Monday, April 30, 2012

5.10c (PG)

This is the PG version of 5.10cX

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.
5.10c
5.10c
5.10c 
5.10c

This ain't no climbing saga

Or,
STONE-COLD LOVE

The hot shower makes me suddenly aware of the cuts, bruises, scrapes and general bloody spots I've accumulated over the last two days. I have no clear recollection of how I came by them, not even the major ones. Only at the end of a route do I occasionally attain realisation – dark red drops appearing suddenly on shoes or on the rope as I untie, or a partner's comment, “Left a sacrifice for the rock gods huh?”

I have mixed feelings about showering at the end of a climbing trip. The heat soothes away the soreness and muscle aches – most acquired not from a heroic climb up some horrendously strenuous and unrelenting crack but from sitting cramped and huddled for hours in a van strewn with gear or wedged awkwardly in a car on the ride home. The flow of warm water is a comfort, but it with regret that watch the slightly grey water –sometimes muddy brown– flow off my body, washing away the rock, sloughing off the entire weekend experience as it carries away the little bits of sand or gravel that have been trapped in my hair for days. I have become accustomed to the dirt and rock-dust insulating me from … my own imagination? Perhaps, but in any case I am loathe to come out of this shell and re-enter whatever real world I happen to inhabit.

This smell on me, not just sweat –stale or fresh– but the smell of the earth on me. A while back, when I would return from climbing trips, my ex-cat (ex-girlfriend's cat?) wold sniff my fingers and lick them, then sprawl on the mess of climbing gear spilled on the living room floor, purring and happily sniffing the metallic, rusty rock smell on stoppers and webbing, her nose on my climbing shoes, pink tongue parting her jet black face to tentatively flick over the leather. Her favorite rocks –sensed remotely in this way– were the pink gneiss of Little Falls and the pegmatite of the Gunks. She didn't care much for the Adirondacks, too licheny I suppose, and her probable love for the plentiful smell of blood (from jamming forgotten-to-tape-too-late-now fingers into cracks lined with sharp quartz crystals) was insufficient to overcome her dislike for the vegetation.

Lovers, even those whose profiles mandated “daily showers and fresh scents”, have reveled in these rock-smells on me, welcomed me to Sunday night bed with warm naked bodies, postponing my shower till the next morning. Non-climbers themselves, perhaps their bodies desired at that moment not just me but some long-forgotten connection with the earth, vicarious though it might have been. Can a protective carapace sometimes be flypaper?

Two days ago, I'd left during a period of tension, my lover and I both in need of a break from each other. That much had been clear, but not much else besides. I needed to think, to be alone, and where else can one be alone but on the sharp end of a rope – the feeling of mastery, the complete control, before the whole world explodes into understanding as the rope sings you to a stop, the slamming crescendo of stoppers, hexes and carabiners. In the brief void following the fall, my empty mind would have its epiphany.

However, as with most other climbing trips, this one too has been bereft of any clarifying visions; there were no moments of comprehension, no resolution of problems greater than that of the next move.

At this point forty feet up, the crack flares sharply, as if a corner on one side has fallen off, and six inches deep, narrows to a parallel sided hand crack. There are no edges or holds on the face that I can use. Past a bulge a few feet above me, I see some big bucket holds, the angle eases there, more features have been carved out of the rock – pockets, larger edges etc. But to get there

I am on “Fantasy”, a one pitch trad route at the New, not hard, but very aesthetic, a beautiful hand crack in yellow sandstone tinged with red. It starts starts with a right-facing dihedral off the ground. Comfortable stems, made easier because of some edges for fingers and outer-foot placements, get get me a few feet up this till I am under a half-roof topping the dihedral, split by the crack. Leaning out on a right hand jammed vertically up under the roof, I step left onto the arete, and using an in-cut edge off on the face for my left hand, I work my feet up till I can reach with my right hand over the roof and back into the crack. Standing above the roof in a half-stem, half-jam, my foot starts hurting, the pain causing it to shake a bit, but at least I don't get full-on “sewing machine leg”. I take too much time placing pro – I've lost my eye for sizes after half a season pulling on plastic – I fumble and drop a set of three or four hexes before I get something in. I've never dropped anything before, and for a few seconds I worry about whether I'll need them higher up. Then, as I did with the hexes, I drop the worry, without fumbling this time.

The next few moves are bomber hand eating crack, but the section is short. I discover an edge inside the crack which allows me to layback the crack up to a finger lock and then I reach a stance on edges formed by the weathered outer crust of the sandstone. It would be desert varnish but this is West Virginia. With a friend in place where I could have used one of my dropped hexes, I contemplate the next few moves. At this point the crack flares sharply, as if a corner on one side has fallen off, and six inches deep, it narrows to a thin hand crack. Shimmering my fingers across the smooth contours of the rockfaces on either side, searching for a hold, I can feel the warm graininess of the rock gently abrading my skin. I fail to find anything – not even a quarter-thin sidepull nor a tiny nubbin. Past a bulge, a few feet above me I see some big bucket holds, and see that the angle eases there, with more features carved out of the rock – big pockets and large edges.

