Sunday, January 22, 2012

GAWAS, calibrated

--- In, "Tate" wrote:
> Gawas scale 9 = Vatanya 1
--- someone else, who's not been paying attention, wrote:
> what the heck is GAWAS?

Get Ashish Warudkar Apoplectic Scale (evidence based calibration):
-2: Tate's erotica posts
-1: Agru's library
0: Words of wisdom from Balasaheb during his "Hitler of India" phase
1: Balasaheb when he refused to belif in Gott in Himmel when his wife failed to be resurrected from the dead. I hadn't realised until then that a Hindu woman could be the Christian Messiah, but you know, I'm just an ignorant atheist.
2: Personal revelations by Baccia.
3: References to Bong's astoutness, even in IIT.
4: Any insinuation that IITians are anything less than minor gods, or acknowledgment that some recently self-proclaimed paragon of moral virtues may have faked his resume, and his orgasms.
5: Damle's "coming out" -- of the atheist closet.
6: Political posts by anybody but Tate, or AW himself (whose posts are variations on: "Ayn, you make me Randy, oooh yer so hott, and those stories of your menage a trois, ay haiy AR, mera dil churalia!". Did I mention the woman in the Vegas bar who showed me, very demonstratively, how she masturbated to Ayn Rand? While youse guys were watching Cirque? No? It was so emotionally moving, I didn't wash my left forearm for a whole week after that, had to leave the hair plastered stickily to the skin! Sorry, Honorable Moderator, Group Owner and Watchdog of People's Secrets has forbidden me from revealing anything personal from Vegas. And the right arm? Different woman, same bar, different story.)
6.5: This calibration of the GAWAS
7: Responses to AW by anybody but Tate
8: Political posts by Tate
9: Political posts by Tate with inappropriate language
9.5: Political posts by Tate with video of dancing wimmin, NOT nekkid 
10: The following scenarios, much to the lasting disappointment of yours truly, haven't been realised yet: Political posts by Tate with video of nekkid dancing wimmin.
10.5: Political posts by Tate with sex and nekkid dancing wimmin.
11: Tate, sex and nekkid dancing wimmin (plural) all simultaneously.


Now is the time!
“Free hugs” (I missed out, damn!)


Change the paradigm!


Vets and GIs say “War is a business for the 1%”


First day participating actively, really exciting to be here, democratic spirit, corporations not paying tax. Fully support Occupy movement. Rainy conditions, so many people are here protesting!
Inspiring for whole world – myth about US economy challenged by this movement. Group I belong to in India, in Kolkata, supporting this movement.
I was in student group: Progressive Democratic Students Federation. Then, environmental and workers' movement, at Jadhavpur University.


Facilitator, peace-keeper, building community. Contract work in Social media, community college looking for work, best connections have come from Occupy.
Community values, instead of just ... money. We don't have leaders, so mentally ill population, people who have lived lives of chaos, stay, disinclined to any kind of organization.
We want people to speak with each other, hear each others' opinions and understand each others' perspectives, create sense of harmony. Role as peacekeeper is to help people see eye-to-eye, even though they are all from different backgrounds.


Los nignos, unidos, jama's sera'n vencidos!
Money for jobs and education, not for banks and corporation(s)!
Seize the banks, end the dictatorship of the 1%.
No roben nuestro futuro.
Don't foreclose our future!


Occupy is dead! or so MSM would have us believe. and I'll confess that I was ...
concerned: I had heard nothing from my kitchen contact since about Dec 15th.
and relieved! : I wouldn't have to cook for 60 people once a week any more, I'd given it a lot, and it wasn't self-sustaining, and "american apathy", and "if people don't want to help themselves" (and I don't mean it in the sense that Goldman Sachs helped itself to the US Treasury), my friends wouldn't have to put up with these posts any more.

But on Jan 20th, for the Day of Mass Action (occupying the banks and occupying the courts in protest of "citizen's united"), there was a large crowd, far larger than anything I had seen since the SF cops had bulldozed the camp, and it was much more racially and ethnically diverse.
There was another Indian man and an Indian woman there! Seriously, there was a very large Hispanic presence there today, a group of kids, more than a few Indians, some Native Americans, (but not a whole lot of Asians, I must say) in addition to the whites and blacks.

It felt good to be surrounded by mostly like-minded people, participating in mass action on the streets.

Photos of placards on display during the rallies:

San Francisco has the second most expensive rental housing in the US. Where's our bailout?

Causa justa! La union hace la fuerza!
Just Cause: Unity is Power!

People's food Bank of America

Hella Occupy San Francisco: Banks and Greed, No War,                                                                                              We are the 99%,                                                                                                                      Economic Justice, Stop Police brutality

Wall Street! Bleeding the 99% - Take Action! Corporations aren't people!

Capitalism is a pyramid $cheme

Banks, stop! Leave our neighbours in their homes. No foreclosures and evictions for profit.

