20 January 2009

On History and Time

(Posted here for those who haven't made the change over to my new blog yet. Get on over there!)

I've always had a special connection to Martin Luther King Day. Before you go thinking that I'm deep, it's because my birthday is January 17th and so this great civil rights leader often provides me with long weekend on my birthday. A pretty selfish way to look at this holiday.

But this MLK Day, I was really thinking about the civil rights movement--probably because of tomorrow's inauguration. As a kid, I didn't really think much about the concept of racial equality. If anything, I thought people made too big a deal over it. From my view of the world, things like racial profiling and segregation were ancient history. Each time we studied American history in school (2nd, 5th, 8th, and 10th grades), we were certain to get through the civil rights movement, even if we ran out of time for Vietnam and the Berlin Wall (when our textbooks actually covered it). I found it hard to believe that any such thing as racism could exist. I guess growing up in Utah, I didn't have many opportunities to see it in action. Once, an out-of-state girl in middle school once tried to convince me that Mormons were racist because there weren't any black people in Utah. Having studied history, I knew in my 13-year-old mind that the lack of a substantial black population in Utah was mostly due to historical factors (being settled after slavery and the Northern migration) rather than active prejudice. Nonetheless, I was sure if there were more black people in Utah, they would be treated just as I treated my Asian and Indian friends in my honors classes--that is, just like everyone else.

Racism and inequality seemed like such ancient history in my eyes, which made it hard to see the necessity of anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action programs. But I realized today that the civil rights movement was something that happened during my parent's lifetimes. Sure, they were four and five years old when Martin Luther King gave his famous speech. (Aside: We watched this for FHE tonight. If all you know is the "I Have a Dream" segment, set aside twenty minutes tomorrow and watch the whole composition.) Closer to home, my dad had just graduated high school when President Kimball announced that the priesthood would be given to men of all races. This is not ancient history; this is a real change within their lifetimes. It cannot be taken for granted because it has not been taken for granted.

History is a strange thing. When does something stop being a current event and start being history? How long does it take for something to cross from the bounds of history into the fabric of what we are as human beings? How long until the idea of accepting other people regardless of appearance becomes second-nature, an unremarkable truth? I certainly don't know, but I don't think that the association Dr. King makes between social equality and the Second Coming is a coincidence. As I said earlier, righteousness will bring these changes to pass, not legislation. But for now, I am proud to live in a country that has chosen to abide by such legislation and is moving one step closer to the time when we all will truly be judged by the content of our character. Congratulations to Barack Obama, and to all of us.

13 January 2009


Well, it's not quite done, but it's done enough. Check out the new spiffy blog over here.

06 January 2009

Ode to George

My husband and I are a perfect combination when it comes to goals. I like to plan elaborate structures that will help me get stuff done. I am in love with Excel and the spreadsheet. George, not so much. However, I have no follow-through with my goals (see two posts down on 2008 goals). I tend to plan ways in which I could do and be everything I ever wanted to, and then promptly sit down and play video games or watch reruns of What Not to Wear and Good Eats.

This is where George comes in. Although he couldn't plan his way out of a paper sack (at least by my standards), he doesn't really need to. When he wants to accomplish something, he simply does it. And it's done. I am shocked by the simpleness of this plan, but very often it has the audacity to work. I find this very attractive.

Why do I bring this up? Well, George has already started to help me out with my 2009 resolutions. You know how I mentioned that I might want to start a family blog this year? Well, on January 2nd, George spent all day researching hosting companies, picked a plan and domain name by dinner time, purchased them, and started installing blogging engines.

Accomplishing a New Year's resolution by doing it--inconceivable!

What this means is that over the next few days I'm going to be mucking around in WordPress and whatever dot net blogging engine George has decided on for the family blog. And shortly thereafter, this blog will be migrating and the new blog will be open as well. You can thank my amazing husband for this.

02 January 2009

A Clarification on the Nature of Blogging

After reading my 2009 goals, George pointed out that a blog post a day is unreasonable. I agree for a few reasons. First, how in the world could I come up with enough to write? No one likes junk blog posts, the ones that people put up just for the sake of filling a day on their blogging schedule. Once you start posting like that, people start ignoring your blog in their feed reader, no matter how interesting they think you are. I do not intent for my blog to go this way. Second, a good blog post takes longer than 15 minutes to write. Many of my favorite posts took about one and a half hours to write. Obviously I had more free time back then.

So here's a clarification: when I say 15 minutes of writing on my blog, this doesn't necessarily mean I will finish a post each day. Just because blogging can be instant publication doesn't mean it should always be. Writing something good takes time, but you don't always have all the time at once. So I'm turning my blogging back into a revision-necessary form of writing. Blogging has always been a balance between quality and quantity: if you have a life outside of the web, you have a limited amount of resources to distribute between the two. Your blog with either be infrequent but meaningful, or full of daily, maybe hourly, posts linking to videos or commenting on the weather. Since I view my blog as a place to cull material for future essays, the former is more helpful to me.

Take a look at this post: that is what 15 minutes of blogging looks like. Barely enough time for one coherent thought!

01 January 2009

Ring in the New: 2009 Goals

  1. Start a new family blog. Face it--I've certainly outgrown my domain name. Plus I would really like to get off free service and into some sort of implementation of something more customizable, like Wordpress on our own domain. I'm rather liking the title "Make Way for Geeklings" right now.
  2. Read at least 25 books. I find myself a more interesting person when I'm reading. And while Google Reader and Google News have somewhat taken the place of actual books and newspapers, I feel more responsible by seeking out in-depth information in a book. So yes, you may gather that the majority of these will be non-fiction, although I rather should start reading some creative non-fiction again so I can be more familiar with my chosen genre.
  3. Write for 15 minutes a day on my blog. Or future blogs opened. This is both for writing purposes and for keeping in touch with family upon our August move to Seattle.
  4. Complete 600 pages of journal writing. Most of my published essays came from the 200 pages of journal writing we were assigned on my study abroad. I can't expect quite as big a ratio (100 pages/month) with real life in the way, but I'm going to shoot for the moon and go for half.
  5. Complete an essay each month and submit it for publication. Three writing goals may seem rather obsessive, but it seems I have basically three levels of writing going on, so I might as well distinguish them. I like the idea of basing my publication goals on essays out rather than publications completed. There's something to be said for getting yourself out there.
  6. Run a half-marathon. At some point during my pregnancy, I was delusional enough to commit to my husband that I would do this to get back into a shape other than round. With our afore mentioned jogging-stroller-of-doom (with speakers!), the three Busbys will be running (or riding in baby G's case) in the Bear Lake Half-Marathon in June. Pray for my cardiovascular system.
  7. Take more pictures. Both George and I are slackers about recording our life, and though George doesn't care much about having tangible memories of the past, I know I'll want to have them later.
  8. Complete scrapbooks for college and marriage, or throw away the box of ticket stubs, programs, ribbons, papers, etc. Either I need to commit to doing this project or get rid of it. It's just not worth hauling to Seattle otherwise. I'm not sure which to do yet. Heh heh.
Happy 2009! In celebration, I highly recommend you read the full version of Tennyson's Ring Out, Wild Bells.