Saturday, November 19, 2005

Latest reading material:

Animals in Translation by temple Grandin

This book is fascinating. I'm not done with it yet, but I haven't found a single paragraph yet that bored me. I recommend it to every intelligent, thinking person interested in either animals or autism. My only disappointment is that she hardly mentions goats at all, but goats are not a standard livestock that goes through feedlots and meat processing plants, so this isn't actually too surprising. I think that it may be she doesn't work very much or at all with goats, because if she had, she would likely have lots of interesting anecdotes about them! Anyway, this is a good book. I think you should read it.

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts

This book is depressing. While I don't approve of the behavior that led to the amazingly rapid spread of AIDS, I find it profoundly disturbing that our government took such an incredibly long time to come up with anything remotely resembling a legitimate concern or response to the epidemic. It is all too obvious that they didn't care....after all, AIDS was a "gay" disease. How could they be so complacent? I don't know, the whole thing seems like some sort of a holocaust to me. When people with that attitude (i.e. "let the fags die") look at a gay person, do they see soemone who is a person who happens to be attracted to the same sex, or do they see some sort of, I don't know...a monster? Do they just assume that...oh I don't know, never mind...trying to wrap my brain around the sort of mindset that flat out couldn't care less about hundreds of gay men dying is just beyond me....

----and this is all I am currently reading, because otherwise I wind up starting several books and finishing none of them. -----

Thoughts on:

Uncle Tom's Cabin

I think that this book was far more effective for its time than it would be in this day and age. It relies very heavily on a sense of moral obligation, religion, and sentiment/feeling. It was written in an age when people still felt soem sort of duty to God and to obey what the Bible said. Now, a slaveowner reading it would simply shrug it off and say, "Oh well, that's the way things are! Capitalism is the name of the game!" I did find the notes of satire scattered through out the book very refreshing. I suppose that in some ways, I am an innocent, because like And the Band Played On, I was frequently appalled and had a hard time comprehending how people could act that way and be so unthinkingly cruel. It seems surreal to me. This is odd, because I am not a sentimental or gooey-emotional person. Maybe a better way to phrase it is this: I am not emotionally "warm", and I don't think that I'm all that "good" either, but this kind of behavior is incomprehensible to me. I don't understand it.

The Wisdom of the Body

This book was interesting, yet I haven't finished it. I wonder why? I think what happened was that there was a chapter I didn't understand or couldn't picture. I suppose I should skip that section. I think I got bogged down tryign to reread paragraphs that were not computing...again and again and again...sort of like trying to learn algebra (I have been trying to learn basic algebra for ummm...17 years now).

The Natural House

I will paraphrase something from this book that vastly amused me: "If you want to build a house of cordwood, you should be aware that it is very labor intensive. Cutting, splitting, and debarking the wood is an incredible amount of work. Even a small cabin can use as much as 5 cords of wood!" (At this point, chamoisee just about falls off of her chair laughing hysterically!!!) Five cords of wood is a lot of work?! Did they expect the house to build itself? Any building method requires a lot of work! Work is good for you, people! It's a fact of life. Get over it! And no, five cords of wood doesn't seem like a whole lot of work to me at all. Now, 20-30 cords would....but 5 cords is about what anyoen livign up here would need to go through the winter. It's just a pretty standard amount of work, and it could easily be doen within a week, assuming that you did mostly firewood during the day for that week (not working a regular job besides). It isn't drudgery, and it isn't bad work, either. Poeple who are wimpy enough to whine about 5 cords of wood should wear a nice suit and work in an office and pay contractors buku bucks to build the house for them. (rolls eyes)

The Straw Bale House

Straw bales as a structural load bearing component of a house? Supporting a roof? Chamoisee is both leery and skeptical....I'm not saying that it can't be done...just that...well, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it. I would want some post and beam construction in there. Heck, I wouldn't feel that good about using alfalfa bales in that way, and they're a heck of a lot stouter than straw bales are. A stack of straw bales has a tendecy to sag and fall over and compress badly...not my idea of a secure, load bearing wall.

And in case you are wondering, I haven't had any more meltdowns at work lately. After tomorrow, I will be working just one day a week. The thoguht throws me into a mild panic...because in a way, my work = my self esteem. I sort of *need* to work to feel legitimate and worthwhile. Housework isn't the same. It doesn't make money, it isn't valued,'s not the same. Fact of the matter is, though, I went home early 2-3 times last week because I was in pain. I need to cut back and take a rest for a few weeks before the baby gets here. I guess I can obsess with makign sure that the house runs smoothly...or start 10 different new projects and finish 2 or 3 of them...something...

Hey- maybe I will have time to paint? (wistful)

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