Anyone know anything about this/how credible the information is? I'm trying to download the document dump at the moment but wondered if anyone had any insight. Reserving my judgement for now.
Or, how heb0 came to write a really effin long blog entry
Okay, so my guilty conscience wont let me off with not clarifying my slightly-misleading blog entry, which isn't quite accurate because the gift wasn't *quite* a Christmas gift. However, "Best Gift For No Good Reason Which Just Happens To Be Given Two Days Before Christmas" doesn't work quite well as a title, and beyond that, I have the sneaking suspicion that it was her way of giving me a Christmas gift without actually admitting that a Christmas gift is really what it was. This wouldn't be the first time in fact. My Granma also calls me every year on my birthday--not to wish me a happy birthday, of course, but because she just happens to want to tell me that she loves me once a year on the anniversary of my birth. She also always cooks Thanksgiving dinner, and while Witnesses aren't quite so opposed to that particular holiday, when we were younger ours always included a strange twist of her buying all the kids gifts. Perhaps her sneaky way of making up for not giving us any on Christmas.
For those of you who don't know what Jehovah's Witnesses are, and haven't had the pleasure of being caught unawares by their door-to-door ministering, this is probably not making much sense so far (though, to be fair, I've never been a victim of their solicitations either; as a child, if I were home alone, I would hide behind the couch when they rang the doorbell until they gave up and left--which happened often, as I'm fairly sure those out in service had specific instructions from my Granma to stop by our house). For you who don't know about Witnesses, I recommend reading the Wikipedia article or visiting one of the various forums on the internet for disgruntled ex-members. It's an interesting and incredibly creepy sort of sect--one that reminds me of both Mormonism and Scientology.
The tl;dr version necessary for the context of this entry, though, is that Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate very few national or religious holidays. Christmas, Easter and Birthday traditions are not observed, partly because of any pagan undertones they may have and partly because of a belief that they shift the focus away from what is really important. As a child, I knew little more than to not mention Christmas or Christmas gifts around my Granma, as my mom had left the faith when she turned 18 and it was still an uncomfortable subject. There was the interesting time when my aunt (i.e. my granma's daughter) at the age of four or five walked into a friend's house at around Christmastime and immediately and in a matter-of-fact and perfectly cheerful voice blurted out "You Christmas tree is very pretty, but it pleases Satan!" before running along as if she had offered her host a compliment.
Despite the fact that she is part of a cultish, blood-transfusion refusing faith that puts a serious damper on the capitalistic frenzy of Christmastime gift-giving, I love my Granma. And despite the fact that she is slightly crazy (or perhaps in part due to it), we are quite alike, and I loved spending Thanksgiving day over at her big old house, eating tons of pumpkin pie and playing hide-and-seek in the wooded are just down the street. As a kid, I loved to read, and I would read anything I could get my hands on, even if it was an outdated issue of Consumer Reports. She had tons of pamphlets and magazines from the church at her house, and there was no one around to play with and I couldn't find anything else to read, I would often pick up one of those to look at. I usually skipped the religious articles and found something about world news, but my Granma didn't know it, and she soon decided that I obviously had "the calling" and would one day rejoin the faith that my mother and forsaken.
Me deciding that I was an atheist probably wasn't something she predicted or intended to happen along the way, though. Not that she knows, as I've never really seen any reason to tell my extended family, probably due to the fact that my immediate family is very supportive and very neutral toward religion. My sister oscillates between atheism and not wanting to talk about it, my mom is a deist who talks like an atheist (but don't they all?), and my dad doesn't seem interested in sharing with us his religious views or lack thereof. And being able to be honest to them keeps me from feeling like its worth it to cause unnecessary worry to my well-meaning but fundamentalist grandmother. Despite this, she probably suspects that I am not religious, or at least has a sneaking suspicion I might be an "evolutionist" (the reason for me guessing this will be explained shortly).
Much like me, my Granma loves to read. She not only is very well read, but she also loves collecting books and encyclopedias. I found out about a week ago that she was planning on giving me one of her sets, a 54-volume "Great Books of the Western World" collection, I was excited (which isn't an emotion I often feel when getting gifts; for some reason, guilt is usually the common reaction). I was also intrigued, though, because I found out that the set (which is organized by author) also includes Charles Darwin. Namely, Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. Yes. That Charles Darwin.
