Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Ancient Greeks Aren't the Only Ones Who Are Archaic

This probably won't be well received since basically all my readers, save one, are my sorority sisters, including my mother - but...

I think Greek systems are outdated and have no place in modern college life. They are divisive, arbitrary, ridiculous, and often, down-right harmful. Maybe I didn't realize it at undergrad because things were tamer. No one transferred schools cuz they didn't get into the sorority they wanted. No one labeled us a "white sorority". Mothers didn't wait on lawns to rush to the houses when they found out where their girls went. Families didn't break apart because someone chose wrong. I live in the South now.

Original Purpose No Longer Valid

All that is sort of what brought it to my attention, or at least made me rethink the value of Greek life. Here's why I think Greek is outdated. When these sororities started, there weren't a lot of organizations or clubs at school. These groups offered both social companionship and philanthropic endeavors. There are now plenty of groups that do one or both of these without all the rivalry, secrecy and hazing. [3 things which I truly believe have no purpose in any social organization.]

Take Vandy as an example. There are over 100 organizations on campus, (excluding Greeks). Students can teach science, fight HIV, build homes, dance, learn about other cultures, etc. And the best part is, if they're interested in more than one, they can join more than one! Even as a law student, I have plenty of options, including some undergrad orgs.


Another problem I see is that being part of some the Greek organizations gives people a false sense of superiority. There is no good in this. News Flash! You are NOT better than me, or anyone else simply because you pledged ABC. I have seen grown women, 50 years old, walk up to some of my friends, "Are you a _ _ _?" "No, I'm not." And they turn around and walk away with a smug "oh."

The idea is that being part of ABC somehow means you're connected. But really, it's the girls or guys in each one that make them different than each other at each school. And the girls or guys are different in each chapter. I have met girls from other chapters of my sorority who were the rudest ---, I would never have chosen to be friends with them. The only things we have in common is that we wore the same colors for a few years. All those things about the value of sisterhood, special meanings and secret stuff is probably the same in each group.

Divide verses Diversify

Division and alienation seem so old world to me - so isolationist and pre-WWII. (and look where that got us!) Toady, we value diversity, understanding, reaching out, inclusion. To me, the Greek system just seems so completely against this. It supports separating people by looks, background, money and other superficial aspects. It reinforces exclusion, pettiness and (for lack of a better word) snobbery.

Even though I'm supposedly supposed to like old things, I think this is one old thing whose time is up. Purpose gone. No longer a good force in collegiate's lives, but a bringer of harm. Go out, get involved, be a leader, do something you care about. There are plenty of ways to do it without ostracizing others.

And Greeks out of college, stop wearing your letters every day. Grow up. You are not special.

(Original Post)



Plastic, books

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Do Those Boxes have a Purpose?

Those stupid boxes. What purpose do they serve? Diversity? So all white people are the same? That seems to be the stereo-type and it's probably the one I hate the most.

We had a program last week at school: "Shades of Black." It was incredibly interesting and informative. I don't think I have ever felt more alone in my life.

A girl was talking about how "blacks" in America are really a diverse group of cultures and how white people need to realize this, and not group everyone together just based on skin color. In saying so, she had just turned around and done the same exact thing to "whites." Nobody seemed to see; nobody said anything. How that stung!

Many people talked about different stereotypes or manners or dress or food, and the general response was, 'well that's really regional, it's not race.' Tuche. The same for each side.

(Original Post)

Ren Room


Keys and Voices

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please Check the Appropriate Box

When I was a little girl, we had to bring home various enrollment and emergency contact cards from school. My daddy would take the cards and, where the boxes for race and ethnicity were, do one of two things. He would either check "other" or cross out "white" and then write in "Central-European American".

At first, I thought he was just being technical Daddy. But he would exclaim, 'if all the other people get to be classified by their ethnicity, why don't we?!" But Daddy was on to something. "African-American", "Pacific-Islander American", "Hispanic-American", "Native American", "Asian-American" and "white", Why don't I get a hyphen, or an "American"?

As I've gotten older, I've come to agree with Daddy on this. (Not sure how often that happens.) And now I'm the one who gets to check the box. I usually select the newest addition, "Prefer not to say." (Which on on-line surveys is usually followed directly by "are you hispanic?") As long as everyone else gets to be classified by their heritage and I'm supposed to be classified by skin color (in mid-winter), I'd prefer not to answer. When there's a box to check for "German-American", or "Polish-American", then maybe I'll answer. It's not like checking "white" is going to help me anyway.

