Self-Censorship

Every now and then, I find a link I want to share. And I don’t just want to share it via email to a few people who may or may not respond, but to many people in order to start a discussion. But, there’s a problem. My friends, Facebook friends to be more specific, represent a large swath of political beliefs. Social liberals, pacifists, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, and even a conspiracy theorist or two. 

The second I go to post a potentially divisive commentary, I find myself thinking of each of them. What will they think of me? Will this start a comment-war? So, I self-censor. I post nothing.

I sit back and read the comments and links my braver friends post and am jealous. They can talk about medicare, abortion, gay marriage, theology, and war but me, all I allow myself to post about only the lightest of topics: knitting, family events, the weather. No one will get angry or disown me if I talk about how I just finished making socks for a cousin’s daughters. Everyone will be forced to hate me, save the three people who actually agree with me, if I dare say what I think about a political issue. I feel I will be told that no Christian should think that or I haven’t done my research or, worse yet, not be told anything when someone reads my comment and thinks to themself, “Wow, I thought she was intelligent, but she thinks that.”

Yet, there is a reason these people are my friends in the first place. To most of them, it’s no secret what I think about political issues. Sure, I don’t pontificate or join in most debates, but I will tell people if they ask. Also, why do my politics have to matter? Two people can disagree and still get along, you just focus on the things that you have in common and, unless you’re in the mood for a debate, don’t tread nearby the topic. But, more importantly, these are people who are not going to think I’m stupid for thinking something. That may be an initial, automatic reaction but, really, my friends and family are an intelligent bunch. They may disagree, and may disagree strongly, but they realize that I’m someone who tends to think things through, to really ponder things from both sides, to consider each argument before making a decision on an issue. I don’t just accept things as true because it’s what my parents told me growing up, I’ve questioned it all for years. (I still do agree with my parents on a great many issues. I don’t mean to give the impression I’ve totally turned my back on them and their beliefs. That’s not the case, at all.)

I am a living, thinking person who has opinions about a great many things. My friend, Leah, when asked to describe me said that I’m opinionated but honest. But, if you look at my Facebook page, you’d think I didn’t have a single political belief other than “Liberal” and “afraid to write about politics.” I’m tired of holding back, of pretending as if I have no thoughts or ideas or commentary to add. Others get to have their say and, now, it’s time for me to have mine.

(This was the article that had me thinking about this in ernest this morning. I was terrified I’d be starting a far too intense discussion for a light-hearted social network. I did post it to Google+, where I somehow feel safer in starting such a discusion, and you can find that topic posted publically on my G+ stream which is here.)

Bernoulli Trials

Title doesn’t have much to do with anything except that phrase is written on a white board in an unoccupied cubicle at my work. It’s on the analysis floor so I’m assuming it has something to do with modeling and simulation but I cannot think of anything we would model that has to do with only passing or failing. Or, wait, no – I can. (Wiki link here if you’re curious what Bernoulli trials are.)

(Insert clever analogy about life is just a series of Bernoulli trials in which we try something and the result is either success or failure, though we have no way of knowing what life’s “mean” is so we should just keep “testing.”)

I should probably have thought ahead a little bit and had some photos to show you of what’s up knitting-wise but this would have required me to a) actually knit something last night or b) remembered to take a photo on the bus this morning. So, yeah, I did do a little bit of knitting on Veronica’s sock this morning but don’t have a single before or after photo to show you guys. Maybe tomorrow.

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Here, though, is a quick iPhone shot of our amazing view from the fancy corporate box at the Nationals game. I had the requisite cheap beer and half-smoke from Ben’s Chili Bowl (gotta try the “real” U Street location sometime). It was strange going to a game without Matt and with a bunch of coworkers but I really enjoyed myself. None of us are really Nationals fans so we didn’t care much that they got creamed by the Mets. I left at the top of the seventh when they were losing by seven and Chris had his hat inside out as a good luck charm. I’m really sleepy thing morning as a result though it’s Friday and everyone else is sleepy, too.