Friday, January 20, 2012



The resort sits on the eastern side near the end of a south-tending peninsula, which defines a shallow bay north of the Konķaɳ. The cottages are dispersed in a eucalyptus grove in a hollow somewhat protected from the mid-day sun. The grove looks very alluring when you get there in the middle of the day, only later do you recall the deathliness of eucalyptus outside Australia. Its fresh leaves provide no sustenance, the fallen ones allow no plant or tree of any other kind to grow, the straight trunks provide no foliage cover till about 10' high. No birds nest in its branches, there is no animal life, no plants, not even grass. No Indian butterflies have use for it and not many monarchs migrate from Mexico to Maharashtra. Its wood is useless as building material, seeing use not even for scaffolding. However, we see village women who collect the fallen leaves in giant baskets and carry them off - to burn them and then to spread the ashes on the rice fields. This exposes the incipient runnels down the hillside and the footpaths – you can imagine them eroded to deep gorges in a few years time.

The restaurant is on a promontory and overlooks the bay, with its skeletons of dying mangroves. The last bit of the footpath leading to the restaurant consists of crushed shells that glow white in the moonlight. The surrounding hillside is littered – Minute Maid (TM) juice boxes, plastic Bisleri (TM) and Aquafina (TM) water bottles, the ubiquitous plastic bags. 

As we sat for lunch, a few stray dogs and a stray cat came around. The cat, after miaowing from under the tables, came on to the table. In an effort to impress us, the head waiter, Krishna, an immigrant from the Nepali foothills, came charging out with a broken wooden table leg and thwacked one of the dogs, who took off yelping. Another dog limping around we had already noticed keeping its distance. A waiter grabbed the cat, dangling her 20 tense, sharp points out by her tail at arm's length. Krishna took a swing at her and missed, but Maya, our 6 year old, born and brought up in the US, saw him and started bawling, “What are they going to do to her?”, terrified for the animals. In turn, Elsa, her younger sister started crying for Maya. While their mom tried to calm the two of them, my sister, protector of nieces as well as of stray cats, jumped up infuriated and started berating the waiters. The Indian nieces and nephews – immune perhaps to displays of violence towards animals – sat unfazed through the whole thing, even the 3 year old, who looked mystified at her older cousin's upset.

After that, at least in our presence the waiters left the animals alone. Our one felinophobic cousin left the next day, and the rest of us accustomed ourselves to the animals, mostly ignoring them, except for my sister, who talks to the cat; and Elsa, one and half years old, who squeals, warbles and trills and bobs her head while making calling gestures with her hands, almost throwing herself out of my arms in her efforts to interact with the dogs, cats and crows.

A couple of days later we had fish for lunch. Maddened by the smell, the cat miaowred hideously through our meal. The moment I finished and sat back, she jumped on my leg and onto the table without scratching me, hunkered down and started eating the fish bones off my plate. I pulled the cat off the table with her jaw full, by her scruff but not in the correct immobilizing hold, and she nicked me, drawing blood.

You are the second one to be scratched by that cat – the other day Papi was scratched too!”.
This cat?”
And what about that crow that pecked Nima on her head?”
Where did that happen?”
Arrey here only nah.”
Yah, lucky for us the chipkali fell on the dining table before our food was served.”
This place is filled with animals, I found a frog in the bathroom.”
A frog! That's nothing, you won't believe what I found in the bathroom.”
I had been shaving in the bathroom, when I heard a rapid ghasar-pasar near the window and a chipkali darted in, the head of a snake an inch behind it when the gecko managed to climb around the frame and escape along the wall to hide behind the water-heater. The green-brown snake, thumb thick and 3' long, slithered in and out again immediately and I thought it was gone for good, but it climbed the window slats on the outside, coiled its hind part around the top slat, levitated itself off that and swayed two feet into the bathroom, looking for its recently escaped prey. I had been petrified and now futilely waved a plastic mug in its direction. The snake noticed me, coiled back and reptated back outside.”

Now people noticed that the cut was bleeding and suggestions started: “Rub some salt on it.”, “No, no! That will sting, just squeeze some lime juice on it.”, “Just crush some of that raw onion, that will also work.”. Then the suggestions left the immediate vicinity of the table and expanded outwards to the kitchen and the larger world beyond: red chilli powder, cumin powder, haldi, neem leaf, calendula and everybody's favorite ayurvedic or homeopathic remedy. I squeezed a couple of more drops of blood out, as my dad suggested, rinsed it and, since I had had a tetanus booster recently, forgot about it.

I imagine the same scene in the US, people discussing the relative antiseptic merits of relish and ketchup.

A morning in India

Thomas Friedman's head is flat

Elsa, our 15-month old, is up soon after 5AM. She is calm, so I keep hoping she will go back to sleep, but after an hour of her tossing and turning next to me, raising her head up to check if I am awake, I pick her up onto my chest, where she starts patting me. The light is now coming in, our jet-lagged 6-year old is up too, up to going for an early morning walk up to the gate defining this gated community.

