Friday, January 29, 2010

Empathy, Sympathy, Silence

I've been having what I call issues with my work load and final semester of school. It is hard to find someone who can understand my troubles. I spoke to my mom and my husband about it, but I didn't feel better. I guess I wanted empathy, not sympathy. Plenty of people can sympathize, but few can empathize. How many young women do I know who have recently gone through a master's program in mathematics? I know one woman who recently received her master's, and a few who semi-recently received doctorates, all of whom live in Kentucky. I spoke with my one math friend yesterday and I feel a bit better.

I've been reading more blogs lately so I feel like I have been exposed to a lot of personal, touching stories about the lives of relative strangers. Many of these stories are traumatic and I know I can't relate - so I don't pretend I understand. Sometimes I try to leave encouraging comments, something relevant - I offer sympathy since I cannot offer empathy. Most of the time I feel like I might cheapen the post by leaving a comment so I don't write anything.

Which is best: Empathy, Sympathy, or Silence?

I dare to say empathy, although hoping for empathy presents a conundrum: If I have been through a tragedy, and I hope for empathy, then am I hoping others have suffered as well? Misery loves company and all that.

Which is better when empathy isn't an option: Sympathy or Silence?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Follow-up On Trends

Thanks for all the great comments. I have receive other comments outside of the post as well. I appreciate the thoughtful and honest answers.

My personal response:
I guess I am about a 3 on the scale- I don't run from trends and I lean towards negative feelings about them. Most of the time I show interest in trends just to see what the fuss is about, but my standards are pretty high when it comes of devotion. I also run the risk of keeping my "favorites" to myself. I like to financially support bands/artists/authors who I like, and, if asked, I will give an enthusiastic answer and recommendation- I just don't volunteer the information on a regular basis.

I don't know that much about other cultures so I cannot answer those particular questions.

I believe it is mostly possible to make choices without influence or pop culture, but I don't think it is ever 100%.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pondering on Trends

I've been thinking about trends a lot lately. I might be wrong, but I generally see two attitudes towards trends with a varying degree of intensity. Here is a list of different trend areas that I specifically have in mind: books, movies, clothes, music, decor, hobbies. This is not an exhaustive list. I just want you to have a clear picture of the topic.

Some people like trends and are usually called "trend-followers" or "trendy." In the extreme, a trendy person might encourage others to be trendy and look down upon those who don't follow trends. We might even see a fanatic devotion to certain trends. "I love this item WAY more than you ever could!"
To a lesser extent we have people who follow trends in perhaps dress or decor but maybe not as much in music, movies, books, or other areas. I don't particularly know all motivations for trend-following. I thought perhaps it is a mix between actually liking something that has become popular and wanting to fit in with the popular crowd. (I realize it could be either or neither.) They take pride in being with the popular instead of taking pride in being a creator. I'm not saying that trendy people aren't trend-setters. I am merely discussing the two different attitudes towards trends themselves.

The other attitude I will call "anti." Again, there are varying degrees. In the extreme we might see anti's who rebuke trendy people, perhaps calling them "sheep" or "followers" with a negative connotation. They might even go out of their way to not appear to be following any trends. Now there is, of course, plenty of discussion on whether they are truly independent of trendy influence or perhaps "following" the anti-trend pop culture. The rebellion for rebellion's sake.
The lesser extreme could include people who don't like the idea of trend-following, but will still like something "despite" its popularity. People in this group might not broadcast any of their favorites, for fear of a growth in popularity, and might be defensive when something becomes popular. The phrase "I knew it back before it was popular" is a bragging right found in this group. They take pride in being with the "firsts" instead of taking pride in being with the popular. They might believe that they are trend-setters or independent of pop culture. Motivation might be our individualistic upbringing or a result of being rejected by trendy people from a young age.

My questions:
  • Can anyone really be outside of trends or pop culture? Is there a way to actually make these preferential decisions without influence?
  • Is there a third attitude?
  • Is this battle of attitude found only in the USA, where we are taught to strive to be independent individuals, or can we see it in other cultures? Is this battle found more in capitalistic societies? Is it found more in developed countries as opposed to undeveloped (using it as a subjective term as we learn in elementary school)? Is this battle a youthful battle or do we see it throughout all ages?
  • Is one attitude better than another or more correct? Is this battle simply over a subjective preference that is beyond what's right or wrong? Can taking one attitude to the extreme be classified as "wrong"?
  • Which are you? The scale below is from 1-10. One being "anti" trend and ten being "totally trendy." Five would be "I am not either" or "I do a little of both depending on the item in question."

Please respond to whichever questions you would like to talk about. Some of you might be more qualified to discuss certain questions over others. I just want some outside input. I will put some of my answers in a follow-up blog. I know my readers are very limited in number so each answer counts!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Rant, Rationalize, or Retry

The first phase (after a bad day):
I usually feel like ranting about what went wrong. Usually my office mates suffer but generally are nice enough to listen and sympathize.

