Member Questionnaire 1 (olivetti)What is beauty? What is love?
It's subjective depending on the individual...but I can describe what they mean, to me. The definitions have changed over the years, but this is how I feel now: Love reaches beyond the five senses, but also love is not a string of chemical reactions resulting in a metabolic change - it's not as cold as that. It's not a feeling, per se, it's more than that. Love is: Two couples, one suffers from Alzheimer's - but the other stays in the relationship to take care of the one suffering, regardless. Love is seeing a crime taking place and offering aid to the victims, even if you don't know them. Love is helping someone weeks after a crisis, and checking to see if there's anything you can help them with, long after the first responders have left. It's bringing a jacket to a homeless man on the street, or food, or paying for their room for a night. It's seeing the hurting and wanting to improve their situation, rather than add to their hurts. Love is a myriad of things, a set of complicated circumstances. Maybe love is proving that the human race isn't made of a bunch of selfish, self-important folks who see themselves as more important than the person sitting beside them. What are your most important values?
Beauty...beauty can be vain. But beauty is also very subjective. I find as much beauty in seeing a Monarch butterfly on a warm day as I do going to the museum and viewing a Monet or a Picasso original. I see beauty in the abstract, mostly; sometimes in the design of a car, other times in the design of a building (I love architecture). Beauty is deconstructing language into new meaningful parts, and reconstructing it, or creating new meaning from it. It's art and writing and music and theater of the highest order. It's the human body in all of it's shapes and sizes and colors and genders. Beauty is what makes us human.
Values - again, subjective - but my personal values? In one sentence: I believe in the rights of individuals and animals to live a peaceful, unencumbered life. To break that down? I value: accountability, creativity (the arts, music, theater, writing, etc), the environment (caring for it), faith, honesty (meaning what you say and saying what you mean), being tranquil and having peace/peaceful outlook, being trustworthy, having wisdom (could be higher education or just having enough common sense to be a decent human being), and loving diversity and variety in all forms.Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
I do have strong religious beliefs, but I see myself as outside the box even in my Christianity. I hold true to Gandhi's quote: "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Progressive, left-wing Christian is probably what I'd call myself, but I have friends on all sides of the spectrum. In my opinion you can't hate people and love Christ.Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
I understand the reasons for militias and military might, and I understand the reasons why people go to war. It doesn't mean I like them. War frustrates me, especially in modern times; the reasoning seems to be a show of power and might rather than to help and protect those who can't fend for themselves. We go to war for economic reasons now, not ethical ones. And I find that distasteful.What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
My long conversations are usually centered around my values (see above), stories I've read, movies I've seen, or politics and ethical issues. Occasionally it's philosophical, and occasionally it's something work related. But talking about mundane and everyday things is boring. I'm fine listening to others talk about it, but it really doesn't interest me.Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
I used to be more focused on my health than I am now. I want to return to a healthier lifestyle, and I'll probably make it happen soon. I believe that many diseases can be healed when we choose whole, non-processed, organic foods, and when we eat a variety of foods. I also feel we need to know how our bodies function, so we can know how best to feed them (every body, IMO, is unique and requires different foods to function properly. I've done some DNA health tests, and next I'd like to meet with a nutritionist for a full health panel. I believe in alternative medicine in conjunction with a medically trained professional who also believes in alternative medicine. I hate to exercise, though. I really, really hate to. And sports. Hate sports too. But I know I have to do it - eventually. My preferred exercises include meditative or contemplative ones, like Yoga or Pilates, or ones that combine concentration and fun - like martial arts or fencing.What do you think of daily chores?
Cannot. Stand. Them. I usually hold off doing them until the very last minute, which is usually the day before someone arrives at my house.Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
My tastes run the gamut. I love science fiction and fantasy, foreign films, anime, noir classics, dramas, some comedies...about the only film or book I won't read is romance. I can't stand romance novels or films...unless, maybe, it's incorporated with Asian cinema. Yes, I can write romance novels, but those things seem so vapid and fake to me. What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
Examples of films I enjoyed: Children of Men, Matrix (first one), Memento, Blade Runner, Serenity (devastated me because of one key scene...ahem), all of the Trek movies. All. Yes, I said all. Even the bad ones. Same love for most of the Marvel superhero movies...except for Daredevil, the Fantastic Four movies, Punisher movies and the horrible Elektra movies. YUCK. Loved Iron Man through Thor 2: The Dark World, though. And all the X-Men movies (including the "reboot"). Other films: Alphaville, Grave of the Fireflies, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Paprika, Nightwatch, Daywatch, Brazil, 2001: Space Odyssey, original and new Planet of the Apes (including the sequels), lWes Anderson films, District 9...ok, that's already too much and I haven't scratched the surface. You get what I mean.
Books are more concentrated. I usually go for authors rather than genres (except for non-fiction): Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Adams, Tad Williams, Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell, Douglas Adams, Madeleine L'Engle, Anne Tyler, John Le Carre, Michael Crichton, and others. I know I've left a bunch out.
Recently? Any sad - or inspiring - story about an animal, or a child. Those get me all the time. What makes me smile? My dog, hearing good news from a friend, seeing people follow through on their dreams, and getting the opportunity to follow their dreams. Why? I don't know; it just happens.Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
When I'm writing. I don't do it as often as I'd like, but when something "clicks" and I'm in the zone, I feel "on and in." Also, when I'm in private spiritual meditations and in prayer and worship.What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
In person I'm fairly docile and I don't always say how I really feel. I don't like confrontation and I frequently ignore things I don't like being a part of. I'm lazy and a horrible procrastinator, even though I feel loads better when I'm finished with my tasks. I take shortcuts to get to the bottom line at work, even if those shortcuts aren't ones they prefer we use. I don't like being lazy and I'm less than social (when I'm done I'm done, and then I leave). I'm often queen of self-fulfilled prophecies because of my avoidance tendencies. There's more, but bah. Enough's enough.What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
I'm easy to talk to, a great listener, and a great secret-keeper. I'm also a fairly decent counselor and sometimes I can tell what a person needs before they know it themselves (emotional, spiritual, mental). I like that I am self-sufficient and that I don't need a partner, though it would be nice sometimes. I like that when I really set my mind to something, I can accomplish it (when I'm not blowing it off) - doesn't matter what it is. I like my creativity and I like when I have time to use it. I love my kind heart, even though it gets me in trouble sometimes.In what areas of your life would you like help?