(Original Post)

Bartholmew Room


Humming of Heater

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Things that are Alive (or Ode to Daddy Bunny)

A bit of a continuation on a previous entry. Thinking about Daddy Bunny's being mad at me, and about the fantastic world of not taking yourself too seriously, I also thought about how our memories are associated with things. No, the things aren't breathing. We don't really think they move on their own, though sometimes everyone claims "I didn't touch it!" But those memories are very alive. We see them and we feel them when we look at or touch some "thing".

Daddy Bunny is 17 years of memories. A lot of very powerful memories, not all good, not all bad. So, if Daddy Bunny's mad at me, then I must be mad at me, a memory has been dis-serviced. Somehow, I am not being true to me. And it his own way, as a representative of all these powerful life experiences, Daddy Bunny tells me this.

Any one piece of scrap on his may not have been there. I know, for example, the yellow cotton that makes up most of his pants was not there 'til after Africa. But as the entity 'Daddy Bunny', he was there. And it is this entity that holds my memories and lets me connect with my past. That's why he's important. That's why he's more than stuffing and scraps. And that's why I love him; he represents my experiences. When I hug him, my life is hugging me back.

Shout out to Timmy Bear!

and Mommy, somehow this post has really made me miss Whiskey :(

(Original Post)



Typing and page turning

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Time

Yay! It's my favorite holiday again!!!!

I was going to write a bit about my experiences during this past week, and what I've learned over the years... but... it's far to personal.

So, instead -->


(Original Post)

Apparently nowhere important since someone's ashamed of me


Bone Thugs

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's NOT a Blizzard

So there's about 3 inches of snow on the ground outside. It's beautiful, heavy, packing snow, a little bit of wind and just below freezing. i.e. perfect night for walking in the snow, having a snowball fight, or skiing. However, in this instance, I suggest staying inside. Why? Because it's Nashville, and outdoors is just not safe.

I left home about a half hour ago to go pick up a friend from the airport. The whole feeling of winter felt wonderful as I scraped off my car. The fresh flakes, the smell of the air, the slight chill on my nose, the rumble of the car heating up. I was excited to be out in the snow. I pulled out of the parking lot, down my side street and out onto the main road. Within a few blocks, trouble. I got stuck behind a driver from Missouri who decided to somehow turn a 3-lane road with parked cars into a one-lane road, with a 10mph speed limit!

I got as far as the law school. That alone took 15 minutes. I can walk there in 20. I decided to go on just a little further. One driver apparently just gave up, the car was sitting in the traffic lane with its flashers on. Up ahead, I watched another car fish-tailing for half a block. Yes, cars will fish-tail in the snow, but you do it once and recover. The car should not look like it's swimming. After seeing that, and looking down the hill at the quasi-lanes of very slow moving cars, I turned around.

The back streets were so much better. I got back home in about 5 minutes. The time it should take to drive that distance. When I had to get back on the main street, I grabbed the right line, and drove. Unlike the cars in the middle/sort of right/sort of left lane that felt like reincarnating infants and crawling to their destinations.

Maybe everyone should have to go to Wisconsin, or better yet Minnesota or Fargo, for lessons before they can get a driver's license. And since it does snow here a few times a year, maybe Nashville should look into getting some plows!

And my friend, don't worry, he's fine taking a taxi.

(Original Post)

Hell, or right next door to it


Heater and fridge

Thursday, March 6, 2008

How can you have any music if you don't have your tags?

Anyone who's ever lived within a few thousand feet of me knows how important music is to me. There must be others out there like me. That being said, why can't I find one music program, that can interface with a mobile music/media device, with all the right features?

Let me explain what I need, and why I need it; this all stems from how I listen to music. (This post is rather long, but it's one of the few areas of computer related stuff that I actually know a bit about and care a lot about. I need to vent about it, and I'm also hoping maybe this will lead to suggestions from other people. I have added headings and subheadings hopefully for the ease of the reader. Skim away.)

The Importance of Music

Music is very powerful; it is raw emotion. As you may know from my last post, emotions are what drive my life and let me know I am alive. Sometimes I may want to listen to a certain song or album. In these instances, any media player or tangible music medium (cd/cassette/record) will work fine. But usually, I know how I feel, or how I want to feel, and I want to listen to music that matches that. Music is a force unto itself. If I am very upset, and can put on the perfect angry song, that force can pull that anger out, express it, release it. If it's a gorgeous day but I need to stay inside and work, and I play the right happy, uplifting songs, the whole day is bright and good, whether I'm inside or out.

