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Thursday, May 28, 2009

 

I'm back!


And the wedding went beautifully. We had a wonderful time in idyllic surroundings in the company of lovely people we are privileged to know. Everything went smoothly: the sun shone, the registrars were great (and actually removed the 'marriage is between one man and one woman' bit of the ceremony on request, to my delight, so we managed to get married without demeaning our gay guests and, thus, ourselves), the party was fun, the food was delicious, the band rocked, the children behaved angelically, and it was all terrific. There was a real sense of community; it was just a happy, loving environment, and while I spent a lot of time running around saying hello to everyone, I had a fanatastic time. I'll put some pictures up once I work out how to get them off my camera.

Here are the readings we had. The first is from 'Songs of Travel' by Robert Louis Stevenson:

I know not how it is with you -
I love the first and last,
The whole field of the present view,
The whole flow of the past.

One tittle of the things that are,
Nor you should change nor I -
One pebble in our path - one star
In all our heaven of sky.

Our lives, and every day and hour,
One symphony appear:
One road, one garden - every flower
And every bramble dear.


The second is a 'late fragment' by Raymond Carver:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

 

Oh boy

Preparing for a wedding takes a LOT OF WORK.

However, tomorrow I will be packing up Mika to take to the cat hotel and setting off. Mika is not going to like me for this, I fear, but it's a nice place, run by the same vets who rescued her when she was a little kitty, and they're kind people. I figure since she came out of their care sweet-natured the first time, it's a fair bet they treated her well, and will do so again. I shall be explaining all this to her tomorrow, but I haven't told her anything yet, so shhh, not a word.

And then I shall be gone till late next week on a mini-honeymoon; we'll be taking a longer one later, but in the meantime we're going to Bath for a few days. Next time you hear from me I shall no longer be Ms Kit Whitfield, but ... well, actually I'll still be Ms Kit Whitfield because I'm not changing my name, but I shall be married. (It's going to be interesting correcting the people who can't get their heads around 'Ms' - you know the ones? It's usually on the telephone; if they call you 'Mrs' and you say 'Actually it's Ms' they move straight to 'Miss', and vice versa. 'Miss Whitfield' is at least accurate, but once I'm married it won't be, will it? But 'Mrs Whitfield' won't be accurate, because that's my mother. But I'm not calling myself 'Mrs Thomas' either. I think I'll have to resign myself to answering to more or less anything.)

So, here's a talking point. I'll put up the poems we're having read at the wedding after it's over, but in the meantime: what poems did/would you have at your wedding?

And finally, I'd like to take the opportunity to point out that this marriage I'm about to enter into is a right not available to all my fellow citizens. If I wanted to marry a woman, I'd have to settle for a 'civil union', a separate-but-equal piece of unfairness that does my country no credit at all. Marriages are supposed to be about love, and they're also supposed to be about community. Making marriage only available to some people fills a ceremony of love and community with discrimination and division, and that's bad for all of us. I'm delighted to be marrying my beloved, but I'm also angry that the same laws that benefit me hurt my friends and my fellow citizens. So, if anyone is feeling in the mood for a charitable donation, may I recommend Stonewall, a highly successful lobbying group for gay rights. Stonewall has participated in a lot of legal changes for the better - including civil partnerships, which while unfair are better than nothing - which you can read an overview of here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

 

The LOLcat version of In Great Waters

(A LOLcat, for those of you unfamiliar with the word, is a picture of a cat with a funny caption.)

In any event, my editor sent me this link. If you're read In Great Waters, you may see why this is funny.

And if you haven't, well, you'll just have to buy a copy to get the joke, won't you?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

 

Irrational things I believe

When you come right down to it, a lot of people have some strange beliefs. I don't mean that they're members of particular sects; I'm referring to beliefs peculiar to themselves, little quirks of conviction that they themselves can't really justify with logic. Here are some of mine:

Washing in dew on May Day makes your skin beautiful

I read this in a magazine when I was a little girl. At the time, I had serious eczema on my hands, and in an attempt to fix it, I tried the dew method. The eczema went away and my hands became smooth.

Rationally, I suppose it just healed up because things generally do. But I still scooped some dew onto my face this May Day.


Wishing evil on someone will rebound on you

I can make a rational argument for this one. Express a wish that something bad will happen to someone in the presence of other people, and it'll affect their opinion of you. Act hatefully, and you're putting the impression of a hateful person out there: people generally don't like hateful people. I know I tend to go off people who wish too much misfortune on others, and many people are the same. So wishing evil on someone probably will rebound on you, in that it'll have negative consequences on how people treat you.

It's possible that my subconscious knows this and comes up with instincts to enforce it. If so, it clearly feels the need to make heavier threats, though, because that's not how this belief works in my mind. There's no logical reason to assume that if I say, 'I hope so-and-so dies in a fire,' I'll die in a fire. There's no logical reason to assume that if I say, 'I hope he drowns,' I'll drown - but that's how my mind seems to interpret it. Even if I don't quite believe what I believe, wishing evil on people just feels unlucky.