The second phase:
I try to explain, this time to myself, what went wrong, when it went wrong, what I did wrong, and what others might have done wrong.

The third phase:
I think about making lists of what I learned from the mishap(s) and think about next time I am in a similar situation what I will do differently.

I thought about writing a blog on my bad day yesterday, but I didn't, and I am glad.
I thought about writing a list of all the lessons I learned (see similar post).
I thought about this almost all day yesterday, and since 2am this morning.

The result:
I am full of good intentions and motivation right now, but I fear that like usual, these feelings are fleeting. As I get older I feel stronger, but I don't always see the results of my strength when I apply it to my current efforts. These thoughts are pretty random. Another result from lack of sleep.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year, New Semester

Last year I had a goal to read 75 books and met that goal early on. I didn't quite make double, but I am making the goal again this year. It felt good to accomplish the goal early on in the year. It's fun to have a joint goal so I am in a 75 books in 2010 group like I was in 2009 through This is one of my favorite websites. I love lists and it is fun to keep a track of what I read and see what others read. I read a lot of Chick Lit and Romance as of late, but I also enjoy other genres. I especially enjoy recommendations so... pipe up! Let me know what I should be reading!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I loathe... (part 4)

I loathe when authors drag out a depressing part of a plot over 100 pages.
I loathe getting up at 6 am.
I loathe unattached hairs.

I love... (part 8)

I love getting my residual check directly deposited into my bank account right when funds are getting low.
I love month-long vacations.
I love kissable babies/toddlers (aren't they all?).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Two-pence by Husband

Only thrice in my life did I wind up with fleas
I then asked for advice from the low-hanging trees

"Oh good sir, not these
No advice from the trees
Without paying my massiveness,
Credulous fees."

"I'm not paying fees!" said my sad swollen knees
Who's voice had been rubbed wrong from swallowing bees

"Who spoke?" spoke the trees with their arms raised to seize
"We did!" said my morally sad swollen knees

"But kneecaps you are for little old czar,
Who's gameplay of sublets is only subpar.
Take off those snow masks and reveal who you are!"

My knees then bent back and then brought out a stack
Of books, papers, bungalows, lamb on a rack

"Oh man!" said my spine that was not a straight line
"I've never before had to drink all my brine!"

Then the swine tried to fine my incapable spine
With words, wisdom, newspapers, coins that won't shine
And its only way to convince me to stay
(Though stay I will without a bill:
A drill to fill up my fill)
Is to crawl on all fours through the red-wooden doors,
And to eat on the feet that walk steps to meet
A man with a hat and cigar-smoking cat
Who can play a tune grey with string, sticks and hay:
Yet better to pine and distill us some wine
With grapes, nectars, daffodils, summer squash vine

"Your not making sense
Like a garden hose fence!
For the time that you've wasted you owe us two-pence!"

No cash in my pocket, no list on my docket
I escaped my fate on a double-Schwinn Rocket

Friday, January 8, 2010

My Husband Can Be Funny

So I am posting a couple of remarks that appeared on twitter recently. This is a warm up for his guest post coming soon to... well... right here.

  • You should hang out with me often, then you'll have something to say (on twitter) all the time.

  • ME: "I'm having fun. Aren't you?" HIM: "Yeah, In a SAW kind of way."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Congratulate Me!

The most important goal from Thanksgiving until my birthday (soon) is to stay under a "goal weight." I have now made it through all the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years festivities and I am able to say I am still under that number. I feel so good about myself that I wanted to share it with all of you. It is hard work being patient. It is hard to set achievable goals instead of reaching for the moon.

I don't post this for you, reader, I post this for me. I am a very happy woman today. I've come very far.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Already?

So I haven't posted much. I thought I would post more over break but I haven't been doing that. I am enjoying break more than ever before. I sit around... read... play video games... hang out with husband... It has been fantastic!
Here is a melting pot of thoughts from the past few weeks.

  • Lose "the weight" by the deadline of September 1st, then begin on 2nd half of goal weight.
  • Finish Master's degree.
  • Read the entire Bible at least once.
  • Read over 75 books (repeat resolution).
Fun and Time-Sucking PS3 Video Games:
  • Civilization Revolution
  • Eden
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Braid
Random Thoughts:
  • New Moon was good enough to see twice in the theater but the story line is still my least favorite of the four Twilight Saga books.
  • Still don't like doing housework.
  • Sore throats are a bummer.
  • South Beach Diet is the only diet that works for me (and holidays).
  • iTunes giftcards do not suck.
  • Family Game Nights are still the best.
  • I still LOVE my LG Dare cellphone- even after a year.
Well, that's about it right now. I might add some to this post as I think of items.

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