Extrovert? Not so much...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I recently finished a book entitled, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can't Stop Talking, by Susan Cain. The author is a former Wall Street attorney who is an introvert herself, and wanted to learn about how our culture tends to reward extroverts and punish introverts, even though introverts have their own gifts. It's a best seller from several years ago, but my to-read pile is so enormous I'm just now getting around to it.

This book caused a great deal of self-examination for me. When I was younger, I thought I was 100% extrovert, because I had a talent for leadership and really wanted to share my ideas with others. This notion - that I was an extrovert, and that was the most desirable state to be in - was reinforced by the environments in which I lived and worked. Because let's face it - paramilitary and military environments don't really reward introverted behavior, especially when living quarters are cramped at best. 

And acting like an extrovert brought me professional success. I was promoted quickly in the Navy. I went from an entry-level technician position to a Senior Systems Engineer in six years when I began my civilian career. I worked hard, and enjoyed most aspects of my work. But I was also tired ALL THE TIME. Up until now, I'd considered the constant fatigue of those years to be a by-product of undiagnosed depression. I still think that's true, but I also think it was aggravated by my attempt to force my national tendency toward introversion into the mold of an extrovert.


My personality has many of the hallmarks of introversion:
  • Large, crowded events make my teeth hurt. Whenever I'm in a position where I have to attend a professional conference where the expectation is to be "always on" and I'm forced to be in crowded spaces, I become very uncomfortable. If it goes on long enough, I experience claustrophobia and anxiety. 
  • Being around people generally wears me out. It's not that I don't enjoy my relationships with other people, or enjoy spending time with them. I do. But when the visit is over, I'm ready to hide in my office and read, knit, or watch The West Wing on Netflix. I need quiet time to offset my social events in order to feel centered. And no good comes of my over-committing my social calendar. No good at all.
  • When it comes to learning styles, I prefer lecture or reading to more kinesthetic learning activities. Living inside my head comes naturally to me, and while I like sharing my ideas with others, my own learning is best served passively, or with a limited amount of the Socratic method. 
  • I absolutely detest working on "group projects." Ugh. For me, the perfect committee size is one, and I've always felt this way.
Of course no one is 100% introvert or 100% extrovert. Like sexuality, it's a continuum, and all of us fall somewhere in the spectrum. But reading this book has given me insight into how I can behave like an extrovert when I think it's required or expected (often, in my professional life), and yet still self-identify as an introvert the rest of the time. According to Ms. Cain, introverts are often capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything the introvert values highly. This very clearly describes my own self-evaluation of my personality and behavior. My extroverted self serves my goals and my values, but it's not at the core of who I am.

Who I am is someone who would really rather read a book than go to an event. I'm someone who treasures time spent with people I love, but not in too large a group. I'm someone who will behave in an extroverted way in service to those I love or a core value, but needs some down-time after that. I'm someone who loves living a life of the mind, and strives to keep learning. And I'm someone who is trying to see clearly the value of introversion after 50 years of cultural conditioning telling me otherwise.



Emotional Labor and Activism

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I am committed to activism. It's important to me that I be engaged in civil society, maintain a decent level of knowledge about current events, and act upon that knowledge in accordance with my values. It's important to me that I support those organizations that have personal meaning to me either through financial contributions or by donating my time to the cause.

But I'm not going to fool myself into believing that this commitment comes without a cost.

For me, that cost comes in the form of emotional labor. It takes intellectual and emotional work for me to support my values through volunteerism and activism. And sometimes the labor is light, and sometimes it's not.

And here lately, I've had other things that have been placing demands on my emotional labor. So I've been kind of lackadaisical about keeping track of the latest shenanigans coming out of White Nationalist Administration, and have not been contacting my Congressmen every day. I've been less engaged than usual with my volunteer activities. And that's okay.

We all have only so much emotional labor to go around, and needing to spend some on things other than politics and activism allows me to fulfill my obligations to those I care about, and also to myself. It just means I'll have to come back another day to fulfill my commitment to things that may be less personal to me.

So I'll probably be scarce around here in terms of Link Me Up posts and other content. I'm sure you all will find another dancing Internet monkey to entertain you in the meantime. I've always found Go Fug Yourself a source of endless entertainment if you're looking for something new.

Random Thoughts and Words to Live By, Part 22

Friday, April 14, 2017

Continually trying to make unreasonable people see reason is an exercise in futility. Sometimes it's an issue of a single (or multiple) blind spots, but sometimes the person is simply divorced from reality. Sometimes you can open the eyes of the former, but the most you can hope for in the latter case is to marginalize them to the best of your ability and hope they don't do any serious damage while you're waiting for them to go away.