I hate being scatterbrained. When too many things are happening at once I shut down and do nothing. I'd rather not do that anymore. I don't like it when I get overwhelmed.Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Yes. When I'm overwhelmed I can't deal and I find ways to avoid my problems by delving into video games or movies or books. Usually the cause of feeling in a rut wasn't something I could control, but because it feels comfortable to be in the rut (and change takes effort) I might not get out of the rut. At least I won't until I'm so sick of myself that I'll have to change, or die.What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I like kindness and wisdom, gentleness and strength. I like people who know what they're talking about and have the knowledge and education to back up their words. I love people who care about others, more than they care about being right or fulfilling some sort of doctrine. I like people who will take time out to teach others or help others who are struggling in some form or fashion - those who can teach them so that they can go forward, and subsequently teach others how to do the same.How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I dislike catty people. Gossips. Rude, overly crude, or patronizing folk. Racists or racist dogma. Anything "right makes might." I dislike folks who try to "one-up" everyone. Can't stand backstabbers or people who ridicule others' misfortunes.
This is a tougher question, and one I can't easily explain. I'm on the "gray-A" spectrum - a demisexual. I'm okay with romance, but many times it feels fake or uncomfortable. Sex is...complicated. It's not something I engage in unless I've 100% fallen for someone, and it takes a very long time for that to happen with me. To be frank, the last time I engaged in regular sexual activity, Reagan was in office. And I don't miss it, I honestly don't. I don't even understand it as a need; Maslow was off the mark for me.If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
Finding a partner is difficult, and probably will be forever difficult, based on the items above. I would be fine if I never had sexual activity with my partner, and our physical contact was relegated to hugs and kisses and simple touches.
I've thought about adoption, but I wouldn't want to adopt without a partner in my life. My main concern is helping the child grow from a functioning child to a functioning adult - that s/he knows how to play, enjoy life, think critically, and be themselves. I do believe in discipline when it's warranted, but I'm not overly keen on physical punishment. My concern would be raising a wise child in a crazy world. I'd want them to be themselves and learn who they are in the scheme of things - and to enjoy who they were created to be. But I'd also want them to be aware of the world around them, and to be cautious and consider that not everyone has their best interests (even when they say they do).A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
This happens a lot, actually. If I thought my friend was one way and suddenly they were another, I'd have to pause because they honestly shocked me. Example: I had one friend who at one time was a middle of the road liberal, but over time had done a 180 (he decided being liberal clashed with his newly-rejected sexuality). I still accepted him, but he became more and more ultraconservative. At one point we were driving in his car and he uttered a racial slur at another driver, and I was both horrified and livid. I told him off and told him how wrong he was acting, and I didn't appreciate any of his talk. He backed down after he saw how angry I was becoming, but in the end we're still friends; he knows where our line is, though, and I'm quick to point out that I find racist talk unacceptable. Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
It does depend on how strong the clash is, though. That is the ultimate example where my rage and speech are simultaneous. If the claims are less crazy and something that's not as shocking, I may be offended inside but I won't show it outside. I'll just keep questioning the person and engage in a dialogue with them until we come to an understanding. I'll ask why they feel X-way about something, and I'll try to help us come to a consensus (not necessarily an agreement) on the topic.
Biggest social problem)s): Selfishness and entitlement. People care too much about themselves and not enough about other people, or they blame others for the position they're in. Worse is the claim, "I deserve X because I'm more important than everyone else." I can't stand that mindset. Where am I in society? I think I'll step in if I see a need, whether it's on someone's blog or it's something I get in my mail. I can't give all the time, but I'll do what I can if I see it's needed. Sometimes I'll give anonymously.How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
It's easier for me to help out behind the scenes than in person.
How do you behave around strangers?
This is a tough question as well. I have different classes of friends. My best friend is someone I can share my deepest, most utmost secrets with, but I can't trust her to help me in my times of crisis. I have another friend that really, I can't hang around because she's pretty superficial and dogmatic about things I don't agree with - but if I'm in a crisis, she's on my doorstep, ready to pitch in and help. My third friend is my go-to friend when I just need to relax and put my mind aside for a while. But he's always complaining and upset about how someone wronged him in X area. I treat them all equally, but I think I know more about them than they know of me. Even my best friend, who at one time I trusted deeply, can only go so far with me now. I really won't be as honest with her as I once was, because I can no longer trust her to have my back. But yes, if she's in a crisis, I'll be on her doorstep. I just won't expect the reverse.
It may be time to get new friends, but it's such a hassle. It takes too much time and energy.
Funny enough, I can be a comedic card with strangers in a checkout line. I think it's because I know I won't see them again. If it's superficial and we won't see each other but once, I'll be a gracious host - almost like an extrovert. But if it's some encounter that will last more than five minutes (say a party, or business meeting) I'll be pretty formal and quiet - polite, certainly, and I'll engage them. But inside I'm pretty much a wreck and I'm trying to make sure I say the right things and I ask the right questions to continue the conversation. I'm always afraid I'll end the conversation too soon, or I'll create an uncomfortable lull. So I concentrate on what they're saying, and I try to make the conversation all about them.