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Topics - Elder Iptuous

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what rights should a grandparent have in influencing their grandchildren in fundamental beliefs such as religion when they are contradictory to the parentsí own beliefs?

It was a long time coming.
I guess it wasnít really baked in the cake until my wife and I decided to actually have our first child.  From that point, there was no doubt that this conflict would come up eventually.  Iím not sure when it really sunk in that I would have to deal with this, but it has been a source of concern for years now.

I was raised in a non-denominational protestant Christian household.  Church every Sunday, but not over the top bible thumper like some of the people Iíve met in my life.  They are, however, true believers.  And I was, too.  Until I wasnít.
I donít have some watershed moment where I rejected my given faith, but it eroded somewhere around 13 to 15 years of age.  Influence of friends asking the questions in open hearted talks that donít get raised in church.  Wish I could say that I always knew that the faith was ridiculous, but I canít.  It made sense to me.  It provided assurance.  It felt right.  And so, it was a painful thing to shed.  Actually impossible to shed fully.  Iíve had to redefine things and twist concepts that are foundational in my mind to make them acceptable, or to sooth the fears and uncertainties of this life, absent the warm blanket of faith in an overseer.

I know that my rejection of my parentsí faith causes them great anguish.  Whenever that scab is picked at, it causes a good deal of heartbreak.  Guilt on my part for not accepting what they have given me, and reactive anger that I feel any guilt over it.  Guilt on their part that they somehow failed both me and their god.  Despair on their part that they feel they may lose me for eternity because of my recalcitrance.  Frustration on my part that they believe in such a god that would eternally punish them and me for my insistence on being rational about this.

And now Iím raising my own child.  Iím not passing on this belief that I know has been passed on for centuries.  Itís only natural that a parent desires for their children to believe what they believe, since it is their best estimate of the truth, as they have discovered it in the course of their life.  I certainly donít want my children to have beliefs that are comforting fictions that will have to be painfully abandoned as they were for me. (assuming that they adopt an outlook that is hopefully at least as rational as my own)
So, even knowing that it was inevitable, it was a bucket of cold water the first time my oldest boy was riding in the car with us and mentions Jesus.
So far, I had been handling it gingerly, steering the conversation with questions.  Knowing that they werenít being saturated with religion, I felt it better to simply give food for thought that might provide some prophylactic doubt for my boy (who really amazes me. If I believed in reincarnation, I would swear heís been here many more times than me..)
That seemed to working ok, but my younger son has since said things to indicate that thereís more influence than I am comfortable with.  And his acceptance is such that I need more than just offering questions to think about.  I reaaaally didnít want to confront my parents about this.
I hate confrontation with people I love.

It came to a head recently when on multiple occasions, my younger son (who is headstrong and headlong) has put himself in a dangerous situation.  The last time being running towards a stray dog in the neighborhood that looked very much like it might be rabid.  Upon telling him that he *must listen to us when we tell him to stop* because he could die, he responds that we need not worry because it doesnít matter if he dies.  Heíll live forever, and canít really die.
Goddammit.  Now Iíve got to confront them.
I explain to my boy that that isnít what Grammy meant, and even so, we donít believe what they believe.  He looks at me with a look of patronizing pity just like she would have. And says words just like she would say.  I swear to god, I heard her voice come out of him.  ďWellÖ you just donít know, Daddy.Ē
Fuck. No.

And so I steeled myself for the confrontation.  Thought about it a good deal.  And the shit part is, that I totally understand their position.  And given where they are coming from (which I am not going to be able to change one whit) they are doing absolutely everything they do from a position of love and benevolence, misguided as it may seem to me.  So asking them to not try influencing my kids to believe what they believe, is me asking them to allow their failure to perpetuate.  Itís asking them to not only say goodbye to their son for eternity (*rage/pity*), but to allow their grand kids to be lost as well.  I canít expect them to simply agree without great consternation.  Theyíre true believers.

Furthermore, I canít really hold them in too much contempt because I know I would be even more undermining than them, if put in their position!  If, despite my best efforts, one or both of my boys grew up to be bible thumpers, then when they had kids, I would be the absolute devil in trying to steer my grand kids away from that crap.  Without a lick of guilt or hesitation.  and i don't even believe in eternal consequences!  That seems very significant to me.

