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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in Rob's LiveJournal:

Friday, October 24th, 2003
12:50 pm
Fiscal Sanity | Iraq doesn't make sense
First off, I admit that I'm not an economist. I studied statistics, finance,
microeconomics, and law and economics in my undergraduate and law school days.
I also consider myself above-average in my understanding of money. I fully
concede that I don't completely understand the debt structure of the Federal
Government, and how they can be trillions of dollars in debt without the entire
country imploding. I probably know just enough to make me dangerous. :)

A Dean supporter responded to my Bush is crazy screed of a few days ago. He
said, "Come to think of it, a lot of people _do_ have 60-70% of their income in
debt - between car, morgage, student loans, credit cards, etc. I know my wife
and I have 50% tied up in our car right now, and I'm really fiscally
conservative." Need I say more? I guess so many Americans are in up to their
eyeballs in debt that they think debt is a great thing. And if it's good for
them, it's good for the country.

Well, I have several comments on this subject of consumer debt versus Federal
debt. 1. Most debt is financial slavery. 2. A debt which is tied up in an
appreciating asset (like a house) is good. 3. Debt on depreciating assets
like a car and on credit cards is not good (but sometimes necessary).

To give you an idea about my fiscal character, I drive a 19-year-old car. I
carry two types of debt: student loans (which is now under 4% APR, and was a
long term investment in my current and future earnings potential), and a
mortgage (in two years, my house is now worth 50% more than what I bought it
for, so the house's fair market value minus the mortgage is actually a net
asset).

In contrast, the Bush budget has us going into debt to pay for a war that
doesn't improve our national security. Personally, I think it's breeding a
whole new generation of hatred against the U.S.

To be fair, the Bush budget is also going into debt to pay for expensive and
inefficient government "income redistribution" programs such as Medicare and
Social Security. But Bush, like many presidents, is either afraid, unwilling
or unable to drastically reform those wasteful and dying programs.

Bush doesn't show any sign of letting up on his "war on terrorism." As a
friend said, "Bush bills this as 'wartime spending', so if there's no end in
sight to the 'war on terror', then there's no end in sight to the debt
increase."

I'll make it simple. Afghanistan made sense. 19 people belonging to a
terrorist group linked to Bin Laden attacked the U.S., Bin Laden is in
Afghanistan, Taliban rules Afghanistan, we ask for the Taliban's help in
getting Bin Laden, they refuse, we invade Afghanistan and remove the Taliban,
and we rebuild Afghanistan as a democratic nation to make up for blowing up
their blown-up country.

Now, look at Iraq. To me, there is no dierct causal connection between our
actions in Iraq and our national security. The only thing I've heard that
comes close to filling that logical gap is the dubious argument that (1) Iraq
had WMD and that Iraq was about to use WMD on its own people and/or on others
in the region, and/or (2) that Saddam also harbors and pays terrorists who are
anti-U.S. So far, I've seen no conclusive proof that either (1) or (2) are the
"truth." If Bush has this kind of information, why isn't he sharing it with
the U.S. public?

Some argue he's waiting until a few months before the election to fill in all
the logical gaps in the above puzzle. Part of me hopes he does, because it
justifies all this murder and mayhem (yes, we've killed 9000 people in Iraq and
counting, and we've lost 100s of U.S. soldiers in the process), but I will be
equally pissed off if he is withholding information for political gain, and in
so doing, fans the flames of anti-American sentiment in the world.

By 2005, $300 billion dollars will be going to the interest on the Federal
debt. In other words, $300 billion is going from the taxpayers pockets to
various government programs, private interests, and foreign pockets. That
money could have stayed in the free market, where it does the most good and
isn't wasted.

In case you can't tell, I don't like big government. :)

Realistically, if either Howard or Dean are going to beat Bush, they are
probably going to have to work together in the end. I hope they don't destroy
each other in the primaries, because they are the "outsiders" compared to
Kerry, Gephardt, and the rest of the liberal gang. In my mind, Clark-Dean or
Dean-Clark sounds like a dream ticket.

I'd also be happy if Bush "saw the light," got out of Iraq, left a U.N.-led
coalition behind (or preferably an Arab-led coalition behind), and started
working on domestic defense and the mounting domestic fiscal situation.

