Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for April 2008

The Work Life I’m Currently Living

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So, despite my current day of sickness, I usually spend five days a week at my job, which is still relatively new to me. I don’t blog to much about it. Given the very public nature of the job that seems unwise. I’ll keep most of my thoughts and reflections close to the vest unless you call or email but I thought I would post a few pictures from my recent travels for work.

The vast majority of days I mostly sit in my windowless office wondering if the building is making me ill (for I have no illusions that the State paid for low VOC carpets). But occasionally we go on site visits. Working for the departments that I do these can be rather fun or interesting and even occasionally beautiful

Last week we went to the coast for three days of visits and the week before that we went to the mountains for four days of visits. I brought the camera along and managed to snap a few fun shots.

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Written by furthermusings

April 15, 2008 at 9:48 am

Posted in On the Job, Pictures

On the Limited Power of Ideas

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I’m home sick today and in between waves of queasiness I’m trying out A History of Modern Germany: The Reformation by Hajo Holborn.  I’m only to the forward but I liked this quote a lot and thought I’d share it.  I’m more and more convinced that I’m limited in how well I can express and know my desires.  This quote seems to get at that a bit, though on more of a societal level.

To be sure, ideas, more than any other expression of life, reveal human motives and aspirations.  They also establish a connection over the ages and for that matter even between civilizations.  But it would be erroneous to assume that man possesses the capacity of expressing the full range of his aims in clear ideas and, least of all, that he has the ability to direct the course of human affairs more than partially through ideas.

If it is the ultimate intent of historical study to comprehend the potentialities of man in history, we must view him in all his struggles within the conditions of his existence, from the necessity of making a living and of adjsting to the social and political order that surrounds him to the actions through which he intervenes in the historical process, as well as to the thought through which he attempts to trancend his narrow station.

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April 15, 2008 at 8:09 am

Posted in Political Science

Book Four

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A couple of nights ago, while reading The Lord of the Rings again, I read a passage that’s stuck with me. I know I’ve read it a dozen times at least but I’d never noticed it until this reading. Lately, when I read the LOTRs, I’ve tried to pause, and by taking my time, to notice how Tolkien weaves time and space into the novel.

That last sentence might only make sense if you knew that after my first reading of LOTRs for many years I leapt through the books from plot-point to plot-point and seldom lingered over any passage. I took this to such an extreme that I went years without reading any of Sam and Frodo’s journey, deeming it too dull. Instead I preferred the speed of Gandalf and the other companions as they rushed south to Rohan and to Gondor.

These days I’m trying a different tact as I read Tolkien again. I’m trying harder to listen. I’m trying to notice all the vistas and landscapes that he lays out for me. I’m trying to read at the pace at which he writes and in doing so I’ve found him a master of quiet description.

I’ve also found that Sam and Frodo’s journey is one of the richest stories in the book. The passage that follows is the one that’s stuck with me. It’s from Chapter Two of Book Four (about half way through The Two Towers). Sam and Frodo have just captured Gollum and are considering whether their supplies can support a third companion.

It’s an agonizing moment for Frodo and he can’t bring himself to do more than allude to the implications of his reasoning. And the folksy, good-hearted Sam comes to silence and tears. It’s a quiet moment and one that I’m glad I paused to read.

I guess it’s an interesting lesson in pace to me. I can intake all the words rather quickly collecting the plot point and following the storyline. But if I read the passage with the pace I imagine appropriate, pausing in silence to envision Sam’s tears and think his thoughts, it’s a moment that I’ve found hard to forget.

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Written by furthermusings

April 7, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Posted in Reflections, Reviews

And so the season ends . . .

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It was a fantastic season . . . I wish it could have ended when with a better game.

Those were some long flat lines for the Heels.

Written by furthermusings

April 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Posted in UNC

Meditating on San Francisco

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sanfranhotelview.jpg Over the weekend I made my first trip to San Francisco and to California. I went to present my master’s thesis, and to my delight it received favorable reviews from the people who were interested enough to read it.

My trip was a whirlwind. I arrived in San Francisco Airport at 12:30 am local time Friday and departed at 12:30am local time on Saturday morning. In that time I had the great pleasure of playing tourist in one of the world’s great cities for a few hours alongside.

Since I only had five hours to play tourist I set off from my downtown hotel for San Fran’s most famous landmark. I sometimes wonder if you dropped five members of my family in any given city if they would all automatically go to the same spot, in this city the Golden Gate Bridge.

I took the bus through Chinatown and arrived at the Golden Gate for $1.50. The park around the bridge is beautiful, full of lush plants in a climate that feels like a cool rain forest. The light rain and drizzle swept across a confluence of multinational visitors speaking English, French, German, and Hindi, all drawn to this landmark.

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I mostly thought of the bridge for its sweeping beauty and the beauty of the setting, nestled in the mountains. When I wrote family and shared some pictures I received this letter from my Grandmother which is a pretty moving perspective,

Imagine what it was to the sailors during WWII when their ship sailed out to the Pacific under the bridge. I just talked to Granddad about when he sailed to the Philippines during the war. He says that the military base was in Oakland and that they sailed from there under the Golden Gate. The war ended while he was in the Philippines and when he returned they sailed under the Golden Gate again. He said it was a wonderful sight.

Wow. I had never thought that the Bridge welcomed home so many soldiers returning from the Pacific after giving up years of their twenties or thirties even as the Statue of Liberty welcomed home those soldiers who could return from Europe following both of the Great Wars of the 20th century.

When I returned, exhausted from my red eye flight and whirlwind tour, Charity asked me if I’d like to go back to San Francisco. I said I’d love to see more of the city, to eat more sushi and to walk around the parks about the bridge. And now, I’d like to return to the bridge again and meditate on what it must have felt like for the millions of American men, American men my age, who departed under the bridge leaving behind their homes, families and jobs for years to fight in such a terrible conflict and to wonder at what they must have felt when they return to America under that same rust red span.

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Written by furthermusings

April 1, 2008 at 8:38 am