So, I had to confront my folks in a very personal and painful conversation, telling them that I rejected them in a sense, and that I want them to back off of the boys.  If they donít, then I wonít feel comfortable leaving them alone with them.  Which to them, of course, seems like blackmail.
It was, as expected, heart wrenching.
There were tears.  There was anger.  There were the most painful flavors of love.
It ended with the kind of hug where you arenít saying some final goodbye to each other, but goodbye to a past where this inevitable wound hadnít been cut yet. A wound that we all know wonít heal, but hopefully scar over without infecting everything.

I feel like everyone did the only thing that they could be expected to do, and nobody acted with mal intent.
The question that I am left with, is what rights should a grandparent have in influencing their grandchildren in fundamental beliefs like this when they are contradictory to the parentsí own beliefs?

Aneristic Illusions / Police cameras
« on: November 15, 2012, 04:39:22 pm »
here's an article talking about an SLC program that the chief is pushing.
He wants eye level action cams on every cop.

curious about the opinions here on the topic.
some cops are resistant the chief says, but he thinks it's the future of law enforcement.  it seems that it could provide some accountability.  if there is video evidence of all police interaction with the public, surely that would dissuade at least some egregious police abuses of power.

a cynical objection is that the police will simply not have the video recording during an event (where they are in the wrong), but if it were required, it could be seen as evidence of malpractice in court, right?  i would think that legislation would be required in addition to police department policy in order for it to avoid being one sided (i.e. guarantee of accessibility).

another objection is privacy.  some people said they simply don't want to be recorded by the cops.  i don't know how much stock i put in this one...

an interesting objection i heard is that it would then only be a matter of time before facial recognition software is incorporated into the system.  that certainly plucks an emotional cord.  hmm....

what say you guys?

Aneristic Illusions / Cain: Total War
« on: September 26, 2012, 04:27:37 am »
Where do you see total war on continental levels between 'a thing of the past' to 'a certainty in the near future'?


Title pretty much says it all....
(is there a 'cringe' emote?)

Techmology and Scientism / Chemistry question.
« on: April 15, 2012, 03:07:28 am »
ok, chem spags.
i'm trying to find what the wavelength range of UV-C light is that creates Ozone.
My weak google-fu turned up conflicting results, and none from authoritative sources.

Techmology and Scientism / Boston Dynamics' newest Robot of Doom
« on: March 08, 2012, 06:25:56 am »
OK, so you may remember Boston Dynamics from such hits as "Big Dog: Pack-mule of the Apocalypse" able to walk around carrying soldiers' tools of death, able to deftly deal with uneven terrain, external disturbances, and slick surfaces.

You may also remember "PETMan: Soon to feature Arnold's voice" which is supposedly a humanoid robot designed to act as a quality control device for hazmat suits, but is so over engineered for that purpose that it can walk, carry shit, do pushups, kneel down in that "i'm going to take a nice steady shot at you" pose, and actually looks like a goddamned terminator.

Now, they just broke the legged robot speed record with "Cheetah: you can't run fast enough".
it runs 18mph.

(it's running to the left in that image, incidentally)
Jesus that's fast.

here's video of it chasing a terrorist sympathizer down your neighborhood street.

as further robotic tools of our bostonian overlords come out, i'll stick them in this thread.

Apple Talk / In Zennance for my Actions...
« on: January 31, 2012, 06:23:14 pm »
As my Spiritual Adviser has required, i read through some Zen Koans from a specific collection, and have written up my thoughts on the matter.

2.   Finding a Diamond on a Muddy Road

Wait. This is a Koan?  Iím not confused at all!  I want my money back.
So, this fellow was a drunkard and wife beater.  Gudo says he can help the guy, and does nothing but allow his presence to shame him, and the guy decides to follow Gudo forever. (forsaking his family, presumably)  We are then told that Modern Zen is derived from this guyís work.  Well, thatís just as bad as that damned Indian prince that tried to convince everyone to commit spiritual suicide, abandoning his own family in the process!
Conclusion: crap story. Not a Koan.

3.   Is That So?

The lesson at first appears to be that by accepting the guilt of despoiling the young girl that was not his to bear, Hakuin spared her and the actual father, for the time being, from facing the mess that they had created, and he thereby acted rightly.  However, upon reflection, the  lesson would seem to be an indictment of the girlís parents for accepting her testimony without question showing that things are not always what they seem.  Of course, this is a clichťd aphorism that I first remember hearing from an episode of He-Man, so I suspect that I am missing something from this revered text.