Another friend observed, "Dean-Clark would be a great ticket. Dean needs to
start laying off of [Clark] though, with the whole "you were a Republican a
month ago...", especially now that Clark's campaign is falling apart." This
morning, I heard on the radio that everyone is tearing into Clark in the
debates. That kind of mentality might cost the Democrats the election. I
guess that takes the heat off Dean, which might be good. As much as I'd love
to see Dean-Clark, northern Democrats don't have a good track record in
presidential politics. Of course, prior to 1992, no one ever thought another
Southern Democratic Governor would gain the White House, much less two terms.

Too many Democrats run to the left during the primaries and come out looking
and acting waaaay too liberal for the mainstream voters and for moderate
Republicans. So, the moderate Republicans either (a) stay home, (b) vote GOP
as the "lesser of two evils," or (c) vote independent. Clinton recognized
this. Gore did not. Gore sounded like an old school tax and spend labor
liberal in 2000. I don't expect Clark or Dean to make the same mistake.

As I recall from my political science classes, high voter turnout tends to
favor the GOP. But, we'll see. As in most elections, it all depends on the
moderate vote.

Back to work.

Current Mood: aggravated
Tuesday, October 21st, 2003
3:29 pm
Buddhism and status update on Rob A-Z | Buddhism | Zen
OK, I haven't used this in quite some time, but my friend, Vicar, asked if anyone else was an LJ person, and it reminded me of my fledgling site.

Today's thought: I've found this book to be immensely useful:
The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom.
by Dean Sluyter, Maggy Sluyter (Illustrator)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1585420840/002-9811035-6898440?v=glance

An excerpt:

What It's All About
1. Rest in Openness
2. Act with Kindness
3. Notice the Moment
4. Recognize Teachers
5. Keep It Simple
6. Be Devoted
7. No Appointment, No Disappointment
8. Bless Everyone
9. Disconnect the Dots
10. Be a Mensch and Enjoy the Joke

Appendix: Attention! At Ease!

My A-Z stopped at "G." I'll have to fix that.
Monday, January 20th, 2003
4:33 pm
rob - Copyright to Gay
The following subjects were covered in an earlier post:
acc, alaska, architecture, arlington, art, atlantic coast conference, ayn rand, bar examination, basketball, bisexual, bisexuality, bisexuals, bowling, chaos, chaos theory, civil engineering, clemson, college baseball, college basketball, college football, construction
http://www.livejournal.com/talkread.bml?journal=rob22206&itemid=527

Copyright. An area of law under the broad umbrella of intellectual property. Currently, I'm interested in talking and learning more about the recent decision regarding the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. I'm generally interested in debating public interest versus intellectual property ownership.

District of Columbia (D.C.). (See Arlington above.) D.C. is a great town, not too big, not too small, and the seat of power for this democratic experiment we call the United States with all its accompanying pros and cons. The best things about this area: relatively mild weather, bike trails, museums, great people, professional opportunity. The worst things about this area: traffic, overpopulation, no beach, expensive housing.

Design. (See architecture and art above.) Design is broader than architecture, but narrower than art. In a colloquial and innate sense, we all know what design is. In academia, you attempt to study design, label it, categorize it, etc. I tend to prefer the functional, efficient, simple, and understated in design. I'd probably be very comfortable in Sweden.

Deutschland, East Prussia, Germany, Ostpreussen. My mother's home. East Prussia was turned over to Poland after World War II. I've never been. My mom has not returned since the war. My mother's family have lived in East Prussia at least since 1300. It is a rich history. My mother has learned a lot in her genealogical studies, and I look forward to catching up and learning more, especially recent history.

ENFP, ENFPs, (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, perceiving), Myers-Briggs. The Myers-Briggs is a personality type indicator. I haven't taken the full version of the test in a long time, so it's quite possible that I've shifted over the years. I'm in need of an update. Nonetheless, I'm probably still an ENFP or something close. Several of my friends have been ENFPs or the polar opposite, ISTJs (introverted, sensing, thinking, judging), or something close. Oddly, nearly all of my partners have been ISTJs or something close. As my friend says, the Myers-Briggs is the "thinking man's astrology." I think it's very useful, but I wouldn't base my whole life on it.

Fine art. (See art and architecture above.) My Fine Art minor was a combination of humanities, art and architectural history, design, english and speech courses. (I could have also taken music and theater, but I ran out of time.)