But to get there – the only way is the crack. Off a low two-finger lock with my left hand, I reach up and slide my right into the crack, thumb-up. The crack is parallel, and slightly wider than my flat palm. As I pull my thumb back, into my palm, the mound at the base of my palm widens, jamming me solidly in. I walk my feet up in the crack, unconscious of the immediate pain that must have been in my stacked and twisted toes, with my full weight on them. I savor my position for a few moments. The hand-jam is comfortable; secured by the pulled-back thumb, I sit back, weight on my feet, dangle and shake my left hand awhile, and then dip it into my chalk-bag. On this day, on this rock, the chalk is superfluous, force of habit only. The air is warm and dry, and unlike the granite-like ancient Tuscarora sandstone at Seneca, the hard sandstone here breathes and absorbs moisture off my palms.

Standing up, right hand low, I secure another jam with my left. This one, for some reason, is thumb down, and therefore I will not be able to reach up high over it. But that doesn't matter now. Leaning awkwardly, almost barndooring – swinging shut as if I were poorly hung – since all three points of contact are in the straight line of the crack, I fit my right hand not far above my left, reach over it with my left to the big jug and clamber to the narrow ledge. Above this the crack widens, I get sideways fist jams, feeling the forearm muscles contract and bulge as I clench my fist. Replaying the climb while setting up the belay, I am pleased that I have not worked my biceps so much as my shoulders and back muscles.

Later, on the ground, my legs are tired from the long day climbing, and I have a map of the crack in the loose, tension-free aches in my upper back, in the bloodied knuckles and in the bruises flowering on
the back of my hands.

Returning home late, I look forward to sprawling alone, unhampered by the confining comfort of my sleeping bag. Not between clean fresh sheets though (Who has time to do laundry and make beds before a climbing trip?) but with my head on a pillow that has long strands of golden-brown hair on it, and lying between sheets stained with my lover's anchovies and ripe-brie, hint of rust wetness, inhaling the sheets, sniffing for a missed connection.

I will call her, tomorrow.

The ABCD's Revenge

I just found this, I'd written it in 1995.

We've all heard at least a part of the full form of the somewhat derogatory term "ABCD" used by Indian immigrants to refer to the offspring of the previous generation of immigrants. I can recall only part of it ABCDEFGHIJ...

American Born Confused Desi
Emigrated From Gujarat
Hotel In Jersey …

In loving response to which, we have DCBA – Desi Confused By America. I've extended it to

The ABCD's revenge (To the tune of The Spam-Strangled Banner)

ZYX, WVUT, SRQP, ONML, KJIH, GFE, DCBA

Zindagi Yahan X-iled –
Without Voman Until Today,
Slyly Reading Quality Pondies
Of Naked Masturbating Ladies.
Knowing Just Indians Here,
Graduated From Engineering,
Desi Confused By America.

Friday, April 20, 2012

OccupySFMayDayBrickDonate

This appeal for donations is in the spirit of "Disaster Tourism" and "Macabre World Event Mementos". Lots of people paid a lot of money for bricks from the Berlin Wall, and there were probably hundreds of thousands of them. The following item is UniQuE!

I have in my possession the (yes THE) cinder brick that was thrown at the police by that idiot on the roof of the OccupySFCommune Building at 870 Turk St. As you know from my previous post, the brick smashed an Occupy supporter's nose.

Lying on the sidewalk where it landed.

Close-up with victim's blood, still fresh, but beginning to coagulate.
I picked up the brick at precisely 40 minutes to 5 o'clock.

Please donate, the highest contributor will win the brick.
Occupy Oakland
 OccupySF

You can also donate to any other activist social justice cause of your choice. You can just e-mail me or leave a comment with the amount you've donated and the organization name. You can also donate to the victim's medical bills, since ObamaCare has apparently failed to cover all residents of the US.

I will then mail the brick to you. Currently it is in my freezer in pristine, bloody condition. I'll be happy to clean it off and restore it to its pre-geodesic-deviation state before mailing it to you. As proof of authenticity, I'll e-mail copies of the above photos (high-resolution, suitable for 8X10 and framing).

The request for donations is serious, but please note that the post should have been backdated to 20th April.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

FreeDharunRaviOriginalAppeal

After reading this, I hope you will be motivated to understand why we should act for judicial justice and some very simple examples (inform yourself, stand up and be counted, donate your time or money) of what you can do.


