness, but of strength. I have taught her that when your
world slips into chaos, you have to do something as soon
as you can to take back some measure of control over your
own life.

3. I will not show what hurts me because I've learned that
people will use that over me to their advantage. On a
whole, I will not show what I am feeling and very little of
what I am think although I'm not afraid to say what other
people may not. So I come across as more
open than I am. That is part of the protective mask. Not
showing people what you are hiding and convincing them at
the same time you are not hiding anything.

4. I think in patterns--numerical patterns, speech patterns,
visual patterns, behavior patterns. While it is a useful
enough skill, it has a tendency to limit creative thinking. I
can break something down easier than I can create
from scratch. I can analyze a novel with more skill than I
can write one. Troubling for a person that values creativity
and originality.

5. For my whole life, I struggled with the concept of
spirituality and God. For the first time
in my life, I have lost all curiosity about it and interest in
it.
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:18 AM   #2
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I will do this when I have more time, I swear

But the skill I have that I wish I didn't is probably being able to see certain people for who and what they are pretty quickly-when it is bad rather than good it is incredibly frustrating when they are able to con and manipulate other people, etc. My instincts about people are usually pretty good-of course that can be a very useful skill that's not all bad.
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:41 PM   #3
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1. Name your favorite actor and actress and writer and individual musician and artist (or if you are not into the arts, feel free to name your favorite person in your field of passion and I realize I didn't include directors, cartoonists, dancers, sculptors, etc. so don't feel limited by my list.). And now here comes the hard part; what do each of thes people tell you and us about you? I'm hoping for long answers here.

Actor/Actress-- I don't know that I've seen enough movies to really be qualified to name an actor/actress who stands out for me. Judi Dench and Jack Nicholson come to mind as actors who are always riveting for me onscreen, but again I haven't seen them in enough to be totally clear on why. I think it maybe has something to do with the fact that they never seem daunted by the formidability of the characters they're playing--they neither overdo it and beat you over the head with the Monumental Presence of the character, nor underdo it and make them noncredibly "just a regular guy/gal" trapped in some memorable predicament. Honest recognition that people who are in some way perceived as formidable probably really are that way, while at the same time hinting that the various personal qualities which taken together make them like that needn't be in and of themselves rare or extraordinary. I like that, and generally find it to be true of the larger-than-life people I've known personally.

Writer-- In truth this one varies from year to year for me, but I'd say Faulkner has topped my list more often than any other. It's his insistence on the intelligence, complexity and profundity of apparently "simple" people that draws me. I think it takes an unusually astute eye for the humanity in every(wo)man to be able to pull that off without being precious or manipulative about it. Baldwin and Dostoevsky are two other writers I love and I tend to find the same quality in them.

Musician-- There are so many musicians I love and almost always find delight in, including U2 of course, but if I had to pick one artist who sums up for me 'why music matters' it would be Mississippi John Hurt (who perhaps ironically, spent much more of his life, right on into his 70s, farming as a sharecropper than making music). What moves me about his music is the warm and gentle, yet wistful and melancholy quality it always seems to have, even when he's singing about ruthless outlaws or low-down womenfolk or heady sexual thrills. A good friend of mine who teaches comparative literature at Banaras University in India once said that for him, the glory and particular excellence of art in the West is its love for and cultivation of the melancholy, even the tragic--the sublime there is to be found in contemplating human vulnerability and fallibility. It may seem strange at first glance to connect a "fusion" music like blues to that, but that was what I immediately thought of when he said it.

Artist-- Probably Van Gogh most of all, though Rothko and Chagall are way up there too. While all three of them are also fascinating in terms of subject content, aesthetic philosophy etc., it's their emotionally charged use of color that grabs me. To my eye the three of them are actually kind of alike in this regard--they all tend towards this style where you get these broad washes of incredibly vivid color colliding in such a way that each heightens the felt intensity of the others, pushing the force of the image way beyond 'here's a charming Dutch pastoral scene' or 'here's a whimsical rendering of a popular Bible story'. Not sure what that says about me, other than that I'm probably rather lacking in insight as to when and why a visual artist's work appeals to me!

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught your best friend? My best friend has taught me not to wait around fuming and sighing for all the ideal elements of the world as you'd like it to be to fall into place, magically making each one seem as harmonious and worthy as it is in your mind's eye--instead you have to choose at some point to throw yourself behind a handful of things you will always believe in, however imperfect, and go from there, otherwise you wind up with too much contempt for yourself and too much distrust of others. I think I've taught him the worthwhileness of giving people and things second chances, and not giving up too quickly on what they have to offer you--granted people sometimes do that for the wrong reasons and that doesn't help anyone, but over time a habit of impatiently casting aside people and experiences which stymied you the first time around can leave you stunted and weak.