5.   If You Love, Love Openly 

An admonition of secret love?  The abandon that Eshun required doesnít seem prudent.  Perhaps the lesson is that Love should not be prudentÖ

7.   Announcement 

I got nothing.  However, I now see that these Ďkoansí are not 13th century texts. Fraud! Deceit! Enlightenment!

23.   Eshun's Departure 

Sheís pretty cold for being on fireÖ  I mean, she spent her final breath to call one of her followers stupid?  what am i to learn of this, apart from 'keep your mouth shut when someone is immolating themselves, lest something stupid fall out'?

40.   In Dreamland

I like this one. It shows the beauty of an obvious lie that shines a spotlight on an obvious truth. A medal to the clever disciple!

19.   The First Principle

The First Principle being without cause, without context, immediate, and with no supervision or approval.  I like the way the notion of First Principle is brought into the midst of cause, context, and timeliness, indicating what is necessary for the impulse of action.

56.   The True Path
Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him. "Shall I lead you on?" Ikkyu asked.
Ninakawa replied: "I came here alone and I go alone. What help could you be to me?"
Ikkyu answered: "If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going."
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smilled and passed away.

There is iron in this one.  It brings to mind the notion that I have used to assuage the tension I felt when I abandoned my faith regarding what happens Ďafter deathí.  Upon reflecting on Ďthe comingí before we are born, and the lack of anxiety at that end of our existence, why should there be anxiety regarding Ďthe goingí?  From a detached, big picture perspective, why should temporal limitation in the weave of the cosmos be upsetting whereas spatial limitation is not?  Or, perhaps more closely related, scale of mind?
The obvious answer is that we are wired to be anxious of our life ending, so as to increase the probability of our reproduction.  Or more accurately, if we were not wired that way, we wouldnít be here.
Recognizing this fact, and accepting it, can we not detach ourselves from this anxiety on the more existential level?  Recognizing that we will die, can we not act to delay the event without consternation that we cannot ultimately avoid it?
From the largest perspective, the cosmos is not the momentary slice of time that we are experiencing right now, with the past no longer existing, and the future more (or less) important.  It is a unified whole.  The segment of our life, in this context has no going, and no coming.  Given this, there should be no reason to lament that the continuity of our experience is a segment, rather than a ray.
I donít know if this thought will comfort me in my final moment, allowing me to 'smill and pass away'.  I hope so, however.  Because itís all that Iíve been able to get behind so far, and it comforts me enough that I no longer search for further comfort with any significant urgency.

Apple Talk / saw something, say something?
« on: December 02, 2011, 09:35:09 pm »
So my wife just calls me up and says that she was with the boys at the mall and they were watching the skaters in the ice rink.  she turns around and, descending the staircase behind her, she sees a person.

the person was in a full niqab type burqa.  not unseen in our city, but not terribly common.
the person was not hunched, but walking with a long striding gait and bent a bit, as if to appear shorter.
as the person walked by she saw that the hands were those of a man.  (thick hair, and large).
he (wife couldn't kept referring to the person in masculine) had a purse, but appeared uncomfortable with it, as it was a designer type with those ring handles, and he was trying to put it over his shoulders, though it was clearly not meant to be worn like that.
due to the long gait, the burqa kicked up in back, and she noted the person was wearing combat style boots.

she said it sent off alarm bells in her, which she generally doesn't get.
she stayed in the mall for about 30 more minutes, until she realized that she was simply staying to prove to herself that she wasn't frightened, and that this was not a good enough reason, and left.

she called me up because she had to tell somebody, but clearly wanted my advice, and after agreeing that it sounded odd, i said i would probably just sit on it.  i wouldn't want to feed into rednecked stereotyping.  i'm not afraid of terrorism.  i wouldn't want to feed into a paranoid society. and if there were some nefarious goings on, why the hell would the person wear something bound to attract attention? (unless the goal was simply to attract attention)
i texted her back about ten minutes later and said that maybe she should call the mall security.  i knew that it would sit on her if she didn't, and she agreed.  she called them up, and after giving a brief description, they indicated that they knew exactly who she was talking about, thanked her, and would follow up.

what're your thoughts on this, PD?
it was probably nothing.
would you call?

RPG Ghetto / painted miniatures
« on: November 14, 2011, 02:04:20 am »
Anybody here paint minis for tabletop rpg?

