B5 Wisdom

The universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice.
The language is not Narn, or Human, or Centauri, or Gaim or Minbari
It speaks in the language of hope
It speaks in the language of trust
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice
It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us,
And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born
It is the small, still voice that says
We are one
No matter the blood
No matter the skin
No matter the world
No matter the star:
We are one
No matter the pain
No matter the darkness
No matter the loss
No matter the fear
We are one
Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize the
singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another
Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us and each voice lost
diminishes us.
We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire
that will light the way to a better future.
We are one.
We are one."

After delivering The Declaration of Principles to Sheridan G'Kar added: "Whoever speaks for the Alliance speaks for many. Consequently this contains the first page of every holy book of every race that has joined the new Alliance. Whoever speaks for the Alliance does so with the understanding that it is the inalienable right of every sentient being to live free, to address wrongs within their own society without fear of retribution. To believe as their conscience requires in matters of faith and also to respect the rights of others to believe differently or not at all. Do you. John J. Sheridan" 

     A few years earlier Sheridan delivered a prepared speech [one he gave to all his new commands] to initiate his new assignment onboard Babylon 5" It follows: 

    "It was an early earth president, Abraham Lincoln, who best described our situation. 'The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise to the occasion. We cannot escape history. We will be remembered in spite of ourselves. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor, to the last generation. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, or last best hope for Earth.'" [Episode "Points of Departure"]

All Of a Sudden I'm Thirsty

Brazilian lime cocktail

2 tsp superfine sugar
1 lime cut into small wedges
2 to 2 1/2 oz Cachaca (see below)

In a glass gently mash lime wedges. Add sugar and muddle until dissolved into lime juice. Add ice. Pour Cachaca, stir.

Submitted by Barry. Caipirinha translates to "peasant's drink." It is also referred to the cocktail that replaced the malaria shot.
Editor's note: Cachaca is a Brazilian cane sugar liquor that supposedly can be approximated by mixing equal parts silver tequila and light rum if not available.


Mojito Classic

1 1/2 oz Cuban light rum
handful fresh mint sprigs
dash gomme syrup
1/2 lime
soda water

Muddle the mint, sugar and rum together in a tall glass, squeeze the lime into the mix and drop the lime hulls into the drink. They will release their essential oils into the drink, adding to the flavor and look of this Cuban classic. Fill the glass with ice, top with soda water (not 7-up!) and stir.

Submitted by Jacob Briars, Wellington New Zealand
This is a Cuban classic which has been perfected, if not invented by the legendary bartenders of el Floridita and la Bodeguita del Medio in Havana. It seems to date from the 1930s, or thereabouts, and it is one of the most refreshing drinks in the bartenders repertoire. Do not accept a drink made with lime cordial, or a sickly sweet number. This should taste light, healthy, and the flavors of the mint, lime and rum should shine through.

Living life without regrets

Or: The Difference Between a Job And a Career

Can't turn back the years
Phill Collins (Both Sides)

Couldve given you everything that you need
But I cannot turn back the years
The perfect love was all you wanted from me
But I cannot turn back the years

So we have to be strong, and Im finding that hard
We have to move on, but no matter how hard I try
If your hearts in pieces, you look for the truth
And when I look deep down inside I know, its too bad I love you

Sometimes. hits me in the morning, hits me at night
That I cannot turn back the years

So I look out my window, turn off my light
But I cannot turn back the years
Cant make it seem easy, when you're all that I see
Cant live in a dream and I wont serenade the truth
People are hurting and they're looking to me
And I look at you there's nothing more to say, its too bad I love you
But Im never gonna give it up

All that I lived for, all that I dreamed
But I cannot turn back the years
You're the water I drink, you're the air that I breathe
But I cannot turn back the years

So we have to be strong, and Im finding that hard
We have to move on, but no matter how hard I try
If your hearts in pieces, you look for the truth
And when I look deep down inside I know, its too bad I love you

But Im never gonna give it up

How do you define regret? If I got anything else from my conversation with Tim this week is that question. When you make a decision you are committing to something, maybe better and maybe not but it's the commitment that does it for me.

These deceptively simple questions are what triggered this whole line of thought:

  • If you take a job elsewhere and look back after 10 years; what would your reaction be looking back?
  • On the other hand, if you decide to go to Grad School for your doctorate and then look back after 10 years; what would your reaction be looking back then? 

I say they're deceptively simple because they point me to what really makes these kinds of choices so hard. There is no wrong choice. Each choice leads to a different path and that, even more so than having to make a choice, is what scares the crap out of me.

I keep coming back to immediate satisfaction versus long-term stability. As my mom very wisely didn't point out I've always been the kind of person who prefers the right here, right now type of situations regardless of how much they hurt in the long run.

