Monday, March 26, 2012

Visit to the British Library

The other day after finishing volunteering around Farringdon, I trotted down toward King's Cross Station because it was a beautiful day outside.  As I walked along and got closer to King's Cross Station, I remembered that the British Library was quite close by.  I also remembered (falsely) that it was a beautiful building.  I think I might have been remembering St. Pancras (gorgeous) or something else nearby.

As I wandered around inside the British Library, I discovered that they have not one, but two copies of the Magna Carta!  Incredible!  I also found out that Leonardo Da Vinci wrote backwards.  They have a few of his original journal pages there as well as original lyrics jotted down by the Beatles, among other treasures:

The Burning of London in 1666 by Wenceslaus Hollar (source)
Also, I saw excerpts from a expedition newspaper from Sir Robert Scott's expedition to the South Pole in 1911.  The plaque said that they saw evidence of climate change on that trip.  I'm having difficulty finding anything more on this.  Maybe I read it wrong.

Thomas Moffett's Insectorum Theatrum - 1590 (source)

From Florilegium Novum by Johann Theodor de Bry (1612) (source)
I also saw these stamps, from Ibiza in 1936!

And lastly, I was struck by a very pinterestable thing, the center column of the library by the cafe:


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Attachment 5 of 100

"I'm sure 'The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds' had a profound significance for my father.  When he was young he was cared for by an affectionate and playful young nanny called Minnie, but she left the family when he was about four.  He told me that he was very attached to Minnie and felt the pain of separation when their affectional bond was broken, but - although his work reminded him of this pain - he was able to work with it throughout his life.  Losing a very important attachment figure and working out the importance of an enduring relationship was, I think, a large part of his motivation for a lifetime study of the affectional bond that forms between a child and his primary attachment figure." (Richard Bowlby's Introduction to The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds by John Bowlby (2004), xi)

I was talking to a guy who goes to my church this past Sunday who is a counsellor.  He was mentioning his research for his Masters degree and was talking about how one of the things he was focussing on was why people go into the careers that they do.  I've had a pet theory since college that people go into the field that they feel is the answer to the the most important problem in the world (for whatever reason).  But what this counsellor was saying was that people who go into the helping professions (youth work and teaching, for example) are usually trying to heal some wound that they had received in childhood.  

If the carer realises this about themselves and actively works through their own personal issue, then the work relationship between the carer and for whom they are caring can be fine and healthy.  However, if the deep wound is not sorted out, the relationship can be selfish at its base, because the carer is seeking to heal themselves through the relationship and not actually do their job, which is to care well and unselfishly.  

In some ways, I might have been on the right track with my theory in college.  As human beings, we see our deepest wounds as the greatest problem in the world.  

Attachment, 4 of 100, or "Why 'Your Mom' Jokes are so painful"

"Our sense of self is closely dependant on the few intimate attachment relationships we have or have had in our lives, especially our relationship with the person who raised us.  These potent relationships, whether secure or insecure, loving or neglectful, have a profound significance for us and we need to protect our idealised perception of them vigorously; they may not be much, but they're all we've got!

Humans seem to have evolved an innate capacity to detect anything that could destabilise these vital attachment relationships, and unconscious defences seem to be activated..."

- Richard Bowlby, from his Introduction to The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds by John Bowlby (2004)

Attachment: 3 of 100

"He said to me, 'You know how distressed small children get if they're lost and can't find their mother and how they keep on searching?  Well, I suspect it's the same feeling that adults have when a loved one dies, they keep on searching too.  I think ti's the same instinct that starts in infancy and evolves throughout life as people grow up, and becomes part of adult love.'"

- John Bowlby to his son.  Quoted in the forward to The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds, p.vii

Attachment: 2 of infinity

"Of the many other disturbed patters of parenting that can be traced, in part at least, to childhood experience, there is one that happens also to be well documented in the studies of abusing mother (e.g. Morris and Gould 1963; Steele and Pollock 1968; Green, Gaines, and Sandgrun 1974; DeLozier 1982).  This is their tendency to expect and demand care and attention from their own children, in other words to invert the relationship.  During interview they regularly describe how, as children, they too had been made to feel responsible for looking after their parents instead of the parents caring for them.

Most, perhaps all, parents who expect their children to care for them have experienced very inadequate parenting themselves.  Unfortunately, all too often, they then create major psychological problems for their children.  Elsewhere (Bowlby 1973, 1980) I have argued that an inverted parent-child relationship of this kind lies behind a significant proportion of cases of school refusal (school phobia) and agoraphobia, and also probably of depression."