Elsa sits in a sling on my hip, we draw a lot of curiosity – very few men can be seen carrying a child. Unlike in the U.S., where strangers compliment me essentially for doing my job, here the curiosity is silent. Elsa warbles and barks at birds in trees and dogs being walked by their owners' servants. Maya plucks a flower off each tree and names some – powder-puff , hibiscus, pomegranate – that she has learned from my mother and sister. I show her the yellow bougainvillea sprawling 25' up the silver oak and the tamarind with unplucked fruit only on the higher branches. Isa points upwards into a bamboo grove and we see the double hole of a half-finished baya-bird's nest, abandoned.

On the roads in the society, we pass domestic maids in 9 yard saris on their way in to work, gardeners on bicycles, the newspaper deliveryman and the milkmen on their motorscooters. From the main road a 100 or so yards away, we can hear the near-incessant high-pitched braying of the auto-rickshaws and the insistent baritone of trucks' horns. If you filter out the distant sounds of traffic, you can hear numerous birds – a flock of “seven sisters” exchanging family gossip, totas – the ubiquitous long-tailed green Indian parakeets, various finches and flycatchers and others unknown to me.

The air is still cool as we spot the sun glutinously disconnecting itself from the horizon, orange-red from the dust ¾ ever-present. Soon we will rotate further under it; freed of the dust, it will regain its familiar white and the silent heat will beat down. Just outside the gate, we see cowherds pulling out the neat garbage bags from the trash container, ripping them open and tossing them to their cows, who will munch the previous days Sensex numbers and produce milk to feed the kids of the global Indians – both NRIs and RNIs.

Further along, we see a couple of donkeys browsing the dry brown grass of the posted army land between our society and the village. Isa pulls out the camera and manages to frame a donkey between the scraggly branches of a thorn tree, cutting out in the foreground the man squatting in the drain and in the background the shiny glass buildings of the local outsource city – software complexes and call centres – filled with the appropriately accent-corrected, newly upper middle class “Sid” and “Angie”, gorged and pudgy from burgers and pizzas like the Americans whose jobs they are in-draining.

As the day warms up, you can hear a one-per-second “twoop-twoop-twoop”, the meta-period is: on for a few minutes, off for a couple. I imagine the chakki, the flour mill in the village, its canvas belt a little loose, slipping regularly on the pulley, women bringing in their grain bought in bulk to be ground to order, queueing up, getting a light coating of the flour as they wait their turn. It is a sound I have heard seemingly all my life in the towns of the plains and plateaus of India. Later, at home, I ask my mother about it, thinking it would be nice to show Maya a flour mill. My mother looks at me with a quizzical smile and says, “That's not a chakki, that's a woodpecker!”

What else am I so grossly mistaken about?

If you go

If you go to India and
  • have never been in a largish American city
  • travel to Delhi by your lonesome midwestern selves
  • attend a wedding to which your hosts - the family of your boyfriend's Indian office mate in the US - has been invited
  • wear your memorable bright red tight sleeveless dress with lots of decolletage, which was very appropriate for dancing on the tables at a wedding in the US, because it will “keep you cool”
  • wonder why the women are not dancing
  • dance with the men in the baaraat anyway because “they asked me to”,
  • wonder why you were then shunned by the women for the rest of the function
  • wear that same red dress to Red Fort
  • get separated from your boyfriend who saunters on ahead while you visual-graze in the shops in the crowded entrance
  • are confronted by someone in uniform who does a double handed simultaneous boob squeeze (on you), then does namaste and walks off
  • fly to Pune, take an autoriksha instead of allowing a local contact to pick you up at the airport
  • lose your camera bag (with the camera bought especially for the trip) and glasses
  • are unaware of the number of bags you are traveling with (“the big black one, the small red roll-on, that green one”, “the samsonite?”, “No! The one we bought for the trip to Mexico, the shopping bag from Dubai duty-free, the medium dark blue one with the clothes for the wedding, ...”)
  • not check behind the seat when disembarking from the autoriksha
  • accuse the (unknown and long vanished) riksha-wallah of being a thief who intentionally put stuff behind the seat
  • eat a sandwich for lunch at 11:30AM because you “always do”
  • refuse to eat with the rest of the family at 1PM because you “just ate”
  • go, again in the infamous red dress, when you could've replaced it with a modest salwar-kameez for $2, to a small locals only shopping area to buy a sari
  • enter the dark sari shop,
  • are puzzled when a young child starts screaming and crying, yelling something that sounds like “bhoot, bhoot”
  • insist on hot water for a bath, or at least for hair, because “it's been three days in the dust and heat”, and complain about the length of time it takes,
  • then after washing hair, complain about dinner being late, on a specially arranged trip to see tigers in the wild at an undeveloped preserve, at a “hotel” with obviously only one coal fire...