I do NOT endorse the original appeal! I am including it for completeness, so people can see the original appeal and I can explain why it bothered me: 
1) Utter triviality of this individual case (which doesn't mean that DR shouldn't get a fair trial, but that there are 100,000 others who should, which means we have to reform the system).
2) Dissipation of energy and political capital on isolated case of otherwise privileged Indian-American whose parents can probably afford a decent lawyer. If it shouldn't depend on being able to buy a good lawyer then reform the system and in the meantime contribute to the SouthernPovertyLawCenter.
3) Anti-"activist" attitude, that only serves to display the political ignorance and conservatism of the Indian-American community. Case in point, the most name-recognizable Indian-Americans are Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal!
4) Lack of meaningful action on any other "justice" issue indicates motivation from narrow, parochial, communitarian interest.
5) I don't understand what "tough decision" (one that is tough on us) we are making, nor showing "compassion, understanding and sympathy" for anyone in less privileged situations than we are in, other than for a straight, Indian, brown, Hindu, child of privilege, apolitical, male, "fool when young" like us.

Contrast: We need your help to get charges dropped against Dharun Ravi and his 400 fellow-citizens who were wrongfully arrested by the Oakland Police during a peaceful (non-violent until the cops showed up in battle gear) exercise of free speech. The marchers were attempting to take over an underused public building paid for with tax dollars so they could continue to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare to those who most need it. The marchers were given illegal and inadequate warning to disperse, were physically constrained so they couldn't disperse;  they were beaten, tear-gassed and smoke-bombed till they had to be hospitalised (numbers are unavailable because they were taken by friends to diverse locations and many were simply treated at home). They were falsely accused of breaking and entering etc (no evidence of damage to locks or doors has been found, the one flag some protesters tried to burn, they took it outside in order to prevent property damage!). Many were held in prison for more than 3 days without access to a lawyer or charges being filed (How did that happen? While we were pissing around with the "copyright act" so we coud still download music for free, some legislation passed which gives from Obama down to local cops quite a free hand in incarcerating any American.) As of now, it is clear that 388 were wrongfully arrested for no cause, since only 12 have been charged. The actions of the Oakland Police are under review.

Of course, the above didn't happen - NO young Indian-Americans participate in social justice movements. (I do wish to be corrected, so stand up and be counted.)

Update on May Day: One of the leaders of OccupySF's  May Day attempt to make a community home, and as I learned, a long-time participant in OccupySF, was a young Bangladeshi-American. I've met four other Indian-Peninsulars at various Occupy related events, two Bengali men and a couple of Gujarati women. Of our IIT-classmates, I know of only two who are actively involved in social justice issues. 

Just yesterday I heard an Indian proudly proclaim that the Indian-American community is the richest and most educated ethnicity (or whatever) in the US. If our definition of ethnicity is loose, I recall that the honor actually belongs to the Jewish-American community. You don't need actual numbers to contrast, qualitatively, the difference in participation rates of the two communities in civic life in general and social justice movements in particular. How many Indian-Peninsulars do we know who've marched in favour of human rights, attended anti-war rallies or defended a PP clinic?    

 ---------------------------------------
Original Appeal: 
We need your help ASAP in support of Dharun Ravi by signing this petition ASAP.  Please share with as many friends as possible: 25000 signatures in 2 wks gets a response from Pres Obama.

Overview article-

Petition Site:
·         Short URL: http://wh.gov/NM1

Detailed Reasoning Behind This Petition:
In 2010, Dharun Ravi, an 18 yearold Rutgers student, secretly recorded his roommate Tyler Clementi while he was with another man and posted it on the internet for everyone to see.  For the next two years this is what the world was told by every media outlet, politician, activists worldwide and we accepted it as the truth.  He was prejudged. 

Two years later, we know none of this is true, nothing was ever recorded, nothing was broadcast over the internet.  Yet Ravi was robbed of one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution: presumption of innocence.  No one treated Ravi as though he was innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecutor's office has taken advantage of a faulty law that can prosecute any citizen for the thoughts of others along with misplaced political pressure from activist groups to convict Ravi on Bias charges, a law that even the judge admitted was muddled.

He now faces up to 20 years in jail.

Every single witness testified unequivocally that Dharun Ravi had absolutely no hatred towards with gays/homosexuals, however the prosecution decided that he did, they decided what was in his mind despite all the evidence saying otherwise.

This is not the precedence we want to set.

Instead of drawing lines in the sand and taking sides, let's come together as people and prove that we can make tough decisions and show some compassion, understanding, and sympathy.
Please sign this if you believe that equality and tolerance should be achieved through honest, open communication and not through a vicious and vengeful prosecution that only serves to fuel tempers and alienate us even further.

WhyActForJudicialJustice

After reading this, please learn what you can do to act for judicial justice.

A couple of weeks ago a petition to “Save Dharun Ravi” appeared to get wide circulation amongst the Indian and Indian American community. The group on which I first saw this is not given to any kind of political commentary, petitioning or action. In spite of the seeming broad-mindedness of the original appeal :
Instead of drawing lines in the sand and taking sides, let's come together as people and prove that we can make tough decisions and show some compassion, understanding, and sympathy.
Please sign this if you believe that equality and tolerance should be achieved through honest, open communication and not through a vicious and vengeful prosecution that only serves to fuel tempers and alienate us even further.”,
I questioned the motives of the re-broadcasters:
RST: “There are tens of thousands of other innocents in US jails and on death row, why
does this one in particular deserve my attention and the withdrawal of that
attention from the more general problem? Why is it more important to appeal one
_flawed_ instance of justice than to overturn the systemic racial and class bias
in US Justice?

