Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wanderers 2007.12.19

"Wow, we have exotic fauna today" was my remark coming in, later than usual, as Razz needed an oil change. Barbara Stross joined us, just back from two months in Panama and Cuba, along with Dick Pugh the meteor man, and Nick Consoletti. The conversation, about Vitamin C (very appropriate for the Pauling House) sounded highly informed -- mostly stuff I don't know much about.

My meditation this morning: losing one's temper, prompted in part by Katie's interviews of the presidential candidates on CBS News. Whereas they had to answer off the cuff, I've had a longer time to formulate an answer.

Ideally, I like to vent and fulminate with friends, usually by taking a strong point of view, not targeting anyone present, but putting a lot of emotion behind it. Then come sparring partners, open to heated debate. Finally, censors and handlers know to edit or block my remarks, given their vantage points in the field.

But "ideally" implies "controlled, intentional" whereas "losing one's temper" or simply "losing it" implies "out of control." What I most need to avoid is heating up among strangers, especially in mixed, multi-ethnic situations, as people will likely conclude I'm just another bossy white guy taking his privileges for granted.

I've done a lot of polemics on-line, but my mood isn't necessarily angry, when I write such stuff.

I remember going to Seoul, getting picked up at the airport by Kijoon and a friend. After awhile in the car, Kijoon's friend remarked I was very quiet, for an American. I probably get that from my dad.

I read the above aloud to the assembled Wanderers, prompting further banter and discussion, about The Quiet American, about Canadians.

Bill introduced us to Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival which looks interesting. Another Wanderer pointed me to NASA's investments in open source avionics.

Lunch with the Boltons at The Bagdad.