...Never return. Please.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


4 pieces of pro, plus the tree. I jammed the crack and walked my feet up on the left face, so I didn't face the Pinnacle crumbly hold issues.
Leading RatRace, 5.7, TouristTrap

 Apparently some key hold has broken off on the moves out from under the roof. It did feel hard for a 5.7, but this was my first climb at Pinnacles, so hard for me to say. I put a #5 Camalot under the roof, but a #4 would have done as well, further in and up.
Zeth coming up to the RatRaceRoof

This is the route on which I became a PinnHead: rap rap rap with the knuckles on the obvious incut chunky hold, try and budge the tempting clasts (the encrustations that the matrix holds together), then do open palm or rounded fingers on as much of the surrounding matrix as possible anyway; pull up gently, then tap, tap, tap with the toe to test the foothold, place the ball of your foot on it, not the edge, or skip it and just friction on the matrix. If you do use a foot hold, do a very taichi like slow weight shift onto it, and just try and put less total downward force on the rock than your total body weight. I will not disdain a bolted 5.8.
    I will not disdain a bolted 5.8.
ThrillHammer 5.8, TouristTrap. Heady, sporty for a 5.8

5.5 next to ThrillHammer

We couldn't find the base of the route we'd wanted to do: everything seemed to fit the bill - grassy slope, low 5th class through bushes, stacked boulders for first belay under a left leaning ramp. Even saw a piece of fixed pro, which, for next time, means only that some fool has been off-route before you. At least Zeth had the antas to push through on crumbly, shaky rock, then traverse above a large loose pillar without stepping on it!

The second pitch started off with 10 m of low 5th class bush whacking, to the base of a wide chimney. About 5 feet of unprotected stem moves led to a good and solid hand hold 10' off the base which allowed me to bring my feet to the same wall and then throw a jam into the overhanging, around a corner, flaring crack which provided the only escape. I was able to place some pro there, and then lieback, jam and thrash my way up to ... run out previously untrammeled low 5th class on moss-held-together rock on the ridge. Luckily a fall would have led to only getting wedged into the chimneys on either side.
View from the belay.

Note to self: Do not use ascenders on low angle rock.
MSF and ZK at the sunny beautiful breezy scenic broad ledge

We went exploring, and Zeth found this chimney: you could walk/squeeze along the bottom for about 40 feet, gaining about 10-15 feet in elevation till the very back. There was only one point where we had to squeeze through sideways, which doesn't help if you are cylindrically symmetric! From there a pair of ledges, one on either wall, formed from the same geological weakness led up and out at about 30 degrees. Being inside the mountain, on this long, high and narrow ledge, reminded me of scenes from H. Rider Haggard's novel "She". We walked out till one ledge nearly disappeared and we would have needed protection to go out any further.
ZK and MSF in the HRiderHaggard chimney

Xeth - I love the astract shapes formed by figure against ground! I should try it in high-contrast.

Can you tell whether I am looking in- or outwards?
We then hiked SW to the saddle and descended to the High Peaks trail on the west side. Just off it, there was this tempting little summit

Scrambling up.

Not a very good Vrakshasana, but I am wearing sandals and two ropes (which look like fly-wings), and have steep high drop offs to either side and behind.

Scrambling down.

This is for my Catalan friends, and those who are friends of the mountains near Barcelona - cruddy conglomerate with occasional bolts without hangers for protection.
Mont Serrat

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mountain Medicine

--- In, Tapas <...@...> wrote:
> What? I tried to 'save' you guys? Must have been out of my mind or maybe i
> just wanted that stuff for myself.

Arrey Tapas, I had been trying to save your current reputation as a wanna-be-bad-boy, but you are forcing my hand:

Himankan '82, Pahalgam valley.
(Side note: Who was it that tried to "protect" potential employers from the truth that he was just a participant (and a cribbu one at that) on a trek and disguised it by claiming to have been an expedition leader? Someone claiming to have very high, upstanding moral values etc etc?)

When we were in Chandana-wadi, word somehow got around, since we weren't trying to "protect" anybody from any truth and were not particularly discreet, that Misha and I were trying to score some Kashmiri stuff. We had been tasked with this by our wingmates, and advanced the then astounding amount of Rs.40!

Tapas, that dear boy, found out about this, and already planning his campaign as Sports Sec ("I personally saved one of our top triple-jumpers from a life of dissolution by keeping him from destroying
his lungs, and, look at him now! He can almost reach the pit! Vote Tapas!"), anyway, Tapas approached the Doc, with whom we hung out a lot, and asked him, "Doc, You are good friends with these two boys, Misha and Tate. I am concerned about them, they are young, they know not what they do, they are trying to buy some hash, and you know it will destroy them. You, as an older, more mature, trustworthy and responsible doctor, and their friend, you spend a lot of time with them. So just prevent them from buying any pot or hash or grass." And it was true, we were quite friendly with the Doc.

