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THIS

Look around you. Go outside and look around you.

THIS is the place we live in.
WE are the people who live here.

WHAT are we doing here?

We belong to ourselves, and we belong to the land, and the land belongs to the land.

What are we doing here?

How do we make the best of the insurmountable opportunities all around us?

How do we make it easier for everyone?

So ... THAT is what folktalez is about, telling the stories--new stories to be in--that give rise to the new American indigenous cultures.

folktalez folktalez folktalez

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My therapist explained this to me, and I could see how it works (or rather, does not work) in a feedback system between partners.

Talking and togetherness lower a man's testosterone levels and increase stress and depression. To re-balance, and raise testosterone, a man needs "man cave" time to chill out, focus on something, be alone--think workshop. Women, on the other hand, get stressed/depressed when their oxytocin levels go down. They get oxytocin from being with others and talking--think quilting bee.

Notes from "Cave Time for Guys?":

"Cave time is not personal. A man doesn’t do it to spite his woman.... Intimacy stimulates the hormone oxytocin. In a woman, this hormone lowers her stress and gives her an overall sense of bliss. In a man, it lowers his testosterone hormone, thereby increasing his cortisol levels and his stress.  Men need time alone to do masculine things, ... to rebuild their supply of testosterone. Testosterone does to men what oxytocin does to women. This is why he retreats into his cave."

"[Mars/Venus author John Gray PhD] always jokes that if you want something from your man during cave time, it better be important, because it could be the dragon who answers. And dragons are notorious for breathing fire at beautiful innocent maidens."

".... Unfortunately, we women have an incredible talent for making men feel guilty.... [Your man can] feel like he is wrong for needing his cave time, and it makes him feel angry that he is upsetting the one he loves. Men feel responsible for their woman’s happiness. It’s not their job but that’s the reality. He sees you are not happy with him pulling away and it makes him feel worse. Thereby stressing him out and extending his cave time."

"There is no set time for a man to be in his cave. Sometimes it’s an hour. Sometimes it’s a week."

Then there are the Six Stages of Depression on Mars ... many of which I've undergone in recent years! Yikes!  Exhaustion and apathy, boredom, resistance ... the linked article explains the hormonal mechanisms involved.  I had no idea!!  

And finally, What a Woman Can Do For the Man in Her Life.  "What may look like a lazy, self-centered, and uncaring male, in actuality, may be a male exhibiting the symptoms of stress and low levels of testosterone." 

"Whether it’s helping with dinner or cuddling on the sofa to hear all about your day, he simply is not ready immediately and trying to force him to talk too much or exhibit a lot of energy for the same things you’re doing could very well backfire."

"Before helping her partner raise his testosterone, a woman needs to help herself. That is, she needs to replenish the oxytocin that has been depleted during her workday. Oxytocin is that feel-good hormone that lowers a woman’s stress. Why Mars and Venus Collide is filled with simple suggestions for things a woman can do to build her oxytocin such as listening to her favorite music or taking a bubble bath. The idea in replenishing her oxytocin—and likewise, in him replenishing his testosterone—is that you are both making yourselves balanced again so that you can be there for each other."

"What a Martian seems to inherently know—but what a Venusian has to learn—is to take time for numero uno. This can seem like selfishness on the man’s part but, in actuality, he kind of has the right idea. A woman, the nurturer of the house, sees everyone else’s needs first before her own and sets her focus there, thinking that doing things for others will fulfill her. It can, but only to a point. A man is able to identify the moments when he needs to rejuvenate himself and wastes no time in making this happen."
 

That isn't quite the whole article I've quoted there.  I don't have much hope that my woman will want me back.  But, if she reads what I've posted here, maybe she and her next man (ifever, whoever, God bless them both) won't wind up like me, depleted and rejected.

OK, one more link:  How to Create Healthy Space in a Relationship.  I saw a reference to "rubber band time" and had to figure out what that meant.  The article discusses cave, rubber band, wave, and well.  In short--women, if your man seeks space to be alone, DON'T give him what YOU would want and seek him out to offer support.  Men, if your woman is getting emotional, DON'T give her what YOU would want and let her be alone: be there and be supportive and understanding (even if you don't really understand).  It's late now, and I better get ready for bed.

Oh, and it's really interesting and fun to take the Myers Briggs Type Inventory or a quickie online version such as this one ... read up on your results here--a nice site with breakdowns and explanations of the different types.  This is the most eerily insightful "What ___ Are You?" kind of test I've ever seen; it tells me about parts of myself I never really knew! 