I have an aunt who, whenever she poured anything for you, would say "Say when." My aunt would say "Say when" and of course, we never did. We don't say when because there's something about the possibility, of more. More tequila, more love, more anything. More is better.

Grey's Anatomy

 I didn't realize this potential hurt of this attitude until I started suffering the consequences of not having money when I needed it.

My mom also pointed out something that I hadn't thought about in a while. I regretted tremendously after I found out that my position at SJSU had been fully funded 3 months after I left.

It's one of those what if situations that I really hate. I guess I just have to deal with and accept the fact that I made the best choices with the information I had available at the time. Whether I would make the same kinds of choices with the information I have now is something that I don't really want to get into.... the thing is what to do from now on without worrying about the past and what might have been 10 years ago

Damn, has it been that long?

Twenty-five years later, 'Tron' and other 'geek' classics are more compelling than ever

Image from Tron

Photo by Disney Enterprises, Inc.

~ "What's a nice program like you doing in a computer like this?": Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner in Tron ~

"Oh man, this isn't happening. It only thinks it's happening." So says computer programmer extraordinaire Kevin Flynn in Disney's 1982 film Tron, after he's zapped into the electronic world of the computer.

Though this line is never fully explained, it does provoke several metaphysical questions. Does Flynn - played with child-like enthusiasm by Jeff Bridges - think he's dreaming? Is he playing a bit role in an elaborate manipulated reality? Is his digitized incarnation any less real than his flesh-and-blood self?

Wait a nanosecond! Wasn't Tron set inside a video game? Didn't this film feature guys wearing glowing helmets and tight spandex? Throwing Frisbees at each other? Riding neon motorcycles?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. And while Tron was undoubtedly a special effects summer extravaganza, the film also had enough style and brainy notions to make it enjoyable and relevant today.

To help celebrate the silver anniversary of Tron and several other genre films released that same year, the American Cinematheque and Geek Monthly magazine are presenting 1982: Greatest Geek Movie Year Ever! at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica from June 15 through 17. In addition to Tron, the festival will present Cat People, The Thing, The Dark Crystal, Poltergeist, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Various cast and crew are scheduled to make appearances.

"The classics of 1982 were all boldly original visions," says Mark A. Altman, editorial director of Geek Monthly. "They're also some of the last great visual effects films from the pre-computer-generated imagery era. Or, in the case of Tron, a precursor to that era."

The monumental task of supervising the computer-generated imagery for Tron went to Richard Taylor, whom director Steven Lisberger had initially approached for advice on doing a two-dimensional animated film about characters made of light.

As one of the film's visual effects supervisors, Taylor worked closely on various designs with visual futurist Syd Mead (Blade Runner) and French comic book artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud (The Fifth Element) and oversaw the four different computer graphic houses that created imagery for the film. While Tron made history as the first film to make extensive use of computer graphics, many of its otherworldly effects were achieved with traditional animation techniques.

"The process to make Tron was only used to make Tron, and it will never be used again," says Taylor. This was, after all, the pre-digital era. Everything was done optically, which was highly labor-intensive.

For example, Taylor created the effects that gave the characters and objects in the electronic world their distinctive internal glow. To achieve the effect, actors were first shot against all black sets using 65mm black-and-white film. Several high-contrast negatives and prints were created from this footage, then they were back-lit, and eventually the cells were hand-painted.

The Tron glow evolved from techniques Taylor had invented earlier for advertisements and on-air graphics, but its origins date back to Rainbow Jam, his light show and graphics company, which toured for six months with the Grateful Dead. "I was a full-on hippie at one point," he laughs. "We did shows at the Fillmore, the Avalon, all those places in San Francisco. Unlike other light shows, we were really painting-by-number with light. We were using slide and motion picture projectors. It was like lithography made of light."

The film's extreme stylization - dark backgrounds, glowing neon colors, polygonal landscapes, geometric vehicles, and an absence of external lighting - was an aesthetic decision that embraced the limitations of computer-generated imagery. "The actual process of making something out of polygons, then shading it, became a design influence," explains Taylor. "Not only was the film made with computers, but it was about cyberspace."

Tron's groundbreaking visuals were not recognized by the Academy Awards that year - the visual effects Oscar went to Spielberg's E.T. the Extra Terrestrial - but the techniques Tron pioneered earned it a place in film history. The Visual Effects Society (VES) has ranked Tron number six on a list of the 50 most influential visual effects films of all time. VES member Gene Kozicki, of the L.A.-based visual effects house Rhythm & Hues, believes Tron's legacy was in moving computer-generated visuals into the realm of storytelling. "Research into this type of imagery had been going on for over 15 years, but it was more scientific in nature," Kozicki says, "Once artists began to share their ideas and treat the computer as a tool, it moved away from strict research and towards an art form."