- John Bowlby, A Secure Base: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory (Routledge, 1988. p. 18)

Attachment, 1 of infinity

"This brings me to a central feature of my concept of parenting - the provision by both parents of a secure base from which a child or an adolescent can make sorties into the outside world and to which he can return knowing for sure that he will be welcomed when he gets there, nourished physically and emotionally, comforted if distressed, reassured if frightened.  In essence this role is one of being available, ready to respond when called up on to encourage and perhaps assist, but to intervene actively only when clearly necessary.  In these respects it is a role similar to that of the officer commanding a military based from which an expeditionary force sets out and to which it can retreat, should it meet with a setback.  Much of the time the role of the base is a waiting one but it is non the less vital for that.  For it is only when the officer commanding the expeditionary force is confident his base is secure that he dare press forward and take risks.

In the case of children and adolescents we see them, as they get older, venturing steadily further from base and for increasing spans of time.  The more confident they are that their base is secure and, moreover, ready if called upon to respond, the more they take it for granted.  yet should one or other parent become ill or die, the immense significance of the base to the emotional equilibrium of the child or adolescent or young adult is at one apparent."

- John Bowlby, A Secure Base: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory

Monday, March 12, 2012

Adventures in other cultures:

I'm volunteering for a youth group that is run by two women who are of British-Caribbean heritage - it's a treat.  Today, I was in the kitchen making Indian food with one of them, M, along with another volunteer, an Indian woman.  We were talking about food that we still make from our countries of origin and M mentioned two things I had never heard of.  One was Ackee, a fruit that they scramble like eggs for breakfast.  It looks like this:
...and it is prepared like this:

And also apparently you can only get it canned in the UK but you just pluck it off of a tree in whatever part of the Caribbean my co-worker is from.  

And the second thing: Guinness Punch.  Which sounds wonderful!!

12 oz. Guinness
170 g sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch nutmeg
pinch cinnamon
milk to taste
60 ml white rum (optional)

(modified from this source)

It sounds lethal and great!!

Also, my Indian co-worker was talking about a big natural beauty brand in India called Shahnaz Hussain.  Specifically she has a cream for the face that involves Turmeric!  As in, the super-yellow spice!  A friend of my co-worker spread it on her face and had a yellow face for 12 hours afterwards but she said she had great results (?).  And my coworker also said that (which wikipedia agrees) "Staining oneself with turmeric is believed to improve the skin tone and tan." And wikipedia also says, "Some research shows compounds in turmeric to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, however, curcumin is not one of them.[18]"

Marianne Breslauer: Photographs

via the Sartorialist
wikipedia: Marianne Breslauer

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Food for...the wallet.

from the USDA via

One of my favorite quotes:

“Oh,' the priest said, 'that's another thing altogether - God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us - God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn't it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.” 
― Graham GreeneThe Power and the Glory

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spanish Past Preterite

Pronoun subject-ar verbs-er verbs-ir verbs
él / ella / usted-ió-ió
nosotros / nosotras-amos-imos-imos
vosotros / vosotras-asteis-isteis-isteis
ellos / ellas / ustedes-aron-ieron-ieron

I am failing all of my levels on Duolingo because I can't remember this stuff.  It's from wikipedia (here).  Don't even get me started in Past Imperfect.  My mind melts.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cloud Culture

I wrote about the fascinating people over at Counterpoint a few months back when I thought about pursuing them to give me a job.  I just came across a video of a conference that they sponsored two years ago on Cloud Culture:

Besides the piercing Dr. Who noises every now and then, the ideas that they are discussing are fascinating.  However, I have to ask, when culture is suddenly opened up to the whole of humanity for them to contribute to, the world will become 'more knowable' as Catherine Fieschi put it, but whether it will become more 'richer' is based on what you think humanity is really like.

 If you think that humanity is ultimately good, or even that their creative impulses are ultimately good, then culture is going to become very rich and beneficial.  However, if you believe that humanity is beautiful yet fallen, then we will get a global Cloud Culture that is just as much of a mixed bag as the humanity that feeds into it.

Therefore, as culture-makers, I believe that we should encourage the parts that are good and beneficial because that is what will make Cloud Culture richer, not just standing back and wondering at what develops and praising the new movement for its newness.  The vast freedom and access that the internet allows now and will allow more in the future is incredible.  But whether it becomes something that is ultimately positive is up to us.