Before all this digital stuff, when listening to music meant playing my cds or records, I could still choose my music by emotions. Usually when I got a new cd, I played it over and over and over until I knew nearly every single word. And as I played it, (if I wasn't driving) I looked through the booklet. That had the nice side effect of causing me to associate the mood of the music with the album art. That's why all the booklets were kept in my cd binders with the cds. I could flip through the pages, see the image that gave the right emotional response and put in the cd.

My Essential Features

I need to have album art. So often this doesn't automatically come up. I want to have an easy way to attach the proper album art, and as a last resort, be able to find it online and just copy and paste it to my files.

Mood settings. This is a rather no-brainer after the explanation above. Even better is to have two or more settings applicable to this area, such as Mood and Occasion.

Album artist different than artist. This is pretty standard now, but back when I first got my i-pod, it drove me crazy that I had to put half my stuff under Various, or mess around with the albums or artists to get things to line up right.

A decent rating system. Yes, including the option to mark something I hate. Don't give me that, if you don't like it don't have it bologna. Music is meant to be shared, someone else may want to hear that song.

Tags. Please, attach all the information I spend so much time inputting to the actual file. I hate moving files, switching players or restoring lost files and finding I've lost all that important info!

The Players I've Tried

Basic Players

Simple media players like WinAmp, Foobar and VLC, that require dragging or opening specific songs from your file structure just don't cut it. In order to effectively use one of these, you have to know exactly what song or album you want to listen to at any given time.

Foobar and VLC do have benefits that make them must haves for certain purposes, but they do not work for me as general media players. Foobar allows you to convert files from, say flac, to a good bit rate mp3. It also allows you to listen to different bit rates of the same song in order to find out where you can hear the difference, instead of relying on the so-called-experts' opinions. VLC can play video formats that no other player I have found can. Youtube videos saved via can be played back on VLC, allowing you access to them even without the Internet.

Players that Sync with Devices

Obviously, the grand-daddy of them all is i-tunes. Hate it. Apple's the devil. Maybe it's how many times I've had my i-pod repaired (gave up after it died a 4th time). Maybe it's how often I've lost all my music. But there are other issues with i-tunes as well. People tell me the newest version is better, but when I stopped using it, it did not have a lot of what I needed. It did have the album art at that time, but they don't attach to your files as part of the tags. That means, when I backup my library on my hard drive (because I will need it), that info doesn't go with the song file. I liked the smart playlists, too. However, quite often I would spend hours updating info and playlists and things, i-tunes would freeze and when I re-opened it, all my hard work was gone. It also caused my computer to crash so many times that I finally just had to delete it. The drm mp4s from the i-tunes store, also a major sucking point.

Windows Media Player is another standard. This one isn't so bad, except again it doesn't put the info into the file tags. Move it and lose it. I was kind of dumb and ripped a lot of my music using this program, with the default settings. That means I have a whole lot of .wma files. Not the best option. [Now I only use EAC for ripping. It allows me to rip into flac, which I can then change via Foobar into whatever bit rate file type I want.] The interface isn't bad most of the time, but occasionally it drives me nuts; doesn't give me enough options. With my amount of music, only having 5 stars (as in i-tunes) can feel a little stifling. Like the i-tunes stores, the stores available through Windows Media Player cater to that player's format and tend to be in wma. At least they're drm free.

I just downloaded the new Zune player yesterday. I've heard great things about the software. I am not impressed. It only has 3 ratings options. What am I supposed to do with that! I don't want 5,000 songs to come up when I select a rating that to me should mean "things I really like" or "songs I enjoy but aren't my favorites". The options for setting things in properties don't look too promising either. So far, I don't really jive with the interface, but as I said, I downloaded it yesterday. Maybe as I use it more, I will like it more. The problem is, I just got a Zune. (Carrying my laptop around as a media player was really not working so well. Often afraid that it would fly off the front seat of the car, or having to carry my backpack on a walk just to have music.)

Other Players

By far, the best software I have found is Media Monkey. It has album art, moods, occasions and spaces to add extra tags. I love that because then a song that works for more than one mood can be tagged for both! It interfaces with for updating album information, including album art. That doesn't always work right, but it is still extremely helpful. The best part is that most of the information you enter into the properties window is actually attached to the file tag. It even attaches album art! Media Monkey also plays pretty much any file type, including flac and mp4. The interface can be extremely confusing, but that just takes some getting used to. It does give a lot more options than any other interface I have used. I especially like that I can change the column headings in the track browser (those threes columns like i-tunes has on top.) Oh, and it lets me do half-stars, plus it has a little bomb to mark tracks I hate (usually skits.)

