Friday, December 24, 2004

Christmas Eve

I'm having a fun and productive day (with caveats: see below). I saw Mark's post about going to work at FreeGeek this morning, and so rode down to join him on my bicycle (bitter cold, but plenty of traction). I wrote something about my AM sojourn at FreeGeek for the Collab list.

Just now, I went out for another Christmas present for Tara, but in backing into the parking spot, my attention was traffic-side, and I didn't see the stupid telephone poll. Bye bye passenger-side mirror. I called Dick Hannah about scheduling a build session (Free Geek terminology), but of course it's Xmas Eve (which I tend to pronounce "Christmas Eve" BTW, unlike that minister I saw on TV who didn't like pronouncing it "ExMas"), so the local car shops aren't picking up the phone much. I left a message with Mountain Tech as well (a great Subaru shop in Oregon City).

On NPR, I picked up some story about an Iraqi student in the USA, feeling like a stranger in a strange land. I hardly blame him. Feels that way to me too some days. Like, I was born here, in Chicago, and grew up in PDX when my dad was with the Planning Bureau here. But then it was other countries for the most part, until I went to Princeton in the 1970s (Class of 1980). Reacclimating to the USA was rather difficult. I wrote a lot of letters to high up officials in the Reagan years, trying to gauge the situation -- having books by Buckminster Fuller to give me clues (quite the syllabus, that -- but hardly mentioned or discussed at Princeton 1976-1980).

These days, I feel pretty well embedded, as a functional American. I used to pray, in Jersey City, that I'd become "a reliable chip on motherboard earth," i.e. my prayer was to have some integrity, as Fuller was pretty clear that integrity really mattered at this juncture, and I was scared enough by the reality of it all to really believe him, plus I longed for a better future for myself and my peers. It's been a pretty rough road in spots, that's for sure. Getting some time in Bhutan really helped -- an infusion of happiness and well-being, that's kept me going ever since. Dad was killed in a road accident in 2000 in South Africa. My wife got cancer, big time, in 2004 (her prognosis is good though).

Also today, I've been productive on the math-teach list, trying to spell out in greater detail how I envision a technology-savvy curriculum that really gets us up to speed. There's a bright future that's possible (I think Fuller was very right about that), but it requires us to use our highest faculties, and not to pretend to be dumber than we really are (we're plenty dumb, even at our smartest, is the humbling thing).

Anyway, Merry Xmas everyone. Some of the presents under the tree say Happy Solstice or Happy Hanukkah on them -- the idea being, why choose just one from among the religions when you could have so many? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

I'll let ya'll know when I get that silly passenger-side mirror fixed.