Link Me Up, Scotty - Humble Pie Edition

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Infamous former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's reign of bug-fuck crazy has reached a most ignominious end as his life's work is dismantled by wiser, more compassionate public servants and he faces charges of criminal contempt. Ah, karma, though art a spiteful and timeless purveyor of schadenfreude.
________

It always astounds me when nutbags who work for other nutbags are suddenly all offended when their employers turn out to be...nutbags. The empty headed douchecanoe Tomi Lahren is suing the misogynistic never-met-a-conspiracy-he-didn't-believe douche-nozzle Glenn Beck for wrongful termination. Because apparently it never occurred to her that expressing an opinion that implied a woman might have some agency would be anathema to a the alt right. Living in a state of denial must be so comforting.
________

Funny library signs. Libraries really are a place where a large variety of people congregate. Sometimes to the librarian's chagrin.

H/T Debbie the Librarian
________

Looks like 45 and his White Nationalist Administration are feeling a little pressure as their 100 day anniversary looms, as it does not appear that this milestone will be kind to them. Reality: You can't really wish it away, no matter how much money you have. 
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An opinion piece on how far medicine has come in the treatment and care of transgender youth. Providing appropriate medical care to these youngsters can literally be a matter of life and death for them, as their historical suicide attempt rate during adolescence is almost 50%. With treatment, early indications show a marked decline in this statistic, which, in my opinion, more than justifies this standard of care world-wide.
________

From the "Restoring My Faith in Humanity" files: Repo man not only pays off an elderly couple's vehicle after being forced to repossess it, but now helps the wife, a new widow, address some tough financial times.
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Moyers & Company releases a list of top independent investigative journalism organizations. I don't agree with all these choices - Mother Jones, says the liberal, has some serious bias issues. But there's enough meat in there to justify passing it along. See especially: ProPublica.
________

John Oliver wants to buy some commercial air time on the O'Reilly Factor. Because of course he does, magnificent beast that he is.
________

The 2017 Pultizers have been announced, and I'm pleased and proud that so many of the nominees and winners have a prominent place in my "Today's sources" list on every Link Me Up entry. The truth matters, y'all.
________

It's National Library Week! Take a moment to support or celebrate your local library. Libraries have the opportunity to be a pivotal member of their communities, not only providing materials for check out, but programming, resources (such as Internet access and computers), homework help, seminars on starting your own business, meeting rooms, and more. You probably already support them with your tax dollars, but most libraries measure their success by how much they engage with their communities. So engage today and see what your library has to offer!
________

The Hubble Space Telescope now has its own website so you can check out what its looking at and why, including links to the accepted proposal.

H/T Brother Tom
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Video of my Heart: An oldy but goody, the Chattanooga Fire Department resorts to disco to liven up their PSA about CPR. I especially enjoy the disco balls hanging from the booms on the Fire Trucks.




Today's sources:
  • The Washington Post: Mainstream Media source with minimal partisan bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • CNN: Mainstream Media source with minimal partisan bias and basic reporting. 
  • Daily Mail: Right biased media source with a mixed degree of factual reporting. 
  • Politico: Left-Center bias with a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • New York Times: Mainstream media source with a minimal partisan bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • Good News Network: A clearinghouse for the gathering and dissemination of positive news stories from around the globe.
  • Moyers & Co: Left-Center bias with a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • I Love Libraries: An initiative of the American Library Association (ALA), designed to keep America informed about what’s happening in today’s libraries.
  • Space Telescope Live: A live website displaying the current view of the Hubble Space Telescope with links to the accepted proposal.  

Link Me Up, Scotty - Such a Badass Edition

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The story of Etta Shiber, an American housewife whose work in the Paris Underground during WW II saved approximately 150 soldiers who were in hiding in France after the Nazi invasion. "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
________

Winners of the Sony World Photography Contest. 
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Bill O'Reilly and 45: birds of a feather, and both awful, awful human beings. 
________

Also, Why is Trump failing? Because Americans hate his agenda, and it's also based on lies. The Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire-in-Chief is learning the hard way about the old adage about fooling all of the people, all of the time. What a shame. 
________

These high school journalists forced their principal to resign with some good old-fashioned investigative journalism. This is why I'm not interested in your crappy opinion about Millennials. In my experience, this generation is smart, focused, and intensely interested in the world around them. 
________

And speaking of high school badassery, young Ifeoma White-Thorpe has been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. Oh, and Sanford. That, too. And this kid from North Dakota is in the same boat sans Sanford. And also this kid from Oklahoma. Because those Millennials are all such slackers, don't you know.   
_________

I can't decide if this Mariachi cover of Van Halen's Hot for Teacher is horrifying or off the hook. You decide.