Media Monkey also has some good side purposes, much like Foobar and VLC have their own things. Media Monkey is ideal for sorting music at the file structure level, i.e. straightening your vampire out. If your file names are in good shape, you can tag all your music from there. If your tags are good, but your file names aren't, you can do the opposite. I like to fix my tags via the internet/amazon sinc and then use another feature that allows you to fix your folder structure right from within the program. That is awesome. Media Monkey can take a lot of time to scan your drives for music, even if you've only added a few new songs, but by far the worst thing about it: it doesn't interface with any devices (that I know of.)

Current Plan of Action

So now I have a big mess of music files and folders, in darn near every format from wav to wma to mp3 and mp4 to flac, scattered across 3 of my 4 drives (my computer's a dual boot with a middle drive, and I have my external.) I have started flacing all my new music via EAC. The original plan was to flac everything, put the flacs on the external and convert them to a 200-level mp3 on the computer itself. That might still be the plan. However, it can be a major pain because cds from certain periods of my life, i.e. hut in Africa or car in college, aren't in the best shape and can take over 8 hours to flac.

Flacing aside, I at least still need to get my stuff cleaned up. Seeing as how I have a Zune, I'll need to sync it to either Windows Media Player or the Zune program. Guess that will depend on how many of the player's features transfer over to the device. (5 stars or 3 hearts, etc.) But I'm going to continue using Media Monkey to organize the music and label it. At least then my changes will be on the file tags and should transfer to the other players. I may need to make separate playlists for each mood that I want, enabling me to effectively pull up songs by mood on my Zune. Luckily, Media Monkey allows me to save playlists in a .m3u format readable by the Zune player. And I'm only buying digital music from sites like, drm free baby! It seems like a cumbersome and probably problematic approach, but at this point, it seems the best I can do. What I really need is a media device that can function with a Media Monkey or a program with its features. That would be a good start. What do other music aficionados do?

(Original Post)



Traffic, ticking, breathing, peaceful morning

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

My Childhood Isn't Over...

...And It Never Will Be

I was rather worried a week or so ago because Daddy Bunny was mad at me. Not so much because he was mad at me, but concerned that he could be mad at me. He is, after all, filled with stuffing, a little less than he used to be, and at this point, composed mostly of scraps.

But someone said something to me. 'It makes perfect sense,' he says. I was telling him about my family. 'Our house, I mean Mommy and Daddy's house,' I'd said, sadly remembering I don't actually live there anymore, 'is fun.' Everyone's a big kid in some way or another. Daddy still throws temper-tantrums occasionally (though much less since he's been on that blood pressure medication) and Mommy still plays games. It's a place where you can laugh at yourself, where you can get chased and tackled for trying to save the Christmas cookies from other people's mouths, where even doing grown-up things feels like you're just playing grown-up.

Sewing with Mommy at 26 feels like sewing with Mommy at 14. Except, my seams are a little straighter and the clothes usually fit when I'm done (and I get to drink the wine, too.) Singing songs with Daddy at the breakfast table could be yesterday or 20 years ago. Probably the same songs. Our snowmen have gone from piles of roundish globs with a carrot and charcoal to full-out sculptures of Wendy. Our pianistic endeavors have moved from singing into egg-beater microphones with a keyboard demo to playing November Rain. But we're still playing; we're having fun; it's something we want to do; it's not something we have to do.

So, he says, 'it makes sense.' Children play. They play with all their energy, all their emotions. It's powerful. It's real. And, it's magical. Everything cat be alive. Adults forget how to play. They lose the magic. Things are things and people, even they are things sometimes, too.

I think about our house. I think about how we play. And I think he's right. I think about Katrina consoling Gibby after he somehow winds up in the clothes chute. About how Mommy tells Daddy he's being cruel when he snaps in half the army man he just found in his sock drawer before throwing him away. (Though her comment may be more in regards to my feelings.) About how when someone is trying to force something, I'll hear 'you're hurting it' as much as 'you're breaking it'. How old things aren't 'broken', they're 'dead'.

Children play. All their emotions put full force into everything they do. So is that our choice? Take control of emotions, hide them, push them down, become an adult, forget how to play? I want to play. I want to feel. Raw emotions are difficult; they are powerful, but that's how we know we're alive. I want to know I'm alive.

I want to feel life. I want to enjoy what I'm doing. I want to play law student when I have reading, play dress-up when I have interviews, play house-wife when I have laundry or dishes. I want to play because then it's real.

And, I think, at least some of the time, Mommy, Daddy, Wendy and Katrina are right there with me. Heck, Wendy probably the most; she's been playing paleontologist since she was about six!

This is still my childhood and it's not going anywhere.