A Good Mood!

I felt this mysterious feeling this evening--and I realized I am in a good mood.  It's been a while.  Especially since I'm not using my favorite herbal relaxant any more, I haven't laughed, or merely relaxed, as much.  And my heart rate has been elevated.  (I haven't checked it today though.)

So, this morning I was awakened an hour (or so) early by chance of chaos, and felt grumpy and violent.  Then everyone left the house, and I went back to sleep for a good long time.  Houseguest Joe popped in for a while, but must've been too tired to bubble over and drain me as he sometimes does.  Then he left again.  I puttered around, working on my resume some, and shortly after C and K got back from K's YMCA classes, I left.  I walked to the Illinois WorkNet Center to have someone who supposedly knows what they're doing look over my resume.  It's been a few years, and I did a lot to spiff it up.  They thought it looked fine.  They gave me some ridiculously poorly photocopied lists of action words and keywords and suchlike to use.  I couldn't believe these copies were crooked, faded, and had the last line dropping off the page.  It is NOT what a job center should be handing out to people who need help with their resumes!  There were typos too.  Ah, the State.

At the WorkNet Center I found some career-type books to look at for a while.  One of them was Do What You Are, based on the Myers Briggs Type Inventory personality profile scheme.  I quickly skimmed through and figured out my type (INTP, with the N being a borderline S).  Looking up the analyses of these types, I found them eerily accurate, as to both my strengths and weaknesses.  This made me feel that, although I hurried through the what-type-are-you? stuff, I was on the right track.  I then took a few pages of notes on their job search and career advice for those types.  More stuff that makes me feel like I'm not defective somehow.  It's just God's design for me. :)  Then I walked home.

So, between the nap, quiet day at home, two pleasant walks, and time for introspection, I WAS IN A GOOD MOOD!!  And Carey even cooked supper for this lazy selfish man. 

Maybe tonight I'll actually get a good night's sleep.  But at least for now I'm feeling the way I feel I should.  Maybe I don't even need four vacations to recover and recharge from recent years.  Yeah, maybe only three vacations .... :)

Signs of Burnout

I'm posting this here mostly just to reassure myself that, yes, I have burned out, somehow, just by being at home.  I'm told "I should have" is shame-talk and to avoid that, but I should have asserted my needs more!!

Please don't read this if you don't want to hear me complaining.  I don't want to complain, and typically hold it all in, and it becomes a knot in my stomach.

Below are listed the signs of burnout that have applied to me, unjobbing at home, for the past few years now.  Between the stressful move-in at the end of 2005, the tornado & Grampa's death in 2006, two uncles' deaths the same week in 2007, long periods of nonstop visitors in 2008 and 2009, and giving Carey four vacations where I've had none (since summer '06), it's been a stressful few years.  But I WAS committed, 'til death do us part and I Do and all that.  So much for that.

The following is collected from various web sites.  These are just what particularly applies to me; there are more, that don't apply, that I'm not listing.

What is job burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by long-term exposure to demanding work situations. Burnout is the cumulative result of stress.

  • Do you drag yourself into work and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
  • Have you become more irritable and less patient with co-workers, customers or clients?  (in my case, my child)
  • Do you feel that you face insurmountable barriers at work?
  • Do you feel that you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
  • Do you no longer feel satisfaction from your achievements?
  • Are you self-medicating — using food, drugs or alcohol — to feel better or to simply not feel?  (HELL YEAH--until several days ago when I went substance free--looking forward to getting intoxicated again sometime though!)

 Lifestyle causes of burnout

  • Working too much, without enough time for relaxing and socializing (socializing drains me--I'm of the introverted 1/2 of humanity)
  • Being expected to be too many things to too many people. (father, handyman, lumberjack, lecturer, punching bag, host, celibate)
  • Taking on too many responsibilities, without enough help from others (I'm probably guilty of not asking for help when I should have)  (damn, there's another should-have)
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Lack of close, supportive relationships (well, she fell out of love with me several years ago at least, WHY DIDN'T I SEE THAT?! just giving her the benefit of the doubt, imagining the light at the end of the tunnel)

 Physical signs and symptoms of burnout include feeling tired and drained most of the time (yup).

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout include
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt (well, NOW that she's broken up with me, I feel the sense of failure and self-doubt)
  • Loss of motivation
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout (guilty on all these counts!)
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope (all of the above!)
  • Taking out your frustrations on others (my poor child--but I only snap at her when she attacks me)
So that's how I reassure myself, that I did what I could to keep up, and I really was burned out. 