If this was some poor Appalachian white boy, a Hispanic gang-banger or an inner
city black would any of us give a shit? Have any of us given a shit? I haven't
so far, why should I start now?


To which, a response was
H8': “First they came for the Hispanic gang banger and I did not speak out.  Then they came for the Applachian white boy and I did not speak out.  Then they came for the inner city black kid and I did not speak out.  Then they came for Dharun Ravi and I said,
why should I start now?

I thought there seemed to be some misunderstanding, and tried to explain:
RST: “My point, and Niemöller's, is precisely the opposite of how you seem to construe it. If you wait to protest until they come for you (or someone "sufficiently" like you - are not most other human beings sufficiently like you?) it is TOO LATE. You should speak out against injustice when it starts, you should protest injustice when you first become aware of it, and you should make yourself aware of it (by distrusting the MSM, authority, the official line; by being skeptical of what you hear) so as to not be caught unawares. By all means go ahead and sign the petition to Obumama pleading for Dharun Ravi if you are so moved,  but I fear that we, the Indian community, will only come across as insular, ignorant, idiots for attempting to use our clout over such a triviality.

Unless ...

Unless we use this as a starting point for getting involved in something bigger than ourselves, to see this incident as a reason to question authority, use this incident as a catalyst to inform ourselves of the institutional racist and classist biases and to show that we do also care about Hispanic and Native American men sentenced to death on trumped up charges and planted evidence, that we care about black men sentenced to death
in spite of contrary genetic evidence.

H8': “What you are saying seems to be that there are so many injustices out there so if one doesn't take up cudgels to oppose all of them, one has no standing to protest when one is stirred by a particular "sufficiently close" injustice.

RST: No, what I am saying, by way of analogy, is that prevention (of an epidemic) is better than amelioration (of individual cases).

H8': “Tate,
 Look at all the attention you have given already.
If you have the time, you can give attention to every innocent. I would like to do the same, but probably won't be able to find the time.

RST: The right wing strategy on this and every other issue is to force us to dissipate our energy and bandwidth on individual cases (and states), and it explains your apathy, “I can't do everything, so I will do nothing.”

H8': “Honestly, this one got my attention only because of the Indian origin, and it is a college close to my current home, where children of many friends study.

RST: Nuff said?

H8': “I agree I would probably not give my attention if he was of a different country or origin. But I am sure that for them, their friends/country folks must be doing what I am trying to do.

RST: Ummm, see Martin Niemöller.

H8': “I cannot possibly "overturn the systemic racial and class bias in US Justice"

RST: I agree, neither can I; not as isolated individuals, but together perhaps, we can. And, “a good fight should be fought for its merits, not abandoned because of its unwinnability.” - which is what Krishna said to Arjun in the Gita (or should have).

H8': “But this small thing, yes I can do.

RST: Wonderful! And you can do much more!

A supportive friend rightly pointed out my high-mindedness in this and challenged me to come up with an action on the broader issues I raised that we as a community could participate in. But he immediately cast doubt on the viability of anything beyond the “Dharun Ravi” petition by wondering whether it would get any traction within the Indian-American community.

The answer to that doubt, I don't know. It will be determined by how you respond and act. Let's show that we can act from a higher principle, that of human rights for all, in the tradition established by Ashoka, promulgated by Akbar and eloquently described by Amartya.

Inform yourself, involve yourself and ACT!
(Will send you to a post with links to 'action' websites.)

ActForJudicialJustice

This is mostly directed at the Indian and Indian-American community, that circulated a petition to "Free Dharun Ravi".

The history behind my appeal here.

Let's show that we can act from a higher principle, that of human rights for all, in the tradition established by Ashoka, promulgated by Akbar and eloquently described by Amartya.
 
Here are just three of the most effective organizations working on miscarriage of justice, racially skewed sentencing, prison conditions, death penalty, prosecutorial abuse etc. For all three, I give some combination of examples of what is the problem, what is being done to fix it and what you can do to help.

If you want to join me in any local action, or even just to observe and counteract the MSM brain-washing we've already undergone, I've included links to various OccupyOakland sites.

Finally, links to The Nation (which H.C.Baxi got me hooked onto). Other reading is obvious: Harper's, Mother Jones, TomDispatch …


A few of Amnesty International's actions in the US:

Arizona prison conditions : Arizona's maximum security prisons fall below international standards for humane treatment, windowless cells for 22 to 24 hours a day in conditions of reduced sensory stimulation, with little access to natural light and no work, educational or rehabilitation programs, prisoners spend years in such conditions, AI calls for :
  • reducing the number of prisoners in isolation;
  • improving conditions in the SMU and similar units;
  • removing prisoners with serious mental illness from SMU or similar units;
  • taking measures to reduce the number of suicides in Arizona’s prisons, and
  • barring children under 18 from being held in solitary confinement.  
Death Penalty: United States stayed in its dubiously bad place … behind China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Simple things you can do: Educate yourself on the issues, 10 ways to get involved : sign a petition, donate,

attend an event and put your body on the line.