H/T Charles
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Video of the Day: Alonzo Lerone Reads detention slips from real students.




Today's sources:
  • Smithsonian: A source consisting of legitimate science and evidence based stories through the use of credible scientific sourcing with a very high degree of factual reporting.
  • The Atlantic: Skews left with a high degree of factual reporting and in-depth news.
  • The Washington Post: Mainstream Media source with minimal partisan bias and a high degree of factual reporting.
  • The Sacramento Bee: Mainstream media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Managing What Matters Edition

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

My favorite Christian Pastor on the marginalization of families of color compared to our obsession with 45's shitstorm of daily Tweets on the supposed State of the Union. Some things matter. Other things don't. And I would say the disappearance of young girls of color matter far more than 45's most recent temper tantrum.
________

Rescue dogs are the bomb-diggity, and we still don't know exactly how the olfactory sense works. A short synopsis about what we know so far, including an appearance by Sue, the Chicago Field Museum's T-Rex.
________

A spinach leaf is transformed into beating human heart tissue. No shit.

H/T Brother Juan
________

45's popularity is steadily dropping - it's now lower than President Obama's worst approval rating over his entire presidency. But that's not really the bad news for 45 and his White Nationalist Administration. His approval rating is dropping among his base. 
________ 

Remember those Turd-Pops who tried to discredit Planned Parenthood with their "undercover videos" that turned out to be complete B.S.? Yeah. Them. They've been charged with15 felony counts of violating the privacy of health-care providers by recording confidential information without their consent. I believe that people of good conscience can fundamentally disagree about the topic of abortion - I believe it to be a real moral dilemma, and I respect the positions of those who disagree with my own analysis. But I have to ask - if your position is so all-fired righteous, why do you need to lie and mislead in order to further your point of view? Douchebags.
________

I swear, Sean Spicer has gone completely off the rails, condescending to and insulting April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks. On television. And women - including Hillary Clinton, who is now making public forays once again - are not having it. 
________

Oh, look - Republicans in Washington, D.C. care more about corporate America's desires than they do about their constituents. Shocked. Shocked I am by this turn of events. Every day we come closer to Corporations becoming our actual government, and it makes me more than a little ill. 
________

Today's sources:
  • Things That Need to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz.
  • PBS Newshour: Skews left but still reliable source of news with highly factual reporting.
  • National Geographic: Consists of legitimate science or are evidence based through the use of credible scientific sourcing with a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The Washington Post: Mainstream media source with minimal partisan bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 

Ravenclaws, Unite!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Do you love the Harry Potter stories? Do you love to read, and want to share reading with underserved children who may not otherwise have an opportunity to develop a love of reading?

Then this fundraiser is for you!

The Harry Potter Alliance, a charitable organization dedicated to encourage Harry Potter fans to be active in advocacy, is holding their Annual "Accio Books!" fundraiser in support of the Friends of the Apparating Library initiative. The purpose of the fundraiser is to provide books to underserved youngsters:
For millions of children across the world, basic access to books and literacy programs is hardly a given. The Harry Potter Alliance is engaged in a permanent campaign to balance the scales. Our ultimate goal is to raise 1 million books for schools, community centers, and literacy programs across the world. We also endeavor to build 25 permanent libraries in places that need them. Last year, we had our most successful Accio Books yet, with over 100,000 books raised for 50 literacy programs across the world and a new library established at a new school in Masaka, Uganda!

This year, we are partnering with Words Alive, an organization that provides literacy and education services to over 5,000 children and families in Southern California. HPA chapters and members will raise thousands of books for Words Alive, allowing the organization to provide quality books to students of all ages for many years to come. Many chapters outside the western United States will choose to donate books to schools and programs in their local communities. Overall, we expect to match last year’s incredible effort, with dozens of communities across the world transformed by the generosity of our members.
As you all know, libraries are a passion of mine, and while I love to work with and donate to my local Library District, my County is hardly underserved in this regard. So it's a good thing to support communities who may not have as many resources to share in encouraging a love of reading.

Reading is fundamental, y'all, and lifelong readers reap the following rewards:
  1. Reduces stress
  2. Improves conversations
  3. It may push back the effects of Alzheimer's disease
  4. Increases imagination
  5. Sharpens senses
  6. Improves sleep quality
  7. Boosts analytical thinking
  8. Grows brain cells
  9. Improves empathy
  10. Increases success in life
But kids can't enjoy these benefits unless they have access to books and are encouraged to read. 
Are you a Ravenclaw (like me)? A Gryffindor? A Hufflepuff? A Slytherin? Support the cause by donating to your House Team, and get a chance at neat prizes!