Tron's story of humans interacting with sentient computer programs in an electronic world placed the narrative ahead of its time as well. In 1982, the term "cyberspace" had just been coined by science fiction author William Gibson. In another two years, Gibson's seminal work Neuromancer would launch the cyberpunk genre.

To help flesh out this new electronic frontier, director Lisberger drew inspiration from gladiator films (Spartacus), video games (Pong), and the writings of Carl Jung. "I was studying Jungian imagery and his notion of the higher self," says Lisberger. "Jung calls that process of trying to communicate with the higher version of one's self 'individuation.' When I saw computer programmers in the early days, trying to communicate with programs they created, it was obvious to me they were trying to reach [their] maximum potential."

Tron calls individuals in the electronic world "programs" and the programmers who created them "users." Though they can't quite comprehend their creators, "programs" nevertheless hold "users" in high esteem. So high, in fact, that their reverence takes on religious overtones. This angers the megalomaniacal Master Control Program (affectionately known as MCP) - a malicious piece of software, brilliantly conceived and animated as a gigantic spinning cylinder, and voiced with panache by David Warner - who believes it has grown smarter and more powerful than the "users" and is hell-bent on conquering both the electronic and real worlds.

Lisberger, another product of the '60s, explored alternative forms of spirituality. He offers an unconventional interpretation for the relationship between "programs" and their "users."

"When the characters in Tron are saying the 'users' are up there and they're perfect and they're going to take care of us, it's exactly like being in our world and thinking angels and God are going to take care of us," he says. "The difference is, in the world of computers there isn't one sole entity - each 'program' has a 'user.' I believe the closest we can get to spirituality is not to externalize it, but to try to find it in ourselves. There's no daddy with white hair sitting on a throne who's going to make everything right if I behave correctly."

Lisberger's enthusiasm and love for Tron is still going strong 25 years later. Unfortunately, audiences back then didn'treflect his enthusiasm, and Tron failed to meet its box office expectations. Chalk it up to poor timing or mismanaged marketing - it opened one month following E.T. - but perhaps the message of the film was a bit anachronistic.

"These are not the times for what we were talking about," Lisberger ponders. "If anything embodies the times we live in, it's Johnny Depp's character in Pirates of the Caribbean. He's ready to take every chance on any fly-by-night scheme to get rich. If the spiritual quest we're talking about hearkens back t
o the '60s, then that's where we're at right now. I'm not condemning it. It's just the backlash."

How I'm feeling today

Shape of my heart
Sting (Ten Summoner Tales)

He deals the cards as a meditation
And those he plays never suspect
He doesnt play for the money he wins
He doesnt play for the respect
He deals the cards to find the answer
The sacred geometry of chance
The hidden law of probable outcome
The numbers lead a dance

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But thats not the shape of my heart

He may play the jack of diamonds
He may lay the queen of spades
He may conceal a king in his hand
While the memory of it fades

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But thats not the shape of my heart
Thats not the shape, the shape of my heart

And if I told you that I loved you
Youd maybe think theres something wrong
Im not a man of too many faces
The mask I wear is one
Those who speak know nothing
And find out to their cost
Like those who curse their luck in too many places
And those who smile are lost

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But thats not the shape of my heart
Thats not the shape of my heart

Vienna Teng, REM, KQED, Battlestar Galactica, and Random Music

After a while I went back to listening to Vienna Teng, yet another musician recomended by Alex. It's such a soothing voice and the lyriucs have that same quality that attracted me to Neal Peart's lyrics and Rush music more than 10 years ago.... The lyrics tell a story and, in combination with the music, paint a very vivid protrait of whatever story they are telling; that and it hits just at the right moment.

Eric's Song
Vienna Teng (Warm Strangers)

strange how you know inside me
I measure the time and I stand amazed
strange how I know inside you
my hand is outstretched toward the damp of the haze

and of course I forgive
I've seen how you live
like a phoenix you rise from the ashes
you pick up the pieces
and the ghosts in the attic
they never quite leave
and of course I forgive
you've seen how I live
I've got darkness and fears to appease
my voices and analogies
ambitions like ribbons
worn bright on my sleeve

strange how we know each other

strange how I fit into you
there's a distance erased with the greatest of ease
strange how you fit into me
a gentle warmth filling the deepest of needs

and with each passing day
the stories we say
draw us tighter into our addiction
confirm our conviction
that some kind of miracle
passed on our heads
and how I am sure
like never before
of my reasons for defying reason
embracing the seasons
we dance through the colors
both followed and led

strange how we fit each other

strange how certain the journey
time unfolds the petals for our eyes to see
strange how this journey's hurting
in ways we accept as part of fate's decree

so we just hold on fast
acknowledge the past
as lessons exquisitely crafted
painstakingly drafted
to carve us as instruments
that play the music of life
for we don't realize
our faith in the prize
unless it's been somehow elusive
how swiftly we choose it
the sacred simplicity
of you at my side

The truth is that I'm scared to death as I usually am when making decisions that are important or that have far reaching consequences. I need to stop thinking worst case scenario and put things in a possitive light.