(Original Post)

Corner Table


When You Do Do a Don't

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Left a Comment

The entry below is not mine - it's from a friend's blog. But, I actually posted a comment - something I almost never do - only to find out, he's planning to take the post down. :(
I like my response, and it's a good start to a theme I would like to explore more. So, here is his entry, and my response:

Deals on

I am amazed at how the internet has changed shopping. Deal hunting used to be a time consuming process that required reading through tons of ads. Or one might have to spend hours going from store to store. Websites now allow one to find the best deals online in minutes. My personal favorite site to find deals is I use this site for almost all of my computer related shopping. I know I have saved a lot of money since finding the site. Even aside from the excellent deals, one can save money indirectly. Over the holidays, I purchased inexpensive radar detectors that I found on for my whole family and myself. Thus, not only did I save money on the radar detector, but I’ve also saved money on speeding tickets. I highly recommend

This entry was posted on 29 February 2008 at 10:40 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
One Response to “Deals on”

1. Rail Says:
1 March 2008 at 7:38 pm

While I agree with you that websites such as can save people time and money when they know exactly what they want, I disagree that it can do so most of the time.

Before these websites, “pouring over tons of ads” generally meant looking at the weekly advertisements in the Sunday paper while relaxing with one’s family. This allowed the readers to browse over various ads for different types of whatever products they wanted. They could then figure out which stores they wanted to visit, go out, talk to a salesperson who could answer they questions not answered by the ads, sometimes try out the item and, usually, take the item home with them that day.

Internet sites, even comparative ones like do not stream-line this type of process perfectly. People who can’t find all the information they want about a product on the site have to spend time researching the product on a variety of different sites. Because the information they usually do get is from other consumers, they might not get the kinds of technical or expert information someone could get from a salesperson. Additionally, those using the sites for this type of shopping may have now spent as much time doing on-line research as they would have spent the old way. Once products are ordered, the customers have to wait days to weeks to get the items. And then, it may not be what they were looking for, but they had no way to try it out, or look at it before buying it. Returning things bought on the internet is often a big hassle, involving a lot of waiting.

You might say that the on-line research time takes the same or less time than going through the ads and talking to sales people, and that the possibility of needing to return something is worth the trade-off of the perceived benefits. This is your call to make. However, I think that there is something else important that comes into play here. Looking through newspaper ads and going to stores are things families, couples and friends can do together. It can create bonding in its own way. The internet method cuts out this communication and connecting in humanity. It is my belief that this solitary nature of the internet, and computers in general is detrimental to society. People lose the ability to connect with people beyond mere words on a page.
This may be one of those times where we just have to agree to disagree.

As far as knowing - I want exactly product x and I don’t need it for at least a week - then yes, websites like are great.

(Original Post)

The Ville



Sunday, March 2, 2008

If Your Friend Thinks Grills and Fitted Hats are Formal Wear...

...You Probably Shouldn't Take Him to the Grand Ole Opry

Seriously though, it was actually fine - except for his singing "the Opry's so gay" over the mushy-gushy lovey-dovey slow last song.
It was a genre stretch for both of us. Though I'll admit I listen to some country, I by no means can be called a country fan.

- It drives me nuts when the classic rock station seems to play more Skynyrd than anything else, and all the commercials are for nascar, trailers and rodeos. My one blue-grass album is a cover of Metallica songs, and my gospel songs are either sung by little kids or more in the way of artists like Kirk Franklin. -

We both heard some things we liked and some things for which we didn't care. I was surprised by how much I liked what I did like, and by the amount of stuff he seemed to enjoy. The Grand Ole Opry's still a radio show, still done like the old radio shows. Being an avid fan of the old Burns & Allen shows, I really enjoyed seeing a live show done. The announcers were so classic, and the commercials for the sponsors worked right into the show! - just like the old days.

By the end of the show, my friend was drawing some rather insightful comparisons between the country genres and hip-hop, including commenting on all the bling on Little Jimmy Dickens' suit. I hope he flushes those ideas out more and writes about them on his blog.

The Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman - a truly Nashville experience. And, one of the few times I've felt like 'yeah, I'm in Nashville," and wasn't pissed off about it. It was a good show.

Here's my two favorite acts from the show, ya'll check em out now, ya hear! ;)

James Otto and Terri Clark

(Original Post)



And we're back.....

According to livejournal's info page, this was last updated 89 weeks ago. I don't know about you, but by my count that's way over a year. If I were on Mars, it'd be about a year, but somehow, that's not any better.
Anyway, if there's any readers left - stay tuned. If not, hello self!

(Original Post)


The Clash