If someone says 'Damn you' to me, even as a joke, I'll go to hell

I think I picked that odd piece of theology up from reading at an impressionable age, and somehow it stuck. I'm not sure if I even believe in hell, and it seems to me that a universe run on such principles would be far less reasonable and beautiful than the universe we actually inhabit, so it makes absolutely no sense. But still, if someone jokingly says 'Damn you' to me, I jump up saying 'Take it back! Take it back!' (Anyone who does this is the comments, please don't; it genuinely makes me nervous, and it wouldn't be that clever or funny to begin with.)

Curiously, this belief does not extent to 'damn your eyes.' If someone damns my eyes, I mind a lot less. (Though I'd still invite commenters to not do that.)


I mention these beliefs for two reasons. The first is simply that it's interesting how many people have odd little beliefs tucked away in their corners, and I'd be interested to see what other people's are. But the second is to point out that rationality is a variable thing.

It's been my amateur observation that the people who make the biggest production of how 'rational' they are are not usually the most logical or reasonable people. Generally they're very emotional people, and their emotions are what's driving them; a lot of their self-declared rationality is actually rationalisation of beliefs that are, for whatever reason, emotionally important to them. If you watch an informal debate, the odds are pretty good that the person insisting loudly that everything should be rational is the one who's going to kick off.

Now, this is not to say that anyone who believes in being rational or admires the scientific method is actually a superstitious hysteric; dealing with things logically is an admirable quality, and many people who admire logic and science are clear-headed, rational thinkers. But the people who use logic best are generally the ones who accept that they're beings of feeling as well as thought, and know how to distinguish the two. If you're hung up on being an entirely rational creature, it doesn't stop you from being emotional; it just gives you cognitive dissonance about it, and the easiest thing to do is to pretend that your feelings are actually logical conclusions and any passion you feel is merely the conviction of absolute reason. You have to accept that you have feelings and irrational beliefs before you can can start to exclude them from your logic.

And on that score, there's nothing wrong with emotion. Emotion motivates us to act, to make our minds up, to put our logic to good use. Emotion can get there ahead of us: very often the first sign that an argument is faulty or a situation is dangerous is that it feels wrong, and while we can reason that out with a little thought, it's emotion that's given us the heads-up. Excluding emotion from a discussion isn't just dishonest, it's ill-advised, because emotions may not be logical, but neither are they stupid.

We're all driven by emotion, and we're all liable to pick up some illogical beliefs along way. So, in the interests of fun and truthfulness, I think it's good to acknowledge sometimes just how odd some of our convictions are.

What odd beliefs or opinions do you have?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

 

A Mikalogue we hear every weekend morning


Mika:
Morning has broken,
Like the first morning...

Kit: Oh, man...

Mika:
Blackbird has spoken
Like the first bird,

Gareth: Wsf? Is she at it again?

Kit: Yeahhh...

Mika:
Mika must kill it,
Open the catflap,
Also want kibble...

Gareth: What time is it?

Kit: About ten past seven...

Mika:
Time to get up.

Out in the garden
Ought to be peeing,
Marking of homeland,
Let Mika out...

Kit: Is there any way we can explain the concept of weekends to her?

Mika:
Mika the brilliant
Adding percussion
Helps to remind you
Where duty lies.

Kit: Man, now she's clawing the carpet again.

Gareth: Do you think if we pinned it down, it would bang against the floor less loudly?

Kit: She knows exactly what she's doing.

Mika:
Litter tray worthless,
Mika rejects it.
Open the door, or
Pees on your plants.
Daddy should get up,
Does every morning,
Both you stop lazing,
Mika wants food.

Kit: I'd feed her, but I don't want to positive-reinforce this behaviour.

Gareth: Bzznf.

Kit: How can you sleep through this?

Gareth: Hm?

Mika: Must rest a minute to polish vocal pipes and see if they get point.

Kit: Ah, quiet. Okay, maybe it's a fair time to feed her.

Mika: Aha! There you are. Demand service immediately!

Kit: Are you going to do this tomorrow morning as well?

Mika: Course. Here by popular request.

Kit: Bleh. Baby, the popular request in our bed is that you let us sleep on weekend mornings.

Mika: Mika has many blog fans, and votes their proxy. Morning has broken...

Kit: Curse you all.

Friday, May 01, 2009

 

There's been a radio silence this week...

...largely because my hen weekend starts tomorrow, and my wedding is on the 23rd, which means I'm spending a lot of time running around. So, who here has a wedding/hen/stag weekend story they'd like to share?

And come to that, how come it's stags and hens? I can see the problem with cocks and hens, but why not stags and does? Any thoughts?

And a final question. We're going to be painting plates and cups as our hen activity. If you were doing that, what would you paint?

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