Yes, I haven't taken SAT, ACT, GRE before.... But that's why I'm taking the prep course, isn't it?

Sure, the competition is hard enough that you may not make it but then again you may and you may have to move to Georgia, right? and even if you don't you have a lot more possibilities and options than just Georgia

But on the other hand you know you're going to do your best and it's all that matters.  If you're going to do sometyhing you're going to do it 100% and no less. You screwed around in college where you just cruised and you did ok where you could have done so much better.... This is your second chance, both literally and figuratively, to do better.

Imitation of Life

Charades, pop skill
Water hyacinth, named by a poet
Imitation of life.
Like a koi in a frozen pond.
Like a goldfish in a bowl.
I don't want to hear you cry.

Thats sugarcane that tasted good.
Thats cinnamon, thats Hollywood.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you try.

You want the greatest thing
The greatest thing since bread came sliced.
You've got it all, you've got it sized.
Like a Friday fashion show teenager
Freezing in the corner
Trying to look like you don't try.

Thats sugarcane that tasted good.
Thats cinnamon, thats Hollywood.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you try.
No one can see you cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That freezing rain, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry.

This sugarcane
This lemonade
This hurricane, I'm not afraid.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see you cry.

This lightning storm
This tidal wave
This avalanche, I'm not afraid.
C'mon, c'mon no one can see me cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That's who you are, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry.

That sugar cane that tasted good.
That's who you are, that's what you could.
C'mon, c'mon on no one can see you cry.

As the day progressed I realized that part of my irritability is control and frustration.  I don't have control over what other people are doing whether it affects me or not... whether it's interviewing elsewhere, or making such a big fucking deal out of something that proved to be minor, or when people fight to defend a turf that really doesn't need to be defended.

I'm frustrated, there is no other way to explain it.  It's kinda hard to move on when you don't see a possibility to advance, either laterally into a different department or up to a more interesting position within the same organization. It's not going to happen regardless of how much I bitch about it so why stay at all. When I started there were several options to advance in my career path... over the last 2+ years all those options have slowly disapeared.  The CDES graduate program is pretty much shut own, little or no possibility of doing training because I can't spend the time learning how the training grop does things and, with boss having interviewed elsewhere, there is really no option of advancement.

MEREDITH: [narrating] "As surgeons, we live in a world of worse case scenarios. We cut ourselves off from hoping for the best because too many times the best doesn't happen. But every now and then something extraordinary occurs and suddenly best case scenarios seem possible. And every now and then something amazing happens, and against our better judgment we start to have hope."

What makes a relationship special?

I'm yours
Jason Mraz

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
and now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I'll be giving it my bestest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love
Listen to the music of the moment maybe sing with me
A lá peaceful melody
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved love loved love loved

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

I've been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
My breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and laughed
I guess what I'm saying is there ain't no better reason
To rid yourself of vanity and just go with the seasons
It's what we aim to do
Our name is our virtue

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
No need to complicate
Our time is short
It can not wait, I'm yours

Well no no, well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment come and dance with me
A lá one big family (2nd time: A lá happy family)
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved love love love

I won't hesitate no more
Oh no more no more no more
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved, I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

No I won't hesitate no more, no more
This cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, The sky is yours...

Food for thought

Found this while browsing through Central's Football Team website.

It is the things in life that aren't easy that will provide the most satisfaction when they are completed.

To always give my best in everything I do, remembering that who you are and what you represent goes with you everywhere.

"The thing I've learned over and over here at Central is that you do things the right way. You don't cut corners or try and do things the easy way. You look the obstacle dead in the eyes and handle it like a man. If you don't do it that way, you're cheating yourself, on the field and in your daily life."

The funniest thing is that I keep coming to this quote from Grey's

[the cast, narrating]
MEREDITH: "Human beings need a lot of things to feel alive."
GEORGE: "Family"
IZZIE: "Sex"
DEREK: "But we only need one thing"
RICHARD: "To actually be alive."
CRISTINA: "We need a beating heart."
ADDISON: "When our heart is threatened"
ALEX: "We respond in one of two ways."
GEORGE: "We either run or-"
IZZIE: "We attack."
RICHARD: "There's a scientific term for this."
ALEX: "Fight..."
ADDISON: "...or flight."
MIRANDA: "It's instinct."
MEREDITH: "We can't control it."
IZZIE: "Or can we?"