Out of the Forest

December 31, 2006, 11:48 pm
Filed under: beliefs

I’ve been dieting the last few weeks–just consuming fewer calories and eating more fruits and vegetables instead of crap. And you know what? My cravings are growing weaker and the urge to stuff myself is lessening. I feel more alive as a consequence, mentally and physically. I feel liberated in a way. I hope I can keep it up. One less greedy desire to rule my life…


December 31, 2006, 1:41 am
Filed under: board games

My mother surprised us all this Christmas by actually giving gifts that were cool. The best of these being the German tile-laying game Carcassonne. Now, the husband and I have been playing its successor, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers for awhile now, so I was very excited to try out the original. The differences between the two games are mostly thematic, though the rules of the original to seem to be a bit more simplistic. And that is generally a good thing, I think. The rules are simple, but the strategy remains as complex as you choose to make it, rather like life, I guess. And I find a certain beauty in that. I also think that the look of the game, once all the tiles are played and you’ve created a colorful, meandering landscape, is rather pleasant to look at.

I guess for now I prefer the Hunters and Gatherers version a little more, just because it has more of a nature theme, including forests and wild animals. But both are great, and both play well with just two players, making it perfect for quiet nights with the lover in your life.

December 29, 2006, 11:30 pm
Filed under: beliefs, nature

An editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times hints that the Bush administration may finally be forced to acknowledge the reality of global warming, thanks to the plight of polar bears:

With its proposal, announced Wednesday, to list polar bears as a threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the first time acknowledged that global warming is the driving force behind an animal’s potential extinction. If the polar bear is listed as endangered, then the U.S. government would be bound by law to protect it — and protecting it may require regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Let us hope this proves to be true, and that the slack-witted Bush administration finally sees the light.

December 29, 2006, 8:45 pm
Filed under: mystery novels

Reason number one to read mystery novels: they can offer psychological insight into the criminal mind, and the best of them can even generate compassion and empathy for the killer.  In so doing, they can challenge our more simplistic notions of right and wrong.

The book I just finished reading, A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell, is one such book. It’s not giving anything away to say that the murderer kills because she is illiterate. Heck, Rendell skews the typical mystery plot right away by telling us this with the first line of the book:

Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write“.

The book is well-known for its perceptive understanding of the killer’s psychology, and how her illiteracy leads her to kill. But to me it all still seemed rather simplistic, and I sometimes felt a disturbing lack of compassion, or neutrality, in the voice of the author. More accomplished at this, I think, is P.D. James. Just read her Innocent Blood to see what I mean.

Still, A Judgement In Stone is a suspenseful must-read for mystery fans, and all those interested in understanding how people can develop a mind to murder.

December 29, 2006, 8:30 pm
Filed under: oddities

The ancient stones attracted the usual Winter Solstice celebrants this year, though many of the poor dears showed up on the wrong day. Curse it, I’m happy for them anyway.

What is more interesting (to me at least) is that Stonehenge is one of the nominees in the campaign to select the new seven wonders of the world. The lucky seven are to be chosen by poll. You can read all about it and vote here.

Why do I feel this is just a ploy to collect personal information and sell stuff?

December 29, 2006, 8:18 pm
Filed under: beliefs

On the edge of the forest
Live joyfully,
Without desire.

— The Dhammapada