Boredom at work strikes again!

I am as much a fan of killing time as the next person.  Heck, some days I slaughter it for hours on end.  I enjoy the occasional trashy novel, I revel in the occasional b-movie.  Heck, half my days are spent playing endless games of Scrabulous!

However, I am not what you would call a TV fan.  I do enjoy occasional shows that I make an effort to watch.  The Pretender, as some of you may know, was one of them.  Still, I don’t have ‘a show’ that I always watch every season.  If I happen to be flipping and come across something interesting, sure I’ll stick around and watch.  And I know most people find it soothing after a long day at work to relax in front of thier favorite program.  But I don’t really have long days at work, so I skip the soothing stuff.

Of course, it is occasionally difficult when I am hanging out with my peers-of-the-office and they ask the inevitable questions.  Did you see House last night?  No.  Can you believe what happened to *Barney* (Or whoever) on Lost?  I didn’t see it.  I’m so excited about the new season of Heroes!  Um, ok.  What’s you’re opinion of the writer’s strike – do you think it will ever end?  There’s a strike?  Bully for the writers!

I mean, I do get that people really like this stuff.  It’s kinda like me and most sports.  Except for football, which is the Devil.  I get why people like most sports – really I do.  And occasionally when it’s on, I get caught up in a game of something and get excited!  But I would never  hunt down a sports channel or pay for those season tickets.  It just doesn’t appeal to me enough to go out of my way for it.  I guess that’s why I’ve never understood fantasy leagues or whatever.

But, as I was browsing the MIT today, I discovered this.  What’s that, you say?  A combination of reality television and the fantasy guessing of who will be voted off next?  It’s the greatest idea since bank-by-phone!  I did check out the actual website (which I’m not posting a link to so you have to visit MIT to find it for yourself.  Ha.), and it’s pretty cool.  I was very disappointed to see there was no American Gladiators listing, however.  I intend to speak to someone about that.  Immediately.

Scrabulous Update

So, my ‘Amazing New Features’ announcement on facebook now says this:

Scrabulous Update! Hi folks 🙂

We are really grateful to the entire Scrabulous community for the exceptional support that has been provided. It is amazing to see that a small application has touched so many people across the world! There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Scrabulous and it is currently impossible for us to comment on this matter. However, like always, we shall update you as soon as we can.

In the meantime, please click here to enjoy a song created by an anonymous Scrabulous fan. 🙂

Best Regards,
Rajat & Jayant

What this means about the future of my Scrabs, I cannot say.  Still, it’s vaguely disturbing…

The Dimmest and the Brightest

Every day, I wonder a little more about the human race.  I wonder how we haven’t killed ourselves off as a species through sheer stupidity.  And I’m not talking about climate change or pollution or anything that takes time to measure.  I’m talking about sheer lemming jump-over-the-cliff stupidity.  I myself have fallen victim to the crime of not questioning my environment at times, and knowing myself and my mental faculties, it really is a wonder that we haven’t all already jumped over that cliff.

But there are solutions.  One of them, Snopes, is a website dedicated to keeping you and me from being stupid.  It’s all about urban legends, and what they aren’t.  If you’re feeling dumb about something, it’s a good place to go for a self-esteem boost.  Some people thought Mister Ed was a horse!  That’s almost as dumb as black and white TV!

And if you’re feeling like you really need to expand your horizons, you can always learn something fun.  For example, how to make an artificial limb.    This is useful in case Snu is marooned on a  desert island and her leggy is carried off by monkeys – then she can make a new one from coconuts.  Or, if you have some time to prepare (and a laboratory), you can make yourself a bulletproof vest.  I already feel smarter, and I haven’t even made anything yet!  Also I love that the site with all this stuff is  Aren’t we clever?

Continuing in the Mystery

Yesterday I had an interesting and moving faith experience at church.  That sounds a little odd almost – a faith experience at church.  Duh.

The 20s/30s group, which I moderate, was supposed to meet and eat and discuss our faith experience after church.  I was dreading the discussion, on those moments in our lives that we have been sure that God existed, or conversly that there was no God.  While this is an interesting idea at some level, there are a number of problems with it.  First, it assumes that you’ve had such an experience or such a moment.  second, it precipitates discussion of a certain type of event – probably a powerful moment in your life, some sort of irrevocable event – rather than addressing some of the more rational aspects of belief.  Third, it can lead to a discussion of ‘Jesus Saves’ moments that I occasionally find disturbing.  If you find your faith because some stranger whose identity was never discovered rescued you from your burning house, that’s great.  I wish you well with your faith.  But for me personally, it’s difficult to find comfort in a God who saves a few from misfortune and perishes the rest.

