Generic Inspirational New Years Post

Holy hell face. I’m so excited to be writing this from my new and improved office. Here’s the deal. I’ve been meaning to make a space for myself for a while. But you know, every reason to put it off. Well it was one of my goals in these 10 days off for break and I’m pleased to announce that with a little shuffling of a futon and the actual old desk I own (that now belongs to Chuck for reasons I don’t want to explain here) it’s done! I was able to get a cheapie chair and desk on Amazon with a credit I got for turning in my old phone, so that helped too. Upgrade central. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of this the last month of this year. Out with the old and in with the new.

The holiday season always seems to leave me a little melancholy. I can’t say that Christmas as a single adult is especially exciting. I don’t want or need for anything tangible, I’m not especially religious so I don’t actually think it’s the day that Christ was born, and I don’t get to see any tiny excited faces, or carry out and long standing family traditions. Working at a mall makes the holiday rush and consumerism especially obvious and disappointing. I was having a conversation with somebody yesterday that told me that more heart attacks happen around the holiday season than any other time of the year. I know I’m off this week, but I have to research it now see if I still got it.

This study published recently in JAHA was really the best I could do:

https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.116.005098

I couldn’t find the original US study mentioned in the start of the article, however this one above was done in New Zealand to help counter the effect that Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere is during winter, and a time when we see spikes in cold and flu season. I guess it displays that there are a slight number more deaths around the holiday season in both cold and warm climates, but they can’t discern exactly why. It could be because of more over consumption of unhealthy foods, sugary deserts and yep, alcohol.  Honestly I’ve probably gained at least 5 pounds myself in the last two weeks. We’re all in the same boat and it’s sinking from overindulgences. I think I’ve said F it, it’s the holidays more times lately than I care to admit.

So I guess I had to kind of agree with this statement, although I couldn’t find solid proof, lots of articles from TIME and other websites with are smothered in ads, so I really didn’t want to trust them. The holidays mean different things to different people, so I can’t speak for everybody but I’m certainly glad that they are almost over. I do enjoy the lull between Christmas and New Year’s, where everything just seems to be asleep. Everybody slows down and reflects. The massive rush of the year has come to an end. You know what happened good and bad, you can think about the past, let it go, and get ready to make space for all the great new things to unravel. The construct of time is actually refreshing when you can physically see a year leave, and know that a new one is taking its place. I did some purging of items this last week for sure, also scrubbing, rearranging and saging the house to clear out old energy. It may surprise you to see how much you can really get rid of if you challenge yourself to do so.

5 more days of this?

This Is hard.

Dear lord it’s only day two without reading. I’ve noticed a few things though. Especially when I’m out on reference desk I am sure observing a lot more when I don’t have my nose stuck in a book or fixated on reading something on the computer screen. What did I do to pass the time today? Coloring, walking, yoga, cutting pictures out of magazines, organizing things, staring into the sometimes empty and ever so shiny floor on “main street” in the library between mini rushes. I made up stories about the minions in the display case, although I didn’t write them down. I took my time more with people, since there was nothing for me to get back to other than chatting, which even that become tired after doing it all day. I guess I didn’t have much to say. I think I may be cheating by using social media a bit.

I kind of feel like there is something missing. I guess that happens when you cut anything out of your life. It’s harder in this case because I’m surrounded daily by books. Words. All these words, all the time in my face and I can’t read them! AHHH. OK that’s enough of my rant for the day. WAIT. I did cheat. I read a children’s book about a fluffy cat that floated because, well I guess I didn’t realize I couldn’t. It was a really good book anyways, if you like cats that are fluffy, or have a kid that might, it’s worth checking out.

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Link to Goodreads review

 The tech center is finally up and running after being down all of yesterday from a server update. Yes, it was annoying for some patrons, but not the monumental catastrophe that others made it out to be. In the grand scheme of things look we all lived. What wonders of the universe? It’s always interesting to me to watch the panic that ensues when technology isn’t working properly. I kind of am trying to remember for me personally that nobody promised that store wouldn’t be crowded, or it’s not a certainty that your day will go the way you want but that’s ok. Follow the flow of it and it might end up somewhere better than you expected. Or maybe not, but really you don’t have control so just go with it anyways.

 

Reading Deprivation

At the advice of a friend’s boyfriend who is a musician as well as a recommendation from my life coach I am currently in week four of the book “The Artist’s Way: A spiritual path to higher creativity” by Julia Cameron. This particular book was structured from a workshop held to help blocked creative learn to regain their sense of flow and creativity. It says that it’s a spiritual path, but it doesn’t shove the idea of organized religion down your throat so that’s a good thing.