Gay, gays, homosexual, homosexuality, homosexuals. Where do I start? Being gay should be less of a big deal than it is. But, as we all know, modern Western religion and society set up a heterosexual norm. As a student of the law, I tend to see the issue through the eyes of the law. Since roughly the 1960s in the United States, at least, laws which discriminate against gays have been challenged. Today, about 12 states still consider "unnatural acts" to be criminal. Unfortunately, these statutes have been attached to a very old, very Biblical term, "sodomy." Some people immediately think sodomy means anal sex or sex with animals. Oddly enough, the word's meaning is much broader than that and technically includes many sexual acts enjoyed by heterosexuals. In states such as Virginia, the law is almost exclusively enforced against gays, though it could be enforced against heterosexuals. Anyway, because the word "sodomy" is often used with the laws that discriminate against gays, and because sodomy has such a negative connotation (being related in many people's minds to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gamorrah), these laws still remain. Fortunately, the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a same-sex sodomy statute in Texas this spring. Why is this so important to gays and lesbians? Because the laws are used to justify and support other discriminatory practices in employment, housing, child custody, adoption, the education of our children, etc. Once sodomy statutes fall, and I think it's a matter of time, what's next? A hate crimes bill? I am extremely torn on this issue. On the one hand, I see that the people who killed Matthew Shepard were put in jail and punished for their crimes. Should these men have been given stiffer sentences? If a hate crimes bill were in effect in Wyoming, they might have. Are their crimes any worse than any other murder? Obviously, hate crimes bills add an additional societal disincentive to hate-related crime. Yes, gays probably need this protection, but, at the same time, gays such as myself simply want the same equal protection given to everyone else. I really don't want "special rights." As with anything, there are pros and cons to a hate crimes bill. Beyond hate crimes, there are a myriad of issues, many of which I know little about, but my goal is to get to know each of them better. In addition to sodomy statutes, there are other laws which affect employment, housing, child custody, adoption, the education of our children, etc., and many of these laws are probably ripe for review by a more tolerant societal eye. And I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia, one of the more conservative states in the country. Alas, maybe the people of the Commonwealth need someone like me to help bring reform.

Remaining subjects: genealogy, george mason, germany, intellectual property, law, massachusetts, northern virginia, objectivism, objectivist, ostpreussen, patent, patent bar, patent law, patentability, patents, politics, prussia, queer, queers, relativity, running, sagittarius, science, softball, south carolina, summerville, trademark, trademarks, travel, virginia, washington

Current Mood: pleased
10:41 am
Thoughts on "About Schmidt" - absurdly profound
I saw "About Schmidt" last night with a friend from college. If possible, don't read any reviews before seeing it. I found that even Yahoo's short synopsis was a little more than I needed to know.

For what it's worth, I highly recommend this movie, but, as described in detail below, I connected to this movie in a way that some viewers might not.

If you like the writing of John Irving or "The Royal Tenenbaums," you'll probably enjoy this movie. It's a postmodern bend on a fairly classic comedy genre in the sense that it takes the life of a fairly normal guy and puts him through a series of events, some of which could be labeled failures.

IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND YOU WANT TO, you will not want to read the rest of this message.

The movie starts in Omaha, Nebraska. I lived Omaha from about age 2 to about age 5, so this movie immediately connected with me. Although disguised, I immediately recognized the Mutual of Omaha building in the opening scene. That building really does dominate the Omaha skyline.

The opening scene is poetry. You see a flat midwestern town. You notice a big building in an otherwise flat town. You see a large corporate name, "WOODMEN" emblazoned on the top of the building. Then, the camera pans around the building taking in different views, first from afar than up close. Then you're inside the building, looking at an office with a hideous blue carpet and an old desk, but the office is completely empty but for a neat stack of boxes. And Jack Nicholson (Schmidt) is there in a suit, and, yes, he's looking at the clock. Waiting for five o'clock on what appears to be the last day of his career. And yet he waits, about ten seconds, until the very last second to leave. Five o'clock comes, he sighs, gets up, surveys his office for the last time reflecting on his career, grabs his coat, pauses again, is he proud and sad?, and leaves.

In less than thirty seconds, the movie paints a fairly vivid picture of Schmidt, a man not unlike my father, who worked for 30 long years (or more), probably never called in sick unless he was really ill, was on time every day, rarely left early (unless he had comp time), and provided well for his family.

And, despite its two hour and twenty or so minute running time, the movie is largely efficient in its use of time. I certainly didn't want it to end.

I think the movie uses Nebraska to represent a sort of middle American blandness, which I'm sure annoys the hell out of Nebraskans. I'm suddenly thinking of the song "Omaha" by Counting Crows:
http://www.lyricsmania.com/c/countingcrows/002.html

And then it juxtaposes middle-class Omaha against white trash, mullet and ponytail, post-hippy Denver, Colorado.

