Stupid senseless stress

I need to learn to lighten up. I tend to do pretty well with morning exams or afternoon ones, but when it comes to evening ones I drive myself crazy all day worrying about them. Most people say they get nervous during exams. For me that’s not the case. Once I’m in there I’m perfectly calm. It’s the anticipation that I can’t take very well. At all.

Today I have managed to give myself a nasty headache which so far has only gotten worse. The closer it gets to 7pm, the more upset my stomach gets. Pretty sad really.

Studying Fun

It’s amusing when ethics discussions come up in class, how someone always points out that we all act in our own self-interest, whether we consider that to be selfish or not. Today I came across an interesting point along the same lines in my readings, this by Harry Browne:

Everyone is selfish; everyone is doing what he believes will make himself happier. The recognition of that can take most of the sting out of accusations that you’re being “selfish.” Why should you feel guilty for seeking your own happiness when that’s what everyone else is doing too?…
To find constant, profound happiness requires that you be free to seek the gratification of your own desires. It means making positive choices.
If you slip into the Unselfishness Trap, you’ll spend a good part of your time making negative choices—trying to avoid the censure of those who tell you not to think of yourself…
If someone finds happiness by doing “good works” for others, let him. That doesn’t mean that’s the best way for you to find happiness.
And when someone accuses you of being selfish, just remember that he’s only upset because you aren’t doing what he selfishly wants you to do.

Though most of us don’t like to be viewed as selfish, Browne has a very valid point. You can’t go around spending your whole life doing everything for the benefit of everyone around you. All that results in is making yourself miserable. I’ve tried it, and while it sounds good in theory, doing what is best for others in every case can only end up with hurting yourself. However, I do think he’s wrong that you should also always do what will make you happier. As with most areas of life, there needs to be a healthy balance between the two.

James Rachels makes another valid point that deriving happiness from helping others does not necessarily make one selfish:

Why should we think that merely because someone derives satisfaction from helping others this makes him selfish? Isn’t the unselfish man precisely the one who does derive satisfaction from helping others, while the selfish man does not? Similarly, it is nothing more than shabby sophistry to say, because Smith takes satisfaction in helping his friend, that he is behaving selfishly.

I suppose if you were doing things for others to gain something for yourself besides happiness (using them as a means to an end, as Kant would say) in that sense you would be selfish. But doing nice things because you like to is not in itself a negative thing. It all comes down to perspective.


It’s been a strange day, in that I feel motivated but haven’t really done anything yet. I need to do laundry and tidy up some of the stash that has been accumulating around the house, as well as make lunch and decide what I want for dinner. There’s quite a few sections of reading that I still need to do before making study notes for my exam on Monday. It’s funny that these are the ones I haven’t read yet, since I know from watching the videos that it’s all philosophy of religion (one of my main areas of interest). On the plus side that should mean that it’s pretty much all review and I won’t have to learn much.

I want to make a new theme for the site, since this one is pretty much like the other one I had. Other than the colours and images I didn’t change much. I even used the same dimensions for everything so that I wouldn’t have to mess with the CSS. The plan is something violet, but not overwhelming and tacky (as I am wont to do). I’ve got a couple books from the library on web design and CSS, as well as accessibility and cutting down on loading time and such. Especially since I’m on dial-up here it’s becoming important to set things up so that it loads efficiently.

I have learned something from looking at other people’s sites. Almost everyone uses white space. I have also learned that I don’t like doing that for my own sites. I understand that it’s good for things to be open for readability, but I like colour too much to do leave so much space “blank”. Of course, I do have another idea for a theme using plenty of white space and a lot of colour if the violet one flops. Considering I’m making these as I learn it may take a while for them to be implemented, but they will be coming at some point.

The Art of Breaking

I spent two hours today poking around Hespeler Rd. trying to find a copy of the latest Thousand Foot Krutch album before giving up in frustration and returning home. It seems that even though many of the retailers were supposed to have it (according to TFK’s website, that is) none of them had it or knew what it was. The surprise though, is that I don’t think I want to get it anymore. I could be superstitious like my mother and say that not finding it is a “sign”, but really that’s not it.

When I got back I decided to try the iTunes music store and see if they had it. They do. The whole thing. Before buying though, I started listening to the samples of some of the songs. This was quite the effort and took some time since streaming audio on dial-up is not the best way to do this. Even so, the songs just didn’t seem heartfelt. They had a generic quality to them that I didn’t like. The whole album seems to be a lesser version of Phenomenon, and even that one I was slightly disappointed with.

I hate to think that the guys are starting their careers with songs that are just turning into lame rehashings of their other stuff. Their first album wasn’t like that. It was incredible. Even though I don’t have that one (I didn’t know much about them then, I’d heard of it from a friend), I have Set It Off (both the original and remastered) and really think that they’ve gone downhill since then. Where did the enthusiasm go? The spark of originality is fizzling out and I’m having a hard time with it.