Box Seat View

This weekend I’ve really got to work on getting the basement all cleaned up. Matt’s cousin, Alison, will be living with us until she moves up to Baltimore to go to law school. It’s somewhat cleaned up but the floors could really use a good cleaning and I want to come up with a way to make the 1950’s dark wood paneling more cheery (any ideas?).

Also up this weekend is a party in Baltimore at Matt’s friend’s place (meaning I’m missing a friend’s birthday party I totally forgot about until I saw the invite early this week – eep!). That’ll be enjoyable, even if the only people I know are his friend and his friend’s wife. I think Matt’s planning to bring up some sort of strawberry dessert which means I get some strawberry dessert. Yum.

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I saw a tutorial online for joining hexes as you go (actually the same tutorial that taught me how to make hexes in the first place). Apparently you just slip stitch them together every now and then as your crochet the last round. Looks easy enough but I have a feeling I’ll default to the method Anastasia suggested in her comment on my last point. More yarn used but much less fiddly. Will try it out this evening as I sit on our patio while Matt makes us steak for dinner. (Can you tell it’s breakfast time? I keep mentioning food.)

(Insert here a rant on Facebook privacy and how 1) evil Facebook is for defaulting to “public” in their privacy settings because the “world is more open” and “privacy no longer exists” and 2) how people are stupid to think anything they post on the Internet, no matter how many privacy controls are in place, won’t be suddenly made public at the whims of a large corporation, decent hacker, or crappy code. I tried to write something intelligent but couldn’t so, yeah, I gave up.)

Linkity, Link, Link, Link

Today I feel terribly compelled to share some links with all of you. Maybe I need to get out more – or, at least, take a break from Google Reader. I swore I would never do this. Waste a blog post with a bunch of links (with few words about why I’m linking to them). But, whatever, no one heard me promise other than the voices in my head.

1. From the Washington Post – Snob Appeal: Won’t Someone Knock Heirloom Tomatoes Off Their Pedistal?

I was rather annoyed when a coworker pointed out that someone at the Post was diss’ing my beloved heirloom tomatoes. His argument is simple: just because a tomato is an heirloom, it is not automatically better. It’s all about how their grown, stored, etc. While I agree with that, I still think the best tomatoes – mostly due to my love of highly acidic tomatoes – are heirloom ones. Especially the ones we’re growing in the thin strip in our town house’s front yard we call a garden.

2. Where I Write

A neat photography exhibit that captures where some of the greatest science fiction writers, well, write. Makes me feel so much better about my messy home office!

3. From David Lebovitz – Caramelized White Chocolate ice cream

If you own an ice cream maker and have never made of his recipes, you are crazy. Go, right now! I’ve never made this recipe specifically but my husband’s – our ? – food blog has some other types we’ve made previously here, here, here, and here.

4. USB Fragrance Diffuser

In case your office has the same stale-air smell mine does.

5. How to make a scratch-off lottery ticket

The author of the tutorial is using them for a raffle with her Etsy customers, I just want to make them for the heck of it. Anyone know where to acquire sticky-back film?

6. A monkey analogy

It has to do with corporate culture. I won’t ruin the “punchline” for you. I’ll admit I had to draw a diagram to keep new and old monkeys straight.

7. 7 Ways to Declutter Your Kitchen

It’s actually 8 ways as there are two number 7’s but whatever. These are good tips if 1) you don’t have a tiny kitchen like us and 2) you don’t love toast.

8. The Omnivore’s Dilusion

Good to see someone writing on the other side of things. I’m not sure how I feel about this issue. I think I fall somewhat in between: I want my food to be grown by a local producer (say, less than four hours from my home) that grows in such a way as to reduce environmental impact. If that means short growing seasons or non-organic or whatever, that’s what I want. And I’m willing to pay for it – well, if it’s not too pricey. Where do you guys fit in the spectrum? More towards Mr. Hurst (the other of this piece) or Mr. Pollan?

9. Summer Kerchief

Imagine, actual knitting content on this here blog. Free pattern from the Purl Bee.

10. Expandable Vases

These are awesome. I’ll take ten.

11. Lemon Shakeups

Lemon-y summer drinks, my kind of thing!

12. Creating Destination

Skip all the jabber about setting up a bar scene and read about how to make your own breakfast sushi.