What AI has to say about Mumbai slums
 
B. Southern Poverty Law Center: The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.

Get informed: e.g. walking while black, “Sub-human. Disposable. Even in the larger world.
Trayvon was returning from buying candy and iced tea at a nearby convenience store, walking through a gated community in Sanford where his father was staying. He was presumed to be up to no good. His assailant, George Zimmerman, has been presumed by local police to have acted in self-defense.”


C. The Innocence Project : The Innocence Project works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted through postconviction DNA testing; and develop and implement reforms to prevent wrongful convictions.
Common forms of misconduct by law enforcement officials include:

•    Employing suggestion when conducting  identification procedures
•    Coercing false confessions
•    Lying or intentionally misleading jurors about their observations
•    Failing to turn over exculpatory evidence to prosecutors
•    Providing incentives to secure unreliable evidence from informants

Common forms of misconduct by prosecutors include:

•    Withholding exculpatory evidence from defense
•    Deliberately mishandling, mistreating or destroying evidence
•    Allowing witnesses they know or should know are not truthful to testify
•    Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify
•    Relying on fraudulent forensic experts
•    Making misleading arguments that overstate the probative value of testimony 

Fix, simplest way to get-involved and make a difference is to join

and to donate

Act Locally: If there is one local group you will join
OccupyOakland : This is the other side of the coin: without grassroots protest and action, organizations like the above will continue to exist and have to fight individual cases. And to change the system, the grassroots (we, us, you and I) need you to participate.
Justice related issues: sexual harassment lawsuit against Alameda County Chief Probation Officer, Human Trafficking measure for CA ballot, “Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and the protection of ‘police murder’ in America (Opinion)”

Related Activism: courts, prisoners : April 24th, 4 PM, Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland.

“Mumia Abu Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Angela Davis” if these names make your blood boil, you have a minimum GAWAS-ness of 8.

Articles from The Nation: I consider this a central clearing house for information and activism on human rights, social justice and progressive issues. Typically at least 3 months ahead of the NYT.
(HCBaxi was the one who led me to subscribe to and read The Nation, basically by ripping out articles for me to read, from his copies. After the WTC attacks, The Nation (amongst a few others) was the only US print media I could bear to read: they condemned the violence (not the “loss of innocent lives”), analyzed and acknowledged the causes and discussed possible responses. I pledged to subscribe to it lifelong.)

On “License to Kill

On YOUR tax dollars at work for Arizona's private prisons

On abolishing the US Death Penalty

Patricia Williams Reason for doubt. Can't read it? Subscribe, $18 a year for online

How to end the Drug Wars

Reliable news on Occupy : if you only listen to NPR, you are NOT hearing it all.

_____________________________
This is meant for those of you who want to do something, but don't know what nor how. For the rest, please explore on your own, I do not want to influence or mediate your reading any further. Find your own articles with contrary viewpoints, for example those defending inhumane conditions, the death penalty, violent vigilantism, law enforcement and prosecutorial fraud, and those promulgating hate and bigotry. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nature in Turgenev

Nature in Turgenev (Bezhin Meadow):

1. "It was a beautiful July day ... the sunset was fading ... I must have gone a good mile out of my way! ... Meanwhile, night was falling ... the night. Little stars ... twinkled in it. ... I walked like that for half an hour. ... my legs were giving way under me from exhaustion. ... We talked a little. ... the two dogs ... could not reconcile themselves to my presence for a long time, ... "taters" were cooking. ... More than three hours had passed since I had joined the company of the boys ... the moon rose ... it was so small and narrow. ... before the dawn ... the short nights of summer."

At first this set of narrative time markers puzzled me. Four hours after nightfall, the small and narrow moon rises just before the dawn. A waning crescent moon precedes the sun by only a couple of hours. So the night is at most 6 hours long! But it is July, and Chern District, Tula province is located only about 250 km south of Moscow, at 54 N latitude, where a five hour July night is real.

2. "... the damp freshness of late evening had given way to the dry warmth of midnight,". WTF? Surely it should be "... the dry warmth of late evening had given way to the damp freshness of midnight,". I retract this criticism. A friend pointed out that in SF the night temperatures are higher than during the evening and twilight, when there is a strong offshore wind bringing in cold from the Humboldt current. 

3. "There was no moon in the sky: at that time of year it rose late." Hunh? The moon rises late for a week once every lunar cycle, it has nothing to do with the time of year. "There was no moon in the sky: at that time of month it rose late." would be tautological.