I had some in the closet that were from over a decade ago when my friend and i were just screwing around with a simple game called warchest.  it was fun painting them, but i had mostly forgotten about it.

my kiddos pulled them out a couple weeks ago, and we were playing with them for fun.  i checked my paints, but they were dried shut and ancient, so i went to the comic store and got a few minis and some paints, and found that it's really relaxing to geek out on.

i was looking online to learn how to paint better, and saw some incredible work out there!

I'd love to be half this good!

High Weirdness / Janus Cat
« on: September 27, 2011, 09:46:43 pm »
So here's a cat with two faces.  a so-called 'Janus Cat'.  its name is Frank and Louie.
What's neat about this cat is that it's 12 years old!
not often that a disfigurement like this is still viable for a long life.

Video in link-o

Apple Talk / I lost a good one.
« on: August 24, 2011, 04:19:18 am »
I lost my friend yesterday.
This is Ivan

My oldest and, really, my only friend.
He was murdered in his home by some dirtbag that didn't like the fact that his ex was now seeing him.
I loved this guy like a brother. and now i am only filled with regret for time lost, and the trivialities that i was ever mad at him over.    and deep sympathy for his father and brother who survived him.
and rage.  i want the guy that did this to have evil visited upon him.

i normally wouldn't bring something like this here, but... i just had to spill it to somebody.
and like i said, Ivan was really my only friend.

Apple Talk / Well, this is going to affect my belief system...
« on: July 19, 2011, 05:54:29 pm »
In regards to metaphysical realities, i try to be agnostic and skeptical.  I've worked up some rudimentary beliefs that seem rational to me, and although lacking real concrete details, work reasonably well in filling the gap left by abandoning an inherited faith.

My wife never grew up without any particular structured faith, and developed her spirituality in ad hoc fashion from what she gleaned from the various people around her, with a draw towards supernatural/madjique (which she holds with some degree of secrecy and guilt rather than the frequently brash displays of the 'Pagan' crowd)

Well, although i sometimes mock what i see as unfounded belief in supernatural horsefeathers and use of horribly imprecise language to discuss abstract concepts, i give her great leeway and preferential respect in these matters because of the stories she has told me regarding her experiences of what would most often be described as spiritual or supernatural occurrences.  I believe that she perceived what she claims to have perceived, and i cannot explain some of it.  she has around a dozen life experiences that take a mundane world model that i would otherwise default to, and blow it out of the water.  Furthermore, i've been present with a few of them (although not the really dramatic ones).

Last night she had another experience.  This was more significant in its implications, to my mind, than those in her past.
A dead lady talked through her.

She got off work last night and went to a bar to grab a gin and tonic and a smoke before heading home.  There was this fellow that had crawled into a glass, miserable, and had apparently been there all day.  At some point they were talking and he was making vague comments that he was mad about an ex getting married that day.  She's a very empathetic person (a real fixer/healer), and i would assume was trying to encourage him when he said something that suggested the ex was the mother of his children, but not his wife.  At this point in the conversation, she said the bottom dropped out.

She described that the feeling of presence when you are near somebody that is sort of a connection, but also a separation, was no longer there.  she felt a unity with this guy, where some barrier fell away.  She further felt a presence trying to communicate.  she has said that she has felt this before, but hasn't ever pursued it because of some combination of fear or cynicism, but this time, she reached out and asked who this was.  what was wanted.  She says she very clearly heard the word 'Grandmother' in her head.
She told the guy his grandmother wanted to say something to him.

she says she saw very clearly in her minds eye some images.  she said she saw a bird.  and a cat.  they flashed back and forth.  (i asked whether she was actively looking, or passively seeing, and she said she felt that she could not have 'not seen' the images even if she tried)  She tells the guy that she sees a bird, and the guy shrugs saying he doesn't know what birds have to do with his grandmother.  She says it's a red bird.  he immediately gives a look of surprise and questioning understanding, and at this point she says she knew to say that the orange cat killed the red bird.  he's shocked at this point because the day before, there was a red bird on the balcony of his apartment and he didn't know what to make of it.  there is a neighbors cat that he is fond of and pets.  She felt that his grandmother wanted to say not to worry about it because the bird was an offering of friendship.  the guy's amazed.

now this is strange, right?  not a simple coincidence that one would expect in a cold reading.
I asked her whether the things she felt to say were strong intuitions.  she says she felt that they were not coming from within her but from the grandmother.  she said that this time (as opposed to some less dramatic occurrences in the past) she actually heard the grandmother speaking, too.  a distant murmur that she could make some words out of, along with the images presented to her.