On a positive note, someone suggested I give myself permission to get away (as we introverts need downtime in order to have ANY energy), and I have been getting away, and that's been helping a lot.  Carey blogged about how lazy and selfish I am, which really burns me up--I never complained about her or dissed her to anyone--on the other hand, I never gave myself permission to get away because I thought THAT would be lazy and selfish.  If that's her opinion of me anyway, then what difference does it make if I leave for a while when I need to (or, better, BEFORE I really need to!).  She doesn't want me around to begin with, or she wouldn't have said "one of us should move out".  So she shouldn't mind my not being around. 

So that's where I am at the moment.  It's going to be a long busy afternoon, I think I'll go for a long lusciously lonely walk this morning.
I didn't get enough sleep last night.  I got up a little early so Carey could sleep in.  I entertained fever-n-sore-throat kid on the couch for a couple hours.  I showered, packed a sandwich, and biked off to the plasma center.  My pulse has been around 90 the past 3 times I've donated; I wonder if it's from stress/tension/anxiety.  But at least my blood pressure is OK.  And I made $20, which will go to my therapist tomorrow.

Biking home, I stopped at the library.  It was SO PEACEFUL there.  I haven't felt like that in a long time.  I need more.

I also checked out Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe.  So far, it's pretty good.  It's the second book I've ever read that explains why I feel this way all the time and reassures me that I'm not just defective somehow.  The first book being The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. 

Woops!  I guess I'm done blogging for now,  I'll get to the chainsaws and spanking later.  I was interrupted by a request to read to the child, so other adults can go to the other room for a break. 

... later ...

Yeah, so this page explains conditions I need in order to keep going without losing it.  I think I've probably linked to it before, but it's a good one.  In Introvert Power terms, I'm a "shadow dweller," not an "accessible introvert."  According to the self-assessment in Introvert Advantage, I'm a 26 out of 29--Carey's only a 14 or 15, if I recall correctly.

... And when I got home, a couple dear friends were visiting, and our friend/houseguest/my future roommate was here, and Kaleigh was in one of her hurt-people-until-she-gets-hurt rambunctious moods, and the guys working on the house behind us were chainsawing, and I was quite exhausted.  So I kept retreating to the bedroom to read and stretch and pet the cat.  I wasn't enough, and Kaleigh wouldn't stop harassing me, until I spanked her.  Then I LOCKED myself in the bedroom, put the headphones on, and tried to imagine life with a space of my own.  Someday!

I feel ready to move out.  I'm looking forward to it.  I just hope one of the prospective landlords takes pity on me, since wifey gave me a deadline to move out without a chance to get a job first.  

This place used to be home, but with a hundred things weighing on me.  Now it's not even home any more. 

I feel a little better now, since reading quietly to K for her bedtime.  And now Carey's in there getting K to sleep.  So I have ten more minutes of solitude.

It's a little awkward and, not cold, but cool, but not that bad being around the wife who doesn't want me any more.  I think she's happy; she laughs, and that pleases me.  She might have been right after all; looking back, I think we were both kinda going crazy in different ways for different reasons.

Tomorrow, it's therapist and chiropractor, then Thursday will be temp agency day.  There's ONE that isn't somewhere west of downtown, I'll try that place first.  The others, I'll have to look at a bus map to see how accessible they are. 

As much as I'd love to work there, I don't think the library is hiring, considering they've laid off employees who've been there for years, and the librarians (in Youth Services at least) are shelving their own books now.  Drat, that's the job I would've wanted--just simple, quiet work, not dealing with the public.  Maybe a bookstore somewhere is hiring.  

ups-n-downs-n-ups

I've been doing pretty good the past few days.  I think seeing my therapist (for the first time) (only $25/hr!) helped, and moving ahead a little bit on finding apartments (thanks Mom-n-Dad!).  But today, after selling plasma, when I rolled back in on my bike, even though dearie gave me a smile and a wave, I just felt like I was coming home to a place where I wasn't wanted.  I felt anxious and a knot in my stomach and got angry with K when she (who said she was only kidding) was obstinate about something.  Now, though, I'm feeling a lot better.  I don't know if it's the 2-1/2 glasses of wine, or the hour of time to be ALL BY MYSELF with quiet soothing music on (god bless Bonobo) and poke around on the internet.  Maybe both.  The knot is loosened.  Also, I was poking around on an internet dating site.  I only looked into it because awesome blogger Ran Prieur said it beats all the others.  (OKCupid.com)