So far it’s been good I’m almost a third of the way through the 12 weeks. There’s the fact that you commit to certain things, like writing at least 3 pages a day in the mornings, and keeping yourself on track each week with the readings and exercises. OH, and taking yourself on one date a week that encourages you to explore old loves and habits, a way to re-connect with your inner self and voice. It is kind of a lot to commit to, but in the end it has to be worth at least the fact that you are taking steps to open things up within you, and that yes, you are a person who completes things.

Either way, this week one of the rules or “exercises” is reading deprivation. Wait what? What the hell is going on here? The rage inside. I can’t read? Well what the hell else am I supposed to do? This is a lot. Anybody who relies on reading on a daily basis will tell you take that away and it’s rather unnerving. She writes about this being the hardest reveal in the class and knowing the negative reaction she will get initially, but, that it’s worth it in the end for anybody who is able to get through it.

I understand in a way what she’s getting at. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about not going on social media for a week or longer. Take a break. Maybe I can do both of these things at the same time, but I think it may be too much for me all at once. Sometimes we bombard ourselves with distractions of all sorts of forms, social media, novels, television, gossiping. Anything to direct ourselves away from what is happening inwardly. Escapism. It’s one of the most difficult things to do to be still and really listen to yourself away from all these distractions, opinions, words, images, situations. So my anger subsides. I mean I’m still kind of shell shocked and confused about what I’m supposed to do, and isn’t reading a good thing? Well yes it is generally, and being connected is also a good thing, but it’s also good to be able to disconnect. Unplug for a bit before you lose the ability to understand how important real quiet time is. Maybe the sweet spot is in the balance (it usually is).

I’ve never been on any kind of religious retreat, although I have been toying with the idea of one of those non-speaking Buddhist retreats. The idea seems so crazy but maybe if we all just shut up a bit we will be able to have more clarity. Maybe if we stop filling our heads so much with the words of others and the situations that our own words can bring something can happen. I’m about to find out. So I’ll try this whole non-reading thing this week. As with any addiction, one day at a time. Wish me luck.

Yes I do speak Emoji

The emoji with steam coming out of its nose is the triumph emoji?

Wait, what? I always thought it was an angry emoji showing its rage. At least that is how I’ve been using it for the past 3 years or so. The reason I’m on this today is one of the student workers here is looking online at emoji translations, what are they supposed to mean? It’s actually really funny because he is a very literal person who started dating a girl and is trying to decipher what she is saying to him when she uses them. I always thought I was pretty fluent in emoji, but to me using emoji’s is like reading a poem, or hearing a song, you attach the meaning to it and different emoji’s can mean different things to different people. On top of communicating via text where there is no tone, no inflection of voice we now are dealing with pictures that could mean, and all the different ways they can be interpreted (or mis-interpreted). I’m still a fan despite this. Sometimes I feel like they describe the way I’m feeling more quickly and efficiently than words can, but I guess that depends on how well the person that you are sending it to knows you and your communication style.

Emoji’s are used today in America now due to their popularity with the iPhone. But they have been around since the 90’s in Japan used on mobile devices and web based messengers and pages. You may also hear the term emoticon but I think that this is used to represent the actual typography of a face for example :- ) would be an emoticon, whereas the actual picture is an emoji. Emoji’s themselves have evolved over the years in look and number of available ones for use, and they are regulated by something called Unicode. So what is Unicode?

About the Unicode Consortium

The Unicode Consortium was founded to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard, which specifies the representation of text in modern software products and standards. The Consortium is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The membership of the Consortium represents a broad spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and information processing industry. The Consortium is supported financially through membership dues and donations. Membership in the Unicode Consortium is open to organizations and individuals anywhere in the world who support the Unicode Standard and wish to assist in its extension and implementation. All are invited to contribute to the support of the Consortium’s important work by making a donation. (Unicode, 2016) Retrieved from: http://unicode.org/standard/WhatIsUnicode.html

So basically it’s an effort to bring standards to characters and symbols processed by computers. And they have this really cool table of what each emoji represents and how it appears across different platforms.

Unicode table v 4.0

My favorite part about this, you guessed it… The keywords on the right hand side. Click on one and you will get an expanded table in which each emoji for a particular keyword pops up. This is amazing. The organization, the clarity, the relationship between emoji’s. Wow, I’m going a little deep on this one, but really if you are going to be texting these days, or corresponding with anybody via text you need to know what they really mean. So, for anybody who isn’t sure what the hell their friend, lover, mom, or whoever is saying with these, check it out. It even explains the Japanese symbols that I know you know nothing about and have never used. So read up, use them right and impress somebody with your emoji literacy.