4. Finally, the phrase for which I will forgive Turgenev ALL his anti-observational sins (recall he is writing this in the early 1850s!): "The numberless golden stars ... looking at them, you seemed to be dimly aware yourself of the headlong and unceasing course of the earth." A writer who has read and understood Copernicus and Galileo! Most of us, anthropocentrists, are still only aware, if of anything, of the stars whirling around the earth.

Review of characters in Turgenev 

Buy the book at Leigh's Favorite Books in Sunnyvale, CA

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

OkupyCupid2

or "MatchThatColumn", said very quickly. 

(To K.)

This is a series of e-mail exchanges on a dating website. Match the entries in Column R with the responses in Column V. Column R is on the left since R initiates the exchange. Read through Col. V, then through Col. R and attempt to order them independently before fully attempting the puzzle. R's e-mail 'C' is not in response to anything by V.

Col. R
Col. V
A As Amartya Sen writes at the very beginning of his epo-synonymous book, “Prolixity is not alien to us in India. We are able to talk at some length.”


I am ethnically, culturally, argumentatively and arguably Indian: I was born in India, came to the US for grad school and have since worked, lived and played here, except for two years that I lived in Argentina.

I take it you were born here. Music appears to be a big part of your life, do you have either amateur or professional performances?

Rakesh
0 You are a kind sympathetic man. Good luck to you. You are a bright star. Vivian



B Hi V,


The prosaic reality behind the photo is the following. In December I was at "Toni's haircuts" in the chicano part of Las Vegas and paid more attention to the attractive young woman cutting my hair and to chatting to her in Spanish than to what she was doing to my hair. Each time she asked, "?Asi bien o corto mas?" I of course responded with "Corte mas, por favor." The cut ended up much shorter than I usually have it, and than the increasing sparsity of my hair justifies.

Then, on one of those supremely beautiful chilly but sunny days this January I hiked up to Black Mountain from Rhus Ridge and took this self-portrait - trying to avoid both my hair and the arm holding the cell phone and losing my smile by the time I got the frame approximately right. I know the off-angle looks artistic now, but it was pure inability to use that little mirror on the back of my cellphone.

At that time my profile picture was one of the "pleasant smile" ones a friend of mine had taken and insisted I use, claiming to know something about what her gender wants in a man. Then yet another woman friend insisted that though they claim to want "nice guys", what women really want is a "bad boy" look. So there we have it.

Previous to yours, the only comment on the photo was that I looked "very butch"!

Regards, Rakesh
1 HI Rakesh,

YOu are looking at the transitional girflriend who dated freshly divorced men for the last ten years. I am interested in you. However, let's meet once you are two years post divorce. Men frieshly divorced are in no place to get married and that means we are not on the same page....yet.

I know this is the time when you regain your autonomy.

Best of luck. contact me in 18 months if you would.

Spare my heart.

Vivian
C Hi (for the last time today, I'm taking an editing break) Vivian,

Here are the reasons I e-mailed you in the first place: your well-written profile, your work with soup kitchens and food banks (I cook weekly for OccupyOakland), sea-kayaking (I've paddled around the Channel islands off Ventura), Agno Nuevo (took my girls out of school last month to do the walk), "Guns, Germs and Steel", the three movies you've mentioned and your very attractive smile in your profile pic - not that I'm comparing you to Kelly McGillis.

Rakesh
2 That's young! How many years are you post-divorce.?
V
D Hi Vivian, I am sorry for the confusion my message has caused. I was interested by you and by your profile. With the hope of enticing you to take a look at my profile I sent you some fiction I wrote - it was not meant for you, nor was it meant for anyone else. It was motivated by thinking of "what ifs" of the dating scene and the possible lives of others. You've misjudged me on multiple counts regarding (the importance of being an) Ivy grad, professional, light-hearted, defensive, but I can't change your perceptions.

Again, accept my apologies for having sent you an e-mail open to being misconstrued.

Good luck, and as the old Stones' song goes, I hope you get what you need.

Rakesh
3 R, I Enjoy playing musoc. It's like unravelling a sound puzzle, for example Bach's Fugue No. 10 in WTC. Satisfying.


I love kids. How old are your girls ? V
E Hi Vivian, it will be a pleasure to talk to you! My cell phone is 555-1729. Very few get it.


I have my daughters tonight, so the best times to talk would be after 9PM. I can talk in their presence, but it is best when they are doing their own stuff, which happens on the weekends, so we can talk then as well.
- R
4 Hi R, Do you always write somch – your stpry about the photo? What is your ethnic background?
F Hi Vivian, I am sorry for what you have been through, each cycle of the roller coaster necessarily making you question yourself and others more.

You are absolutely right: regardless of my emotional state and possible willingness to commit, my situation makes it laughable and dishonest on my part to consider marriage or even a LTR. I can't even contemplate it, and since it took me long enough to get married in the first place ...

A short while back my thought might have been "What difference does it make? If I say I am ready, I am ready." But it does make a difference, and you have done me, and numerous unknown women, a big favor: Your first two sentences have aroused much more sympathy in me for women out there and what some of them may be going through (guys as well) and led to my openly stating my status at the top of my profile - neither you nor anyone else should be obliged to ask for clarification of this.