The movie is masterful in observing the lives of various types of people and, just right below the surface, making light of various stereotypes. Schmidt is middle America and of the generation prior to the Baby Boom. His daughter is Generation X who has met and is about to marry the child of the Baby Boom. The Baby Boom is represented by Kathy Bates, an overweight, braless, at least twice married, foul-mouthed, Manhattan-sipping picture of the product of the 1960s today in Denver, Colorado. And is that Johnny Fever from WKRP in Cincinnatti? No, not all former hippies live like this character and this family, but this movie decides to pursue the stereotype. "People used to talk when I breast fed him until age 5 ..." Funny stuff.

Schmidt may be a bit bland, but he's a good man. Yeah, but a man who never really connected with anyone, until retirement, but he was just trying to provide for his family. And life is like that, people are not single-dimensional. Part of me wanted the movie to back off trying to corner characters, especially secondary characters, into a stereotype, but it does a good job of not doing this with Schmidt.

I immediately related to this movie. At first, Schmidt was my dad; Mrs. Schmidt was my mom. My mom is a glorious wonderful vibrant woman, and not nearly as boring as the portrayal in the movie of Mrs. Schmidt, but there were things in this couple that a lot of older couples seem to share in common. The vacuuming, the good sandwiches, the perfectly maintained house.

Right at the point when I was all jazzed about calling up Mom and Dad to tell them to watch the movie because I know my parents are going to laugh their asses off at the post-retirement marital situations, Mrs. Schmidt suddenly dies. And other shocking events occur. Now, I'm not so sure they'll enjoy it.

And the movie is very postmodern in a way that resembles a play I saw in college, the name and author of which I can't for the life of me remember.

The movie is also masterful in placing the viewer in a position where you know one of several things are about to happen, but you're never really sure what it might be. Just when you think you know what's going to happen, something slightly different, though not out of character, happens.

This movie is subtle, but affected me strongly. And, yes, sentimental fool that I am, I cried at several points.

And, I can see that this movie just might not connect to all viewers this way, but it did for me. Maybe, it was the Omaha connection, maybe it was the way Mrs. Schmidt puts on Oil of Olay every night before bed, but I was sucked in from the start to the end.

And, of course, it makes you think about the point of your life. What have you really done? Don't wait until your retirement day to ask yourself the question.

I think Roger Ebert is right on the mark: "Most teenagers will probably not be drawn to this movie, but they should attend."

The same goes for twenty-somethings (or this just-turned-thirty-year-old).

Current Mood: creaky knees
9:13 am
rob - Atlantic Coast Conference to Construction
Stream of consciousness can be useful. I found that the process of coming up with keywords for the "interests" section was an inadvertent exercise in stream of consciousness. Just for kicks, I thought I'd comment on each of the interests that I listed in my profile ...

First off, these got alphabetized, which adds further abstraction to this exercise. And yet, it destroyed the initial order of my thoughts.

ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference). I attended Clemson University, a member of the ACC, and I have always been a sports fan. It's not the end-all, be-all for me, but I find myself continually intrigued by the drama of a season of football, basketball or baseball. I think the member institutions of the ACC are an interesting collection of schools that have a lot to be proud of, especially when taken as a whole. This extends beyond sports. To be a Clemson fan as of late is an exercise in frustration. Recent frustrations: In 2002, a dominant run by the baseball team only to be eliminated in the College World Series by arch-rival South Carolina in the most dramatic fashion imaginable, i.e. going from 1-0 needing only one win to advance to the championship, only to be completely blown out by the Gamecocks. A football season that started with the highest of expectations and ended with utter humiliation at the hands of Texas Tech. So now, I turn to basketball for my orange-blooded fever. A sport which Clemson plays in the very large shadow of the North Carolina schools. And yet, we have our best team in years. My hope is that Clemson's basketball team can improve to greater than .500 versus ACC schools. That's all. And in so doing regain respectability in the conference. And a massive upset against Duke in Cameron would be nice.

Alaska. My Dad was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Alaska is a gorgeous state and the probable source of my pro-environmental sentiment. People who have never left the East and industrial Midwest just don't know. That I was there as a child (1st through 3rd grades) made it that much more magical. Alaska was also the beginning of a time period where teachers started singling me out for some reason, giving me opportunities to express my creativity in non-traditional ways in the form of "gifted" classes (nerd breeding ground). I think every child can benefit from that Montessori-esque experience.