But the discussion was not that – it was much better.  I heard stories of many paths, all with a consciousness of still being on a journey, of not being settled into a routine of faith but still exploring.  I heard one woman’s experiences with a more modern church and their rock-style service, and of the power of seeing that and other’s joy and excitement for it, but still not feeling it for herself.  Wanting it, but not feeling it.  I heard a man’s experience with the churches in his area, each one telling him what he shouldn’t do and what he shouldn’t believe, rather than giving that example of what he should do.  I heard another woman speak of her experiences with her mother’s Christian Scientist faith, and her own conflicting emotions around that; and another speaking of her struggles to balance between a Christian college where she felt she did not belong, and her somewhat atheist home environment, which she returned to in a struggle to protect what she believed.

Most importantly what I  heard about was power.  not the power of manipulation, or control, or financial power, but some sort of ‘faith charisma’, some sort of spiritual or emotional draw.  There is an idea for many people, Christian or not, religious or not, of a certain attraction.  Many of the people who discussed with us yesterday told a story of returning, often in times of doubt or grief, to a church environment.  And that is one type of statement on humanity, the way we reach out for comfort from each other when troubled.  But there was a story – most people continue to go to church or to practice a faith or religion after they’ve had a traumatic experience.  Is this simple human habit?  Perhaps.  But I also think there is a draw towards spiritual and religious practice that overcomes the negative aspects of organized religion.  I think it is best described as the way one non-Christian spoke of her attendance at a church.  She had gone at first to help get through the loss of a close friend, thinking she would no longer attend after that period of grief.  But she still attends, though that period is long past, and she’s not quite sure why.  But there was something here – some indescribable thing was attracting her to come, something she was getting out of the experience that she couldn’t quite define.

I know a lot of agnostics and a lot  of atheists and a lot of people who just don’t believe or find the idea of organized religion too fraught with strife and negative history.  And there are many, many terrible things that have been done in the name of organized religion.  There is nothing necessarily wrong in decrying religions or in having a more general belief in something bigger out there.  Personally I don’t think it means you’re going to hell, though many would probably disagree with me.  But this is not what I believe, and I’ve often struggled with why I continue to be a Christian in the face of the many flaws of Christianity.

There is a religious leader, I think a rabbi, who has a famous quote about immersing yourself deeply in faith.  I am going to mangle it, and I apologize, but the idea is one I respect and helps explain a bit of my own faith.  His idea regards the importance of deeply embracing a faith, practicing it deeply, and truly exploring it.  He says it doesn’t matter what that faith is.  And this is a powerful and good idea in my mind.  But it gives another question: why?  If I have respect and understanding of multiple faiths (which I think I do) what makes it better to embrace one over others?  And how do I choose?  I love and hate these questions of faith, because they confuse and disturb me, but without them I would stagnate.
There are those who say it’s impossible to truly understand other faiths when your thoroughly engrossed in one, but I don’t agree.   I feel awe in a Buddhist temple just as I feel awe in a great cathedral.  They are both sensations that are unquantifiable, and I would probably have that same feeling of awe whether I was a Christian or not. I would have the same respect for the faith of others if I was Christian or not.  I would probably have the same moral code and act in the same way if I was Christian or not, though I would like to think I do good things now because of a sense of affection for God.  But there are things I would miss, not being a Christian.  I would never walk into a strange church on a Sunday morning and pick up my little hymn book and know that these people were my people.  I would  never speak in time with others and feel the words swelling beneath me like a wave.  I would’ve walked out of my home this morning with the sun on my face and my cheeks red with the icy wind and my breath puffing and not known who to thank.  I might even think and think and think and not quite hear anymore that voice deep inside me that says, ‘Wait.  Rest.  It’s ok to just be for a moment’.  And for better or worse, that’s too much of a loss.

Amazing New Features Coming Soon!

In my quest to love Scrabulous till the day it dies, I have been very disturbed of late when using their Facebook app. Those of you who know and love Scrabulous already may be aware of the recent controversy surrounding Hasbro’s suit against the inventors/propagators of the Scrabulous software.

Of late there has been a message on theFacebook app claiming that new features are coming.  Now, it doesn’t say what, and it doesn’t say when, but it surprises me that the two developers would be working like crazy to develop new features for a game they may be forced to shut down permanently in not too long.  I have great fear that the ‘new features’ may end up being the freezing of the site.