I know it's a little early--only a month into a separation (and we're still living together) after 17 years together--but hey, I gotta find someone somehow.  And the internet makes it feel "safe".  I mean, one day in real life at the library I smiled at a cute mom of an aDORable toddler, and the mom smiled back, and my heart stopped--OMG SHE SMILED WHAT DO I DO?!  I felt like I was 17 again.  So, the mediation of high technology makes it easier to check out potentially interesting women, without the anxiety of possibly having to actually talk to someone.  LOL.  I'm an introvert, what can I say, it's how my brain is wired.  Nonetheless, there are some potentially interesting women out there--even right here in Springfield--and, for the first time ever, I messaged a few to see what happens.  One doesn't watch TV (woot!).  One isn't looking for dates, just a friend (OK by me, I'm still nervous about all this).  One or two have one or two things in common with me that I won't share here.  

Geezus, I just realized I'm blogging about spending Saturday night on the Internet looking for chicks.  A pathetic geek, or just another lonely American man?  Whatever, it's better than stewing about all the turmoil in my life.  If anyone messages me back, THEN I'll be panicking!

Have you heard of the Five Love Languages?  If you and your SO don't speak the same, there's trouble brewing ... check out this test.  My primary love language is touch, so in the past few years when Wifey hasn't offered me hugs, kisses, cuddles, or a hand to hold--I've been feeling unloved without even realizing it.  HER love language is "acts of service"--no wonder she's so disappointed with me being unable to keep up with homestead projects.  Though she's had a few vacations where I've had none; I'm like a rechargeable battery that's only been able to get up to 1/4 charge for years now; easily drained, never operating at full capacity.  And I'm going to keep keeping going 'cause I have to, to get income and a place to stay.  But if I can have a room of my own, that'll help tremendously.

I love her and miss her but I haven't had her for a long time now, I was just oblivious to it.  In hindsight, the signs are there.  What else can I do?  MashAllah; Allahu Akbar; Alhamdolillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.  And, MORE WINE!!!  That's why I think of myself as Christian rather than Muslim. :)

a little better

I've been doing a little better since Friday night. Walks and a long bike ride help. Still feeling anxious, sad, frustrated, and angry. Today if I get a moment's peace I'll call to make appointments to look at apartments. And I'll call Central Intake to see if I can get some free counseling.

At the library the other day, I ran across a book called The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One.  Can you guess, I'm a renaissance soul?  But with 30 days' notice from Wifey to totally redesign my life, I'll just have to take what I can get, and redesign more later.  I'll look into temp agencies to see if I can do part-time mind-numbing office chores that don't involve talking to people.  Friday, I could have spent some time looking for work or apartments or sanity, but Carey asked me to take Kaleigh to the library so Carey could get stuff done at home.   Being a dutiful SAHD, I did.  I was looking up Careers for Introverts when I found Renaissance Souls.  Now, if only there was a grant I could get that would support me while I design my Introvert Renaissance life.  Ha.

We had some nice thunder and lightning last night and this morning.  Coincidentally, I had remarked earlier that it's been hard for me to keep the static in my head from becoming lightning bolts.  Just keeping myself from emotionally exploding drains me of energy, let alone living in a small house with two energetic extroverts, AND worrying about finding a place to live AND paying for it, AND dealing with the worst crisis I've ever had in my life.  All at once.  No wonder I'm exhausted lately.  Introverts tend to shut down under stress.  It's the parasympathetic nervous system; it's the way we're wired. 

Allahu akbar.

I can't believe this

It's been a while since I posted. A month ago, almost to the day, Wifey told me out of the blue that she doesn't want to be married to me any more. It was our fifteenth anniversary this year, and I actually thought things were getting better this year. But, "One of us should move out." If I don't move out, she will, but I know she'll be happier here, and I need solitude. I'm working on moving out. After spending a week flat on my back due to a bulging disk, and the following week out of town at my cousin's wedding. OK, that's two weeks out of a month that I haven't been very much able to do much relating to separating and finding a place to live (not to mention a job to pay for it). And today she says, how do you plan to find money for rent and a deposit? And just now, tonight, she reminds me that if I don't move out, she will, and if I don't do it soon she'll start looking soon.

This doesn't make any sense. Don't I get a chance to try to make some money and save up for rent? No, it's just, one of us is moving out. (Well, maybe if SHE can find money for rent and a deposit, she can give it to me to get me out of here.)

