October 2004 Notebook Entries

Notebook entry, October 23, 2004

I've spent the last few days at home with a back pain. It's just plainly is old age creeping up along with the uptick in the usual fall mail volume. Plus, this year, we have an election year which is adding to the stress and physical hardship. But, I will survive, as I have for the past 24 years. 380 odd days until I am eligible to retire.

My son-in-law, Craig, installed a new program for me and taught me how to burn my first DVD movie. It was my first movie of the kids out in California. I'll mail it off on Tuesday, the 26th.

An interesting Time magazine cover story for October 25, 2004 titled: Is God in Our Genes? A provocative study asks whether religion is a product of evolution. Inside a quest for the roots of faith." by Jefferey Kluger, p. 62. The study involves poking around "genes known to play major roles in the production of monoamines -- brain chemicals, including serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, that regulate such fundamental functions as mood and motor control....Studying the nine candidate genes in DNA samples provided by his subjects, Hamer (the study director) quickly hit the genetic jackpot. A variation in the gene known as VMAT2 -- for vesicular monoamine transporter -- seemed to be directly related to how the volunteers scored on the self-transcendence test...'A single change in a single base in the middle of the gene seemed directly related to the ability to feel self-ranscendence,' says, Hamer." p.66. Not exactly overwhelming empirical evidence, but at least its a good start. The study also did not tell us the size of the sample, which of course, would be extremely important; but, at least, it is now something to consider. I'm more inclined to believe that those who are more spiritual, tend to find that being in the presence of others is more comforting then being a "loner." After all, there is strong evidence to show that religion is considered a public display of commitment to one's religion. Knowing this, is there a genetic relationship to group living vs. going it alone? -- I think that there is --- evolutionary psychologist tend to agree that we lived in hunter-gathering groups much longer then organized religions emerged.

Notebook entry, October 18, 2004

I just can not believe that 8 days have gone by since my last entry! Where did the time go? Well, there is an old saying here in America that "time travels fast when you are having fun," and I must admit that some of that is true. I have been working on my film editing with my SONY digital DVD camera and I have overcome the initial problem of capturing the DVD images onto the editing software of my choice (SONY Movieblaster 3.0). It seems that the editing software that the camera comes with (ImageMixer 1.5) only works with the DVD201 camera. It seems odd that another SONY product won't work with the same camera system, but it appears that someone's son-in-law got the contract for that software and it's entirely proprietary. (Naw, I'm just kidding -- but it seems like the only logical reason!!)

Anyway, I have just edited two short films from all the clips that I have taken from my trip in California in September and I have to admit that they have turned out pretty good (at least that is what my family has told me). Unfortunately for you, the films will remain in my private archives. But, I do seem to be on target for placing short five minute clips revolving around the evolutionary perspective on the web site by the summer of 2005 (well, that is the plan).

Film editing, to me, is a whole new ball game -- and in a phone conversation with my daughter in California, I asked her, what I considered to me, an important question: Why would someone who is about to turn 59 years old want to learn film making and film editing? Her reply was: because it's fun.

When, I suppose that it is fun, but it also seems similar to learning how to tie one's shoe laces when one is two or three years old (Is that the age when it occurs?). It is frustrating, and at times seems almost impossible to learn, but so far I have jumped over all the hurdles and there is that satisfaction of leaning back and seeing a project completed. It is very similar to writing -- sometimes it seems like I am so confused and lost that an essay will never get written. But persistence prevails -- things to work out in the end. Maybe, not the way you imaged, but there comes that moment in one's timeline when you draw a line in the sand and say: this job is done and you look back on what you have done.

Notebook entry, October 10, 2004

Diana and I sat down together and decided not to pursue the complaint against the electrical contractor. Despite the fact that I did background work into investigating the business by going to the state board of electrical contractors (there were two complaints and a citation filed against them) and to get the forms to file a complaint, we decided that it would take too much energy and effort to pursue. She is embarrassed and hurt that someone would take advantage of her good nature and open honesty, and I am in the place where I prefer not to waste the brain cell effort and time required to attack the issue. Critics may say that one should not allow people to run all over you, but you have to understand how precious my free time is to me. My studies and my writing (and now my film making) are what sustains me -- and to drop them in exchange for aggressive mental behavior is a cost that I am not willing to pursue. Perhaps, when we are both retired and the funds dwindle down to a precious few, then perhaps the benefit to fighting for the right cause would be worth it.

Notebook entry, October 7, 2004

I have just finished reading The Wimp Factor: Gender gaps, holy wars, & the politics of anxious masculinity by Stephen J. Ducat and will soon begin writing the review. I consider it to be an important book because it revolves around gender issues and the mental proclivities of male preference for aggressiveness toward warlike behavior -- in life in general, in politics, and diplomacy. In the book, Ducat believes that misogyny and homophobia are joined at the hip -- precisely the theory that I am pursuing. The big difference that we have is the origin of the two behaviors. He believes that the human male developed these attitudes because of womb envy, and I believe the hatred developed because the female menstrual cycle caused males to "hate" the female because of the "scent left behind" on their hunting tools -- or at least it would make sense to blame someone for failure to bring home the "bacon" (the catch of the day) to sustain the tribal group unit. As for homophobia, any male that could not pass the tribal initiation rites of "passing into manhood" would be considered as useless in defending the tribal unit (thus not allowed in receiving any benefits from male bonding [old boy networking]).

Notebook entry, October 3, 2004

Electrical work on the house is almost finished, but now there has been a serious speed bump. It seems the electrical contractor has overcharged us by 54% of the cost that was originally quoted us and I have to stop what I am doing on writing and prepare my focus on filing a complaint with the Colorado State Board of Electrical Contractors. More distraction, more loss of precious time. By life is not a straight line and is full of speed bumps. Because of lack of time, I will have to finish an essay/book review I am working on today and rush it to competition. I don't know how it will end up, but it most likely will be perceived as poorly written. I am working on a book called The Rules; it is about Rules passed down from females to females over several generations and is about being coy as a method of "catching" a male in marriage.