You are right about the autonomy as well: in my case it is not just about stereotypical sexual freedom, it does have to do with freedom to grow, to be, to associate, to think and to do, without the (willingly accepted) constraints of bondedness to a person.

Your last letter in particular shows great thoughtfulness about my state and kindness towards me. It would speak poorly of this world if it weren't to sufficiently appreciate someone like you, so I hope in 18 months to find that you are in a fulfilling relationship and no longer on this site.

Dear Vivian, thank you for giving me the opportunity to spare your heart.
Rakesh
5 HI Rakesh, that was a succinct answer. I love seeing the elephant seals of año Nuevo. Shall we talk? Would you mind sharing your phone number ? Vivian
G
Thank you for the compliment. The last time I was compared to Tom Cruise, reference was made to Mission:Impossible - the air-guitar in underwear scene. Hah, I wish! As far as "Top Gun" goes, let's just say I have a better attitude towards female instructors.

Rakesh
6

H Hi,
I've written a short piece you might like to read. Please take a look. If you are interested by it and by my profile, I would like to hear from you.
7 A favorite scene of mine. Where was the phto taken?
I Post-divorce? Negative 6 months. Meaning we filed in January and some initial dates are set, have been living apart for the last 8 months or so. The emotional estrangement has been from at least a couple of years before, became near total about a year ago. There has been no crisis of action or behaviour that brought it on - just incomprehensibly growing apart.

By the way I will endeavour to answer your questions fully. It means that I may share something that you are uncomfortable with, and hence I am prepared if you then do not wish to continue communication.

Would you like to talk tonight? I'm usually up till midnight.
- R
8 Yes. It was an odd reply. Good luck with your search. Your photo seems like Tom cruise in top gun. V
J Hi Vivian, I have two daughters ages 10 and 5, and we do a lot of stuff together: climbing, hiking, camping, mudding in the garden, board games, cooking, museums and films, etc. I make an effort to interact with their friends, and they interact with mine.

Do you have nieces or nephews, or the children of friends that you are close to? You teach music, is that mostly to kids?

Would you mind if we e-mailed off-site, I can explain when we talk or meet? My e-mail is rakishrakesh@vanitymail.com

Based on your science reading preferences –and the analogy of "sound puzzle" which is not a common way that people seem to think about western classical music except for Bach's as you mention or for jazz/fusion/Indian classical– you seem like you have a tech/engr/science background. And you play music and professionally a yoga teacher? How intriguing!

Rakesh
9 Hi BelayMe2.


You seem to be writing to a different woman. I was not involved in the occupy movement. I believe in God. I am an Ivy grad with a professional job. I need someone who is lighthearted, not defensive. Are you writing to someone else?

Vivian

Column V is in reverse chronological order.

Solution: H-9-D-8-G-7-B-6-C-5-E-4-A-3-J-2-I-1-F-0

Hi,
I've written a short piece you might like to read. Please take a look. If you are interested by it and by my profile, I would like to hear from you.


Hi BelayMe2.


You seem to be writing to a different woman. I was not involved in the occupy movement. I believe in God. I am an Ivy grad with a professional job. I need someone who is lighthearted, not defensive. Are you writing to someone else?

Vivian



Hi Vivian, I am sorry for the confusion my message has caused. I was interested by you and your profile. With the hope of enticing you to take a look at my profile I sent you some _fiction_ I wrote - it was not meant for you, nor was it meant for anyone else. It was motivated by thinking of "what ifs" of the dating scene and the possible lives of others. You've misjudged me on multiple counts regarding Ivy grad, professional, light-hearted, defensive, but I can't change your perceptions.

Again, accept my apologies for having sent you an e-mail open to being misconstrued.

Good luck, and as the old Stones' song goes, I hope you get what you need.

Rakesh


Yes. It was an odd reply. Good luck with your search. Your photo seems like Tom cruise in top gun. V


Thank you for the compliment. The last time I was compared to Tom Cruise, reference was made to Mission:Impossible - the air-guitar in underwear scene. Hah, I wish! As far as "Top Gun" goes, let's just say I have a better attitude towards female instructors.

Rakesh


A favorite scene of mine. Where was the phto taken?


Hi V,


The prosaic reality behind the photo is the following. In December I was at "Toni's haircuts" in the chicano part of Las Vegas and paid more attention to the attractive young woman cutting my hair and to chatting to her in Spanish than to what she was doing to my hair. Each time she asked, "?Asi bien o corto mas?" I of course responded with "Corte mas, por favor." The cut ended up much shorter than I usually have it, and than the increasing sparsity of my hair justifies.

Then, on one of those supremely beautiful chilly but sunny days this January I hiked up to Black Mountain from Rhus Ridge and took this self-portrait - trying to avoid both my hair and the arm holding the cell phone and losing my smile by the time I got the frame approximately right. I know the off-angle looks artistic now, but it was pure inability to use that little mirror on the back of my cellphone.