Evenings, after dinner and duties, while most others would be participating in "good clean fun" listening to some kitschy crap on the mouth organ, some of us would go hang at the chai-wallah.  Until our last evening in Chandanwadi, Misha and I had been completely stymied in our efforts to obtain any stuff. That evening, the chaiwallah wished to thank us for what one of us had done for him and the other villagers and asked how he could repay us. We asked him if we could get any hashish. After a patient explanation to us that the end of winter was hardly the season for any hash, let alone "fresh" hash (Collective "Ohh! Fundas!" from us.) he agreed with his brother to get some from their personal stash. There were two problems, one, his village was a day's march away and we were taking down camp and leaving for Pahalgam the next morning. Two, he could only sell us a hash quantum, known as a golon, for Rs80, and Misha and I only had the Rs40 that our venture capitalist Nikunj had invested in our enterprise. Luckily, we had an obvious and richer co-investor right there, with his savings from his residency pay, who would happily put up the other Rs40 and take his half of the golon. So chai-wallah's brother ran all night to his village and back, and by breakfast chai the next morning we were the proud and sole co-proprietors of 1 (one) golon, a fist sized prolate ellipsoid, hard as old clay, and without any bouquet. We divided it in two right there, and almost fainted from the aroma, but Misha and I could not honestly sample and thus cheat our fellow wingmates. Luckily, our co-investor had no such constraints, was eager to try it out and happily shared with us. Good stuff, man. But not anywhere as good (by a factor of 5 I would say) as the CaliMari you get here. The VC in Bombay was quite happy with the results, as I recall.

Two years later: Bhaiyya, Mayya, Misha and I plan a private expedition to Poorvi Ikualari (Yeah! yeah! Serves me right for the sidey Chandana-wadi joke at Tapas' expense.). Mayya gets bitten by a dog, and is forced to stay under observation to ensure that the canine doesn't contract rabies, and so he can learn to drive. On our way back from the Ikualari basecamp on the Milam glacier, after an expedition that was not only unsuccessful but also non-epic, we stopped two nights in the town of Milam - it used to be a District Court town during the Raj, now, in summer, only a third of the houses were occupied. Already, on the way up, I had acquired the reputation as a "doctor" because the townspeople had seen me treat a bloody infected blister I had on my foot. On our way back, the morning after we reached there and spent the night in the village headman's house, there was a line of 30-40 people who had come to see the "doctor". The nearest real doctor of any kind was 6 days march and half a day's bus journey away. Luckily, Misha had learned something from the Himankan doc, from what he had done that had earned us the Chandanwadi chaiwallah's favour. It devolved on me to clean and dress all the open wounds and for the others, those with more mysterious, internal or imagined ailments, Misha proceeded to listen attentively to each villager's complaints, and then tell me "One pain killer and two multivit.s" or somesuch and I would count them out and hand them to the villager and repeat any instructions that Misha had given.

Until we got to the guy on the litter, with the broken femur.


Many beautiful phrases have already been written, there is no great need for me to try and write more, all I need to do is draw your attention to them. This post is dedicated to Ruby of the ruby-red gloves, who asked me for these quotes.

This is a non-narrative review, consisting almost entirely of Tolstoy's sentences and phrases taken out of context. If you want to know the context, the page references are to the Penguin classics edition of the new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. My comments in italics. 

Part 1, XVII, pg 61: ... the more outwardly obedient and deferential he was, the less he respected and loved her in his soul.

Part 1, XXII, pg 79: ... her loveliness consisted precisely in always standing out from what she wore, that what she wore was never seen on her. (... her loveliness consisted precisely in making stand out what she wore, that you saw her, and seeing her you saw what she wore, and the moss, the trees, the stones, the water, the very air that surrounded her.)

Part 1, XXII, pg 80: ... long afterwards, for several years, that look, so full of love, which she gave him then, and to which he did not respond, cut her heart with tormenting shame. (Guilty as accused, I can only say I am sorry.)

Part 1, XXX, pg 104: She was especially struck by the feeling of dissatisfaction with herself that she experienced on meeting him.

Part 1, XXXI, pg 104: He felt himself a king, not because he thought he had made an impression on her - he did not believe that yet - but because the impression she had made on him gave him happiness and pride.

Part 2, XXII, pg 185: He thought of only one thing, that he was about to see her, not just in imagination, but alive, all of her, as she was in reality. (A writer for the ages, truly, anticipating the reaction to e-dating.)

Part 2, XXX, pg 214: She was not interested in those she knew, feeling that nothing new would come from them.

Part 2, XXXIII, pg 224: ...she would seek out the unfortunate people, help them as much as possible, ...the sick, the criminal, the dying. (Captures my involvement with OccupySF?)

Part 2, XXXIII, pg 226: ... doubt poisoned the charm of her new life.

Part 3, II, pg 241: For him words took away the beauty of what he saw.

