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Too much complication in the world   ·> more

See, this from the New York Times is what I've been trying to talk about.

Too much complication in the world. I can't do anything about it. I can just live day by day, go to work, try to be nice, try to have people be nice to me, have a lifestyle I can pay for, and try to have it work out that I can afford to live after I'm not able to work and earn money anymore.

Last weekend I bought a copy of "The Sims" -- the Deluxe edition, so it's got the extra doodads to give to your Sims that the "Livin' Large" expansion pack provided. It's a pretty engrossing game, at least so far. Though, it occurs to me that it's a version of playing Barbies (i.e., a potentially solitary activity where you control everything) and of playing whatever games we played as kids with our friends -- house, cowboys & indians, other invented scenarios we played out in the backyards and open spaces in our neighborhoods.

Like in real human life, life as a Sim can be hard, unless "God" (or whatever you want to call it) mysteriously blesses you with a lot of money (i.e., the human player uses the money cheat to finance Sims families). And like in real life, when fate seems to do something good (i.e., the human player decides paying bills is a drag and deletes the mailbox), there can be unforeseen consequences (without a mailbox, you can't interact with people who come to visit so you eventually die of loneliness, and the visitors can't leave the lot so they eventually die of whatever they're in need of -- if this goes on long enough, the whole neighborhood will die).

But even God can get help to make things better again (i.e., the human player can get a nifty little program somebody made that will put the mailboxes back on the lots), if God is so inclined. Of course, that means God is willing to intervene, that God actually is interested in the well-being of his/her/its Sims, that God is actually watching the game, that God is actually there.

Ok ... no theological stuff right now ....


:: Sarah @ 13:07 [CT] :: permalink :: 0 comments :: links to this post

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As far as we know, he made no threats   ·> more

The Shorthorn (which, by the way, is the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Arlington) ran an editorial today related to the topic of the UTA student who was deported:
As far as we know, he made no threats, he conspired in no plots and he built no bombs. But in post-9/11 America, just admitting to certain thoughts can be enough to change your world forever.

A week ago, U.S. Immigration Judge D. Anthony Rogers ordered Aletewi deported (within five days) based on an FBI interview in which he allegedly said that possible U.S. military action in Iraq had revived thoughts of being a martyr, The Shorthorn reported Tuesday. You can be deported for what you think, even if you never do a single thing wrong.

Also in today's Shorthorn there was an article reporting on a memo we all got on Wednesday telling us what to do if the FBI comes calling looking for information.

If they come without a court order, we don't have to say anything. We can defer all responsibility to the campus. But with a court order, not only do we have to provide whatever information is asked, we are forbidden to say anything to anyone else ... we can't tell anyone what they were asking about, we can't even tell anyone that the FBI was there. Not a friend, not a family member, not a workplace supervisor. Presumably, not even our own attorney.

Boy, if that doesn't encourage someone to keep a low profile, I don't know what does.

Hmmm... so ... if an FBI agent comes with a warrant and asks me questions ... and then later a different agent comes asking me questions about the time when the first agent talked to me ... heh.

But the point is, where does it stop? How many steps does it take for it all to have gone too far, and we find ourselves living in a country under unsupportable conditions?

Is this why reality shows are so popular, when they're barely reality? Is it because real reality is getting too freaky?


:: Sarah @ 19:04 [CT] :: permalink :: 0 comments :: links to this post

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Points of view ...  

Three of the people I work with:

one girl, I know when she hears music, it's not what I hear. I can't confidently put into words what it is, since I can't hear it, but I'm thinking it's a type of multidimensionality that she can hear. Maybe it's not uncommon. Or maybe it's normal among musicians. I don't know. But it's out of my experience.

another girl, she's got to see color, shape, and visual composition differently from me. What it is, I can't say for sure, but it's the only explanation I can come up with for why our reactions to the visual are so different between her and me.

and then there's the guy who makes magic with color, image, layout and visual design, and he's color blind. I believe that "most people" would think that someone who's color blind isn't supposed to be able to put colors together effectively. There's more to it than memorizing a color wheel, after all.

We get access to a point of view, and because we have a reason to believe it, trust it, accept it as valid, we then say it's true. How do we know that the reasons to trust, believe, and accept are themselves trustworthy? When we later get access to a different point of view, with its own reasons to believe, trust and accept as valid, how do we decide which to "vote" for?

A guy from UTA is being deported. It's reported that he confessed to once considering becoming a suicide bomber, however the deportation seems to be based on his student immigration status.

Yet his friends wonder about the confession:
"We don't know why he said that -- we know it's not true," said Khan, a permanent resident from Pakistan who lives one apartment down from Aletewi and considers him a roommate. "He abhorred the idea of suicide bombing. It is a complete mystery to us."

But they do have a theory: After a week of interrogation and jail, Aletewi made up a confession to speed his return to Jordan.

"We think maybe he decided to just get out," Hussain said.

and also from The Shorthorn article:
A Dallas representative of the American Civil Liberties Union said interrogations of Middle Eastern students became routine after Sept. 11, 2001.

"There are people from specific countries whom they question all the time," said Michael Linz, an ACLU cooperating attorney. "You hear anecdotes all the time about law enforcement telling people things would be easier if they just admitted to this or that, and off they go."


Points of view: .... he's a nascient terrorist .... he's a guy who discusses political philosophies, mentally explores alternative pathways, but who rejected the option of taking a path of violence .... he just wanted some peace and said what they wanted to hear ...

We can't know which of those is "real" ... were his friends deluded about his political beliefs? did he really represent a threat to anyone's safety? does the deportation of a person in this way "succeed" in that it promotes fear, distrust, and the suppression of individuals' discussion of political or philosophical topics?

Is my co-worker imagining multidimensionality that isn't there in the music she hears? Or am I just unable to hear the truth?

:: Sarah @ 20:11 [CT] :: permalink :: 0 comments :: links to this post

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Unforseen consequences  

unforeseen consequences --

once I said 'yes' when I should've said 'no'. Although 'yes' wasn't the right answer then, if I'd said 'no' I wouldn't be living a dream now -- I know that's true -- I'm sure an alternate chain of events wouldn't have led to where I am

once I said 'no' when i should have said 'yes'. At that time and place and point in life 'yes' likely would have been disastrous, but because I said 'no', I closed a door that can't be reopened, the path that led from that door is now unexplorable, and a different dream is unavailable for living

why can't roads be clear so you can see the landscape, where you're going, what's ahead. It's a defect of perception, us not being able to do that

and all this (overly ?) philosophical (crap ?) is because I'm afraid a war's going to start in 3 weeks or so

Bush likes to say this is Saddam's last chance.

maybe it's *our* last chance to find an alternative to destruction

if we say 'yes', will we wish we'd said 'no'?
if we say 'no', will we find we should have said 'yes'?


:: Sarah @ 19:49 [CT] :: permalink :: 0 comments :: links to this post

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... experimenting ....  

ok ... the template for this page's look, one of the choices of pre-made templates at blogger.com, is called "Sandbox at Night". I hope you like the look -- I do. Besides, "Sandbox at Night" is a pretty fitting concept for a place like this


:: Sarah @ 16:26 [CT] :: permalink :: 0 comments :: links to this post

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