I love these guys. They’ve got amazing ideas and have written some of the best songs I’ve heard. They put on fantastic shows. But the newer music is just sub-par. I hope it gets better. I don’t like being disappointed with them.

As consolation, I’m listening to Switchfoot, who have only gotten better over the years.

Edit: Now that I’m out of that jaded state of mind it seems better. We shall see what I think once I’ve gotten it. I’m also considering getting the new Bedouin Soundclash album. It’s interesting.

I Have Sweater Pieces

I’ve started the sweater, and have come to a decision as to why knitting is so addictive. It seems to me that no matter how many things we make, the marvel is still there that all these warm clothes and useful things can be made from a simple piece of string and some sticks.

This sweater is larger and a bit more complicated than things I usually make, but it still uses the same basic things, just in a different form. It’s amazing.

Oh, and for anyone who cares, the gray colour turned out to be so dark it’s essentially black. But it’s nice.

Craft Update

The Peacock Tapestry is getting some much-needed attention lately. I’m finding it a lot more relaxing to work on than my knitting at the moment. I suspect that I’m getting frustrated with knitting lately because I’m just finishing up pairs of socks and anyone who has knit socks can tell you how trying it is to overcome SSS. Even so, I am finishing them, albeit slowly.

While in Waterloo to check messages and pick stuff up I finally ordered the yarn for my sweater from Cloth & Clay. I changed the colour scheme though, so I’m hoping it works out. The main body of the sweater will be royal violet what seems a light shade of gray [many of the darker colours are unavailable until the fall shipment, and since I want to be wearing the sweater then, the violet was replaced], with the sleeves and bottom in a mauve/lavender-type shade. The accent stripe is a pale peach or so. I looked up the colours online, since none of the places around here actually keep that particular yarn in stock, so the exact shades are a guess. I don’t mind too much. Experimenting is fun. I just hope they have all the yarn that I want and that it doesn’t get too expensive. Some places had this stuff listed for $10 a ball, and I’m ordering 11 of them, so at the very least I think I can say it will cost $100. I highly expect it will be worth it. A handmade kid merino hooded-sweatshirt for the winter? I can’t see why it wouldn’t be.

I am going to have to remember to make a copy of the pattern, since I’m doing it from the Stitch ‘n’ Bitch book that I bought for my mom. I know she’s wanted the book for a while, so I hope that she uses it, or that my sister does. It’s got some great advice and is a great resource.

At least I doubt that I’ll get anymore yarn until next year, between the sweater and the stash I have of Bernat Sox yarn. I love that it was on sale for $1 a ball. There’s maybe 20 of them here and whatever remains of the stash that I have in Waterloo. I’ll be making socks blissfully all winter long. It’s acrylic and nylon yarn, so it’s not the warmest stuff, but it does the job and it’s cheap enough for me not to feel guilty. I justify the sweater since I’m planning on making it last for years to come, and I get to make it myself. The alternative would be spending that money on another WLU sweatshirt, but since I have three already and I’ll probably want a Western one when I get there, it’s better not to take that route.

I’m making some more dishcloths, this time for the Cambridge house. All the ones I can find are falling apart or close to it. At least I know the knitted cotton ones last for years and hold up well. They get to stay after the summer, a useful gift.

I can see myself using up some of my mom’s stash while I am visiting to make a bag for carrying these projects around in. Maybe to make a purse that isn’t slightly larger than a wallet. I know that’s just asking for trouble, since it makes it very easy to carry around tons of stuff I’ll never use, but considering I’ve had positively tiny purses my entire life I’m not entirely worried about that.


There’s a lot of eggs here and only two people to eat them. Any suggestions for what to do with them would be greatly appreciated. My thoughts for today are poached eggs with french toast. The only other things I know how to do are fried or scrambled.

The Dark Tower

I’m very addicted to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I’ve been reading them all week. It’s funny. I’ve had access to the books pretty much my entire life (through various libraries and such) but I’ve never read them or felt compelled to. Though I do remember that I felt “out-of-the-loop” book-wise for the first time when Wizard and Glass came out. Even people that I’d never seen reading before were scrambing to buy that book. For once I was not the only person carrying books everywhere like a teddy, since everyone around me was attached to that book so much.

In some ways it felt like a failure, to not have read the books the first time I had the chance. For someone whose passion is books, it was something of a slap in the face to fall behind on this one. There was a valuable lesson for me in those circumstances: that no matter how many books I read, no matter how much time and effort I spent trying to keep ahead of the market, there was no way I’d be able to be on top in every case.

For that matter, the popular books are by no means the good books. Some of the best ones I’ve read are ones that no one else has even heard of. There are always going to be the huge bestsellers like Harry Potter or The DaVinci code which the world goes nuts over, but it is important to remember that there are many more books of equal or greater merit which get left behind when the focus is solely on the hugely popular ones. There is still such a thing as literature, and it is important that it is not forgotten in the quest for the “easy-fix.”