So when she showed up on December 23 (the date being purely coincidental and having nothing to do with Christmas, of course), I got to find out how well I really knew my Granma. Witnesses' stance on Evolution is that, to quote the appendix of The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (their translation of the Christian bible), "[the bible] agrees with proved science; disproves evolution" and "Science agrees with the order of creation." So her feelings toward a collection that included a work they specifically publish literature to try to debunk wouldn't be too great. However, that would be weighted against her love for reading and knowledge and an extreme aversion to breaking up an excellent set of books, thus "ruining" it. I didn't know which side would win out, but the part of me that is loyal to my Granma kept assuring the more doubtful part of my brain that she would side with reason in the end, even if only in the symbolic manner of not throwing out a book. Plus, I really wanted to read The Origin of Species.
So you'll understand that when she showed up at our house and (after a nervous glance at our Christmas tree) announced that the set was out in her car in boxes and that I could go get it, I was pretty anxious as I put on my shoes to go out to her van. I made it down the sidewalk and driveway at a brisk walk (okay--I might have ran), and opened up the side door to her van. Poking up at me, out of the nearest of two large boxes of books, was the binding of one of the volumes.
Needless to say, I was thrilled, not only because I received what was probably the best, most thoughtful gift anyone had ever given me, and not only because I wouldn't have to be spending hours searching on ebay for the 49th volume of a twenty-four-year-old 54 volume set of books, but because that side of my Granma that doesn't just fall in line with everything her religion tries to tell her to do had won out. Volume 49 was there, right there between 48 and 50, and it was on top of the stack in the box nonetheless. I can't help but wonder if she at first removed it, then later had a change of heart and returned it to the collection. I'll likely never learn what her thoughts were or why she left it in--whether it was something as dramatic as a battle between purposeful ignorance and unabashed enlightenment or as insignificant as overlooking its presence. No matter what, though, its the most meaningful gift I have ever received.
The set is excellent. And it's complete, with the exception of two volumes of Shakespeare, which were most likely borrowed by one of my aunt's at some point. I haven't decided yet whether I'll be banging down her door, demanding that they be returned. I like a good complete set too but, then again, I've never really liked Shakespeare too much.
I emptied the boxes to greedily look over my new possessions, put them in order and, eventually, take this picture. When they were all emptied out into the living room floor around me, I happened to look back into one of the empty boxes (the same one that had contained the volume of Darwin), and I had to laugh at what I saw.
So maybe she did put as much thought into the whole dilemma as I had wondered. And for the first time, I was able to look at a horrifyingly disingenuous pamphlet of pseudoscience and smile.
If you're interested, I would be happy to discuss climate change with you in this blog entry, specifically which parts you find to be flawed or lacking in evidence. If you would indeed like to, if you could post arguments that go beyond links to Jesse Ventura youtube videos I would appreciate it. Thanks, and I hope to hear from you.
wow Adam makes really thoughtful and well-reasoned posts the staff should really think about making him dm! Plus he's a pretty cool guy and no one could ever say anything like "Wow--Adam is a huge dick and shouldn't be DM (p.s. dsz sucks)"!
After recent events in which the fairness of an ongoing staff hurt/heal game was recently called into question by a independent investigation, I have taken it upon myself to start a proper hurt/heal game that doesn't involve the orchestrated execution of a well-liked staff member, who otherwise would have been the obvious victor had it not been for tampering on the part of other staff members.
Neo Avatars 5
Micael Fatia 5
Phoenix Rider 5
ExxonMobil offered me a job interview. It's next week. I'll have to remember not to bring my binder with the "I hate the tar sands" sticker on the front.
If the opportunity arises, sell my soul a get rich? y/n
So apparently, with the Temple Trekking Update, Undead Lumberjacks now drop Champion's Scrolls.
This was on the first kill of the event, the first time I've fought a zombie in probably two years, and probably only the 100th or so zombie I've killed ever.
Pretty sure I've used up every ounce of my luck from here on out. :P