I had to start writing so I wouldn't start yelling and breaking shit. I was sitting on the porch at the table full of breakable dishes and stuff, wanting really bad just to throw the whole thing over. To express what I feel inside me. I can barely keep it in. I'm a little too good at keeping calm on the outside, while about to snap on the inside. It's already been a stressful summer, a stressful year after year without a break, all building up, and now this. I contacted a place whose web site says they do free counseling, and they said no, they don't do that any more. They gave me other numbers to call. I called one. They said to contact central intake at this 1-800 number. Sigh. Another thing to keep working on. Pray for me.
I caught this meme-virus from Facebook, and I'm transmitting it to my long-neglected LiveJournal.  This is an interesting list, but many many movies I've seen, good and bad, are not on it.

the viral paste:

SUPPOSEDLY if you've seen over 85 films, you have no life. Mark the ones you've seen.  There are 239 films on this list. If you so desire, copy this list, go to your own blog or social networking account, and paste this in a post.  Then, put x's next to the films you've seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click post at the bottom. Have fun.

My total score:  58

( ) Rocky Horror Picture Show
( ) Grease
( ) Pirates of the Caribbean
(X) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(X) Fight Club
( ) Starsky and Hutch
(X) Neverending Story
(X) Blazing Saddles
(X) Airplane
Total: 5

(X) The Princess Bride
( ) Anchorman
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
(X) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
( ) 50 First Dates
( ) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 7

(X) Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
( ) Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
( ) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
( ) American Pie
( ) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 8

(X) Harry Potter 1
( ) Harry Potter 2
( ) Harry Potter 3
( ) Harry Potter 4
( ) Resident Evil 1
( ) Resident Evil 2
( ) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
( ) Lilo & Stitch
Total so far: 9

( ) Finding Nemo
( ) Finding Neverland
( ) Signs
( ) The Grinch
(X) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
( ) 13 Going on 30
( ) I, Robot
( ) Robots
Total so far: 10

( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
( ) KingPin
( ) Never Been Kissed
( ) Meet The Parents
( ) Meet the Fockers
( )Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
(X) KING KONG
Total so far: 11

( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
( ) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
( ) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
(X) Halloween
( ) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving  ‑MAS
( ) Flubber [the original]
Total so far: 12

( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
( ) Practical Magic
( ) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 12

( ) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
(X) Nightmare on Elm Street
(X) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(X) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
total so far: 15

( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Slevin
(X) Ocean's Eleven
( ) Ocean's Twelve
( ) Bourne Identity
( ) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
(X) Predator
( ) Predator II
( ) The Fog
( ) Ice Age
( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
Total so far: 17

(X) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx  Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(X) ET
(X) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
(X) War of the Worlds
( ) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 21

( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
(X) Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(X) Wizard of Oz
(X) Forrest Gump
(X) Big Trouble in Little China
(X) The Terminator
(X) The Terminator 2
( ) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 27

(X) X‑Men
( ) X‑2
( ) X‑3
( ) Spider‑Man
( ) Spider‑Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
( ) Catch Me If You Can
(X) The Little Mermaid
( ) Freaky Friday (the original)
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
( ) Shrek
( ) Shrek 2
Total so far: 29

( ) Swimfan
( ) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
( ) The Notebook
( ) K‑Pa
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
( ) The 40‑year‑old Virgin
Total so far: 29

(X) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(X) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(X) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(X) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(X) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(X) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 35 ha ha I mark all of these--I’m a geek!

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
(X) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejcts
( ) Elf
(X) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
(X) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 38

( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
( ) Monsters Inc.
(X) Titanic
(X) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
( ) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willa74
Total so far: 40

( ) High Tension (Haute Tension)
( ) Club Dread
( ) Hulk
(X) Dawn Of the Dead
(X) Hook
( ) Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
( ) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(X) Waterworld
Total so far: 43

( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
(X) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) The Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
(X) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re‑Animator
(X) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 46

(X) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(X) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(X) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(X) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(X) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(X) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 52

(X) The Matrix
(X) The Matrix  Reloaded
(X) The Matrix  Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
(X) Team America: World Police
(X) Red Dragon
(X) Silence of the Lambs
( ) Hannibal
Total: 58

END VIRAL PASTE

My total is less than the stated “have no life” limit, but I’ve seen Brazil and Buckaroo Banzai enough times to possibly push me over that.  Oh yeah–and Donnie Darko!  Strange how these three, my favorites, are not on the list.  And suddenly I see that the 1980s have their grip on me in a way I never realized before.  

In other news ...