Architecture. My lost passion? I attempted a double-major in civil engineering and architecture (design) at Clemson. After six years at Clemson (18 months of which was spent working), the former was complete, the latter became a minor in fine art, and I went to law school. I admire the architectural work of the professional line started by Louis Sullivan, passed to Frank Lloyd Wright and currently exercised by I.M. Pei. How many master-apprentice relationships yielded such excellence? In college, I dreamed of being Pei's apprentice and carrying that venerable flame. Now, I settle for a calendar of Wright's homes. It is, at times, a painful reminder of the road not taken.

Arlington (Virginia). My first true post-college home. My first home is a 1947 Colonial purchased with my partner of four years. Arlington is a County without a city inside. It is one of the smallest counties in the country. It is Virginia's share of the District of Columbia which it refused to relinquish. It is progressive and comparatively liberal for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I think something like 150,000 people live within its close borders. Arlington is adjacent to and/or surrounds several Federal and public properties including the Pentagon, the National Cemetery, the Iwo Jima (Marines) Memorial, etc. Enough about all that for now.

Art. My minor (see architecture above). I admire so many artists for so many reasons, though I tend to admire art that is the result of craft more than art that is the result of mere sweat of the brow. Then again, I like Warhol who often described himself as "bringing home the bacon" and who reveled in the reproduction of works and resulting imperfections in the process. Because of Warhol, I can see the beauty in imperfection. I love the new U.S. Postal Stamp in his honor. Sometimes, when you learn about the lives of the people, you come away with a new appreciation. I try to apply that principle to all people, not just artists. Learn their story, and you'll come to appreciate them more. I've studied Picasso, van Gogh, Seurat, Monet, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo and countless others. But, would I also like Pollack if I saw the movie or took the time to learn more about the man? His visual legacy is a bunch of drips. Is there craft in dripping?

Ayn Rand. Oh, don't get me started. She's not the beginning and the end of anything, but oh how her writing can affect you. In a nutshell, Rand questioned and embraced a philosophy which was, in many ways, the antithesis of Christianity. She asks the question: Why admire a man who died for imperfection (our sins)? It's controversial stuff, to say the least, but how much of that controversy is rooted in my own Christian upbringing. We are raised to value selflessness, giving, charity, worrying about others? But, what if the world were selfish and being selfish wasn't a sin? Wouldn't we get more done? Wouldn't we be happier? Wouldn't every man achieve his or her full potential? Why live in fear for a heaven that may not exist? If you buy all this, do you lack faith? Do you lack spirituality? Rand also rejected mysticism. I can and will return to this subject as it is the source of no small amount of controversy in my life.

Bar Examination. My current challenge, my current guilt. I should be studying for it instead of writing this down. The last notch in my belt before I can call myself an attorney.

Basketball. I played as a child, but did not stick with it. I still love it. Although I suck bigtime, I love to play the game. I need to find a league of crappy players who love the game. Does that exist? (See Clemson above.)

Bisexual (bisexuality). I used to self-identify as bisexual. In a Kinsey sense, I'm currently gay. In a Klein sense, I used to be heterosexual, went through a bisexual stage, am now gay, yet still occasionally have heterosexual fantasies and sometimes yearn for a child with a woman. And one of my therapists used to tell me this is unusual. This part of me wants to believe it's less unusual now than it used to be as society slowly opens itself up to different ideas and places a little less pressure on individuals to conform to the heterosexual norm.

Bowling. It's blue collar, but I enjoy it. My parents have bowled together for something close to 35 years. I started bowling in a youth league in 4th grade and bowled consistently until my senior year. I did not bowl much during college. Last year, I started substituting in a local gay and lesbian bowling league. In high school, I had an average in the high 170s. Today, bowling about once a month, I average in the low 160s. So, there's no chance I'll go pro anytime soon. It's purely for the love of knocking things down, making a loud noise, and enjoying a beer with friends.

Chaos and chaos theory. Actually, I haven't read a lot on chaos lately, but I am continuously fascinated by the principle. I like to apply and/or look for chaos in sociological ways. More to the point, I marvel at the life decisions that lead us in completely different directions. Warren Buffet says you should only make 10 financial decision in your life. But, that's financial management, a different subject. For instance, I was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but did not have the means to attend, so I attended Clemson on a full scholarship, which, in all likelihood, enabled me to approach graduate without significant debt, which, in all likelihood, enabled me to attend law school.