3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask. Why do you need to mask it? I tend to hide my sense of humor until I know someone very well, and even then I sharply restrain it, especially in group contexts; I guess out of a sense that it's self-indulgent, or may create expectations I then won't be able (or may not want) to live up to. In general I'd say my usual social persona is earnest, sober and thoughtful, whereas my humor tends to be fey, bracing and bubble-bursting, so it's a kind of uneasy mix and my superego tends to shout down my id most of the time, so to speak.

4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not? I don't know there's any skill I always wish I didn't have, but one that can often be a curse is my knack for quickly being able to imagine multiple perspectives from which to consider a given issue or predicament, and to just as quickly come up with a long list of pros and cons for each. While this obviously has its uses especially in teamwork, it can also lead to paralyzing indecisiveness. I remember a grad school mentor of mine telling me, back when I was a brand-new TA neurotically fretting about some confrontations and laying-down-of-the-law I could see I was going to have to do with certain people (all of whom I liked and respected very much), that for the most part the 'leadership' component of teaching consists in playing a role which people need and want and expect you to play, even though they may grumble about the particulars--that you'll screw both yourself and them over if you fail to step up to the plate and brazenly declare, "This is how we're gonna do it and that's just the way it is" when the situation calls for it. So, it is true that Basic Life Experience does help take the edge off this one over time. What's harder is when it's only you who's really going to be seriously affected by whatever decision you make.

5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it? Not any major ones really, no. Probably almost every year there's some previously mind-monopolizing problem or another that I elect to chuck into the "Ah fuck it, I'll never figure it out and you know what, I don't really need to" bin along with the others, but generally by the time that happens I've in truth been softpedaling whatever issue it is for so long anyway that it doesn't have much impact.
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:59 PM   #4
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Re: Recess again

1. (These are in constant flux)
Artist Van Gough - There's something about cutting off part of your ear for a lover that I can relate to...

Musician Ryan Adams - The man is so in touch with loss and searching, there are days where I think he peeked over my shoulder when writing this or that song. He's unbridled w/ heart on his sleeve and therefore often times misunderstood or mistaken as acting like a child... I've been accused of the same things in my life...

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught
your best friend?

Taught me loyalty. Taught him patience.


3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not
your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask.
Why do you need to mask it?

I'm much more compromising in real life. I think in here it's not a true give and take conversation, as it is in real time. Therefore you are almost forced to take the more hard line stance on it.

4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not?

Invisibility.

5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible
sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it?

Great question. My views on children and marriage have been in constant flux over the past 3 years. And recently I've being forced to define them quite a bit, this is still a work in process...
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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thanks yolland, for formatting this so i didn't have to!

1. Name your favorite actor and actress and writer and individual musician and artist (or if you are not into the arts, feel free to name your favorite person in your field of passion and I realize I didn't include directors, cartoonists, dancers, sculptors, etc. so don't feel limited by my list.). And now here comes the hard part; what do each of these people tell you and us about you? I'm hoping for long answers here.

Actor/Actress-- Tough one. I can't pick just two. Those who I really enjoy watching are Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt. I am usually loathe to say these two because it is not because of their looks that I appreciate them, though I do think both are very good looking guys. It's their acting which I just enjoy. Those who are neither ugly or good looking but brilliant are actors such as Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, Nicolas Cage. The last two I do have a certain weakness for, especially Mr Spacey... But that's not for FYM. Ah, maybe they're all no different to the first two. I just like them a whole lot.

Writer--I can't, and don't want, to name one or even a few. I don't like book snobbery and as a result probably come across unread and uncultured, but that's ok. Like movies, I like many books and many authors. The types and writers I don't usually like are your trash writers, and formula writers such as Patricia Cornwell. Her kind really bug me and they're about the only books I won't read.


Musician--I like anyone who's a storyteller with their music/lyrics. If they give their best and their best is brilliant, then I will fully appreciate them. Paul Simon and Xavier Rudd, their kind. Then good, great music. Music which wakes you up. Good bands. Love a good band.