SEX! now that I have your attention…

Itssss Sunday, time for Library Roulette..

I let my co-worker do the honors of giving me the numbers this week. 2nd floor, 5th row, 14 dividers back. A new section I’ve never been in, this one was all about sexual issues and disorders. OK this got interesting. There was a lot of eye catching ones to choose from but the one that ended up the winner today was a black spine with the title. I flip to the cover page to find the full title:  Disorders of Desire: Sexuality and Gender in Modern American Sexology. Didn’t even know Sexology was a term, I learned a new one today. Wasn’t expecting to talk about sex here at all, but I have to discuss the random-ness I find here in the stacks any and all items shall be discussed.

123-copy

Flip to a random page, 107. The Title heading is Sexology at a Crossroads: Sexual Science and Sexual Politics. The actual passage I put my finger on is an excerpt from a leaflet, but to make the whole thing make sense I have to give it a background. During the 1980’s there was a large outcry of feminist groups against pornography.

A group called “D.C. Feminists Against Pornography” passed out leaflets of protest criticizing pornography as “a mechanistic approach to human sexuality which ignores the political, economic, and cultural factors that so deeply condition sexual behavior”.

The leaflet added:

Sexology cannot develop as a science without addressing sexism and the real condition of women’s lives. We expect the sexologists participating in this congress to acknowledge their responsibility to women, revise their research agenda to examine the context of sexual behavior (not merely the mechanics), and to integrate a feminist analysis into their research and practice, so that we in a joint effort can work to eliminate sexism in sex. (Irvine, 2005, p.107)

The study of sex and human sexuality has always interested me. I think it probably interests most people because it’s an innate human need, much like sleeping, eating, and breathing. I suppose there are some adult humans out there that don’t want or need sexual relationships, but they may be few and far between. But, as sex almost seems like a basic function of the animal kingdoms need to reproduce and keep the species alive it is so complicated in humans. Must be our big brains. There’s so many factors involved with us, so many emotions and motivations. There’s perversions, fetishes, different aspects of the act itself. There’s no universal sex or sexuality, no real right or wrong (amongst consenting adults rather). All I know about it really is that sex really is a very powerful thing. On one side of the coin sexual abuse and mistreatment can ruin somebody’s entire being, their emotional structures, and patterns. On the other side, when used properly it can be life altering in a positive and fulfilling way.

Think of the access that people have to pornography now versus the amount that they had in the 80’s. I think now that we live in an age when people have such easy access to over sexed advertisements, and internet porn of all kinds it’s important to educate people about how much of it really is an acting or portrayal of, versus the real thing. This brings to mind a book that was recommended to me by Phillip Zimbardo, Man Interrupted. I’ve had it now for over two weeks and haven’t skimmed it yet, but I will tonight after this post (I swear). He is a well-known psychologist that explores the overstimulation of today’s men and how it could be effecting them. Here’s a link to his ted talk from 2011:

The Demise of Guys.

 

I agree with the above statement from this weeks selection that we should take the sexism out of sex, but that goes both ways. We have to explore and acknowledge that this influx of sexual images can be a detriment to both of the sexes if used to set unrealistic standards and examples of what sexuality is and should be.

So what is sexology then? This is for me since I have no idea.

Sexology is an interdisciplinary science that focuses on diverse aspects of human sexuality, studying human sexual development, relationships, and intercourse, sexual malfunctions, sexually transmitted diseases, and pathologies such as child sexual abuse or sexual addiction. It has still not been fully recognized as a separate professional field but is most often found as a sub discipline within fields such as biology, psychology, anthropology, medicine, sociology, epidemiology, and sometimes criminology. (Horvath, 2009).

I think that it interests me most from a psychological standpoint, as most things usually do. Even though “sexology” doesn’t appear to be an entire field of study, it seems to touch many subjects as a sub field. Which makes sense, considering there’s so many sub fields of ourselves and society involved in sex.

 

 

Horvath, A. (2009). Sexology and sex research. In J. O’Brien (Ed.), Encyclopedia of gender and society (pp. 752-755). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd. doi: 10.4135/9781412964517.n379

Irvine, J. (2005). Disorders of Desire: Sexuality and Gender in Modern American Sexology. Philadelphia, PA: Temple Press.