The Little House in the Ghetto is supposed to be in Dave Bakke's column in the Springfield State Journal-Register tomorrow (Sunday, February 1, 2009).  Well, he came to talk to us about frugality, and Carey was here while I was taking Kaleigh and a friend sledding, and I don't know what all will be in the column.  But Carey wrote the blog post linked to as sort of an introduction for folks who read the paper and find us through there.  It's a good summary of what we've been up to for the past few years.  Alhamdolilah.

Suburbs the Size of Cities

BLDGBLOG had an interesting post I quote: 

Cities today are well known for popping up in the middle of nowhere, history-less and incomprehensible. There are slums, refugee camps, army bases—and Dubai. That’s what cities now do. If these cities are here today, they weren’t five years ago; if they’re not here now, they will be soon. Today’s cities are made up, viral, fungal, unexpected. Like well-lit film sets in the distance, staged amidst mudflats, reflecting themselves in the still waters of inland reservoirs, today’s cities simply arrive, without reservations; they are not so much invited as they are impossible to turn away. Cities now erupt and linger; they are both too early and far too late. Cities move in, take root and expand, whole neighborhoods throwing themselves together in convulsions of glass and steel.

Except, as Mike Davis memorably points out in his recent book Planet of Slums, the "cities of the future, rather than being made out of glass and steel as envisioned by earlier generations of urbanists, are instead largely constructed out of crude brick, straw, recycled plastic, cement blocks, and scrap wood. Instead of cities of light soaring toward heaven, much of the twenty-first-century urban world squats in squalor, surrounded by pollution, excrement, and decay." This is "pirate urbanization," he writes, and it consists of "anarchic" anti-cities on the fringes of "cyber-modernity." We might be making up new cities everywhere around the world today, but very few of them look like Norman Foster’s eco-metropolis of Masdar, that well-rendered city constructed from nothing but petrodollars atop the sands of Abu Dhabi. Davis writes, or example, that, in "an archipelago of 10 slums" outside Bangalore, India, "researchers found only 19 latrines for 102,000 residents." There is thus what Davis calls an ‘excremental surplus’ to these rapidly expanding environments—yet these are the landscapes to which we refer when we say that humans have become an urban species.

These are not cities in any recognised infrastructural or legislative sense; they are, rather, dense collections of buildings. In contrast to Dubai’s Atari–like desert failure, with its arid combination of over-thought business plans and an absolute lack of content, these super-slums compress far too much content into a radically unplanned space.

On the other hand, sometimes a made-up city does not even require acts of construction. That is, what might appear simply to be a field of cloned single-family houses, buffered by vast tracts of manicured green space, can be transformed into a city with the stroke of a pen. Cities are thus created everyday, in other words, within the administrative guidelines for managing inhabited landscapes—and no new ground need ever be broken. These made-up cities are, in fact, boomburbs, according to Robert Lang and Jennifer LeFurgy, two sociologists with the Washington D.C.-based Brookings Institution.

In their 2007 book, Boomburbs: The Rise of America’s Accidental Cities, Lang and LeFurgy explain that many of the largest cities in the United States today are simply hypertrophied suburbs—they are boomburbs. The mayors of established cities have had a hard time adjusting to this fact. Mesa, Arizona, for instance, an otherwise anonymous tumescence on the air-conditioned desert edge of Phoenix, is a "stealth city": Its population, incredibly, is larger than both Minneapolis–St. Paul and Miami. The authors also describe how the mayor of Salt Lake City once "dismissed the idea" that his city might have anything in common with suburban North Las Vegas, "despite the fact that North Las Vegas is both bigger and more ethnically diverse than Salt Lake City." What these boomburbs have, in lieu of historic centrality and international name-recognition, is a flexible legal and financial infrastructure. They have water rights boards and waste disposal networks, even local schools and sales tax—and though they don’t necessarily have mayors (though some do), they have "landscape management" committees and homeowners associations. These are cities made up less by buildings than by tax codes and the law.

The mayor of Salt Lake City’s widely shared cognitive dissonance, being somehow unable to see that Mesa, Arizona, is bigger than a city like St. Louis—with its Eero Saarinen-designed Gateway Arch along the banks of the Mississippi—is part of what the authors call "a national ambivalence about what we have built in the past half century." This featureless landscape of low-rise retail parks and residential cul-de-sacs—of video shops, hockey moms, and 24-hour supermarkets—has become the dominant architecture of American urbanism, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it remains critically invisible.... From boomburbs to Urville, via super-slums and Dubai, these instant cities take shape in less than a single generation and cross a fantastic landscape of competing urban forms.