Artist-- Oh, geez. Seriously, where do I start. I'll start with local. Be warned, this could be a really ling list. Might want to skip if you're actually reading! Australian: Russell Drysdale. His emptiness is haunting and very appealing. I love his style, his subject matter, his ghost-town vibe. Joshua Smith and William Dobell. Their story is very sad, and I appreciate both of them as artists. Joshua Smith was the subject who really got me to understand drawing a portrait. I drew him once and learnt a lot. It has nothing to do with him as an artist, but I'm still grateful, lol. James Gleeson. Love it. He and Jeffrey Smart are two of our best artists, I reckon. James Gleeson for simply highlighting the whole surface and underneath realm which surrealism can be based on if you allow it. Jeffrey Smart for his immaculate landscapes. The precision and pure balance is something to behold. He's stated his one aim in painting is to achieve the perfect composition. I don't know if he has found it yet for himself, but I love his attempts. Rest of World: Canaletto, Jan Van Eyck, Hubert Drouais - if his work doesn't make you just stop and stare, then you're... without soul.

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught your best friend? Mine taught me to think smaller and to march forward. I taught mine to love more than just the things you see, to daydream.


3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask. Why do you need to mask it? Seriousness, and perhaps compassion. This is hard to answer, as I really feel we don't have much of a clue sometimes how others perceive us and how we come across to others.

4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not? Speed reading? I don't enjoy books sometimes as a result. Honestly, though, I judge others. I'm not usually wrong, which is why I dislike it. I'd like to be ignorant of things in others which bother me. I do this as much if not more of myself, too.

5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it? I've learned to let go a lot, to ride with the current, so to speak, rather than fight it. And I've found when I do fight for something, I can not care as much. The world won't end tomorrow, and the sun will still rise. I might see it rise over something different, but it's still going to rise. etc.
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Old 02-26-2007, 12:09 AM   #6
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1. Name your favorite actor and actress and writer and individual musician and artist. And now here comes the hard part; what do each of these people tell you and us about you? I'm hoping for long answers here.

Favorite Actor - Russell Crowe (mainly Gladiator, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind). I guess it tells me that I like men who have thick, dark hair, are very athletically built, but can have a softer side? (my husband to a T)

Favorite Actress - Emma Thompson because I think she's gorgeous in a non-Hollywood skinny blonde pop star way. I guess it says that I appreciate an actress who's more of a women, if that makes sense.

Favorite writers (b/c they all wrote something that has completely changed my life, so I can't pick one) - Philip Pullman, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), and Friederich Schleiermacher. These say that I'm secretly obsessed with theology and appreciate those works that don't just affirm, but challenge me.

Favorite Musician - WOW this is hard. My favorite musical piece of all time is Spem In Alium which is a 40-voice motet by Thomas Tallis, so I'll just go with that. This says that I am a closet classical music nerd and I secretly love sacred choral works.

Favorite Artist - I'm not really into art, I mean I like it, but don't know a lot about it so from what I know, I'll say M.C. Escher. I guess liking his work proves I'm more of a mathematical, analytical person so his artwork is like a mind game for me. It's more of a puzzle than just a depiction of a scene or mood.

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught your best friend?

Excluding the textbook answer that my husband is my best friend, the best friend I've ever have I've actually not spent time with in several years. She always pushed me to push myself (usually physical things like sports) and follow through. I think I taught her how to loosen up a bit and be more spontaneous.


3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask. Why do you need to mask it?

Sometimes I have a really hard time showing emotion. Not that I don't want to, but there's some things I just don't get emotional over like other people do. Sometimes I feel like I'm some kind of freak, but I think it's because of how I was raised, to be more independent. I'm great friends with everyone in my family, but we aren't what I would call close (i.e., I would not go to my mom if I was depressed or in trouble). Sometimes when I'm walking the dogs at the Humane Society, I'll sit and talk to them and then think to myself, "shit, you open up more to a DOG than your own family." I think this gets masked because when you're chatting online and not in person, it's actually easier to open up (like this exact post, I would never say these things in person, but it doesn't bother me to do it here).


4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not?

Good customer service skills. I am a computer technician that does primarily call center support. I don't have a degree in computers and I'm not particularly interested in them, but I got a good job b/c my boss likes the way I treat people and help them. It's a good job w/ great people, but I just don't really care all that much about technology, but am not in a place where I can afford (literally) to quit.


5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it?

Hmmm, I'm becoming more liberal politically as I start to experience some of the situations I used to have really stupid opinions about.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:02 AM   #7
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1. Name your favorite actor and actress and writer and individual musician and artist. And now here comes the hard part; what do each of these people tell you and us about you? I'm hoping for long answers here.

Actor - I honestly don't know. I've always loved Paul Newman, and I think it's mostly because he reminds me, both physically and in mannerisms, of my maternal grandfather. Out of my entire family, he is the closest to the sort of person I am, and that's why I feel a particular fondness for him.