Civil engineering. My undergraduate major. As my ex-girlfriend called it, "dirt and rocks." Which is funny in an understated way. Civil engineering is the father of all engineering, and often not as highly respected as the other engineering disciplines which are more cutting edge. And yet, we have no civilization without infrastructure. Without clean water, sewage systems, decent roads, and buildings in which to live, work and learn, we are not civilized. Someone has to design, build and manage our infrastructure. But, that person is not me. I, like many, leave infrastructure to others. But, every day, I appreciate their responsibility. Civil engineering also represents a fortuitous compromise for me. I enjoyed architecture (see above) but was worried about long-term professional stability. Civil engineering was a blend of engineering and, I thought, art. In reality, civil engineering is practical design. Aesthetic concerns are not given much energy in the engineering curriculum. There's just too much other important stuff to cover in four years. The fortune in my compromise is that civil engineering is considered a "technical degree" in the eyes of the patent law community. Had I majored in architecture, I would not have been able to easily enter the patent law field, which is my current professional passion.

Clemson. (See ACC above.) Founded in 1889, it is a public, land grant university in upstate South Carolina. Founded by Thomas Green Clemson, a relation of John C. Calhoun, as a "higher seminary of learning," Clemson has emerged as a top national public university with an emphasis in undergraduate education and research. There is no law school and medical school at Clemson, although I think either or both would flourish there. I think a law school is more likely than a medical school, as there are two major medical schools in South Carolina, but only one law school.

College baseball, college basketball, college football. (See ACC above.)

Construction. My undergraduate area of emphasis within my Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. (See civil engineering above.)

O.K., I need a break. Plus, I just got a buzz on my cell phone that virtualexile commented on my first post, and I'm excited to see what he said.

Future subjects:

copyright, copyrights, d.c., design, deutschland, district of columbia, east prussia, enfp, enfps, extraverted, feeling, fine art, football, gay, gays, genealogy, george mason, germany, homosexual, homosexuality, homosexuals, intellectual property, intuitive, law, massachusetts, myers-briggs, northern virginia, objectivism, objectivist, ostpreussen, patent, patent bar, patent law, patentability, patents, perceiving, politics, prussia, queer, queers, relativity, running, sagittarius, science, softball, south carolina, summerville, trademark, trademarks, travel, virginia, washington

Current Mood: contemplative
8:53 am
My goals for this little experiment
Sometimes, taking the first step is the most difficult. My friend from law school, virtualexile, introduced me to LiveJournal through his website. I find the idea fascinating. He gave me a couple of suggestions including deciding what I'd like to get out of this journal, what my goals are.

I have always been a writer. To date, my personal thoughts (aside from banging around my head) tend to take the form of e-mail and phone conversations to friends, but there have been many occasions where I had something to say, but not necessarily someone to say it to. Thus, an obvious need for a journal.

I also tend to avoid writing things on paper. I mean, in this day of electronic data storage, why put pen to paper, especially if you want it to last? Oddly enough, internet-based storage media can easily be longer lasting than all but the most carefully maintained paper file.

The idea of a journal that is indexed by search engines such as Google is intriguing and scary at the same time. As virtualexile reminds me, this has its own set of pros and cons, i.e. this is not the place to vent, because it may well come back to haunt you.

So, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that a LiveJournal is a cool, useful idea. But, what's my goal? What do I want to get out of this?

1. Therapy. Writing can be a form of therapy for me, and I hope to find this process therapeutic. Sometimes, just writing things down and working them out helps me deal with events in real life (IRL).

2. Seed for a book. Maybe this can turn into a book one day. I don't know if I'd like to write an autobiography or a semi-autobiographical piece of fiction.

3. Family history. I have a desire to write down some of the stories from my family's rich history. There is a lot of oral history in my family that should be recorded. I missed a tremendous opportunity in not recording more of the conversations I had with my grandmother before she died and before she succumbed to Alzheimer's. I'd like to recover as much of that as possible, and, of course, once I get caught up, begin a more contemporaneous recordation of events. And, I will not make the same mistake with my parents, aunts and uncles.

4. Friendships. I also think that forming lasting friendships is one key to happiness in life. If this can help me form friendships, it will be a good thing. I have a feeling that the kinds of friendships that are formed through this unique medium have a different quality to them than those formed in other ways.

5. Self-exploration. I hope this journal will help me figure out things about myself that I might not have otherwise been able to realize.

6. Have fun. This has been a serious start, but I really hope this turns out to be a lot of fun. We'll see how it goes.
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