She then tells the guy that the bird isn't what the grandmother needs to tell him, though.  She said she heard the grandmother speaking verbally inside her head that 'the number 7 isn't important', and that he needs to live.

The guy busts out crying and relates that the reason he's drowning himself in a bar is because of his Ex that is marrying some other guy.  She was apparently a gold digger, and they lived in their fancy ass house with fancy ass lifestyle and she was a trophy that became more.  they had kids and lived together for 7 years.  She left him a year or two ago, and through common law marriage stuff was able to milk him for all he was worth.  She milked him for, -get this-, seven hundred and seventy seven thousand dollars.  now he's a ruined man, living in a crappy apartment, giving up on actually living.  stuck in the suck.  So this little message was of immediate impact to him.

She tells the guy that she sees a bowl of lemons.  whole lemons in a bowl. a bunch of them.  he says he received a giant bowl of lemons as a gift from somebody and they are taking up a ton of space in his fridge and he doesn't know what to do with them.  She heard and relayed from the grandmother that he needs to make lemonade.  The grandmother said that she was given lemons and always made lemonade, and that's what he needs to do.

The guy then relates that his Grandmother was the saint of the family because it was an open secret that the grandfather was a philanderer and hurt her their whole life, but she kept it all together and gave the whole family the love that it needed despite this.

she says she saw images of some kids and that the grandmother was telling him that they were what was important now, and that he needs to begin living for their sake.  this also seemed to hit him like a ton of bricks.

She says that the grandmother told him that lust was standing in the way of love, and he needs to stop what he's doing.  The guy then confesses, crying, to my wife that he has been seeing a prostitute to get the affection that he needs, but it's eating him up.  well, grandma says to stop it, she says.

she says that she could SEE the grandmother in her mind's eye with decent detail.  she had short white hair with tight curls,  very vividly blue eyes, was short, wore brightly colored clothes (that were vague in detail, more swaths of light), and gaudy necklaces.  was accompanied by the smell of cooking, and a sense of structure and order.
he confirmed that these details didn't falsify anything.

she says the images she sees are set in a background of light or mist.  like clouds composed of the spectrum of light.  she called it the medium that she sees the images in, and that it is dynamic and that the images form on this backdrop as isolated stills.  like the bird was just a bird, no surface that it was on, no movement.  (incidentally she said that the detail was vivid enough that she could draw it.  it had one wing down, one lifted up, and it's tail was cocked to the side.  it seemed a strange pose initially, but became perfectly clear to her after she realized it was dead)  She said the images seemed to 'come out at her'.  like, particularly when she saw the grandmother the eyes seemed to zoom at her and fill with more detail.

She says the connection she felt was 'L-shaped'  coming from him through her, and then up through her head, and out.  she also said that it felt directional in that way.

she says he started asking for more information, but as his mind filled with questions she could feel his concentration waning and frustration growing.  she said there was a simultaneous sense of frustration and waning concentration on the part of the grandmother, and it faded away.

the ordeal lasted about an hour.

she was very freaked out.  She wanted to know my opinion on whether what she experienced seemed genuine or whether she was just filling her head with bullshit.  i indicated that it seemed to me that a mundane explanation would feel pretty hollow given the story at hand.

I could feel a peace in her that has not been there since losing several loved ones over the past year, and i'm grateful for that.

we stayed up late discussing the implications.

I'm still chewing on it and wondering what the longer term impact this experience will have on her and her beliefs, and also mine.

TL;DR - My Wife talked to a dead lady last night.  What do i do now?

RPG Ghetto / RPGs for kiddos...
« on: July 13, 2011, 05:14:51 pm »
Does anybody have experience with any RPGs for little kids?
a quick google search turns up results, but i was wondering if anyone here has personal recommendations...

Apple Talk / Keeping a kid's gender secret...
« on: May 24, 2011, 02:09:48 pm »
Oh, what the fuck.....

that is -bad parenting-
IMO, these people got an outlandish idea in their heads and decided to roll with it, despite the onslaught of valid and important arguments against it, and at the cost of their child's well being.

Techmology and Scientism / Hey Charley....
« on: May 09, 2011, 04:11:10 pm »
You had that thread about crazy impractical vehicular awesomeness that MUST HAVE!

I can't find it...  (i can't get search on PD to bend to my will evar...)

but i saw this and i wanted to add it to the thread:
Be the King of the Lake!

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