Actress - There are quite a few I like, but since the Oscars were on tonight and she looked lovely, let's go with Cate Blanchett. She was so robbed for her role in Elizabeth (damn you, Gwyneth!). What does it say about me? That I like women who come across as classy and dignified.

Writers - Tough to choose. I really love Paul Theroux's travel books. There is something about his caustic, yet irreverent style that really appeals to me. His books are always infused with commentary on other writings and on little insignificant details which appeals to me. I like people who know a little bit about a lot of topics. For pure fiction writers, I love Faulkner (favourite writing of his would have to be Light in August). I love southern US writers in general, and I have a special interest in him because of the guy who introduced me to his writings.

Favourite Musician - Don't know that I can choose, but it would be somebody in the style of Springsteen, Dylan or Lou Reed. I like stories about people's lives, the more ordinary, the better.

Favourite Artist - All of yous with your van Gogh. So I'll choose another post-impressionist: Paul Gauguin. He spent his childhood in South America, then returned to industrialized France and spent the rest of his life trying to regain the lost paradise of his youth. So he travelled to tropical places and painted these amazing works full of colour. Bright yellows and reds and finally, it's like art awoke from the stupor of impressionist pastels. It says that I also feel like our early years really shape us strongly and that I prefer bold expression of art and culture. (BTW, Lies, I was at the M.C. Escher museum in the Hague a few weeks ago - you'd love it).


2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught your best friend?

She taught me that perseverance and hard work really do pay off. I taught her that you have to have courage in life to do things that seem scary.



3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask. Why do you need to mask it?

I'm actually a very forgiving person, to a fault. I've found that this isn't necessarily an advantage in life. If I have a disagreement or get angry at someone, 20 minutes later, I'm over it and don't remember it anymore. Or I remember it but don't hold a grudge. I find that causes people to sometimes take advantage of you, because they know that you won't hold their words or actions against them.


4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not?

Super efficiency. Sometimes you miss things in life because you're in a hurry. And also, you get stuck with doing shitty things that don't interest you because people know that if they assign them to you, they'll get done. Also, it raises people's expectations of your work ethic as compared to people around you.



5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it?

Sort of. Not sure if this classifies as philosophical, but let's go for it. I was always the sort of person who disliked fake interactions with people. You know, the fake smile, inane small talk and so on. But (un)fortunately, this career I've opted for feeds on this sort of thing and I've seen the value in it, and have learned how to play the game.
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:51 PM   #8
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1. Name your favorite actor

Johnny Depp

2. What has your best friend taught you? What have you taught
your best friend?

How to listen (both ways)

3. What part of you do you not show online (or in real life)? Not
your secrets, just an essential part of you that you mask.
Why do you need to mask it?

I don't know.

4. What skill do you have that you wish you did not?

To be able to sing

5. Have you made a philosophical (in the broadest possible
sense of the word) change in the past year? What was it?

To try to live every moment in the here and now

and keep faith in God
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Old 02-27-2007, 02:37 PM   #9
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It changes but for actor maybe I'd pick right now Denzel Washington. He acts with integrity and he has personal integrity, and maybe that choice shows that I value that. And he's still married to his wife, and you never hear any bad gossip/stories about him as far as that's concerned.

Right now I'd pick Kate Winslet for actress. It shows that I value qualities she possesses that I wish I had more of myself, and qualities I admire-she's self confident (without being arrogant), she is very beautiful but she doesn't rely on that and she is so much more that that. She doesn't let other people define who she is. She is honest and outspoken in a good way. And she's not a stick figure and speaks out about that too.

Artist, well I don't think there's one that I really admire exclusively. And I don't know that much about art. So I think I might pick Ansel Adams, because I think nature is the highest form of art and I wish I could take photos like he did.

Musician, I believe I'd pick Bruce. I don't really know what that says about me, other than that I think he's an amazing talent and an interesting guy. I love the story of how he grew up in Jersey and the issues he had with his father. He is honest about himself and I admire that. He is not pretentious at all, and I absolutely hate pretense.



My best friend has taught me to like myself more-and hopefully I have taught him to be less in love with himself



Online I don't show my shyness as much as I do in real life. I am more honest about myself and certain things online than I am in real life because well, it's just much easier to be.


Don't know if it qualifies but I'd say the biggest philosophical change I've made over the last year or two is to be more assertive when my feelings are being hurt or I feel someone is mistreating me rather than being a people pleasing type. It is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, to let yourself be mistreated and hurt in the interest of placating others or wanting them to like you, etc.. And I finally believe that I know the absolute truth about who I am and it is not who others say I am, rather than just trying to convince myself of that. I think
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