Part 3, III, pg 243: ... a dilemma: 'Either you are so undeveloped that you cannot see all that you could do, or you cannot give up your peace, your vanity, whatever, in order to do it.' (Enough about me, let's talk about you.)

Part 3, XVI, pg 292: 'He's right! He's right!' she said. 'Of course, he's always right, he's a Christian, he's magnanimous! Yes, the mean, vile man! And I'm the only one who understands or ever will understand it; and I can't explain it. They say he's a religious, honest, moral, intelligent man; but they don't see what I've seen. They don't know how he has been stifling my life for eight years, stifling everything that was alive in me, that he never once even thought that I was a living woman who needed love. They don't know how he insulted me at every step and remained pleased with himself. Didn't I try as hard as I could to find a justification for my life? Didn't I try to love him, and to love my son when it was no loner possible to love my husband? But the time has come, I've realised that I can no longer deceive myself, that I am alive, that I am not to blame if God has made me so that I must love and live. And what now? If he killed me, if he killed him, I could bear it all, I could forgive it all, but no, he...
'How did I not guess what he would do? He'll do what's proper to his mean character. He'll remain right, and as for me, the ruined one, he will make my ruin still worse, still meaner ...'
(Tolstoy channeling Betty Friedan and half the women on AshleyMadison.)

Part 3, XX, pg 306: Of the same age as Vronsky and his classmate, he was a general and expected an appointment that might influence the course of state affairs, while Vronsky, though independent and brilliant and loved by a charming woman, was none the less only a cavalry captain...

pp.s 380-408: The causes of romance have already taken place, now it is the laying to rest of all doubts.

Part 4, IX, pg 382: Yet now, when he heard that she was there, he suddenly felt such joy, and at the same time such fear, that his breath was taken away and he could not bring out what he wanted to say.
She saw him the instant he came into the room. She had been waiting for him. She was joyful and so embarrassed by her joy that there was a moment - as he went up to the hostess and glanced at her again - when it seemed to her, and to him, and to Dolly, who saw it all, that she would not be able to stand it and would start to cry.

Part 4, IX, pg 384: It seemed there was nothing extraordinary in what she said, yet for him, what meaning, inexpressible in words, there was in every sound, in every movement of her lips, eyes, arm, as she said it! … a caress, a tender, timid caress, and a promise, and hope, and love for him, in which he could not but believe and which choked him with happiness.

Part 4, XI, pg 390: '… and for an instant you flashed by, and I saw in the window, you were sitting like this --- … thinking terribly hard about something,' he said, smiling. 'How I longed to know what you were thinking about!'

Part 4, XII, pg 395: Love those who hate you. But to love those you hate is impossible.

Part 4, XIII, pg 395: He began at once, and without the slightest effort, to fulfill the promise he had given her --- always to think well of all people and always to love everyone. … he talked with them, trying only to reconcile them and and soften their objections. He was not the least bit interested in what he said himself … and desired only one thing --- that they and everyone should be nice and agreeable. He now knew the one important thing.

Part 4, XIII, pg 396: Levin had often noticed in arguments between the most intelligent people that … they loved different things and therefore did not want to name what they loved, so as not to be challenged. … sometimes … you would understand what your opponent loves, and suddenly come to love the same thing yourself, … sometimes it was the other way around: you would finally say what you yourself love, for the sake of which you are inventing your reasonings, and if you happened to say it well and sincerely,the opponent would suddenly agree and stop arguing.

Part 4, XIII, pg 397: "When you answered me: 'that cannot be', did it mean never or then?"
"Then I could give no other answer."

Part 5, XII, pg 475: He had forgotten this picture, painted three years ago, forgotten all the agonies and ecstasies he had lived through with this picture, when it alone had occupied him persistently...

