Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Brain Made Me Do It

My friend Laurel sent me a link to THIS website. Which is essentially a study about how unified brain-power and collective intentions can Change The World: aid plant growth; lower global warming, crime rates and pollution levels; cure halitosis; stuff like that.

And, for the sake of polite dialogue, I had been trying to allow myself to agree with her that such a thing could possssibly happen. But I can't do it. AND my inner skeptic is just...freaking OUT!

Are you kidding? (say I to myself) A bunch of well-intentioned hippies are NOT going to curtail smog and bring back large rain forests with their BRAINS!!!!! With laws, sure. With collective commitment to actual, physical changes. Maybe. With a long-term plan which includes measurable pollution reduction and replanting of lost timber and global reduction in stuff accrual and production and consumption. But by sitting in a room thinking pretty thoughts about good things?????? No freaking fucking insane-shreepy-dippy dumb-ass WAAAAY!!

Ahem. Whew. Clearly, this hits a button for me. Possibly related to my upbringing in which prayer played a big part in my little community's idea of "civic action".

It's not like I'm anti-lazy, or anything. Anybody who has known me for any length of time would scoff at the irony. But the concept of intentions, or prayer, or group meditation or encouraging the giant bowl of pudding in the sky to correct the laws of physics just galls me. It's so colossally lazy that it embarrasses even me, an essentially supremely lazy person.

And it's NOT that I understand a large number of complicated laws of science. Nor do I think that we're at any kind of pinnacle of scientific understanding, including understanding of human consciousness. Quantum Physics? String Theory? Fascinating. But collective brain power over actual exertion? Good grief, hippies! Get off of the meditation pillow and DO SOMETHING!

It's Earth Day today. And, in the spirit of embracing positive change for this planet, I should add that I DO think positive thoughts help you focus your mind on what you want to change. I just don't think they alone, even if you and everyone around you think those positive thoughts at the same time, MAKE those things happen without actual labor. And personal change.

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cowboy, meet Prison

(subtitle: The Name Game)

Every few months I waffle around (har har) about changing my name to Jamie's, because his surname is COOL with my first name. Seriously. You'd NEVER mess with me if I had his surname coupled with Rebekah. It's just that tough sounding.

Rebekah Cowboy

MY surname is lame with all name combinations (no offense, all Prison-named persons everywhere, but if your name is famous in your country for sounding like a Prison, it's maybe not the best of all names). Also, it sounds a bit like the noise people make when they throw up. So there's that.

Rebekah Prison

But...this is where I have to think about screwing my feminism (and general philosophies about self-worth) to the sticking point. I don't REALLY believe in changing your name...ever. I mean, I've known people with Rainbow Hippie Sunshine names who changed their names to Mary Jones-ish-ities. And many MANY more Mary Jones-es who changed their names to "Running Heart Stone Awesome Pants".

And I do get the merits in that. Sort-of. But...for me? Self-loving, confident, 38 year old me? Eh. I think my identity is melded to being Lame-o-Prison-Gal forever. It's just part of the package.

Plus there's the fact that in three marriages I've kept my name the same. (Not the best argument to have with Jamie). And that it's a bit like a vanity plate. I'd LOVE to not be Rebekah Sing-Sing*, but I am. And I'd really LOVE to be Rebekah Cowboy**, but I'm not.

We did give Zel the Cowboy last name, which I'd protested with great reasoning and logic and many thoughtful thoughts since waaaaay before any child of mine was born (essentially: boy-baby=dad-last-name; girl-baby=mom-last-name). Until she was going to be Zel Prison. Which isn't that bad, right? But my sense of aesthetic won out over my sense of justice (soooo telling), so she's Zel Cowboy forever, unless she decides differently.

And I guess that's the point, really.

* not my real last name
** not Jamie's real last name

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When I grow up...

Milo's new garb includes purple croc boots, an Exo-Force t-shirt, and a SWIM MASK. The one in this picture, actually, isn't the one we bought. But it's a good approximation.

Unabomber? Man from Space? Scientist? Alien abductee?

My friend Danica tells this hilarious story of how her mom gave she & her siblings little pins that said "I dressed myself today" whenever they did. At the time, she found it very affirming and only now, as a parent, does she realize it was her mother's way of disavowing affiliation with whatever eccentric costume they wore.