At that time my profile picture was one of the "pleasant smile" ones a friend of mine had taken and insisted I use, claiming to know something about what her gender wants in a man. Then yet another woman friend insisted that though they claim to want "nice guys", what women really want is a "bad boy" look. So there we have it.

Previous to yours, the only comment on the photo was that I looked "very butch"!

Regards, Rakesh





Hi Vivian (for the last time today, I'm taking an editing break),

Here are the reasons I e-mailed you in the first place: your well-written profile, your work with soup kitchens and food banks (I cook weekly for OccupyOakland), sea-kayaking (I've paddled around the Channel islands off Ventura), Agno Nuevo (took my girls out of school last month to do the walk), "Guns, Germs and Steel", the three movies you've mentioned and your very attractive smile in your profile pic - not that I'm comparing you to Kelly McGillis.

Rakesh


HI Rakesh, that was a succinct answer. I love seeing the elephant seals of año Nuevo. Shall we talk? Would you mind sharing your phone number ? Vivian


Hi Vivian, it will be a pleasure to talk to you! My cell phone is 555-1729. I have my daughters tonight, so the best times to talk would be after 9PM. I can talk in their presence, but it is best when they are doing their own stuff, which happens on the weekends, so we can talk then as well.
- R


Hi R, Do you always write somch – your stpry about the photo? What is your ethnic background?


As Amartya Sen writes at the very beginning of his epo-synonymous book, “Prolixity is not alien to us in India. We are able to talk at some length.”


I am ethnically, culturally, argumentatively and arguably Indian: I was born in India, came to the US for grad school and have since worked, lived and played here, except for two years that I lived in Argentina.

I take it you were born here. Music appears to be a big part of your life, do you have either amateur or professional performances?

Rakesh


R, I Enjoy playing musoc. It's like unravelling a sound puzzle, for example Bach's Fugue No. 10 in WTC. Satisfying.


I love kids. How old are your girls ? V


Hi Vivian, I have two daughters ages 10 and 5, and we do a lot of stuff together: climbing, hiking, camping, mudding in the garden, board games, cooking, museums and films, etc. I make an effort to interact with their friends, and they interact with mine.

Do you have nieces or nephews, or the children of friends that you are close to? You teach music, is that mostly to kids?

Would you mind if we e-mailed off-site, I can explain when we talk or meet? Mine is rakishrakesh@vanitymail.com

Based on your science reading preferences –and the analogy of "sound puzzle" which is not a common way that people seem to think about western classical music except for Bach's as you mention or for jazz/fusion/Indian classical– you seem like you have a tech/engr/science background. And you play music and professionally a yoga teacher? How intriguing!

Rakesh


That's young! How many years are you post-divorce.?
V


Post-divorce? -6 months. Meaning we filed in january and some initial dates are set, have been living apart since July 2011. The emotional estrangement has been from at least a couple of years ago, became near total about a year ago. There has been no crisis of action or behaviour that brought it on - just incomprehensibly growing apart.

By the way I will endeavour to answer your questions fully. It means that I may share something that you are uncomfortable with, and hence I am prepared if you then do not wish to continue communication.

Of course I would like to get to know your personal background as well, perhaps in person and as you choose to share it.

Would you like to talk tonight? I'm usually up till midnight.
- R




HI Rakesh,

YOu are looking at the transitional girflriend who dated freshly divorced men for the last ten years. I am interested in you. However, let's meet once you are two years post divorce. Men frieshly divorced are in no place to get married and that means we are not on the same page....yet.

I know this is the time when you regain your autonomy.

Best of luck. contact me in 18 months if you would.


Spare my heart.

Vivian



Hi Vivian, I am sorry for what you have been through, each cycle of the roller coaster necessarily making you question yourself and others more.

You are absolutely right: regardless of my emotional state and possible willingness to commit, my situation makes it laughable and dishonest on my part to consider marriage or even a LTR.

A short while back my thought might have been "What difference does it make? If I say I am ready, I am ready." But it does make a difference, and you have done me, and numerous unknown women, a big favor: Your first two sentences have aroused much more sympathy in me for women out there and what they are going through (guys as well) and a resolve to honestly state my status at the top of my profile - neither you nor anyone else should be obliged to ask for clarification of this.

You are right about the autonomy as well: in my case it is not just about stereotypical sexual freedom, it does have to do with freedom to grow, to be, to associate, to think and to do, without the (willingly accepted) constraints of bondedness to a person.

Your last letter in particular shows great thoughtfulness about my state and kindness towards me. It would speak poorly of this world if it weren't to sufficiently appreciate someone like you, so I hope in 18 months to find that you are in a fulfilling relationship and no longer on this site.

Dear Vivian, thank you for giving me the opportunity to spare your heart.

Rakesh


You are a kind sympathetic man. Good luck to you. You are a bright star. Vivian