Part 5, XIV, pg 480: She was supposed to be loved and only that. But, like all men, he had forgotten that she also needed to work. ( Recall that Tolstoy finished this by 1877! )
Part 5, XIV, pg 482: he understood … that he no longer knew where she ended and he began. He understood it by the painful feeling of being split which he experienced at that moment.
To remain under so unjust an accusation was tormenting, but to hurt by vindicating himself was still worse.
Part 5, XIX, pg 496: The proof that they knew what death was lay in their knowing, without a moment's doubt, how to act with dying people and not being afraid of them.
Part 5, XX, pg 504: … its inevitability appeared still more horrible to him; but now, thanks to his wife's nearness, the feeling did not drive him to despair …
Part 5, XXI, pg 506: He felt that he could not divert people's hatred from himself, because the reason for that hatred was not that he was bad (then he could have tried to be better), but that he was shamefully and repulsively unhappy.
Part 5, XXI, pg 507: And now, among all his acquaintances, there was no one who was close to him. There were many of what are known as LinkedIn connections or FaceBook friends, but there were no friendly relations. ( Tolstoy before 1877, predicting the cause of the angst of our generation. )
Part 5, XXII, pg 510: “... don't give in to that feeling you spoke of – of being ashamed of what is the true loftiness of being a Christian: 'He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' And you cannot thank me. You must thank Him and ask Him for help. In Him alone shall we find peace, comfort, salvation and love.”
Part 5, XXII, pg 511: Alexei easily became convinced of it. Like Lydia and other people who shared their views, he was totally lacking in depth of imagination. … He did not see anything impossible or incongruous, in the notion that death, which existed for unbelievers, did not exist for him, and that since he possessed the fullest faith, of the measure of which he himself was the judge, there was no sin in his soul and he already experienced full salvation here on Earth. … it was so necessary for him in his humiliation to possess at least an invented loftiness from which he, despised by everyone, could despise others, that he clung to his imaginary salvation as if it were salvation indeed.
Part 5, XXIV, pg 516: “It is rightly said that all is evil in the world.”, he thought again, casting another sidelong glance at the calves of the gentleman of the bed-chamber.
Part 5, XXVII, pg 526: She was nine years old, she was a child; but she knew her own soul, it was dear to her, she protected it as the eyelid protects the eye, and did not let anyone into her soul without the key of love.
Part 5, XXX, pg 537: Though she had just said that he was better and kinder than she, feelings of loathing and spite towards him and envy over her son came over her as she glanced quickly at him, … she lowered her veil and … all but ran out of the room.
Part 6, XI, pg 587: “like the acquisitions of banks, this evil, the acquisition of huge fortunes without work, as it used to be with tax-farming, has merely changed its form … the same gain without work.”
Part 6, XVIII, pg 614: “I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, as they are, and not as you'd like them to be.” …
If you have any sins, they should all be forgiven you for coming and for those words.”
Part 7, III, pg 680: It flattered his vanity that such a learned man was telling him his thoughts so eagerly, with such attention and confidence in his knowledge of the subject, … He ascribed it to his own merit, unaware that Metrov, having talked about it to everyone around him, was especially eager to talk on the subject with each new person, …
Part 7, XII, pg 704: She did not want to fight, she reproached him for wanting to fight, but involuntarily she herself assumed a fighting position.
Part 7, XVII, pg 720: “I oppose systems of protection, not for the sake of the profit of private persons, but for the common good – for lower and upper classes equally, but they cannot understand it, they are concerned only with personal interest and have a passion for phrases.”
Part 7, XXIII, pg 739: In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony. But when the relations between spouses are uncertain and there is neither the one nor the other, nothing can be undertaken.
Many families stay for years in the same old places, hateful to both spouses, only because there is neither full discord nor harmony.
( And, I, I was part of great discord and almost complete submission? Hence we were able to move from the same old place? )
Part 8, I, pg 771: he saw that the question had become one of those fashionable fads which … always serve as a subject of concern for society. He saw that much here was frivolous and ridiculous … but with all that came another phenomenon that made him rejoice: this was the manifestation of public opinion. … And the more involved he became in it, the more obvious it seemed to him that this was a cause that would attain vast proportions, that would mark an epoch.
Part 8, V, pg. 780: “One needs no recommendations in order to die.”
Part 8, VI, pg 783: But Kitty did not listen to what she said. Her impatience kept growing along with the baby's. Owing to that impatience, it was a long time before matters were put right. The baby grabbed the wrong thing and got angry. Finally after a desperate, gasping cry and empty sucking, matters were put right, mother and baby simultaneously felt pacified, and both quieted down.
( This observation alone belies the claim that Tolstoy was removed from family life. Perhaps he was at an emotional remove, but at least he was there to observe it, if only once. But in that one instance he saw a pattern. )
Part 8, VIII, pg. 785: “What kind of unbeliever is he? With his heart, with that fear of upsetting anyone, even a child? Everything for others, nothing for himself.” …
Yes, be just like your father, be just like him”
Part 8, VIII, pg. 786: Moreover, he felt vaguely that what he called his convictions were not only ignorance but were a way of thinking that made the knowledge he needed impossible. …
Are these people sincere, are they not pretending?
Part 8, XIX, pg. 817: “I'll get angry in the same way … argue in the same way, speak my mind inappropriately, there will be the same wall between my soul's holy of holies and other people, I'll accuse others in the same way of my own fear and then regret it … – but my life now, my whole life, is not only not meaningless, as it was before, but has the unquestionable meaning of the good which is in my power to put into it!”
The End

Monday, January 9, 2012

5.10c - to the tune of Lemon Tree

5.10c (Five Ten C), to the tune of "Lemon Tree" by "Peter, Paul and Mary"

5.10c (Five Ten C) to the tune of “Lemon Tree” by “Peter, Paul and Mary”

When I was just leading ten, the Hardman said to me,
"Come here and take a lesson from the lovely 5.10c"
"Don't put your faith in cams nor Friends", Hardman said to me,
"I fear you'll find no protection on this lovely 5.10c."

5.10c very cruxy and the fingers find their jams
But the flares of the thin seam are impossible for cams.
5.10c very cruxy and the pockets are on the face
But the cams or the poor Friends are impossible to place.

One day beneath the 5.10c, belayer and I did lie
A grigri so tight that when it locked my nuts almost did die
We passed that summer hangdogging that bloody 5.10c
The music of jangling gear hid that Hardman's words from me:

5.10c very cruxy and the fingers find their jams
But the flares of the thin seam are impossible for cams.
5.10c very cruxy and the pockets are on the face
But the cams or the poor Friends are impossible to place.

One day I tried, without a hang, to get back the fun.
But the crack I had dogged and whined, it knew what I had done.
One after another, when I fell, my Friends it spat and threw.
A sadder man but lamer now I sing these words to you:

5.10c very cruxy and the fingers find their jams
But the flares of the thin seam are impossible for cams.
5.10c very cruxy and the pockets are on the face
But the cams or the poor Friends are impossible to place.


For the PG version 5.10b

Lyrics © Ranjeet S. Tate 2012

Sunday, January 8, 2012

OccupyWallStWest - why both you and I should go.

Excerpts from "Crowd Politics" by Andy Merrifield in Sept/Oct 2011 New Left Review. (Italics mine.)

Article is also available at Harpers

...what social change really needs: people risking life and limb, as with ... the black civil rights movement ... the physicality of bodies being present in space.

... the relative conformity of the world's urban populations today: ... cut off from the past yet somehow excluded from the future, deadened by hustling a living.

The politics of the encounter... can overcome the inertia of apparent mass and individual powerlessness...

... people start to recognize ... one another not always directly, but through a mode of relating to the world, through unstated forms of solidarity.

... "class" perhaps evokes a ... ruling elite, but the rest of us, those who do not rule, are an assorted and fragmented layering of people who are neither conscious of class nor motivated to act in its name.

(You are working class if you are driven by) the need "to sell your labor in order to live" - "to look at yourself in the mirror and think, 'Now what have I got that I can sell?'"

...any moment of encounter ... creates its own historical space ... an illicit rendezvous of human bonding (not bondage) and solidarity ... in which something disrupts and intervenes in the paralysis.

But what kind of human ... will you be, and what kind of new social networks hold the key for a 21st century politics of militant democracy? In what forms will the Joycean everybuddy begin to express itself, as it challenges the crisis-ridden neoliberal order?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Untying the knot in the slings of fate

Following up on the previous post, an even better way to compliment someone is to not only adopt an idea they use, but rather to adapt it or find a new application.

Remember when you first started seriously considering that a climbing partner could also be a life partner? I don't know how old or cheap you are, but I'm talking about back in the day, when climbers tied their own slings. Hanging out in the tent on a rainy day, or on a rest day, or maybe just at home by a sunny window on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you both decided to "organize climbing gear", which is Climberese for "avoid doing laundry or dishes", you thought it would be wonderfully romantic to put the initials of both of you on your climbing gear!

Then you tie the knot. How sweet!

Aah, but for the slings and arrows of fate! You stopped being climbing partners some years ago, perhaps even stopped climbing altogether, and then stopped being life partners more recently.

Now miserable you is left with the miserable half of your climbing gear, with those no-longer-such-a-good-idea other initials on it.

Should you just buy a whole new rack with only wire-gate carabiners and sewn slings and those pansy coloured anodized stoppers? Naah, you would rather first use "Hello Kitty" duct tape to hold the fender of your brand new Ford 150 dirtbag climber truck.

Should you then cut-off those 4 inches with the extra initials and re-knot the slings, and run the risk of desperately trying to protect -while hanging on to a melting crimp on the face next to it- a heinous 1.5" 5.7 crack that your delicate hands can no longer jam, unable to get the shorter sling off your padded-by-the-years shoulder and fat head and the helmet you wear as if anybody cared whether you lived or died? 

No need for all that! The "COSMIC sling" comes to the rescue:

and saves you from having to explain - to that cute young climber you just met after she or he soloed the 5.7 and rescued your over-cammed Friend- why you have two sets of initials on your gear.

As Austin Powers would have said when his newlywed fembot explodes on their honeymoon, were he to have been a climber, "Shag-a-licious! I'm now free to re-tie the knot!"

Cosmic Sling

One way of showing respect for someone is to learn from them and adopt something they use or do, perhaps even propagate it. In that spirit, "Happy Birthday Cosmic!"

Take a standard length (about 3.5') of 1" tubular webbing, and tie an overhand or waterknot in the middle:

Insert one end of the webbing into the other ...

... about 10 - 12".

Pass the knot to the center of the inserted part and tighten (full weight, as for any tied sling!):

And VOILA! The COSMIC sling:

As Torontula Tami pointed out, this sling can also serve as a post-modern 'screamer', specially if you use really really strong cellotape or strips of "Hello Kitty" duct tape.

An added little bonus, here is a picture of the (quite useless) Klein sling, which has no inside and no outside: